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The View of Russia in the West

By Paul Craig Roberts | OffGuardian | July 12, 2018

The upcoming Trump/Putin summit is hampered by the crazed portrait of Russia painted by presstitutes. Jonathan Chait, Amy Knight, Max Bergmann, Yaroslav Trofimov, Roger Cohen, and the rest of the conscious or de facto CIA assets that comprise the Western presstitute media have turned Putin into a superhuman who controls election outcomes throughout the West, murders people without rhyme or reason, and has President Trump under his thumb doing Putin’s bidding. Who could imagine a more extreme conspiracy theory?

Jonathan Chait in New York magazine writes that “the dark crevices of the Russia scandal run deep,” so deep that “it would be dangerous not to consider the possibility that the summit is less a negotiation between two heads of state than a meeting between a Russian-intelligence asset and his handler.”

So here is Chait, who brands truth-tellers “conspiracy theorists” coming up with the greatest conspiracy theory of our time that President Trump has been a Kremlim asset since 1987. Chait provides a ”crazy quilt of connections” to illustrate his absurd conspiracy theory that “it’s not necessary to believe that Putin always knew he might install Trump in the Oval Office to find the following situation highly plausible: Sometime in 2015, the Russian president recognized that he had, in one of his unknown number of intelligence files, an inroad into American presidential politics.”

Chait believes that Russia is also behind the UK’s exit from the European Union. “Driving Britain out of the European Union advanced the decades-long Russian goal of splitting Western nations apart, and Russia found willing allies on the British far right.”

Chait gets even more conspiratorial. He admits that Paul Manafort’s indictments for alleged white collar crimes are not related to Trump’s election, having occurred years previously in Ukraine. Nevertheless, Chait is certain that Manafort is shielding Trump even though according to Chait Manafort is facing many years in prison. Why would Manafort shield Trump? Chait’s answer:

One way to make sense of his behavior is the possibility that Manafort is keeping his mouth shut because he’s afraid of being killed. That speculation might sound hyperbolic, but there is plenty of evidence to support it. In February, a video appeared on YouTube showing Manafort’s patron Deripaska on his yacht with a Belarusian escort named Anastasia Vashukevich.”

Chait’s article is long and heavily weighted with innuendo. Chait, or whoever wrote the article, possibly the person who wrote the Steele Dossier, collects every disparaging fact and fantasy about Trump and assembles them in a way to paint a portrait of a person who must also, without much doubt, be a Russian agent. If the public can be convinced of this, the military/security complex can assassinate Trump and blame Putin for getting rid of an asset who was exposed by the Russiagate investigation, no longer useful, and perhaps prepared to spill the beans.

Another conspiracy theorist, Amy Knight, writes that “The real question is where does the Russian criminal state end and the criminal underworld begin, and how do they work together in what amounts to a new murder incorporated?”

Yaroslav Trofimov tells us in the Wall Street Journal (July 7) that “Putin maps out his own empire” to replace the lost Soviet one.

In the Washington Post Max Bergmann tells us that Trump is going to sell out NATO in Helsinki. This line leads to the supposition that Putin is using Trump to unleash the Russian military on Europe. Many conspiracy theorists have come together on the view that first the Baltic States will be invaded and then Putin will move on to Germany and the rest of Europe. The New York Times’ Roger Cohen even pulls Marine Le Pen into the plot which widens to include ethnically cleansing the West of the refugees from Washington’s wars.

This is the level of absurdity that the American media delivers to the public’s understanding of foreign affairs.


Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roger Cohen Defecates On Argentina, Gets Many Things Wrong

By Mark Weisbrot | CEPR Americas Blog | February 28, 2014

Roger Cohen, what a disappointment. He is not Tom Friedman or David Brooks, and shouldn’t be insulting an entire nation based on a clump of tired old clichés and a lack of information. Argentina is “the child among nations that never grew up” he writes, and “not a whole lot has changed” since he was there 25 years ago.  OK, let’s see what we can do to clean up this mess with a shovel and broom made of data.

For Cohen, Argentina since the government defaulted on its debt has been an economic failure. Tens of millions of Argentines might beg to differ.

For the vast majority of people in Argentina, as in most countries, being able to find a job is very important. According to the database of SEDLAC (which works in partnership with the World Bank),  employment as a percentage of the labor force hit peak levels in 2012, and has remained close to there since. This is shown in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1
Argentina: Employment Rate, Percent of Total Population

cohenfig1finaleoSource: SEDLAC (2014).

We can also look at unemployment data from the IMF (Figure 2). Of course the current level of 7.3 percent is far below the levels reached during the depression of 1998-2002, which was caused by the failed neoliberal experiment that the Kirchners did away with – it peaked at 22.5 percent in 2002. But it is also far below the level of the boom years of that experiment (1991-1997) when it averaged more than 13 percent.

FIGURE 2
Argentina: Unemployment Rate
cohenfig2Source: IMF WEO (Oct 2013).

How about poverty? Here is data from SEDLAC (Figure 3), which does not use the official Argentine government’s inflation rate but rather a higher estimate for the years after 2007. It shows a 76.3 percent drop in the poverty rate from 2002-2013, and an 85.7 percent drop in extreme poverty.

FIGURE 3
Argentina: Poverty and Extreme Poverty
cohenfig3Source: SEDLAC (2014).

Most of the drop in poverty was from the very high economic growth (back to that in a minute) and consequent employment. But the government also implemented one of the biggest anti-poverty programs in Latin America, a conditional cash transfer program.

Finally, there is economic growth. In a terribly flawed article today, the Wall Street Journal reported on a soon-to-be published study showing that Argentina’s real (inflation-adjusted) GDP is 12 percent less than the official figures indicate. (As the article noted, the government, in co-operation with the IMF, implemented a new measure of inflation in January, which should resolve this data problem that has existed since 2007). If we assume that the 12 percent figure is correct, then using IMF data Argentina from 2002-2013 still has real GDP growth rate of 81 percent, or 5.6 percent annually. That is the third highest of 32 countries in the region (after Peru and Panama). And incidentally, very little of this growth was driven by a “commodities boom,” or any exports for that matter.

Despite current economic problems, the country that Cohen ridicules has done extremely well by the most important economic and social indicators, since it defaulted on most of its foreign debt and sent the IMF packing at the end of 2002. This is true by any international comparison or in comparison with its past. Many foreign corporations and the business press, as well as right-wing ideologues, are upset with Argentina’s policies for various reasons. They don’t really like any of the left governments that now govern most of South America, and Washington would like to get rid of all of them and return to the world of 20 years ago when the U.S. was in the drivers’ seat. But there’s really no reason for Roger Cohen to be jumping on this bandwagon.

March 1, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tide slowly turning at the New York Times

By Jonathon Cook | February 20, 2014

A decade ago, I wrote a commentary for the International Herald Tribune (now the International New York Times) arguing that Israel’s wall that was then just starting to be built in the West Bank was really a land grab. Difficult to believe now, but in those days that was a controversial opinion.

The paper then received the “largest postage in our history”, as an editor told me – possibly not surprising as the Anti-Defamation League, a Zionist organisation, had urged its followers to complain and had even published a template letter of condemnation on its website to help them. The result: the paper published a whole page of letters attacking me and dropped me as a writer.

So it is with some pleasure I see that the same paper has again been overwhelmed with letters following three recent articles on BDS in both the NYT and INYT : Omar Barghouti making the case, and Jodi Rudoren and Roger Cohen attacking it, the former implicitly and the latter explicitly.

What’s so different this time is that the INYT’s letters page is dominated by readers backing Barghouti and attacking Rudoren and Cohen. Not only that, but the arguments used to support BDS are intelligent and well-informed, while the few letters attacking BDS sound tired and formulaic.

The fact that the NYT has allowed the BDS debate into its pages is a triumph for the cause. That its international sister publication (and the NYT website) has then allowed its letters page to be dominated by BDS supporters is another small landmark.

We can mark a further victory when the NYT itself publishes a page of such letters. The time cannot be far off.

www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/opinion/the-case-for-the-israel-boycott.html?_r=0

February 20, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment