On February 25 and 26, Paul Craig Roberts addressed the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, hosted by the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Moscow. The following is his speech, which was given over the course of the two-day event.
By Paul Craig Roberts —
Recently, I was invited to address an important conference of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Scholars from Russia and from around the world, Russian government officials and the Russian people seek an answer as to why Washington destroyed during the past year the friendly relations between America and Russia that President Ronald Reagan and President Mikhail Gorbachev succeeded in establishing. All of Russia is distressed that Washington alone has destroyed the trust between the two major nuclear powers that had been created during the Reagan-Gorbachev era, trust that had removed the threat of nuclear Armageddon.
Russians at every level are astonished at the virulent propaganda and lies constantly issuing from Washington and the Western media. Washington’s gratuitous demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin has rallied the Russian people behind him. Putin has the highest approval rating ever achieved by any leader in my lifetime.
Washington’s reckless and irresponsible destruction of the trust achieved by Reagan and Gorbachev has resurrected the possibility of nuclear war from the grave in which Reagan and Gorbachev buried it. Again, as during the Cold War the specter of nuclear Armageddon stalks the Earth.
Why did Washington revive the threat of world annihilation? Why is this threat to all of humanity supported by the majority of Congress, by the entirety of the presstitute media and by academics and think-tank inhabitants in the U.S.?
It was my task to answer this question for the conference. Read my speech below.
‘American Exceptionalism’ Dangerous
What I propose to you is that the current difficulties in the international order are unrelated to Yalta and its consequences, but have their origin in the rise of the neoconservative ideology in the post-Soviet era and its influence on Washington’s foreign policy.
The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad. At that time China’s rise was estimated to require a half-century. Suddenly the United States found itself to be the uni-power, the “world’s only superpower.” Neoconservatives proclaimed “the end of history.”
By the “end of history” neoconservatives mean that the competition between socio-economic-political systems is at an end. History has chosen “American democratic-capitalism.” It is Washington’s responsibility to exercise the hegemony over the world given to Washington by history and to bring the world in line with history’s choice of American democratic-capitalism.
In other words, Marx has been proven wrong. The future does not belong to the proletariat but to Washington.
The neoconservative ideology raises the United States to the unique status of being “the exceptional country,” and the American people acquire exalted status as “the indispensable people.”
If a country is “the exceptional country,” it means that all other countries are unexceptional. If a people are “indispensable,” it means other peoples are dispensable. We have seen this attitude at work in Washington’s 14 years of wars of aggression in the Middle East. These wars have left countries destroyed and millions of people dead, maimed and displaced. Yet Washington continues to speak of its commitment to protect smaller countries from the aggression of larger countries. The explanation for this hypocrisy is that Washington does not regard Washington’s aggression as aggression, but as history’s purpose.
We have also seen this attitude at work in Washington’s disdain for Russia’s national interests and in Washington’s propagandistic response to Russian diplomacy.
The neoconservative doctrine of U.S. world supremacy is most clearly and concisely stated by Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative who has held many high positions: deputy assistant secretary of defense, director of policy planning at the U.S. Department of State, assistant secretary of state, ambassador to Indonesia, undersecretary of defense for policy, deputy secretary of defense and president of the World Bank.
In 1992, Wolfowitz stated the neoconservative doctrine of American world supremacy:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
For clarification, a “hostile power” is a country with an independent policy (Russia, China, Iran and formerly Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi, Assad).
This bold statement struck the traditional American foreign policy establishment as a declaration of American imperialism. The document was rewritten in order to soften and disguise the blatant assertion of supremacy without changing the intent. These documents are available online, and you can examine them at your convenience.
Neocon Foreign Policy Dominance
Softening the language allowed the neoconservatives to rise to foreign policy dominance. The neoconservatives are responsible for the Clinton regime’s attacks on Yugoslavia and Serbia. Neoconservatives, especially Wolfowitz, are responsible for the George W. Bush regime’s invasion of Iraq. The neoconservatives are responsible for the overthrow and murder of Qaddafi in Libya, the assault on Syria, the propaganda against Iran, the drone attacks on Pakistan and Yemen, the color revolutions in former Soviet Republics, the attempted “Green Revolution” in Iran, the coup in Ukraine and the demonization of Putin.
A number of thoughtful Americans suspect that the neoconservatives are responsible for 9-11, as that event gave the neoconservatives the “new Pearl Harbor” that their position papers said was necessary in order to launch their wars for hegemony in the Middle East. 9-11 led directly and instantly to the invasion of Afghanistan, where Washington has been fighting since 2001. Neoconservatives controlled all the important government positions necessary for a “false-flag” attack.
Neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who is married to another neoconservative, Robert Kagan, implemented and oversaw Washington’s coup in Ukraine and chose the new government.
The neoconservatives are highly organized and networked, well-financed, supported by the print and TV media and backed by the U.S. military-security complex and the Israeli lobby. There is no countervailing power to their influence on U.S. foreign power.
The neoconservative doctrine goes beyond the Zbigniew Brzezinski doctrine, which dissented from detente and provocatively supported dissidents inside the Soviet empire. Despite its provocative character, the Brzezinski doctrine remained a doctrine of power politics and containment. It is not a doctrine of U.S. world hegemony.
While the neoconservatives were preoccupied for a decade with their wars in the Middle East, creating a U.S. Africa Command, organizing color revolutions, exiting disarmament treaties, surrounding Russia with military bases and “pivoting to Asia” to surround China with new air and naval bases, Putin led Russia back to economic and military competence and successfully asserted an independent Russian foreign policy.
When Russian diplomacy blocked Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and Washington’s planned bombing of Iran, the neoconservatives realized that they had failed the “first objective” of the Wolfowitz doctrine and had allowed “the reemergence of a new rival . . . on the territory of the former Soviet Union” with the power to block unilateral action by Washington.
Attack on Russia Begins
The attack on Russia began. Washington spent $5 billion over a decade creating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ukraine and cultivating Ukrainian politicians. The NGOs were called into the streets. Extreme nationalists were used to introduce violence, and the elected democratic government was overthrown. The intercepted conversation between Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, in which the two Washington operatives chose the members of the new Ukrainian government, is well known.
If the information that has recently come tome from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan is correct, Washington has financed NGOs and is cultivating politicians in Armenia and the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. If the information is correct, Russia can expect more color revolutions or coups in other former territories of the Soviet Union. Perhaps China faces a similar threat in Uyghurstan.
The conflict in Ukraine is often called a “civil war.” This is incorrect. A civil war is when two sides fight for the control of the government. The breakaway republics in eastern and southern Ukraine are fighting a war of secession.
Washington would have been happy to use its coup in Ukraine to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base, as this would have been a strategic military achievement. However, Washington is pleased that the “Ukraine crisis” that Washington orchestrated has resulted in the demonization of Putin, thus permitting economic sanctions that have disrupted Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe. The sanctions have kept Europe in Washington’s orbit.
No Interest in Peace
Washington has no interest in resolving the Ukrainian situation. The situation can be resolved diplomatically only if Europe can achieve sufficient sovereignty over its foreign policy to act in Europe’s interest instead of Washington’s interest.
The neoconservative doctrine of U.S. world hegemony is a threat to the sovereignty of every country. The doctrine requires subservience to Washington’s leadership and to Washington’s purposes. Independent governments are targeted for destabilization. The Obama regime overthrew the reformist government in Honduras and currently is at work destabilizing Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, and most likely also Armenia and the former Central Asian Soviet Republics.
It would be a strategic error to dismiss the neoconservative ideology as unrealistic. The doctrine is unrealistic, but it is also the guiding force of U.S. foreign policy and can produce a world war.
In their conflict with Washington’s hegemony, Russia and China are disadvantaged. The success of American propaganda during the Cold War, the large differences between living standards in the U.S. and those in communist lands, overt communist political oppression, at times brutal, and the Soviet collapse created in the minds of many people nonexistent virtues for the United States. As English is the world language and the Western media is cooperative, Washington is able to control explanations regardless of the facts. The ability of Washington to be the aggressor and to blame the victim encourages Washington’s march to more aggression.
9-11 and the U.S. Police State
Just as 9-11 served to launch Washington’s wars for hegemony in the Middle East, 9-11 served to create the American police state. The Constitution and the civil liberties it protects quickly fell to the accumulation of power in the executive branch that a state of war permitted.
New laws, some clearly pre-prepared such as the Patriot Act, executive orders, presidential directives and Department of Justice memos created an executive authority unaccountable to the Constitution and to domestic and international law.
Suddenly Americans could be detained indefinitely without cause presented to a court. Habeas corpus, a constitutional protection which prohibits any such detention, has been set aside.
Suddenly people could be tortured into confessions in violation of the right against self-incrimination and in violation of domestic and international laws against torture.
Suddenly Americans’ and Washington’s closest allies could be spied on indiscriminately without the need of warrants demonstrating cause.
The Obama regime added to the Bush regime’s transgressions the assertion of the right of the executive branch to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process of law.
The police state was organized under a massive new Department of Homeland Security. Almost immediately whistleblower protections, freedom of the press and speech and protest rights were attacked and reduced.
It was not long before Homeland Security declared that the department’s focus has shifted from Muslim terrorists to “domestic extremists,” an undefined category. Anyone can be swept into this category. Homes of war protesters were raided and grand juries were convened to investigate the protesters. Americans of Arab descent who donated to charities—even charities on the State Department’s approved list—that aided Palestinian children were arrested and sentenced to prison for “providing material support to terrorism.”
All of this and more, including police brutality, has had a chilling effect on protests against the wars and the loss of civil liberty. The rising protests from the American population and from soldiers themselves that eventually forced Washington to end the Vietnam War have been prevented in the 21st century by the erosion of rights, intimidation, loss of mobility (no-fly list), job dismissal and other heavy-handed actions inconsistent with a government accountable to law and to the people.
In an important sense, the U.S. has emerged from the “war on terror” as an executive branch dictatorship unconstrained by the media and barely, if at all, constrained by Congress and the federal courts. The lawlessness of the executive branch has spread into governments of Washington’s vassal states and into the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, all of which violate their charters and operate outside their legal powers.
Jobs offshoring destroyed the American industrial and manufacturing unions. Their demise and the current attack on the public employee unions has left the Democratic Party financially dependent on the same organized private interest groups as the Republicans. Both parties now report to the same interest groups. Wall Street, the military-security complex, the Israeli lobby, agribusiness and the extractive industries (oil, mining, timber) control the government regardless of the party in power. These powerful interests all have a stake in American hegemony.
The message is that the constellation of forces precludes internal political change.
America’s Achilles Heel
Hegemony’s Achilles heel is the U.S. economy. The fairy tale of American economic recovery supports America’s image as the safe haven, an image that keeps the dollar’s value up, the stock market up and interest rates down. However, there is no economic information that supports this fairy tale.
Real median household income has not grown for years and is below the levels of the early 1970s. There has been no growth in real retail sales for six years. The labor force is shrinking. The labor force participation rate has declined since 2007, as has the civilian-employment-to-population ratio. The 5.7% reported unemployment rate is achieved by not counting discouraged workers as part of the work force. A discouraged worker is a person who can’t find a job and gives up looking.
A second official unemployment rate, which counts short-term (less than one year) discouraged workers and is seldom reported, stands at 11.2%. The U.S. government stopped including long-term discouraged workers (discouraged for more than one year) in 1994. If the long-term discouraged are counted, the current unemployment rate in the U.S. stands at 23.2%.
The offshoring of American manufacturing and professional service jobs such as software engineering and information technology has devastated the middle class. The middle class has not found jobs with incomes comparable to those moved abroad. The labor cost savings from offshoring the jobs to Asia has boosted corporate profits, the performance bonuses of executives and capital gains of shareholders. Thus all income and wealth gains are concentrated in a few hands at the top of the income distribution. The number of billionaires grows as destitution reaches from the lower economic class into the middle class. American university graduates unable to find jobs return to their childhood rooms in their parents’ homes and work as waitresses and bartenders in part-time jobs that will not support them.
None of the problems that created the 2008 recession, and that were created by the 2008 recession, have been addressed. Instead, policymakers have used an expansion of debt and money to paper over the problems. Money and debt have grown much more than U.S. GDP, which raises questions about the value of the U.S. dollar and the credit worthiness of the U.S. government.
This raises the question: Why was the credit rating of Russia, a country with an extremely low ratio of debt-to-GDP, downgraded and not that of the U.S.? The answer is that the downgrading of Russian credit worthiness was a political act directed against Russia on behalf of U.S. hegemony.
How Long Can This House of Cards Stand?
How long can fairy tales and political acts keep the U.S. house of cards standing? A rigged stock market. A rigged interest rate. A rigged dollar exchange value, a rigged and suppressed gold price.
The current Western financial system rests on world support for the U.S. dollar and nothing more. The problem with neoliberal economics, which pervades all countries, even Russia and China, is that neoliberal economics is a tool of American economic imperialism, as is globalism. As long as countries targeted by Washington for destabilization support and cling to the American doctrines that enable the destabilization, the targets are defenseless.
If Russia, China and the BRICS bank were willing to finance Greece, Italy and Spain, perhaps those countries could be separated from the EU and NATO. The unraveling of Washington’s empire would begin.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and was associate editor and columnist at The Wall Street Journal. He has been a professor of economics in six universities, and is the author of numerous books and scholarly contributions. He has testified before Congress on 30 occasions.