Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Putin triumphs as US is about to default

By Irina Severin
The poster launches Putin's international recruiting campaign "Putin will cover you up" ( "Путин прикроет")   
The overwhelming 2013 United States debt-ceiling crisis is in full swing. The crisis is caused not by the economic fundamentals but by a full-fledged undeclared Russian information war against America. As the situation shows, this could be much more dangerous in the information era than a traditional physical war.

Putin’s last-minute "control shot"

Monday, when the agreement in Congress on the debt ceiling was finally reached, but the final bill passing was still unsure, Vladimir Putin suddenly publicly depicted the US as “a parasite on the global economy,” alluding to the US debt. The international media immediately spread the incendiary wording reinforcing the political divide in the U.S. The question is, why did Putin add oil to fire at the most sensitive moment when the US is on the verge of default?

There is a bipartisan agreement between the two American parties - the Republicans and the Democrats. However, de facto, there is a third party - the Tea Party, which is still not inclined to give up.

The refusal to raise the debt ceiling could break not only the world financial system based on the American dollar but also the existing international political order, where the US is the unique superpower. 

America's leading status is what irritates Putin the most. In his view, the U.S. unfairly detains its supreme status due to the dollar’s dominance as the world reserve currency. The default would deprive the US not only of the financial but of the political superpower status. Was his message intentionally encouraging the Tea Party's intransigence?

Putin’s American “Third-party”

The Russians like to accuse the West of being unable 'to abandon the Cold War mentality.' At the same time, they never hide their resentment for “Western triumphalism,” which leaves Russia with the “status of the “eternal loser.”  Moscow hoped that the chaos of the financial crisis as a perfect storm would become a game changer in Russia's favor. 

Putin even made an ideological contribution to the creation of the Tea Party by resoundingly accusing the U.S. government of a socialist approach: “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence.” Putin, echoing Ron Paulhis favorite in American politics and the Godfather of the Tea Party, in the Davos speech in January 2009, Putin provoked a strong emotional reaction among the conservatives and libertarians, pretending the role of a leader of free-market thinking.

Putin's plan did not work as expected. The American government did not let the economy collapse. However, Russia does not give up and now invests hopes in another artificially created “chaos” – the debt ceiling crisis, fueled by the Tea Party's intransigence.

Russia’s gains from America’s default

Russia has painstakingly prepared itself for the American default. As Russian influential financial publication RBC emphasizes, “last months the foreign holders of the American debt increased their holdings in the US Treasury Bonds with the overall amount of $ 67.5 billion: China (+ $ 7.3 billion), Japan (+ $ 5.5 billion), UK (+ $ 13.5 billion). At the same time, Russia, “contrary to the fundamental trends in the market, dropped its holdings in the US Treasury Bonds with $10 billion”.

Russia's calculation is that the US default would raise the oil prices, and the Russian ruble would get a huge boost transforming it into a new reserve currency. Russians foresee massive outflow from the US government securities to the Russian Stabilization Fund.

The U.S. breakdown would strengthen Russia’s political influence in the world. Moscow would immediately restore its ‘sphere of influence over the “near abroad,” including former members of the "socialist camp", now the EU, and NATO members. However, it was impossible because of the attractiveness of the US and American support to these countries. Another Russia's hope is that America’s inability to finance NATO would destroy the organization, still seen by the Russians as a ‘Cold War” adversary.

Russians support ideologically and financially the disintegration trend in the EU.  The U.S. default and collapse of its international clout would weaken the EU, transforming Russia into a dominant force in the region.

Moreover, Russians would get revenge for the defeat in the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR, which they attribute to the U.S. efforts and declare 'the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.'  As a former KGB agent, Putin never managed to accept the loss, especially after the oil prices grew again. As he was quoted in 2007 when launching new information warfare by creating a network of Russian NGOs in the West: 'It would be irresponsible not to reestablish our influence abroad now when the oil prices are high”.

Putin’s undeclared information war against America

Igor Panarin, a former Russian KGB specialist on disinformation and current Dean of the Russian Diplomatic Academy, became famous for his predictions of the US disintegration. He has strong ties to the American Tea Party.  In his blog, he styles the Tea Partiers as the "American Stalinists," whom Russia should help organize a "Second American Revolution."  Panarin usually comes to the US in advance of important political events, be this the November 2010 middle-term elections marked by the triumph of the Tea Party or the debt ceiling crisis caused by the Tea Partiers.

In 2007, Igor Panarin launched the concept of the information war against the West. In parallel, he advanced the idea that America should collapse into six parts after the imminent American Civil War. His glooming rhetoric coincided with Putin’s publicly voiced intention to invest in the ‘democratization of the West’ as much money as the West annually invests in the democratization of Russia and the post-soviet countries, claiming this an asymmetrical reply to the West's efforts. 

Igor Panarin wrote on his blog after his last visit to the U.S., “Russia’s losses from the US default will be minimal” and specified, “Russia has its allies in the American elite and has to help them to overcome the post-default chaos.” The current political situation in the U.S. Panarin styles ‘the Second American Revolution.'

In fact, the Tea Party project is Russia’s attempt to export its political model of “managed democracy” to the U.S. Putin started this as a symmetrical response to the U.S. export of the American model of liberal democracy to Russia, perceived by Putin as a merely “anti-establishment activity.”

This perception gives a clue about Russia’s efforts in the US. In January 2009, Putin assigned Andranik Migranyan – a crafty “political technologist’ with strong conservative ties in the U.S., as the Head of the "Institute for Democracy and Cooperation."  Another organization with the same ironic name, "The Institute for Democracy and Cooperation." Putin opened in Paris with another Russian conservative politician at the helm.  Both Institutes offered grants to American and European politicians and organizations, supporting the "Sovereignty Revolution" meant to collapse the US, The EU, and NATO.

Russia's political choice 

Fringe Libertarian politician Ron Paul's ideological views serve well Russians' interests.  Being the product of Soviet propaganda, Russian politicians still operate within the competition categories between “two countries – two systems: the U.S. and the USSR’. Ron Paul’s Social Darwinism and other Libertarian dogmas, if implemented, would make Russia look a more attractive and competitive country than the U.S.

The Libertarians’ isolationist ideas would exclude the U.S. from the world political stage, which is Putin’s and Russia’s long-term dream. From the start, the Tea Party was created to promote Ron Paul and his ideas. Russia’s problem with Ron Paul is that the person, sincerely advancing such overt narrow-mindedness, merely cannot be charismatic – no matter how many Internet ‘Money Bombs’ Russians invest in his campaign, how many manipulated straw polls he wins and favorable commentaries in media (paid by Putin) he receives.

However, the Tea Party supporters do not support isolationism which they consider anti-American. This makes the Tea Party propagandists merely downplay the foreign policy issue. The isolation or non-interventionism makes part of the bigger package, which the Tea Party representatives swear to support when elected anyway.

Inexperienced newcomers display an iron discipline in repeating the talking points delivered to them. The Tea Partiers get their ideas from such lobbyist organizations as ‘FreedomWorks.' Their task is to direct the Tea Parties’ thinking and actions in the right direction for Putin.  ‘FreedomWorks’ operatives pretend that they just help the movement and “the people” who define the Tea Party politics independently. But in reality, the ordinary supporters of the Tea Party are merely convenient tools for spreading the concepts developed in Moscow to weaken the US and promote Russian interests. 

Putin’s strategic allies in America  

Putin is sure that the world should be ruled by the Billionaires' Club, where the Russian billionaires should have a ruling role. This idea ironically resonates with the Russian and American conservatives’ conspiracy theories about the world government.  In Putin’s view, the problem is that Russia is not included in the Club so far, but he craves inclusion badly. In his opinion, the U.S. post-default chaos could create preconditions not only for the inclusion of Russia into the Billionaires' Club but also assure Russia’s leading position in it.

Russia’s strategic allies are the Koch brothers, whose fortune was made by their father in the USSR during Stalin’s regime. Stalin trusted and allowed making money in the USSR only to those who proved their loyalty to the Communists. Others who came with Fred Koch and did not pledge allegiance to Stalin never did return from Russia.

Proof of loyalty acceptable to Stalin required a “kompromat” (a piece of incriminating evidence) - either a written commitment to work for the KGB, a confession of the betrayal of compatriots, or both. The dark secret inherited from their father makes the Koch brothers trusted allies to the Russian intelligence.

So far, the Koch brothers, who built a business empire compatible with Russia’s interests, serve as the front for “the revolutionary infrastructure” as well as play the role of scapegoats, blamed for the Tea Party advancement, helping in such a way to Moscow to hide their advancement at the West. 

Now ‘the Cold War is not announced and is carried not under the Communist banner but the Far-Right one. In fact, the Koch brothers have built a closed “state within the state,” including many non-government organizations, which should replace the Federal government, dubbed by the Tea Partiers the “main enemy of the American people."

This explains why in the 60s, Koch created the Libertarian Party based on the ideological fantasies of a Russian propagandist Ayn Rand, an author and promoter of an extreme form of capitalism known as objectivism and based on "moral selfishness" as  opposed to immoral collectivism. 

Libertarianism only pretends to be based on traditional Liberal ideas but, in fact, mirrors radical communism with its totalitarian approach. Radical Libertarian ideology suited Soviet interests from the start and continues to serve Putin’s interests today. It was designed to sabotage internal development and deprive American influence abroad.

Soviet social engineering in the US in action

The problem with America arose in the Stalin times. The USSR could not impose the idea of the “class struggle” on the U.S. As the American communists explained to Stalin, they could not breed a mass following because of the American spirit of solidarity and economic prosperity. To create class antagonism, it was necessary to distort the American values system from the inside - by cultivating selfishness as the main virtue and destroying strong Christian values.

In her books, Ayn Rand has created an “Anti-values system” that continues to impact America today. Her 'Atlas Shrugged' is touted to Tea Parties as a "New Bible". It is still published, with the record circulation being designed as a psychological poison to descent America into chaos.

Soviets believed that the societies where the spirit of selfishness prevailed over solidarity disappeared from the Earth. Rand’s philosophy should produce the same effect in the US, making America either disappear or get transformed by the revolution of "losers" into a communist country, subordinated to the USSR.

To boost the Communist following in the US, the Communists should first distort the American spirit - the basis of American prosperity and reverse the progress already achieved. For this reason, Ain Rand despised religion and fervently fought against it, which made it difficult to promote her ideas among religious conservative Americans.

Putin’s undeclared war

The Tea Party idea was designed by Moscow’s political technologists. It contains two components - the myth and its management. The myth implies the highlight of American history - the Boston Tea Party as a disruptive, anti-establishment revolution against British rule, which still echoes in the Americans' hearts. The task was associating British rule with the current Federal establishment to fuel the rebellion. 

The Historical myth of the Boston Tea Party made the American people fight for their independence and rights. A distorted myth makes Americans fight against their own interests in favor of Russia's interests. The main trick is to distort the original American myth into an opposite one but still use its energy. This is how the Tea Party, based on the idea of the famous Boston Tea Party, was brought to life.

Directing the passion inherent to the fight for Independence into the anti-Federal idea, they, in fact, destroy the U.S. The end game of the Russia-led Tea Party is a shutdown of the federal government followed by the partition of the U.S. into smaller, easily managed six states from the Kremlin.

Russians usually blame the US for designing the information warfare concept and claim they follow suit. Although there is a difference between the two concepts. Americans use information campaigns to diminish the collateral damage during the war operations. The Russians use the information warfare strategy instead of war: they replace the military actions with “active measures” and propaganda to achieve the same result: subduing the U.S. to the Russian interests. The Libertarian Party and the Tea Party are just instruments.

Who is the anonymous leader of the Tea Party? 

The described covert approach allows the use of the simple Tea Partiers blindly and for free. They not only invest their time but also their money and soul into Putin’s project. In fact, the Tea Partiers in Congress are not politicians; they are a totalitarian group ready to execute whatever they are told to do by the operatives from Russia-financed lobbyist groups like FreedomWorks.

In Congress, they do not have a right to negotiate or take an independent stance – they are just a passive vehicle executing the will of those who designed and created the Tea Party as a political instrument of the influence on distance.

By obtaining a “golden share” in the U.S. Congress, Moscow has already achieved the goal of making the U.S. dysfunctional. Covert Information warfare explains the anomaly when the Tea Party representatives openly plead for chaos as the only way out from the artificially created U.S. debt ceiling crisis. 

Lately, the U.S. Congress looks as dysfunctional and chaotic as the Parliaments of Ukraine or Moldova – Russia's neighbors, where the Kremlin’s influence has been extremely strong for years. The difference is that in the former Soviet states, the politicians can identify Russia’s covert influence and protect themselves from political manipulation.

In America, even the idea of Russia’s influence sounds absurd and is denounced as a “conspiracy theory” from the start. Such a state of mind creates very beneficial conditions of impunity for promoting Russia’s hidden agenda, which Moscow accompanies with massive financial investments.

Chaos in the U.S. would allow Putin to emerge as a rescuer of the American people and to start exercising his ‘soft force’ (psychological manipulation) in the U.S. openly. Putin as an anonymous leader of the Tea Party, has obtained an enormous influence over the American political process. However, he could not make this influence public despite craving for recognition.

Unfortunately, the Americans do not realize the scale and perils of Russian meddling and risk paying the price by being deeply humiliated by the default and its aftermath.

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