About Physics, Lyrics and Politics
In the first article of this series, I analyzed the circumstances and the events, which had led to the arrest of Aleksey Ulyukaev, the Russian Minister for economic development. The story of the arrest is a vivid example of the importance of the relations and interconnections in the modern World.
The Russian liberals, who dominated in Russian economy for the last 25 years and its political life from 1991 to at least 2008, suddenly found themselves threatened by the possibility of change in the relationship between the US and the Russian Presidents. More, the change in the relations between the two Presidents threatens the future of the elites in the USA and the Western European countries.
Actually, before writing the first part in English, I had written the article about the arrest of Ulyukaev for the Russian readers. After publication of the article, I have received a number of letters, comments and calls. There were different opinions and remarks. Some readers supported me fully and spoke about their own experience. Some readers expressed the opinion that I “overestimated the Kremlin”, “they are not so clever… they will fail to use this opportunity”. Some were of the same opinion in respect to the Western leaders. Some thought, that Donald Trump and the new political elite in the US and Europe “will not dare to use the Joker that Putin can provide them”.
There was nobody, who had written or told me: “You are wrong. There is nothing, what Putin and Trump can get from the Russian liberals and their connections to the Western politicians. Everything is clean there” or, “the dirt is buried so deep, that Putin can’t dig it out.”
Also, nobody asked me the questions: How did it happened that the Western political elite, who had been talking and talking for many years about democratic and liberal values, about transparency, anti-corruption and abidance to the Laws and Rules, got itself linked and muddled in the criminal privatization and money laundering in Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics? Why had they created and supported for 25 years, and do support now, the group, which is considered to be the criminal group by 95% of the Russians? Why the Western politicians until today try to recreate the opposition to Putin only through the support of the same group of the liberals, who are being hated for 25 years by the absolute majority of the Russian people? Why the West is still surprised that there is no real opposition to Putin, and 80% of the Russians prefer to vote for him and not the opposition, which is so cherished by the West?
There is also one more important question, which nobody asked me: How the interconnections between the corrupted and criminal Russian political elite and the Western political elite had influenced the West? What have these interrelations brought into the Western political structures, financial and banking system, to their moral and business values?
These are the most important questions, and without finding the answers to these questions, it is difficult to understand the reasons and forces behind the Brexit and the trumpism.
Here, we are coming back to the role of the relations in the world of politics and economics…
Physics and Politics without Lyrics
In 1960-s, in the Soviet Union, there was a hot public discussion on the interesting subject: who is better, who is correct and who is to rule the future world: physics or lyrics? There were hot debates on the Soviet TV, dozens articles, novels, even poems and songs written on that topic…
I will not go deep into the history of this discussion. I will touch only one aspect in it: the difference between the physics and the lyrics. Or, let us look a little bit from a different angle and concentrate, first, on physics and politics.
What is the difference between physics and politics, including political science? One of the main differences is that physics study substance, objects and particles trying to understand and explore interaction and relations within and between them. Physics has realized long back that the interaction, the relationships between elements and systems determine the evolution of substance. Changing the interaction, physics alter substance, even create new forms of substance, new materials.
Unlike physicists, political analysts, economists and politicians consider above all the "substance", which, in their view, defines the political processes, including the interactions and the relations between the political systems, like countries, economies, political parties and the elements within them. The armies, the government structures and the NGOs, the opposition and the ruling parties, money, shares and bonds, banks and investment funds, cars and computers, the volumes of production and consumption, laws and rules, democratic values, grains and meat, oil price and capitalization of corporations and companies, - that is what determines a place of States in the world political system and world economy. The more – the better. GDP, Navy and Airforce shape the role of States in the international affairs and the way the countries position themselves in the relations with other countries, define the behavior of leaders and peoples… That is the opinion of the most of the politicians, their advisors, the political scientists and the journalists.
What type of the ownership of the property dominates in the political and economic system: private, public or state? Is the private property suppressed, or is the right for the private ownership fully protected being a “sacred cow”? Whether public sector dominates in the economy or wealth is concentrated in private hands? In the last century, the answers to these questions determined the designation of the countries as “progressive” or “democratic”, “socialist” or “capitalist”, “free” or “dictatorial”… This century, until now, has not moved forward and brought little change.
That is the main problem of the modern world.
Prophets and Democrats in History
Unfortunately, with the exception of few short periods in the history of a few civilizations, the whole history of mankind demonstrates the predominance and the ascendancy of "substance", "weight", "volume", “stuff”, “matter” over the relationships and interactions. More important was what you possess, what you have and own, what makes you rich and strong. The most important were the quantity and the quality of the ownership. Your attitude towards other people, your relations with them, the way you build these relations and handle them, how you interact with others, - all that occupied the lower place, if it was taken into consideration at all.
Only the religions, the literature and the art tried to change the existing system of priorities. Indeed, all world religions represent and preach the "theory of interactions and relations" through teaching how to treat other people.
Moreover, all the World Religions teach how to develop and maintain the relations between the people on the basis of the one and the same principle. All the World Religions have the same moral foundation and the same basic moral principle.
“One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”, or “One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated”, - these are positive and negative forms of the same Golden Rule of Morality or law of reciprocity, which comprises the moral basis and the moral foundation of all World Religions.
In Judaism: "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 19:18) “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” Shabbath, Babylonian Talmud.
In Christianity, Jesus Christ: "Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets" (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31).
In Islam: "Wish for your brother, what you wish for yourself" or "Love for your brother what you love for yourself". Quran
From the hadith, the collected oral and written accounts of Muhammad and his teachings during his lifetime: “A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: "As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don't do to them.”
In Hinduism: In Mahābhārata, the ancient sacred epic of India, the wise minister Vidura advises the King Yuddhiśhṭhira: “… by self-control and by making dharma (right conduct) your main focus, treat others as you treat yourself." Also, “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires.”
In China: "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." — Confucius. "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.” – Laozi.
Zi gong (a disciple of Confucius) asked: "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?" The Master replied: "How about 'shu' [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?” -Confucius, Analects.
In Buddhism : “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” “Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.”
The Religions were followed by the philosophy and literature. One of the greatest philosophers in the world history Immanuel Kant formulated his Categorical Imperative, his “golden moral law”, nearly quoting Jesus Christ, Muhammad and Confucius, though, Kant have criticized the Religion’s Golden Law for “oversimplifying”. We can forgive him. Kant was a German, a genius German, the founder of the Classic German Philosophy, so, everything for him was too simple. He had put the Golden Moral Principle in his own, German, way: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction”.
Most of other philosophers were not German and it is easier for ordinary readers of different nationalities to understand them. For example, Jean-Paul Sartre: “What we choose is always the better; and nothing can be better for us unless it is better for all.”
Let me now finish this review with one remark: neither Jesus, nor Prophet Muhammed or Buddha, or Confucius, or even Kant, despite his enthusiasm over German complicity and technology, while speaking about the essence, the central point of their teaching, ideas, philosophy, none of them has mentioned “the substance”, “the particles”, the amounts, the quantities and the qualities. They didn’t speak about how much money one is to possess, how many soldiers should be in your army, about the weapons you need to produce and to use, which political party you are to support …
In contrast, the modern politics, especially, the international affairs, have little connection to the Golden Moral Rule. The foreign policy of the West, from the point of view of Jesus, Muhammad, Confucius and even Kant, has rather strange aim: defending and promotion of democracy… Why? Nobody among the spiritual and moral teachers and leaders in the human history spoke about the need to promote democracy. Nothing like that. Can you imagine Saint Paul writing to Corinthians: “One should treat others as a democrat would like to treat another democrat”…
Or, “the God has just told me to deal with you as a democrat with a democrat… Are you happy?”…
Of course, it is difficult to expect that politicians, businessmen and bankers will live and work entirely in accordance with the Golden Rule. Churches, Mosques and Monasteries have been trying to influence and bring up the peoples for centuries and centuries without much of a success. I understand, that it is tremendously difficult to change politicians, political analysts and journalists, including those, who consider themselves to be democratic and liberal (especially, liberal). However, until they come to the level, at least, of the physicians in understanding of the importance of the relations and interactions, there will be no quality improvements in our civilization. The politicians are to understand, that the failure of a relationship, which looks most unimportant, can damage and bring down the whole system, that by analyzing, improving and changing of the relations, growing them properly it is possible to “change” and “develop”, “grow” the “substance”, the elements of the systems and the systems in their wholeness.
Without this understanding, the world politics will result, rather frequently, in what was described by the former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin (1993-1998, the Golden era of the Russian liberals), who was famous for his political aphorisms (mostly unexpected by him and others): “We wanted to make it best, and resulted as usually!” Chernomyrdin said this giving explanations to the Russian Parliament on the failures of the liberal Government in 1990-s. It looks that his words well describe the modern politics.
The lack of understanding of the importance of the relations and interactions between the elements within the system, as well as between the different systems, lead to the political decisions, which put the “material aims”, for example, to obtain the control over the territory or the natural resources, above the relational aims: to improve the relations, develop cooperation, decrease the tensions and provide the conditions for the peaceful development.
We can see this in the Middle East and in Ukraine, where the political decisions had been taken by the political players without taking into consideration the interrelations of the Iraqi people, the Syrians, the Kurds, the Libyans, as well as the Ukrainians and the Russians between themselves and with other countries and peoples. Trying to get the “material gains”, the political players had broken the relations, the links, including political, economic and human. As a result, the world is facing terrorism, wars, radicalization of the religions, numerous human tragedies.
Crushing Kaddafi and his Libya, neither Washington, nor London or Paris had taken into consideration that Libya had fulfilled the role of a dam between the quiet prosperous Europe and poor, torn by numerous conflicts and disasters Africa. Kaddafi’s Libya was protecting the economic and social system “Europe”, was providing the certain type of the relations and interactions between Europe and Africa, which protected the Mediterranean countries from the inflow of the migrants and refugees from Africa. Now, Libya is destroyed, and Europe is facing the inflow of millions of refugees from Africa, mainly through Libya.
The relations were broken or changed, and as a result, the elements of the European System had to change also. The millions of refugees changed the social, demographic, cultural and political situation in Europe. The process is still going on, bringing changes in the political elites and governments in European countries. So, don’t ask the others: “Who could imagine that the British people vote for Brexit?” Address this question to yourself.
Here, I can’t avoid once more quoting Victor Chernomyrdin, the PM of the Russian liberals: “Where have you been before? When it was needed to think, and not to hack seven times… And now, you woke up, started running. And, all found themselves in the rear. In the deepest place and in the deepest sense.” It looks as if the time has come for Chernomyrdin’s aphorisms to be topical in Europe, as they were topical in Russia in mid 1990-s.
In Ukraine, the situation is not less painful, and may bring more problems to Europe compared even to Middle Eastern crisis. Three quarters of the Ukrainian economy, which were connected to and depended on the relations with Russia, were ruined in two years. That was the result of the changes brought to the relations in the triangle the West – Ukraine – Russia by the attempt “to introduce democratic values” and integrate Ukraine in the European Union and NATO.
In 2013, when the relations between Ukraine and Russia started breaking down, the GDP of Ukraine was 182 billion dollars. In 2014, the GDP dropped to 131 billion. In 2015, to 91 billion dollars. In 2016, the Ukrainian GDP is expected to fall to 85 billion USD.
In 2013, the Ukrainian State debt was about 40% of GDP. Now, there are different figures: from official Kiev’s 90% to 131% of GDP, according to the evaluation by the CIA.
About 4,5 million Ukrainians moved to Russia. About 5 million are estimated to live and work in the EU. Most of them illegally, because after three years of the “incorporation” and “democratic reforming” the Ukrainian have no rights to travel free to Europe and to work.
The former Ukrainian President Yanukovich, in 2009, by starting the negotiations on the integration into the EU and NATO, wanted to apply pressure on the Kremlin and the Russian corporation Gazprom to force them to reduce the price on the Russian gas. Gazprom had increased the price from 20% of the gas price for the Russian gas to the European countries to nearly 50%. Yanukovich didn’t like it. The corruption, the rule of the criminal business groups and the financial crisis of 2008 had brought Ukraine to the limits of its finances. Yanukovich wanted to low the prices back down to 20% of the European price level. Gazprom refused: the Moscow Kremlin was fed up with Kiev’s attempt to play “the Western card”, with the rule of criminals and with the corruption in Kiev, which was too much even for the Russian standards.
One more point, the Kremlin was sure that Ukraine could not cut the ties with Russia, so tightly interconnected from the Soviet times.
In the Soviet Union, the division of production and services was the policy of the Communist party. This created the solid foundation for the vast multinational State. The helicopters, for example, were assembled in Russia, but most of the parts were produced by the factories located in other Republics, as well as the overhaul and repair plants, the biggest of them situated in Ukraine and Lithuania. The engines for the helicopters were produced in Ukraine, but the blades for the engines – in Russia. This distribution of labor made the economy tightly interconnected, interrelated, nearly impossible to break. At least, it was supposed to be.
The Kremlin underestimated the strength of the Ukrainian – Russian business and economic relations. The political interests and will, multiplied by ignorance, made it possible to break even those relations.
The Minsk Agreement, which is officially proclaimed to be “the only one way to restore peace in Ukraine”, can’t be implemented. If Merkel and Hollande signed the Agreement from ignorance, Putin and Poroshenko have signed the Agreement understanding perfectly well that there is no way to fulfil it.
Poroshenko couldn’t make the Constitutional reform giving the autonomy to Donbass and Lugansk under the control by the separatists, but he signed the Agreement in hope that it allows Kiev to get control over the border between the separatist Regions and Russia.
Putin would not give the border control to Kiev, but he signed the Agreement insisting that the political and the Constitutional reform in Ukraine should go first.
Poroshenko agreed to the sequence because he hoped that the West, full of anti-Russian interests and feelings, would support him in demand on border control, in spite of the sequence set forth in the document.
And both of them, Poroshenko and Putin, wanted the West to give 7 billion USD loan to Kiev, because 3 billion USD Kiev was to pay to Russia to cover the debt for the previous gas supplies. The signing of the Agreement in Minsk was the precondition for the loan. Poroshenko and Putin signed the Agreement, and got billions of dollars.
Minsk, “All eyes on him!”
All the sides, including the German and French leaders, wanted by signing the Minsk Agreement to block the efforts of the rivals, to apply pressure and to restrain the rivals actions, to get time to regroup, to get or provide the support to the conflicting Ukrainian and separatist armies…
The parties, who signed the Agreement in Minsk, had different interests, goals and aims. Nobody wanted to improve the relations between the rivals and divides, to reduce tensions, to find solutions to the problems and create new opportunities for the cooperation.
Nobody won from the collapse of the relations between Ukraine and Russia: neither the West, nor Russia, but the biggest looser is Ukraine and its people…
Two Revolutionaries, Two Different Thinking, Two Visions of the Future
However, there was a time, when some of the politicians understood the importance of the relations and interactions. It was in the beginning of the XIX century, 110 years back, when in Russia appeared a new political figure, who played an important role in the revolutionary movement, in science, in art and even in architecture. Nevertheless, only few people in the world heard about him, one of the most brilliant and one of the most tragic and secret figures in the Russian history.
His name was Aleksandr Bogdanov…
(to be continued)