Saturday, November 11, 2017

US, EU Actions on Russia a Remake of What Brought the Much Stronger USSR to Its End, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 11 – The almost certain approval of a US defense budget that will provide assistance to Ukraine, including lethal arms, while restricting US-Russian contacts and the EU’s moves toward a five billion US dollar Marshal Plan aid package for Kyiv represent a partial remake of the Western strategy that hastened the end of the USSR, Igor Yakovenko says.

            And while these efforts are smaller than either the US defense buildup against the Soviets or the Marshal Plan, they will have an equivalent impact because “Putin’s Russia is much smaller than the USSR, and its confrontation with the US will not last 43 years or even eight,” the Russian analyst says (

                Instead, “everything will end more rapidly and possibly with more unpleasant results for [Russia] and its leadership.” 

            In response to the American plans, Moscow announced that it would adopt “an instant and mirror-like response.” But the best it could come up with was a plan to ban US broadcasting in Russia until it was discovered that there isn’t any US government broadcasting in Russia and the only US company with a presence is CNN, which is hardly a friend of Donald Trump’s.

            What Moscow’s threat looked like was “bombing Voronezh in response to a threat from NATO,” and that too resembles the Soviet past but also contrasts unfavorably from Moscow’s point of view regarding what the Soviets could do and what the Russians can’t, Yakovenko continues.

            The Marshal Plan not only restored the economies of those countries in Europe which did not have communists in them – a requirement for aid – but also provided, despite the Iron Curtain, an unfavorable comparison for Soviet citizens who could contrast the well-being of Western citizens with the empty shelves of stores in their country.

            “The second mortal blow on the USSR,” Yakovenko continues, “was the Strategic Defense Initiative, known as ‘Star Wars,’ which Reagan announced in 1983.” The Soviet leadership tried feverishly to find a response but wasn’t able to – and eight years later the USSR was dead.

            Analogies and post hoc ergo propter hoc arguments are always something of a problem, the Moscow commentator concedes. But “nevertheless,” they are suggestive in this case, especially since the Russian economy today is less than 10 percent of the American one, and the entire Russian government budget equals “less than 40 percent” of the US defense budget alone.

            Putin and his regime talk a good game, but “miracles only happen in stories, Russian television programs and Putin speeches when he talks about how, collecting biomaterials in Russia will allow for the development of viruses that will kill only the citizens of the Russian Federation.”

            “In real life,” Yakovenko says, such “miracles” don’t happen.

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