Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Cold War Another Sign of Neoliberalism's Collapse

In a post I do on Fridays called Hippies vs. Punks I explore the spiritual platform (in Schopenhauer's sense that music is pure spirit) of the industrialized Western world when our current listing, foundering political-economic paradigm was inaugurated. That paradigm, neoliberalism, has been dominant for 40 years; but for the last 15, it has lurched from crisis to crisis, from economic meltdown to war back to economic crisis. During this 15-year period it has been well known by both the ruling elite and a significant segment of those who are ruled that the planet is experiencing a man-made ecological crisis, what is being called "The Sixth Extinction."

The paradigm, neoliberalism -- defined by a worship of markets and mammon, a concentration of wealth in the 1%, the immiseration of the 99%, brutal wars of choice and record numbers of displaced persons -- is obviously bankrupt. Not only is it bankrupt and destructive to life on the planet, it is anachronistic. The United States has in little over a year reestablished a Cold War with Russia, the thawing of which 25 years ago was probably the greatest triumph of the neoliberal paradigm.

David Herszenhorn reports in "Russia Assails Extension of E.U. Sanctions in Ukraine Crisis":
MOSCOW — Kremlin officials reacted furiously Monday to the European Union’s extension of sanctions on Russia through January, calling the measure self-defeating and accusing the West of crass anti-Russian bias by timing the decision to the nation’s commemoration of the Soviet victims of World War II. 
The Russian government said it would retaliate with an extension of countersanctions in response to the decision by European Unionforeign ministers, at a meeting in Luxembourg, which had been widely expected after European ambassadors reached a tentative agreement last week in Brussels. Russia had lobbied against the renewal of sanctions, which were first imposed in July 2014 in response to the Kremlin’sinvasion and annexation of Crimea.
“We are deeply disappointed that once again the opinion of the Russophobic lobby, which pushed through the decision to extend illegal restrictions, dominated in the E.U.,” the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Aleksandr K. Lukashevich, said in the statement. “At the same time, in Brussels they are deliberately tight-lipped about the fact that this is guaranteed to be followed by hundreds of thousands of Europeans, or millions, according to some estimates, losing their jobs.”
Mr. Lukashevich also complained that the West was placing unfair responsibility on Russia for carrying out the Ukraine cease-fire agreement, which was signed in February in Minsk, Belarus. Russia has long insisted that the Ukrainian government bears the largest responsibility for the failure so far to put the accord in effect.
“The E.U. keeps laying all the responsibility over the implementation of the Minsk agreements on the Russian side,” Mr. Lukashevich said. “The absurdity of this approach has been long clear to everyone. The key to the internal Ukrainian crisis was and still remains in the hands of Kiev, which is not hurrying to implement its responsibilities.” 
As for the timing of the announcement, Mr. Lukashevich added: “It looks especially cynical that the decision to extend the anti-Russian sanctions was taken by the E.U. states on June 22, the day when fascist Germany attacked the U.S.S.R. We would like to believe that this is a coincidence, and not an intentionally planned step.”
Couple this with a story from Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers, "NATO Returns Its Attention to an Old Foe, Russia," and you get the picture that the New Cold War is here to stay:
It has involved a marked increase in training rotations on territory of the newer NATO allies in the east, and stepped up patrols of the air and seas from the Baltic to the Black Sea intended to counter an increase of patrols by Russian forces around NATO’s periphery. 
Most of those are temporary deployments. But in February, NATO announced that it would set up six new command units within the Eastern allies and create a 5,000-strong rapid reaction “spearhead” force. 
And the Pentagon now plans to preposition heavy American tanks and other weaponry in Eastern Europe for the first time, prompting unease in some quarters ahead of the NATO defense ministers’ meetings, and strong protests from Moscow that coincided with an announcement by President Vladimir V. Putin that he was bolstering Russia’s arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons
With the leaders of NATO’s 28 members scheduled to gather in Warsaw for an important summit meeting next year, the alliance is now considering what other measures are needed to adjust its forces, to increase spending that had plummeted as part of a “peace dividend,” and to revisit NATO’s military strategy and planning.
Soon "megadeath" will return to regular usage in our vocabulary as both the U.S. and Russia upgrade their nuclear arsenals.

Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize POTUS, will see his legacy defined as the leader who recreated the Cold War; hopefully when he is remembered he will be thought of with a feeling of nausea. Neoliberal leaders will go to any length to maintain their failed system.

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