print
memri
August 24, 2018 No.
7637

Russian Media Outlet Regnum.ru: The Third World War Has Already Started, So Far It Is Economic, Not Nuclear

The nationalist Russian media outlet Regnum.ru (its editor is banned from entering the Baltic countries and the Ukraine) published an article, titled "Eurasia's Battle Against The Global Island: Does The US Have A Chance?" by columnist Alexander Zapolskis. The subtitle clarifies that "the Third World War has already started, but so far it is economic, not nuclear," adding that "this fact won't be of any help to the one who loses it."

According to Zapolskis, Asia, and particularly China, is becoming the new global center. Russia, through its political influence and thanks to global economic changes, has also managed to become an important "hub" for the "future world". China and Russia are now emerging as a new unified political and economic space, though this Eurasian entity is far from having a definitive outline.[1] However, Zapolskis stressed that this new geopolitical configuration is clearly morphing into the exacerbation of the confrontation between the global "Continent" (i.e. Eurasia) and the "global Island" (i.e. US, and "partially" the UK).

Zapolskis assessed that the US is in an ideological crisis, which is terminating its global hegemony. This same crisis is putting an end to "the Anglo-Saxon strategy of choking the continental Eurasia." Meanwhile, Eurasia is becoming a main global actor and shaping its new political system. According to Zapolskis, the US is now faced with a choice: "to die or to put up a fight."

Zapolskis opined that the US capitulation is approaching in any case. "Today, US material well-being is fatally dependent on the size of the surplus value collected from the rest of the world by force of its dominant position. For example, the cumulative external debt of the US exceeds that of the EU, Central and South America, Russia, and the Middle East combined," wrote Zapolskis.

This anomaly could survive only: "As long as lender remain confident in America's ability to repay its debts. But the gradual loss of global influence increases the risk of 'loss of trust', which means the beginning of an avalanche of debt acceleration for loans higher than 106% of the country's GDP. Which means that to settle the debt, the US will have to give its creditors all its earnings (completely, to the last cent) for at least fourteen months. Do you know many countries capable of literally going without food for such a long time?"

Zapolskis underlined that the US' "systemic crises" cannot be solved in any way other than a global war. He stressed that this war has been in progress already for over two years and is constantly intensifying. "The Continent is obviously winning the war against the Island not only economically (Trump has failed to reduce significantly the negative balance of foreign trade), but politically and ideologically as well," wrote Zapolskis.

However, a precipitous capitulation of the US poses a danger for Eurasia. "If one assumes that the US collapses, say, tomorrow, we will fall together with it into a systemic crisis because of the disappearance of the dollar and devaluation of all dollar-denominated assets, and this crisis will exceed the 2008 one by two orders of magnitude. So it is better to press America to its proper place gradually, incrementally, evolutionally," Zapolskis concluded.

Below are excerpts from Zapolskis' article:[2]

 

(Image source: Globalaffairs.ru, March 1, 2016)

 


Alexander Zapolskis. (Source: Sonar2050.org)

 

Asia Is Becoming The New Global Center

"The global world is always characterized by two interconnected elements. On the one hand, its political makeup is closely dependent on the economic one. And vice versa, politics actively influences the formation of the economy, determining the character, volume and general direction of logistical connections and financial flows. On the other hand, the world tends to change constantly. Every step, every action, every connection inevitably influences the world on the whole, creating new conditions.

"One day, the quantity of changes translates into a new status of the world in general. Behind the abstract character of the academic formula there is a transition period, when the world has already changed in principle, but its external configuration – political analysts call it 'superstructure' – is still the same. And even though the quality of solution for the management problem has already clearly dropped to an unsatisfactory level, the bureaucratic and financial system itself is unwilling to change anything.

"Moreover, having exhausted the range of 'peaceful' solutions to the crisis, it inevitably moves on to attempts to retain its dominance by force. It is not because specific people are bad, it is the way global laws of nature manifest themselves. The instinct of self-preservation demands that the threat be eliminated, whereas the survival instinct dictates that it is necessary to adapt yourself to it, and these two principles come into direct conflict.

"Previously, it was resolved very simplyby a war, where the vanquished, if he was lucky, could escape somewhere and maybe even survive there. At least two great transmigrations of peoples are known in history. The most famous of them lasted throughout the IV—VII centuries, but let us not forget that long before that, humanity spread through the entire world from Africa. Those who were not lucky can now only be found in little-read academic treatises on archaeology. Does anyone remember Rama's empire in India?

"Everything was changed with the creation of nuclear weapon and the deterrence strategy it caused, which proceeds from the concept of mutual assured destruction. Whoever starts the global nuclear war (and any attempt to use nuclear weapons locally will inevitably lead to that), the victor will receive only an uninhabitable nuclear garbage dump.

"However, this does not negate the global essence of the crisis produced by the transition of the quantity of changes into their new quality. Humanity has failed to invent an alternative to war as a way of overcoming this crisis. And the war has already begun. Yes, it has changed its shape because of the impossibility of an all-out tank assault or a resort to nuclear bombs. But that is immaterial.

"Before our very eyes, a new economic basis is being formed. Without going into small details, Asia is becoming the new global center. China is only the first harbinger of changes, the snowball that has set off an avalanche. A country that single-handedly produces one quarter of the world's energy volume (!) and 54% (!) of all manufactured goods on the planet can no longer fit into the role of an insignificant 'second world' state. And the inexorable implementation of the global Chinese 'Belt and Road' integrative project is the most vivid testimony to that. The activity of the Red Dragon has inevitably pushed the Indian elephant into the outer world as well; it has started its own external economic expansion.

"Comparison with an avalanche is not just a figure of speech here. This and other initiatives alter the planet's entire economic foundation, causing not only quantitative changes but also broad synergetic effects.

"For example, as long as Iran remained simply one of the four contenders for dominance 'somewhere in the poverty-stricken Middle East', which was only valuable because it had the Suez Canal, it could easily be blocked by purely political measures, slightly diluted by economic sanctions. Today, in connection with the South Transport Corridor, it has a future as a large resource, manufacture and logistics cluster, whose value gradually exceeds the significance of various previous relations.

 

Global Economic Changes Moved Russia From Backward Periphery Into An Important Hub For The Entire Future World

"Even more vivid is the change in Russia's status, which has been regarded as a remote and backwater savage outskirt of the civilized (i.e. European or Western) world since the times of Ivan the Terrible. For five centuries, we have had to counter the European expansion, which wanted to take our resources and territory. From time to time it seemed that sooner or later they would simply crush us. Such moods were especially strong after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Since we evidently failed to build our own world, since socialism lost the fight to capitalism (we can argue about reasons for that but what matters here is the result), then maybe it was better to stop putting on airs and start getting integrated into the single 'correct' 'Western' political and economic system?

"But now it turns out that the past quarter of a century of global economic changes has moved Russia from backwater periphery into an important hub for the entire future world. Both key logistics corridors eventually will inevitably pass through us. We are becoming the center of energy supply, and not just because we have gas. At the moment, Russia is a leader in nuclear energy. And not just 'a leader', one of many, but practically the only one.

"However, raw materials and energy do not exhaust the list. We are far from the bottom in the sphere of advanced knowledge-intensive technologies as well. But something else is even more important. Out of all the leading countries, both today and in the future, only Russia is on equally friendly terms with everybody and equally distant from their own conflicts.

"The most vivid consequence of this phenomenon is in Syria, where Moscow not only managed to bring to the conference table formerly irreconcilable opponents such as Turkey and Iran, forming a coalition with Damascus, but also made this construct fully functional by successfully resolving the formally internal conflict in Syria. Including even Israel into this process, although for over half a century it communicated with the Iranians exclusively through the sighting notch of a submachine gun. To say nothing of the Saudis. The result obviously did not only surpass the American efforts but was, in fact, obtained despite them.

"Thus, we have demonstrated a very important quality, ensuring our important rightful place in the new world, despite the clear economic superiority of modern China.

"But something else is more important. If you put details aside and look at the whole picture, you can easily see the development of a new system of geopolitical standoff. In previously fragmented Eurasia, a new unified political and economic space is being formed, connected by numerous internal logistical and economic lines. It is not all smooth yet, it is far from having a definitive outline even on the level of finally approved plans. But on the whole, it is already clear that the result will result in exacerbating the confrontation between the global Continent (Eurasia on the whole) and the global Island, the role of which is played by the US (and partially, the UK).

"Politics, as is well known, is always based on economy and stems from it. The gravitational force of processes that are under way now is so great that it is beginning to tear huge pieces from the former Western world, putting an end to the Anglo-Saxon strategy of choking the continental Eurasia known as the 'Anaconda Noose'. And it is happening both in Europe and in Asia. It is also beginning to attract them to the new political system of the Continent, thus placing the global Island before a choice: die or put up a fight.

"Theoretically, the survival instinct dictates the necessity to peacefully give ground, trading the retreat for more or less honorable conditions in the new world. But the self-preservation instinct demands that one fight for the preservation of the old world literally until the last breath.

"And not only because at the moment, the American elite thinks it is the master of all the world, and after the capitulation it will become no more than a rich rancho owner in Texas. Today, the material well-being of the US is fatally dependent on the size of the surplus value collected from the rest of the world by force of its dominant position. For example, the total external debt of the US exceeds that of the EU, Central and South America, Russia, and the Middle East combined.

Systemic Crises On Such A Scale Cannot Be Solved In Any Way Other Than By A Global War

"So far, lenders retain their faith in America's ability to repay its debts. But the gradual loss of global influence increases the 'loss of confidence' risk, which means the beginning of an avalanche of demands for debt repayment, whose size constitutes more than 106% of the country's GDP. In simple Russian that means that to settle its debt, the US will have to repay its creditors all its earnings (completely, to the last cent) for at least fourteen months. Do you know many countries capable of literally going without food for such a long time?

"The American elite do not know of such examples either. From here, their interpretation of what is happening – in the style of 'no pasaran! [They shall not pass was the battle cry of the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War] – is drawn. For the US, defeat in this war literally means death as a state in its current form. The states will no longer be united, which will lead to a result similar to the collapse of the USSR.

"As mentioned before, systemic crises on such a scale cannot be solved in any way other than a global war. And this war already has been over two years in progress, constantly intensifying. But since the US cannot use tanks, it is trying to use the remnants of its economic and political influence. That is why it has resorted to sanctions, whose scale has become global today.

"At the moment, Washington has introduced prohibitive restrictions against all EU countries, all its NAFTA partners (Canada and Mexico) and FTAA partners (all countries of the American continent), against India, China and all the countries that signed the agreement on the Pacific Investment Partnership. Needless to say, there are sanctions against Russia as well; moreover, there are promises to increase them.

"One can hardly regard the response to the American actions as unexpected. Having ascertained that it was useless to try reaching a rational agreement with Washington (there are plenty of examples to that, and the Iranian nuclear deal is the most prominent one), the countries that have experienced American aggression have turned to retaliatory measures.

"The Reuters news agency, citing a source in the Sinopec Corporation, has reported that China made a decision to cut down the volume of American oil purchasing by 300 thousand barrels per month at least until the end of this year. It is approximately 5% of the total American oil export to China (which comprises 36% of the total American global oil exports). At first glance, it is not much. At current prices, the losses of the US will be something like $21 million per month. But, firstly, a year of such war will bring a quarter of a billion of additional losses in American foreign trade, which is completely unprofitable as it is. And secondly, who says Beijing cannot reduce its purchases even more if Washington's actions call for it?

"In addition, China has already reduced its purchases of American LNG: supplies of the American liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China in July were the lowest in the year, and they continue to drop. Back in May, import of American LNG was 400 thousand tons, whereas in July — only 130 thousand tons.

"But now the matter is already much broader. Europe has introduced its own anti-sanction regulations. India has simply ignored the demands of the White House. Of course, not everything proceeds smoothly. Some of the largest non-American transnational corporations have chosen not to escalate matters with Washington, preferring to yield, but economy is a harsh matter. The war of sanctions gradually pushes the planet's business space away from the US.

"They cannot earn money in Iran. Nor in Russian gas streams. Nor in Europe. But there are no other lucrative spots left in the world. And the profitability of transactions inside the US is also declining. As a result, sooner or later their owners and shareholders will have to face the question of how willing they would be to go bankrupt for the glory of America's greatness.

"To be fair, one must admit that this war creates problems not only for Americans. The world has been forming around the one and only Western leader for too long to be able to remove it from habitual arrangements – primarily financial and banking schemes. For instance, the question of Russia's ability to dispense with Western financial institutions is still open.

"But on the whole, the Continent is obviously winning the war against the Island. Not only economically (Trump has failed to significantly reduce the negative foreign trade balance), but politically and ideologically as well. Not only the US authorities but the establishment in general have tightened censorship in the mass media on the whole. And the hysterics about the Russian interference into American democracy can literally be heard by anybody.

"However, all these processes are too large in scale to bring about the definitive transformation of the world really quickly. And that is actually good. Even with all the losses along the way, any evolution produces much less 'collateral damage' than even the smallest of revolutions.

"If one assumes that the US collapses, say, tomorrow, we will crash together with it into a systemic crisis due to the dollar's disappearance and the devaluation of all dollar-denominated assets, and this crisis will exceed the 2008 one by two orders of magnitude. So it is better to press America to its proper place gradually, incrementally, evolutionally. But relentlessly and unambiguously.

"Because everybody's favorite movie scenario involves a group of crazy fanatics, ready to destroy the world rather than hand it over to their rivals, breaking through to the 'master button' is not that fantastic after all. So the most important thing is to avoid taking things too far."

 


[1] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1239, Understanding Russian Political Ideology And Vision: A Call For Eurasia, From Lisbon To Vladivostok, March 23, 2016.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7618, Russian Expert Kholodkov: We Will Not Succumb To Trump's Divide And Rule Tactics And Break With China, August 13, 2018.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7593, Russia This Week – Focus On The BRICS Summit – July 29, 2018, July 29, 2018.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7630, US-Russia Economic War – Russian Expert: The Chinese Market Will Help Russia To Overcome The US Sanctions, August 20, 2018.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7629, Russia This Week – August 19, 2018, See sections: Russia Prepares To New US Sanctions - Russian Minister Of Finance Siluanov: Russia Ditches Dollars, Russian Expert Lukyanov: Currently We Are At "War Time" – A Cold Economic And Political War, August 20, 2018.

[2] Regnum.ru, August 9, 2018.