The USSR knew how to fight a cold war. Big military parades, incessant party propaganda from birth to death, compulsory military service, lots of tanks and missiles. Who would not be frightened into submission by the massive spectacle of a cold war USSR armed to the teeth?
In the early 1970s, when I was graduating from a Moscow high school, the Soviet Union had universal conscription and boys were expected to do two years of compulsory military service. In our last grade we had military instruction, a weekly class in which a superannuated army captain taught us to take apart a Kalashnikov and offered us insights into geopolitics. __ Alexei Bayer
So, you see, the USSR won the cold war because it knew how to regiment its people under party discipline, displaying the spirit of proletarian revolution at every turn in the road.
The Americans, on the other hand, were weak and easily distracted by decadent capitalist activities. They made the mistake of ignoring what the Soviets had accomplished and what the revolution was building. The capitalist pigs never had a chance!
Americans cultivated their own garden, building a highly innovative, formidably competitive economy and effecting a revolution in information technologies. They laid the foundations for a world in which the Soviet Union simply couldn’t exist. Accordingly, it went on rotting until it finally collapsed. The Warsaw Pact disintegrated without a single shot and Soviet tank divisions, which Solzhenitsyn feared were poised to get to the English Channel, ignominiously headed home. __ Alexei Bayer
Wait, what is he saying? What do innovation and economic competition have to do with fighting a cold war? Alexei Bayer may have been born and raised in Moscow, but why is he being published in Kyiv Post?
Oh, I see. Alexei is scolding Ukrainians, and they are taking it meekly — they even published his criticism in a Kyiv paper.
The Kremlin is Fighting Another Cold War … And It Knows It Can Win!
In a cold war, you can fight battles and wars with imaginary divisions, imaginary tanks that don’t break down, imaginary submarines that don’t sink themselves, imaginary missiles and bombs that always hit their targets, and imaginary ships that dominate the electronic realms. This is the type of war the Kremlin can win, using its vast armies of cyber-warriors, trolls, state propagandists, and useful idiots in the west who lick certain parts of the fearless leader.
Alexei Bayer briefly mentions another type of cold war — a “frozen conflict” — in which the purpose of the aggressor is to hold the weaker target nation in a state of submission and suffering, to the extent it is possible to do. The Kremlin cold warriors believe that they can win this type of cold war as well.
What Do Innovation and Economic Competition Have to Do With a Cold War?
If the Kremlin is winning the current cold war, then according to the chart above, innovation must not have anything to do with it. And we know that economic competition is not something that is allowed to take place in Russia Today. So that cannot signify in cold war supremacy, either. We are left to conclude that the winners in a cold war are those who can keep it going the longest, putting the bravest and most ferocious face on the game.
In economic and actual military wars, innovation and economic competition have a lot to do with the type of wartime industrial base a nation is capable of building up, under pressure. This is something the Kremlin leadership is learning:
One reason for the Russian decline is the inability to keep up in developing new technology. Russian tech is increasingly seen as backward and unreliable. Thus India is threatening to cancel its order for 154 of the new Russian T-50 “stealth fighter” because of growing delays in the program. It’s not just the high-tech T-50 but several other new Russian aircraft, both military and commercial. Same with Russian efforts in space. Growing quality control problems and delays in developing new technology has damaged Russian efforts to remain a major power in space or in any high-tech field. Russia still launches about a third of the space satellites worldwide. But this dominance is threatened by growing insurance costs (because of failed launches) and more money being spent on the problem without much effect. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a lot of the best talent leaving state run enterprises and there is no easy way to get them back. The growth of the police state in Russia has led to a more (over a million) of these skilled and talented people migrating. This has hurt the Russian economy across the board. The fundamental problem is an ineffective government that tolerates widespread and crippling corruption. Instead of addressing that problem the government blames all the problems on NATO plots to destroy Russia. __ http://strategypage.com/qnd/russia/articles/20160107.aspx
As long as the Kremlin can blame Russia’s problems on NATO plots to destroy Russia, it will not have to do anything about improving Russia’s economic and innovation competitiveness. Engineered opinion polls will mass produce the results the Kremlin desires, and all will be well — regardless of what is happening at street level.
Meanwhile in the West: An Extended Aftermath from Having Lost the Cold War to the USSR
In the aftermath of the cold war between the west and the USSR, a massive toxic cloud of neo-leftist indoctrination descended over western universities, and from there spread to governments, media, think tanks, foundations, faux-environmental groups, and other cultural institutions that are now fatally poisoned.
When a cold war is a “war of words,” then whoever is best at manipulating words will win the war. Right up until the moment that the war collapses of its own insubstantial nature. This describes much of the surface reality of daily life, from the climate apocalypse cult to the peak oil armageddon to the perennial “collapse of the USA” grand theatrics.
Leftists and quasi-leftists currently have control over universities, news and entertainment media, government bureaucracies, powerful lobbies and labour unions, the $billion faux-environmental racket, and the other usual suspects who largely influence the public discussion. It is a cold war of words, images, and catchy tunes / rhythms that penetrates to the deepest synapse of every child, youth, and young adult.
Perhaps, as Alexei says, if not for the innovation and economic competitiveness of the US and its lackeys, the USSR would still be bravely fighting and winning the cold war. By cold war rules, what the US and the free world did was not strictly fair. And in the modern era of the new Kremlin cold war, such tactics are still unfair. But the USSR still won, in a rather Pyrrhic manner.
As for Russia, all indications suggest it is trodding the same path. Judging by the capital flight, brain drain, womb drain, demographic decline, alcoholism, HIV / TB, suicide, infrastructure collapse, and all the rest — Russia is fighting the same kind of suicidal (but oddly satisfying to many Putin sycophants) cold war that the USSR won in such devastating fashion.
But this mentality is not a new one in that part of the world:
A peasant woman in the Soviet Union once found an old lantern. As she started to polish it, a genie appeared in a cloud of magic smoke. The genie fixed the woman with his fiery eyes, and in a loud booming voice, said, “I will grant you one wish, and it can be anything at all.” The peasant woman immediately replied, “I wish my neighbor’s cow would die!”
Russia Survives Only by Cannibalising Itself
In 2014, Russia produced “no more than 4,000” units of metal processing machinery. In the same year, China produced “more than 600,000” such pieces of equipment, 150 times as many!
… According to Rosstat, Russia produced 34 million semi-conductors in 2014, while its foreign competitors produced “several hundred billion” of these. As a result, “the Russian Federation had to satisfy 99.99 percent of its demand [in this sector] with imports.”
… Even in the better-off sectors, there is far too little research and investment. Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil currently spend on that 400 million US dollars, 200 million US dollars and 100 million US dollars respectively. Volkswagen, in the same period, spends 9.5 BILLION US dollars.
… Such figures, Nemets suggests, naturally provoke the question: “’How then can Russia as before produce contemporary military jets, rockets and ships, nuclear arms and military electronics?’” The answer is that it can’t and doesn’t – except by importing many of the advanced components it needs.
… The Russian economy is rapidly degrading, Nemets concludes, and the reason for that is “simple: the core nature of the criminally corrupt Putin system has [nothing in common] with contemporary science and technology.”
__ Russian Autophagy
Lest We Forget: