Chris Hedges of RT, formerly of NYT, a Pulitzer Prize winner, what have you, wrote a piece two days ago. It is about the decline of the "US Empire" and the piece is filled with historical parallels and, naturally, the fate of the Soviet Union is mentioned, despite a rather dramatic difference between the context of Soviet collapse and America's disintegration. I understand where Hedges is coming from but then he suddenly exhibits a defining trait of America's intellectual class, without exception, attributable to the whole of it, no matter if it is neocon wing of it or honest peace-loving people, such as Hedges.
Russia, whose economy is roughly the size of Italy’s, is also attacked for destabilizing the Ukraine, supporting Bashar al-Assad in Syria, funding France’s National Front party and hacking into German computers. Biden has imposed sanctions on Russia — including limits on buying newly issued sovereign debt — in response to allegations that Moscow was behind a hack on SolarWinds Corp. and worked to thwart his candidacy.
I wrote about this issue not for once, but the ignorant myth of Russia's economy being the size that of Italy's, Spain's, Australia's, you name it, continues to be perpetuated by many and this myth is not just patently untrue, it is downright dangerous. Because American "elite" resides in a delusion about outside world for the last 30 years at least, they continue to make their decisions based on absolutely false premises, many of which are being pushed on them through media. Let's face it, statements such as "the finest fighting force in history" or "the largest economy on planet" are as American as flag, apple pie and baseball. Modern United States cannot live without self-aggrandizing. But how about forensic mental experiment? I will start with... America's GDP which does not reflect America's claim (mostly through inflation of the value of assets) to being largest economy in the world, with China long ago overtaking the US as a main manufacturing hub of the world. It is just cold hard fact, China's real sectors dwarfs that of the US. Using US Dollar and its value as a measure of economy, in the meantime, is a sign of ultimate economic and geopolitical ignorance.
On the other hand, even common sense, forget actual IMF data which defines Russia's economy as being larger than that of Germany, should prompt people who call themselves "journalists" to merely imagine what would happen to Italy if she, granted my love for Italian culture and football, ever decides to build the space program the size of Russia's, will start building nuclear power stations, maintain state-of-the-art armed forces and, simply, provide decent standard of living for most people in the climate which, as Texas has demonstrated recently, can only be described as a calamity. Even this small list of real industries should give a pause to any journo at best, in a worst case--this list is a good primer for the start of a serious cognitive dissonance. But, no. The spouting of this crap continues unabated, I can remind you another popular cliche--Russia punches above her weight. This is not just the issue of ignorance, albeit this too. It is a classic case of Kubler-Ross grief model with Stages 3 (Bargaining) and 4 (Depression) being manifestly present in contemporary American writings, be that by delusional neocons or by those who profess views opposite to neocons'.
Truth is, should Russia have the economy the size of Italy's, she wouldn't be able to do what she does and that is setting global agenda and, frankly, laughing at West's sanctions and even direct sabotage. America's "garrulous patriotism" cannot take it across the whole political and ideological spectrum. In a Stage 3 (Bargaining) of Kubler-Ross this bargaining takes grotesque forms with mantras of American greatness which begin to sound more and more ridiculous and do not anymore provide a desperately needed therapeutic effect. They cannot, because America's slide towards the bona fide thirdworldism cannot be stopped within present pseudo-economic and political system and culture, and what's left is to fight facts of life. Recall, brilliant essay by Irina Alksnis, a very sympathetic towards America's plight, which since then has become even more relevant.
However, to hear this simple advice--not to mention following it--the United States need to stop, at least for an instance, and silence themselves. To stop shaking air with statements, declarations, demands, and threats, which come across as either strange, or outright silly because of their obvious inability to ever become a reality. But it is precisely, it seems, what the US is not capable of doing. As a result--the continuation of never-ending declaratory carousel: Moscow, Assad must go! Russians, we will provide for freedom of navigation in Kerch Strait! Russians, we will punish you for support of Maduro. But the most insulting for Americans is that only Russia can understand them. Because we remember the pain behind those words.
And so it goes: America's economy is not the largest in the world, hasn't been for a long time, Russia's economy is not the size of Italy's, it is much larger than that, it is, actually, larger than that of Germany and continues the pursuit of economy of Japan, but even these forecasts, which forget to mention Germany's real industries shrinking for 28 months in a row now, even this BS, heavy on FIRE economy--a real reason behind America's decline--stats show where the Italy's and Russia's economies are. And again, America's real economy, not manufacturing of debt--the main US industry--is not $23 trillion, it is not even $15 trillion and is probably around 12-13, at best.
Real size of Russia's economy? Probably around $5 trillion now and at least Russia doesn't count prostitution and illegal drugs trade as addition to GDP as EU does.
I don't understand why the author is so incensed? In the world where Tesla and Facebook have bigger "capitalization" than Boeing or General Electric, anything is possible, so adding sales of heroin and the value of the side-road or truck stops' restrooms blowjobs is only natural for creating an impression of large booming "economies". In fact, I see no difference between prostitution and cooking of books which is MO of modern Western "economies". Actually, no--there is a difference, prostitution is more honest. But then again, in my latest book, I touch upon the issue of inability of modern Western media, at least the majority of them, to learn. It is a systemic problem and it is, as I am on record for years, impossible to cure after decades of America's self-aggrandizing which, at some point, reached a scale of a full Kafkaesque grotesque and even well-intentioned people, who see the problems, are not immune from baneful effects of a BS narrative industry, which missed the point that the ball is over and that the fancy carriage is nothing more than yet another pumpkin, under the teary glance of a Cinderella bound to dream about the magic night, not knowing that the Prince is not coming.
Will they learn? I don't know....