The story repeats the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis. The situation has changed since then – different straw men win straw polls, but the essence remains the same. The overwhelming 2013 United States debt-ceiling crisis is in full swing. The analysis shows that the crisis is caused not by economic fundamentals but by a full-fledged undeclared information war. As the situation shows, this is much more dangerous in the information era than traditional physical war.
Putin’s last-minute shot
Monday, at the moment when the agreement in Congress on the debt ceiling was finally reached, but the final result of the bill passing was still unclear, Vladimir Putin suddenly publicly depicted the US as “a parasite on the global economy.” The international media immediately spread the incendiary wording reinforcing the divide. The question is why Putin adds oil to fire at the most sensitive moment when the US is still on the verge of default?
There is a bipartisan agreement between the two American parties. But de facto, there is a third party - the Tea Party, which is still not inclined to give up. Their refusal to raise the debt ceiling potentially could break not only the world financial system based on the dollar but the existing world political system, where the US is the unique superpower. America's status is what irritates Putin the most. In his book, this status the U.S. retains due to the dollar’s dominance as the world reserve currency. The default would immediately deprive the US not only of the financial but of the political superpower status. Was this an encouraging message to the Tea Party?
Putin’s American “Third-party”
The Russians like to blame the West for being unable ‘to get rid of the Cold War mentality.' At the same time, they never hide their resentment of the “Western triumphalism,” which leaves Russia with the “status of the “eternal loser.” Moscow hoped that the chaos of the financial crisis would become a game-changer in Russia's favor. Putin has made an ideological contribution to the creation of the Tea Party by resoundingly blaming the US for socialism (echoing his favorite politician Ron Paul) in his Davos speech in January 2009.
Putin's plan did not work as the American government did not let the economy collapse. Now Russia invests hope in an artificially created “chaos” – the debt ceiling raw fueled by the intransigence of the Tea Party.
Russia has painstakingly prepared itself for the American default. As Russian influential financial publication RBC emphasizes, “last months the foreign holders of the American debt increased their holdings in the US Treasury Bonds with the overall amount of $ 67.5 billion: China (+ $ 7.3 billion), Japan (+ $ 5.5 billion), UK (+ $ 13.5 billion). However, Russia, “contrary to the fundamental trends on the market, dropped its holdings in the US Treasury Bonds with $10 billion”.
Russia's calculation is that the US default would raise the oil prices, and the Russian ruble would get a new bust. Russians foresee massive outflow from the US government securities to the Russian Stabilization Fund as a new “Reserve Fund.”
Russia’s gains from America’s default
The US breakdown would strengthen Russia’s political influence in the world. Moscow would immediately restore its ‘sphere of influence’ over the “near abroad,” including former countries of the "socialist camp." For now, this is impossible because of the US's attractiveness and support to these countries. Another Russian hope is that America’s inability to finance NATO would destroy the organization, still seen by the Russians as a ‘Cold War” adversary.
Russian supports ideologically and financially the disintegration trend in the EU. The US default and the subsequent collapse of its international clout would strengthen the disintegrating trend in the EU, transforming Russia into a domineering force in the region.
Moreover, Putin would get an act of sweet revenge for the defeat in the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR, which he attributes to the U.S. efforts. As a former KGB agent, Putin never managed to accept the loss, especially so after the oil prices started to grow again. As he once said 'it would be irresponsible not to reestablish our influence abroad now when the oil prices are high”.
Putin’s undeclared information war against America
Igor Panarin, a former Russian KGB specialist on disinformation and current Dean of the Russian Diplomatic Academy, became famous for his predictions of the US disintegration. He has strong ties with the American Tea Party. In his blog, he styles the Tea Partiers as the "American Stalinists," whom Russia should help organize a "Second American Revolution." Panarin usually comes to the US in advance of important political events, be this the November 2010 middle-term elections marked by the triumph of the Tea Party or the debt ceiling crisis caused by the Tea Partiers.
In 2007 Igor Panarin launched the concept of the information war against the West. In parallel, he advanced the idea that America should collapse into six parts, and this will happen after the American civil war. His declarations coincided with Putin’s decision, voiced publicly, to invest in the ‘democratization of the West’ as much money as the West annually invests in the democratization of Russia and the post-soviet countries.
Igor Panarin wrote on his blog after his last visit to the U.S.“Russia’s losses from the US default will be minimal” and specified, “Russia has its allies in the American elite and has to help them to overcome the post-default chaos.” The current political situation in the U.S. Panarin styles ‘the Second American Revolution.'
In fact, the Tea Party project is Russia’s attempt to export to the U.S. its political model of “managed democracy.” Putin started this as a symmetrical response to the US export of the American model of liberal democracy to Russia, perceived by Putin as a merely “anti-establishment activity.” This perception gives a clue to Russia’s efforts in the US. In January 2009, Putin assigned Andranik Migranyan – a crafty “political technologist’ with strong conservative ties in the U.S. as a Head of the "Institute for Democracy and Cooperation." Another organization with the same ironical name "Institute for Democracy and Cooperation." Putin opened in Paris with another Russian conservative politician at the helm. Institutes offered grants to American and European politicians and organizations, supporting the "Sovereignty Revolution" with the purpose of dismantling the US, The EU, and NATO.
Putin’s strategic allies in America
Putin is sure that the world should be ruled by the Billionaires' Club, where Russian billionaires should have an important role. This idea ironically resonates with the Russian and American conservatives’ conspiracy theories about the world government. In Putin’s view, the problem is that Russia is not included in this Club so far, and he wants inclusion badly. In his opinion, the U.S. post-default chaos could offer not only inclusion in the Billionaires' Club but assure Russia’s leading position in it.
Russia’s political choice is fringe Libertarian politician Ron Paul whose ideological views serve well Russians' plans for the future. Being products of Soviet propaganda, Russian politicians still operate with categories of the competition between “two countries – two systems: the U.S. and the USSR’. Ron Paul’s Social Darwinism and other Libertarian dogmas, if implemented, would make Russia look more attractive and competitive country than the U.S.
The Libertarians’ isolationist ideas would exclude the U.S. from the world political stage, which is Putin’s and Russia’s long-term dream
Initially, the Tea Party was created as a vehicle to promote Ron Paul and his ideas. Russia’s problem with Ron Paul is that the person, sincerely advancing such overt narrow-mindedness, merely cannot be charismatic – no matter how many Internet ‘Money Bombs’ Russians invest in his campaign, how many manipulated straw polls he wins and favorable commentary in media paid by Putin receives.
Another problem is that the Tea Partiers do not support isolationism which they consider anti-American. The Tea Party propagandists merely downplay the issue, but it makes part of the package, which the Tea Party representatives should support when in Congress anyway.
Inexperienced newcomers display an iron discipline, repeating the talking points delivered to them. The ordinary Tea Partiers get their ideas from such lobbyist organizations as ‘FreedomWorks.' Their task is to direct the Tea Parties’ thinking and actions in the right direction for Putin. ‘FreedomWorks’ operatives pretend that they just offer some help to the movement and “the people” who define the Tea Party politics on their own. But in reality, the ordinary Tea Partiers are merely a convenient vehicle for spreading the ideas, designed in Moscow. Closed “state within a state”
Other Russia’s strategic allies are the Koch brothers, whose fortune was made by their father in the USSR during Stalin’s regime. Stalin could trust and allow making money in the USSR only to those who managed to prove their loyalty to him. Others who were with Koch and did not do this just did not return from Russia.
Usually, proof of loyalty acceptable to Stalin required a “kompromat” (damaging evidence) – a written commitment to work for the KGB or a confession of the betrayal of compatriots, or both. The dark secret inherited from their father makes the Koch brothers trusted allies to the KGB and other Russian intelligence.
Koch brothers, who built a business empire compatible with Russia’s interests, serve as the front for “the revolutionary infrastructure” and scapegoats, blamed for the Tea Party activities, helping in such way Moscow to get revenge on the US.
The difference is that this time ‘the Cold War’ is not announced and is not under the Communist banner but the Ultra-right one. In fact, the Koch brothers have built a closed “state within the state,” which in moment X could replace the Federal government, declared by the Tea Party the “main enemy” of the American people.
There is nothing strange that the Koch brothers created the Libertarian Party based on the revelations of the Russian radical propagandist of extreme capitalism Ayn Rand, not on the traditional Liberal ideas as the Libertarians pretend. Radical Libertarian ideology suited Soviet interests well and as well as Putin’s interests today, by sabotaging internal development in the US and doing everything to deprive America of its influence abroad.
The problem with America arose in the Stalin times. The USSR was unable to exploit the idea of the “class fight” in America. The American communists explained to Stalin that they cannot breed a mass following to the ‘working class’ ideas because of the American spirit of solidarity and prosperity. To create class antagonism, it was necessary to distort the American values system from the inside by cultivating greed and selfishness and destroying strong Protestant ethics.
This is exactly what Ayn Rand managed to do in her books, creating the “Anti-values system” which continues to destroy America and touted to Tea Parties as a new Bible. Her books are republished with the record circulation keeping the second place after the Bible” being at the same time a psychological poison, designed to descent America into chaos.
The paradoxical game waged by the Soviets in the U.S. explains the strange fact that the American Communists worked in the ultra-right “John Birch Society,” where Fred Koch was one of the founding fathers. To boost the communist following, the Communists should first distort the basis of American society and reverse the progress which was achieved.
Putin’s active measures and Ideological acrobatics
The idea of the Tea Party was designed in Moscow’s think tanks. The main approach is the setting up of a myth and its management by combining the highlights of American history as the Boston Tea Party with the disruptive ideas which the Tea Partiers should promote. The ideas should respond to the main principle of the Russian information war – to make the American people fight against their own interests for the Russian interests. The main trick, as the Russians explain, is to take an original American idea and distort it to such an extent that it transforms it into its opposite. This is how the Tea Party, based on the idea of the famous Boston Tea Party, was brought to life.
Russia has replaced the idea of America’s independence from taxation by the British Empire with the idea of “Independence” from taxation by the Federal government, painting it as a main enemy of the American people.
Directing the passion inherent to the fight for Independence into the anti-Federal idea, they, in fact, destroy U.S. independence. The end game of the Tea Party is the shutdown of the federal government and the partition of the U.S. into smaller, manageable (from Russia) six states.
The Russians usually blame the US Navy for designing the information warfare concept and claim that they just follow the Americans. However, there is a difference in the application of the concept: Americans use information warfare to diminish the collateral damage during war operations. The Russians use the information warfare strategy instead of war: without a declaration of war, they replace the military actions with “active measures” and achieve the same result: subduing the U.S. to the Russian interests. The Libertarians and the Tea Party are quite successful in this.
Who is the anonymous leader of the Tea Party?
The simple Tea Partiers are used blindly and for free; they are working hard, investing not only their time but also their money and soul into Putin’s project. In fact, the Tea Partiers in Congress are not politicians; they are a totalitarian group ready to execute whatever they are told to do by the operatives from the lobbyist groups like FreedomWorks or the “Institute for Democracy and Cooperation,” launched by Putin and led by Andranik Migranyan.
They do not have a right to negotiate or to make decisions – they are just a passive vehicle executing the will of those who designed and created the Tea Party as a political instrument of the influence on distance. By obtaining a “golden share” in the U.S. Congress, Moscow already achieved the goal of making the U.S. dysfunctional.
Information war explains the anomaly when the Tea Party representatives openly plead for chaos as the only way out of the U.S. debt ceiling crisis. It explains the illogical behavior of Romney and potential Tea Party candidates, who are merely sabotaging their political future.
Lately, the U.S. Congress looked as dysfunctional and chaotic as the Parliaments of Ukraine or Moldova – the countries in close vicinity to Russia, where the Kremlin’s influence is extremely high for years. The difference is that in the former Soviet colonies, the people can identify Russia’s covert influence and protect themselves from political manipulation. In America, even the idea of Russia’s influence sounds absurd and is condemned as a “conspiracy theory” from the start. Such a reaction creates very beneficial conditions of impunity for the promotion of Russia’s hidden agenda, which Moscow accompanies with massive financial investments in the process.
Chaos in the U.S. would give Putin an opportunity to emerge as a rescuer of the American people and to start exercising his ‘soft force’ in the U.S. openly. Being, in fact, an anonymous leader of the Tea Party, Putin obtained an enormous influence on the American political process, but until now, he could not make this influence public. Unfortunately, the Americans did not get the allusion and are now about to pay the price by being deeply humiliated by the default and its aftermath.