"When there is a general change of conditions, it is as if the entire creation had been changed and the whole world been altered." - Ibn Khaldun
"History is ruled by an inexorable determinism in which the free choice of major historical figures plays a minimal role" - Leo Tolstoy
“When empires fall, their currencies fall first. Even clearer is the rising debt of empires in decline, because in most cases their physical expansion is financed with debt”- Rolf Nef, Manager, Tell Gold & Silver Fund, Zurich
“If you told someone twenty years ago that the year 2009 would look and feel very much like 1989, they would not have believed you, because ofcourse everything was going to change after the end of the Cold War. Yet here we are, right in the middle of the same old madness" -William Rivers Pitt
Twenty years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, we are seeing the beginnings of the collapse of the other Wall (Street), financial nerve centre of recently described the New Rome. But these are just blips in the history of West-East confrontation like the Chinese Yin Yang. The decline and coming fall of the US led Western hegemony was brought home by the 2008 September collapse of Lehman brothers, Merrill Lynch and other venerable US and Western financial institutions, thus beginning an era of power shift, perhaps, for the passing of the baton from the West to the East. Washington’s debt amounts to over $ 8 trillion while its GDP is around 14 trillion. The creditors are discussing replacing US dollar as the reserve currency with a basket of currencies. US led West is deeply mired in the Iraqi quagmire and enmeshed into a non-winnable war in Afghanistan, the graveyard of many empires in history.
The confrontation and the wars for hegemony began with Indo-European chariot riders from East Central Asia and later horse riding tribes; the Turks, the Mongols, the Tatars and others galloping west and southwards in their victorious march. A safari by Alexander and his Macedonian hordes to Middle East, Central Asia and North India has little to show in Buddhist records in Asia. It only shows how Western propaganda exaggerates its achievements and misinforms, as is evident from its media exaggerations and misinformation now-a-days.
For example it were the Soviet people and forces which destroyed 80% of the Nazi war machine but the West through films like Gen Patton, The Longest Day etc and rewriting of history have tried to usurp the credit for destroying the German Reich. US reluctance to open a thrust from the Mediterranean via Greece could have saved most of East Europe falling under the Communist yoke but US chickened out. The Russians were quite justified in taking the defense of motherland to the heart of Europe having suffered ravaging invasions by Napoleon and Hitler. West while highlighting rapes and murder by Nazi and Soviet forces in Europe hid their own misdeeds in Europe while driving back the Nazi forces.
The first defeat of the Persian forces at Marathon in Europe is still celebrated as an Olympic race. But not the victory of Eastern arms over the West. The Eastern tribes and people ravaged, conquered and ruled Europe, Middle East and East and South Asia, with some counter blowbacks from time to time till the Ottoman Turks were turned back from the gates of Vienna in 16th - 17th century reversing the flow of power. Earlier the marauding Arabs were turned back by Christian Europeans from the Tours in South of France.
The world is now poised for paradigm change. US led Western attempts to enter and install itself and NATO forces into central Asia and around the Caspian have come cropper. US and Israeli puppet Georgia’s attempts to enter south Ossetia were rebuffed. Azerbaijan with its strategic location and energy resources firmly in the Western camp is having second thoughts about the tight Western embrace after the Georgian misadventure. US installed puppet in Ukraine. Victor Yushchenko’s popularity and power have ebbed away.
End of History
If the fall of the Berlin Wall was proclaimed as the ‘End of History’ and a herald of the collapse of socialism and communism in Soviet Union and East Europe (since 1978, China is more an authoritarian fascist style state), the Collapse of the Wall Street is an outcome of reckless corporate culture and greed in USA, over spending on defense and imperial over-reach, similar to the symptoms which laid low the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics twenty years ago.
Ironically, it is the public money, used as stimulus, amounting to nearly two trillion US dollars which is temporarily keeping private sector afloat in USA. Public shareholders ought to run the now effectively 'nationalized' banks and other institutions in USA. So much for the final triumph of the US neo-liberal model, defeat of socialism and the 'End of history'.
In any case, economist Hyman Minsky had predicted that “Keynes's collective work amounted to a powerful argument that Capitalism was by its very nature unstable and prone to collapse. Far from trending toward some magical state of equilibrium, capitalism would inevitably do the opposite. It would lurch over a cliff."
Soviet strongman Mikhail Gorbachev was hoodwinked into surrender in late 1980s by Roland Reagan’s Missile Defense project or Star Wars, which is nothing but a bottomless pork barrel charade to enrich the military-industry complex with little to show for its efficacy. Gorbachev was followed by a Boris Yeltsin, remembered for being mostly drunk or drugged. They destroyed the Soviet state, undermined its ideology and the concept of scientific socialism.
US now spends as much as the rest of the world put together on its so called defense with a hundred bases around the world to cajole, threaten and illegally invade other nations. It has massive deficits, trade imbalance and a fast shrinking economy, except the financial industry based on thin air and existing only on computer screens with little to back it. The trillions of US dollars of stimulus money now sloshing around the world keep the stock markets high and lend to speculation in primary commodities.
Fifty years of Cold War based on Mutual Assured Destruction needed ever more diversion of money and man power for defense. In history, centuries of Roman -Byzantine and Persian confrontation and wars led to their exhaustion. Soon their territories were overrun by bands of Bedouins from the deserts of Arabia.
Celebrations at the Wall
The celebrations on 9th November were led by Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin where the wall was breached, knocked down or chipped away as souvenirs twenty years ago. Merkel, then an ordinary scientist in East Berlin and re-elected Chancellor recently and a unified Germany making it Europe’s powerhouse once again, have reasons for celebrations. Of course, there were the usual suspects from what the West describes, the international community; British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Sarcozy, the latter a recent acolyte, who with the usual Gallic penchant for exaggeration i.e. the role of French resistance against the Nazis, even proclaimed his presence at the time of the Fall, only to be proved factually incorrect by the French media and others.
Chancellor Merkel led the procession of leaders through the Brandenburg Gate – an abiding symbol once of Germany's division and today of its unity. "Freedom is the most precious element in our political and social system," she declared. "Without freedom there is no democracy,” she said. And, turning to the former Soviet leader Gorbachev, she thanked him: "We always knew that something had to happen there so that more could change here. You courageously let this happen, and that was much more than we could expect."
President Sarkozy spoke of "the wall of shame", while Russian President Medvedev declared: "The Iron Curtain was annihilated. We hope the era of confrontation is past." Gordon Brown piped in, "Berlin, the whole world is proud of you – you tore down the Wall and you changed the world. Because of your courage, two Berlins are one, two Germanys are one and now two Europes are one." Hillary Clinton chimed in, "History broke through concrete and barbed wire and signaled a new dawn."
Gorbachev recalled how the event they were commemorating overtook them by surprise. He and the then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl knew the Wall would fall, but they were stunned by the speed with which it occurred. "We were not very good clairvoyants. Every day we talked about how the German question could be solved – and then it went and happened on 9th November." Gorbachev was seduced by US media write ups as a great democratizer and statesman. When he stood for elections for President back home he hardly got any votes. Russians complain that Gorbachev gave in to the West without getting anything in return, except empty promises which everyone should know Washington rarely keeps.
Also hanging around was Lech Walesa, the Polish shop steward in his unionist's cap, now a has-been and a solid member of the new establishment which along with mafias has usurped power throughout Central and East Europe and the Balkans. In former communist nations, masses miss free education, housing, health facilities and other necessities of life. There are beggars around now, when there were none earlier. A poll three years ago in Romania placed the much maligned Nicolai Ceausescu as the most influential leader in its history with a large number saying they were happier during his regime. But the corporate and mafia controlled media in these countries paints a different picture.
The Cold War : The Wall and its meaning
The theoretical basis for the beginning of the Cold War is said to commence with George Kennan's "Long Telegram" of February 1946. Kennan, the US minister-counselor on Moscow, had grown increasingly disturbed by Josef Stalin and what he described as an aggressive and dangerous Soviet Union, and prepared his thesis explaining his concerns to Washington. That document, and the fears it inspired, led to the policy of "containment" of the USSR, the establishment of the Truman Doctrine, and the passage of the 1947 National Security Act. Over the next 44 years, until the final dissolution of the USSR in 1991, international politics was defined by those policies. The Cold War raged through dozens of nations, created crisis and conflicts around the world.
However, the scheming evil genius behind the Cold war remains the perfidious Albion, led by Winston Churchill of Great Britain which after WW II, lost its position as the leading colonial power. Since India, Great Britain’s power centre and the milch cow for almost two centuries, after independence under Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi was unlikely to join any military alliance, the subcontinent was partitioned and a weak Pakistan state, reliant on the west was created, which along with support to Pakistan on Kashmir denied any direct land contact or interaction between India and Afghanistan and beyond the then USSR, to protect West’s oil wells in Iran and the Middle East. This policy has been steadfastly followed, with Britain and its banking nerve centre,The City, the predecessor of the Wall Street as the financier, advising Washington and even calling the shots.
Hence the 2001 bombing of Afghanistan and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its brutal occupation. That policy has now been extended to Pakistan too with the light of objective still not clear at the end of the tunnel .With the contours of a ‘Pushtun’ entity across the Durand Line, dividing the Pushtun tribes in the two states, never accepted or abided by them, becoming clearer, analysts suggest that US led West would detach Baluchistan, to carve out a corridor along with non-Pushtun West Afghanistan for laying energy pipelines from central Asia to South Asia and the Indian Ocean and as a strategic threat to China and Russia. It will also deny the rising Asian power China, access to Baluchistan from west China via Pakistan and its strategic Gawadar port not far from the straits of Hormuz and the Gulf. USA and Europe had no qualms in breaking into pieces the multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious Russian friendly Slav state of Yugoslavia in 1990s. Ethnic kin Montenegro was detached from Serbia, state sector industry destroyed to let in capitalist exploitation and an independent Kosovo created as a possible energy hub in south Europe.
Western propaganda has given the Wall a very definitive and unsavory if not an evil meaning. Communist East Germany (GDR) erected the 155-km (96-mile) long concrete barrier in 1961 to encircle West Berlin and prevent its citizens from fleeing from the east into the capitalist enclave and vice versa, for creating mischief in the east. Still Berlin remained a great centre for espionage shenanigans and the upsurge of tensions between the two Cold War blocks from time to time.
But it was US President John F. Kennedy who described the Wall philosophically as a solution, however disturbing, but still better than a war. At that time almost all could subscribe to this view. Kennedy knew what he was talking about having been bested by Nikita Khrushchev on Berlin and bringing the world closest to Armageddon over Cuba in the 1962 standoff.
Having divided the world after the WWII, the two socio-economic systems with their blocs and the Wall between them had to find a way to coexist.
Dmitriy Baklin wrote recently in Strategic Culture Foundation that the Berlin Wall was a complete analog of the Great Chinese Wall whose construction began in the III century BC (475-221). It was meant to fortify the frontiers of the Chinese civilization and to help unite the enormous Empire. The second wall – described as the anti-fascist defensive structure at the interface of socialism and capitalism in the GDR – embodied for nearly three decades the frontier of the socialist world and separated the two worlds and socioeconomic systems. In this quality, the Berlin Wall turned into a symbol of stability sustained by confrontation in the era marked with the dormant conflict of the Western and the Eastern blocs.
It was German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who had to quit after a bribery scandal, who had persuaded Gorbachev to let the two Germany’s unite. In June, 1990 when Gorbachev told George W.H Bush that he would agree to recognize the NATO membership of the unified Germany in case "such would be the will of the German people", a surprised Bush asked Gorbachev to repeat what he had said.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told Gorbachev that the German unification would not be in the interests of Great Britain and Western Europe as a whole, and suggested abandoning the idea altogether. She felt major changes in of post-war borders in Europe would lead to destabilization and security would be jeopardized. French President Francois Mitterrand felt that a new united Germany would present an even greater threat than it did under Hitler. He believed the German unification would revert Europe back to the situation which existed before World War I.
A united Germany is now recognized the dominant European power with great economic potential, political clout, and international prestige. Berlin would define the future of Europe. Against US wishes and its poodle UK, Berlin has signed long term agreement for supply of Russian gas and plans many economic joint ventures. US and UK oppose relying on Russian gas but then the other alternative is Iran, with which US and Europe are at daggers drawn. So from where will EU get it gas? Unfortunately under US pressure India too has failed to reach long term arrangements for Iranian gas.
Western Intrusions and Invasions Replaced the Cold War
The demise of the Berlin Wall failed to lay foundations for European security. Hopes of millions of Europeans to see a better world order did not fructify. The wars and conflicts in Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo, Macedonia, Karabakh, former Yugoslavia, and South Ossetia showed that in the world without the stability, even armed one, sustained by the bipolar system there is no legally binding respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of countries. Without the basic principles, force by the West has become the main arbiter in international relations. However when US tried testing Russian resolve and inspired its puppet ruler in Georgia to invade disputed south Ossetia, Moscow gave a bloody thrashing and has grabbed south Ossetia and Abkhazia in a riposte to US detaching Kosovo from Serbia and recognizing its independence.
After the collapse of USSR, USA went about methodically dismantling Russia further i.e. Chechnya and it’s near abroad. Contrary to the self proclaimed congratulatory triumphalism of neo-liberals after the collapse of Communism and Socialism in end 1980s, celebrated from house tops by the so called philosophers, think tanks and analysts with delusions of permanent world domination of Western financiers and corporate houses based on dubious theories like 'the Clash of Civilizations' and 'the End of History ' or even claims of Washington - the New Rome with absolute control planned via the 'Project for American Century ' by arrogant and historically ignorant Straussian neo-cons, Zeo-cons and their supporters , the situation on the ground has turned out to be quite adverse.
"Those whom the Gods wish to destroy they render mad first"
The 9/11 assaults on US symbols of power were exploited by the Bush administration to spread its tentacles to Afghanistan and beyond in central Asia. For USA the Cold War never really ended and all means were employed to push Western military arm NATO to encroach into and encircle Russian strategic space. In central Europe it was carried out by dismantling Yugoslavia, an Orthodox Christian Slav nation friendly to Russia and by aligning Georgia and Azerbaijan to Washington. US franchised street revolutions failed in Belarus but succeeded in Serbia and Georgia and partially in Ukraine. When USA tried the same in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Uzbek ruler Islam Karimov expelled the Americans from the air base and Kyrgyzstan placed new restrictions. The eastward movement of NATO has resulted in the upgrading of Shanghai Corporation Organization which now promotes military coordination and collaboration among its members to counter NATO.
“It's time to stop the verbal pretense. In the Near East, there is no negotiation 'process' underway. Furthermore, there is also no prospect for peace. The situation is nonetheless not in a state of status quo: it is regressing. Dangerously, The United States bears the primary responsibility.” Le Monde.
Western and Israeli leaderships talk glibly of all options against Iran on the table and use of bunker busting nuclear tactical weapons. This is highly irresponsible talk and behavior. Any attack against Iran would be a catastrophe for the region, US interests and a general setback to human civilization. The religious, economic, scientific and historic forces and currents unleashed during the last century are coalescing towards a major East-West face-off, which if not reconciled with could bring about results quite opposite to those dreamed up in Washington, London and Paris.
Even in its backyard Latin America, where USA maintained its dominance under Monroe doctrine except for defiant Cuba under Fidel Castro, Washington is losing its sway and total dominance opposed by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and other leaders who represent and implement aspirations of their people and not of the old elites in cahoots with corporate interests in USA and Europe.
The post Berlin Wall Fall period has producing great wealth for some. They control media barring a few stalwarts (In US five conglomerates control over 90% of media). It just communicates the views and interest of the say military-industry and energy complex in USA. But it has brought poverty and misery to a very large segment of people around the world. Under the charade of globalization, a new imperial method to extort money, between US$ 400 to a trillion was transferred from former USSR to the West. It created seven oligarchs in Russia, six of whom happen to be Jews. Some have escaped to Israel and UK and one who tried to take over the Russian Federation is now jailed in Siberia. West advised and executed Cold Turkey implementation of so called Capitalism has resulted in deaths of an extra million in Russian Federation alone.