…russia, economy and international affairs…

…professionalism and jingoism…

The powers of analysis seem to desert many a US expert once the propaganda of the US MSM gets going, and especially so, in regard to Russia. In the area of, say, economics such experts do hold forth robustly. Yet as soon as international affairs enter the discussion indoctrinated irrationality seems to capture the thought process. That irrationality may be better described as mindless  jingoism.

In contrast, Dean Baker, US economist of solid international repute and respect, is one who seems to be forever tilting at windmills, correcting the continual inaccuracies, even misinformation and disinformation, of the US MSM. The task is especially daunting when it comes to Russia; and more so with the mention of the name of its President Vladmir Putin.Though the information is all there and readily accessible, the US MSM pursues its agenda of misleading those credulous who still rely on it for news.

And Baker only recently had to correct blatant inaccuracies put forth by the US NPR on corruption in Russia. In his beat the press blog, he posts, NPR Gets Putin and Russian Economic Growth and Corruption Backwards. He remarks on what should have been well known,

This was also a period in which Russia’s economy collapsed. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, Russia’s economy shrank by almost 30 percent during President Yeltsin’s tenure. (This is about six times the drop in GDP the U.S. saw in the Great Recession.) Since Putin came to power in 1999 it has more than doubled in size.

 A chart emphasises his point. In addition, most econ students in the US and elsewhere would, on doing comparisons of the economies of Russia and China, know of the role of the US government’s USAID, Harvard University, and a hapless Boris Yeltsin in the catastrophic implosion of the Russian economy. The rapid decline in life expectancy, rapid rise in unemployment, homelessness and alcoholism, and the rapid rise of the oligarchs, the evidence all there from the decade of the 90s.

Another economist weighs in. This time on the root cause of the current US-Ukraine debacle. And here David Warsh illustrates the importance of the role of politics (and even philosophy), especially in macroeconomics and international economics. Over at his economic principals blog, he posts Two Views of Russia. And he gets to the cause of the crisis with,

Perhaps the single most intriguing mystery of the Ukrainian crisis has to do with how the Foreign Service officer who served as deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney for two years, starting on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, became the Obama administration’s point person on Russia in 2014.

It takes no great leap of imagination to discern a coincidence of philosophy of the so called ‘neo-cons’ and the ‘liberals’, the corporate Democratic and the corporate Republican parties.

In stark contrast we have another economist, Noah Smith. His obvious substantial expertise in economics pales into insignificance when he attempts to interpret and analyse foreign affairs. It is no more evident than in the title of his post, How to beat Russia. And he proceeds along as if this were some video game that can be restarted and replayed with no victims. He proffers facetiously,

Geostrategic analysis is so easy, anyone can do it. Just make some historical analogies, lean a little too heavily (but subtly!) on national stereotypes, and try to sound smart. Anyone can get into this game! So why not Yours Truly?

OK, so what is Russia up to in Ukraine, and what can we do about it? Let’s think about this.

‘OK, so what is Russia up to in Ukraine’? Russia? Not the US, not the EU? Undeterred by inexperience in, and unfamiliarity with, the complexities of international relations, he recommends,

And in the meantime, we should of course try to destabilize Russia by creating disruptive cheap energy technologies. Another option is to welcome mass immigration from Russia, thus decreasing the size and power of the Russian ethnic group in the long term.

[bold added for emphasis]

Something to be said for maturity. The ‘good guys’ nonsense suggests an upbringing framed by comic book super heroes who are all of the US, even Superman ‘with his Truth, Justice, and the American (US) Way’. [Undeterred Smith would return with The Axis is back, where the ‘villains’, the ‘bad guys’, are China, Russia and Iran]

Indeed, we let Robert Parry put paid to the sophomoric nonsense about Russia and Putin. He examines the consequences of the Pandora’s Box the US (with the EU) opened around 22 Feb 2014. One plague is a US-EU ally in its misadventure. As Parry suggests,  Sidestepping Ukraine’s ‘N-Word’ for Nazi. He quotes the Telegraph, conservative and still more professional newspaper than some leading US newspapers.

Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a recent commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

[bold added for emphasis]

This Azov gentleman leads one of the groups causing mayhem in eastern Ukraine. And he and others of his ilk, creatures unleashed by the US-EU, will not fade away, voluntarily. And it is now up to Russia to prevent further instability, even war, in the region and beyond.

…there is something to that RT exhortation,  ‘Question More’…

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