February 10, 2011
By Matt Johnson
Note: This article was originally published in the American Journal of Russian and Slavic Studies in 2007.
The increasing violence and arrogance of the Regime is directly correlated to its insecurity. For all its ranting about its successes and, of course, its “inevitability,” the regime is facing some very difficult times. Overwhelming debt, a lost war in Iraq, outsourcing of some of its more satisfying jobs, alienation of rural areas, increasing fuel prices, and substantial foreign competition from the developing India-China-Russia axis, the Regime, like a spoiled child, lashes out in hatred.
The latest attack comes from a half-witted Congressman who I had not heard of until now, The Hon. John Shimkus (R-IL). He has come to my attention due to an outburst on the floor of the House, condemning Belarus. Reading from a script, he condemned Belarus for “violating democracy,” etc. etc.; everyone knows the drill. Shimkus also sits on something called the Congressional Baltic Caucus, something else I had not known of until now. As it turns out, Shimkus has made Belarus a major part of his legislative agenda, sponsoring and co-sponsoring numerous “resolutions” condemning Belarus for some “crime” or other. (See here for a few speeches).
Here are a few excerpts from some of his press releases over the last few years:
“Unfortunately, just today we have received word of potential harassment of opposition activists by the government, For the people of Belarus, I pray for the success of the ‘denim revolution.’ (2006)”
And this from a man who cheered the passage of the Patriot act and wishes to make it stronger.
Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-19) introduced House Resolution 673 “expressing support for the efforts of the people of the Republic of Belarus to establish a full democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights and urging the Government of Belarus to conduct a free and fair presidential election on March 19, 2006.
Shimkus is a very good case study of legislative corruption. Why would an obscure congressman worry so much about a country the size of Kansas, a country that, in no conceivable respect, poses a threat to the U.S? Let’s take a look.
Shimkus is supported by a few telling organizations, led by Abbott Laboratories, the drug giant based in Illinois, and nearly every other major drug manufacturer. Also controlling his candidacy are the following corporations, the list itself is telling, and is provided by the disclosures of his campaign filed at the Federal Election Commission.
Shimkus and the neo-con republicans in general are financed by: Amazon.com, The American Bankers Association American, Express, Sugarbeet Growers, Time Warner, ADM, AT&T (huge contributions under various names), Bank of America, Boeing, Cargill, Citigroup, ConAgra, Chrysler, DTE, Energy Edison, Northrop Grumman, Enron, Exxon-Mobil (huge donations), a small army of sugar corporations another huge set of donations from coal interests in America.
Other major contributors to Shimkus include: General Atomics, GE, Halliburton, The Investment Company Institute, J.P. Morgan The Lithuanian-American PAC, McDonalds, Monsanto, Nuclear Energy PAC, Peabody Energy, The Petroleum Marketers Association, The Edison Electric Institute, Progress Energy, Reliant Energy Shell Oil, Society for Independent Gasoline Marketers, Southern Minnesota Beet Growers, Tejas Energy, Wal-Mart, Wisconsin Energy and Electric Power Supply PAC.
Proving that congressmen are financed by international corporations for the creation of a New Global Order is easy. Showing specific patterns–that is, connecting campaign donations to actual voting and speechmaking behavior–is another matter. The above list, however, is fairly self-explanatory, and is just a small sampling of corporate America that controls this hapless front man. The above companies, however, have provided for the majority of Shimkus’ funds, and the companies and fronts listed above have given very large donations individually.
The above list of corporate interest is telling also in that most of them are in direct economic competition with Russian interests. The top-heavy list of energy suppliers is telling enough, and the sugar interests are certainly curious, but rather obvious in that Russia grows beets in large quantities, from which one can process sugar, one easily competitive with American interests in Hawaii and Florida. The rest have specific interests in penetrating and controlling the Russian market. Russia has a hardworking population of well educated people, and also has a strong scientific and technological bent. Therefore, it makes sense that many communications and tech outfits finance the Republicans. Grumman and Boeing are also significant in that they are in direct competition with the high tech sector in Russia, both military and civilian.
The point of this is not merely to show that Shimkus is indeed a front man, and that all politicians in liberal democracies are puppets, and not even that he is controlled by energy interests (which he clearly is). More importantly, it proves that, by and large, the opinions of the likes of Shimkus are not his own, but are fed to him by the large PR organizations connected with corporate finance that have a direct interest in Russian and Belarussian life. As of 2011, Shimkus is heading several energy related committees and movements on Capitol Hill such as the Coal Caucus.
But there is more. Right around the time Shimkus made his House speech on Belarus’ “crimes,” several international agencies released their data on Belarussian life in 2006. The timing here is unmistakable. Some figures:
Socio-economic development of Belarus in 2006 demonstrated positive dynamics on virtually all most important parameters, thus proving the effectiveness of the socio-economic model chosen by the leadership of Belarus.
In comparison with 2005:
Gross domestic product grew 9.9 percent in Belarus as against 2005, which, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007 report, places Belarus among the most dynamically developing states of the world. In particular, in terms of GDP growth Belarus ranks 7th in the world (after Azerbaijan, Armenia, Latvia, Estonia, China and Kazakhstan).
Industrial production rose 11.3 percent. According to the Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Belarus in terms of industrial production growth passed most of CIS states except Azerbaijan (36.6 percent).
Agricultural production rose 6.1 percent, which is much higher than the average level in CIS states (3 percent), and might have something to do with ADM and ConAgra heavily financing Shimkus and others who are anti-Belarus.
Consumer goods production increased by 10.5 percent.
The Embassy of Belarus in America writes: “Capital investments grew 31.4 percent. According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2006, as of the end of 2005 Belarus was 10th among 19 countries of the South-Eastern Europe and CIS in terms of the level of direct foreign investments, and 4th among CIS countries (after Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan). In the report, Belarus is placed in the category of countries with high potential for attracting direct foreign investments, leading over most of the countries of South-Eastern Europe and CIS.”
Here’s a major reason why the Regime hates Lukashenko: Foreign trade grew 28.7 percent, including the growth of exports by 23.5 percent, as well as foreign trade in services, which saw a growth of 15.5 percent. Positive balance in the trade of services exceeded $1 billion. In other words, the pious condemnations of Belarus are just that. It does not stop many European firms from doing business with one of the healthiest economies in the developing world.
Unemployment still holds at just over 1% according to the UN World Economic Situation and Prospects Report. According to the same agency, real income grew 17.3%. According to the World Economic Forum Report of 2006, Belarus has the lowest infant mortality rate in the CIS. According to the World Bank, Belarus has one of the best records in combating corporate corruption.
And this is just a smattering of the major achievements of the Belarussian nation and President Lukashenko, all cataloged by overwhelmingly hostile sources. Now, why would this be a problem for the likes of Shimkus?
First of all, Belarus is not part of the global trading system in any official capacity. The Regime has done all in its power to harm Belarus, from threats to attempted sanctions, to an endless propaganda barrage directed against her. Belarus continues, by any standard, to prosper. Secondly, Belarus shows the prosperity that can be gained through regional, rather than global cooperation (in this case, with Russia). Belarus has proven that it does not need the global system, as have Malaysia and Venezuela, both regular targets from Republicans in Congress.
Thirdly, Belarus has proven that a strong state, in the case of a small country besieged by the powerful West, can control corruption and provide basic services better than Western style systems. While Belarus has free elections and very diverse media, presidential powers are substantially strong, a strength born out of necessity, to prevent the financial and economic meltdown suffered by Russia during the reign of the recently deceased Yeltsin. Belarus has prevented Western economic penetration, IMF dictates and global economists from running the country, and as a result, she prospers. This, more than anything else, leads corporate America and their front men to lash out regularly at Belarus.
Since this article was published in 2007, the Congressman has lashed out against this writer, writing (or having someone else write) attacks on me anonymously. He has called me “evil,” among other things, clearly showing he still believes in moral absolutes for his suburban neo-con constituents. Clearly, Shimkus sees some of this information being used by his opponents.
But what is more significant is how Belarus has fared since the liberal Regime has officially gone bankrupt both literally and metaphorically since 2008. Since that time, economic growth in Belarus, according to the World Bank, has averaged about 8 percent. In 2010, Belarus saw her economy grow by about 6 percent, with industrial production going up almost 10 percent. Real incomes in the country, in this same time frame, have gone up about 7 percent. As of this writing in 2011, Belarus has roughly 1 percent unemployment, a high savings rate, the lowest infant mortality in the former CIS, high incomes and a large budget and trade surplus. The state has been heavily involved in promoting high-tech investment and development, and cheap fuel from Russia has permitted the economy to thrive under harsh conditions.
Belarus is a living example in how the neo-conservative/neo-liberal “Washington Consensus” has not only failed, but has made life miserable for millions of Americans and Europeans. Only those states who follow their own interests, control their own currency and have a large state that can target investment such as Belarus, China and Vietnam have been able to develop and thrive while the liberal west cannot pay its bills. Individually, the western financed “opposition” to President Lukashenko cannot poll over 5 or 6 percent. Together they poll about 20 percent, according to both western and Russian polling agencies.
While the U.S. Places sanctions on Belarus and all states that it cannot control, the popularity of Lukashenko and Putin continues to rise, averaging about 70 percent approval for both politicians. Nationalist economics is at the root of this popularity. Making matters worse for both the EU and America, Germany, needing cheap fuel, has made separate deals with both Minsk and Moscow independently of the European Union. As Germany is being forced to pay for elite bailouts throughout Europe, she is responding by going to the sources of economic growth in the East. There is little the EU can do in response.
At the same time, since Moscow and Minsk are tightly connected to the Chinese economy, Western sanctions and the mindless, suburban blowhards like Congressman Shimkus can have no effect. What is more significant is the means by which the U.S., the EU and the Soros empire will use to lash out their contempt of statist economies. Tunisia and Egypt are two clear examples. English language signs, “new media” organization, total neo-con/neo-lib agreement, media clichés about the protesters, and a total lack of any public ideology or agenda for the protesters are tell tale signs of Soros and/or CIA influence in that area. Riots in Thailand last year are another example. While the CIA tried to foment riots in Minsk during the presidential elections, the “opposition” garnered about 20 percent of the vote, consistent with foreign polls of popularity among Belarussian politicians. The West then responds to its humiliating defeat by compensating among North African states. While this occurs, Hezbollah reaches a majority in the Lebanese diet and China buys more dollars.
There is a clear connection between multi-polarity among great powers and the intensification of economic dependency. Competition for resources and markets coming from Russia, India, China, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam and other high performing states is forcing the US and its Congressional front men to regain colonial or neo-colonial control over third world nations to compensate. This is the formal cause for the riots in Egypt or Shimkus’ endless tirades about a tiny country he knows nothing about.
Matthew Raphael Johnson, Ph.D. is a former history professor, a professional author, a priest of the Russo-Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and a VoR radio host. His Web site is The Orthodox Nationalist. Email him at fr_raphael yahoo.com.