During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, many of his contemporaries believed that his anti-Soviet rhetoric was excessive and in fact dangerous. However, not even in the lowly depths of Reagan’s infamous 1983 “evil empire” speech did his anti-Soviet rhetoric become as exaggerated as the demonization of Russia in the western media routinely is today.
You may be wondering why I draw this comparison. I do so for the following reason – I believe that the post-2008 gradual devolvement of western discourse concerning Russia to the levels of Russophobic hysteria which we see today is actually an economic barometer. Reagan was most certainly a rabidly anti-communist, ideologically driven cold-warrior, and every senior member of his administration was an amoral imperialist.
But by comparison with the past few years at least, his anti-Soviet rhetoric seems measured in hindsight. But then again, Reagan could afford to play a far more slow-and-steady geo-strategic game with the Soviet Union. He could afford to be patient, and to set his rhetorical pitch accordingly, primarily because the world was more abundant in natural resources then than it is now.
The planned destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991 made a wave of American FDI worldwide possible, in which both the wider world’s human and natural resources could be exploited without restraint. It simultaneously made EU-enlargement possible, and this has been the basis for a steady increase in German industrial output at the expense, in particular, of most of the EU’s newer member-states.
The central purpose of EU-enlargement was the de-industrialization and economic colonization of post-communist central Europe. However, all of this has laid the basis for the global economic and geo-strategic situation wherein we find ourselves today. Financial capitalism is ultimately cannibalistic. An economy based primarily on financial services is unsustainable in the long term, as the financial crises which have beset the western world since 2008 demonstrate. Once the human and natural resources of Africa and Asia have been exhaustively exploited, how can the overly-financialized model of western capitalism continue to source the de facto material subsidies which it needs to survive?
There are only three remaining zones which are currently not under western neo-colonial control – China, outer space, and most of the post-Soviet space.
Currently, the technological capacity to economically colonize the cosmos does not exist, and it may never exist, and a repetition of the creeping economic colonization of China which occurred between the 1820’s and 1949 is systemically and geo-strategically impossible. By a process of elimination, the overly-financialized model of western capitalism, in order to prolong its survival, must attempt the economic re-colonization of the post-Soviet space as a matter of urgency.
The west today cannot play the patient geo-strategic game which the Reagan administration could, but this is in itself partially because of the over-financialization of the capitalist model which the Reagan administration enabled through the radical deregulation of the financial sector. In fact, we can say that even describing the economic crises which have beset the western world since 2008 as “financial crises” is, in itself, an ideological sleight of hand.
The phrase “financial crisis” implies that the crisis pertains exclusively to purely virtual assets. This in itself is a form of wishful thinking. The systemic crisis is much deeper and more real than that – what ultimately drives it is dwindling natural resources in the wider world. No mere reform of financial institutional structures will fix the underlying problem.
Compare the following present-day indices:
France – Unemployment 9%. Youth unemployment 22%. Public debt per capita €36,000. Trade-Deficit €78 billion. Debt to GDP ratio 97%
Portugal – Unemployment 7%. Youth unemployment 24%. Public debt per capita €27,000. Trade-Deficit €18 billion. Debt to GDP ratio 127%
Spain – Unemployment 15%. Youth unemployment 33%. Public debt per capita €28,000. Trade-Deficit €34 billion. Debt to GDP ratio 98%
Italy – Unemployment 10%. Youth unemployment 33%. Public debt per capita €42,000. Trade-Surplus €47 billion. Debt to GDP ratio 132%
United States – Unemployment 4%. Youth unemployment 9%. Public debt per capita $68,000. Trade-Deficit $619 billion. Debt to GDP ratio 105%
Russia – Unemployment 5%. Youth unemployment 16%. Public debt per capita $1,400. Trade-Surplus $210 billion. Debt to GDP ratio 13%
Critics of contemporary Russophobic hysteria in the western media often analyze the demonization of Russia primarily in terms of pathology. The west’s aggressive liberal universalism, and its collective virtue-signalling, is often seen in terms of a western liberal collective super-ego which has become unhinged. It is seen as a collective pathology, manifested in civilizational and ideological terms. This somewhat Nietzschean explanation, whereby the western super-ego gradually hollows itself out, is valid, yet still incomplete. The point which it overlooks is that western demonization of Russia is also a prolonged, overarching psy-op.
It is a pathological reaction to a much deeper systemic dysfunction within western financial capitalism. It is part of a process of long-term ideological preparation for aggression against Russia, a precursor to attempted economic re-colonization. This preparation requires propagandizing the population of the western world, while at the same time deliberately sabotaging the educational system in order to make the rank-and-file citizenry increasingly susceptible to propaganda.
As profoundly dangerous as this strategy is to international security, it is the only way that the western model of financial capitalism can attempt to prolong its survival. The hysterical demonization of Russia which we currently see in western media is one particular ideological phenomenon which Marxist diamat-analysis provides a useful explanatory framework for. That is to say, the demonization of Russia in western liberal propaganda is a development at the level of ideological superstructure, in reaction to changing conditions in the underlying economic base.