The tragedy of the Kursk reminds us of the shambles that is Russia. It follows upon the embarrassment of Chechnya. And both of these, it is reasonably deduced, result from the failure of the Russian economy.
For instance, it is almost ten years since the Russians produced a warship. The last new aircraft were turned over to the Air Force over five years ago. The morale of the Russian soldier is extremely low, with high-ranking officers hinting at the use of force if they are not soon paid. Civilian clothing is permitted for some soldiers, because there aren't enough uniforms for everybody, despite the small number of soldiers today compared to the height of the cold war: 1.5 million now, 4.25 million then. Military spending is down by nearly half in the last three years, and many troops hold civilian jobs to sustain themselves. And it's all because there isn't enough money.
Baloney! Is there a dire paper shortage in Russia? Have supplies of ink dried up? Have the printing presses been immobilized by rust? Of course not. But what is "money" today except some government-printed (or sanctioned) "notes?" Throughout the world, people accept the concept of money as something printed by the government. The Russian government can do it as well as any other. So why the pathetic economic situation in Russia?
It has to do with the difference between domestic and foreign spending. The Russian worker will be content with the chits printed by Russian presses. Even if he isn't, the law will no doubt force him to accept them; but because he can spend them for the things he wants, he is unlikely to be unhappy. The problem comes when he, or the Russian government, tries to spend them abroad. The desperate plight of the Russian people reflects the ill-repute in which the ruble is held by the international banking fraternity.
Workers in Russian factories would no doubt be happy with the local scrip. However, the machinery and parts and raw materials they need to produce airplanes (or refrigerators, tanks, or automobiles) must be purchased abroad; there's the rub. It's a catch twenty-two: manufacturers in the west don't want rubles in return for machine tools, for example, but without those tools for making goods to sell for dollars (yen, marks, pounds, etc.), the Russians have nothing but rubles to tender.
But wait a minute! All the Russians have ever had to tender was rubles, probably no more colorful or well-printed than the present crop. And yet, a few decades ago, they were so powerful and well-armed that we were, or at least claimed to be, terrified of them. Their military machine justified gargantuan expenses on our part, in self-defense. So what has changed? Why has the ruble become a pariah? Maybe it has to do with treason.
Treason is giving aid to the enemy. During the years of the cold war, Russia was, of course, the enemy. THE enemy! Yet its rubles bought it everything it needed to be a superpower second only to the U.S. Today the same rubles won't buy it anything. Isn't that more than a little suspicious? Why could Russia maintain a fearsome army, navy, and air force then, while its soldiers go without uniforms now? Obviously, the ruble was taken seriously in the 50s and 60s, and is something of a joke today. Who makes such determinations? The unholy alliance between bankers and the governments which they own, or control. When the ruble was a gold coin featuring a portrait of Czar Nicholas, and the dollar a gold coin as well, the exchange rate was not determined politically, but physically, with a balance. Today, and during the height of the cold war, the rate is chosen to accomplish some purpose dear to the hearts of the government/banking axis. The ruble was, in other words, assigned its "strength", as are all modern currencies. No scrip is "strong" in itself; it's monopoly money, though more likely from the Rockefeller brothers than the Parker brothers. A "strong" currency is one which the bankers so designate. The ruble was, in the days of Mutually Assured Destruction, and entente, a "strong" currency, enabling the Russians to buy whatever they needed to be a world power. Or strong enough to justify loaning the Communists what they needed to maintain their position in the world of superpowers. The government/banking fraternity evidently no longer feels it necessary to have the Russian menace dangling over our heads.
That means, however, that western banks and governments, by attaching value to the ruble, created the concept of Russian might. They not only gave aid to the enemy---if it really was an enemy---they created the enemy. That shouldn't surprise us: politicians do it all the time. It's essential for there to be an enemy, to be blamed when things go wrong. The enemy, in turn, can blame his own failures on HIS enemy. It works out well for both. The Democrats and Republicans have been playing this game on the American voters forever: the good cop/bad cop routine. Both have much the same objectives, but profess the greatest hostility toward each other so that if you don't like one party, you can vote for the other, without any real effect, of course: the backroom boys win either way.
The Russian collapse signifies that Communism was no longer needed as an enemy. Support for the ruble was withdrawn, and the unwieldy behemoth allowed to fail. (The ruble was, for a while at the peak of the cold war, par with the dollar; it is 1:5000 now) We have evidently reached the level of sophistication needed to regard ourselves as the enemy: despoiling the environment with our outrageously high standard of living. The new "cold war" is being waged against Americans by their own government, not some foreign dictators. As our own fiat economy fails (they always do) we will become convinced it is our own fault, and a reduction in our standard of living will be necessary to protect the planet. We will volunteer ourselves into the sort of government dependency—public transportation, public housing, public education, public health-care, etc.----that has been the goal of every government in living memory. It will be another example of treason—aid to our enemy—courtesy of legal tender. Freedom and fiat are incompatible. And lo! We have become the enemy!
Dr. Paul Hein
27 November 2000