Liberal Dems Claiming a Russian Election Hack and Putin Control Over Trump are the New ‘Birthers’
Why, one has to ask, would Russia be building, with up to $100 billion in Chinese financing, a bunch of super high-speed rail lines from eastern China and eastern Siberia all the way to rail hubs in Germany and other European countries, to facilitate vastly expanded trade overland, if it were also secretly planning to conquer and occupy parts of Europe again, as it did in the pre-1990 era?
A cynic -- or realist -- might suspect that it is precisely this goal of economic integration of Europe and Asia, with Russia at the center, which lies at the root of US antipathy and hostility towards both Russia and China. If the US continues to cling to the insane, megalomaniacal idea of maintaining strategic dominance -- military and economic -- at all costs over all current and potential rivals around the globe, there is a certain logic to trying to ruin this grand plan for economic convergence on the Eurasian continent.
But let’s at least demand honesty about it.
Donald Trump has said, famously, that people who say the US should not be trying to develop friendly relations with Russia are “stupid.” He might not be eloquent, but he is absolutely correct.
Some of my liberal friends, who have drunk the Kool-Aid of anti-Russia hysteria, argue that the US should not even contemplate acting friendly towards Russia and its leader President Putin. As one put it, “We certainly at least must be in agreement that Putin’s cruel kelpto-capitalist-KGB rule has harmed tens of millions of innocents in the former USSR, no?”
Well, actually, no, we are not in agreement. Where do otherwise intelligent liberal-minded people get these tales of Putin evil? Nobody’s saying that he is a Jeffersonian democrat, but let’s at least get the history right. The “harm to tens of millions in the former USSR” and in Russia proper was done not during Putin’s tenure but during the first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, between 1989 and 1999. That was when the entire Soviet Union was strip-mined by former Communist apparatchiks who enriched themselves by cutting deals to take over former state assets at fire-sale prices, or for nothing, robbing the Russian people, and the workers in those former state enterprises blind. The US encouraged this process, and Boris Yeltsin, a notorious drunk, oversaw it for two terms as Russia’s president. Vladimir Putin began his rise to power in 1999 when Yeltsin made him prime minister before suddenly resigning the presidency on New Year’s Day 1999.
GDP during Boris Yeltsin’s catastrophic first term as head of the new post Soviet Russian state collapsed by 40% between 1991 and 1996 -- a worse disaster than the US Great Depression. By 1997, Russia, a huge agricultural producer, was importing one-third of its food. Nothing improved during Yeltsin’s second term, with GDP remaining flat through 1999. Remember, most of the ‘90s was a period of economic boom throughout the rest of the world, meaning that Russia, even standing still, was losing ground to everyone else.