Montana Politics

Should Ukraine Integrate with Europe?

Events in Ukraine are progressing faster than anyone can analyze them – as I write, the de facto president of Ukraine, a Tymoshenko ally named Oleksander Turchynov, has announced a desire for closer integration with Europe. I have discussed this on 4&20 earlier on a couple of occasions, but I’m going to take lizard’s advice and write my own post about why Ukraine ought to seek closer relations with the EU, not with Russia.

1) Economics – Russia has a well defined sphere of influence, and the countries therein are almost universally worse off than those countries aligned with the EU. Compare the economic progress of Russia and Belarus to that of Poland and the Baltic States – EU membership has incredible benefits, both in terms of total GDP and in key human development indicators – including economic equality, human rights and environmental conditions. While Russia has offered lump sums of cash, the EU presents opportunities for economic diversification and long term, targeted aid.

2) Sovereignty – Russia is over twice the size (population) of Ukraine, and dwarfs its pseudo-satellites Kazakhstan and Belarus as well. Inevitably this means that Ukrainian freedom of action is hindered by its relationship with Russia (this is exacerbated by its economic dependence). In the EU, however, Ukraine would be one of many countries its approximate size, and the structure of the EU gives its members substantial sovereignty guarantees. Relationships between the EU and member states, moreover, are constrained by set rules. Therefore, EU efforts to impact Ukraine’s internal decision-making would undoubtedly be limited. Russian efforts, on the other hand, have been and will continue to be exceedingly powerful.

3) Democracy – the EU has provided powerful incentives against political backsliding. By requiring high standards for democratic governance, the EU has taken formerly authoritarian, fascist, and communist regimes and has universally prevented their reversion to undemocratic forms of governance. Stability in Ukraine would benefit from a similar democratic incentive.

As to the question of what extent the US should be actively involved in this – I think the answer is that to the extent that we extended moral and material support to Ukraine, we’re already skating on thin ice as far as appropriate relations between sovereign nations. However, the US and EU should match Russian cash incentives previously offered, and the US ought to encourage Europe to fast-track economic integration of Ukraine that will help build connections between Ukraine and Western Europe. It is important to remember that, according to many analysts, it was the EU’s dilatory approach to Ukrainian integration that made Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko’s foreign policy unsustainable the first time around.

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  • adorable little piece of cheerleading, Wolf.

    you’ve already stated I don’t know anything about Ukraine, so maybe you can enlighten me. why is the “opposition” not happy with the concessions offered of elections this year and reverting back to the 2004 constitution? every attempt at a truce or concessions has been met with more violence.

    and you continue to pain this rosy picture of what the EU can offer. tell that to Greece and the other countries gasping under austerity. the western economic model is a disaster.

    that said, I don’t think alignment with Russia would be any better for Ukraine. both spheres jockeying for influence are rotten with corruption.

    • -Edited because I was overly hostile the first time.

      The political opposition, by all accounts, was happy with the compromise. The Ukrainians I’ve been in contact (not a representative sample) were unhappy with the settlement because it put off elections for more than six months. With dozens dead (mostly protestors, but you’re right, police as well), that was considered too little, too late. Imagine if police killed fifty people during an OWS protest – with that much blood spilled, it’s difficult to see the same face on TV the next week, still in power. Things have moved far beyond what the EU or mainstream opposition leaders were aiming at – those who signed the deal have largely been streamlined.

      As to the Western economic model as shown by the EU – Greece is the worst example you could use, right? Surely if we compare the worst EU example, we’d see that Ukraine is better off than at least the worst EU nation?

      Of course, the Greek economy has doubled in size since 1991 (even with the massive austerity-fueled recession). The Ukrainian economy has grown at less that 10%, with a collapse in HDI indices. I know you have good intentions and you’re not stupid (or mindless, which is a different, if related, problem). Please, do a little background research on what in fact has happened with the EU and the EC & EEC before it – bashing the EU from afar based on what you read on alternative blogs is easy – its harder when you actually look at what EU development programs have accomplished in places the the interior of Portugal or south of Spain, or the East of Poland (“Poland B”), that were essentially pre-industrial before their countries joined the EU. Compare that to places that were comparable in 1930 or 1970 or 1990, but have not had the benefit of EU development aid, and you’ll see my point.

      • thems good advice, teach. youz don’t condescend at all. tell the Ukranians you talk to (plural) it’s too bad jews are being told to flee the “new” Ukraine. and I’m sure that nice lady who got out of jail won’t reconnect with the Russians she was convicted of selling petrol to at artificially higher prices.

        • Did you read the ‘correction’ on that link you posted? That Rabbi is a) not actually the chief Rabbi in Ukraine, and is indeed opposed to the man who is and b) openly aligned with Russia. Also, its interesting that you insisted that the fears of Egypt’s Coptic community were overblown during the uprising against Mubarak (they of course weren’t), but are completely sure that the threat to Ukraine’s Jewish community is real and a direct result of the people who are taking power, not the general lack of order.

          But you bring up a legitimate point, and another reason for the EU to attempt to integrate Ukraine ASAP – it’s quite possible for extreme nationalists to use scapegoating of minorities to secure their control (Not just Jews, but Roma and other groups as well), and to violate the cultural rights of Russians living in Ukraine. EU candidacy can be a powerful incentive not to. Everything else I said is valid – in terms of economics, human rights, and national sovereignty, Ukraine’s best bet is a closer relationship with the EU.

          • That depends on the means you’re talking about. Occupying the maidan in Kiev is not a violent act in and of itself. Continuing to occupy it after some politicians call for peace, I also can’t fault, as no one agreed that the opposition parties adequately represented the will of the protestors. Storming government and police buildings, however, was a risky move that created the possibility for catastrophic violence (though it’s little different from what happened in dozens of previous ‘peaceful’ revolutions). If anyone could have stopped it from happening, it would have been safer if they had done so, but I don’t think anyone had that kind of authority, and I can’t fault the majority of the protestors who remained peaceful. Even if the country ends up peaceful, united, and Western, however, the confrontational tactics of some of the protestors were not worth the risk of dragging their country into violence.

            The means, however, do not invalidate the ends. The country has changed dramatically in three days, and both US and EU policy need to react to that (more quickly than they seem accustomed to reacting in these circumstances). And the riskiness of the means does not justify a counter-action, either by Russia or what remains of Yanukovych’s party (which seems to have turned on him – they didn’t need a weatherman).

            • how can you just throw out there that most protestors have been peaceful? they have been armed and violent nearly from the beginning.

            • Evidence? The protests started in November, with the first police violence coming November 30th. The first protesters were killed on January 22nd, the first police killed February 18th. For over a month the injuries were all on the side of the protestors. This seems an unlikely timeline if ‘most’ of the protestors were armed and violent.

    • There;s another question here, too – should what has happened, have happened? No. If the US is behind this, I think we are taking too big of risks with people’s lives. Even if there’s no more bloodshed, I think what has happened already since the ‘peace’ was signed, even if it works, was an enormous risk on the part of whoever was in charge (it seems like not the EU or US, as they seemed plenty satisfied with the peace agreement.) But those risks were taken, and thankfully the worst case scenarios have not yet come to pass. The question I’m answering in this blog is, what to do now.

  • Integrate with Europe? Europe is about to blow. The Eurozone was a complete failure. Who would want to be part of that, unless forced?

    Sovereignty is best. Hard, but clean.

    • “The Eurozone was a complete failure. ”

      The Eurozone proved to be unable to deal with the crisis, because 1. The ECB failed even harder than the Fed and 2. Greece lied extensively to get in. The European Union, however, is not – non-Euro EU countries have benefited tremendously. Compare Portugal or Poland to countries that they were roughly similar to thirty or forty years ago.

      • Polish Wolf: you do know that the world has too much debt and we are due for a crash. Europe will probably be ahead of us.
        Europeans are tired of their individual cultures and economies being trashed. You know who pays for it all? Germany. And the Germans are sick of it.

      • Tina, you’re just repeating things you’ve heard somewhere. The Eurozone debt to GDP ratio is lower than ours, and ours is less than half that of Japan. So, your debt point is irrelevant.

        On to Germany – of course Germany actually has continued expanding their economy and massive trade surplus (in GDP terms much larger than China’s), the continuation of which requires the continuation of the Euro. Overall, the Eurozone economy is growing, and Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria (the EU countries most like Ukraine in terms of both economics and history) are growing faster than the Eurozone as a whole.

        As to cultures – the EU actually provides a great deal of protection for individual cultures, funding the preservation and restoration of historical sites as well as traditional cultural events. Name one way in which the EU has actually trampled a member nation’s economy.

        Finally, ‘sovereignty’ as you put it is impossible, at least not for a country that borders the EU and Russia. Ukraine cannot be economically independent while it retains Soviet-era dependence on the Russian economy. It’s only choice is to develop closer economic ties (while full membership is still far off) with the EU, at least to balance Russia.

        • The numbers you are reading are false on all counts. Go to Karl Denninger’s blog and get the truth, OK?

          Cultures are NOT being protected when all of Europe is being flooded by violent Africans and Muslims- the European people have spoken: they do not want them there.

          100% of the rapes in Sweden last year were done by Africans.

          The U.S. true debt is over 200 TRILLLION, when you count the empty Social Security funds, and Medicare.

          We cannot print our way out of this.

          • Relevance is slipping here, Tina….I don’t know who Karl Denninger is, but every actual agency with access to the actual statistics says the EU is growing, and is growing faster in the east than elsewhere.

            As to Europe being overrun with violent Africans – I’d love a source for that rape quote from Sweden, but it’d be irrelevant. EU membership and association has nothing to do with African immigration to Europe.

            As to us printing our way out of this – what do you suppose ‘this’ is? Global debt need not be a problem precisely because it is global. Its a long chain of IOUs, and there’s no reason for them to cause any damage. We owe people dollars, not gold. We determine the value of the dollar. So, if we wanted to, we really could print our way out of this. We’d rather not, but we have that last resort. The people we owe money to don’t want to see that, so they have very little choice but to wait for us to bring down our deficit and start paying them back, or else they lose everything.

            • Your ignorance of economics is breathtaking. Was Karl’s blog over your head?

              Do you think, perchance, that governments have reason to lie about their progress so they don’t lose their bond ratings? It is a thin veneer right now. Once people acknowledge it, kaboom.

              For info on the invasion of Europe, see the blog Gates of Vienna

  • Is it good v. Evil? Yanokovich v. Timoshenko? I’ll admit I’m indisposed to Russia on account of their ignorant gay-bashing, the Cossacks beating women (in 2014; NOT 1914), and the general lack of modern thinking on the part of Vladmir Putin (who apparently grew up in the Jim Crow south?)

    • I don’t think Tymoshenko exactly represents ‘the forces of light’ here. She’s a hard nosed politician in a country whose politics are corrupt and even dangerous, and I won’t believe she’s an inherently better person than Yanukovych until we see how she returns the ‘favor’ of her imprisonment when he finally shows up again. But I do think she’s heading her country in a better direction than he was.

  • Larry at it again with the belittling. Clearly as a foreign policy expert he has the ability to be the ultimate authority on everything. If only all of us could be geniuses like Larry.

    • It’s a gift, sonny, a gift! BTW, is belittling really not a legitimate technique to make fun of moronic policies and people? If so, there goes out the window most of the great literature and art of the world. But of course, you wouldn’t know or understand that. Sorry I posted it.

  • IMF, IMF, IMF. Help me understand why accepting IMF terms and conditions leads to anything but loss of productive cropland, displaced farmers, crippling poverty and currency manipulation and collapse — all to guarantee past and future returns on risky loans by global “investors.” This has worked so well in Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, Greece and so on.

  • I think I may have posted on the wrong blog. Apologies. FYI, 2010 IMF loans were not being serviced before the shit hit the fan.

  • What I find so interesting is the transference of policy from one administration to another, calling it Neocon under Bush and Neoliberal under

    The thrust of policy is that countries cannot be run independently of the dominant financial system, usually referred to as London/Wall Street. When countries mess with that system, suddenly there is talk that they may be lacking in democratic values. This, more than anything, turns me a little nauseous about PW, to so easily buy the lie that anyone in this country gives two shits for human rights or democracy. That is, as any Rissian will tell you, mere window dressing.

    Hussein, Gaddafi, Chavez all challenged the petrodollar, and are dead, the first two brutally murdered. al-Sisi drove Morsi out of power even as Morsi was dining with the IMF and getting ready to help out the Syrian terrorists with the Egyptian military. These are thugs, warmongers, agents of money, fascists.

    These people that are backing these insurrections in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela and Egypt are nothing more than that – fascists. They are very good at infiltrating, agitating and disrupting countries,and then when the countries under attack respond, to scream about repression and to use the American media to focus on the situation like the trained puppies that they are.,This formula is as old as the NSA and CIA. It works. the CIA has massive black financing, runs these shows. I suspect much of that money comes from the drug business – is has certainly taken off in Afghaistan with the arrival of American kids assigned to guard the poppy fields. Production sets new records every year. Where does that money go?

    “These people” have not changed – they’ve been running the American foreign policy show since the 1960’s. What is most interesting are the pretzel machinations that PW goes through to stipulate that there are difference when a man wearing the label Democrat holds titular power.

    That takes serious circus dog discipline.
    *I asked Chomsky one time when I had the chance what a neoliberal was, as it appeared to me that they were no different than the Neocons. He said he wasn’t sure either, but that they were “neither new nor liberal.”

  • I was reading remarks today any a man who has studied Ukrainian history and politics, and continues. he says it is a tinderbox. he has a good friend who emigrated from Kiev shortly after Chenobyl — whose dad was a “liquidator” or expendable person doing cleanup. he learned a lot about Ukraine from him first hand, and also have his views on current events.

    he says that the problem with Americans understanding Ukraine is that 1) the media doesn’t understand it, so we get regurgitated pablum masquerading as news; 2) American ideology and political/economic goals will never allow the media to give us a clear understanding of Ukraine, and 3) many people pretend to know more about Ukraine than they do, and tend to dumb-down the topic and be condescending in their discussion of it (like PW).
    So the best advice for anybody who wants to understand what’s going on in Ukraine needs to read widely, talk to as many people as possible, and then weigh what they learn ad know against the onslaught of disinformation coming from the two hegemonies vying for power.

    Just Comments.

    • “Just Comments.”

      Yes indeed. Certainly not, I don’t know, informed comments. I’m curious about your view on Morsi – it’s difficult to deny that he was democratically elected, and yet you seem to approve of the military re-takeover.

      As to Ukraine – did you see anything in my post that suggests that what happened is a purely democratic, endogenous movement, or that the actions leading to it were appropriate. But considering your source on Ukraine is literally a guy whose work you’ve read knows a guy who left Ukraine when it was still part of the Soviet Union, perhaps you don’t know exactly what’s going on?

      I expected my Ukrainian friends to be more ambivalent or even hostile towards what’s happening. Admittedly, the Ukrainians I know are skewed younger and English-speaking, but they are also Russophones from near the border.

      It is highly possible that Western countries were involved in organizing what happened. But there were not a million CIA agents in Kiev – popular support clearly exists, though no claim as to what side is in the majority is defensible. And Russia has been overtly meddling with Ukrainian affairs since independence – using economic blackmail to ensure that no one besides Yanukovych could lead the country effectively. Ukraine had fair elections in 2010, despite the sort of economic interference that has justified Venezuela’s current campaign against free – that’s why Yanukovych could win as an opposition candidate. After his elections, the irregularities returned.

      Now, I know what you’re thinking – that sounds exactly like how the US treats countries in its sphere of influence – a combination covert political action, overt economic pressure, and selective enforcement of democratic ideals. Of course, Chomsky warns that just because the US is imperialistic, one cannot ignore imperialism by Russia (I believe he was talking about martial law in Poland, but I’m not sure). That’s why I’m not attaching any moral superiority to one side or the other. Just the facts – and the facts are that while countries like Mexico, Poland, and Turkey, which are clearly in the sphere of the nefarious Wall Street/London consensus, have experienced substantial HDI and GDP PPP growth, while Ukraine has stagnated in GDP and fallen substantially in HDI. So, making no ethical value judgements, Ukraine is better off in the Western sphere than the Russian one, or in the limbo where it currently resides. Which is of course exactly what the post says, though it does not resemble the imaginary post to which you responded.

      • (I was subversively citing a certain JayCee in the second comment, as he is, for no sane reason, banned here. I mucked it up a bit. I did it without his knowledge or permission.)

        Economics do not matter. No one cares about that. The IMF is not in the development business – it is in the privatization business. It as an agent of western capitalism, or fascism. Countries can thrive or suffer, but so long as there is 10% or so of the population that has franchises with the international corporations, then US/London own the country. They can leave it alone, and so long as there is no threat to nationalize western resources or institute large public spending policies on education or infrastructure, they get to run themselves. When they threaten Wall Street/London, many tools are available. What we saw in Ukraine was one very powerful one, the ability to taken natural divisions in a country, which always exist, as a means of fomenting unrest and caused regime change, or coup d’etat. (Imagine that some outside power wanted to do that inside the US – it would be so easy! We have huge factions of discontent that have no access to power.)

        Your attitude is off-putting, as you are at once bought in and condescending, and at the same time making calculated strategic retreats to allow you to appear an above-the-fray analyst. But you’re not. You’re an apparatchik, a bought-in commissar. It’s as if your paycheck depends on buying in, as it really does with those in American news media.

        Here’s you: “It’s highly possible that Western countries were involved in what happened.” Of course, you’ll never look into that, as remaining agnostic allows you to avoid thinking.

        Morsi was elected in a low-turnout -American style affair where most people realized that choices were limited and so stayed home. His ouster was greeted with wide internal approval except by western terror agents known so as the Muslim Brotherhood. His dalliances with IMF, austerity, and attacking Syria caused his downfall. The ensuing unrest is highly predictable. You don’t get out much, so you don’t know how that’s done. CIA has been at it for 67 years, knows how. The American news media, the most subservient to power on the planet, knows what to to do too. (It’s highly telling that you’re upset about that ouster, which did not favor Wall Street/London, but bought into that of Yanukovych, whose election, though fraught with American-style intrigue, was largely fair.)
        “Well the [IMF] aid package comes because the United States and the EU have staged what is really a classic coup d’état ousting the elected government in Ukraine and carrying out the regime change which we felt was their agenda from the beginning ever since November when the EU gave Ukraine an ultimatum: “Are you with the EU, are you going to integrate into the EU – which of course eventually means integration into NATO – or are you with Russia?”

        They were the ones who provoked this crisis, the protests started afterwards. A classic coup d’état has taken place. A rump session of parliament has ousted the existing, constitutionally-elected president. And now there is a reign of terror by semi-fascist and ultra-right groups against others.” (Brian Becker, ANSWER)
        Get your head out of American/British intelligentsia, into foreign news and analysis, even some dissident literature. There’s a “bought priesthood” in this land that occupies all important forums, as exists in any imperial state. They need to be studiously ignored.

        • Thanks. Compliment are rare in this business, and especially at this website. What is most interesting is that what you and I see and know is highly visible and easily knowable, and yet in a land where information flows freely, it is neither sought or known. That is classic Orwellian circus dog behavior.

        • “Of course, you’ll never look into that, as remaining agnostic allows you to avoid thinking. ”

          Or because, as you admit, there are no firm answers to be had. And because as far as appropriate next steps, its irrelevant.

          “Economics do not matter”

          They do to the people who suffer or prosper under them. You have speculative, shadowy evidence that the West is intervening in Ukraine (because there was some massive nationalization of resources? You leave the motives to the imagination). You conveniently ignore the fact that Russia has repeatedly and disastrously intervened in Ukrainian politics in the last ten years. Then you tell me it doesn’t really matter where Ukraine ends up. Even assuming as much covert meddling as you want to assume, the two sides are at worst equal here. But Ukraine has clearly suffered from not being integrated into the EU – in HDI they’ve fallen behind Romania and Bulgaria, both of which trailed them substantially in 1991.

          “which of course eventually means integration into NATO”

          Just like Austria and Ireland and Sweden and Finland, right? Actually this is a serious point one of the mistakes made after 2004 was that Ukraine was pressured to commit to NATO before they were given any of the benefits of EU alignment. NATO membership should always be absolutely voluntary, and I agree that for Ukraine NATO membership is undesirable.

          “western terror agents known so as the Muslim Brotherhood”

          Wait, they are Western terror agents? But I thought Mubarak was our torturer in chief? Why would we replace our own, highly loyal guy with the Islamic Brotherhood, and then be also totally okay with the subsequent coup (which we won’t even call a ‘coup’ in public?) My thoughts on Egypt are very like those about Ukraine – there is no doubt that Democracy has been subverted, but it is quite possible the end result will be better for Egyptians.

          “Imagine that some outside power wanted to do that inside the US – it would be so easy! ”

          And you believe this has never been tried, because of course the US is the source of all evil and chaos in the world.

          • There was going to be a new government in Egypt. Mubarak was used up. So the US, again using a standard technique used for decades, pulled the rug on him, pretending to want reform, and then maneuvered another like him into power. That’s basic stuff, PW. Basic.

            I have this same problem with Swede, PW – you bring with you vast swaths if ignorance and refuse to examine evidence. You’ve no notion what NATO really is or the elements of neo-Nazism that are at work here. Your viewpoint is white bread American history.

            If I had any indication that you were not just another American with a white bread American world view, I’d take time to debate finer points, air out my own views, mesh them with yours, and better form my own world view. I ain’t the final authority here by any stretch, but debating with you does not help me. You bring nothing to that table. There’s nothing to be learned.

            I’ll give you a little formula that might lead you to a transformative experience. A few of us are so fortunate as to have them, but it is only because we don’t “buy in,” and so explore in places where we are disciplined not to go by our indoctrination system, especially in your profession. This is the answer, Jeopardy style, it will take years for you to understand the question, that is, if you even try:

            OSS + SS = CIA. Start with Paperclip.

            Ahhhh, mystery. But you’re probably all white breaded up on it.

            The following is not my view, but that of the neoNazis and fascists that run this place. It is this: There simply are not enough resources for everyone to live well. People are not a resource, but a drain on resources. The role of some areas (political boundaries no longer matter) is to act as resource and labor sources for more advanced areas. There is a continuing fight over control of these areas. Huge lies are told to explain these fights.

            Some of the most important areas are those that surround Russia, just to stay on topic here. Russia is resurgent and like a magnet is gathering satellites around it that it lost in 1990. Ukraine is a huge prize, and the US wants it under EU control. For that reason, the US, using as always CIA, instigated all of the uprisings there, the object being coup d’état. This does not mean that there are not real and serious divisions there, but only that CIA, British Intelligence and NATO are expert at exploiting them.

            That Yanukovych is accused of crimes by the criminal class that runs this country, the EU And now Ukaine, is high comedy, sickening and making intelligent people chuck their McMuffins.

            At stake is not just Ukraine, but the Balkans.

            Economics, so long as it is not understood, is useful to our oligarchs to keep class divisions in line. While preaching advancement, IMF debilitates and solidifies control of resources centers. Neoclassical economics is a joke, a waste of time but does serve to mask the real economic forces at work in our power centers and in Europe: Malthusianism, and Social Darwinism. Those memes are what leads to the massacres that we’ve seen, most recently in Iraq and Libya, going on now in Syria, and too countless to mention In the 20th century.

            Your last sentence, by the way, is a diversion, reducing an argument to toe choices, both wrong. The US is, again, not the source of all evil in the world but when it is, we really light to talk about it.

            • ” and then maneuvered another like him into power.”

              Yes…the US maneuvered Morsi into power. Morsi, the man currently accused by the heroic Egyptian army of selling secrets to Iran. fortunately the Egyptian armed forces, the salvation of that country, swooped in (using US and Saudi military aid) took the country back over to defend its sovereignty and democracy! It all makes sense now!

              And then we get…NAZIS! Of course, without a holocaust. Or a world war. With a largely unscathed bill of rights. So…pro-state anti-communists are in charge of our government! The horror!

              “That Yanukovych is accused of crimes”

              Agreed. It served no one to throw him in jail. Though he certainly committed crimes.

              “At stake is not just Ukraine, but the Balkans. ”

              Which have by and large already joined the EU & NATO? Now I’m curious!

              ” People are not a resource, but a drain on resources. ”

              Which makes the next part awkward…

              ” resource and labor sources”

              So…people are a drain, but labor is not. got it.

              ” Ukraine is a huge prize, and the US wants it under EU control. ”

              And here’s where you run up against facts – Yes, it’s a huge prize, just as was the Visegrad group. But here’s what will blow your mind – ALL of those countries are doing substantially better now than they were doing before, consuming substantially more resources and leading substantially better lives! But how!? This is certainly unlikely if the main point was to extend EU influence and more effectively drain resources from those poor schmucks who constitute the surplus humanity that doesn’t get to lead a better life.

              Your narrative is compelling, but it completely falls apart in the face of the evidence. EU expansion, the signing of NAFTA, the liberalization of India – all of these were bemoaned at the time for allowing for greater resource exploitation in the poorer countries they involved. However, in all cases the people of those countries began consuming more and living better lives. In general, global inequality is DECLINING with increased globalization, as hundreds of millions of people are joining the market for goods and resources. And yet the US and UK seem to be trying to accelerate this trend – this is absolutely incompatible with a Malthusian view of world resources. The foundation of your beliefs about the world is thus utterly undermined.

              • All I can say, PW, is that in a land like ours, where professional advancement depends on having your mind right, that you’ll not have any problem.

                But there is an almost one-to-one correlation between incuriosity and self-proclaimed expertise in an imperial state. This makes you very boring.

                • That’s all you can say because the very basis of your belief system is flawed. You stated that ‘the West’ attempts to implement economic forms to better extract resources from others in adherence to a Malthusian worldview. I’ve shown that the extension of Western influence inevitably increases the resource consumption of other countries. You’re utterly wrong, and absolutely without a leg to stand on. So you revert to your broadest of platitudes. You speak about a lack of curiosity, but you aren’t curious enough to seek out the provable facts that make a mockery of your assumptions – you prefer to dabble in the unknowable because you in fact know so little. I started with a worldview very similar to yours, but I was curious – curious about the actual measurable effects of economic policies and alignments. Through both first hand experience and analysis of the relevant statistics, I came to realize that your view of things, which I once shared, is generally reactionary and frequently contradicted by facts on the ground.

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