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Izvestia, Russia

How to Torment America

By Mikhail Delyagin

Must Russia pay for the financial stability of the U.S.?

Translated By Robin Phillips

25 December 2012

Edited by Natalie Clager

Russia - Izvestia - Original Article (Russian)

Economist Mikhail Delyagin on how Russia might respond to the Magnitsky Act

In the search for an "asymmetrical response" to the "sworn imperialists," the Russian bureaucracy has not found any better target than orphans. Since no one has called off this global competition, and we have real conflicts ahead of us, it is worthwhile to briefly recall a few measures to pressure the U.S. not to repress our citizens.

The most significant establishment independent of the U.S. is the system of international payments, which takes part of the world's finances away from U.S. control. The portion may be small, but it is enough that the U.S. no longer has total control over global payments. The formal reason for the exclusion of Iran from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication system is a contentious one: Iran basically represents a similar threat to all countries. For the U.S, the only thing more frightening than the establishment of such a system within the framework of BRICS — possibly without Iran at first — would be nuclear weapons.*

Another painful thing for the U.S. is the displacement of the dollar in third-party payments. Talks about converting [the currency of] foreign trade to rubles — or, although this would be a significantly weaker measure, to the euro — have been going on since 2006 without results. But even the intensification of this theme is an argument fully understood by our partners.

But government reserves, sent overseas and supporting our strategic competitors according to the Dvorkovich dogma — must Russia pay for the financial stability of the U.S.?** Even the beginning of modernization will require directing these funds into investments and deprive the financial systems of the West of their accustomed and almost cost-free money.

Of course, the modernization of Russia in action, and not in word, is practically a forbidden theme, as one must not steal investments from development funds — at a minimum, new players will steal them. Therefore, the readiness to seriously engage in development brings up the same rejection which caused waste and mismanagement in the Soviet period.

But after all, to influence the West, we can do without rebuilding the country, a significant part of which looks like the war is not yet over. To pressure the U.S., it is enough simply to begin discussions on transferring part of the Russian reserves from the dollar markets to the euro, yen, or even Yuan.

And Kaliningrad? The budget crisis of the European Union is intensifying the struggle with offshore companies, which, taken together with higher taxes, puts wealthy Europeans in a difficult and quite unambiguous situation. Using transport pressures from the Baltic region, it would be reasonable to develop this separate enclave into an offshore zone for foreigners. Today, almost all offshore accounts are controlled by the Americans, giving them colossal global influence. By transferring part of these accounts to its own offshore, Russia would take part of that influence away from the U.S.

Another serious theme might be investigation into the historic role of the U.S. strategic aviation and the development of narcotrafficking, and certainly not as a prelude to the closure of the NATO "transportation hub" near Ulyanovsk — of course, that is not a "base" and not even a "hub," more like a small node. No less important would be the interesting facts disclosed in the course of such an investigation, which would form a basis for establishing "lists" on our side.

But a complete scientific study — with publicity! — of the U.S.’ real connections with various forms of atrocities. These may include the number of deaths from starvation during the Great Depression, the "war on drugs" campaigns, incarcerating up to a third of black youths — without reducing drug use — and finally Saakashvili's attack on Russia and the killing of Gadhafi, with an international discussion of the results of the study, right up to the UN General Assembly?

And no less, [conduct] a scientific study of the real practices of American democracy. This would include pulling together various facts about the influence of "old money" and China, the roles of the intelligence services, secret societies, religious sects and social organizations, [and] the structure, values and methods of the global ruling class.

Also dangerous to the West would be the investigation of corrupt aspects of agreements that are disadvantageous to Russia: from the Caspian pipeline consortium and Sakhalin production sharing agreements to the accession to the World Trade Organization under onerous conditions. Indeed, according to international rules, evidence of corruption deprives a business deal of its force.

If it is not necessary to push one's partner seriously, but just to show one's teeth, it is enough to officially obtain from the U.S. State Department's Ambassador to Russia McFaul — the first in history who does not come from the career diplomatic corps — the list of those who cannot be assigned as diplomats.

Yes, for the "offshore aristocracy" who rule and own Russia, equal conversation with the U.S. is impossible: The affectionate hand of their partner holds them by the most sensitive part of the kleptocrat's body — the purse.

But this clique's time is over: The only question is whether it will drag all of Russia into oblivion with it, including innocent children.

... Of course, the most sensible thing would be to get the bureaucrats to fulfill their service obligations. Yes, now that is almost extremism, but then our foes would die from envy.

Shall we take a chance?

The author is the Director of the Institute of Globalization

*Editor’s note: The BRICS are the increasingly powerful economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

**Editor’s note: Arkady Vladimirovich Dvorkovich is an economic advisor to the Kremlin.



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