by Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Craig Roberts:
If Martyanov makes a mistake, it is assuming facts matter to deluded, exceptional, indispensable, hegemonic American policymakers—PCR
Here are few numbers, we’ll start with two: 447 million and 4.67 billion. These two numbers speak volumes, and are in the foundation of the America’s decline and increasingly irrational behavior which may, quoting Bachman Turner Overdrive’s famous hit, get us to the point of a proverbial ain’t seen nothing yet. The first number is a population of European Union, while the second one is a population of Asia. Asia’s population constitutes around 60% of all the world’s population. Second place in this count is taken by Africa, around 1.37 billion, and the third–by Latin America and Caribbean with respectable 659 million which is considerably larger still than the population of the European Union. The Northern America’s population is around 371 million, which in the larger scheme of things doesn’t look that impressive. In fact, it isn’t.
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The history of colonialism—I deliberately omit here this qualifier “Western”, there were all kinds of colonialisms—as related to classic capitalism was more than just about exploitation of colonies for the benefit of metropole. While images of extraction of natural resources from colonies and shipping those to metropoles are correct, they do not form a complete picture. In the end, colonies were viewed as markets where metropole would sell its products. The larger the colony, the more numerous its population was, the larger was the market for products manufactured in metropole. This all made a complete, however often bloody, economic sense in the times of a good ol’ industrial capitalism when metropole would get resources from colony and turn them into finished product and then will ship this finished product, with a huge value added, to be sold in colony. For Native Americans who sold Manhattan to Dutch in 1626 for allegedly, and hotly contested by historians, $24 worth in finished goods, whatever was offered was a huge value for them because they could not produce those items, be that, as mythology states, shiny glass beads or whatever else much more technologically advanced Dutch would offer them. That is how it worked more or less for centuries. The more and better items one produced the richer one would become. That is until FIRE economy and simulacrum of the post-industrialism were revealed to the world by people most of who would have difficulty passing a general contractor exam, not to speak of getting industrial engineering degree.
Fast forward to May 2000 to the passage of House Resolution 4444 China Trade Bill. In one of the most profoundly mindless and ignorant statements of America’s foreign and economic policy, Bill Clinton proclaimed that:
“Today the House of Representatives has taken an historic step toward continued prosperity in America, reform in China and peace in the world. If the Senate votes as the House has just done, to extend permanent normal trade relations with China, it will open new doors of trade for America and new hope for change in China. Seven years ago, when I became president, I charted a new course for a new economy—a course of fiscal discipline, investment in our people and open trade. I have always believed that by opening markets abroad we open opportunities at home. We’ve worked hard to advance that goal of more open and more fair trade since 1993, all the way up to the landmark legislation I signed just a few days ago to expand trade with Africa and the Caribbean Basin.”
Cringeworthy in its sheer falsity and insufferable pathos—the economic equivalent of Chamberlain’s “Peace in Our Time” 1938 proclamation, after signing the Munich capitulation to Hitler—Clinton’s declaration rattled even those who otherwise wouldn’t even pay much attention to the economic affairs of the United States. China, wasn’t upset; why would it be? Both NAFTA and China’s accession to the WTO served as a massive vacuum cleaner sucking the life from American industries and, to be sure, these weren’t banking or financial consulting “industries” which were being shipped abroad. American manufacturing started to leave its own shores. America started to lose its only tool which was and even today remains the only valid mean to an end of economic prosperity—manufacturing capacity. A concept which is beyond the grasp of most American economists and political pseudo-scientists most of who today wear Chinese tailored suits, carry iPhones manufactured in China and use laptops and PCs assembled there as well.
To be sure, America still produces some things—civilian aircraft, as an example. But since the whole Boeing 737 Max affair, which can only be described in strongest profanity, the shining from the polished outward façade of Boeing is largely gone and the stalwart of the American commercial aviation has de facto lost competition to its EU rival Airbus. Cars? Sure. America still remains competitive at manufacturing trucks. The rest? America’s sedans are not competitive and lose out to Japanese and Korean car makers both domestically and internationally, enough to take a look at Ford losing Russian market to Asian, Russian and EU automakers, with the last Ford Focus plant closed in Russia recently. In other, rather startling development, America’s main soft power export, Hollywood is losing its piercing power in China and in Russia. In fact, it is not just losing it, it already lost it. If such a proposition would have been laughed at 20 years ago, the fact that Russian-made movies dominate today Russia’s box office is accepted as absolutely normal. Same is true for Chinese movie market, so much so, that Hollywood is forced to pander to China to have a shot at gigantic Chinese movie audience. Even before the pandemic, Hollywood performance was not impressive and was on decline. Hollywood’s “values” of a radical feminism, anti-male misogyny and promotion of the sexual deviancy are hardly in demand in largely conservative Chinese and Russian societies.
Sure, there are some items which the United States manufactures today which are in demand, or, if one gets to the reality of it all, forcefully imposed on customers—America’s hugely overpriced and dubiously effective weapon systems. This is what remains of once America’s mighty industrial plant which could produce anything from socks and kitchen combines to good combat and excellent commercial aircraft. Today this capacity is no more, since it is China who is the world’s consumer goods main manufacturer, and the only way the United States is capable to secure any market for its weapons is to retain Europe, NATO that is, as its main customer and vassal. NATO will gladly (if not, color revolutions are a good tool for convincing those who have doubts) “buy” America’s weapons and “defense” of Europe, but America needs Europeans to believe that hordes of democracy-hating, only two-gender accepting, backward bearded Russian Ivans are ready to pounce to deny Europe her favorite values of a complete sexual depravity, her cities, also known as dirty multicultural cloacae and declining economy for the reasons only Americans know, while Russians overwhelmingly, especially Russian youth do not want to identify themselves as Europeans.
So, to convince those 447 million EU’s residents that they need America’s protection and weapons, America needs Russia to get into the war in Ukraine and if it will end up with utter destruction, and it will if Russia really decides so, of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and, likely, Ukrainian statehood, so be it. Americans never really cared how many aborigines die, as long as it works for the US bottom line. Or, if one may, a condition of American condition, which is deteriorating steadily because not only the United States increasingly has very little of substance, that is of high value added, to sell to the world, but forming economic and military monster of Eurasia removes the United States from its, grossly exaggerated to start with, self-proclaimed status of global hegemon to the status of, at best, one of the few big shots on the planet. At worst, the United States is removed from Eurasia as a viable competitor and is relegated to a status of a regional power—still powerful relative to its continental neighbors but not having a shot at this second number of 4.67 billion. This is a big chunk of population and customers. Now imagine if the United States loses EU. Suddenly 4.67 billion become 4.67 billion + 447 million = 5.117 billion, it is 65% of Earth’s population. It is a huge majority of world’s population and, most importantly, population much of which can pay for goods, unlike it is the case with gigantic population of Africa. Moreover, this population is concentrated within a single continental mass which is insulated from the United States by two oceans. The United States cannot allow this consolidation of the market to happen and the loss of Europe, Washington’s thinking goes, is tantamount to capitulation. So, the United States must hold on to EU, or whatever it will become once EU inevitably collapses, and NATO remains the only tool to drive European weaklings into submission. Making Russia obliterate Ukrainian Armed Forces is a perfect way to scare Europeans into abandoning any attempts to economically compete with the United States and deny them access to Russia’s energy.