The époque of neoliberalism is ending before our very eyes
During the first ten days of December the British press focused on two major topics: voting in the House of Commons to start Brexit, and the condemnation of doping by Russian athletes in various competitions.
With regard to the first topic, in spite of huge headlines on the front pages, and irrespective of its importance, Brexit was covered very modestly. In the meantime, there was a historical result in the House of Commons: it voted by a majority of 372 for the government to realise Britain’s exit from the European Union before the end of March 2017, thereby giving a carte blanche to the government of Theresa May to prepare all the steps for Brexit.
It was symptomatic that 23 Labour, Liberal Democrats and, of course, Scottish Nationalists voted against it. Tens of Labour MPs abstained, which became a challenge for the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. Only one Conservative voted negatively: the strict Europhile, Ken Clarke, who represents the outgoing generation of Tories.
Basically, the decision taken by the House of Commons is a ‘first nail in the coffin’ of the neoliberal idea of a ‘common house of Europe’. Many events related to this ‘house’ are yet to come. Political analysts who take an unbiased look at the situation expect that the year of 2017 will bring further dissolution of the European Union which will be irreversible. Italy, Greece and, perhaps, Holland will be next in line…
But the decision taken by the House of Commons is actually critical for the United Kingdom. As we know, the UK Supreme Court is considering the issue, and its resolution might slow down the Brexit process. But now some voices raised in the House of Commons say that ‘the Supreme Court members have to close the file on Brexit, and go home’. As such, even the current President, Lord Neuberger, declared that the people would not accept a Parliamentary vote that is insufficient to start the process of leaving the European Union.
As for the second topic, publishers and chief editors of a number of newspapers thought it so important that they allocated it two-page-spreads. Headlines such as: ‘Investigation shows’, ‘the Summer Olympics in London were corrupted’, ‘Russian liars’, ‘Russia should be brought to account’ were lorded in respectable London newspapers. However, just as before, the articles do not contain any facts. Richard McLaren, a Canadian law professor, affirmed that ‘more than 1,000 Russian athletes who participated in 30 sports, including football, had been caught in a government doping scheme’. The articles say that this scheme continued from 2011 to 2015.
There were no well founded accusations or proven facts: just accusations made by former employees escaping from Russian anti-doping laboratories and several athletes living abroad. But because of them, tens of Russian athletes have been deprived of the medals they won at the Olympic Games.
It may seem that the two above mentioned topics are not connected. However, if you look deeply into global problems you can easily find a close connection. It is the war between the neoliberal global order and those healthy forces (which oppose this order as if it were a universal evil or a dangerous disease).
In order to evaluate the level of severity this ‘disease’, first of all, we must define what we mean by a ‘neoliberal global order’. It replaced the so-called ‘new world order’ which the US and its allies in NATO tried to establish shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Its idea was centred on a polarized world which was completely dominated by the USA and its allies. And, only they, according to their value system, would define the path of world development by supporting certain states, and obstructing the growth of others, and even destroying regimes and economies which were unacceptable to them.
This idea was reflected in the pressure applied by NATO on different regions of the world which were originally not included in the area of interest of the US and its allies. But it appeared that military and political pressure is too expensive and not very efficient. Thus a new doctrine came into being: the propagation of neoliberal values by means of ‘colour-coded revolutions’, the ‘Arab spring’ and ‘economic renewal’. Please, note that this strategy did not exclude military intervention into sovereign affairs; thus Libya was laid flat, Iraq was turned into a continuous conflict zone and covert aggression against Syria was initiated. At the same time, a neoliberal trend allowed the American and Western European elites to entangle European countries in their lines of vested interests, and to create a unified camp in which the propaganda of the US and NATO progressively became a weapon in the hands of the elites.
Way back President J. Kennedy said that it would be simpler for America to work with a united Europe. The same idea was supported by other American politicians too. But only thirty years ago, neoliberalism became the major trend in US policy and in the leading Western European countries which were united by the European Union. As a result, huge numbers of people all over the world were deceived and robbed (including populations who had never entered into the Socialist camp).
US President Barack Hussein Obama became a real ‘pillar of neoliberalism’ because , in close cooperation with neoliberals in the banking sector and the establishment, he managed to rob his own people. During his time in office, the national debt of the USA increased by a sum which exceeded the increase that had occurred under all the American presidents before him. The question of the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars which was seemingly spent by Obama on the ‘reorganization of economy’ is still open.
To a great extent, the desperate struggle of Hillary Clinton for the presidency, and Obama’s no less disappointed support in this, were determined by the fact that Trump’s triumph in the USA would inevitably result in long years of investigation into numerous claims of corruption involving Hillary, her husband and many of their friends and contacts.
Neoliberalism unites British Labour, American Democrats, pseudo-socialists of all kinds, as well as those befuddled by neoliberal, dishonest propaganda. Neoliberalism is always a lie, slander and hypocrisy in its pure form. Neoliberalism cannot exist without the deception of its own nationals, without the manipulation of public opinion. It was on full display during the election campaign in the USA when, on TV, character assassinations, and even calls for violence against Trump supporters, were broadcast.
Politicians who promote or propagandize neoliberalism stand for the abolition of the death penalty, the active fight against corruption, press freedom and the expression of the will of the people. But not one of these principles matches a political measure.
In his articles, the British political observer, Patrick Cockburn, repeatedly remarked that the British and the American elites have double standards: they rhetorically struggle for democracy but actually support such antidemocratic regimes as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain. The death penalty is applied in Saudi Arabia quite often; moreover, the kingdom provides military aid to Bahrain if they need to neutralize domestic demonstrations. Meanwhile the Kingdom and its obedient Qatar continue to conduct war in Yemen: killing thousands of locals, and not hesitating to meet any condemnation of it from the side of neoliberals in the US and Western Europe.
Any information related to the investigation of a corruption case in Russia excites a kind of euphoria in Western European media because this is a prime excuse to discuss ‘the terrible problems of corruption in Russia’. At the same time similar scandals are much more common both in ‘completely transparent’ Europe and the USA. At the end of November the socialist minister Jerome Cahuzac was arrested in France and sent to prison; he is notorious for leading official anti-corruption measures but failing to pay his own taxes. Christine Lagarde, a Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and a former French finance minister during Sarkozy’s government, also appeared before the court. She was accused of ‘wrongly’ distributing budget funds, in the form of a huge compensation for financial losses, to the multi-millionaire Tapie. However, she might also be accused of corruption because Tapie provided financial support to Sarkozy. But Bill and Hillary Clinton created an ideal feeding box: while Hillary was in the position of Secretary of State: she provided services to foreign politicians and businessmen in exchange for contributions made to the Clinton Foundation.
We also know how press freedom is understood in America and Western Europe. During the election campaign in the USA, not only were voters drowned in a deluge of lies by the neoliberal media but, at the same time, the media strove to deride Russia in every possible way. Allegedly, computer specialists from the Federal Security Service falsified tallies in order to benefit Trump. The stupidity of neoliberals is confounding: how could those ‘awful Russians’ do this when the vote-counting devices were not connected to the Internet? And a real war conducted by the American government and some Western European governments against Russian mass media can be arguably compared to the methods applied by the propaganda authorities which were lead by Dr. Goebbels. However, he limited his actions to politics and never thought of calling the chess master, Karyakin, ‘Putin’s figure-head’, as one respectable British newspaper did…
As for an expression of the will of the people, neoliberals apply their double standards in this sphere more than usual. Kosovo is a typical example which shows how a group of terrorists was given a free hand to seize Serbian territory. In respect of Crimea, where the population expressed their will to join Russia in a referendum, the West talks about the annexation of Ukrainian territory. Neoliberals do not want to listen to arguments presented by politicians or to the voice of reason.
But for all that, taking into consideration the results achieved in the last year, there is nothing for neoliberals to write home about. Donald Trump, an opponent of neoliberal ideas and neoliberal policy, will take the post of president on 21 January 2017. His rise to power cannot be underestimated. That significant part of the elite which hammered poor ideas into the heads of Americans, which immodestly exploited the majority of the population and realized its aggressive policy on the world stage, will leave the show in the course of time. But the struggle against neoliberalism will necessarily take some time.
However, notwithstanding that Obama is apparently a ‘lame duck’, a politician with no political ammunition who is not able to take any decision which is important for the country: his office still tries to strengthen the existing political policy. After failing to organise a visit through normal channels, Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, rushed to Kabul in order to give warranties that the USA would not abandon Kabul to its fate. The content of this visit is clear. This warranty was declared to the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, but actually was addressed to the American military which was stationed in the country. Over the last 15 years more than 10,000 American soldiers and military officers were stationed there, but the American political analyst, Simes, succinctly characterized the core of these military actions as ‘jogging in place’. If the forces are pulled out of Afghanistan, then both soldiers and the rest of America will wonder why Americans had to be killed in this country, and why Obama spent huge amounts to support such actions. That is why neoliberals still try to grab hold of the handrails of the departing train.
In some Western European countries, Trump’s intention to focus on internal affairs rather than the affairs related to Europe and Asia is interpreted by local neoliberals as a necessity for fomenting tension in relation to Russia. As a symbolic gesture, the UK government sent a squadron of four Typhoon fighters to Romania and 800 soldiers and armoured vehicles to Estonia. The reaction to this by people of both countries was almost identical: you would have to be an idiot to accept Western military technology on your soil because, by doing so, your territory would automatically be targeted in the maps of nuclear strikes.
Generally speaking, the maintenance of a military balance between NATO and Russia is important and essential, but it is necessary that one country should not be advantaged over another and, possibly, attack the other one. We have never thought this way in our country. In the 1970s, when our heavy bombers equipped with atomic bombs monitored the British coastline, they did so just to demonstrate our readiness for any development. And British aviators piloting the fighters which were following the Soviet bombers knew it very well. If the flight took place on the 23th of February (Defender of the Fatherland Day), a British aviator pointed at the shoulder straps of his Soviet colleague as if to ask if he had achieved a new rank for the holiday. If the colleague wagged his head negatively, then the British aviator would gesture that it did not matter, and it would be granted later…
However, modern neoliberals, especially those who have never done military service, have never born arms against somebody. When our squadron led by the flagman aircraft carrier, Admiral Kouznetsov, followed the line in the English Channel, articles published in the British press were different – they were imbued with neoliberal suspiciousness and disaffection. The submarine HMS Torbay of the Royal Navy which followed the Russian squadron was called: ‘hunter-killer’, and the Russian cruiser was called ‘target’. But these words were not aimed at relieving tension. It would take a madman to suppose that the Russian squadron appeared in the North Sea to attack the UK territory.
Although, the political situation is changing in the UK; the influence of neoliberals is decreasing. Brexit will result in a more flexible and more realistic British policy. The traditional reciprocity between American and British political policies will be beneficial for both parties, as the Americans suggest. London will no longer respect dramatic pleas to ‘restrain Russia’ which come from Brussels. The conditions for a normal effective dialogue with Moscow will be established.
In essence, this has already started. It appears that the Labour Party, which mainly consists of neoliberals, will cease being the second largest party of the country, which means it will not be able to promote neoliberal values. As for the UK Independence Party, which may become the second in the country, its new leader, Paul Nuttall, publicly declared that ‘President Putin and Bashar Assad support us in our struggle against Islamic fundamentalism’. This realistic position is not a bad basis for meaningful dialogue.
The total failure of neoliberalism, which is prophesied today by political analysts of different countries, will probably be the first link in a chain of global events which will have a significant impact on the international situation during the coming year. By all appearances, huge convulsions can be expected, for example, in the Middle East. Syria will end its struggle against transnational terrorism, but it may continue in Iraq, and potentially involve other countries in the region. Momentous events are almost unavoidable for Saudi Arabia: in the province of Najran armed conflicts against the ruling regime may turn into a civil war in the kingdom. Turbulent events may arise in Bahrain and Qatar. And neoliberals will not have the strength to help their former allies.
Critical changes are possible in Europe too. Actually, they have already happened: a new Bulgarian government is oriented towards a peaceful partnership with Russia and Belarus. The new President of Moldova is a socialist leader who is determined to maintain friendly relations with Russia and to develop trade with us. With regard to Poland, inevitably, in a few years after Brexit, it will have to change its strategic policy, so changes will occur here too – but a while later, as political analysts agree. They also expect a major rift in the political and economic situation in Ukraine: they predict a social fallout resulting from the total disappearance of the neoliberals’ support at the end of the coming year.
In the days when Russia celebrated its 75th anniversary of the Battle for Moscow, information came forward which said that the Russian military-industrial complex had successfully developed a new weapon; the hypersonic flying machine, Object 4202. Actually, this is Russia’s response to a similar scramjet, the X-51, developed in the USA which is still at the prototype stage. Russian military specialists suppose that the ballistic missile, Stiletto, which was created on the basis of Object 4202, is able to achieve a velocity of over 11,000 km/h, and it will be put on alert in the early 2020s. Its availability will turn ABM systems which are managed by potential aggressors into scrap.
At the first sight, the 75th anniversary of the Battle for Moscow and Stiletto news are not connected. However, they are related in terms of historical analogies. This November the film 28 Panfilovtsev was released in Russia and dramatically showed one of the key areas in the defence of Moscow in 1941. When we watch this film, unwillingly, a question is raised: why were guardsmen of such an important arena near Dubosekovo fighting without a single armoured vehicle? Why were they fighting with the use of only two ancient canons, four antitank rifles and some hand grenades against over thirty German panzers?
Of course, we know that the fascists attacked treacherously, and that there were several traitors and cowards amongst the Red Army generals, and that the soldiers were unbloodied. But no one can escape the fact that the country did not have a chance to prepare for the fascist invasion, and thus our losses at the first stage of the war were horrendous.
This was taken into account at the end of the war. As the West also recognized, nuclear balance became a guarantee that no party which was engaged in an ideological battle on the global stage would consider the use of nuclear weopons. The dissolution of the USSR, and the further disorganization of the Russian armed forces could lead to dire consequences because of the mindlessness of some countries’ leaders. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened. In the early 2000s the state took up a more realistic course which fits the époque much better.
The époque of neoliberalism is ending before our very eyes. We all hope that the international situation will improve. However, we have learned from historical experience that, in order for a country to achieve political independence, economic development and a unity of spirit, it must be strong . We must not forget this. The changes which are happening in the world are taking place not only because of the dissolution of the neoliberal global order but also because, in recent years, our country has become increasingly stronger.