Why does the US media have an anti-Russian fixation? It’s not what the American people want to hear. 71% of the Ronald Reagan-loving, military-obsessed Republican Party approve of Trump meeting with Putin. On the other side, top liberal CNN commentator and former President Obama’s adviser, Van Jones has admitted in a video recording that the “Russiagate” story is a “big nothing burger” which Democrats are not interested in. The Russia-fixated, Hillary Clinton-DNC liberal establishment now faces an upsurge of opposition from Democratic Socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, who emphasize the need for populist economics reforms.
Conservatives don’t want to hear it. Liberals don’t want to hear it. Hating Russia is just not a bandwagon the U.S. public is ready to jump on. Yet, if one turns on American television, in the aftermath of the summit in Helsinki, the rhetoric and accusations against the government of the Russian Federation are almost endless.
Like Trump, Obama was also unable to resolve the tensions now being described as the “New Cold War.” Let’s not forget that Obama was elected saying he would “talk to Putin”. In the early years of Obama’s first term, he said he intended to “reset” relations with the Eurasian superpower, and was attacked for it by the Tea Party. The American people favor better relations with Russia, and politicians win votes for promising it, yet the dangerous trajectory continues. Why?
A New Day in the Energy Markets
One answer can be found in the field of economics. On July 18th, crude oil production in the United States reached 11 million barrels per day. This is the highest it has ever been. The drilling and fracking rigs are pulling more oil out of the ground and shale than ever before in U.S. history.
The longtime liberal aspiration for “Energy Independence” has been achieved. The U.S. is no longer dependent on overseas oil. A new OPEC boycott wouldn’t be anything like the catastrophe of 1973. The longtime oil export ban has been lifted, and crude pulled from US shale and soil is now being shipped off to China and other countries.
Meanwhile, the spell of low oil prices that began in 2014 is long over. Oil prices are climbing high, having reached over $80 per barrel in May, and remaining around $70 since then. With high prices, oil companies are raking in profits.
But, amid the energy boom, another entity is also getting stronger. The world’s largest publicly traded oil company is not Chevron, BP, Exxon-Mobil, or Shell. The largest publicly traded petroleum corporation is called Rosneft. It is a government owned super corporation in Russia.
Rosneft, alongside Gazprom, are the two “National Champions” that Vladimir Putin wrote about as a university student. In 1997, as a graduate student, Vladimir Putin published his dissertation “”Strategic Planning of the Reproduction of the Resource Base.” In it, he laid out how Russia, which was reeling in poverty and massive internal turmoil after the fall of the Soviet Union, could restore its strength. Putin argued that two gigantic government corporations could harness Russia’s natural resources and make the country once again economically powerful.
Russia: A Competitor with Wall Street Monopolists
Putin’s academic work has manifested itself in reality. As President, Putin proceeded to utilize government power and reorient the economy around two super-corporations. As oil prices shot through the roof during the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, Russia’s government raked in new revenue. The oil and gas money rebooted industrial production. Poverty was drastically reduced, and wages multiplied. The massive crisis of the 1990s was resolved by economic planning. Russia is now an energy giant, selling on the global market in competition with Wall Street and London.
As record amounts of crude oil is churned out of the United States, the Trump White House talks of “Energy Dominance.” The USA is also the top producer of natural gas, which is also due to the invention and widespread use of hydraulic fracking.
All of this oil and gas is worthless to the western oil monopolists, unless they can sell it. Every barrel of oil and every ounce of natural gas sold by Russia is a barrel of oil or an ounce of gas not purchased from the Wall Street and London oil banking elite. Russia is a competitor on the global energy markets, selling two of the most vital products in the world economy.
Trump recently lashed out at the Germans for their natural gas deal with Russia. The German public finds the idea of importing natural gas from the United States, on the other side of the planet, to be absurd compared to pumping it in from nearby Russia. The Wall Street energy giant and fracking cowboys naturally disagree, furious that somebody else has captured the German market.
As China’s oil and gas consumption rapidly expands, their neighbor to the north is supplying the fuel they need. American oil companies have just recently gotten in on the Chinese market, while Russia has been selling to the government in Beijing for decades.
Relations between the U.S. and Russia were very good when Boris Yeltsin was running the country. Naomi Klein’s 2007 book “The Shock Doctrine” describes the Yeltsin years in detail. From 1991 to 1998, 80% of Russian farms went bankrupt. Russia was forced to start importing food from U.S. agriculture companies. 70,000 factories closed down. 1 in 4 people were living in conditions of extreme poverty, with unemployment often between 20% and 30%.
In the 1990s, as Russians were dying, being sold into sexual slavery, committing suicide and dying of heroin at massive rates, the US government and the Russian government were fast friends. The Clinton administration saw its relationship with Boris Yeltsin, and his relationship with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to be a great achievement.
In the 1990s, Russia was a dependent, impoverished “sphere of influence” for American corporations. Russians were poor, and not producing very much. They were a captive market for Wall Street and London monopolies, having been economically demolished after losing The Cold War . In addition, British hedge fund managers and stock traders tied with HSBC Bank, among them Bill Browder, proceeded to loot the country’s natural resources.
But that disaster is long over with. Vladimir Putin leads a Russia that is “back in business.” The new Russia is selling oil and gas across the planet. The Russian government has now overseen a mass revival of agriculture, with farms springing up across the country, even in the sparsely populated Far East regions. Russia produces a large amount of the world’s titanium, and sits at the center of the Eurasian Economic Union, a bloc dedicated to overseeing similar revivals in other nations.
Now, as 11 million barrels of crude are pulled from American soil and shale each day, and the USA remains the top producer of natural gas, Russia is a barrier to global dominance on the energy markets.
The forces that seek to maintain a global monopoly are not concerned with “election meddling”, “collusion”, “human rights”, “nationalism”, or any of the other endless canards flickering across U.S. television. What they can’t stand is a solid competitor.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.