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25 Mar, 2009 08:09

Is there anything Obama can do about the US collapse?

Barack Obama should radically reduce U.S. foreign policy activities, especially in the Eurasian region.

Russian political scientist Igor Panarin who has predicted the imminent collapse of the U.S. says there is no way the country can keep its dominance in the international arena.

RT: Mr. Panarin, during one of your recent lectures you have mentioned that the U.S. could be actually disintegrating in the near future. You made similar theories about 10 years ago when America was a flourishing state. What are they grounded on?

Igor Panarin: In the light of today’s crisis in the US, many people started talking about possible major changes in the country. But I expressed my concept back in September 1998 in Linz, Austria at the ‘Information war’ conference. On 9th September I produced a report with a very unusual ending. I kept the ending of my report secret from the other participants of the conference. A huge map of the United States appeared on a 40 meter screen. I pushed a button on my computer and this map fell into 6 pieces.

400 people in the audience cried out in shock. Before the map fell apart it had ‘the Desintegration of the USA in 2010’ written on it. My statement got a huge response. But even to my surprise, many Americans and Europeans took my ideas very seriously. At that time, I emphasized the three main reasons which in my opinion could lead to the collapse of the US. The first one is the moral and psychological factor and the stress of the American population. The second one is the financial and economic problems. And the third one is the increase of anti-Americanism in the world.

RT: Let’s imagine the U.S. really starts to fall out. How would this desintegration happen? And on how many parts would the US be divided into?

I.P.: At that time I expressed my concept it would fall into 6 parts, and I backed it up with several factors. First of all, there were the ethnic, economic, and geographical factors. Thus we see totally different ethnic groups and economic interests.

Texas and the Gulf of Mexico Coast are the Fuel and Energy Complex, the oil sector; California is Silicon Valley and high tech. Considering New York, Washington and the Atlantic Coast, they are the financial centre first of all. And the northern states of the US are basically the depressive states which are close to Canada in their mentality and economic development. This is how I divide these parts. The danger is this would not be a very beneficial solution for Russia.

RT: Since you’ve mentioned it, how could this potential desintegration of the United Stated affect the world and in particular Russia? What would it mean for Russia?

I.P.: The Russian economy and Russian industry is very much dependent now on the situation in the United States. Of course, if this crisis keeps developing, Russia is going to face quite a hard time in the next 6 months. In this sense Russia, in my opinion, should do its utmost to minimize the influence of the American crisis on its internal structure and of its social and political stability and economic stability.

For the approaching meeting of the 20 most economically developed states of the world in London, Russia suggests, and I fully support it, finding a new ‘supercurreny’ instead of the dollar, and finding those mechanisms that would satisfy not only Russia but the BRIC countries as well, i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and China, and other countries such as the EU first of all, as France and Germany are making some very similar suggestions. If the disintegration of the United States does take place, Russia would certainly receive the levers of influence on many world processes after some time. I am convinced that during the US disintegration, Alaska should return to Russia, and then Russia together with the EU and China would become a sort of a guarantor of stability on the territory of the US.

RT: In the course of world history, there has always been some kind of a major leader. The United States had been this kind of a leader for many years. In case of the US disintegration, who could become such a leader in the world?

I.P.: I’d say there are three centers: first of all, it’s the EU, perhaps fortified by the Atlantic America which would release us from the need of splitting Europe into the Old and the New Europe; this would mean eliminating forces that opposed Europe; then it’s Russia which would return on the American continent by means of Alaska; and then there is China of course.

The existing system of forecasts for the development of the world economy is absolutely ineffective. Over the past three months, the International Monetary Fund, I emphasize, has changed its forecasts eight times. And it’s not just the IMF but many other international organizations. Consequently, the talk is about the creation of a powerful analytical international centre that will be able to do realistic analysis of the international financial and economic situation, and will issue recommendations. Therefore, I am insisting that a so-called mechanism of a five-sided commission be set up: five from five continents. This commission is to comprise representatives of Russia, the United States, India, China, Brazil, Germany, France and several other countries whose task will be to create powerful instruments of national and international forecasting. And I would like to emphasize that over the past six months many Western experts have been criticizing me for my forecasts about the future of the United States. But what makes me happy is that until recently not a single international expert has criticized my idea of a five-sided commission. This fact is filling me with optimism that some form of a mechanism will, after all, be created after a meeting in London.

RT: You have mentioned a meeting in London. What can we expect from the G20 meeting in London in April?

I.P.: You know, I do not expect any significant breakthroughs, unfortunately, because of the U.S. stance in the first place. I would compare the United States of today to the Titanic which has already collided with an iceberg.

But since the United States has been the leader of the world economy for the past 50 years, the crew of this Titanic of the world economy has, in fact, become the crew of the United States of America. And how will this crew act in conditions when the iceberg has already made a hole in the ship’s hull, and it’s unclear whether the Titanic is going to sink or whether the crew, so to speak, will manage to rescue the ship and what’s more important – the passengers that are onboard. Unfortunately, already today we can see that the Titanic crew is trying to save itself instead of doing two things. The first, to try to save the ship. The second: to try to save the passengers. But the proportion of these forces within the American elite is still not encouraging. So far, unwise forces are winning in the United States. But let’s hope for the better.

RT: On the whole, your forecast is rather pessimistic forecast for the United States. But, nevertheless, the country has just seen a change of power. We have got a new administration in the U.S. How do you evaluate the actions of Obama’s administration? Will the US be able to save itself?

I.P.: No, it won’t. You know, let me tell you about the Philippines where I was asked the same kind of question. There were two hundred people in the room, including students, professors and the leading political scientists of the Philippines. And so a young female student came out and said: “You know, my two sisters have already graduated from this University, they’ve left for the United States and are working there. And I’ve been planning to do the same.” And then she asked: “Will Obama be able to save America and where, if he fails, will I go to work?” It was a very sincere emotional question. I told her that he wouldn’t save America and then I said that Obama was an American Gorbachev.

He is the one who is leading the United States to disintegration because he lacks experience. And quite unexpectedly they laughed. That was the laughter of those 200 people in that room. That was their reaction. It means that most of the audience agreed with my conclusion. As early as in November I said that Obama wouldn’t cope and that his ratings would start falling. And it’s exactly what happened. His personal ratings of 84% which he had shortly after he took office have dropped to 56% early in March. We are witnessing a colossal decline in Obama’s ratings and he is trying to save it by appearing in comedy shows and meeting athletes – a behavior typical of presidential nominees.

Representatives of 1,500 American Christian families, can you imagine, have written one great letter to me personally in which they said that they were supporting my view that America was on the wrong way and asked me for advice how to save it. In fact, many Americans are writing to me. They are very much concerned with corruption issues. One U.S. Marine colonel who fought in Vietnam wrote a letter to me. He said: “You know, I am a patriot of America and I’ve read your forecasts with great pain but I see that you are right because out of 700 billion dollars provided under the Paulson plan, the Bush administration has squandered 100 billion dollars. And that enormous corruption is really driving the country into a terrible plight.”

Therefore, I think that Obama, regrettably for the American people and the whole world, is unlikely to cope, and the United States of America will face a rather difficult period that will start in November 2009.

RT: Well, you are saying that the US will not be able to save itself. But let’s imagine that Barack Obama is sitting in front of you in my place. Is there any advice you could give to the US president?

I.P.: If Barack Obama were sitting here in your place, I would, in the first place, suggest that he radically reduce the U.S. foreign policy activities, especially in the Eurasian space.

It’s necessary to stop all actions aimed at NATO enlargement, stop deploying the anti-missile defence elements in the Czech Republic and Poland, stop destabilizing the situation around Russia, put an end to destabilization, particularly around Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, stop sending additional troops and military contingents to the territory of Afghanistan and address the problem of drugs and the struggle against drugs in Afghanistan. The restriction of foreign military activities should be the first step in my view.

My second advice would be that all the American analytical centers should, firstly, recognize their incompetence in building forecasts for the development of the world financial system. Second, the United States should establish contacts with European, Russian and Chinese analysts and should use an expert regime to work out some kind of new recommendations and models and then make them public. In this sense, this is going to be a decisive step for taking the United States out of the crisis. And, third, an attempt should certainly be made to find a consensus among the American political elite. We see that two of Obama’s calls – the first concerned a corruption scandal involving the governor of Massachusetts – have gone unheeded; his second call was to the leaders of an insurance company to stop paying bonuses because the company was bankrupt. It also went unheeded. The bonuses were paid out.

So, I would say that Obama doesn’t have the necessary relations of trust either with the governors of the U.S. states or the top businessmen. And his task is to find this consensus inside the American political elite, and in that case to turn from the captain of a sinking ship into a captain who will save not only the American vessel but the entire ship called the world economy.