By Mikhail Khazin
Translated from Russian by Robin
The problems with the European Union’s basic ideology of course involve Germany’s position more specifically. To see it with the utmost clarity, we must recall the standard mantra of the proponents of Western liberalism, whether they are from the European Union, from the United States or homegrown: the West’s main goal in relation to Russia is to explain that adopting basic liberal values inevitably leads to a flourishing economy and happiness all round. If we make any attempt to poke our noses into the real results, they explain that we ourselves are doing everything wrong; specifically, we have created corruption on a massive scale.
I will leave aside the fact that the Western consultants who drilled their liberal values into us were themselves a source of corruption. It’s no secret that many of them lined their pockets during the privatization process, as individuals or corporations. It’s no secret that such privatizations were an entirely criminal process that not only created a huge pool of corrupt officials, but also completely precluded the normal development of small and medium-sized businesses. When the privatization process was coming to an end, the liberal corruptionists morphed into corporate raiders, destroying any businesses that developed outside their control.
All you have to do is look at the wording of bankruptcy laws, court rulings and so on. This situation is the outcome of privatization, and as long as it is not condemned we will be quite naive to expect the country to experience constructive growth. People who have stolen millions if not billions will never allow a normal business environment because they cannot function in normal competitive conditions; most owe their existence to theft from the state’s coffers or to government support.
But let’s get back to the main topic. The people who now govern our country, our entire elite, which was formed from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, espouse the liberal ideology. They are sincerely willing to defend the “sacred right to private property” and take their orders from Washington. They just do not want to take risks or to share power in our country.
Washington often tolerates such situations. Latin American dictators and the Saudi monarchy cannot be called bastions of democracy and freedom. And the U.S. favorite Israel is no angel. But with Russia something went wrong. What happened here is complex and can be discussed at length. It is possible that a quarter century’s worth of efforts to inculcate the people with liberal values failed, and Washington decided that at the start of the global crisis the liberalization policy had to be stepped up. But the Russian elite resisted, fearing genuine popular unrest. Even so, the United States forged ahead.
Of course, this situation did not suit the European Union; it was to the liking of neither Brussels nor Berlin, which were doing a great deal of business with Moscow and were firmly convinced that sooner or later they would reap the rewards. And the Ukraine featured in their plans. But the general idea that the center of power for Eastern Europe should not be in Moscow but in Washington was not questioned. And herein lie the problems.
Moscow has repeatedly asked the same question: if your goal is to instill certain values in us, and if we are ready to accept them, why are you splitting the Ukraine off from Russia? Well, with Eastern Europe it worked, with help from Gorbachev. But those were fearful times – what if suddenly true patriots came to power in the Russian Federation or somewhere else? But, now, what’s the problem? Even in the United States, there are politicians who understand this: американский консерватор n1: «какая сша разница, чей флаг будет развеваться над донецком и луганском.
But today such a question does not count for the United States, which has a purely imperial policy and does not take part in such discussions – [Jennifer] Psaki being a fine example. They have to lie about facts, so they lie; they have to respond with silence to a direct question, so they keep silent. And nothing can be done about it, because no one can punish the United States – so far. In my opinion, however, such a position will backfire on them fairly soon. And the situation is raising questions in Berlin and Brussels.
They are set on turning Ukraine into their own (more precisely, American) sphere of influence. I’m not even going to discuss why; the fact is self-evident. They cannot allow themselves to ignore various unpleasant questions and facts, so they have to engage in discussion. The same question constantly arises, in different versions and interpretations: “Why don’t you want Ukraine to move closer to the EU along with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan?” As soon as this issue comes up, the German/EU representatives panic.
Well, they can’t really tell the truth: in supporting “freedom” and “democracy,” we acknowledge that the United States may violate these values whenever and wherever it wants. And the United States wants to tear the Ukraine away from Russia (because [Zbigniev] Brzezinski said so, and that’s as good a reason as any), and we must help it, even though we understand that this threatens the much-mooted values. We accept that U.S. policy is based solely on its imperial interests, and that it spits on “freedom” and “democracy” (I will not discuss [Victoria] Nuland’s infamous conversations, the interference in vote counting during the election in Ukraine and so on because they have already been cited many times). We acknowledge that we will never speak out against the U.S. position and we will not let anyone even think about doing so. As long as it suits us, of course.
As a result, Berlin/Brussels is in an extremely weak position. They impose servitude on the Ukraine with an agreement that is utterly destroying its economy, they support the coup d’état, they allow a pro-American group in the Ukraine to crudely and cynically rig the election. And after all that, their talk of “freedom” and “democracy” appears highly questionable, not only to Moscow but also to other cities and countries. What can they do in such a situation?
Keep talking about “freedom” and “democracy”? To people who can see how they are dragging Ukraine into “freedom,” organizing death squads, shelling residential neighborhoods with large-caliber weapons and categorically forbidding their fellow citizens from holding alternative points of view (if you are so inclined, you can read about how the Right Sector battalions behave in the Donbass and the territories they occupy)? I won’t say anything at all about the economy.
Tell the truth? But then there is a danger that the power of the anti-elite opposition, which (except in Hungary and Greece) is just starting to make its presence felt in the EU, will increase dramatically. Should the current elite lose control over budgets and currencies, they may lose power forever. And that prospect is extremely unappealing to them.
Come up with some kind of outlandish story? For example, if neo-Nazis come to power in Germany, they will get along swimmingly with Ukraine’s Right Sector. But they too will not necessarily put up with the current, pro-American elite, which will not be needed.
In general, Merkel & Co. have serious problems. If the economy were still strong, it would be possible, as always, to paper over the cracks and absurdities of the official version with infusions of money. But what can be done in today’s situation? There is no good answer. Merkel continues her efforts to stop what is clearly a war and to persuade the U.S. to calm down, even if only for a while. But it’s all in vain because the United States has in fact lost the war, and its imperial arrogance will not allow it to stop, especially with an election at hand. Talk of “freedom” and “democracy” is becoming more irritating, even within the EU. Nor can Merkel pressure the United States for money. I won’t even talk about Brussels.
In general, there is only one thing we can say: if the ideological basis of the European Union, a complex government entity, is built on such a sinister contradiction, as it plainly is, then its days are numbered. And nothing can be done about that.