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Friday, 16 December 2016

The Russian Connection

For some time, I have been wondering why the Russian meddling (eg, NYT) in American and European elections (and referenda) is not becoming a prominent scandal. It's even being disputed. Such news would have been a major scandal in the 20th century. What has changed??

The Left-Right divide was prominent in the 20th century. The Soviet Union was the main communist enemy of the "capitalist" West. Back then the Friend or Foe identification in geopolitics was simple. On 8 December 1991, the Soviet Union broke up (Wiki) and communism was considered defeated and capitalism was declared as Winner.

Since 1992, Russia has changed from an authoritarian communist regime into an authoritarian nationalist kleptocracy. The perception of Russia being an enemy has slowly dissolved since 1991. The Russian leader (1999-today) is widely perceived as a strongman nowadays.

Post WW2 international trade - or its popular nickname Globalization - created enormous wealth although its distribution was cause for increasing concern. The American "Greed is Good" culture caused several shockwaves in the globalised economy (ie, 2007 U.S. mortgage crisis2007-2008 U.S. banking crisis2008-2012 Great Recession). The blame for these various crises has shifted many times to many parties but has ended with Globalization.

Back in the 1990s, left-wing radicals had already organised anti-globalization movements and declared Globalization as the new enemy. After the 2008-2012 Great Recession, these left-wing radicals were joined by former right-wing politicians who turned into nationalists.

Globalization became the new enemy in politics. The nationalist view is like this: if globalization isn't the answer then certainly nationalism must be. I have some conceptual sympathy for this view as bulkheads indeed strengthen (shipping) structures and absorb shockwaves.

The view on Russia has slowly changed from a communist Foe into a nationalist Friend. This fundamental change was caused by a shift from Left-Right to Nationalism vs Internationalism. Also see my 13 July 2016 blog and this 30 November 2016 GPF article. The breakthrough of nationalism in politics finally became visible in 2016 (eg, BrexitTrump).

An American-Russian connection would affect China, Europe and Turkey. Early indications are that Trump will pick a fight with China while openly befriending Russia (eg, new US Secretary of State, Trump-Taiwan, U.S.-China trade war). China and Europe may need to develop closer ties. Turkey can no longer switch sides between America and Russia and may then again export its Political Islam into Arab countries and the North African parts of its former Ottoman Empire (see map).

ABBA - The Winner Takes It All (1980) - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The winner takes it all
The loser's standing small
Beside the victory
That's her destiny

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