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Oligarchs and the rest of us

Politico has a must-read piece today, an interview with Fiona Hill: Fiona Hill: ‘Elon Musk Is Transmitting a Message for Putin.’ Part of what makes this interview a must-read is how it exposes the media’s inadequacy in trying to cover something as complicated as Putin’s war against Ukraine. Only a specialist and academic like Fiona Hill can see very far beneath the surface. This interview should have been in the New York Times, not in a secondary source such as Politico.

There’s another important element. Why should a rich American naïf and idiot like Elon Musk figure into this interview? Just what interests do Musk and Putin have in common? Just how often do they talk, and why? This begs a question about another rich American naïf and idiot: Donald Trump. We have never really learned what interests Trump and Putin have in common. How often have Trump and Putin used secret back-channels of communication, and why? Here we could make a long list of the world’s oligarchs, some of whom control countries such as China and Iran, and others who control “countries of particular concern” such as Hungary, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. These oligarchs know each other. Otherwise only the banks know who most of them are. They live in a golden bubble that we common folk cannot penetrate. Only occasionally do we get scraps of information about what they do and the power they have over world events. When their interference with democratic governments is noticed, they pull out all the stops to obstruct our view, as with the matter of Russia’s interference with the American election of 2016.

Here one must speculate. Can there be any doubt that much of what drives world events occurs out of our sight, far beneath the surface, visible only to the very rich and the very powerful? Only occasionally do we see the tip of an iceberg, such as the connection between Elon Musk and Vladimir Putin.

My speculation is that the fundamental conflict driving world events today boils down to oligarchs (who can flourish only under corrupt authoritarian governments) versus the people (who can flourish only in democracies). If this is true, then it begs another question: Why do so many ordinary people, who could never possibly gain admittance to the golden bubble in which oligarchs live, admire these oligarchs and take the oligarchs’ side in this global struggle? There is nothing in it for ordinary people other than misery, exploitation, and loss of liberty, once oligarchs are sufficiently entrenched to be untouchable by the people’s power, with elections made obsolete. Deception and propaganda, of course, are the biggest part of the answer. The oligarchs not only have mastered the art of deception, they even make a profit from it. For every five of us who are pretty good at recognizing the truth, there are another five of us who are willing to pay to be deceived.

The interview with Fiona Hill should raise our awareness not only of the great danger in Europe, but also the great danger here in the United States, where a Republican Party that serves the interests of the global oligarchy might succeed in legally taking control of the United States for the purpose of corrupting the American democracy and handing the country over to the oligarchs. That this was (and is) Trump’s purpose is now completely obvious. The Republican Party is all in. A shocking percentage of the American people actually believe that they would gain from this. They’d barely have a pot to piss in unless they could get a piece of the corruption, but at least they’d own the libs. It’s a pity that we can’t send them on a visit to Russia or Iran or North Korea to get a preview of what’s in store even for those who carry water for the oligarchs. For those of us who resisted, it would be much, much worse.

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