How are all those sanctions working out? Bloomberg reports: ‘Russia Did Most Oil Drilling in a Decade Even as Sanctions Hit’.
Another headline tells us that India’s imports of Russian oil are ‘soaring.’ And here’s Russia-briefing.com: ‘Russia’s Rail Freight Volumes Heading East Exceed Westbound Freight for the First Time’:
‘Russia’s Eastbound rail freight shipments exceeded westbound shipments for the first time in 2022, at 80 million tonnes compared with 76 million tonnes, according to Russian Railways (RZD) Chairman Oleg Belozerov, commenting during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘The reversal shouldn’t really be a surprise as the European Union has reduced access to its markets by Russia and blocked passenger trains. However, it does symbolize the extent of the ‘Pivot to Asia’ that Russia has gone through in little under 12 months, itself a quite remarkable feat.’
No peace on Earth
These headlines tell us what sanctions have wrought; they’ve caused a ‘Pivot to Asia’. And now, a whole new ballgame is taking shape. A week ago came a persuasive report that it was the US who blew up the Nord Stream Pipeline…an unequivocal act of war. Then, by the weekend, US fighters were shooting down unidentified objects. One of them floated lonely as a cloud off the South Carolina shore. The others, we don’t know. But this confirms our observation, made years ago, that no sparrow can fall anywhere on the planet without the Pentagon scrambling jets in response. And there’s no peace on earth…or even in the stratosphere.
More important, great empires gotta go into that good night somehow…gently or kicking and screaming. That is the ‘bigger picture’ we think we’re seeing. Not only has a 40-year trend of rising asset prices and lowering interest rates finally reversed itself (in July, 2020)…so has a two-centuries trend of growing US imperial power (circa 1999). And now the combination…bad money, bad policies…and the natural tendency of white shoes to look for mud…will set off a whole ‘cluster’ of terrible things. One of them is the creation of a huge new rival — India, China and Russia combined — aiming to take the US down a peg.
Power corrupts. And now the corruption has gotten into the heart of the US system. Here, we admit a prejudice. We rather liked the Old Republic…the one we were born into. It was far from perfect, but it was still tolerable.
The long march
But we’re an empire now. Citizens do not influence it; they are influenced by it. They do not control it; they are controlled by it. And they don’t use it to pursue their own happiness; they are used by it, for the happiness of others.
The others are the elite. From universities to the Deep State, they form what Italian economist Antonio Gramsci described as a ‘hegemon’. That is, they all believe more or less the same things…and work together, the great and the good, to make sure the imperial power expands…and rewards them all.
And they do this no matter who you vote for. A new book by David Rothkopf, American Resistance, (inadvertently) lets the cat out of the bag. In it, we see that Deep State insiders are not about to be put off course by democracy.
Donald Trump was clearly elected president in 2016. The people spoke; the feds didn’t listen. Mr Rothkopf is grateful to the Deep State for thwarting the president. Instead, according to Peter Spiegel’s review of the book, in the weekend Financial Times (FT), Deep State functionaries ‘stood up for their institutions and made sure they did the important and sometimes difficult work of governing properly’.
Governing properly means getting the results the Deep State elite wanted. Not what the voters wanted. Mr Rothkopf was appalled when the Trumpers contested the results of the 2020 election. He, along with almost all elite commentators rushed to tell us how the protestors ‘endangered democracy’. Perhaps they didn’t notice…or want to admit…that the US’s democracy had already been corrupted, by themselves…into a government of the elite, by the elite and for the elite. Americans still vote. But the Old Republic disappeared years ago. And the system of checks and balances, written into the constitution, has long since gone too.
The FT review tells us that Anthony Fauci had to find ‘workarounds’ to ‘keep the American pandemic response from veering out of control’. Then, Fiona Hill, a ‘Russian expert’ on the US payroll, had to prevent Trump from ‘warping American foreign policy’. Ms Hill describes how she and Rex Tillerson, Mr Trump’s own Secretary of State, manipulated the president:
‘So, we tried to find a way we could work, in some way, with his desire… to have an arms control deal, while still kind of keeping his other impulses [for having a civilized relationship with Putin] under control, managing how he got information and how choices were presented to him.’
So, thanks to these Deep State apparatchiks, we didn’t get an arms control deal with Russia. Instead, we got sanctions…and war. Well done, all!
And today, Hill, Fauci, Tillerson…and thousands of others — are not ashamed of having perverted democracy. They’re proud of it. Because they know better than ‘the People’. It is the will of the Deep State elite that matters.
More tomorrow, on what the elite want…and where it leads…
For The Daily Reckoning Australia