…by Jonas E. Alexis and Dmitry Orlov
Dmitry Orlov was born and raised in Leningrad, USSR and immigrated to the United States in the mid-seventies. He was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late eighties and mid-nineties.
Dmitry is an engineer who has contributed to fields as diverse as high-energy Physics and Internet security. He is the author of numerous books, including Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects and Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency and Freedom.
JEA: You have written some interesting things over the past few years. You maintain that “a sea change in international relations had occurred, heralding the end of America’s unipolar moment when it could dictate terms to the entire world.” Expand on that for us here.
DO: The US is no longer in a position to dictate its terms to the world because it has become far too ridiculous. Politically, the attempts to spread “freedom and democracy” by overthrowing various governments around the world (Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, the Ukraine) has been a litany of failure, while the recent elections, which, in a lengthy process and at a fantastic expense, failed to elect a crooked woman who leaked state secrets, and succeeded in electing an incompetent real estate tycoon who has been rendered powerless by Washington’s entrenched bureaucracy, has made the US political establishment the laughingstock of the world.
Economically, the US has experienced stagnant wages for several generations now, staggering levels of wealth inequality and steady demise of the once prosperous middle class. Militarily, the US has by far the most expensive military establishment in the world, but also one of the most incompetent; it is only able to blow things up and kill lots of civilians (as it has recently done in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria).
Socially, it has been in the grip of a “social justice” war which has prioritized the needs of various marginal groups above those of the majority and has made it look ridiculous in the eyes of most of the world. And while previously all of these problems could be hidden behind a veil of propaganda, the advent of the internet throughout much of the world has made the truth impossible to obscure.
In the meantime, the US officialdom has done nothing to change its tactics. It still assumes that it and only it possesses the correct set of “universal values” and has the God-given right to impose them on the rest of the world. This it tries to do by stating its demands, imposing economic sanctions if they are not met, and following up with a bombing campaign if the sanctions fail.
But none of this works any more. It is no longer possible to argue that the American way is the best; “We are Number One, do as we say!” might have made some sort of sense, but “We are Number 15, or Number 35 (depending on category), do as we say!” makes no sense at all. And the US no longer controls enough of the global economy to make sanctions work, while bombing campaigns against nuclear-armed adversaries, even relatively small ones, such as North Korea, would be suicidal.
JEA: What are the chances of Putin being reelected this year? Do you think the majority of Russians are satisfied with what he has done over the past few years? What are some of the challenges he has faced and will be facing if he happens to be reelected?
DO: Putin is tremendously popular, and his loyal opposition in the form of the Communists and the Liberal Democrats is not seriously contesting the election but simply attempting to influence the national agenda. All other candidates (and there are lots of them) are within the margin of error and stand no chance at all. A few are being exploited for propaganda purposes.
For instance, Navalny isn’t even eligible to run (being a felon convicted of embezzlement) but is nevertheless portrayed as a viable candidate in Western media. But it is essentially predetermined that Putin will be reelected for another term. He has overseen a successful program of continuous improvement in numerous areas, and the only area where there is, admittedly, a problem, is wages of the general population, which have seen a decrease because of the drop in the value of the national currency, along with oil and gas prices.
Putin has stated that raising the earnings of the population is a top priority for his next term. But in all the Russians are better off now than they were before the last election, and the level of patriotic fervor gripping the country is quite impressive and beyond anything I’ve observed here in the past.
Putin should be able to surf to an easy victory on this wave of newfound national pride in spite of various American efforts to wrong-foot him and game the elections using slanted news coverage, new sanctions and other ploys. In fact, these tactics are likely to misfire just like all of the previous ones.
JEA: Some detractors have accused me of placing too much confidence in Putin. My response is that it is not about confidence at this late hour; it is about challenging the central tenets of the New World Order, which always leads to chaos in the Middle East. Putin certainly has his flaws, but the fact that he has stopped regime change in places like Syria is worthy of applause. Am I wrong on this?
DO: The results of Russian involvement in Syria has been an absolute shock to the Washington establishment and its various fellow-travelers. Turkey, which is now a NATO in name only, and even Saudi Arabia, have been forced to do some serious head-scratching because US foreign policy has completely failed them while American military methods in the region have been a showcase of high-priced impotence.
Russia is now an essential negotiating partner between all middle eastern nations, because it has good diplomatic relations with all of them, while the US has been reduced to shouting from the sidelines and trying to be disruptive. The Americans have been most effective in increasing Putin’s stature as an international statesmen by demonstrating that they have no positive role to play in the region.
JEA: I think this is a sign that Hegel was right. I have been listening to Putin’s lectures and speeches for quite some time now. I am simply appalled when his detractors never want to deal with some of the issues he raises and continue to marshal the old boring and silly arguments such as “Putin is re-establishing the Soviet Union” and so on. The Neocons in America are very good at this. But it seems that the vast majority of Americans aren’t paying attention to this incoherent and worthless argument anymore. Your thoughts on this.
DO: America is a very parochial place. Few Americans travel abroad, and when they do they tend to remain cocooned in their own set of preconceived notions about the world. Very few of them are intellectually equipped to understand the big picture or to accurately perceive global trends. For generations now they have been conditioned to hate and fear “the Russians” and this trope is being continuously exploited by mass media in a concerted effort to “project the shadow” and project onto Russia all that is bad about the US. It seems safe to say that the vast majority of Americans aren’t paying attention to much at all.
JEA: Have you seen Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews? Why do you think the Zionist Media and warmongers in America aren’t responding to it in a logical manner? For example, Jewish writer Masha Gessen wrote an article in the New York Times saying that Putin “seduced Oliver Stone.” The evidence? Well, Gessen provided none. Your response?
DO: I did watch the Stone interviews. I didn’t find them particularly enlightening because I already knew, and mostly agreed with, most of what Putin had to say. They are tremendously embarrassing to Western politicos because no Western leader is anywhere near Putin’s level.
Putin can cogently extemporize on any topic, completely unscripted and spontaneous, drawing on a truly encyclopedic base of knowledge, while his Western counterparts can only read from a teleprompter or recite simplistic and often preposterous mantras. As for Gessen, she is definitely one to ignore, and the less said about her the better.
JEA: I completely agree.
 Masha Gessen, “How Putin Seduced Oliver Stone — and Trump,” NY Times, June 24, 2017.