Get in your time machine and let me take you to another era.
Outside the window — may 2001, and that brought the number of the magazine The Atlantic. Me teasing the announcement on the cover. “Russia came to an end,” reports the journal. In the heading of the straight line reads: “the Unstoppable descent into social catastrophe and the loss of strategic importance”. Is the country that me as a soldier was most disturbed all those dark years of the cold war, the famous “evil Empire” that threatened our destruction, actually came to an end, even in its Russian, not a Soviet uniform?
Sixteen years later made in the article, the claims seem a bit premature. In modern Russia, of course, has its own problems, starting with poverty, environmental pollution and prostitution and ending unstable, based on the hydrocarbon economy. But on the geopolitical world stage is no longer possible to say that the country “has come to an end.” Vladimir Putin’s Russia in recent years has increased the effect and it happened largely due to the fragmented and uncooperative superpower, which now itself seems to be in a state of “steadily falling”.
16 years after Russia was declared obsolete vanishing country, it again became a colossus, a giant — at least on the American political scene. But it should disturb you far less than this: 30 years after victory over the Soviet Union in the cold war, the United States sample 2017 seems to be doing everything possible to surpass your former enemy and once competed with them a superpower that, in the worst aspects.
Yes, the US has a “Soviet problem.” I don’t mean the scandal, which is now focused on the most attention in Washington. I don’t mean the allegations that the electoral headquarters of the trump and the Russian officials were in collusion, that maybe staff through associated with Putin, Russian oligarchs have received the money that the Russian through cyberattacks interfered with elections in the United States to help Donald Trump. I’m not talking about accusations that the inner circle of the elected President wanted to create a secret channel for communication with Moscow, and suggested the Ambassador to do so on the basis of the Russian diplomatic mission, or that Putin really had any real influence on Donald trump.
All this, of course, is media, and among political scientists, analysts, and other people, forming public opinion, attention, and outrage. Some even speak of a new “red menace” in America. The investigation in this direction are the committees of both houses of Congress on intelligence, and the special Prosecutor (former FBI Director) Robert Mueller. (Robert Mueller).
However, the identification of what they say, I need neither the Committee nor spectacular, no secret communication channel or an informant of some intelligence Agency. Regardless of what did or did not make officials of the electoral headquarters of the trump, the Russian oligarchs or Putin himself, the Soviet problem of America is all around us. This creeping (and creepy) form of authoritarianism that needs to know everyone who lived during the cold war. It includes the destruction of democratic values and the ever-expanding powers of the police state, acting as a shadow government. It is characterized by militarism, surveillance, secrecy, prisons and other structures designed for domination and control, the growing gap between the handful of the most wealthy and a huge number of those who are impoverished. And, of course, still a lot of weapons and wars.
This is a real “red menace”, and America, and it exists right here in our own country.
In February, if you remember (although, considering the flow of news, polonowita, rumors and innuendo, who are now able to recall?), Donald trump is known to compare USA with Russia. When bill O’reilly (Bill O’reilly) in an interview with the new President called Vladimir Putin a “murderer”, he replied that between us and them is not much of a difference, since the U.S. also has its murderers and because we’re not so innocent when it comes to international Affairs. (“There are a lot of killers. Do you think that our country is so innocent?”, — then said the President). The President carried a lot of crazy things in his first month of tenure, but this time he said something sensible.
My secret briefing on the Soviet Union
In 1986, when I was a young air force Lieutenant I (if memory serves me right) was present at a secret briefing on the Soviet Union. The President was Ronald Reagan (Ronald Reagan), and we had no idea that we are experiencing the last years of the cold war. Then, believing that I should know your enemy, I read a lot about the Soviet Union in the “open sources” — in books, journals and Newspapers. “Classified” briefing, which I attended, I learned something really new for myself (the concept of “classified information” is often exaggerated). Of course, I did not hear bold predictions about the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later (although the Soviet Union really collapsed in 1991). Those who led the briefing, like nearly all people at that time believed that the USSR was our sworn enemy more than a decade and that the Berlin wall would be a constant element of reality in a divided Europe and the eternal symbol of the ruthless Communist dictatorship.
We could not have imagined that three years later, the Soviet military will stand by while East Germans demolished the wall. And who would believe that after 30-40 years the President of the United States will be elected the man who promised to build a “big, fat, beautiful wall” on our border with Mexico?
I was not allowed to take notes during the briefing, but I remember the impression I had from what was said. It seemed to me that the Soviet Union is an authoritarian, leading to total surveillance state, whose economy depends on selling weapons abroad. I was told that the Soviet Union is striving for nuclear supremacy that it is a country of imperialist and expansionist and harasses its critics and dissidents that he had serious internal problems, carefully hidden for the sake of world domination. Mentioned, in particular, about such issues as mass alcoholism and drug addiction, poor health and lower life expectancy (especially among men), poisoned environment and a massive prison Gulag system. All this was aggravated by severe problems abroad — particularly expensive and the stalled war in Afghanistan, and dependent States, which absorbed resources of the USSR (it was about Cuba), but little is offered in return.
This list of Soviet-era issues, 1986, must look familiar, as it sounds uncannily like a description of what is wrong in America today.
If you think I’m pretty exaggerating, let’s take the characteristics of that briefing (eight points) and analyze them.
1. Authoritarian leading surveillance state
The last time Congress formally declared war in 1941. Since then, American presidents resort to war and intervention abroad more and more often, and control of the Congress is becoming less. The powers of the Executive bodies continue to grow. The result strengthens the system of “Imperial presidency” with amazing surveillance technologies that significantly strengthened after the September 11 attacks. In America today there are 17 intelligence agencies, the total annual budget is $ 80 billion. No wonder the Americans are now watching like never before, and this is done supposedly for our safety, despite the fact that such a system engenders resignation and stifles dissent.
2. The economy, dependent on weapons sales abroad
The United States continues to occupy a leading position in the global arms trade. There is no doubt that the main objective of recent visit of the President of trump was the conclusion of the Saudi Arabia transaction for the sale of weapons worth $ 110 billion. During this same trip, he told the Emir of Qatar, located in the middle East in order to contribute to “buying a large number of fine military equipment.” And now is the perfect American-made weapons is an important driver of domestic economic growth and foreign policy of the country.
3. The pursuit of nuclear supremacy
Continuing the policy of President Obama administration trump intends to spend the next 30-35 years, large-scale modernization of the US nuclear Arsenal, having invested at least one trillion dollars. As any representative of the Soviet government of the “old guard”, trump boasted that in matters relating to nuclear weapons, America will always remain “the head of the pack”.
4. Imperialist and expansionist country
Historians say about America as “informal” Empire, meaning that the United States is, in practical terms, are not as actively and not as large as empires like Rome and Britain. But the fact that the US has 800 foreign military bases, or that every year the us special forces being moved in 130 or more countries of the world, there is nothing “informal” or “not practical”. When the U.S. military talking about a global scale, the global power and dominance in all spheres, it’s traditional imperialism, hidden behind catchy phrases. In other words, Soviet imperialism, the fear that the American leaders did not hide such a scale is never reached.
5. The persecution of critics and dissidents
Remember the use of the patriot act (Federal law enacted in the USA in October 2001, which enables the government and the police broad powers to oversee the citizens — approx. TRANS.) in the reign of George W. Bush, prosecution of whistleblowers under President Obama based on “the espionage Act” during the First world war or the blackening of the media the new administration trump. All this suggests that the US is much less tolerant of dissent than before the collapse of the Soviet Union. As recently expressed by the Minister of internal security and a retired marine General John Kelly (John Kelly), commenting on the reports about the administration of the tramp, written based on anonymous sources, such diversion “is damn close to treason.” Add to this the attacks trump at media (which he calls “enemy” people) and aggressive statements in relation to important news (which he calls “fake”) and you’ll see that the ground for further suppression of dissent is ready.
In the Soviet Union, political opponents often were threatened with jail or worse, and people in the military form or in the form of intelligence these threats regularly performed. In this context, let us not forget the calls of “jail her!” sounded from the mouth of Lieutenant-General in the resignation of Michael Flynn during the national Convention of the Republican party and against Hillary Clinton. She at the time was a political opponent of Donald trump.
6. Internal problems — addiction, poor health services and a poisoned environment
Alcoholism in Russia is still widespread, and environmental problems. But look at the United States. The result of opium addiction in the country die every year more than 30 thousand people. Lead poisoning in cities like flint, Michigan, and New Orleans, causing young people irreparable harm. Disposal of wastewater generated from shale gas extraction method of hydraulic fracturing is causing earthquakes in Ohio and Oklahoma. Even against the background of rising environmental hazards, the administration trump rages against the Agency for the protection of the environment. With the deepening of the crisis in health care administration trump with the filing of the Republican-led Congress is trying to reduce the size of health insurance payments, benefits and funding, which would protect Americans from deadly pathogens. It is alarming that in the United States, as in the Soviet Union during the collapse, reducing the life expectancy of the white population. This is mainly the result of drug abuse, suicides, and other issues that arise in a state of despair.
7. A massive prison system
No country in the world (as a percentage) behind bars doesn’t sit as many people in the United States. Despite the fact that prisons languish, more than two million of their compatriots, the Americans continue to consider their country a beacon of freedom, not paying attention to the prison located at the U.S. base in Cuba guantánamo Bay. In addition, now the country’s authorities have is a President who believes in the effectiveness of torture, calls for murder of families of terrorists and wants to send Guantanamo Bay prisoners new. He also has an attorney General who wants to make prison sentences for drug crimes of small gravity even more draconian.
8. War, stalled
Does the USSR have to give credit to. He, at least, has learned lessons from its disastrous war in Afghanistan and why the Soviet army eventually left the country in 1989, after ten years of enormous losses and disappointments (despite the fact that the troops returned to the country on the verge of collapse). American troops are in Afghanistan for 16 years, and the Taliban (declared a terrorist organization and banned in Russia — approx. ed.) is becoming stronger. However, the reaction of the us military once again is to call for additional funding and sent to Afghanistan with new troops. This is done to resolve this there is “stalemate”. At the same time (after 14 years) cinder third war in Iraq contributes to the devastation of cities like Mosul, even though its destabilizing results can be seen in Syria and throughout the greater middle East in General. Despite these disastrous results (or rather because of them), the leaders of the United States continue to transfer excessive numbers of special forces that leads to the exhaustion of troops and is responsible for high level of suicides among soldiers.
In the light of what is listed in these eight paragraphs, frivolous song Beatles during the cold war (Back in the USSR) acquires a new and much more severe the sense.
What to do?
Slowly and, it seems, inevitably the United States are becoming more similar to the former Soviet Union. Here are just some common traits that make US similar to the USSR. The needs of the army and the police state has too many resources. “Extremely important” generals get too much power in the government. Continue like bleeding ulcers of the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Continues the destruction of infrastructure (roads, bridges, pipelines, dams and so on). Turbulent “Republic” complain and threaten to leave the country (think about the threat of “Calexico” branch from USA California!). Rampant drug abuse and reduced life expectancy are now for Americans, a harsh reality. The last President of the United States, by its nature, authoritarian, and public service at the top of the smack of nepotism.
I am concerned about, comrade! Echoing the words of the great Lenin, I ask the question: “What to do?” Considering all these symptoms, I cite the obvious method of de-Sovietization of America consisting of ten steps:
1. Each year to reduce “defense” spending by 10% over the next five years. If you follow the spirit of the Soviet Union, consider that it’s five-year plan to restore our revolution (“the American revolution”), which was directed against the Imperial policy implemented by our “bellsystem” king (the author of the original uses the word bigly that does not exist in the English language and that trump used to talk about the growth of defense spending in the USA approx. TRANS.).
2. Reduce by half the number of generals and admirals in the army and get rid of all these senseless ribbons, badges and medals they wear. That is, it is necessary not just to reduce the size of the Supreme command, but to temper the desire of generals to look (and all the bowl — act) like the Soviet generals of the past. And not allow them to hold high public office as long as from the time of their retirement does not pass at least ten years.
3. To withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and other war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa. To reduce this imperialist presence overseas by closing costly bases.
4. To work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide by reducing (as a first step) the huge U.S. Arsenal in half and the rejection of the program “modernization,” which is worth a trillion dollars. First you need to eliminate land-based ICBMs. As means a serious and effective deterrent, they are no longer needed.
5. Use the money saved on the “modernization” of nuclear weapons, investing in upgrading the infrastructure of America.
6. To stop the practice of state surveillance. For the prosperity of freedom, the right to privacy. As a nation we must remember that the basis of democracy is not security, and the U.S. Constitution.
7. To work on reducing drug use, getting rid of criminal prosecution for their use. We need to abandon the “war on drugs” and focus on providing drug addicts with more effective treatment programs. You need to set a goal to halve the number of prisoners in the United States in the next ten years.
8. Life expectancy will increase with the improvement of the medical care system. To provide health insurance for all who use the common insurance system. Every American should have the same insurance as a member of Congress. People should not suffer and die due to the fact that they can’t afford to go to the doctor or pay for medication prescribed by the doctor.
9. There is nothing more important for “national security” than clean air and water. It is foolish and imprudent to put the country at risk, poisoning the environment for the sake of economic efficiency or for the sake of increasing the armed forces. If you doubt this, ask the citizens of Russia and the former Soviet republics, which are still struggling with the effects of the disastrous environmental policies of the Soviet era.
10. Congress must defend its constitutional rights in matters concerning the war and budget, and begin to act on the principle of “checks and balances” — as it should be, when it comes to Executive power.
That’s all. These ten steps to a greater or lesser extent contribute to the solution of a real “Russian” problems of America. Join us, comrades!