Crises are an integral part of capitalist society. From time to time, capitalist societies have to deal with bankruptcies of industrial and trading companies, surges in unemployment, overproduction, the collapse of banking systems and quotations on stock exchanges - the list can go on and on. In our time, the world seems to have plunged into a state of permanent crisis because of the pandemic, the end of which is nowhere near. There are no simple solutions to this crisis, and they are not going to emerge at all if the West tries to solve its problems at the expense of Russia and China, which were labelled as enemies.
Cogitative people have long been encumbered with doubts about where the modern capitalist world, including Russia, is heading. After the collapse of the USSR, the new Russia eyed the West (the United States in the first place) as a model for market relations and democracy. Millions of Russians, who went through the dashing nineties, could fully experience all the "charms" of wild capitalism not to harbour any illusions about it. These days, many in Russia feel nostalgic about the Soviet times, but no one wants to go back to the 1990s. Unfortunately, our ruling elites do not understand the obvious truths.
Times have changed, and today, Western countries live in the reality of rising prices on commodities and food products, as well as empty shelves in grocery stores. Supply chains tumble down against the backdrop of coronavirus restrictions, labor shortages, and energy crisis. For example, shipping costs from Asia to the US West Coast has gone 380% up this year vs. 2020. Business activities in Germany fell to an eight-month low, according to Bloomberg.
Higher purchasing costs are linked with delivery problems, higher costs for energy, raw materials, packaging — and all of that is later displayed on price tags in stores. Governments of many countries inject their economies with finance and endow the population with "helicopter money", which also spurs inflation. The supporters of the Malthusian theory promise a further aggravation of problems for mankind due to overpopulation and reduction of arable land.
Economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, points out all sorts of vulnerabilities that currently accumulate in the global economy and the field of finance. We are witnessing the phenomenon that is called stagflation — a combination of low growth and high inflation. According to Roubini, this is not a temporary transitional phenomenon, but the beginning of the growth of global inflation, which will last for quite a few years. In 2019, private and public debts amounted to about 220% of GDP, but now they have grown to 360%, and in developed economies — to 420%.
Pandemic-induced social problems prompt governments to increase spending, and central banks have been caught between a rock and a hard place. At the cost of rising inflation, they monetize debts not to fall into a crisis, which could result from a tighter monetary policy. Economist Roubini mentions a whole bouquet of factors that, amid the collapse of global supply chains, are fuelling the crisis:
Normal human logic suggests that the growth of crisis phenomena should push all countries of the world to take joint efforts to solve the problems that they have faced as a result of the pandemic. It would seem that common trouble should unite politicians from different countries and continents in order to avoid further aggravation. However, the supremacist ambition of the United States and EU's compliant adherence to the orders coming from the overlord make any compromises with the countries that value their sovereignty impossible.
The West is particularly annoyed by the foreign policy of Russia, because Russia (along with China) is clearly opposed to Washington's world order. Russia and China thereby set a "bad example" for the rest. Johns Hopkins University professor and Bloomberg columnist Hal Brands credits President Joe Biden for formulating the main strategic challenge of the 21st century: the struggle between democracy and autocracy.
Brands believes that mankind has come to the turning point in the development of the world, which will give a foundation to another era of democratic dominance. According to the US expert, Russia and China challenge America's influence in the world and threaten democracies stretching from Eastern Europe to the Taiwan Strait. He has to admit, though, that there is a crisis of democratic governance in the States. In addition, the level of unhappiness with representative institutions of power in the countries of the liberal world has reached its maximum since WWII.
Being blind to see internal flaws in the political system of his own country, the American professor turns all his anger outward and calls on Washington to contain authoritarian aggressors and protect democratic outposts in Eastern Europe and the Western Pacific.
At the same time, based on the experience of the Cold War, he considers it possible not only to build alliances with like-minded democracies, but also develop productive relations with quasi-democracies and tyrannies. It becomes clear after such statements that the Americans are ready for everything not to let go of their supremacy.
Many experts, both in Russia and in the West, believe that international tensions today are even more dangerous than they used to be during the Cold War. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said once that back in those days there was distinction between real politics and propaganda. Today, people openly lie and believe their own lies.
Today's relations between Europe and Russia came close to breaking point. This is a serious problem for everyone, French writer and former diplomat Vladimir Fedorovsky believes. The bomb in relations was planted back in the early 1990s, when $120 billion would be illegally exported from Russia every year, with the complicity of Western banks. Only two percent of Russia's population shared the country's wealth, and almost 50% were thrown to live below the poverty line, which completely disrupted the very concept of democracy.
According to Vladimir Fedorovsky, the Russians no longer want to be like the Europeans, who seem to like the idea of licking the Americans' boots. As a result, Russia leans towards Asia and strengthens strategic partnership with China. The emergence of the anti-Western alliance like that would be a nightmare for both Washington and Brussels.
Western politicians see Russia as a gas station that imagines itself to be a country, a regional power, which attacks liberal democracies, supports authoritarian regimes, interferes in elections in other countries and sabotages various democratic institutions.
It is hard to believe that "democrats" in the West can ever see Russia as an equal partner, no matter how Russia might try to adjust to their hypocritical rules. Russia will never try to do it anyway. The model of Western capitalism exhausted itself.