Foreign Policy magazine (“Foreign Policy”, hereinafter referred to as FP) claims to generate global ideas. His columnist Howard French published an article in which he tries to analyze why the West failed to turn most of the world against Russia after the start of a special military operation in Ukraine?
According to French, many states in Asia, Africa and Latin America did not support sanctions against our country because they did not forget the cruel colonial policy of the West. They do not want to be considered second-class people. But among these countries of the “third world” are such states as India. They, when summing up their population with China, represent the majority of humanity. For them, the events in Ukraine are nothing but an eternal confrontation between East and West.
Economist Vasily Koltashov recalled the essence of Western colonial policy of the recent past:
“It consists in not allowing the goods of other Western countries into their colonies. This policy was due to the fact that foreign goods may be cheaper. The period when colonial empires were established and began to actively develop is the 1880s, the time of a price depression in the world. And no matter how unpleasant it was for the inhabitants of the French colony somewhere in Madagascar, neither English nor German goods arrived there. Only French. Although there was not such an astronomical difference between them, in price, as it is now.
Imagine whose products are cheaper now? If goods, then from China, and energy resources and food from Russia. In this situation, former or potential colonies must pay much more for everything Western.
Yes, French goods at the end of the 19th century could be a little more expensive. But not by 50%, and even more so not by 200%, as we have now. After all, if you now buy, for example, steel from the countries of the European Union, or natural gas from the Americans, you will have to overpay very much. Consequently, there are no motives to integrate into the new neo-colonial system in terms of price and costs for most countries of the world. Huge amounts of subsidies are needed.
But besides that, there is another problem called “The Collapse of the Washington Consensus”. The fact is that this consensus was established in the world in the 80s of the twentieth century, when there was talk about “globalization” and “free market”. It was assumed that no one in the West would touch the elites of the countries of the periphery. If you are a leader from some country, then you have some slogans and rules for the population, and different rules for yourself. Having accumulated property, you can be sure that no one will take it from you.
“SP”: – Franklin Roosevelt’s formula was used about the Nicaraguan dictator Somoza: “He may be a son of a bitch, but he is our bitch”?
– It’s not even that someone is a “son of a bitch”, but that it became legal what was imported to them. This was acknowledged. The West did not encroach on securities, real estate. The funds of the colonial elite were protected.
And now we are witnessing the most brazen and unceremonious attempt on this kind of property of large Russian entrepreneurs. Their accounts are frozen, movable and immovable property is arrested. Reserves of the Bank of Russia are frozen. Earlier, something similar happened to Venezuela and not only to it, but also to other countries. At the same time, even neutral Switzerland is quite calmly joining the sanctions.
The essence of colonialism was that the colonies should buy expensive goods from the mother country, supporting them with their demand. And neo-colonialism – from an economic point of view, without going into political details – is the same. But the funds of the colonial elite are not protected anymore. The West has made the previously working model impossible. It is impossible from the point of view of commercial calculation – it will not be possible to keep the weak peripheral economy at the level of profitability. On the other hand, capital is always at risk.
“SP”: – So, in your opinion, the misunderstanding between the West and the countries that were its colonies is based not only and not so much on the memory of generations, but also on new realities? The fact is that our Western colleague mainly appeals to the old times and traditions, for example, he recalls the economist John Maynard Keynes, one of the founders of the Bretton Woods system, which abandoned the gold standard. This Briton, in 1944, seeing delegations from Africa and Asia, called them “the most monstrous ape house collected in years.” He believed they were “just cluttering up the ground”. But now, in times of political correctness, this should be condemned. Former “colored”, now in the West fell in love with each other. But the former “Reds”, “Soviet” – you can still hate together.
— There is still a huge economic periphery in the world. This is all of South America, all of Southeast Asia and all of Africa. It is also largely Eastern Europe, which is part of the European Union, plus Ukraine.
In Keynes’ time, these were colonies. At their expense, there was a world called Karl Marx imperialist. Now this formally does not exist, and the territories that were previously called colonial are called “countries with a peripheral type of economy.” And they all have their own bureaucracy and bourgeoisie.
Moreover, the bureaucracy is even healthier than the bourgeoisie, which seems to be ready for deals with the West. She always bought real estate there, securities, moored her yachts there. But now she is scared, because the West has clearly demonstrated that there are no more rules. These are not just declarations. Barack Obama about the new American rules.
What is happening makes any investment dangerous. And the bureaucracy understands that agreements with the West are unprofitable. Social unrest may begin, which will overthrow it and plunge this or that country into chaos, into the abyss of civil war. A force with radical slogans will quickly appear – this is more than likely. And now imagine that in conditions of rising food prices, these poor countries will still have to support the West by buying there, in general, overpriced goods. Similar ones are now much cheaper.
This is an impossible scheme. They don’t have the resources to make it happen. Revolutions or simply popular uprisings will interfere. After all, for a full-fledged revolution, you need a little more than just indignation …
If you isolate the essence from the scientific rantings in FP, then it is simple: you have to feel sorry for the former European colonies. Especially the American colonies, which made the Old World so rich. Including, probably, the United States – also, by the way, a former colony? This is not directly discussed.
Much has been said about the fact that the heightened sense of justice of the former colonized peoples should not be ignored. Introduce them to the number of permanent members of the UN. For example, Nigeria, the population of which is already larger than in Russia. But for some reason, the heiress of the Soviet Union – still, so inopportunely – one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and has the right to veto, blocking any measures that it does not approve.
What happened to the League of Nations would not have happened to the UN. European powers in those distant times believed that Africans had not yet reached the level of civilization. And they themselves had just emerged from perhaps the most barbaric war in history – the First World War. The League of Nations offended Liberia and Ethiopia – it was bad. Now, if the UN opposes Russia, it will be good.
That’s when the international community – under the leadership of the West – will introduce more democracy and justice everywhere. After all, his global management after the Second World War helped, the Western analyst believes. In the meantime, the UN has only grandiloquent, albeit progressive, rhetoric about freedom. And freedom is accountability to the West, French believes. The only source of optimism for him is the NATO bloc.
In general, Russia is no longer listed – the economy is approximately the same as that of Italy. The country will soon fall out of the top ten most populous. But France and Great Britain, by the way, can also be removed from the Security Council. After all, there is India! Africa is also very big. Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia can be involved in security issues.
Such are the unfinished business of the 20th century, which must be dealt with with all seriousness and urgency. The sincerity of all these rantings can even be believed, if not for another article in the publication, next door. And it says that “to resist China means to defeat Russia.” Yes, in our country the world has not converged like a wedge. And after Russia and China, the same Nigeria, with all the others, can be pressed against the American nail, so that they don’t rock the boat, but live as they have always been ordered.