News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Russia a friend? Follow the spies.

Many Americans like to think that when the Soviet Union dissolved on Christmas 1991,  Russia became a friend.  The man who led Russia for the next decade, its first freely elected leader, Boris Yeltsin, seemed to be friendlier to the United States.  He privatized state-run businesses and adopted free-market principles, promoted a free press, and promoted democratic measures in governance.  History.com gives a succinct summary of his  reign:  "But although a select few oligarchs became shockingly wealthy, many Russians lapsed deeper into poverty due to rampant inflation and the rising cost of living. Yeltsin’s Russia also struggled with the taint of being an ex-superpower and with corruption, lawlessness, decreased industrial output and falling life expectancies."

Americans have been conditioned to think of free-market capitalism as equated with honest, democratic government.  After almost a decade, Yeltsin resigned the presidency of Russia and turned it over to Putin.  Putin forged an alliance with some of the oligarchs who owned Russia and re-established a totalitarian government that often rules with savage violence that characterized the Soviet days.  As has happened in the U.S., a few people have garnered ownership and control of Russia.  Putin, the ex-KGB officer, has returned to tactics characteristic of the Soviet Kremlin.  Many thought that once Russia rid itself of communist rule,  it would join westerns democracies.  But communism is not the factor that made Russia our prime enemy in the Cold War.  Other social attitudes and political ambitions  were at work, and they prevailed after communism was abandoned.  In Russia today, capitalism rules with a vengeance;  Putin's greatest source of power is his alliance with the capitalist oligarchs.

In fact, as Russia moved from a communist state to the federation it terms itself now,  its attitude toward the United States never changed.  In 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev was Secretary General of the Communist Party and was making nice with Ronald Reagan, the KGB recruited two moles in the top U.S. spy agencies.  They recruited Aldrich Ames in the CIA and Robert Hanssen in the FBI.  Both men continued their work for Russia through the transition and beyond as if no regime change had taken place.  Ames was caught in February 1994, and Hannsen in February 2001.  Both man supplied the Russians with names of moles who spyied on Russia for the U.S., which led to their execution by the Russian spy agency.  While Americans felt that the Cold War had ended on Christmas 1991, the Russians did not think so.

Many American businesses and executives exploited the Cold War detente with Russia to further their own agendas.  Typical is the case of current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson while he served as CEO of Exxon Mobil.  He helped the oligarch friends of Vladimir Putin make profitable deals in oil and received Russia's Order of Friendship.  Russian oligarchs have created a network with American corporate executives which can be exploited by Putin to achieve his agenda,  which is to regain the power the Soviet Union once held equal to,  if not surpassing America's.

Russian interference in America's election of 2016 is not the only case in which Russia tries to destabilize countries and influence their politics.  The Czech Republic, which has become a member of the European Union, claims Russia's spying on it is worse that it was during the height of the Cold War.  European nations say that Russian espionage against them is booming.  

Americans do not understand that the inequality they experience with the U.S.  one percent owning and controlling a preponderant percentage of the nation's wealth is a global trend of which Russia is a part.  Giant global corporations recognize no matters of national security or loyalty when it comes to acquiring and controlling the world's wealth and its distribution.

During the Cold War,  Americans were conditioned to fear a Marxist takeover.  When the Cold War ended the takeover of the world's wealth by corporate interests and their cronies, such as the Russian and Chinese oligarchs proceeded apace.  They have achieved an infiltration and takeover of America that died-in-the-wool Marxists could not.

If you want to know who our enemies are,  identify who is spying on us most vigorously.  Many are citizens of other countries,  and many are "citizens" of corporations.  They all aim to exploit America and make it vulnerable to their designs.  One such person and his billionaire and millionaire cronies operate out of the White House.  As with Russia, before and after the Soviet dissolution,  their aim is to weaken America and bend it to their purposes.  






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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States

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