Pepe wrote a wonderful review of my latest book for Asia Times, and I am deeply thankful to Pepe for his wonderful writing and being my de facto friend. Distant, for now. You can read the whole thing at The Saker's blog or Unz Review. Here is Pepe in his own words.
Here, Martyanov, in meticulous detail, analyzes the imperial decline thematically – with chapters on Consumption, Geoeconomics, Energy, Losing the Arms Race, among others, composing a devastating indictment especially of toxic D.C. lobbies and the prevailing political mediocrity across the Beltway. What is laid bare for the reader is the complex interplay of forces that are driving the political, ideological, economic, cultural and military American chaos.
The book, evidently, is doing well, all things considered, and if it contributes to "righting", however feeble this hope seems now, the United States in any way, so it is all for the better. Meanwhile, Biden Admin is literally chasing Russians trying to arrange the summit. Russia waits and doesn't commit because knows that there is very little to negotiate and, finally, Ria publishes today an analytical piece by Pyotr Akopov with symptomatic title: Russia Needs a Predictable Confrontation With the USA. Kinda speaks volumes, doesn't it? Here is an excerpt:
Предсказуемой и стабильной может быть и конфронтация. Но она и так уже идет и точно не закончится ни с каким саммитом — так что можно попробовать поставить ее в определенные рамки и сочетать с разумными компромиссами там, где это отвечает интересам обеих сторон. Для этого действительно нужно разобрать часть завалов на пути двухсторонних отношений — и тут все понимают, что "заваливали" в основном американцы, а разбирать придется вместе.
Translation: Even confrontation could be predictable and stable. The confrontation is ongoing and surely will not stop after any summit--but at least some effort could be made to put it into some defined framework which allows for reasonable compromises where they satisfy the interests of both sides. For that, certain logjams should be removed on the path of mutual relations--everyone understands that the "jamming" was done primarily by Americans whole removing those logjams will be a job for both.
Akopov doesn't see many positives in all this hustle around summit and he, justifiably, is not optimistic about American elites who are lost in both international and domestic policies and are totally inadequate to the challenges global tectonic shift in power balance represents. As I say it all the time--they are one trick ponies. Just to illustrate to you how bad things are, let's take a short walk down the memory lane. It is June of 2015 and popular US geopolitical tabloid The National Interest (I know, I know...LOL) publishes this:
American Hegemony Is Here to Stay. U.S. hegemony is now as firm as or firmer than it has ever been, and will remain so for a long time to come.
The guy who wrote this 6 years ago is Salvatore Babones, he is an associate professor of sociology and social
policy at the University of Sydney and an associate fellow at the
Institute for Policy Studies. I am positive he still teaches... somewhere. Can you imagine WHAT kind of "expertise" this guy procures and what kind of views he holds? Here is his other "prediction" from 2017.
He, Babones, is one of many who do "research" which produces no value whatsoever and thus he arrives, in 2017 no less, to this:
What is America? The world recoils when U.S. President Donald Trump says “America first,” but nothing should be more natural than a president putting his country first. The problem with “America first” is that for many people around the world, America is not just a country. The United States is a country. America is something more—not only the most powerful state, but the cultural, economic, and institutional center of a world that it has partially recreated in its own image. The West does not have a good word to describe America in this expanded sense because the modern West has never seen something like it before. The last time a whole world was so organized around a single, central state was in the fifteenth century, when East Asia was centered on Ming-dynasty China. China at the time wasn’t just the leader or regional hegemon; it was the central state of a political and cultural realm that stretched from Burma to Japan. And the word that came to describe this world was tianxia.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day but one MUST ask the question on a validity of such opinions which are presented under the titles of "expertise" and being advanced as "scientific". And here is the point--the drama and the tragedy of the outside observer when writing on a contemporary American geopolitics is in the fact that out of a huge volume of alleged American geopolitical "scholarship" vast majority of it are fantasies or contrived concepts one is subjected to in order to form one's opinion about them. Most of them never pan out and fail in the relatively easy task of setting up a realistic framework, forget about giving weighted and probable forecasts. This trait defines modern American geopolitical thought, top-bottom, and there is no way it is going to change any time soon--the rut of American exceptionalism and the rot of the US academe are such that Babones is not an exception, he is the rule. That is why Akopov, in essence, repeats the thesis I advanced now for many years, including in this blog:
Поэтому никаких иллюзий насчет диалога с Вашингтоном в Москве не существует — то есть речь даже не о возможности о чем-либо договориться, а просто о способности вести диалог, спорить и слушать аргументы друг друга. И дело тут не в личности Байдена — хотя у Путина есть негативный опыт общения с ним — или его команды. Проблема куда шире: в настроениях пребывающей в кризисе американской элиты.
Translation: That is why Moscow has no illusions about the dialogue with Washington--at issue is not even the possibility to settle anything but at least about ability to conduct dialogue, argue and listen to the arguments of each-other. The problem here is not with Biden's personality--albeit Putin has a negative experience of communicating with him--or Biden's team. The problem is much larger--in the moods of the American elite engulfed in crisis.
You want to see what kind of crisis it is? Read Salvatore Babones, you will get a feel.