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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 06:29 PM


First Published in 1994


The Changing Global Economy, Sanctions, Endangered Dollar, and BRICS

Tucker Carlson Interview of Vladimir Putin part 8
Col. Jacques Baud, Retired Swiss intelligence officer, critic of Western media reporting.

At the end of Part 7, Vladimir Putin was explaining how U.S. driven NATO sanctions on Russia were creating painful economic hardships on the German economy and German people. 

Commentary: Although sanctions were a major factor in a 1.2 percent decline in the Russian economy in 2022, Russian economic growth was 3.6 percent in 2023, exceeding the U.S. and most European nations.  According to the European Union Commission, Germany is estimated to have had a real GDP contraction of 0.3 percent in 2023, and real growth is not expected to be over 0.3 percent in 2024. In my opinion, this figure is very optimistic considering Germany’s critical energy shortage.  European Union economic growth overall was only 0.8 percent. An optimistic projection for 2024 is 1.4 percent. The International Monetary Fund estimates Russian real economic growth for 2024 will be 2.6 percent. There are four major reasons why Russia has prospered despite US/NATO/EU sanctions. First, the Russians had prepared their banking and financial systems for sanctions. Second, they were remarkably successful in shifting their trade to China and other non-NATO nations. Third, the Russians have a very low Debt to GDP ratio of only 12 percent and near zero deficit spending. They are thus in  much better fiscal condition than most Western nations. Fourth, they were able to ramp up military-industrial production very quickly, which also gave them significant weapons, ammunition, and logistical advantages over Ukraine and NATO.

Tucker Carlson: Well, maybe the world is breaking into two hemispheres. One with cheap energy, the other without it. And I want to ask you that, if we are now a multipolar world, obviously we are, can you describe the blocs of alliances? Who is in each side, do you think?

Vladimir Putin: Listen, you have said that the world is breaking into two hemispheres. A human brain is divided into two hemispheres: one is responsible for one type of activities, the other one is more about creativity and so on. But it is still one and the same head. The world should be a single whole, security should be shared, rather than meant for the ”golden billion“. That is the only scenario where the world could be stable, sustainable and predictable. Until then, while the head is split into two parts, it is an illness, a serious adverse condition. It is a period of a severe disease that the world is now going through.

But I think that, thanks to honest journalism — this work is akin to work of the doctors, this could somehow be remedied.

Tucker Carlson: Well, let’s just give one example — the US dollar, which has, kind of, united the world in a lot of ways, maybe not to your advantage, but certainly to ours. Is that going away as the reserve currency, the universally accepted currency? How have sanctions, do you think, changed the dollar’s place in the world?

Vladimir Putin: You know, to use the dollar as a foreign policy instrument to fight is one of the gravest strategic mistakes made by the US political leadership. The dollar is the cornerstone of the United States' power. I think everyone understands very well that, no matter how many dollars are printed, they are quickly dispersed all over the world. Inflation in the United States is minimal. It is about 3 or 3.4 per cent, which is, I think, totally acceptable for the US. But they won't stop printing. What does the debt of US $33 trillion tell us about? It is about the issuance [of inflationary fiat currency].

Nevertheless, it is the main weapon used by the United States to maintain its power across the world. As soon as the political leadership decided to use the US dollar as a political instrument, a blow was dealt to this American power. I don’t want to use any unliterary expressions, but this is stupidity and a huge mistake.

Look at what is going on in the world. Even the United States' allies are now downsizing their dollar reserves. Seeing this, everyone starts looking for ways to protect themselves. But the fact that the United States applies restrictive measures to certain countries, such as placing restrictions on transactions, freezing assets, etc., causes grave concern and sends a signal to the whole world.

What did we have here? Until 2022, about 80 per cent of Russia's foreign trade transactions were made in US dollars and euros. US dollars accounted for approximately 50 per cent of our transactions with third countries, while currently it is down to 13 per cent. It was not us who banned the use of the US dollar, we had no such intention. It was the decision of the United States to restrict our transactions in US dollars. I think it is a complete foolishness from the point of view of the interests of the United States itself and its taxpayers, as it damages the US economy [and] undermines the power of the United States across the world.

By the way, our transactions in yuan accounted for about 3 per cent. Today, 34 per cent of our transactions are made in rubles, and about as much, a little over 34 per cent, in yuan.

Why did the United States do this? My only guess is self-conceit. They probably thought it would lead to a full collapse, but nothing collapsed. Moreover, other countries, including oil producers, are thinking of and already accepting payments for oil in yuan. Do you even realize what is going on or not? Does anyone in the United States realize this? What are you doing? You are cutting yourself off… all experts say this. Ask any intelligent and thinking person in the United States what the dollar means for the US? You are killing it with your own hands.

Tucker Carlson: I think that is a fair assessment. The question is what comes next? And maybe you trade one colonial power for another, much less sentimental and forgiving colonial power? Is the BRICS, for example, in danger of being completely dominated by the Chinese economy? In a way that is not good for their sovereignty. Do you worry about that?

Vladimir Putin: We have heard those boogeyman stories before. It is a boogeyman story. We are neighbors with China. You cannot choose neighbors, just as you cannot choose close relatives. We share a border of 1000 kilometers with them. This is number one.

Second, we have a centuries-long history of coexistence, we are used to it.

Third, China's foreign policy philosophy is not aggressive, its idea is to always look for compromise, and we can see that.

The next point is as follows. We are always told the same boogeyman story, and here it goes again, though in a euphemistic form, but it is still the same bogeyman story: the cooperation with China keeps increasing. The pace at which China's cooperation with Europe is growing is higher and greater than that of the growth of Chinese-Russian cooperation. Ask Europeans: aren’t they afraid? They might be, I do not know, but they are still trying to access China's market at all costs, especially now that they are facing economic problems. Chinese businesses are also exploring the European market.

Do Chinese businesses have small presence in the United States? Yes, the political decisions are such that they are trying to limit their cooperation with China.

It is to your own detriment, Mr. Tucker, that you are limiting cooperation with China, you are hurting yourself. It is a delicate matter, and there are no silver bullet solutions, just as it is with the dollar.

So, before introducing any illegitimate sanctions — illegitimate in terms of the Charter of the United Nations — one should think very carefully. For decision-makers, this appears to be a problem.

Commentary on Sanctions: The U.S. and NATO narrative of the Ukraine War is that the Russian intervention in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, was an “unprovoked invasion” of an innocent nation. This is a lie that has been widely propagated by captive Western media. However, it is easily refuted by observing the chain of events since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. It became more visible with U.S. pressure on NATO to make Ukraine a NATO member at the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest. The most significant event was the bloody CIA, Brtish MI6, and U.S. State Department backed Maidan Revolution and coup in Kyiv in February 2014, which illegally ousted pro-neutral Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and replaced him with American-picked pro-NATO leadership. This led to secession attempts by several predominantly Russian ethnic oblasts (states) in southern and eastern Ukraine and brutal Ukrainian Army suppression of Russian culture and language, particularly in the two most Russian Donbass oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk. This became a full-scale civil war in early 2015, in which 14,000 people were killed. The 2015 Minsk agreements which promised to end the fighting, give the Donbass oblasts more autonomy, and guarantee the large 40 percent Russian cultural minority in Ukraine equal rights were never implemented and were finally betrayed on February 16, 2022. This final betrayal was also marked by a huge ten-fold increase in Ukrainian Army artillery barrages directed against the civilian population of Donetsk, creating public pressure in Russia to intervene against this atrocity.

The U.S. and NATO narrative is that sanctions were applied against Russia to punish Putin and Russia for invading Ukraine. This is also a lie. There is documentary proof that the U.S. and NATO provoked the Russians to invade Ukraine, so that severe sanctions might be implemented to collapse the Russian economy, bring down Putin, and breakup the Russian Federation.

On March 14, 2019, the Rand Corporation, a military think-tank for the Pentagon, outlined at the request of the United States and its “allies” a plan to “overextend and unbalance” Russia using Ukraine. The Ukrainian strategy would first intensify artillery strikes against the population of the Donbass region, which would provoke Russian intervention. This would justify triggering massive economic sanctions against Russia, resulting in the collapse of Russia, overthrow of Putin, and the beginning of the process of breaking up the Russian Federation. Ukraine would be given NATO membership.

However, the Rand Corporation warned that this plan had a low probability of success and might result in substantial costs to Ukraine, including disproportionate human and territorial losses and massive refugee flows. They also warned that it could result in significant loss of credibility and prestige for the United States.

Four days later, on March 18, 2019, Oleksei Arestovych, a close adviser and business partner of Ukrainian President Zelensky, gave a two-minute interview to Ukrainian Apostrophe TV. In this interview, he predicted a more than 99 percent chance of a big war with Russia in 2021-2022, which would result in Russian defeat, after which Ukraine would become a member of NATO.  His interview predictions seemed to converge with the Rand Corporation plan and probable knowledge of it. This interview is still on You-Tube.   

Why 2021-2022? Probably because Arestovych believed there would be a new American president and administration ready to override the Rand Corporation’s warnings and implement the plan’s steps. The carryover link was probably Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.  Sanctions were supposed to bring down Russia and Putin quickly and make it a short war. This did not happen, and thus the Rand Corporation’s warnings are now either facts or quickly becoming facts.

The Rand Corporation 2019 Ukraine Plan and Arestovych’s 2019 TV interview are thoroughly documented on pages 20-50 of Col. Jacques Baud’s 2023 book, Ukraine Between War and Peace. Col. Baud, who is a former Chief of Staff of the Swiss Intelligence Service, also discusses these issues in his 2024 book, The Russian Art of War: How the West Led Ukraine to Defeat. Much of this information was also covered in an excellent You-Tube interview of Col. Baud by retired U.S. Army Lt.Col. Daniel Davis’s Deep Dive commentary, entitled The True Origins of the Russia/Ukraine War, dated approximately March 29. Col. Baud is a frequent critic of Western media coverage of the war.

End of Commentary.

 Tucker Carlson: So, you said a moment ago that the world would be a lot better if it were not broken into competing alliances, if there was cooperation globally. One of the reasons you don’t have that is because the current American administration is dead set against you. Do you think if there was a new administration after Joe Biden that you would be able to re-establish communication with the US government? Or does it not matter who the President is?

Vladimir Putin: I will tell you. But let me finish the previous thought. We, together with my colleague and friend President Xi Jinping, set a goal to reach US $200 billion of mutual trade with China this year. We have exceeded this level. According to our figures, our bilateral trade with China totals already 230 billion, and the Chinese statistics say it is US $240 billion.

One more important thing: our trade is well-balanced, mutually complementary in high-tech, energy, scientific research and development. It is very balanced.

As for BRICS, where Russia took over the presidency this year, the BRICS countries are, by and large, developing very rapidly.

Look, if memory serves me right, back in 1992, the share of the G7 countries in the world economy amounted to 47 per cent, whereas in 2022 it was down to, I think, a little over 30 per cent. The BRICS countries accounted for only 16 per cent in 1992, but now their share is greater than that of the G7. It has nothing to do with the events in Ukraine. This is due to the trends of global development and world economy that I mentioned just now, and this is inevitable. This will keep happening, it is like the rise of the sun — you cannot prevent the sun from rising, you have to adapt to it. How does the United States adapt? With the help of force: sanctions, pressure, bombings, and use of armed forces.

This is about self-conceit. Your political establishment does not understand that the world is changing, under objective circumstances, and in order to preserve your level — even if someone aspires, pardon me, to the level of dominance — you have to make the right decisions in a competent and timely manner.

Such brutal actions, including with regard to Russia and, say, other countries, are counterproductive. This is an obvious fact; it has already become evident.

You just asked me if another leader comes and changes something. It is not about the leader; it is not about the personality of a particular person. I had a very good relationship with, say,  Bush, [George W. Bush—Bush 2] I know that in the United States he was portrayed as some kind of a country boy who does not understand much. I assure you that is not the case. I think he made a lot of mistakes with regard to Russia, too. I told you about 2008 and the decision in Bucharest to open the NATO’s doors to for Ukraine and so on. That happened during his presidency. He actually exercised pressure on the Europeans. [ Germany and France especially had strong objections at first.]

But in general, on a personal human level, I had a very good relationship with him. He was no worse than any other American, or Russian, or European politician. I assure you; he understood what he was doing as well as others. I had such personal relationships with Trump as well.

~ To be continued …


Mike ScruggsMike Scruggs is the author of two books: The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths; and Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You, and over 600 articles on military history, national security, intelligent design, genealogical genetics, immigration, current political affairs, Islam, and the Middle East.

He holds a BS degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University. A former USAF intelligence officer and Air Commando, he is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and Air Medal. He is a retired First Vice President for a major national financial services firm and former Chairman of the Board of a classical Christian school.

Click the website below to order books. http://www.universalmediainc.org/books.htm.