Orlov: A poor Prognosis for Anglo Colonialism

You know the drill. By request, the infamous "Five Stages of Collapse" author Dmitri Orlov's latest writing, complete with all inaccuracies and errors. If you like his writing, please buy his books and support him at boosty.to.

Anglo colonialism has gone through several iterations, each of which involved a different sort of piracy. In its initial form, it involved outright rapine and plunder of ships at sea (Spanish galleons in particular) and plunder of shoreside communities, often through the use of privateers — a euphemism for officially sanctioned pirates. In its intermediate form, it involved occupation, mostly of shoreside communities, appointing a governor and stationing troops, with the overall piratical purpose of the venture remaining intact: wealth extraction, but with the added benefit of maintaining market monopolies for domestic industries at the imperial center. Various national liberation movements over the course of the 20th century put an end to this type of piracy, plus domestic industries, in order to remain profitable, were forced to offshore production, dispensing with most types of physical exports (except for weapons, commodities and garbage) in favor of services, mostly financial ones — a euphemism for various types of usury and extortion.

What emerged instead of outright colonial control is a rather refined system of political, financial, military and logistical control:

Political control was exercised through the use of various political technologies deployed under the guise of free enterprise and democracy. For instance, when it recently turned out that Argentina was no longer solvent as a sovereign entity, a certain Xavier Milei was thrust upon the scene with the express purpose of shutting down Argentina's social services and dismantling and expropriating its public wealth. So effective are the political technologies that the Argentinians actually elected Milei, like so many cows volunteering to be eaten!

Instead of sending in a governor to rule over a colony, local, native talent, trained at places such as the Kennedy School of Government, can now be deployed. This local talent is chosen for its high level of sociopathy, lack of empathy and ease of manipulation. It is usually required of them to keep their wealth at the imperial center and to send their children to imperial schools, cementing imperial control over their behavior. They are initially beguiled by stories of the sanctity of private property, only later to learn that their property can be taken away instanter should they misbehave.

As an example, Vladimir Zelensky's — the former Ukraine's notional figurehead's — parents are in Israel (an imperial possession) and his wife and children spend time in London (an imperial center). This renders Zelensky docile, compliant and willing to send Ukrainian men to be slaughtered down to the last elderly invalid. But therein lies a danger: at some point the local populace realizes that their leader is a traitor and kill him before he has a chance to escape.

There has been a constant parade of such sociopathic nonentities as candidates of top posts. Some of them never attained the high office: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya of Belarus and Juan Guaidó of Venezuela are now languishing in oblivion. In other cases, the gambit succeeded: the Romainian Maia Sandu is busy destroying Moldova and the Soros-trainee Nikol Pashinyan is doing the same to Armenia. And a truly stellar success was achieved in Germany, where the Bundeskanzler is a lowly Bürgermeister, the foreign minister is a gymnast and its economy minster is an author of children's books: a trifecta of dunces.

Such political technologies may yet work, but there is a problem: the image of America, and the West with it, as a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom and democracy, the sole purveyor of the American Dream and a mighty bulwark against dictatorship and despotism — that entire Western political brand — is becoming badly tarnished and is no longer able to project a positive self-image. Everybody now sees the West for what it is: a corrupt corporatocracy cum oligarchy with highly unpopular, often unelected heads of state beholden to foreign, transnational interests, who have zero ability to define, never mind enforce, the national interests of the nations in their charge.

And then there are the downright toxic elements of contemporary Western political culture: Cultural Marxism and LGBT madness. Cultural Marxism attempts to divide society into oppressors (white males, essentially) and the oppressed (pretty much everyone else). The goal of Social Justice is to stop (and to reverse) the oppression. But most people in the world take such bits of Cultural Marxist dogma as "the oppressed cannot also be the oppressors," e.g., "Blacks can't be racist" as pure nonsense and reject it outright. Similarly with LGBT: most of the planet is socially conservative and rejects outright the notion of gender, preferring to stick with old-fashioned sex. They know a priori that animals are of three sexes — male, female and neutered — and will brook no argument to the contrary.

[A brief note for the benefit of the confused: neutered animals have specific names: barrow (boar), bullock (bull), capon (cock), gelding (stallion), wether (ram), castrato (man). Sex is a genetic feature of an animal determined at conception, based on whether the zygote carried by the fertilizing sperm contained an X or a Y chromosome. This chromosome is replicated in the nucleus of every cell of an organism. Gender is a grammatical term (masculine, feminine, neuter) that applies to nouns and to articles (der, die, das). In most Indo-European languages, the default, generic gender of a thing or a being of indefinite sex is masculine. Don't try to dispute these facts as you sally forth into the great big non-Anglo world, and don't try to impress the people in it with your "universal human values."]

As a result of these political failures, the West has lost its standing as a civilizational guiding light for Russia and China, India, the Moslem world, Africa and most of Latin America. At this point, the term "Judeo-Christian civilization" sounds like a vicious joke to most people and should be eschewed altogether. As all of its appealing aspects fade away, what seeps through is its decadence and its parasitism and, with the recent help from Israel, its genocidal tendencies. While the decadence is easily solved by setting up cultural and political barriers, the parasitism and the genocidal tendencies must, in the view of most people around the world, be stopped.

Financial control was exercised via control of the reserve currencies: the pound, then the dollar. Since all foreign trade could be blocked at the imperial center, businessmen in the former colonies knew exactly how to behave to avoid being sanctioned. When the imperial center suddenly felt the need, it could tilt the playing field by restricting access to credit, freezing dollar and euro reserves and other such measures. Colonial economies would be disrupted and then a flood of wealth would drain from the colonies to the imperial coffers, which were promoted as a safe haven. Another, even more insipid sort of colonial wealth drain was organized by running structural (i.e., permanent) trade deficits and providing only one way to accumulate the surplus: through the purchase of imperial government debt which is then gradually inflated away.

This method of control is now failing. Russia and China have been able to de-dollarize virtually all of their trade, showing the way to other countries, many of which are now eager to join BRICS, which is the center of knowhow for de-dollarization. In attempting to constrain their adversaries through the use of economic sanctions, the US and the EU essentially dealt themselves out of the game. They can now do whatever they want with their money — use it as kindling or as (rather coarse) toilet paper, line canary cages with it... But what they won't be able to do for much longer is to lend it into existence and then use it to import whatever they want.

It is now China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and, to some extent, even Iran that are calling the shots. The Argentines elect a president who intends to put a stop to the process of Argentina joining BRICS; in response, China swiftly cancels its currency swap with Argentina, putting the brakes on its trade with Argentina. Clueless congressmen in the US broach the question of putting a stop to enriched Uranium imports from Russia, which are essential for keeping the lights on in the US. In response, Russian parliamentarians ask the question: "Why is Russia providing such strategic materials to the enemy?"

I have said this quite a few years ago: "A day will come when offering someone a million dollars will get you punched in the face." Well, that day is not far off: at the BRICS meeting next summer, hosted by the Russian Federation in the beautiful, thoroughly modern city of Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, the dollar is due to be replaced by a notional unit — not quite a currency — to be used as a benchmark in trade. After that, the phrase "in dollar terms" will no longer get much use any more.

There is much that is not directly reserve-related hiding behind the phrase "reserve currency": there are, of course, the central banks, the commercial banks and investment companies; but there are also ratings agencies, brokerages, stock exchanges, consulting agencies, insurance agencies, credit card companies and much else that has allowed London and New York to produce nothing but somehow float on a cloud of the "service economy." That entire cloud is now about to dissolve, and what is becoming visible far below it are the sharp rocks of the physical economy — mining, refining and manufacturing — all of which Russia, China and the other BRICS, both present and future, have very much in hand while the West does not.

Military control was exercised by maintaining army bases all over the territories that fell under imperial control. Military means could be used whenever political and financial controls proved ineffective, but most of the time they were not, held in reserve as an implicit threat that made political and financial controls more effective. Periodically, some small, relatively defenseless country would be destroyed for contrived reasons and its population massacred just to keep everyone else in line. This worked most of the time, but less and less often: it worked in Yugoslavia and Libya but didn't work in Syria, Afghanistan or Yemen.

The problem with this entire plan is that a first-world military cannot maintain supremacy over peer opponents such as Russia and China by unsuccessfully battling subpar, scantily equipped, poorly trained militaries in faraway lands. The plan is first-rate at lining the pockets of stockholders of the military-industrial complex and at funding the election campaigns of associated politicians, but these are not military objectives. To find a way out of this conceptual cul de sac, the US defense establishment evolved a doctrinal position that stipulated its own undisputed supremacy and all facts that contradicted it (such as Russia's successful, though very limited, action against ISIS in Syria or Israel's defeat in southern Lebanon) could be tuned out as impossible.

Simply put, the US, and NATO with it, lacked the necessary inputs to improve. Military science and practice advance through a series of tactical defeats and strategic victories, making and learning from minor mistakes in the process of achieving major successes. Yet what the US has been able to achieve in one conflict after another is a series of tactical victories followed by strategic defeats. As Andrei Martyanov pointed out, in the absence of necessary inputs, the US military absorbed the doctrines it extracted from the remnants of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht; in particular, its fixation on the idea of Blitzkrieg, quite ignoring the facts that Blitzkrieg died at Stalingrad.

Doomed to repeat history, the US staged a revival of Blitzkrieg in what used to be Eastern Ukraine, turning a tragedy into a farce. There, the pattern has finally been broken: a series of tactical defeats is leading up to a truly massive strategic defeat. But that can wait, because Russia seems to be in no hurry to finish the job and is perfectly content to keep stacking up its tactical victories, since that will make its massive strategic victory, when it comes, even more massive.

The US is not quite ready to pack up its toys and go home, and that's good for its opponents: the longer it takes for the penny to drop in Washington, the more money and resources will be wasted in ineffectual posturing, and the weaker the US and its allies will be once the truth of the situation becomes impossible to ignore. If all goes well, military failure abroad will naturally spill over into civil war at home, and then there will be one fewer global hegemonic superpower to worry about.

Logistical control. As luck would have it, a lack of military supremacy automatically enfeebles the Anglo empire economically. The piratical Anglo empire has exercised control over global trade via its control of sea lanes: it was imperative that all sorts of imperial loot could be shipped back to the Anglo imperial centers. Britannia... scratch that... America rules the waves... or doesn't it? In particular, control of various chokepoints — Suez Canal, Strait of Hormuz, Panama Canal, Gibraltar, Malacca and (surprise!) Bab-el-Mandeb — is absolutely essential.

The recent US naval actions near Bab-el-Mandeb did nothing to prevent a virtual shutdown of the Suez Canal, resulting in lengthy delays and huge increases in freight rates for most of Western-directed shipping as the ships head around the Cape of Good Hope. This has resulted from just a few threats and some rather limited hostile acts against international shipping by Yemeni Houthis, who vowed to continue their actions against shipping associated with Israel unless humanitarian and medical aid starts to reach Gaza: their mission is, you see, a mission of mercy, so don't you dare call them terrorists!

Nor will shelling Yemen from the US Navy ships now steaming aimlessly around Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea do any good: the Houthis have been shelled by the Saudis for years and are by now completely desensitized to that treatment. And if the US were to stage a land invasion of Yemen... well, it's hard to think of a place on Earth better suited to humiliating the invading Americans — far better even than the mountains of Afghanistan.

Note that Russian shipping through Suez is not being restricted in any way. Perhaps the Russians now sail with special transponders provided by Iran, part of a friend-or-foe identification system that Iran also gave to the Houthis. On the other hand, traffic at the Israeli port of Ashdod, which is its lifeline, is down 80% and Israel's trade relationship with its main trading partner, which is China, is very seriously disrputed. All that remains is for the Hezbollah in Lebanon to launch some rocket attacks on Ben Gurion International Airport, taking out its fuel tanks and its control tower, and Israel would find itself physically isolated — a virtual blockade.

How long after that will it take for the Jews of Israel to give up on the Israeli project and to head for greener pastures, as they have done in similar circumstances for thousands of years? Observing the demise of their Israeli Mini-Me, American officialdom would, of course, remain inconsolable for a good 15 minutes, but as evidence shows there is nobody at all in the world that the US would not be willing to betray when conditions warrant — not the Ukraine, and not Israel. It's never anything personal, strictly business.

Note that the Suez Canal is not the only shipping chokepoint that is currently failing or in danger of failing: traffic through the Panama Canal is also restricted, due to a lack of rainfall, causing a shortage of water in Gatun Lake for filling the locks, in turn forcing ships to go around Cape Horn instead. There is also the Strait of Hormuz, dominated by Iranian forces, making military action against Iran unlikely. Are there any alternatives to these shipping routes? Yes, there is Russia's Northern Sea Route — much shorter and perfectly well defended. But passage through it does require icebreaker escort, which Russia is able to provide.

Political, financial, military and logistical control... Each of these mechanisms of imperial control is not simply de rigeur — a matter of imperial fashion. Each one is strictly required in order to keep the Anglo imperial mechanism functioning: without political control, financial control, military bases and sea lanes the imperial organism quickly finds itself in great distress, as would someone who suffers a punctured skull, or a broken spinal chord, or a severed artery, or a punctured intestinal tract. But if all of these traumas occur at the same time, then it is probably of no use to wheel such a patient to the ICU and in spite of his plaintive and pathetic protestations of "But I'm not dead yet!" his proper destination would be the morgue.

As the above analysis suggests, now, in late December of 2023, all of these mechanisms of Anglo imperial control are indeed failing. What will happen to imperial Anglo societies once it has failed? If history is any guide, it may be in some ways a repetition of what happened in Britain after the fall of Western Roman Empire: a full-blown collapse down to an increasingly primitive subsistence level and eventual population replacement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *