The Washington Times
Sunday, July 26, 1998
RUSSIA, the IMF, and the GLOBAL HOUSE OF CARDS
By Bob Djurdjevic
Highlighted text shown in a box inside this half-page column:
|The only reason Russia is still breathing, however haltingly, is the presence of its nukes.|
The IMF's turn about face was especially poignant considering that Michel Camdessus, the IMF chief, said less than two months ago that what was happening in Russia was "not a crisis. This is not a major development."
It is evident, therefore, that the Treasury officials, such as Larry Summers and David Lipton, deputy secretary and undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs respectively, along with Strobe Talbott, deputy secretary of State and the "Russia expert" in the Clinton administration, played a major role in twisting the IMF's hand, according to a July 18 International Herald Tribune report. And that the IMF is nothing more than a U.S. government lap dog.
Now, that the international banking officials are having to eat crow after crowing about the future is nothing new, of course. In 1994, for example, the World Bank predicted in its 25-year forecast that Korea, Indonesia and Thailand would be among the top five most prosperous countries in the world. The forecast didn't even survive its first three years, let alone the remaining 22.
But why would American officials want to spend the U.S. taxpayers' money (we are by far the largest contributors to the IMF) to prop up another country, especially one which was out Cold War adversary? Because they are NOT propping up Russia. That is an important distinction, just as it is essential to distinguish between the Wall Street-owned and controlled Washington politicians and the American people. The Clinton officials are trying to bail out the Yeltsin government and the western "reformers" who backed him, not the Russian people.
So why does Wall Street care about Yeltsin? It doesn't. But it does care about money. Especially its own. The idea of free trade and globalism sounded great as long as the charts kept pointing upward. But once they headed south in Southeast Asia, then spread to Japan, Russia and around the globe, suddenly globalism didn't seem like Promised Land anymore.
Especially as the Asian flu has now spread across the Pacific to the U.S., too.
The just-released record U.S. trade deficit of $15.8 billion for May, brought on by a sharp drop of American exports to Asia, for example, may be a precursor of a domestic recession. For the first five months of 1998, our trade deficit was $65 billion, up 40% over the same period a year ago.
And just think - it was all precipitated about a year ago with a free flight of capital from Asia. So maybe all this free trade and free flow of capital - the essence of the globalists' gospel preachers' message - was not necessarily a panacea for all seasons after all?
But even if so, what does that have to do with Russia? Well, capital has been also fleeing Russia big time lately, pushing the Central Bank's interest rates into the 80%-range to prop up the ruble (the Russian treasury bills' yield actually reached 120% in the first week of July, before easing down to the 80% range). And since, unlike Indonesia's Suharto, the Yeltsin NWO quisling government is too important to be allowed to fail, enter the IMF cavalry, financed by the U.S. and world's taxpayers.
Will the $17.1 billion loan save Russia? Of course, not. Does giving a drug addict more drugs cure him from addiction? It will only prolong the agony. Even the very term - a "loan" - is a misnomer. The loans is supposed to be repaid. With interest. This is a donation. This "loan" will be repaid at about the same time as are the still outstanding billions of Tito's defunct communist Yugoslavia. Never. So the Clinton administration is pouring our money down the drain. And there is not even as much as peep about it from Congress - which is supposed to be the U.S. taxpayers' purse keeper and guardian.
Birds of a feather flock together? The Yeltsin-led Russian oligarchs have fleeced and starved their own population while enriching themselves. Now they are evidently finding willing accomplices among the American politicians. So the wily foxes are taking turns guarding our chicken coop - the U.S. Treasury.
Furthermore, the onerous terms under which the latest loans are provided to Russia will only exacerbate the already enormous suffering inflicted upon the Russian people by the western-led reformers.
"The effect of the (IMF) policies likely will be to cause the economy to contract," Travis Selmier, fund manager of USAA Investment Management Co., told Bloomberg News on July 13.
Which is kind of like depriving an asphyxiation victim of oxygen. As a result of the tight money IMF policies, Russia's economy today has less than one-sixth of the cash needed for an economy of its size to operate, according to some Russian experts.
Because "the (Russian) national economy is cash-starved and lives now by negative barter - meaning I'll give you this and you give me that, but neither one of us will pay the other, nearly our only product is debt," said Venyamin Sokolov, the country's head auditor as the chief of Russia's Chamber of Accounts (roughly analogous of the U.S. General Accounting Office), in a late May Washington interview with Anne Williamson, author of an upcoming book on Russia - "How America Built the New Russian Oligarchy."
"Under the guise of establishing a market in Russia", Sokolov explains, "the authorities have created an economic monstrosity that has nothing to do with a market system... Our present barter system is much the same as that which existed in primitive societies when people exchanged stone axes for mammoth skins."
One negative aspect of barter is that no taxes are ever paid. And poor tax collections, of course, has been one big issues upon which IMF has been pounding on the Russian government. But you can't squeeze blood out of the a stone.
"The main problem in Russia has nothing to do with the collection of taxes," Sokolov continues. "You can tie our businessmen up, you can imprison them and beat them to near unconsciousness; and still they will pay no tax. Because they have no - and I repeat - no money."
But not all Russians are destitute, such as those who can be seen alongside the roads outside of Moscow, which are lined with of goods for sale - frying pans, tires, brass piping and fixtures. Or such as peddlers of anything - from cigarettes, to potato chips, to bibles - whom this writer himself had seen while traveling in sub-zero temperatures last year in an unheated train outside of Moscow. Or such as the millions of Russians who have not received any wages at all for many months; or even years, like some miners, teachers, scientists....
There is a class of plutocrats, the so-called "nouveau Russians" (newly-enriched Russians), which includes many members of the Yeltsin administrations, who have reasons to think that the New World Order's idea of social justice is just wonderful. "A loaf to me; crumbs to you," is generally their idea of a "fair" division of national assets.
One of the reasons Russia is cash-starved is that these "nouveau Russians" have been able to buy the former state assets at rock bottom ruble-denominated prices, and then re-sell them to western interests for hard currency. Which they are now spending liberally in the favorite playpens of the western playboys.
"The West has essentially three alternatives," said Russia's Sokolov. "First, you may continue the same policies. This will lead to a collapse of the economy and possibly of the Russian state itself. In that case, the West must prepare itself for a repeat of the events of 1917, with a nationalist, and not a Communist-inspired ideology. Or the West can execute a calm and quiet exit. Or finally, the West can begin talking to people other than Anatoly Chubais, Yegor Gaidar, and their American cronies (the so-called "reformers"), in order to devise a new policy towards Russia... If these policies are not changed, I fear they will have a result that is very bad not only for Russia, but for the U.S. as well. More IMF lending under present policies and conditions is but another noose around the neck of the Russian economy."
True, true and true. But also, a bit naive...
For, who said that the latest Russia IMF loan - negotiated by Chubais, by the way, the western quisling whom Yeltsin has already sacked once, but who, like a cat with nine lives, keeps coming back - will end up as anything different than the financial terrorism which Wall Street had already demonstrated in Asia, for example?
Of course, it is a noose around Russia's neck! And, of course, the NWO elite intend to keep tightening up the noose as time goes on. Their anti-Russian attitudes have been amply documented by their actions, the relative sweetness of their perfidious words notwithstanding. The only reason Russia is still breathing, however haltingly, is its nukes, i.e., its only remaining bargaining chip.
But there are some bigger lessons which emerge from all this economic turmoil. First, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the "NWO emperor has no clothes;" that the economic Gods of the New World Order are no better, or may be even worse, than those greedy ones who fueled the economic euphoria of the 1920s, just to see it crash into the depths of depression of the 1930s.
Second, it is also becoming increasingly obvious that globalism - "free trade;" "world peace through world trade;" "fast track" proposed legislation, etc. - is for the birds. But don't take our word for it. Take it from a globalist magazine published by the U.S. establishment's very own Council for Foreign Affairs.
Here is, for example, what Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in the July/August 1998 edition of the FOREIGN AFFAIRS. His article was titled "China and the Asia Contagion:"
"China is unlikely to catch the Asian flu. The Chinese currency is not convertible for capital account transactions. Chinese savers... cannot legally convert their deposits and purchase foreign currency-denominated financial assets. Moreover, because their ability to convert currency back into dollars is severely limited, foreigners own only small amounts (of the Chinese assets). Indeed, non-residents are legally barred from purchasing 'A' shares - bought and sold for local currency on the Shanghai ad Shenzhen markets."
In other words, what Lardy is basically telling us is that protectionism pays. What Bill Clinton's June visit to China was telling us is that protectionism pays. What the IMF Russia loans are telling us is that globalism is for suckers. And that we, the American taxpayers, are the suckers being sold down the river by our own government.
So how long are we, American taxpayers, going to stand being taken for suckers by our globalist government before yelling back, paraphrasing a line from the movie, "Network:" "We're as mad as hell, and we won't take it anymore!"
BOB DJURDJEVIC, Truth in Media
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