Voices from Russia

Friday, 11 November 2016

10 November 2016. Sputnik Infographic: 60 Percent of American Voters Want to Change How They Elect the President



Most US citizens believe that the country’s electoral system needs to be reformed, while 45 percent would prefer to see the “One Person, One Vote” scheme used, TNS UK pollster revealed in a survey for Sputnik. According to the TNS poll, 60 percent of the voters believe that the electoral system needs to be changed in some way. As many as 45 percent would want the current system to be changed to “One Person, One Vote”, whilst 15 percent would prefer to see the two systems combined.

10 November 2016

Sputnik International



“Root of All Evil”: Reasons Behind Hillary Clinton’s Defeat

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Now that the election passions have subsided just a little, the question arises why Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost, after numerous polls predicted her victory over Donald Trump. According to Todd Purdum of Politico Magazine, people will debate the causes of Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the US presidential election for years:

However, in the first cold light of the day after, one big cause seems clearer than others… her complacency. Years of it. A chronic case of complacency, in fact. There are parallels between the 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns. In 2008, Clinton’s campaign miscalculated that an upstart insurgent couldn’t beat her. It simply ignored some states altogether and focused on the biggest contests. Likewise, in 2016, she improvidently neglected usually reliable blue states Michigan and Wisconsin after the primaries, such carelessness cost Clinton the White House.

For his part, Tim Fernholz of Quartz believed:

Trump owes his victory to the polarisation of American politics… the final difference in the vote will likely be less than two percentage points. He promised the American people a fantastic past where they could avoid the social and economic turmoil of the 21st century, so they came out to make him president, although it doesn’t seem likely that he’d fulfil his promises. The discovery of a substantial portion of emails from Clinton’s server by the FBI just twelve days before the election dealt a serious blow to Clinton’s campaign. [FBI Director James] Comey’s role in the campaign underscored how little attention traditional policy issues received compared to hyped-up scandals.

Meanwhile, Betsy Woodruff of the Daily Beast assumed:

Hillary Clinton destroyed her own campaign. There was trouble before she even entered the race (Woodruff’s reference is to a New York Times story of 2 March 2015 about Clinton using a private email server whilst US Secretary of State). Controversies surrounding the Clinton Foundation also didn’t do her any favours. The fact that the Foundation received contributions from foreign governments whilst Hillary Clinton was a top-level official fuelled the perception that big corporations could influence Clinton’s decisions. The FBI stepping in on 28 October with a renewed investigation of Clinton’s emails severely damaged her campaign, even though on 6 November Comey announced that the second round of investigation hadn’t turned up anything.

John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle argued that Democrats can blame the loss on FBI Director Comey, but it appears that the problem has its roots in the Democratic Party’s policies:

From the start of her campaign, it was impossible for Clinton to bill herself as the candidate for change. With her long ties to the Democratic establishment… and her years as President Obama’s Secretary of State… she was chained to Obama and his policies.

Heather Wilhelm at the biweekly rightwing magazine National Review provided yet another explanation for Clinton’s defeat:

There are many reasons for Hillary Clinton’s loss… obvious corruption, lockstep leftism, disastrous health-care prescriptions, abortion fanaticism, and basic incompetence are just a few. It seems that the truth is out there.

Still, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić thought that the reason behind the American people’s choice of Donald Trump was obvious:

The world is changing, and established élites are passing [into oblivion]. US citizens are tired of conflicts with other countries and overseas interventions. During the election, the [American] people showed that they don’t approve of these wars.

11 November 2016

Sputnik International


Trump, Brexit, and the Collapse of the Liberal Order

01 Gap between the Rich and the Poor

Interestingly enough, THIS is why ordinary folk voted for Trump… they saw him as someone who’d buck his class to help them. They saw Hilly as a scheming warmongering bitch intent on personal emolument. Full stop…


One of the most confounding aspects of Donald Trump’s election as 45th President of the United States is that in the space of a year… indeed, less than a year… a man with zero political experience destroyed two of the most entrenched political dynasties… Bush and Clinton. Just pause on this for a moment… place it in the context of someone who got ridicule and scorn in response to his appearance on the political stage as a candidate for the Republican nomination. Consequently, the mainstream media and liberal commentators, for whom politics is an exclusive club, the preserve of a select group of blessed people who belong to the club as if by divine right, just got one almighty slap-down The sense of entitlement that emanated from the Clinton campaign during this election was astonishing to behold. Hillary Clinton emitted the demeanour of a woman approaching a coronation and not an election, disdaining not only Donald Trump, but also his supporters, whom she infamously described as “deplorables”. This was her undoing.

Regardless of the attempt to paint her as someone in touch with the suffering and pain of the millions of Americans long denied a seat at the banquet of US democracy, she came over as the very embodiment of a machine politician, a candidate whose credibility and character was irredeemably tainted by her connections to Wall Street, big business, the Saudis, George Soros, etc. This is why it isn’t so much that Donald Trump won this election as that Hillary Clinton and her campaign lost. Here the Democratic Party only has itself to blame. Bernie Sanders offered a far more potent challenge to the Trump phenomenon, both because he did not carry any of the baggage that Clinton brought to the election and… perhaps, more importantly… he represented a far sharper ideological counterweight to Trump. One of the most salient consequences of the 2008 global economic crash, which ushered in the worst crisis within capitalism since the 1930s, was the collapse of the political centre, and with it, the the liberal order’s dominance. In this respect, it is just as Karl Marx opined in his Communist Manifesto:

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life…

The analogy that best describes this process is a battlefield after the smoke has cleared to reveal the ideological right on one side and its leftist counterpart on the other, ready to go to war over the right to shape the future. Moreover, as Brexit in the UK, and now Trump’s electoral victory in the USA leaves no doubt, this is a struggle now being won by the right. This isn’t to suggest the struggle is completely over however. On the contrary, the political, social, economic, and constitutional crisis ushered in by Brexit proves that there remains some distance to travel before the matter settles in Britain, while Trump’s election will inevitably give rise to strong opposition in the streets, perhaps even sparking a much-needed revival of the left across the USA, which based on the success of the Sanders campaign, is far from dead.

Focusing in on Donald Trump and based on statements he made in the course of his campaign, it’s interesting to observe that among the many places where you will find the most grievously disappointed people in response to his victory, are NATO headquarters in Brussels and Daesh (also known as ISIL/ISIS) and al-Nusra headquarters in Syria. It is evidence of the previously insurmountable contradiction that has lain at the heart of Washington’s geopolitical priorities and strategy these past few years. Trump, in contrast, laid it out very simply when he said:

Russia is killing ISIS. Assad is killing ISIS. I think it would be a good idea to get along with Russia.

This being said, the acid test is what he does and not what he’s said, which is why it remains far too soon to be complacent in welcoming a new dawn in Washington’s relations with Russia or the rest of the world. Trump also said some harsh things about China and Iran during his election campaign, which taken in conjunction with the fact that as president he immediately becomes the CEO of an empire that’s no longer sustainable, requires us to exercise caution and not celebration at this stage. Domestically, let’s not delude ourselves. Trump gave rise to the recrudescence of nativism, xenophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiment across the USA, in much the same way Brexit did in the UK. The logical conclusion of this path is social divisions and eroded social cohesion. Whether people like it or not, globalisation gave rise to multicultural societies across the West, with both constituting two sides of the same coin. In other words, people can’t expect to enjoy the benefits of the free movement of capital without the free movement of people.

Here, we get to the heart of the matter. Donald Trump and Brexit are symptoms of the rise of anti-politics in response to the massive inequality that engulfed both British and American society in recent years. Far too much wealth is now owned by far too few, with the result that people are angry and in no mind to continue to support a status quo widely regarded as corrupt and hopelessly compromised by its support for a corporate élite and vested interests. The world changed and it changed utterly.

9 November 2016

John Wight

Sputnik International


11 November 2016. A Look Back at the Past Days…



I voted Green. At age 62, I’m supposed to set a good example. I did. I voted my conscience… as should all of us. Do be careful with “pro-life”… it’s brought a great deal of evil into the Church. All too many who profess it are rightwing warmongers and bankster-loving reactionaries. It’s not a dealbreaker… look at the WHOLE package… that’s why I voted for Dr Jill. Interesting, the only veteran on any ticket was on the Green line… all the others were loudmouthed cowards who refused to serve. I’d like to see the Greens become an American analogue of the NDP. Give it some time. There are serious flaws in the Duopoly not addressed by the election.

Trump’s victory wasn’t a victory for “conservatism” of any sort. His supporters were a hodgepodge miscellany without a common agenda. The Evangelicals want a “moral” America without abortion, open homosexuals, or “sin”… they won’t get that. The racists want a country without Muslims or Mexicans… they won’t get that. The white working-class wants to see the Upper Middles humbled… they won’t get that (the UMs are too useful to the One Percent and to the government apparat). The gun nutters want all gun regulation dropped… they won’t get that. Business interests want environmental agencies scrapped… they won’t get that. Donald Trump didn’t get to be a billionaire by being imprudent or silly.

Remember, Trump’s victory was a revolt against neoliberalism. If he doesn’t deliver… so, expect “interesting times”, but not a world as imagined by the various nutters. Stay tuned…


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