Big Oil International Original Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence: The Non-West Coalesces

Nations representing more than 80 percent of the global population and a like percentage of global gross domestic product are perfectly capable of seeing the Biden administration’s pointed provocations and do not approve. 
OPEC President Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua Leads First In-Person OPEC Meeting Since COVID-19. Image source: OPEC

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

Something of epochal importance happened in Vienna, where the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, now known as OPEC–Plus with the inclusion of the Russian Federation, convened recently for its first in-person session since 2020. You would not know of this development if you rely solely on the reports carried in our corporate-owned media.

The world just took a significant turn into the 21st century. Let us stay abreast of it, leaving those who refuse to see this to their own devices.

President Biden, apparently not intelligent enough to understand the emergent new era and indifferent to the interests and aspirations of others, quickly made as big a mess of things as could be made. Last week he threatened Saudi Arabia, which co-chairs OPEC–Plus with the Russian Federation, with “consequences” for what transpired in Vienna. This is what imperiums do when their primacy is threatened—they encourage the very currents in history they are determined to disrupt.       

As reported everywhere, OPEC–Plus decided to reduce the oil production of member nations by two million barrels per day as of next month. This may amount to an actual cut of half that amount, as many OPEC–Plus members—Nigeria, for instance—have not been lifting to their quotas anyway. But oil prices are already increasing, and we will soon see this at our filling stations. As retail prices rise, it is likely to complicate the political fortunes of the Biden administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill just as the midterm elections approach. So, a pretty big deal.

But this is not the half of what transpired in Vienna two weeks ago. Saudi Arabia, long the driving wheel in OPEC, effectively declared its long history of subservience to Washington, by way of which oil production has been exchanged for security guarantees, to be on the way out. One of Washington’s bedrock allies in the Middle East, Israel being the other, just took a major step toward the coalescence of non–Western nations into a coherent bloc acting in its own interests.

This is more than a pretty big deal. It brings us considerably closer to the new world order Russia and China, the two most influential non–Western nations, have been talking about for several years and notably since the Biden administration took power in January 2021. Within months, Beijing and Moscow concluded that there is no making sense of a nation that, even as its power declines, has no intention of working with them as equals to mutual benefit. Since then, numerous other countries have had little trouble detecting which way the wind blows.

The Ukraine crisis has sent a new bolt of electricity through this geopolitical trend. Nations representing more than 80 percent of the global population and a like percentage of global gross domestic product are perfectly capable of seeing the Biden administration’s pointed provocations and do not approve. 

Partnerships that stop just short of alliances—a term of statecraft entailing explicit obligations in the way of mutual defense—have multiplied so quickly since Joe Biden took office it is hard to keep track of them. Russia’s “no limits” relationship with China is the premier case. Russia has recently consolidated its cooperative ties with Iran. So has China. Iran and Venezuela, China and Cuba, China and Nicaragua—the list goes on. As we speak, Moscow and Beijing are developing partnerships of various kinds in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

But these nations, it is easy to note, are by and large beyond Washington’s fence posts: The policy cliques, this is to say, have them down as enemies. Every nation just named is currently subjected to U.S. sanctions. Parenthetically, I do have to wonder what happens when most of the world other than the Anglosphere and Western Europe is condemned in this way, but that is another conversation.

With the OPEC–Plus decision, it is time to make a critical distinction.

When Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi summited in New Delhi last December, the Russian president and the Indian prime minister oversaw the consummation of no fewer than 28 agreements covering cooperation across the board—investment, tech transfer, energy, defense. It is worth singling out India’s intent to purchase a copy of Russia’s S–400 missile defense system, which proves a pebble in Washington’s shoe every time any nation buys one.

Since then, Turkey has sent multiple signals that, never mind its NATO membership, it is increasingly inclined to cast its lot with non–­Western nations. It was an observer at the recent summit of the Eurasian Economic Union in Samarkand. There is talk of membership in the BRICS mini-bloc, which now consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Egypt under the vicious Abdel Fattah el–Sisi and Argentina under its right-thinking president, Alberto Fernández, also intend to apply for membership.

India, Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, Egypt: These are not nations Washington likes to dismiss as pariahs, rogues, outcasts, or autocracies run by “thugs”—a favorite epithet of the thuggish Biden—even if some of them deserve it. This changes the complexion of the coalescence I describe. We are now talking about nations the U.S. counts as friends of one or another kind.

There is a key point to be made in this connection. The policy cliques and the clerks in the media who serve them love to cast the waxing non–Western bloc as anti–American, driven by hatred or envy or whatever else these people can think of. The reporting on the OPEC–Plus meeting has it that the Saudis “sided with Russia” against the U.S. “Angered by the kingdom’s decision to team up with Russia,” The New York Times reported last week, “President Biden signaled openness to retaliatory measures.”

What shall we call this, readers? It is either blindness or narcissism or both, and I nominate this last. As the non–West gathers in the cause of constructive action, mutual benefit, and (not to be missed) noninterference, the only thing they are against is global disorder, and the only nations they are against are those responsible for it. 

And now to Saudi Arabia.

This is another nation you wouldn’t want to take home to meet mother, but Washington has had few friends in the non–West closer than Riyadh since the early 1930s, when the Roosevelt administration and the House of Saud worked out the oil-for-security arrangement (and Standard Oil of California got a drilling concession). It is this long party that the Saudis—who are also looking at BRICS membership, let’s not miss—seem to have declared over as of last week.   

Western press reports have made much of the presence in Vienna of Alexander Novak, Moscow’s deputy prime minister, who reportedly did some spadework prior to the OPEC–Plus decision to cut production quotas. But any thought that those Rrrrrrussians railroaded the production cut through is simply a flinch from a reality Washington finds hard to bear. The Saudis acted entirely of their own volition, plain and simple. Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and the kingdom’s de facto leader, is many things, and a man of his own mind is one of them (for better or worse). Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi oil minister, is MbS’s half-brother.

There are many reasons Riyadh, as OPEC–Plus’s co-chair, decided as it did. Its stated intent is to protect prices as the world slides toward a precipitous drop in oil demand consequent on the slow growth and rising inflation—the stagflation syndrome—that the U.S. sanctions regime against Russia is forcing upon the world.

There is also the price cap Washington proposes to impose on Russian oil exports—one of the stupidest ideas, of very many, to come out of the U.S. policy elites in decades. The buyer tells the seller the price of goods? Say whaaaa? It has little to no chance of working, but MbS most assuredly asks, If these Americans cap the price of Russia’s oil in 2022, how long before they take a run at us?

There is the matter of Joe “Nobody fucks with a Biden” Biden (and what a polished president is he). I can’t decide if he is a schlemiel or a schlimazel—as a Yiddish-speaking friend explains it, the guy who knocks over a bottle of wine at table or the man into whose lap the wine spills. After following Joe’s years in the Senate and not quite two in the White House, I surrender: He manages to be both.

During his 2020 campaign Biden famously called Saudi Arabia a pariah to keep the progressive peanut gallery quiet on the Yemen war but with no intent to reduce U.S. support for it. As things got hairy in consequence of the sanctions against Russia, our president traveled to Jeddah, bumped fists with MbS during an obviously testy summit, and apparently figured everything would be O.K. on the oil-production side. Prior to the OPEC–Plus session, administration officials flew to Riyadh and practically begged MbS not to announce a production cut at least until after the midterms.  

What a bed our Joe and the confirmed schlemiels running America’s foreign policy have made for themselves and the rest of us to lie in. Once again, the man from Scranton proves what he always has been, a provincial pol who thinks he can sell snake oil around the world just as he long did in Delaware and with no clue as to what makes responsible statecraft.

I do not doubt that MbS’s disrespect for a clown with failing mental capacities made it easier for him to act against U.S. wishes and more specifically the Biden White House. In my read, he has effectively joined the Russians and Chinese in concluding there is simply no working with so unserious a regime. But the Saudis appear no more inclined to set policy out of spite or contempt than any other nation in the gathering non–Western bloc. Riyadh acted in its own interests as it sees these.

Asked at a post-session press conference if the OPEC–Plus decision was an act of aggression, Prince Abdul Aziz, the Saudi oil minister replied, “Show me exactly where is the act of belligerence.”

But precisely. Dollars to donuts, as one of my editors used to say, it was an American correspondent who posed the question: It takes an American to read events with this degree of self-centeredness, as if the world revolves around Washington the way Ptolemy thought the sun and all the planets revolved around the earth. “The Saudis sided with Russia” is nothing more than a variation on the Ptolemaic theme, a repeat of Bush II’s “you’re with us or against us” binary—which many of us ridiculed at the time but now consider a perfectly rational way to divvy up the world.

Ideology, to make this point plain, had nothing to do with the OPEC–Plus decision and has nothing to do with the non–West’s assembly into a sort of inchoate network of partnerships. Enlightened self-interest—that old phrase in a new context—is what drives this evolution in global affairs.

I have asserted for years, at the risk of repeating myself, that parity between the West and non–West is a 21st century imperative—an inevitability regardless of whether or not anyone anywhere wishes this to be so. What happened in Vienna earlier this month gives us a demonstration of how this evolution will proceed.

Late last week Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met in Astana, the Kazakhstan capital, the second encounter of the Russian and Turkish presidents in as many months. In the course of things, Putin proposed to make Turkey an energy hub for the distribution of Russian gas now that the Nord Stream I and II pipelines connecting Russia to Europe are out of commission. Erdoğan also noted that Turkey can act as a transit point to get Russian fertilizers to the less-developed most in need of them.

Here is how Erdoğan, ever eager to appear important in world affairs, concluded his conversation with Putin on these matters:

We can work together because we are more concerned about the poor countries than the wealthy states. This is how we should envisage this, and if we do it, we will be able to change much—to change the balance in favor of poor countries.

Turkey and Russia are together. I know some of our steps will worry some circles and some countries, but we are full of resolve. Our relevant bodies, our colleagues [in our ministries], will establish contacts and strengthen our relations.

See what I mean about which way the wind blows? See what I mean about the non–West’s coalescence?

It will be interesting to see what comes next now that the Saudis have joined the party and put some distance between themselves and the Americans. Hardly is it right to anticipate some nasty breach in relations. They seem simply to be shaking themselves loose from the embrace that suffocates, as a British ambassador once described Japan’s relations with the U.S.

A final note in the matter of the BRICS and the Saudis’ interest in joining them. It is a matter of record that, as currently constituted, the group is developing a basket of currencies intended to serve as an alternative to the dollar in international trade. This sounds like another very big deal in the making. Since the Saudis agreed in 1945 to price oil in dollars, the petroleum market has been absolutely key to the U.S. currency’s supremacy as a reserve currency—which, in turn, has been key to Washington’s projection of American hegemony. 

Now what? Friends in the markets used to tell me that de-dollarization, while a long-term inevitability, would not occur in my lifetime. I don’t hear much of this anymore. What appeared a distant prospect only a few years ago now seems to grow closer by the year. It will not matter how many fists Washington bumps: They don’t generally stop history’s wheel from turning, as Biden has learned.


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Patrick Lawrence
Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a media critic, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon siteHis Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored without explanation.

37 comments

  1. Brilliant essay. Dead right on his assessment of Biden (provincial pol) and his sad, baseless grandiosity.
    A truly Little Man in a Big Moment.
    A must read.
    I feel all “caught up” for now….

    1. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      “Friends in the markets used to tell me that de-dollarization, while a long-term inevitability, would not occur in my lifetime.”
      _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      Remember the real reason America went after Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, and Libya’s, Muammar Gaddafi.
      Saddam was planning to remove Iraq’s oil from using the US dollar for international payment, and changing to the Euro.

      Gaddafi was trying to get the nations of Africa to create a new “African” common currency to replace the US dollar.

      Both of those leaders died violent deaths instigated by the US. Gee, I wonder what gran’pa Biden will do?

      1. Yes, if I remember correctly, there is video of then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton laughing while watching a video of the murder of Muamar Qaddafi. Class, indeed. The Best and the Brightest.

  2. I want to donate to Scheerpost But I want to donate by mail not email, but I need a mailing address. Can I get one?

  3. Excellent review of the world situation. One more thing about de-dollarization, “the petroleum market has been absolutely key to the U.S. currency’s supremacy as a reserve currency—which, in turn, has been key to Washington’s projection of American hegemony. ”
    According to Michael Hudson, pegging the dollar as world reserve currency has given the US a ‘free lunch’ in that in order to fund its balance of payments–coming from excessive imports, purchases of foreign enterprises, and the cost of foreign wars, including bases–as the US just issues Treasuries in lieu of actual payment in something substantial.
    China has, or had, oodles of them, and I believe she is using hers to fund the BRI, rather like diversifying investments. The dollar debt pays interest, but as everyone has seen with Russia, Venezuela, and Afghanistan, dollars held as reserve currency can be easily disappeared.

  4. Beautiful and simply expressed, Patrick. I look forward to a Sequel in the context of Unpegging of the dollar.

    Thank you for your caring analysis, Patrick.

    So many lives have been and continue to be affected by the emotion based reactions of narcissists along with their collective public shaming towards those who expresses their own Healthy Boundaries, to Safeguard their long term interests.

    Looking foward to your Sequel to the ‘Unpegging of the All Mighty Dollar, this time For Real’

  5. It’s something living through historical changes like this, whether one can only deny or begin to
    accept them. It’s going to mean Westerners being seen differently by the world, Hollywood and the American dream losing its luster, and aspirations for a better life looking towards the East.

    1. @Cynical Rex

      So when you look East and aspire for a better life where do you see yourself ? Russia, China or perhaps India?

      1. alteyid48:

        As other posters have expressed, the US financial (neoliberalism) and govt systems (Ray McGovern’s MICIMATT) are leading the West down the garden path. No nation is perfect, and humans aren’t angels, but Russia and China are caring for the wellbeing of their people. Are their societies “free”? I just watched a press conference with Putin and it did not look anything like a tyranny:
        https://sonar21.com/putins-astana-press-conference-he-aint-biden/

        Michael Hudson, the economist, has talked at length about how Russia and China practice industrial capitalism (as opposed the West’s parasitic financial capitalism), and have welfare states that are promoting the health and wellbeing of their citizens. Are Russia and China trying to create Renaissance men and women in the spirit of Socrates and Plato, critical thinkers that can question their societies? They could use improvement, but the West has fallen far from any Socratic ideal.

      2. alteyid48: I remember being in India in 1975 and walking onto the street in the morning to see masses of people living there with no shelter. Death was so common that it was normalized. I thought about how much better we have it here in the U.S. Today I can walk onto the streets of San Francisco, a model city here, and seeing much the same. My point being: We imagine ourselves to be eternally better. Our standard of comparison is the best of what we have, ignoring the least – like how we treat our own “others”. And now our best is looking a lot like India’s worst.

        All countries have problems. Ours was established on a culture of genocide and slavery, but we think we are the shining city on the hill. Half our electorate follows a fascist ideology, while the other half thinks imperialist war is progressive. We are failing while those countries you mention are advancing. Try not to sound like an arrogant white, please.

  6. Thank you for these explanations. No one has done a better job of clarity and honesty and straightforward reality. Much appreciated.

  7. Is this the “civility” we were told Biden would restore after Trump’s reign? More like dangerous petty school yard antics. Total failure.

  8. Speaking from Australia, I can only think that anything that knocks Amerika down a peg peg or two, is a good thing.
    Faced with multiple looming global catastrophies, we can no longer afford the age of empire.

  9. By snake oil, I assume you mean the entire U.S. Government, whick is too stupid to free Assange. One driver of the of the coalitions around the world is that they won’t drink that Hemlock. Maybe their parents made them decent Human Beings.

  10. Excellent and informative analysis. Though many of the nations uniting are oppressive, mostly as a defensive result to our aggression, the reaction to aggressive U.S. hubris is long overdue. Chairman Xi’s vision of an interconnected, cooperative world is far superior to Washington’s and our only chance of survival as a species. I’ve long called for a BDS movement against the US until we withdraw our military, stop flooding the planet with weapons and cease our global interference in the affairs of other countries but this may amount to the same thing. Let us hope for and continue to work toward a future of global cooperation and an end to war and the global dictatorship of corporations and capital.

  11. 143 counties voted a few days ago to condemn the “attempted illegal annexation” by Russia of Ukrainian territory. So most of the Non West and the West can still stay together.
    It is interesting to mention that the idea and term of BRIC (as it was known before South Africa admission in 2010) originates with the much reviled US finance – it was first introduced in 2001 by Goldman Sachs !
    While the statistics regarding the current members are impressive, let’s not forget that 2 members (China and India) are prone to military conflict every few years as a result of border claims and compete fiercely for manufacturing investments, 2 others are in bad financial position ( South Africa and Brazil), there is inherent conflict between oil producers who are interested in high prices (Russia, Brazil) and consumers (India, China, South Africa).
    As for the BRICS model of governance, we have 2 one man dictatorships (Russia, China with India on its way to there , and Brazil also if Bolsonaro is elected), 2 corrupt kleptocracies ( Russia, South Africa) .Hardly a beaming example for the world!
    The Non West has and will never been monolithic and 100% subservient to the West (the Arab oil producers declared an oil embargo which adversely affected the West)

    1. You are a keen observer who notes the many problems of America’s numerous adversaries. The American Empire relies on their $US currency but also ‘ sympathy for the devil’ where the abused still accepts the abuser. This Stockholm Syndrome is very peculiar and is seen all over the globe. British India is a very apt, descriptive name and meekly bows to H R H ;same with HK; Philippines is another example, named after king Phillips 2 but is fond of 2 occupying Empires ; Pacific Islands still panders to western powers despite their rocks used for many, many nuclear tests. This human nature, human weakness is confounding to those who overthrew their oppressors. But the most seismic event would be if Saudi’s price oil in other currencies. …. It then undermines $US which slowly will weaken Yankee Empire. But don’t put all eggs in….

  12. Excellent analysis and pure truth telling supported by facts and nuanced observations. Thankfully real journalists can find a place to post. I sometimes though am baffled how certain propaganda promoters such as Klare and Feffer get posted here. Thanks Patrick and Sheerpost for this informative essay.

  13. I think, Mr. Lawrence, that you are my spirit animal. Always grateful to read your take on reality.

    If only the citizens of the West (the US especially) would wake up from their propaganda-induced comas to realize the truth in what you so eloquently write. If they did, the likes of low-level mafia don Biden wouldn’t stand a chance at parading around as our leader. What a sick, sad, dangerous joke.

    1. disagree—americans are threatened by reality and morality….”americans have been liars and braggarts for 3 centuries….americans live in a thicket of illusions—they demand illusions about themselves”. Daniel Boorsin

  14. The ignorance and stupidity of.3rd world.dynamics by Biden once chairman of.the Foreign.Relations committee is shocking.He has learned nothing.in public life for.40.years except whose ass to kiss.It is a horrible.thing.that he is in power only.because he is not.named Trump.Now when the shit is hitting.the.fan when we need leadership of a new and different kind.we have Biden the.clown.or a bunch of Republican fascists.on the rise like Cruz and Graham.We are in deep.trouble now that maybe fatal to all.

    1. I fogot.to mention DeSantis,not another jewel of the Nile.Where do these pond scum come from.The answer is a totally corrupt political system enforcing.a totally corrupt economic.system.Capitalism that does not serve the masses.of people but makes a few filthy.rich.

      1. You tend to have same views as Professor Richard Wolff, check his you tube broadcasts on Capitalism.

  15. “a clown with failing mental capacities”

    Don’t forget failing bowel control.

  16. What a brilliant and cogent article! Splendid, Patrick, right on the money. And mostly constructive comments by the readers.

    Sure, some of the BRICS member states have right-wing leaders, but so do some of the “Western nations” led by the United States, the “world’s only super-bully!” True, representative government takes a lot of hard work, and as long as people are complacent, the tyrants stay in power. Biden is pathetic, and some of us question the election results in the primaries when Bernie Sanders was winning, then all of a sudden, Biden took the lead, and it looked like the fix was in. Again!

    Anyway, money talks and other stuff “walks”, and the new beginning of cooperation rather than confrontation among the nations Mr. Lawrence mentioned is promising. The American people are deluded, and still fascinated by militarism, and the daily violence and random mass shootings stem from the warrior mentality.

    New alliances are forming around the globe, and the power-mad oligarchs and politicians can’t stand not being in control anymore, or having weaker nations bow to our dictates, as the world moves on.

  17. “Nations representing more than 80 percent of the global population and a like percentage of global gross domestic product…”

    Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the United States – partial list of countries outside BRIC+’s sphere of influence – represent 50.08% of global GDP.

    As to population size, while BRIC+ can ‘lay claim’ to contain roughly 50% of the world’s population, it is still a far cry from 80%.

    More important, however, are two central and crucial facts conveniently omitted by Patrick.
    First, because of the political nature of the BRIC+ countries – China is a totalitarian state where the population has zero political rights or means of viable input and no elections at all; Russia under Putin became a dictatorial state where the entire array of institutions serve at the will and whim of a single person, and where opposition and the media are suppressed, even killed or forced to leave; India is ultra conservative authoritarian democracy where the Indian cast system of the past transmorphed into a rigid class hierarchy that, in political terms, means nearly no individual input or independent individual expression of will; while Brazil exhibit the most vibrant democratic dynamics of the four, it is also the smallest and weakest – the possible ascension of BRIC+ on the world stage does not represent progress at all and its actions do not represent the will of the vast populations living in these countries.
    Second, the leaders of BRIC+ – Russia and China – have already taken steps to normalize military confrontation as a legitimate tool to resolve diplomatic tensions and disputes – Russia’s imperialism in Ukraine, and China’s threats of military action against Taiwan – which regress back to pre WWII, pre UN times.

    Patrick’s claim that BRIC+ represents 80% of global population and GDP, than, is fraudulent with respect to GDP, and demagogic with respect to population size given that the power structures in these countries are not representative of the population or their interests.

    As to the insinuation that a rise of a global power coalescing around the BRIC represents a positive development, progress, or even an inspiring change, it is delusional at best, extremely naive, and completely ignores the political nature of the countries involved, or the fact that the two leading countries are among the most antagonistic, confrontational, and power-hungry political entities in human history and, more likely than not would, if and when successful in their power struggle against the democratic west, turn on each other in the exact same way they turn on any dissent within their own particular sphere of influence and control.

    The following text is an excerpt from an article critical of Biden’s foreign policy (“Biden’s National Security Strategy Is a Defense of US Domination, Not Democracy”) that captures precisely the nature of the leaders of the emerging coalescence Patrick has such high hopes for.

    “Beijing and Moscow are developing their own strategies to pursue their respective imperialist and local assertions of power, most dramatically demonstrated by Beijing’s threat to annex Taiwan and Russia’s horrific colonial war on Ukraine.

    Faced with inter-imperial rivalry, the left must neither support the U.S. nor foolishly align itself with its predatory international or regional opponents.”

    The left’s electoral base and hopes were devastated a hundred years ago when it had chosen to embrace radical anti-war stances and communistic aspirations. Judging from the propaganda and sheer folly emanating from left-ish, Neo Progressive media outlets these days, what with the staunch support for Russian and Chinese imperialism, adoption of the full array of right-wing propaganda methodologies and goal (the eradication of liberalism even at the price of fascism and the end of democracy itself), and even direct support of right-wing extremists like Trump, Tucker Carlson or Info-war’s bully Alex Jones, it seems they have learned little to nothing at all.

    1. DGA:

      I was curious about the GDP and population stats, and from Wikipedia, the BRICs nations have around 25% world GDP and 40% population. The OPEC nations that the article covers have 80% known oil reserves. In spite of this error, I agree with Patrick that the East is gaining momentum, and like a
      Greek tragedy, the US and Europe are falling to hubris. Why?

      *Russia cannot lose this war in conventional terms (see for example Col Doug MacGregor on Judging Freedom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Zk8_TWszFQ) The US has not fought a peer competitor since WWII, and according to Larry C Johnson (sonar21.com), former CIA and State Dept official, the MIC is more about developing expensive weapon systems than ones that can actually work and be maintained on a battlefield.
      *As Hedges has noted across many articles, US society is becoming ever more impoverished, divided and unstable. US media and govt propaganda take a page right out of George Orwell. Anything Russia is accused of, I automatically now attribute that to the US. Interfere in elections? CIA Warn of nuclear weapons? US is considering their use on battlefield, as they are desperate. Russian army exhausted and deserting? Consider the many videos of angry Ukrainian units that feel abandoned by their govt:
      https://sonar21.com/new-batches-of-ukrainian-troops-quitting-the-fight-as-russia-grinds-on/
      *Sanctions against Russia, China and other nations are pushing them to abandon US dollar, and develop their own trading systems. These sanctions are causing a kind of economic suicide in Europe, and will ripple out to North America as a recession or depression.
      *Russian and Chinese defiance of US demands are giving smaller nations more courage in resisting US pressure. As Patrick has stated, the US is isolating itself from the world, not Russia and China (consider the Belt and Road Initiative).

      The main differences I see between China, Russia and the US, Europe is that the former govts are trying to provide a better quality of life for their citiizens, while US neoliberalism wants to cut social services, is happy with inflated housing, education, healthcare costs, that according to economist Michael Hudson are making the US uncompetitive and its citizens sick and impoverished, What about Chinese human rights and labor abuses? China and Russia are not model nations, and need much improvement, but the (partial) nationalization of industries like banking, utilities and oil/gas allow these nations to invest back into social programs, like universal education, healthcare and public housing.

      Does the East support a democratic ideal, as espoused by Western philosophy? No, but the West certainly does not either. As Chris Hedges has written, the West holds up the fantasy of democracy, while serving the interests of an oligarchy.

      1. good observation
        Russia—universal health, medicine no cost
        tuition free university—low tuition for non-Russians—may Asians, Europeans others in Russian universities
        89% own habitat—low property tax except rentals
        13% income tax except higher for rich
        low cost comprehensive public transit
        state paid mandatory maternity leave–longest of any nation
        in USA freedom is none of these

    2. China has local elections.

      He may be wrong WRT GDP numbers but GDP does not represent production, it represents transactions. Transaction prices are deranged by rents in the wealthy countries.

      That is why liberals who looked at Russia’s GDP and military spending vastly underestimated their capabilities.

      China practices imperialism only to the extent that they benefit from (and suffer from)bthe unequal trade arrangements empires have created. They do so by undercutting the empires. They do not promote (or enforce at gunpoint) increased explpitation.

    3. Information source for the statistics at the top of the comment (I miscounted a bit above; these are the results that can be found with the search suggested bellow).

      GDP – google search “Percent of world GDP – Country rankings”

      US 21.61%
      Japan 5.21%
      Germany 3.98%
      UK 2.85%
      France 2.72%
      Italy 1.96%
      Canada 1.7%
      Australia 1.37%
      Spain 1.33%
      Netherlands 0.95%
      Switzerland 0.78%
      Sweden 0.56%
      Belgium 0.54%
      Austria 0.45%
      Ireland 0.44%
      Denmark 0.37%
      Norway 0.37%
      Finland 0.28%
      Portugal 0.24%
      New Zealand 0.22%
      Luxembourg 0.08%
      Iceland 0.02%
      ========================
      48.03%

      Population – google search “Percent of world population – Country rankings”

      China 17.52%
      India 17.14%
      Brazil 2.64%
      Russia 1.79%
      S. Africa 0.74%
      =======================
      39.83%

      1. dga—-are you stupid a liar or both—???
        even orthodox economists dismiss nominal GDP. ppp has some value but fails to measure unofficial exchanges and production—some African nations 85% economic activity not measured, 45% Russia not measured. USA is a net negative balance of trade w all nations–Russia w nearly no debt, has a positive balance all nations. your stupidity is tiresome

  18. DGA: You devote too much space to nothing more than a repetition of establishment talking points. You should check out (find it on the Multipolarista website) Josep Borrell’s comments yesterday to the E.U. claiming the west is a garden and the rest is a jungle. You sound just like him: an instinctive racist. Everything wrong you cite about other countries applies to the U.S., and it’s so much that it’s not worth taking apart. But a couple of gems make the point well: “radical anti-war stances and communistic aspirations” – this is what the left is about. We can’t NOT embrace this. The revolution failed, but they were right to try it; ‘they’ being the European working class. Its legacy will guide us in the future if we learn the right lessons. WW1, which you seem to be talking about, is recognized as a terrible waste of life for imperialist elites. That working class in Europe paid the price and learned the lessons. You haven’t. You say other countries “have already taken steps to normalize military confrontation as a legitimate tool to resolve diplomatic tensions and disputes” – to imply the U.S. does NOT do this is almost laughable. It’s not just a founding principle of the country. It began before we became one. We did it to the people we found here when we arrived. Take your blinders off and learn real history. Why are you on this site, anyway?

  19. DGA: Whatever that stands for, and where do you get your geopolitical information from? I’m not sure if you understood what Patrick wrote, but read it again with an unbiased mind, if possible.

    Before Putin became president, Russia was in bad shape, economically, socially, and the standard of living declined tremendously under Boris Yeltsin, the privatize specialist . Slowly but surly, Vladimir Putin rebuilt the Russian economy and helped restore national pride, and very much wanted to be part of the “West”, which never accept Russia, even under the Czars before the Revolution, thinking the Cold War was over and cooperation and not confrontation would bring peace and prosperity to the world. Plus he paid down the foreign debt, which irritated the international bankers.

    As for totalitarian China, I have talked to business who worked in that nation as well as tourists, and all said it wasn’t a dictatorship as the United States describes it. And if it is, shame on the American, European, and Japanese manufacturers for exporting their industries to the Land of the Dragon as it was more profitable than to pay the workers in their own nations. “Profit before people” is the mantra of capitalism. Talk about collaboration with the so-called enemy?

    Europe and the United States are in a downward spiral while Asia is rising. Russia, which is still part of Europe is rising as well. Mr. Lawrence elaborated the narrative in this article quite well, as more and more nations are unloosing and eventually discarding the American yoke of the imperial empire who can only threaten and sanction countries who prefer independence and prefer to chose their own course of action in dealing with other nations.

  20. We are in the 6th Mass Extinction; human politics and economics will soon be irrelevant.
    Sorry to burst the bubble but reality is a necessity.

  21. I enjoyed the comments. IMO the factions who killed JFK, have ruled the USA, they don’t work for the advancement and enjoyment of our lives, society, communities or gov’t. (american press institute’s purpose of journalism abbreviated? ASSANGE TRIED), that’s obvious. GOV’T.’s should not be controlled, by ? whomever they are. we need to protest the actions and talk of today’s politicians, ceo’s and 1%? I think the Russian gov’t is morally correct to feel threatened and intimidated and harmed by the warmongers who misuse our economy, dollar, and anything they can. I believe the Europeans will no longer be so friendly, and join a growing list of misused interests. If not for the selfish and narrowminded, committee’s with idea’s might be tested and improved upon, improvements and advances could be tried. WHOMEVER DESTROYED THE PIPELINE SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED ! WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE ASSANGE.

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