You can believe in what “they” believe or not. It matters little. Note the players involved and their connections and… as a result… likely influence. And, influences.
If you think they are alone or isolated in their belief system, you are incorrect. These people are “followers” and were introduced to this “faith”.
To quote a friend, “What you believe is irrelevant. All that matters is that they believe what they believe.”
The case against sex cult NXIVM just keeps getting more troubling.
NXIVM (pronounced “Nexium”) is supposedly a marketing organization that offers self-help personal and professional development seminars, but is instead a sex cult that branded and enslaved willing women, as well as trafficked children.
Devotees of NXIVM paid thousands of dollars for seminars, wore colored sashes denoting their “rank,” spouted Scientology-like jargon, and literally bowed before founder-leader Keith Raniere, 57, as their “Vanguard.” Among supporters of NXIVM are:
- Actresses Allison Mack, Linda Evans and Kristin Kreuk.
- Seagram heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman, who poured a fortune into NXIVM, reportedly $150 million.
- Business mogul Richard Branson, BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, and Enron CEO Stephen Cooper. NXIVM held two “wild parties” on Branson’s private Caribbean island in 2007 and 2010, but Branson’s Virgin Management spokesman denies any association between Branson and NXIVM or its founder.
- Family members of Mexican presidents Vicente Fox and Carlos Salinas.
- Democrat politicos with connections to the Clintons: former surgeon general Antonia Novello, a Bill Clinton appointee; longtime Clinton friend-fund raiser Richard Mays, whom Bill Clinton appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court; NXIVM lobbyist Doug Rutnik, father of Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). At least three high-ranking NXIVM members — the cult’s second in command Nancy Salzman, and the Bronfman sisters — are members of the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative.
Raniere didn’t just brand and molest adult women, he raped at least two minor females, aged 15 and 12. According to a DOJ detention memo to U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold, Raniere also condones incest and gang rape. He told one slave that “incest is not wrong if the ‘victim’ is sexually aroused by the experience”. He also “questioned whether gang rape is bad if the person being raped has an orgasm.”
In March, Raniere was extradicted to the United States from a luxury villa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he had been hiding with several women for the past 5 months. Allison Mack then took over as interim cult leader, until she herself was arrested on April 20, 2018. Mack had recruited women into NXIVM, whose pubic areas were branded with both her initials and Raniere’s as their willing sex slaves.
Mack’s unsealed indictment states the three charges for which she was arrested:
- Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion.
- Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of childrenor by force, fraud or coercion.
- Attempt to establish peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, human trafficking.
When I reported Mack’s arrest in a post on April 21, I appended this quote at the bottom of her pic:
“The Devil may appear in the vesture of the Angel of Light.” –2 Corinthians 11:14
My instincts were right.
Frank Parlato, a former NXIVM consultant who, for several months, had lived and worked with the cult, and communicated closely day and night with top NXIVM officials, claims to have evidence and information of other NXIVM crimes, including:
Hacking into people’s personal emails, phone records, and bank accounts; bribing Mexican judges and politicians; massive tax evasion; smuggling $10 million into the US in cash from Mexico; bringing illegal aliens across the border at Niagara Falls and then imprisoning them; allegations from victims of statutory rape; cover up of at least two suicides; engaging in a classic Klein Conspiracy to impede the function of the IRS, with more than 75 corporate entities and/or “shell” companies, with scores of shifting bank accounts; paying employees’ salaries and telling them not to pay income taxes – and even a possible admission of having people killed.
Meanwhile, the MSM continue their virtual black-out on reporting the NXIVM crimes, arrests and indictments.
Written by one I count as a friend, some 20 years ago…
WHAT would be the tripwire resulting in open rebellion? Examining the Bill of Rights, and considering EXISTING laws only, and not failed attempts, you will find that every clause has been violated to one degree or another. Documenting those violations would fill volumes; and it is important to remember that only government can violate the exercise of unalienable individual rights and claim immunity from retribution. We omit martial law or public suspension of the Constitution as a tripwire. The overnight installation of dictatorship obviously would qualify as “the tripwire,” but is not likely to occur. What has occurred, what is occurring, is the implementation of every aspect of such dictatorship without an overt declaration. The Constitution is being killed by attrition. The Communist Manifesto is being installed by accretion. Any suggestion that martial law is the tripwire leads us to the question: what aspect of martial law justifies the first shot?
For much the same reason, we will leave out mass executions of the Waco variety. For one thing, they are composite abuses of numerous individual rights. Yet, among those abuses, the real tripwire may exist. For another, those events are shrouded in a fog of obfuscation and outright lies. Any rebellion must be based on extremely hard and known facts. Similarly, no rebellion will succeed if its fundamental reasons for occurring are not explicitly identified. Those reasons cannot be explicitly identified if, in place of their identification, we simply point to a composite such as Waco and say, “See, that’s why; figure it out.” Any suggestion that more Waco’s, in and of themselves, would be the tripwire, simply leads us back again to the question: what aspect of them justifies rebellion? For the same reasons, we leave out a detailed account of Ayn Rand’s identification of the four essential characteristics of tyranny. She identified them quite correctly, but together they are just another composite from which we must choose precipitating causes. These characteristics are: one-party rule, executions without trial for political offenses, expropriation or nationalization of private property, and “above all,” censorship.
With regard to the first characteristic of tyranny, what is the real difference be¬tween the Fabian socialist Republican Party and the overtly socialist Democrat party? Nothing but time. Regarding the second we have the FBI’s Hostage Res¬cue Team and the ATF’s enforcement branch. In action they simply avoid the embarrassment of a trial. Regarding the third we have asset forfeiture “laws,” the IRS, the EPA, the FCC, the FDA, the Federal Reserve, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and a myriad of other executive branch agencies, departments and commissions whose sole function is to regulate business and the economy. Regulating business for the “public good” (fascism) is no different in principle than outright nationalization (Communism.)
However, the fourth characteristic of tyranny, censorship, is the obvious primary tripwire. When ideology and the reporting of facts and how-to instructions are forbidden, there is nothing remaining but to fight. Freedom of speech and persuasion— the freedom to attempt to rationally convince willing listeners— is so fundamental an individual right that without it no other rights, not even the existence of rights, can be enforced, claimed, debated or even queried. Does this censorship include the regulation of the “public” airwaves by the FCC, as in the censorship which prohibits tobacco companies from advertising— in their own defense— on the same medium which is commanded by government decree to carry “public service” propaganda against them? Does it include federal compulsion of broadcasters to air politically correct liberal twaddle for “The Children?” Does it include the Orwellian “Communications Decency Act”? Does it include any irrationalist “sexual harassment” or tribalist “hate speech” laws which prohibit certain spoken words among co-workers? The answer: unequivocally yes.
Although the above do not pertain to ideological or political speech, yet they are censorship and tactically they are designed to intimidate people into the acceptance of de facto censorship. We say that any abrogation of free speech, and any form of censorship, which cannot be rectified by the soap box, the ballot box, or the jury box, must be rectified by the cartridge box— or lost forever.
Americans have been stumbling over tripwires justifying overt resistance for well over 130 years. On one hand, we submit that gun confiscation is a secondary tripwire only. It is second to censorship because if speech is illegal we cannot even discuss the repeal of gun control, or of any other population controls. If only guns are illegal we may still convince people to repeal those laws. On the other hand, gun confiscation may be a sufficient tripwire because the primary one, censorship, can be fully implemented only after the citizenry is completely disarmed.
Resistance, in the context of this article, means those legitimate acts by individuals which compel government to restrict its activities and authority to those powers delegated to it, by the people, in the Constitution. The distinction to be drawn here is that the objective of patriotic resistance is to restore original constitutional government, not change the form of government.
To this end we believe:
The enforcement of any laws— local, state, or federal— that through the action or inaction of the courts makes nugatory the individual means of resisting tyranny, justifies resistance.
THE operative terms of the above statement are the parameters that must be defined and understood if resistance to tyranny and despotism is to be honorable, and for the cause of individual liberty, rather than anarchy resulting in a new gang of tyrants. Rebellion can never be justified so long as objective means of redress are available, which are themselves not subverted or rendered impotent by further or parallel subjective legislation. The goal of patriots through¬out the country must be the restoration of objective constitutional law and order. The failure to enforce a subjective law (i.e., the Communications Decency Act) does not justify that law existing, but it also does not justify resistance. This is because non-enforcement leaves avenues of redress, including the forbidden activity itself, still available. Should a lower court uphold or ignore a case that challenges a subjective law, peaceable means of redress are still open by higher or lateral courts in another jurisdiction.
However, should the U.S. Supreme Court uphold subjective laws, or refuse to hear the cases challenging them, then the legislative, executive, and judicial branches have all failed to guarantee individual liberty, from the widest principles to the smallest details. A single refusal by the highest court in the land to overturn a whim based subjective law, or to refuse to hear the case, is sufficient to justify resistance to that law because there is simply nowhere left to turn for further attempts at redress. At such time nobody is morally bound by that law. Tyranny gets one chance per branch.
America is either a constitutional republic or it is not. If we can restore our republic it will ultimately occur through reason, and reason will then lead our representatives to make unconstitutional those laws which, by any objective standard of justice, should have never been considered in the first place. However, we can¬not assert our claim to restore our liberty if we but accede to a single socialist construct. Freedom and serfdom cannot coexist. We cannot have it both ways. Life, and the means to preserve it, cannot coexist with disarmament. Liberty, and its rational exercise, cannot coexist with subjective constraints. Property, and its acquisition, use and disposal, cannot coexist with expropriation. The federal government’s first task is to obey the Constitution. It has refused. Our first task as free men is to force the federal government to obey it again. The Constitution of the United States of America is a constraint on the federal government, not on the individual. Likewise, the constitutions of the various states are constraints on the state governments, not on the individual.
The Constitution contains many provisions allowing the violation of our natural rights as free men by immoral and unethical men in government. The true heroes of the ratification debates were the Antifederalists, who secured Federalist guarantees that the Bill of Rights would amend the Constitution. To their undying credit, the Federalists lived up to their promise. Nevertheless, only after constitutional limitations on government have been restored in their original form can we consider amending the Constitution to redress its very few remaining defects (for example; the absence of a separation of state and economy clause.) Laws that make nugatory the means of resisting tyranny and despotism determine the tripwire. The creeping legislative erosion of the 2nd Amendment is not the only tripwire that justifies resistance. We submit that any gun control is a secondary tripwire. Not only because it can be effortlessly evaded, but also because it strengthens our cause. It is second only to censorship. If speech is illegal we can discuss neither repeal of gun control, or the repeal of any other unconstitutional “law.”
Censorship is not a tripwire, it is THE tripwire. Thus by default, censorship morally justifies rebellion.
Under censorship, no other rights, including the right to be free from censorship, can be advocated, discussed or queried. It is incorrect to say that after censorship comes utter subjugation. Censorship is utter subjugation. There is no greater usurpation of liberty while remaining alive. After censorship come the death camps, and they are not a prerequisite to complete subjugation, they are merely a symptom of it. Censorship qua censorship is sufficient in itself to justify open rebellion against any government that legislates, enforces or upholds it. However, that is not the half of it. Censorship is alone in being the only violation of individual rights that does not require actual enforcement, or challenges in court, before rebellion is justified. When the government forbids you to speak or write, or use your own or a supporter’s property to address willing listeners or readers, that government has openly and forcibly decreed that the art of peaceful persuasion is dead and will not be tolerated. Upon that very instant, all peaceable avenues of redress have been closed and the only possible method of regaining individual liberty is force. Whenever we give up that force we are not only ruined, we deserve to be ruined.
Censorship is already being “legally” imposed through accretion by compromisers, appeasers and pragmatists with¬in government at all levels. Note the demands by “progressive” organizations and self-appointed “civil rights” groups to ban so called “hate” speech (they mean thought and debate), or “extreme” language (they mean principled dissent), or “paramilitary books” (they mean the knowledge of how to resist.) When our government imposes censor-ship it will be because our ability to use force to resist censorship no longer exists. Buying copies of The Resister is not yet prohibited; buying machine guns already is. Unwarranted search for unlicensed books has not yet occurred; unwarranted search for unlicensed weapons has already begun. As your unalienable right of peaceable discussion and dissent is being daily abridged, your right to peaceably assemble and associate in advocacy of your self-defense, according to your own free will, has already been outlawed (courtesy of ADL’s “model” anti-militia legislation.) Unconstitutional federal agencies now arm themselves with weapons that you may not own, and train in tactics that you are prohibited from mastering. Before a government is sure you won’t resist, they will make sure you can’t resist. The most irrational, contradictory, short-range, whimsical notion possible to men who claim the unalienable right to resist tyrannical government, is the notion that they must first let their ability to resist be stripped from them before they have the right to use it. This is the argument of so-called conservatives who pish-tosh the notion of legislative “slippery-slopes,” and sycophantic adherents of a Supreme Court that has no constitutionally delegated authority to interpret the Constitution in the first place. We reject the notion of mindless compliance with subjective “laws.” Subjective laws must be resisted on metaphysical and epistemological principles, moral and ethical grounds, and on constitutional and historical precedence.
NO RATIONAL man desires ends without means. No rational man can be faced with his own imminent subjugation and truly believe that once things are as bad as they can get, that “sometime,” “someone,” will do “something” “somehow,” to counteract that trend.
The time to organize resistance is not after censorship, but before it. The time to prepare resistance is when our ability to resist is being threatened. The time to begin resistance is when that threat has been upheld or ignored by the courts. The unalienable rights that safeguard our ability to resist are limited to those which, if not violated, allow us the ability to plan and use all the materials necessary for resistance.
We submit that only the following meet that criteria:
*freedom of speech and of the press, and the right to peaceably assemble— so that we may advocate ideas, report and discuss news, and instruct others how to carry out resistance activities (1st Amendment);
*the right to keep and bear arms— so that we may have appropriate force in our hands should we need it and be trained to use such force as necessary (2nd Amendment);
*the right to be let alone— so that we may be free of government intrusion in our lives, liberty and property (3rd Amendment):
*the right to be secure in our persons, dwellings, papers and property from unwarranted, unaffirmed searches and seizures— so that our records, ideological materials and weapons will remain in our hands (4th Amendment).
For the purpose of this discussion we believe that no others rights are relevant because if every individual right other than those four were violated— although it would be an unspeakably evil act on the part of the government, justifying immediate and unforgiving resistance— their abridgment would not affect our ability to resist. If any of the first four amendments are infringed by legislation, enforced by executive power, and their abrogation is
upheld or ignored by the courts, unremitting forcible resistance, and aid and comfort to its citizen-soldiers, is a moral imperative for every single person who believes that life, liberty and property are unalienable, self-existing, and not grants of government privilege.
The United States should get rid of its militias.
Joseph Stalin, 1933
Read. Learn. Apply…
Class Stratifications in the Soviet Union
It is en vogue, in certain circles, to decry Federal overreach, the Deep State, and corruption. The current newscycle is full of diversionary crap from Gun Regulation, to the Muller investigation, to cops who can’t be counted on to deter crime. There is no shortage of low hanging fruit-type examples. But, change is incremental at best and non-existent at worst. So… with all the outcry and easy examples to draw from, why is there no “revolution”?
It is popular to opine that “humans are creatures of habit”. And, while that’s true, it bears unboxing that statement a bit to understand why things are as upside-down as they are.
I think it is more correct to say that humans are creatures are prone to take the path of least resistance. Which is to say, people are lazy. Let’s take income tax as a prime example:
The income tax was instituted, permanently, during WWI by the Wilson Administration. At the time, the public was assured that it was temporary and would never exceed 1% of an individual’s income. Of course, in prime .gov fashion, that was an intentional lie.
Over time, and understanding that human nature would not support the voluntary “giving away” of one’s hard earned cash, it was deemed necessary to create a Law Enforcement agency (Internal Revenue Service) to ensure that folks complied. “Complied”. Tuck that term away for a bit. We’ll come back to it.
Additionally, as the percentage that the Feds wanted from each individual grew, the likelihood of individuals continuing to pony up decreased. So… in addition to the IRS, the Gov’t created the Social Security Administration, ostensibly to create a Ponzi scheme to provide retirement monies to the elderly. Then, by the 1970s, a Social Security Number was being requested on job applications. That’s right, the Feds pressed employers, via regulation, into service as defacto tax collectors. Income tax and FICA were now being collected via employers as the price one had to pay in order to earn a living. Nifty, yes?
So, in predictable human fashion, the people complied. “We” complied as a result of coercion but, we complied nonetheless. “We” felt it was better to make something than to make nothing. And, the system had made it so cumbersome to get around it that our liberty was simply made inconvenient. The path of least resistance was to “go along” and continue to make enough to survive even though we were being robbed blind in the process.
Now… apply that “fable” to other issues of our time. For instance, Gun Control.
All the media sockpuppets are up in arms, on one side or the other, about gun prohibition. The one side is in favor of .gov rounding them up and incarcerating the noncompliant. The other side vehemently states that gun prohibition is unconstitutional and will spark the next revolution/civil war. The reality is, neither is correct. They are simply foaming at the mouth for the purposes of drama-based ratings.
Enforcement never happens. Coercion is applied and compliance occurs. Because… path of least resistance. Enforcement doesn’t occur because, to enforce is an active sort of thing. And it requires willing human resources. Bear in mind, enforcement is the job of cops. And, bear also in mind, most cops are fat.
Coercion, on the other hand, is performed through delegation and regulation. All that’s needed is a regulatory environment that makes noncompliance uncomfortable enough to encourage otherwise liberty-minded folks toward the path of least resistance.
And, in the end, that’s why substantive, liberty-focused change will never occur for the masses. Individuals, maybe. We are sheep by nature. Blissfully grazing. Blinders on. Enjoying our panem et circenses while the Republic burns around us. All the while, averting our eyes from or, outright decrying the troublemakers who dare to point out the error of our social, sheep-ish ways. Munch, munch, munch… pay no attention to the boxcar we were just herded into.
They aren’t “coming” for your guns or other liberties. At least not in the sense that someone will stop by your house. That sort of thing is messy. And, humans have no stomach for “messy”. If the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had no stomach for confronting an armed, untrained youth… odds are, they aren’t looking for a face-off with those of us are bit more… uh… belligerent.
.gov had it’s first lesson in this with Washington’s suppression of Shay’s Rebellion. And was reminded again with the Moonshiners and Bootleggers of prohibition.
As I said, enforcement is a numbers game the Feds can’t win. And they know it. Enforcement types are typically low-IQ and prone to the same human foibles (laziness) as the rest of us. The smart money is in the long game of coercion. Choose your pet activism and apply that principle to it.
Change causes friction. Friction causes discomfort. No one enjoys discomfort.
It’s about the difficulty of overcoming inertia and of building momentum. O’Sullivan’s First Law, the Overton Window, et al.
Cops are fat.
I get the distinct impression certain pieces of the social media puzzle are dead and waiting for someone to inform them.
Web forums came and went. Too slow. Too much stuff. Too much work to produce content.
MySpace was… well, crap. And too narrowly focused.
Goolag+ never really got off the ground so, they aren’t really a good example.
TwitBot is over and has been replaced by Gab.Ai… which, frankly is somewhat sorry in it’s own right. In fairness, the whole express-yourself-in-140-characters-or-less nonsense never appealed to me. Maybe I’m too verbose.
FaceSpace is on the decline. Whether they know it or not. Their bad press and the user frustration of the algorithmic, jumbled feed is the nail in the coffin. And, the constant, tailored ad stream is irritating. However, there is not an easy replacement out there with an appealing format.
I don’t know what the next, big, thing is but, social media as a whole has ceased to hold our collective attention. They’ve played their hand and found it wanting. The problem with herding people is that people adapt. And when they become aware of a newfound activity to the degree that they put it on autopilot, they start to “look around” at their surroundings. And, as soon as that starts to happen, the smart ones start noticing the stuff that just isn’t right and they, in turn, point it out to the dimmer members of the herd.
That’s essentially what’s happening right now. FaceSpace has been herding “us”. And, we are accustomed, enough, to it that we are starting to see what it’s all about. It’s no longer shiny and new. The veneer is starting to wear in really unattractive ways. And it’s becoming apparent that it’s a cheapo, made-over, version of actual intellectual stimulation and human interaction. And, human beings, for all their faults, are still… human. And they need and desire human things. Things that AI will never be able to really provide.
Is it still a tool in the box? Sure. But, I predict that more and more people will begin to drift away from social media as a form of stand-alone entertainment, information, and social interaction. I think the privacy revelations will drive folks to dump the apps off their personal communication devices. Which in turn will make the 24/7, in your face, notifications stop. Which will decrease traffic volume to those sites. Which, should, allow people to equalize a bit and stop knee-jerking over everything they see, hear, and read.
In the end, I don’t think “social media”, per se, is going anywhere but I think the face of it is going to change and become more decentralized. I think people are going to spend more of their social media time reading and interacting on blogs such as the Yeoman Journal and, if bloggers are smart, they will take advantage of the plug-in technology that allows them to build out their URLs into a larger social media presence of their own.
The dream of the internet was collective. I think the future of the social media is tribal.
I am the furthest thing from a russophile. And, I have no illusions about Vlad being a nice guy or benevolent leader. He is, however, committed to his country’s success and survival.
I also don’t believe in the chan-esque mythology of Trump’s 4D chess prowess. Nor in Q-anon’s allusionary “plan”. What I know is that Trump is the nearest thing to a nationalist that we’ve elected in 40 years. And, that a nationalist perspective is what made the US a superpower and, that without it, we will become the EU (is it a coincidence that EU rhymes with “iiieeew”?).
I hate to break it to all you oneworlders out there but, the human race needs nativist nationalism. And borders. And clear identities. Some would call my thoughts on it tribal and jingoist. And, maybe they are. Whatevs.
Trump and Putin, for all their collective faults, are the only national CEOs keeping this thing we call “civilization” going. And, we need them. For now.
Per normal, text from the article is included below so you don’t have to click on the link if you choose not to.
Russia’s Real Endgame
Russia’s Putin has never taken his eye off the ball. His ambition is not global hegemony or European conquest. Putin seeks what Russia has always sought: regional hegemony and a set of buffer states in eastern Europe and central Asia that can add to Russia’s strategic depth.
In Syria, Russia has the warm water port of Tartus — which is important when you consider that most Russian ports are ice-bound for months of the year.
It is strategic depth — the capacity to suffer massive invasions and still survive due to an ability to retreat to a core position and stretch enemy supply lines — that enabled Russia to defeat both Napoleon and Hitler. Putin also wants the modicum of respect that would normally accompany that geostrategic goal.
Understanding Putin is not much more complicated than that.
In the twenty-first century, a Russian sphere of influence is not achieved by conquest or subordination in the old Imperial or Communist style. It is achieved by close financial ties, direct foreign investment, free trade zones, treaties, security alliances, and a network of associations that resemble earlier versions of the EU
Russian military intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is best understood not as a Russian initiative, but as a Russian reaction. It was a response to U.S. and U.K. efforts to attack Russia by pushing aggressively and prematurely for Ukraine membership in NATO. This was done by deposing a Putin ally in Kiev in early 2014.
This is not to justify Russia’s actions, merely to put them in a proper context. The time to peel off Ukraine for NATO was 1999, not 2014.
The Russian-Ukraine situation is a subset of the broader U.S.-Russian relationship. Here, the opposition comes not just from domestic opponents but from the globalist elite.
Globalization emerged in the 1990s as a consequences of the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. For the first time since 1914, Russia, China and their respective empires could join the U.S., Western Europe and their former colonies in Latin America and Africa in a single global market.
Globalization relied on open borders, free trade, telecommunications, global finance, extended supply chains, cheap labor and freedom of the seas. Globalization as it existed from 1990 to 2007 made steady progress under the Bush-Clinton duopoly of power in the U.S. and like-minded leaders elsewhere. The enemy of globalization was nationalism, but nationalism was nowhere in sight.
The financial crisis of 2007–2008, caused by the elites’ own greed and inability to grasp the statistical properties of risk, put an end to the easy gains from globalization.
Ironically, globalization gained in the short-run despite financial calamity. The same elites who created disaster were empowered to “fix” the situation under the auspices of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. This global rescue began with the first G20 summit hastily organized by George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy, then the President of France, in November 2008.
Despite the financial bailouts and central bank easy money of the decade following the crisis, robust self-sustaining growth in line with pre-crisis trends has never really returned. Instead the world has suffered through a ten-year depression (defined as depressed below-trend growth), which continues to this day.
What little growth emerged was captured mostly by the wealthy, which led to the greatest income inequality levels seen in over 80 years.
Discontent was palpable in middle-class and working class populations in the world’s major developed economies. This discontent morphed into political action. The result was the U.K. decision to leave the EU, called “Brexit,” the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of politicians such as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France, among others.
What unites these politicians and political movements is nationalism. This can be defined as a desire to put national interests ahead of globalization. Nationalism can mean closing borders, restricting free trade to help local employment, fighting back against cheap labor and dumping with tariffs and trade adjustment assistance, and rejecting multilateral trade deals in favor of bilateral negotiations.
This brings us to the crux of the U.S.-Russia relationship.
Simply put, Putin and Trump are the two most powerful nationalists in the world. Any rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. is an existential threat to the globalist agenda.
The globalists have to keep Trump and Putin separated in order to have any hope of reviving the globalist agenda.
Just as Trump and Putin are the champions of nationalism, President Xi Jinping of China and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have emerged as the champions of the globalist camp.
Understanding this dynamic requires consideration of the paradoxical roles of Xi and Merkel.
Xi positions himself as the leading advocate of globalization. The truth is more complex.
President Xi is the most nationalist of all major leaders. He continually puts China’s long-term interests first without particular regard for the well-being of the rest of the world.
But, China’s relative military and economic weakness, and potential social instability, require it to cooperate with the rest of the world on trade, climate change, and supply-chain logistics in order to grow. Xi is in a paradoxical position of being nationalist to the core, yet wearing a globalist veneer in order to pursue the nationalist long game.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany is also in a paradoxical position — but the opposite of Xi’s role. Merkel knows Germany must embrace globalism both because of its unique historical burden of being the source of three major wars (Franco-Prussian, World War I, and World War II), and the necessity of German integration with the EU and Eurozone.
At the same time, Merkel has advanced her globalist agenda by promoting German interests through exports and cheap foreign labor.
For the globalists, the world breaks down into Manichean struggle between the nationalists, Trump and Putin, and the globalists, Xi and Merkel. Globalists may be playing a two-sided game of nationalists versus globalists, but they need to widen the lens to see that the world today is really a three-party game.
There are really only three superpowers in the world today — Russia, China and the U.S. All other nations are secondary or tertiary powers who may be aligned with a superpower, neutral or independent, but who otherwise lack the ability to impose their will on others.
Some analysts may be surprised to see Russia on the superpower list, but the facts are indisputable. Russia is the twelfth largest economy in the world, has the largest landmass, is one of the three largest energy producers in the world, has abundant natural resources other than oil, has advanced weapons and space technology, an educated workforce and, of course, has the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons of any country.
Russia has enormous problems including adverse demographics, limited access to oceans, harsh weather, and limited fertile soil. Yet, none of these problems negate Russia’s native strengths.
Notwithstanding the prospect of improved relations, Putin remains the geopolitical chess master he has always been.
His long game involves the accumulation of gold, development of alternative payments systems, and ultimate demise of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.
for The Daily Reckoning