Archive for October, 2018

Full Nuclear Retard


Trump recently announced that the US intends to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the 1988 USA/USSR arms control agreement that has been keeping a lid on nuclear madness by making surprise nuclear attacks less likely. He made the announcement in an offhand way while boarding a helicopter. This is understandable. I too like to make momentous pronouncements while getting on a bicycle, to add drama. And then Trump’s national security guy Bolton flew to Moscow to discuss. There he met with various local characters—Foreign Minister Lavrov, Defense Minister Shoigu—who showed him the various local sights—the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry—and then they all promenaded down the yellow brick road to see the wizard in the Kremlin.

Putin has been relaxed lately, even playful. Sitting across from Bolton, with microphones on and cameras running, he looked up at the ceiling and extemporized: the US coat of arms portrays an eagle that holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch with 13 olives in the other. “So, where are the olives?” Putin inquired whimsically? “Did the eagle eat them all?” Bolton wanted to quip that unfortunately the eagle ate all the arrows too (hence the $21 trillion mystery hole in the US defense budget)—but quickly realized that Trump might hear about this, fly into a rage and send him skedaddling, and so he bit his tongue. Bolton’s normally florid complexion made it impossible to tell whether or not he was blushing. Flying halfway across the globe to have your national emblem ridiculed is indeed a blushworthy event for a government official, but with Bolton we simply don’t know whether he is a high-octane alcoholic, whether his temperament makes him naturally apoplectic, whether he is just permanently embarrassed to be John Bolton (I know I would be) or any or all of the above. I wouldn’t be surprised if his Secret Service handle is “Mr. Pink.”


Collapse for the Oligarchy


My taxonomy of collapse, which I explained in detail in my Five Stages of Collapse, published close to six years ago, presupposed a certain canonical collapse cascade. Financial collapse should come first, since finance is fundamentally a confidence game and once it becomes clear to a critical mass of investors that promises made to them will not be kept a financial scheme can collapse instanter, as has happened repeatedly, from the Dutch Tulip Mania collapse of February 5, 1637 to the Wall Street crash of October 24-29 1929. Commercial collapse should logically come next, as commercial credit dries up due to the financial collapse. Next is political collapse, as tax receipts dwindle because of commercial losses and falling incomes. Social and cultural collapse come dead last.

Since then, as I’ve watched various collapses unfold, I have been noticing, to my dismay, that the canonical collapse sequence is not always being followed. Yes, there are cases where financial collapse still leads, commercial collapse follows it and political collapse comes next. But there are other cases where social and cultural collapse are definitely in the lead while the financial realm remains intact. It is kept afloat using desperate measures, by playing ever more brazen confidence games or through outright fraud. But commerce continues to serve the needs of those who still have some money even as the political realm steadily degenerates into an unfunny farce. Did I get my collapse sequence wrong?

For quite a while I marveled at this turn of events, not sure what to make of it, but eventually it dawned on me that two types of collapse are possible: one is, let’s say, organic; the other, engineered. And shortly thereafter it became clear to me who would want to engineer collapses in just such a manner—by collapsing society and culture first.


Humpty-Dumpty’s Fateful Choice


According to the English nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king\’s horses and all the king\’s men couldn\’t put Humpty together again.” It is often presented as a riddle, and children are prompted to guess that Humpty was an egg. This is, of course, the wrong answer: the right answer, as all up-to-date children should know, is that Dumpty is the US dollar.

But back to the nursery rhyme: why would all of king’s men attempt to put together a broken egg, and why would horses be sent in to help? In fact, Dumpty was not an egg but a large cannon that accidentally fell from a castle wall during the English Civil War of 1642-49 and smashed into pieces. Another nursery rhyme, “Ring a ring o’ roses,” is about the Great Plague of 1665. Nursery rhymes aren’t about childish things; they are about serious things, like civil wars, pandemics… and currency collapses.

One of the most impactful events of the early 21st century is the US dollar\’s undoing as the world’s main reserve currency. Since many people will immediately demand to know when exactly this will happen, let me rush to supply them with the correct answer: this will happen early in the 21st century. As to how exactly it will happen—well, that’s the interesting part.

How is the US dollar like Humpty Dumpty? It’s all in the nursery rhyme: it’s fragile, it’s going to fall and crack, and no amount of energy (“king’s horses”) or military power (“king’s men”) will be able to make it whole again. There is an additional dimension to this falling-off-the-wall business. Wall-sitting is not so common, but the term “fence-sitting” is often used to indicate indecision.

This brings forth one important aspect of falling off a wall that we ignore at our peril: there are two ways to fall off a wall, and the decision as to which one is rarely without consequence. Walls and fences share a fundamental feature: they serve to separate the inside from the outside. Had Humpty fallen to the outside, the king’s men would have had to muster a sortie and sally forth, braving great dangers, to retrieve its mighty wreckage.

What are the two sides of the wall from which the US dollar shall fall, and how are they different. We’ll get to that question in due course, but first we have to spell out some basics. In order for a currency to serve as a global reserve currency there has to be lots of it available. There are three basic ways that a country can proliferate its currency: by lending it into existence; by borrowing it into existence; and by printing it and just handing it out no strings attached.

Lending it into existence is, of course, preferable: other countries then pay you interest, which you can reinvest in the project of making other countries pay you interest on your own money. But this only works if other countries absolutely must buy your currency in order to then use it to buy something they absolutely need, such as Saudi Arabian oil (which for a long time could only be purchased with US dollars, based on a deal between Saudi Arabia and the US). It also only works until lots of countries that you’ve bled dry start defaulting on their loans, leaving you with giant gaping holes in your banking system that can only be fixed by just printing money and stuffing it into those holes.

The trick of making others pay you to use your money is nice, but it doesn’t always work, and then the alternative—to pay others to use your money—comes into play. This is most easily accomplished by running trade and budget deficits and papering them over by issuing government debt. The reason it doesn’t always work is simple: what were the Saudis supposed to do with all those dollars they were getting for their oil (other than squandering them on useless American weapons which they promptly buried in the sand)? Why, lend them back to the Americans, of course! For a while, this scheme, called “petrodollar recycling,” worked like a charm: Americans lent out dollars at a higher rate, then borrowed them back from the Saudis at a lower rate.

But like all good things, this something-for-nothing scheme eventually stopped working. Trade and budget deficits grew into a truly gigantic pile of debt that had to keep growing all the time, and there just weren’t enough borrowers in the world who could be relied on to recycle all that money. Instead, the US has relied more and more on paying people to use its money—borrowing it into existence and paying others to use the US dollar, that is. The problem with doing this is that it eventually becomes impossible to keep the economy going because the capital it needs keeps getting eaten up by the ever-growing debt monster in the form of interest payments.

The solution to this problem—since it’s your own currency and you do whatever you want—is to drop interest rates to zero and start lending money at zero percent interest. Now, suddenly, there are plenty of takers! This is not exactly the same as just printing money and handing it out, since there are strings attached: when the loans come due, they have to be either paid off (fat chance!) or rolled over into new loans, still at 0% interest, one would hope. But since the only ones who can belly up to the 0% feeding trough are major corporations and financial institutions, the free money doesn’t filter out to consumers and stimulate demand, making it a bad idea to invest it in anything productive.

Instead, it is used to fuel speculative investments: companies inflate their share prices by buying up their own shares; financial institutions inflate real estate prices and other asset prices. This keeps federal dollars flowing and the financial system from collapsing. It also makes the rich feel even richer, but it is hardly a virtuous cycle for the economy as a whole: inflated asset prices for necessities such as housing depress consumer spending and shrink rather than grow the real economy of consumer goods and services. Nevertheless, you may currently be hearing lots of nonsensical statements such as the following: “…asset inflation has been the prime driver of growth in the developed world since the global financial crisis 10 years ago…” Look what a huge, beautiful economic tumor we grew by eating nothing but financial high-fructose corn syrup!

But we didn’t need to wait for speculative investors to get nosebleeds from stratospherically inflated asset prices or for the consumer economy to crater from asset inflation-imposed austerity, because soon enough foreign debt buyers started politely asking about getting a bit more than 0% for their troubles. Interest rates on federal debt rates then had to move up in order for the market to absorb the new debt without hurting the value of US debt. The rates on US government borrowing are now above the magic 3% level at which things are thought to start unraveling.

Beyond a certain point higher interest rates will trigger a recession/depression. But even if they don’t, foreign borrowers will eventually begin to realize that high interest rates are as bad as 0% interest rates if your creditor happens to be a deadbeat. We’ve been led down this garden path once before: prior to the Russian government’s default in 1998, interest rates on Russian government debt shot up to 100%. It was at that point that international investors decided that this wasn’t funny any more and walked away. Thus, there is no “right” level of interest rates to pick from while spiraling down into a debt hole.

Are there any alternatives to spiraling down into a debt hole? Some possibilities were opened up in this regard with the election of Donald Trump. He has all of the macroeconomic intellectual acumen of a casino and hotel magnate cross-bred with a beauty pageant organizer and a reality show host—none at all—but his megalomaniacal character makes him incapable of sensing his intellectual limitations. Add to this the fact that he has been deprived of all avenues of action except for just a few: giving tax breaks to corporations and the ultra-rich; increasing defense spending; and imposing unilateral sanctions on anyone he doesn’t happen to like. The latter is turning out to be quite lethal with regard to the US dollar’s status as an international reserve currency. If one’s ability to use the US dollar in foreign exchange reserves or in international settlements can be impaired without warning based on presidential whim, then this makes the US dollar rather unattractive. This development has turbocharged the effort, already underway, to shift away from the US dollar in international trade.

There are two effects to expect from this development. One is that the global demand for US dollars will drop as other countries find ways to trade with each other in their own currencies or using barter, bypassing the US dollar. The other that the supply of US dollars will increase, as foreign holders of US dollars unload their holdings. As a result, the US will not be able to continue borrowing internationally to continue to finance its gigantic trade and budget deficits. On the other hand, the US will be awash in dollars pouring in from abroad, and the US still has lots of assets to sell. We should expect much of the US to end up under new, foreign ownership. We should also expect anything that isn’t nailed down to be crated up and exported, much of it to China.

What can we make of Humpty’s fateful choice? Should Dumpty topple head over heels or heels over head? By tipping forward, toward higher interest rates, Dumpty would keep free money rolling in, for the time being, while bankrupting the numerous corporations that are being kept out of bankruptcy by ultra-low interest rates, triggering a severe recession/depression and a full-blown financial collapse. By tipping backward and keeping interest rates low the dollar would fall in value, driving up inflation and making it difficult for the US to continue financing its deficits. Unable to either lend or borrow money into existence, it would be forced to resort to Plan C: just print dollars and hand them out, no strings attached. But this leads to hyperinflation and a full-blown financial collapse too.

Perhaps Dumpty’s choice is just a matter of style, because the eventual result will be the same. Nor will it be a rational choice: the policymakers in the US have long given up on any realistic measures of such thing as unemployment rate, inflation or GDP growth. Their models might as well be based on tea leaves or goat entrails. But we should still be able to determine which way Dumpty got dumped by what we will observe first. If we see a deflationary collapse, Dumpty aimed high and fell backward; if we see an inflationary collapse, Dumpty aimed low and went head over heels.

A HOUSEboat vs. a houseBOAT


The most important design aspect of a tiny house is the success of its interior layout. The tight quarters may look quaint on paper but in reality turn out to be claustrophobic. The need to stoop and to contort yourself to fit into the small spaces may lead to bumps on the head and cramps. Lack of storage may seem inspirational for those aspiring to minimize their earthly possessions, but inevitably results in clutter. Lack of private spaces may inspire greater intimacy short-term but lead to strained relations in the longer term. And so on.

The set of such problem to solve is even greater when designing a houseboat because of the need to compensate for the almost constant rocking motion in all but the most sheltered marinas and anchorages. Berths (beds) have to be oriented with the head pointing aft: cribs rock side to side and while having your feet bounce up and down is tolerable, having your head do the same generally isn’t. There can’t be any sharp corners, especially where your head or your knees and elbows might end up, and there have to be handholds within easy reach. Shelves and tables have to be fitted with fids to prevent items from rolling off. Dealing with the inevitable condensation is far more important on a boat due to its proximity to water. (Many sailboats will drip cold water on your head as you try to sleep.)

These problems are easily solved by paying a few million dollars for a megayacht, but our goal is to make living aboard an affordable, comfortable, competitive alternative to paying rent. Not only does this tiny house have to float, but it has to be mobile and move both under engine and under sail. The constraints that this imposes on its design are quite formidable. Consequently, only now, after several years of design effort, is it approaching the point where there are no conceptual problems that remain to be solved and construction planning can begin.


Dmitry Orlov Gives an Interview


I was recently contacted by Sam Mitchell, who has a Youtube channel called Collapse Chronicles and has been interviewing the usual suspects including Jim Kunstler. And since I generally don’t mind going wherever Jim goes, I agreed to give him an interview. You can hear the audio version here and suffer through the bad sound quality, or you can just read my enhanced distillation of it below. The interview was cut short because the VOIP connection failed.

Sam: Have your views become somewhat darker since you published The Five Stages of Collapse a few years ago?

Dmitry: Yes, they have. My premise in that book was that financial, commercial and political collapse are inevitable in many of the severely overextended countries around the world, the US especially (what can’t be sustained won’t be), but that social and cultural collapse can be prevented, as they were in Russia after the collapse of the USSR. My goal, therefore, was to provide some ideas on how to survive the inevitable but also to save that which can still be saved. Since then, I have come to the realization that in these same severely overextended countries social and cultural collapse have largely run their course, and that this is being masked, for the time being, by the fact that financial, commercial and political systems there are still functioning on some level, or at least pretending to function using money injected ex nihilo, severe trade imbalances, forged statistics, gerrymandered electoral systems, etc. But once this all fails, it will suddenly become apparent that there are no time-tested social institutions or a cohesive common culture to fall back on. The bad thinking that has led to the overextendedness that results in collapse has also killed off the social and cultural cohesion of previous generations. In fact, it was its first victim.

Sam: Are you saying that social and cultural collapse can’t get any worse?

Dmitry: No, things can always get worse. For example: suppose your woodshed burns down. Is that as bad as it gets? No, it could then get hit by a tornado! Then you’d have burned timbers and ash scattered all over your patch of land, which is even worse.

Sam: But first people have to admit that there is even something wrong. Is that even working? Mike Sliva called it “the echo chamber of the doomersphere.” It’s turned into just a few of us on the planet talking to each other. Do you agree that the vast tide of humanity is nowhere near having this conversation?

Dmitry: Oh, the vast tide of humanity will certainly never have this conversation, and that’s a good thing, because we can waste all sorts of time talking about generalities and never get to discussing simple, plain, basic things that actually figure in people’s lives. It isn’t possible to process ideas as generalities; it is only possible to process them as specifics. That’s why I don’t really contribute to this doomerish discussion. It’s not interesting.

Sam: So, at what point will more people start having this conversation?

Dmitry: Well, I really have no idea. I do have a faithful readership. I wouldn’t call them “followers,” but enough people read my stuff on a regular basis. It helps them process reality. How it helps them is up to them. It’s very much a DIY experiment—what they do with whatever insights they gain. I just try to present the widest possible perspective and to kill a lot of falsehoods that are being circulated. As far as the various stages of collapse, the nitty-gritty of it, I am very interested in that too. I am a scholar of collapse. My job is to study it. It’s not my job to do anything else with it.

Sam: What are the lies that need to be killed? I assume that the lie of the possibility of infinite growth on a finite planet is one of them.

Dmitry: No. You shouldn’t eat anything bigger than your head, and you shouldn’t think anything bigger than your head either. “Infinite” is a difficult term for most people; there are several different kinds of infinity in mathematics. And what on Earth is an infinitely large economy? And it’s a finite planet, but it’s a lot bigger than any of us. It’s a huge place, especially on foot, on horseback, or under sail. Most people are completely unfamiliar with 99.99999% of it. And then they try to apply a difficult mathematical concept to something they aren’t familiar with. How useful is that?

On the other hand, you can wonder about certain things far more usefully. For example, what makes you think that you will still get medical care when you are old if you are, say, in the United States? What are the chances that you will be able to collected a retirement that is a meaningful sum of money? What are the chances of you ending up on the street? (A lot of people are ending up on the street already.) And if the answers are negative, then what are you going to do about it? Is it reasonable to go to a university and run up student debt in hopes of having a prosperous career? How do you avoid becoming lonely and of no use to anyone? Will your children still like you and take care of you if it turns out that everything you’ve taught them about the world is either useless, wrong or both? Those are the sorts of questions that people should think about, not the infinite sizes of economies or the finite sizes of planets.

Sam: Before we get to the United States, you are Russian, aren’t you? You have no accent whatsoever. What’s up with that?

Dmitry: I am a trained linguist with expertise in phonetics and phonology, so accents aren’t a big issue for me. I can put on an accent for the occasion. I’ve been going back and forth between the US and Russia for much of my life, and I am very familiar with both. But I am quite happily and unrepentantly Russian and have become an expert on the United States through no fault of my own.

Sam: But you are living in Russia now. Is that a permanent decision? Are you done with the United States?

Dmitry: Probably not. I don’t make permanent decisions. The planet we are on is currently not a good place for making permanent decisions. Things are changing too fast for that. We have to keep things flexible and keep our options open. Right now I am in Russia, and I am really enjoying it, but I don’t know what the future holds.

Sam: But what is your vision for life in the United States moving forward?

Dmitry: I’ve traveled around and have lived in a few different places in the US and in Europe, and it’s absolutely shocking how backward and substandard and really run down the US has become, how many things there are really outdated, sometimes in a dangerous way—like the way the bridges and the highways are, and other infrastructure, such as water and sewer mains, the electric grid, the railways, etc. It is also stunning how absolutely ridiculously stupidly everything is organized, from the tax code to the permitting and licensing systems. The banking system in the US is the most retarded banking system I have ever seen. Who has ever heard of paper checks? That’s just not done any more. And why do wire transfers cost so much and take days instead of seconds? There are endless circles of ridiculousness that we could spend days talking about—the way the government operates, various other things. Overall, there is the feeling that it’s a land that time forgot. Dinosaurs roam the United States. The rest of the planet has moved on.

Sam: At what point is all of this going to bite us in the ass? Do you attach a timeline to any of this?

Dmitry: I look at timelines when looking backwards in time. Looking forward—it’s a bit too unpredictable, especially where chaotic phenomena are involved. But in terms of what the US has already achieved…

…look at political collapse. The country has completely lost any faith it may have once had in its leadership class. That’s why Barack Obama got elected—a complete outsider. Of course, he turned out to be a complete traitor as well, and produced eight years of nothing. And then it got even worse when Trump got elected. He is even more of an outsider. Not only does he talk like an outsider, but he acts like one! He has threatened to kick over the feeding trough for all the little piggies in Washington. And if you look at what’s happening in Washington right now, it’s a country in the midst of a nervous breakdown.

Or look at defense: the US spends more on defense than any other country on Earth by far, and gets less for it than a lot of other countries—such as Russia or China. Just in terms of procurement, the spending parity between the US and Russia is 10 to 1: it takes $10 of US defense spending to match $1 of Russian defense spending. The Russians don’t waste money; they actually get results. Then end result of that is that the US is now militarily enfeebled. The entire aircraft carrier fleet is now redundant; it cannot be deployed in any conflict involving any reasonably well-armed nation. That’s just one example. There are also boondoggles galore: the F-35, the Zumwalt ships, Patriot missiles that still can’t shoot down Soviet-era SCUDs.

Or look at finance. The US is busy sawing through the financial branch that it’s been perched on ever since World War II, which is the US dollar. It is forcing other countries to use the US dollar to their own economic disadvantage, and they are all conspiring to end their dependence on the US dollar and executing plans to do just that. Once that happens, the US becomes a much poorer country overnight. Nobody knows exactly when, but it’s going to happen.

So these are just some examples of the ways in which the United States has already decisively blown it. … It is on a collision course with reality. Pretty soon the interest paid on the national debt will exceed the defense budget; that’s an interesting inflection point. Right now the US is running record deficits, and it’s not even considered to be in a recession… although you never know what that means any more because the US has been cooking its books for quite a while now. We really don’t know what the real unemployment figure is, we don’t know what inflation really is. But you can look at other numbers, that are harder to forge—drug overdose and liver disease statistics, suicides in the military, childhood poverty, mental illness—and from them you can tell that this is a country in severe distress.

Sam: I want to ask about fracking and the whole Peak Oil debate. What about Donald Trump’s claims that the US is going to be the number one producer of oil on the planet? Are you still staying on the Peak Oil bandwagon?

Dmitry: If Donald Trump is a petroleum geologist, then I am from Mars. You have to pay attention to who you pay attention to. Donald Trump is not one to enlighten anyone on this topic. Yes, the raw volumes of oil that the fracking phenomenon is currently producing in the US are huge, but the effect is temporary. Overall production is around 11 million barrels per day, but the decline rate of existing wells hit 500,000 barrels per day per month this summer, and it’s going up. And most of the wells being drilled to compensate for this decline rate produce less than the old ones because all the sweet spots have been tapped already. Add to that the fact that fracking is extremely energy intensive, lowering the EROI of fracked wells. Add to that the fact that the fracking industry hasn’t made any money and is only being kept afloat by a debt bubble kept inflated by low interest rates—which are trending up. Yes, the country is being turned into toxic Swiss cheese; no, this is not going to produce lots of oil long term.

Sam: Then there is the Bill McKibben camp, claiming that Global Warming will kill us off before we get a chance to burn up all the oil.

Dmitry: The effects of Global Warming will vary country by country. We already have extreme, life-threatening heat waves in Southern Europe and in the South and Southwest of the US. There was a lot of crop damage in Europe this summer as a result. The US can no longer compete with Russia in wheat exports. Russian grain exports have surpassed weapons in terms of export revenue and are now in second place after oil and gas. Russia is becoming the breadbasket of the planet. Of course, it has more land than any other country on Earth, but it used to be pretty cold. Now it’s warming up and things are growing really well. The tomatoes that we grew in Russia this summer did really well. We were just buried in tomatoes! And so there will be winners and losers. Bangladesh and the Netherlands will end up underwater. An entire belt through the south of the US will not be survivable in the summer without air conditioning…

Sam: It’s 97ºF [36ºC] here in Atlanta in October. I can’t run the AC because it ruins sound quality, so I am sitting here with sweat running down my face… But how much has Global Warming affected your view of the future?

Dmitry: It has affected my view of the present. The world has been reconfigured by Global Warming. The fact that it is now possible to ship goods year-round through the Arctic Ocean, along the north of Russia and Canada, is a game changer. Goods no longer have to pass through the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. There is a more direct route now. That is a sudden, drastic change that has happened thanks to Global Warming—thanks to the fact that the Arctic is now relatively ice-free, to a point where Russia’s atomic icebreaker fleet can keep the sea lanes clear year-round. There will be winners and losers. Sorry to have to state the obvious, but Russia is looking like a Global Warming winner and the US is looking like a Global Warming loser. This is not just my opinion: lots of authoritative voices are making that point and recent economic results back it up.

Coppered Bottom is a No-Brainer


The last post attracted some attention from various places around the net. One in particular—the forum Sailing Anarchy—attracted over 400 visitors. I followed the link and tried participating in the discussion.

The sailing anarchists just couldn’t wrap their heads around the concept of a houseboat as a lifehack that lets one avoid getting wiped out by exorbitant real estate prices and rents. Well, I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again, briefly: in the US, housing is a racket, on par with other rackets, such as health care, higher education, national defense and quite a few others. The very lightly regulated recreational vessel space offers a wonderful opportunity to escape the landlubber debt trap.


The Reichstag is Ready to Burn Again


Exactly three years ago I ran an article sent to me by Alex S. from Germany, reproduced in its entirety below along with several translations. It has turned out to be remarkably prescient; in the intervening three years, events in Germany have unfolded entirely in accordance with his predictions. Germany\’s political system is coming apart. In response, Merkel and those who stand behind her appear to be reactivating the script followed by the National Socialists after the event of February 23, 1933: a fire at the Reichstag was used as an excuse for a political clampdown on the opposition. Similarly, immediately after the demonstrations in Chemnitz the German press rushed to label the demonstrators as fascists and extremists.

Perish the thought that they might be representative of quite a huge number of Germans who have now fully realized where Merkel, with her decision to let in a million and a half Moslem migrants, is taking their country: to Hell. Their opinion is not a secret: most recently, AfD (Alternative for Germany) garnered 17-18% at the polls, becoming the second most popular political force in the country. It achieved this electoral success while doing nothing and in spite of having little media access and of being opposed by an implacably hostile press. In its panic, the ruling coalition, which has held a monopoly on power for 14 years, but now runs a risk of being dethroned by the upstart AfD (which was only formed in 2013, as a euroskeptic party and a brainchild of economics professors) has sounded the alarm: there is a conspiracy afoot to overthrow Germany\’s democracy! A handful of “conspirators” has been arrested and charged with pogroms against Syrian refugees, using Theresa May\’s “highly likely” standard of non-proof, and officials who dared challenge this story have been sacked. They can’t even extradite the radical imams of North Rhine-Westphalia, with their boxes of AK-47s, but here they found an entire revolutionary conspiracy in a teacup!

It is really quite remarkable how abysmal the quality of the leadership has become in all of the leading Western nations. Be it Theresa May, with her non-Brexit Brexit, her robotic dance moves and her “highly likely” Novichok ruse, be it Macron’s pitiful photo ops with bird-flipping gangsters, and let’s not even mention the unmentionable Mr. Trump… Add to the list Frau Merkel, determined to serve out her fourth term even if this involves setting the country on fire, even if she has to be carried out feet first. In the case of the United States, this is part of a long-term trend: there was a two-term philanderer who then tried to push his wife into office Eva Peron-style; there was then a two-term near-imbecile chip off the old block; there was then a two-term impostor who cleverly used his skin color to blend in with the upholstery. All of this made the pathetic dénouement that is Trump almost inevitable. But Germany has had a reputation as a well-run place, low on drama, high on efficacy and achievement. Well, not any more!

What is happening now in Germany is quite disgusting, but you ain’t seen nothing yet! The wave of political repression, as the political monopoly attempts to delay the inevitable, will run its course and do its damage. But then, if we are to see an outright AfD victory, the most disgusting part of the drama will unfold, as those recently dethroned scamper over to lick the AfD leadership’s boots and beg to serve them, pretending to have had a sudden conversion on the road to Damascus and to be glad to finally be on the right side of history.

Three years ago, when Alex sent me this article, my reaction was “Dammit, you are right!” and so I translated it into a bunch of languages and disseminated it as widely as I could, to warn people that this time is coming. And now I am running this article again, to warn people that this time has come.

An Exit Strategy for Traitors
[Ein Fluchtplan für Verräter]
[Une strategie de sortie pour les traîtres]
[Предательская стратегия ухода]
[Una strategia di uscita per Traditori]

[Germany—the country at the center of the European Union and its economic powerhouse—is something of a black hole. 70 years after the fall of Nazism, it is still an occupied country, under military and political domination of the US. The national press, popularly referred to as Lügenpresse (the lying press) faithfully echoes the party line set in Washington. Germany\’s spineless politicians, popularly renamed from Volksvertreter (people\’s representatives) to Volksverräter (traitors to the people) are no better. And so we are unable to see what is actually happening there, as the European Union is, in the words of Russia\’s FM Sergei Lavrov, “committing suicide” by letting in the invading hordes from the Middle East. And so this short report by Alex, who tells us what he sees, is most welcome.]

Do you remember the last time you saw a man with wild eyes, strange clothes and a giant sign around his neck saying “The End Is Nigh”? “How ridiculous and pathetic!” you might have thought. Now, imagine the reality of your country changing within weeks to a point where you come to the same conclusion as him, suddenly feeling that his approach might be ever so reasonable. When a large part of your fellow-humans catch a strange sort of illness, one which leads to complete insanity faster than in the worst zombie outbreak, you might find yourself out of more viable strategies.

This exactly is happening to me, as well as most people I know, right now, right here in our export-champion, model-democracy Germany. Sane people are finding themselves isolated and helpless amid insane politicians, an antagonistic press, paralyzed communities and a large inert populace unable to even fathom what’s happening. I am of course talking about the so-called “refugee crisis,” but because even this name is working against us, I will call it what it really is—a war against Europe by means of invasion. It is now vitally important to call things by their right name, because this distinguishes friend from foe.

But it is even more important is to understand why this is a war rather than a crisis caused by refugees. Everything about this development bears the hallmarks of a military/intelligence operation.

First of all, look at the timing and the scale. It really took off around September, and within less then two month it is already threatening the stability of Europe as a whole, to a point where even the European “Leaders” are talking about the end of the European Union. Credible numbers are not available, but the German government estimates the number of “refugees” that have already arrived somewhere between one and two million, so the real number is probably much larger. Almost all the camps are crammed with far more people than is claimed. Some towns are being forced to cope with more “refugees” than they have citizens, some double as many. The estimates for next year amount to something between two and five million more “refugees.”

Ask yourself, why would millions of men (the overwhelming majority are young men) suddenly and collectively decide to leave their families behind, leave their country, travel thousands of miles and head for either Germany, Austria or Sweden, ignoring all the other safe countries on the way? Who told them that this would be worth it? Where did they all get the money to pay for it? Why was there absolutely no effort at any border to stop them? Why did this not start earlier? After all, the middle east has been a war zone for years—ever since the USA exploited 9/11 to start “spreading democracy.” How could this happen within days, weeks at most. Did the first hundred thousand send a message to the rest that it was OK for them to come too? If so, how?

Secondly, look at the character of the average “refugee.” Why are they all well-fed, well-clothed, self-confident young men showing no signs of stress or hardship? Why are they leaving their families behind? Do they know their wives and children can follow them later? If so, how? Why do these men not want to stay behind and try to rescue their countries? Why do they all own high-quality mobile phones charged with seemingly endless minutes? It is clear that the “refugees” have been briefed on exactly what kinds of social benefits they can demand, and how to go about doing it, and so they are audacious and become violent if met with resistance. They even demand expensive medical treatments, which are granted and taken for granted. Why? There are no background checks for any of these people—naturally, because there is no time to do ten thousand-plus background checks every day. For all we know, these people could be criminals, mercenaries and terrorists. An unknown number have serious diseases, such as hepatitis, TB and even the plague. No one keeps track of that, no one registered them, no one limits their freedom of movement. Those who register do so mostly with forged Syrian passports, which Turkey hands out like candy, even to black Africans who look nothing like the Syrians. Tens of thousands of “refugees” have “disappeared” from their camps, some even stopped the special trains midway to their destinations by pulling the emergency brake and ran off into the wilderness. Where to and why—no one knows. No one asks questions, but what is clear is that we have completely lost control over European territory.

Thirdly, there is the little matter of collaboration and treason. Even if this is a genuine refugee crisis, why is that none of the policies of the German/European government make any sense? And why is the press acting continuously and uniformly in favor of their policies, and is downright hostile toward the European populace? If millions of people have to flee immediate peril, there are a lot of different ways to care for them without endangering the integrity of Europe and ruining several national budgets. But instead of discussing what to do, how to do it and how to pay for it, the plan seemed to be predetermined, decided and fixed long ago.

The political “solution” is to soak every city and town in Germany, Austria and Sweden with people of unknown origin and intention. Flanked by a press hailing the process, underestimating their numbers and suppressing reports of crimes committed by the “refugees,” damning and demonizing every form of opposition. Every branch of government, all authorities and parties, in concert with the press, stand should to shoulder in pushing this agenda against the overwhelming indignation of their citizens and closing their eyes to the fact that this is against the law. Censorship, propaganda, hate speech, defamation and open rejection of basic democratic rights against any opposition, are simply exploding right now. A prime example of this is Germany\’s vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who called an undefined but large part of the German populace who dare to oppose this insanity “Pack” (vermin).

Everyone who takes a stand in Germany now, opposing any refugee-related policy by the government, is subjected to insults is labelled as a right-wing extremist, a hateful criminal and a danger to society. Some get singled out and persecuted in public using extensive defamation campaigns. The author Akif Pirinçci became the latest victim after giving a speech at the PEGIDA demo, the accusation against him based on a shameless misrepresentation of the facts.

Even the most peaceful protest is immediately threatened with a ban (but most are still granted permission anyway). Every speech or publication mentioning treason or comparable accusations is instantly subject to investigations under the charge of demagoguery or threat of violence. Current examples can be found daily in the major mainstream outlets such as Der Spiegel, Die Welt, Bild and the like. If this situation came about by chance, such a spontaneous consensus would have been extremely unlikely. But from day one this has been an obvious propaganda/defamation campaign against the truth and against the interests of the European populace.

The German press even earned itself a new name that sticks: “Lügenpresse” (the lying press) is a word that can be heard on every corner. In private, the politicians are being called traitors all the time.

The national railroad company is ordered to offer special trains free of charge for the “refugees,” bringing them into every corner of Germany the fastest way possible while delaying regular trains.
Vacant houses and apartments are confiscated by force and given over to the “refugees” free of charge. Every “refugee” given rental housing is paid for by the communities, as much as 500 Euros per person per month. This is a big opportunity for some scumbags to make money really fast, by making, ill and elderly Germans homeless.

The police and the press have been ordered to suppress reports of any crimes the “refugees” commit, and so you will not find any in the press, nor even in police reports. But if you ask around, you will hear plenty of stories about rampant assaults and rapes in every city and many towns in Germany. Some “refugee” camps burned down, but most were burned down by their inhabitants, mostly in protest or because of minor disagreements. Police sirens are heard in every city every hour now.

When the “refugees” started shoplifting, then raiding supermarkets, the government told the retailers to keep quiet about this, and has been paying for everything that was damaged or stolen ever since. The only exceptions are alcohol and cigarettes—all other retail goods are free, no questions asked.

The small business sector has declared the “refugees” unemployable, due to zero qualifications, unwillingness to work and lack of language skills. However, the experts in the press somehow see a “big opportunity” to grow the economy. There is no critical discussion and no plan for the future. The only advice Chancellor Merkel gave to Germany was “Wir schaffen das” (We will do it), not elaborating exactly what we will do, nor how. But anyone brave enough to think for themselves can easily guess.

To keep it short, any political common sense and human instinct would prohibit such reckless, potentially irreversible, not to mention illegal behavior. Its end result is clearly visible: it is either the ruin of Europe—mainly the countries targeted by the “refugees,” which are Germany, Austria and Sweden—or war. Since I don’t believe that either coincidences or stupidity of this magnitude is possible, this is either treason or high treason. At least two charges have been filed against the current government, one for organized immigration crimes, and just recently for high treason. About 400 people became party to this action afterward. They are unlikely to succeed, because the judiciary is complicit. But if it isn’t obviously high treason now, it will become so within weeks—called out by everyone, because there is no end in sight.

The rest of organized society is equally treasonous. The press has openly declared itself an enemy of democracy and the general public, and at best a collaborators. The church, even while immediately threatened by violent Islam, prays for more immigrants, damning people who dare to utter doubts. The intelligentsia is either silent or applauds our altruism. The treason is complete. Police and the military are completely overwhelmed. The military was reduced in size long ago to the point of utter ineffectiveness and has been stressed out by international missions. The police is simply not equipped to handle millions of potential enemies fanned out all over Europe, awaiting the order to attack.

For foreign observers, this may sound far fetched and exaggerated. But consider this: in some areas of Germany, when you call the police now, no one will answer the phone. When they do, they are unable to do anything. A friend of mine called the police hotline (not the regular local emergency number) and was advised to form some sort of militia to solve the problem. A town of 600 has a dozen policemen at most, but often around a thousand “refugees” to handle. No one will come to their help if these “refugees” decide to take what they seem to believe is theirs already—because someone told them so, I guess. We are adrift in a sea of enemies, and the front-line in this war will run along the welcome mats at our front doors.

I find myself in a nightmare unable to wake up. Most people feel helpless and unwilling to accept the sad truth: we have been betrayed by everyone (except perhaps the police and the military) we entrusted with our safety and our hopes for the future. Even though the end of the global economy in its current form seemed a given to me, this kind of treason and ill intent to bring it all down took me by surprise. Among the twenty or so people I talked to about this in confidence, absolutely everyone is convinced that this is heading toward civil war—and fast! The only question remaining is whether the Germans start it, or the “refugees,” or some other party. We are one mayor terror attack away from sheer chaos. I have heard from several people connected to European security circles that the illegal weapons market is completely sold out, with many dealers holding on to their weapons for their own personal use. This is a rumour, but since we have been forced to depend on hearsay for any real information right now, I tend to believe it.

There is a small protest movement making headlines in Germany and even internationally. The PEGIDA movement has been gathering every Monday in Dresden to protest European immigration policy for a whole year now. They have had plenty of support since bad immigration policy has given rise to this manufactured “Völkerwanderung” (mass migration). On the October 19—the one-year anniversary gathering—around 35-40 thousand people came to protest peacefully, only to be attacked by several thousand violent “protesters” from the Antifa movement. An allegedly anti-fascist group, so violent and fascist in their behavior they would make for excellent recruiting material for the actual fascists of the SA or the NSDAP. One of the PEGIDA followers was beaten and severely wounded with a metal pole even before the gathering started. Several hundred policemen had to fight for their lives for hours. The Antifa, which is known to many as the second executive of the government, is nothing but an effective mobile force to quell resistance, exactly like the SA, only without the nice uniforms. Wherever demonstrations are announced, the Antifa members will travel there to express their opinion with “hard-hitting” arguments.

Unsurprisingly, PEGIDA is a prime target for hatred and defamation right now. As small as it is, the establishment seems to consider it as real danger, since their complete press gag order against it during the last year did not choke it off. But as important as they might be locally, the outcome seems to be irreversible. The invasion has succeeded already. With each passing day the numbers turn more and more against us. By now the best outcome is a civil war within months, reversing this development. The worst outcome is complete disintegration of European nations within the next few years, rendering large parts of the continent ungovernable. The divorce between the government and the people is almost complete by now. No sane person believes the press or the politicians. The ones who do retreat into fantasies of hate and self hatred. Never before was it more visible to me that this society is completely broken, with every key element, acting against both individual and collective interests, seemingly following orders while digging their own graves.

Once again, unquestioning obedience has taken over German society, but this time without the consent by the masses, because this time the final solution concerns them. The chaos that will follow will by no means be an accident: it is engineered and ordered.

Once again, yet another generation will have to answer to their grandchildren: How could you let this happen?

Alex S.

Interview on Global Research


Cold War 2.0: The Russian Peace “Threat” and America’s Addiction to War

Global Research: We’re joined by Dmitry Orlov. He is a Russian-American writer, blogger, and geopolitical analyst. His work has centered around the political, economic, and ecological and political decline and collapse in the United States, and he’s also the author of numerous articles. His books include Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects and Shrinking The Technosphere: Getting A Grip On The Technologies That Limit Our Autonomy Self-Sufficiency, And Freedom. He joins us here from Moscow. Thanks so much for coming back to the show Dmitry.

Dmitry Orlov: Good to be with you Michael.

GR: Now I think the first thing I wanted to bring up is some of the recent news. There was the… Recently the shooting down of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane by Syrian forces, but it was, the Russian military has argued that this is actually a result of Israeli actions, just, sort of, I guess you say shadowing that plane, and it was in response to that incident that a number of S-300 missile systems were moved into Syria.

I know that there’s beeen commentary by…The Saker, for one, said that this is a de facto no-fly zone over Syria. Now we know that things have not been going so well up to now for US imperial aims in the country. I’m wondering what, how significant this latest event is in the overall context of what we’ve been seeing?

DO: Well it’s a bit of a wake-up call for the Israelis because Russia has been extremely accommodating when it comes to Israel’s security concerns. There is the realization that the rhetoric coming from Tehran has been quite virulent. Iran is still telling itself that it has the goal of destroying Israel. There’s no way that Israel can avoid responding to such a provocation, and the fact that there are now Iranian troops close to the Israeli border, and that there is weapons manufacturing going on on Syrian territory is something that is a concern to them that the Russians have to allow Israel to take care of its own security concerns.

But the Israelis have acted most irresponsibly because they gave less than a minute warning that this attack was coming. They misnamed the targets, and they misbehaved in the airspace in the sense that they couldn’t have not seen this big lumbering propeller plane that was absolutely no threat to anyone, and they knew that there would be some anti-aircraft fire and drew it not on themselves but on this plane. There are some other unfortunate mishaps that occurred, which are all coming out as a result of the investigation, so it’s still early to say.

But the response was basically a dressing-down from Russia to Israelis, saying you cannot do this anymore, and the response was to arm the Syrians with a more up-to-date air defense system which was probably already in place. It was just handed over to Syrian command.

I don’t think that this is a major development. I think Russia and Israel are going to patch things up. I don’t think Israel is going to stop attacking things on the ground in Syria [in response to] actions that they see as provocative. They are very fearful of precision rockets, precision weapons, being built in Syria or smuggled into Syria, which can be smuggled into Israel or fired into Israel from Lebanon or from Syria itself.

Yeah, I mean I think that there’s been a long-standing observation that the US drive to upset or instigate regime change within Damascus, it ain’t working. Even the balkanization project, the idea that balkanizing it in ways that favor the US, NATO, and their imperial lackeys if you want to put it that way, it seems to be in some turmoil. What options would you say the US has at this point? Short of a declaration of surrender?

DO: Well, there will be no declaration of surrender. Let’s not kid ourselves. Basically, what the US does in Syria [is] similar to what it does everywhere else: it generates activity. It generates activity in order to be in a position to order more weapons systems, more munitions, to basically chew through war materiel, because that’s what the contractors require, and those contractors, military contractors, finance various congressional campaigns. That’s the entire political ecosystem, and what happens on the ground is sort of a sideshow.

Now, in terms of strategic objectives, whatever they are, the US definitely isn’t achieving them. There’s that encampment they have in Al-Tanf in the south, there are a few other locations in the north where they’re playing along with the Kurds, which is poisoning their relationship with Turkey. They did completely destroy Raqqa and made absolutely no effort to clean it up, to restore it, so there are still rotting bodies there buried under piles of rubble, and it’s been many months. It’s basically a humanitarian atrocity that they’ve perpetuated in Raqqa, but they’re not achieving anything except wasting money and war materiel. And I think that that is actually their goal at this point: it’s to generate military activity.

GR: Well, it’s an interesting point. I mean, we’re not just talking about imperial control of resources and strategic areas but also that idea of just using military activity as a way of generating money for the major military contractors, defense contractors, and affiliated interests. Which kind of brings me to another dynamic in play, the US military. It’s huge, at least in terms of the amount of money it spends, more than about 10 time – more than the next 10 countries combined. Russia doesn’t spend nearly as much, but yet they’re much more strategic and efficient in the way they utilize and spend money on their military.

DO: In terms of purchasing parity it’s one Russian dollar to 10 U.S. dollars in defense spending. That’s really the ratio. The US has to spend ten times more than Russia to get the same or inferior results. There are a lot of reasons behind this.

GR: So in terms of that parity, would you say that Russia is a effectively now a rival of the US militarily? Can they counterbalance the US in every Realm?

DO: Oh, no, absolutely not. Basically, the Russian posture is to make sure that the US and NATO have absolutely no plan whatsoever to attack Russia, or to attack Russia’s allies. Perish the thought. But other than that, Russia’s posture is completely defensive, and American posture, because there is no need to defend the American homeland from anyone, nobody is planning to attack the United States, is purely offensive.

Now, it takes ten times more resources to attack than to defend. That is generally understood as a principle. And so, the US is trying to pursue a policy that really leads it to not any kind of victory or even a stand off, it leads them to national bankruptcy, nothing more.

GR: Well, what about the economic dynamics that have been playing out lately? The sanctions that are being leveled against Russia and Iran? And I’m wondering how that’s playing out within the EU, because the US is allied with the European Union, but European Union interests are being affected by sanctions, and so I’m wondering, are we seeing a potential breakup of that alliance? While there are efforts, there have historically been efforts to break up an alliance between Russia and China, I’m wondering if, which of those alliances is more fragile, if I could put it that way.

DO: It’s really hard to figure out what is going to snap first. There’s definitely a huge amount of tension between Washington and the European Union. There is a huge amount of tension building up within the European Union itself, because the whole liberal juggernaut that started bringing in unlimited quantities of migrants into Europe. That is definitely running into a huge, huge problem, huge conflict that is internal to the EU.

Now, the relationship between the EU and Russia has not really been all that badly damaged by Washington and by these sanctions that the Europeans have gone along with willy-nilly, many of them complaining all along the way. And, definitely, in terms of, for instance, energy cooperation between the EU and Russia, it’s back on track, because there are really no other options that the EU has to supply itself with natural gas other than to do business with Russia, and at this point that means also to circumvent the Ukraine because nobody really wants to do business with the Ukraine anymore. It’s basically a sort of poisoned chalice at this point.

In terms of what the sanctions have done to the Russian economy, yes, they cost them a couple of percentage points of GDP growth, but the beneficial effect of those sanctions is often underestimated. It really woke Russia up to the fact that it has to become self-sufficient in many areas, and it has become self-sufficient in numerous areas and is working very hard to achieve self-sufficiency in more areas and to find new trading partners that aren’t going to sanction them. So, the sanctions have really woken up the Russians to the fact that the Americans are not their friends, will never be their friends, and have prompted them to act accordingly.

GR: The US economic situation, they have an unsustainable debt crisis. It doesn’t look like they’re ever going to be able to crawl out of it, they don’t have the ability to maintain the, their current trajectory. I mean, we’re probably looking at another stock market crash, probably sooner rather than later, and I think the writing is on the wall in that regard. That’s bound to affect the way the US comports itself in the world, even though they won’t say it out loud. I mean, you suggested that earlier.

So when it comes to that economic dimension, and other countries are no doubt aware of the unsustainability of the US economic situation, so how do you see things playing out? Are things going to come apart in a disastrous way? Or are there going to be sort of sneaky…people moving away to that secondary pole, the Russia-China-Iranian axis, if you will. Economically, how are people, how are the competitor nations going to respond to what appears to be the inevitable demise of the…and collapse of the US economy?

DO: Well, I think the writing has been on the wall for a really long time now. It’s just a question of when, and nobody knows the answer. And the big task in front of many countries in the world right now, and it’s a huge task, is de-dollarization. You have something like a hundred and eighty different currencies that all use the US dollar to trade with each other, that all have price lists in dollars, that convert to dollars in order to trade with each other and then convert back and use the fact that there’s this gigantic pool of dollar liquidity that they can tap into anytime they need to.

But the downside of that is that anytime anyone trades using the US dollar, they become part of the US jurisdiction and become subject to American sanctions. And it used to be that the US was sort of a good citizen – good global citizen – allowing itself to benefit from the fact that everybody uses the US dollar. Now, there’s huge benefit to the US. But in return it pretty much allowed people to use the dollar as they wished. But now, with Trump specifically, with his trade policies, the US requires other countries to use the dollar in America’s economic interests and to their own detriment. And that’s when everybody wakes up and notices.

But then the task is to de-dollarize, and it’s a huge task, because China is not really ready to replace the dollar with its own yuan. Nobody really expects China to step in and play such a huge role so quickly. China generally takes a long time to make such adjustments and takes many small steps. And nobody else really wants to do it either.

So, we’re in a period where there will be lots of half measures, there will be a lot of forced measures taken if the situation deteriorates suddenly. But I think that there’s a really good chance that there will be a lot of damage to international trade and to international supply chains if this dollar liquidity evaporates, because the only two ways, and it’s actually one and the same way, out of this crisis that the US has put itself into with its completely unsustainable rate of growth of its indebtedness, is either a deflationary collapse or an inflationary collapse or some combination of both.

So that you have falling prices on some things and hyperinflation in other areas. There’ll be huge economic distortions, and the rest of the world will simply have to co-exist. They have a hoard of dollars, they use that hoard of dollars in order to trade with each other, they have contracts signed that are all in dollars. So, how do you de-dollarize that? It’s a gigantic task.

GR: Yeah, I’m kind of interested in your take on the way…the media messaging around these realities, because they seem to be extremely diversionary. I mean there’s the long-standing… Well the…Russiagate, the attacks on Trump that we’ve been seeing in an ongoing way, I mean there’s certainly a lot of ridiculousness around that and particularly the… what we’ve seen recently about this Skripal affair.

And this… What they’re trying to explain, that there’s these two ex.. this spy was somehow assassinated by these two Russian agents, and that story seems to have been falling apart the more you look into it. Although they seem to be, like Theresa May and her allies, seem to be doubling down on this failing narrative. What is your take about the way the media continues to propel this mythology about Russia and its onerousness … its toxicity on the world stage? Is this a manifestation… Are you seeing a manifestation of your long-standing thesis about collapse, collapse of Empire?

DO: Well, I think that basically the West, the collective West, has run up against Russia as a sort of immovable object that is completely indigestible, unprocessable for it. And coinciding with that is just a catastrophic decrease in the quality of Western leadership. Whether you look at Trump, whether you look at Theresa May, or Emmanuel Macron, or just about all of this recent crop of European leaders, with few exceptions, they’re all just absolutely incapable of being even coherent, never mind formulating some strategy or plans. They’re failing, and everybody sees that they’re failing, and they can’t stop themselves. They just go on with whatever narrative they’ve concocted.

With the Skripal affair, it’s preposterous throughout. There’s absolutely no evidence behind the British story, and there are a lot of facts that are just completely contradictory and negate the narrative that has been voiced. And so the Russians are happy to basically sit back and ignore all of that. They know that there will be sanctions, these sanctions have nothing to do with chemical weapons, they have nothing to do with anything except one fact: Russia is sitting on a stockpile of energy resources that will last it for hundreds of years.

And it has enough to export for as long as it sees fit. But really, it wants to become independent of energy exports, and that is a big problem for the West because the West has absolutely no strategy to become independent of Russian energy imports. There’s nothing they can do about it except basically do whatever Russia is willing to do for them, to basically agree to cooperate with Russia.

They’re basically jumping up and down mad that they have this problem that they can’t solve. They can’t attack Russia militarily. They’re trying to attack Russia economically, but that’s not working. They’re trying to isolate Russia, and as a result of that Russia is strengthening ties with countries all over the world. The SCO organization is now almost half of the world’s GDP, almost half of the world’s population. And it’s a security organization that Russia is part of.

They try to stage little provocations like the little training exercises along the Russian border in the Baltics that are supposed to frighten Russia. Now if NATO attacked Russia, Russia would have them arrested. It doesn’t really make sense as a plan, but it makes sense as an internal narrative, something that these incompetent Western leaders can tell their own people.

Dimitry, I think we got to leave it there, but I really want to thank you. I really value your unique out-of-the-box thinking and the insights that you share with us and our listeners. Thanks so much for joining us.

DO: Thank you, Michael.

GR: We’ve been speaking with Dmitry Orlov, Russian-American engineer, writer, and blogger. You can see more of his articles at the site