In this episode, the panel looks at how the west’s sanctions against Russia are distorting and damaging the global economy. Consumers all over the world are experiencing higher prices and shortages. At the same time, most countries in the oppressed world have little interest in the imperialists’ campaign against Russia and in the long run may even benefit from a world economy moving away from dollar dominance and US hegemony.
Discussing why it should be that countries all over Asia, Africa and Latin America should have so little interest in joining the imperialists’ trade war against Russia, Joti points out that Russia still carries strong associations of the Soviet Union in the minds of oppressed peoples everywhere. Both Russia and China gave huge help to countries fighting for their liberation from the colonial powers, as well as help in rebuilding their countries afterwards.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has continued to deal with developing countries with respect, on terms of mutual benefit and non-interference. Russia keeps its promises and is a reliable ally. When compared with the looting, lies and manipulations of the imperialist powers, it is clear that the alegiance of most of the oppressed world is with Russia rather than with the piratical western bully-boys.
Moreover, as the recipients of western interventions themselves for the last 200 years, many oppressed nations are able to see quite clearly, despite the west’s diplomatic and media machineries going into overdrive, that the war in Ukraine has been provoked by Nato; they can see that Russia’s actions in defence of its sovereignty and independence are both rational and justified.
With Libya as a recent example of the kind of ‘peace’ and ‘security’ exported by Nato guns, Africans in particular are in no mood to listen to the hypocritical words used by the war machine’s apologists to mask their aggressive actions.
Speaking of the way the west’s sanctions have backfired, Joti points out that it’s a classic case of a powerful man lifting a heavy rock only to drop it on his own feet.
The west went into the Ukraine war believing it could crush the Russian economy with a total trade and sanctions war. It was so sure it would succeed in this that it didn’t bother to think too hard about its military strategy.
But the sanctions failed. Not only did they fail, they achieved the precise opposite of what was intended.
Russia’s economy had already been substantially diversified and restored in response to earlier rounds of sanctions.
Payment and trading mechanisms that had been being quietly developed under pressure from ongoing hostility were ramped up.
The Russians started building the SPFS alternative to Swift in 2014, while the Chinese began building Cips in 2015. Russian friendship and cooperation with China had been steadily developing. Russia showed the west that it can find other ways to conduct international trade outside of the Swift system, and other markets for its export goods outside of Europe and America.
Instead of Russian society collapsing into poverty and hunger, it is the European Union’s people who face a winter of hunger and blackouts. Instead of being cowed into line by the demonstration of the US’s financial muscle, countries elsewhere have seen that it is possible to stand up to the USA and win.
They’ve also seen very clearly that the imperialists’ word is not to be trusted. Any treaty, any contract can be torn up at will under the guise of ‘sanctions’, which are unilaterally imposed by western institutions. Any currency or gold reserves entrusted to their banks can be stolen.
The irony is that after more than a decade of talk at the fringes about the potential for de-dollarisation of international trade, it was the USA itself that finally pulled the trigger on moving this from a tentative discussion on the sideline to real action that is taking centre stage on the world economy.
President Putin’s government has given up trying to placate or reason with the imperialist west, which has shown it will never come to sensible terms with an independent Russia and wants only to destroy it and break it up.
So now Russian gas is being traded in rubles, trade with China, with India, with Iran and many other countries is now being conducted in local currencies, and the ruble will very soon have the status of a major international currency.
All this was done by the imperialists to themselves. And any country that wants to pursue a sovereign and independent path is watching unfolding events very closely and learning (or re-learning) many important lessons.
Western financial power is ultimately backed up by its military power, but the limits of both are being clearly highlighted by the war in Ukraine.
Attempts to isolate every country that stands up to the USA have ultimately backfired. Now Iran, Venezuela, China, Russia and more are working ever more closely together. Russia has shown to the developing countries of the world that another path is possible for those who have had enough of submitting to imperialist diktat and allowing their people to stay poor and backward for the benefit of western corporations.
And as the anti-imperialist bloc grows stronger and more confident, its attraction is only going to grow. It is no accident that a Russian parliamentarian recently discussed expanding Brics to include Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and Mexico, calling it the ‘new G8’.
What we are seeing is the emergence of two opposing blocs: an imperialist one that holds back human development and productive forces, keeping people poor in the interests of profit, and an anti-imperialist one that is actually interested in infrastructure development and economic growth for the masses of the world’s people.
And it is clear that the more the anti-imperialist bloc works together, the more powerful it will become. Individually, its member countries may be weak, but when they stand together they can become a mighty force.
Asked by Peter why it is that the western powers seem unable to change course despite the obvious failure of their strategy, Joti points out that imperialism, monopoly capitalism, has a logic of its own which forces it to continue down the path to war, despite its repeated failures. The imperialists’ failure will, in fact, only make them more war hungry; more desperate to dominate and control the world; more desperate to save their waning hegemony by forceful means.
As the capitalist-imperialist financial world order continues to decay, the world’s people will continue to strive toward multipolarity as surely as the sun sets in the west and rises in the east. And as imperialism drives us ever closer to all-out global conflagration, the workers of the world will find they have no choice but to take on and destroy the capitalist-imperialist system itself.