Sometimes you can hear the opinion that the criticism of American foreign policy is purely Russian fun, caused by dissatisfied imperial ambitions. However, there are also quite a few independent experts in the West who watch the United States for world domination with alarm. Among them is the American political scientist and economist William Engdal, who has written five books and hundreds of articles about the origins of Anglo-American expansionism, the nearly century-old US struggle for oil, and the causes of the current financial crisis. A native of Texas, he graduated from the prestigious Princeton University and received his doctorate in economics in Stockholm. In the past twenty years, the expert lives in Germany, where he works as a consulting economist. In an interview with NV, William Engdal shared his opinion on the reasons for the rise and fall of the United States and how Russia should behave in the current international situation.
- Mr. Engdal, criticism of US foreign policy from the mouth of an American expert is quite rare. When did you first doubt the western "general line"?
- I did not come to my current views immediately. As a child of the cold war, since my childhood I believed that America brings freedom, democracy and progress to the whole world. My first education I received at Princeton University in the 1960s. Then I was not interested in geopolitics at all, dreaming of a career as a lawyer. But after seven years of work in the United States, I went to defend my dissertation in Europe, to Stockholm University. At that time there was a Vietnam war that made me take a fresh look at the behavior of my home country in the world. After defending my dissertation, I worked in New York as a freelance journalist for ten years. It was in the 1970s, when an oil crisis was raging in the Western world. Being naturally a curious person, I interviewed many representatives of energy concerns. Communicating with them, I soon came to the conclusion that the crisis was manipulated by seven energy companies - five American (Standard Oil, Shevron, Golf Oil, Mobil Oil, Texaco) and two British (British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell). Delving into history I made another discovery - since the beginning of the twentieth century, these concerns have closely cooperated with the largest banks of Wall Street, and especially with the Rockefeller banking family. In 1984, I moved to Germany, once again having the opportunity to look at the world through the eyes of Europeans.
- In your books and articles you tell in detail how in the first half of the twentieth century the role of a superpower passed from the hands of Britain into the hands of the United States. How did this happen?
- I devoted a whole book to this issue - “A Century of War”. Back in 1913, the United States established a private emission center - the Federal Reserve System, which took over the printing of the dollar (previously only states printed money). Behind this scam were the largest banking houses from New York's Wall Street - Rockefellers, Morgan, Warburgs and others. In the First World War they fabulously enriched thanks weapons supply, however, to seize global domination then failed. Only when the decline of the British Empire became inevitable in the 1920s and 30s did the American financial elite prepare to take over its inheritance. Back in 1939, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a secret (at that time) project "Study of War and Peace", which was supposed to be led by the then Council on Foreign Policy. Of course, militarily the war was won by the USSR, not the United States, but it was the latter that benefited from the victory over Hitler as much as possible. In 1944, the Bretton Woods financial system was created, according to which the dollar received a fixed peg to the gold standard and became the world reserve currency. This allowed the US banking houses to step by step put under their financial control the entire world economy.
- How did the Americans take into account the British experience in building their empire? After all, as you know, the smart learns from the mistakes of others ...
- The American elite, having adopted the geopolitical doctrines of the British, did not want to step on the "British rake." The United States developed a brilliant strategy of domination - by carefully avoiding the word “empire”, they began to present themselves as noble defenders of democracy, human rights, and free enterprise. But under this humanistic mask was hidden the classic imperial doctrine, the essence of which the ancient Romans expressed with the phrase: “Divide and rule!” The establishment could not speak directly about its plans, since the Americans are peaceful and not particularly interested in international affairs. Especially for them, the elite came up with a propaganda myth that the United States is such a “good guy” who wants to overcome all the “bad guys” for the sake of the happiness of mankind.
- The further US movement towards world domination took place in the conditions of the Cold War. What tasks were solved during this period?
- The Cold War was not inevitable at all, as is commonly believed today. Initially, the Americans wanted to attract to the financial system created by them and the Soviet Union. However, Joseph Stalin (I leave behind his internal policy) made the right decision, refusing to join his country to the Bretton Woods model. Only then did the Americans turn to plan “B”, deciding to turn the USSR from an ally into a “totalitarian monster”. The US propaganda machine painted your country as an evil empire, from which you can expect some meanness at any moment. I remember well how in school we were forced to clasp the right ear with my left hand, explaining that this is the only way to protect yourself from radiation exposure after the fall of the Soviet bomb. In fact, you can circle around your head at least a hundred hands, but this will not save you from radiation! With the help of such actions in the minds of ordinary Americans like me put the installation that Russia - the main enemy of mankind.
At this time, the NATO military organization was created, which ensured the US military dominance over Western Europe. Began and increased penetration of US capital in Asia, Africa and Latin America. After all, the peculiarity of modern capitalism lies in the fact that capital is constantly forced to expand to new, “virgin” territories.
As a result, by the beginning of the 1970's, the Bretton Woods system entered a period of serious crisis. Free exchange of paper dollars for gold is no longer possible. Then, in order to save the dollar from the inevitable collapse, it was decided to raise energy prices to a sky-high level. This problem was solved due to the 1973 oil crisis of the year. According to the official version, the jump in prices was provoked by the collusion of OPEC countries, which decided to punish the West for supporting Israel in the 1973 war of the year. Like, with the help of such blackmail, Arab leaders tried to get the United States and Western Europe to refuse to supply weapons to Israelis. In fact, the spasmodic increase in oil prices is the work of the Western powers, which they agreed on before the war (in May of the 1973) at a meeting of the Bilderberg Club in Sweden. This conjecture was confirmed to me in a private conversation by Sheikh Zaki Yamani, who at that time held the post of Minister of Oil Production of Saudi Arabia.
- So why was it necessary to arrange an oil "shock therapy" for the western economy?
- Since all payments for oil were exclusively in dollars, this allowed us to extend the life of the dollar system for a while. And then the United States decided to modify the global financial model a bit in 1979. To the detriment of the real economy, the United States relied on printing money, inflating financial bubbles and bringing production to the “third world”, where cheap labor is concentrated. By the end of 1980, due to the abnormal financial policy, the Western world was again on the verge of major upheavals and even collapse ...
- ... but then there was the collapse of the USSR and the dissolution of the social camp ...
- Absolutely! American capital poured into undeveloped spaces, allowing the US to parasitize over the economies of Russia and Eastern Europe. Thousands of factories and plants were closed, entire scientific schools were left to the mercy of fate, and millions of people overnight fell below the poverty line. But valuable personnel, machine tools, equipment and resources began to flow to the West for mere cents, which allowed the American economy to extend its life for almost twenty years. I believe that Russia paid the exorbitant price for privatization, carried out by Mr. Chubais according to the recipes of his American advisers.
- Is it really the United States that is to blame for the collapse of the Soviet Union?
- Of course no. The main role was played by the most serious economic problems of the USSR. For example, in America, the relationship between the military-industrial complex and the civilian economy was correlated - as soon as Pentagon scientists invented microchips and the Internet, this know-how instantly flowed into "peaceful" industries. Russia, alas, could not create such a system.
After analyzing the economic weaknesses of the USSR, the United States at the end of the 1970-s decided to create centers of instability around it. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was an adviser to President Carter, proposed bringing the anti-Soviet regime to power in Afghanistan, putting the Soviet Central Asia in danger of Islamization. The USSR had no alternative but to intervene in the internal affairs of this country, but this war became its Vietnam for Russia. Then, already in the 1980-s, Ronald Reagan announced the beginning of the "era of star wars", forcing the Soviet Union to throw out astronomical sums for the arms race.
Finally, in 1986, the US persuaded the Saudi king to temporarily lower oil prices, thereby delivering a decisive blow to the Soviet economy. Under these conditions, it was necessary to kill the enemy already at the political level, and Washington involved Moscow in negotiations on the unification of Germany. The then US Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that after the re-establishment of a single German state of NATO, he would not move an inch to the East. However, he did not keep his word - the North Atlantic alliance not only approached the borders of Russia, but also tried to draw Georgia and Ukraine into its ranks.
- After the collapse of the USSR, the Western world was euphoric over the victory in the Cold War. Why did the United States so briefly enjoy its heyday?
- After the disappearance of the Soviet empire, the United States undoubtedly experienced a severe headache. But this does not mean that they did not face new problems. The next stage was the maximum weakening of another potential competitor - Japan. It was held in 1990 year, along with the collapse of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after which the Japanese economy plunged into a prolonged depression. Then came the turn of other Asian tigers - South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. It was important to undermine their strength not only from an economic, but also from a political point of view, since these countries offered a different model of development. It was not a wild, cowboy capitalism of the USA and not a Soviet planned economy, but quite a reasonable model. American speculators provoked the Asian crisis 1997 of the year, allowing to strengthen the position of the dollar. It was then that exports to these countries of US treasury bonds and other securities began.
It would seem that with such successes the “American Century” will last forever. Feeling their impunity, US financiers began to unwind the spiral of the virtual economy. In the United States, they began to produce derivatives on an industrial scale that supposedly made securities transactions safe. The financiers tried to convince the Americans that if a family could not repay the loan, the bank issuing derivatives would immediately come to its aid. Credits began to be issued to everyone, even to those who were obviously insolvent. And the derivatives, in turn, were bought by the Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and other “partners” of Washington. The price paid for such an irresponsible policy came in the 2008 year, when the financial tsunami rose in America.
- President Barack Obama often scolds "fat cats" on Wall Street and promises to pay more attention to the real economy. Maybe he will be able to break the back of financiers?
- Do not feel illusions about Obama! He is the same protégé of financial brokers, as are both Bush, Clinton, Reagan and Carter. American elites promoted him to the presidency for one simple reason. By 2008, Western society was fed up with George W. Bush’s cowboy tricks, and the financiers needed an American leader who externally radiated humanism and peacefulness. But what really happened? As soon as Obama moved to the White House, he strengthened the US military presence in Afghanistan, and also brought down American power against Pakistan. And the recent war in Libya is also the work of the United States: Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron simply played the role of supermen in an action movie whose script was written by American strategists.
I believe that America can get out of the crisis only if its government calls the financial elite to account, revives the industry and gives up cowboy’s international policy. However, in Washington they are unlikely to heed my advice. Most likely, the United States will continue to fight for the preservation of the dollar system, wreaking havoc in Eurasia and preventing the unification of its competitors - Russia, China and Europe. I do not exclude that America may unleash a major regional conflict in the Middle East or even the Third World War. From the financial movers of Wall Street, you can expect the most insane action.
- Can other major powers oppose this scenario?
- Only Russia, China and Europe can stop the insane “American cowboy”. But today, when the collapse of the “American Century” and the dollar financial system is almost inevitable, everything depends on their courage. Will they join with each other? Or will they allow the US to take control of Eurasia with the help of the “controlled chaos” doctrine? The security of all mankind of the 21st century will depend on the answers to these questions.
Personally, I have long been a supporter of the rapprochement between Russia and China - these countries can only survive together. In addition, the Russian and Chinese economies complement each other. China is the “factory of the 21st century”, and Russia is the storehouse of natural resources. But your country has another competitive advantage, which the Chinese are so far deprived of - great scientists and engineers who are capable of non-standard creative thinking. Do not be mistaken about the technological power of the United States - all our successes became possible only thanks to talented researchers who emigrated from Germany during World War II and from the former USSR in the 1990-s. His geniuses in America is born a little with all the vigor of our people.
The alliance between Russia and China will make the world much safer, fairer and more humane, preventing major military cataclysms. Now it only depends on the Russian elite whether such an alliance will arise or not. Alas, but part of your top keeps their wealth in Western banks, linking by their stupidity the future of Russia with the sinking western Titanic. Do not give in to these illusions! I would be very happy if the countries of continental Europe - Germany, Italy and France (after the departure of Sarkozy) joined the Russian-Chinese alliance. But here the situation also depends on the elite.