The second shoe drops

When the Soviet Union collapsed on December 26, 1991 worn out and bankrupt from decades of Cold War and a seemingly endless involvement in Afghanistan, I remember wondering when the other shoe would drop. Tomorrow, January 20, 2017, it will do so.

With the demise of the USSR, Russians experienced the first real taste of democracy in their thousand-year history. But that was short lived as a few people, oligarchs as they were known, became fabulously wealthy privatizing the assets of the state economy, basically looting the bones of the old order. With wealth came political power and the oligarchs conspired to put a compliant former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin, into the position of a modern tsar, an autocrat accountable only to his billionaire patrons.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the election of Ronald Reagan ushered in an era of unprecedented transfer of wealth from ordinary Americans to the very wealthy through tax cuts, massive borrowing, and financial legerdemain. The top 0.1% of Americans cashed in the equity built up in the country over generations through leveraged buyouts and the dismantling of profitable companies. They even stole the equity in the homes of middle and working class Americans by stoking refinance fever leading to a housing bubble that burst leaving the banking class ever wealthier and ordinary people deeply in debt. In 1981, when Reagan took office, the US had nearly the lowest level of wealth inequality in the world; by 2017 we were the third least equal country in the world.

Money, of course, has no patriotic loyalty. American billionaires are no different than Russian ones and they all share the same goal: domination of the world for personal profit. So, it should come as no surprise that Russia’s plutocratic leader would conspire to put into the American presidency someone who shares his avarice and disdain for ordinary citizens. And it should not surprise anyone that US President-elect Donald Trump is eager to dismantle NATO, the only thing standing in the way of Russia reestablishing hegemony in Eastern Europe. His choice of a Secretary of State with close business ties to Russia is another indication of the collusion among the oligarchs of East and West.

In 1991, it seemed as though the United States had won the Cold War and brought democracy to Russia. In fact, age-old Russian autocracy prevailed and, with the inauguration tomorrow of Donald J. Trump, has brought the United States to heel.

Rest in Peace United States of America. Born July 4, 1776. Died January 20, 2017 of a self-inflicted wound suffered on November 8, 2016.

We live in interesting times.


0 Responses to “The second shoe drops”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: