The rulers of the US empire are committed to stopping a world in which the land, the labor, the natural resources, the markets are directed toward the betterment of the ordinary people in that world.
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This is John Robles. I’m speaking with Dr. Michael Parenti, he is a Yale graduate, a noted scholar and the author of several books including The Face of Imperialism. This is part 2 of an interview in progress. You can find the previous part of this interview on our website Voiceofrussia.com.
Robles: Since the end of the Soviet Union the Russian people just opened their arms to the West and welcomed everything.
Parenti: Well they have such a mythology, they just self-generated a mythology about the West. Everything in the West: “Oh yes, you have things that are wrong but you fix them, we don’t. Oh, you are this, oh, you are that. There is no starvation, there is no poverty in the West”. I used to hear that from people. It was really something to hear it.
There was a guy in Moscow, he had gone to Moscow University, he spoke very good English, so he had a good education. He had a fairly small apartment, but a wall full of books and all that, and he seemed like he lived fairly comfortable. And he said: “The very poorest people in your country (in the United States) the very poorest people in your country live better than I do”.
And I say: “No, you don’t know. They sleep in doorways in my country, the very poorest people, and there are hundreds of thousands of them.”
He said: “That’s all right, you don’t have to lie to us anymore”. That was what he said. I couldn’t believe the guy, yeah.
And they’ve even got racist, some of them, and they say: “Oh, well, that is just the blacks, they are stupid and lazy anyway and blah blah”.
I said: “No, it’s not just the blacks”. And anyway that’s an outrageous comment. So they were very much brainwashed.
I thought Lech Walesa, a couple of years ago (a few years ago) made a very, very good comment, I mean it is the first thing that ever came out of his mouth that I could tolerate anyway. He turned to his people, he was talking to the Polish people who were full of complaints about how terrible things were and how this and that. He said: “Look, you wanted America, you are getting America”. And that was it.
And their favorite theme, I mean, we saw some of this right here on the western media and I was so surprised that they even ran it. But they did a few little specials, like documentaries on what’s happening in Poland. And these people were repeatedly saying, people they interviewed, were repeatedly saying: “It was better under the Communists. This is terrible, we’ve got to pay for this, we’ve got to pay for that, and so it was better under the Communists. I’m going to lose my little plot of land here now and it was better under the Communists’. Well, too late. you wanted America, and you are getting America.
And I think that same element, by the way, there is an element of that in Ukraine. Some of the people who are opposing the Russian and Ukrainian relationship and want Ukraine to go West, some of those people have the dream of: someday I’ll be dancing in Paris or New York or something, or there is so much I can get still, and some of its going to come down to me, I talked to all those people who rallied us and gave us some money. And there they are.
Robles: Do you believe like some people do (and I think some people cannot believe it’s any other way) that the US government actually cares about people, or cares about countries, or cares about the people?
Parenti: No, as I tried to say, they put out that messianic front about how we have to fight this humanitarian war. We have to go in and stop Milošević who is another Stalinist, and demonizing the Serbs for killing all these people, when in fact the Croats and the Kosovars and the Bosniacs were all engaged in savage killings with each other. And the Serbs were the only honest ones who said: “We weren’t angels”. While all the others pretended that they were angels.
And the US has supported some of the worst and horrible people, as I’ve mentioned with Afghanistan for instance. No, they support the devil himself, there is no virtue, there is no virtue in their position. They don’t even give support to their own people! When hurricane Katrina almost destroyed all of New Orleans. They didn’t do a thing, they had been warned about it, we again and again told them.
Robles: But that was because they were blacks, right?
Parenti: They were blacks and they voted against the Republican Party when they did vote. They were people who were critical and were not really adoringly swept up in the American dream. So that’s it.
So the process has been, again and again, to take leaders, demonize them (if they are leaders who have been recalcitrant and trying to take an independent course) and use that as an excuse to bomb their people, or coop their people, take their people in.
The true meaning of the most hypocritical media equation in history—
“The West” does NOT mean “democracy”. It only means the Global Plutocracy
And they do want, of course they want, Ukraine in NATO, that would be wonderful for them. They would be right at the doorstep, it would be a way of really hemming in their enemy (or potential enemy) which is Russia.
The Russians haven’t been acting like an enemy, they don’t rattle their sabre against the United States, and neither do the Chinese nor anybody else. But it doesn’t matter, you could just declare that: “They’re enemies and they are hostile to us and we try to negotiate with them”, and that means unless you agree in the negotiation with the proposal that I put up, you are not negotiating; “We try to negotiate but they don’t want to, they don’t want to cooperate”.
For those the word cooperate means: “you’ve got to do what I tell you.” But yes, they don’t want to cooperate, if that’s what cooperate means.
Robles: I believe it was Sergey Lavrov, when all this Ukrainian stuff started up, and he says: “Well, it might sound ridiculous, but I’m telling you to make an independent sovereign decision, even if it is slapping ourselves in the face”. Something (I’m paraphrasing) something to that effect, and you would never hear a US official saying that, it’s ridiculous.
Parenti: Well Yanukovich though is not… he is not wanting to get dragged into the EU net, is he? I mean, here I will defer to you, because you are right there on the spot, but it does seem to me that he seems quite pleased with the offer that the Soviets just made.
Robles: Russians, Russians there are no more Soviets, Doctor.
Parenti: I know, this is absolutely outrageous. I have for 30 years been fighting (or more, I forget for how many years now) for the Russians. Doesn’t that sort of pull the rug out of some of these “democracy-loving-protestors”, or what?
Robles: Well yeah, but they were open to the agreement right, and they sat down and they looked at the benefits. Of course, he is the president of the country, any president he wants to do what is better for his country, right? And when you are talking about.. this is just the first part, $100 billion for your country over 7 years, as opposed to $1 billion, and giving up your sovereignty, and the one thing that the Ukrainians thought …
Parenti: What do you mean giving up their…? Who’s giving up their…? The Ukrainians are giving up their sovereignty?
Robles: Well, in my opinion and I think many people would agree, that any country that joins the EU, and that is one reason the UK didn’t want it, they would give up a lot of their sovereignty.
Parenti: Oh. Right.
Robles: In joining NATO they give up their sovereignty. I mean, when you have American troops in your country…
Robles: Like in Serbia, what did they do? They recognized Kosovo and the first thing they did, they built the biggest military installation (US military installation) in the world outside the USA, in Kosovo?
Parenti: In Kosovo! Yeah, yeah.
Robles: Yeah.You’ve written and spoken about Serbia in the past?
Parenti: I wrote a book called “To Kill a Nation: The Destruction of Yugoslavia”. And that was what it was about, it was about the whole war that took Yugoslavia, which was a viable social democracy where more than 80% maybe 90% of its economy was publicly state owned and it was going well and they were trying to also build up the worker-controlled enterprises and such, and turn it into a cluster of small right-wing mini-republics where everything has been privatized and everything has been deregulated and the people are poor and miserable, and that is what they got.
Or in the immortal words of our “friend” Lech Walesa: “you wanted America, you got it”. But now most of those people did not want it, they got bombed into it, you know.
Robles: You know who Doctor Edward Herman is right? He has done some really good work on exposing the Srebrenica Massacre, there was actually two: the first one(s) were when these Albanian Muslims came in and they obliterated thousands of … they murdered, Serbian women and children. Do you know anything else about …?
Parenti: Right. The Bosnians made the big complaint that the Serbs massacred them.
Robles: Yeah, and that was the pretext for the invasion.
Parenti: Right, yeah. Well, all I can say is Milošević stood trial for one year about Bosnia and Srebrenica,and all that stuff and at the end of it, the head jurist, their Carla del Ponte, she said: “We do not have a case of genocide here. We haven’t made the case, we haven’t won the case.” People would get up and then they were cross-examined by Milošević, and they would recant and say: “No, no I didn’t kill that many, no, no…”.
Robles: Why is the US now…(you’re there, I’m here right, so this is a good dialogue here,) can you tell me from sitting over there, why does the US keep demonizing Russia and why is it surrounding Russia with missiles, and China as well? And why is NATO continuing to expand, in your opinion?
Parenti: Well, as I just said, there are only two kinds of countries: satellites and enemies. And any country that can go its own willful way, and do what it chooses; any country that can shut out the US and Western plutocracy, that country is getting in the way of the profits and the dominance that people could have.
Some of the writers here in America will talk about this as “craving for power”, but I don’t think so. They use the power for a particular function, which is to make the world safe for global capitalism because they have a huge link or investment in that global capitalism. It’s a class war, still very nicely disguised behind things like “security, democratic elections and humanitarian wars and fighting against genocide or something like that, and terrorism”.But in fact, just take an area like the Middle East. If you have leaders who let the IMF in, let the World Bank in, opened the country to the western plutocratic investors, who rally their own people into a work force that works at a level of servitude, very poorly and all that, then that guy… those leaders are fine.
I’ll give you example of one: Mubarak in Egypt. Now there has never been a harsh word in the US media about Mubarak, and the guy was a murderer and he was an oppressor, he was a dictator. But you never heard a word, now the US supported demonstrations and uprisings when it was in Libya and Syria, and Iraq, and Yugoslavia. But in Egypt, they didn’t support that at all (they weren’t supporting it), and they would rather … they would rather end up as they did in Afghanistan.
They would rather end up supporting Islamic militant terrorists (not that I’m saying all Islamists are militant and terrorists but this extreme Sharia group)…
Robles: Of course not….
Parenti: … they would rather see those guys take over, they would rather see the Taliban take over in Afghanistan, rather than seeing the kind of country that the revolutionary movement in Afghanistan was trying to build: a country where the children could go to school, women could go to school, there was land reform, all the things I mentioned before; human services and the country was developing.
They don’t want development, they want exploitation. They don’t want people who have a keen sense of their own entitlement, who have a high level of expectations.
They do the same thing here in the United States. They fight against human services, they are still trying to attack and destroy Social Security, what little that we have left of our own social services.
They are furious against anything that resembles a social democracy of any kind. For them, they want us poor and hungry and ready to work at any desperate level that we have to. And it is time that we get our chains back on, and so that kind of struggle that they are carrying out in Ukraine or in the Middle East or in Central Europe with Yugoslavia, it’s the same struggle they are carrying out here in the United States itself.
Robles: That’s become clear to me since 9-11, I think. But I think maybe a lot of us: we believed this stuff about “promoting democracy” and “freedom” and “helping build societies” and everything”. So it was quite a… I think a lot of people were kind of shocked…
Robles: If I could just for a second, why they went in and invaded/destroyed Iraq? And then people were kind of surprised: “Why isn’t there a plan for rebuilding? There is no plan for afterwards”. But what you are saying now is that was done on purpose, there was not supposed to be any rebuilding, right?
Parenti: What country are we talking about?
Robles: Well, we could talk about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya…what they are trying to do with Syria.
Parenti: Yeah, there is no plan to rebuild. No. They want it shattered, they want it on its knees, they want to be able to go in and make their own terms. That’s exactly what they want to do.
Robles: It is a shame. Regarding Afghanistan, I’ve talked to some people that were there in Soviet times, I’ve interviewed some Afghani “patriots” (I would say), and people who commented that everything they had in Afghanistan was built by the Soviet Union, almost, all the infrastructure: roads, airports, buildings, apartment blocks, right? And effectively 12 years (13 years almost) of NATO occupation and US occupation – they destroyed everything. There is nothing left.
Robles: And there is no plan for rebuilding. I mean, some people thought: “Oh, KNBR and Halliburton they will go in and they’ll start building stuff”. But they are not interested in building anything.
Parenti: That is a good point, a very good point.
Robles: I mean if they do go and rebuild they are going to profit from it, right?
Parenti: Yeah. Or if they do go in and build, as in Kazakhstan or in Kosovo, they build a big monster military base. That’s what they build.
Robles: They are not going to build hospitals; they are not going to build schools.
Parenti: No, no, they are not interested in that. And that’s again and again that is the case. And that is why they can support a Mubarak, but if you had a political group or individual leader like Gaddafi or even Assad, or Milošević or anybody else, then they would really be putting the heat on Egypt.
Even with Iran. Iran is big, it is still a counterweight, it is not socialist, it is not even particularly maybe anti-capitalist, but it is independent and it is critical of the US and it doesn’t fall in line, and Israel is very keenly hoping to see Iran go the way of Libya, Yugoslavia, Syria, and the like.
That was the end of part 2 of an interview with Dr. Michael Parenti, a Yale graduate, a noted scholar and the author of several books, including The Face of Imperialism. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish you the best wherever you may be.
SEE PART ONE OF THIS INTERVIEW ON PAGE 2 BELOW