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The Politics of the Great Powers of Jeffrey Sachs | the new yorker Story-level




Last week, Jeffrey Sachs, the economist and Columbia professor known for his work in the fields of poverty alleviation and foreign aid, delivered Comments to the United Nations Security Council on the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline. Sachs, who was invited to speak for Russia, but who said the new yorker that it was “important to note” that he was there on his own behalf, called for an investigation into the incident. He previously suggested that the United States was responsible; So far, no evidence has emerged linking the US, Russia or any other nation to the attack. These were remarkable comments for an economist and highlight the degree to which, in recent years, Sachs has become outspoken on a wide variety of geopolitical issues, from the war in Ukraine (he wants the West to negotiate a solution immediately) to the crackdown. from China to the Uyghur population (believes that the use of the term “genocide” is wrong). He also blamed Anthony Fauci for the role played by the US public health apparatus in funding research abroad, in part because he believes that COVID-19-19 originated from “US lab biotech.”

It’s an interesting chapter for a man who was best known, for many years, as a member of the American establishment. (Thirty years ago, the Times I call it “probably the most important economist in the world”, for his role in pushing post-Soviet Russia to adopt “shock therapy”). Since then, Sachs has advised several UN Secretaries General and has written several books; He has traveled with Bono and worked with governments with controversial human rights records, such as the United Arab Emirates. He is currently the president of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. In 2020, shortly after COVID-19 began to spread around the world, I talked to him for the new yorker about the economic impact of the pandemic and how Trump was handling the emergency; most recently, he appeared as a guest on the podcast of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who has become one of the country’s leading anti-vaccine activists and conspiracy theorists.

I recently spoke to Sachs again on the phone. I wanted to talk to him about the evolution of his views and some of his recent travels, such as a visit to Viktor Orbán in Hungary. Our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, is below.

How did you get interested in wanting to end the war in Ukraine?

War is terribly destructive and terribly dangerous, and it should never have happened. Not just in the simple sense that wars are tragedies, but in the specific sense that this was a totally avoidable war. I think the more that is known about the background to this war, the clearer it becomes how it could have been prevented and also how it can end.

What specifically about the background?

This is a war that reflects the growing tensions between the United States and Russia for a quarter of a century. There have been many points along that path that were truly wrong.

Tell me what you think were some of the missed opportunities.

The key to this, which is now well discussed but not yet well understood, is the post-1991 view of strategic leaders in the United States: that we are now in a unipolar world, and that the United States can do just about anything. stuff. it wants, and that includes basing the military where it wants and when it wants, entering and leaving treaties when it wants and where it wants, without serious consequences. In the mid 1990s, there was a pretty fierce debate even over the first phase of NATO expansion, which many wise men, including Bill Perry, our Secretary of Defense in the Clinton days, thought was a terrible mistake; many others did too. And George Kennan, whom I consider to be the essence of wisdom, thought it would lead to a new Cold War.

Clinton chose to go ahead with NATO extension. Because that first phase was in Central Europe, I don’t think it was decisive, although it definitely made the situation more difficult. And then came the war for Serbia and the bombing of Serbia by NATO cash. This was, in my opinion, a terrible mistake. And there’s a lot we don’t know publicly about this. I have been told many, many things by insiders. I don’t know if they are true or not, because I don’t see the files, but I think this was a terrible mistake. Then came 9/11. President Putin offered his support for US efforts at first, but Iraq was clearly a big hit.

Bush followed with seven more NATO enlargements, closing in and heating up under the neck, because they involved the three Baltic states, along with Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Slovakia, and the pushback was very, very hard. In 2008 came the absolutely terrible decision by Bush to push NATO extension to Ukraine and Georgia. That was, in essence, what set us not only on a path of outright hardening of relations, but on the path to this war.

However, the war started nine years ago, with the US involvement in the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, the very active role of the US in that. We may only know the full extent of this when the archives are opened, decades from now. We know enough that this was the reason the war actually happened.

I’m a bit confused when you’re talking about 2008, because the full-scale invasion of Ukraine didn’t start until 2022, fourteen years later, and Ukraine wasn’t close to entering NATO.

In 2008, at the NATO summit in Bucharest, NATO he said it would be expanded to include Ukraine and Georgia. The decision was made by NATO. It was a very controversial meeting, because the majority of the Europeans opposed it, but the United States promoted it. And this led, in my opinion, to the war in Georgia very shortly thereafter. I think that was the message from Russia to Georgia: you are not going to join NATO. And that was also a message for Ukraine.

Ukraine was already in a battle in which the United States was heavily involved, between a divided country, eastern and western divisions, pro and anti-NATO divisions etc In 2005 Viktor Yushchenko became president; Hey [later] called on Ukraine to join NATO. This created the great tensions that led up to 2008. And then Yushchenko was defeated and Yanukovych came in saying we should have neutrality. And that, I think, was seen as an affront to American politicians who were intent on NATO extension. At the end of 2013, when the protests against Yanukovych broke out, the US took the opportunity to play very actively in this and quite directly, let’s say, by paying a lot of money to those who were leading this so-called movement and helping to finance what became in a coup.

So you think that what happened in 2014 was a coup?

It was a hit, of course. It was an unconstitutional takeover when heavily armed, violent groups stormed government buildings in February 2014. [Protesters, angered by Yanukovych’s rejection of a trade agreement with the European Union, were killed by security forces after trying to occupy parts of Kyiv; afterward, Yanukovych was isolated politically and fled to Russia with the assistance of the Kremlin. I asked Sachs over e-mail for a source for his claim about the role played by the U.S. He responded, “It is public knowledge that the National Endowment for Democracy and US NGOs spent heavily in Ukraine to support the Maidan. I have first-hand knowledge of that spending.” The N.E.D. told The New Yorker that it provides funding to civil-society groups but “does not provide funding to support protests.”]

Let me go back to 2008. I understand what happened at the Bucharest summit. What I mean is that fourteen years later Ukraine was no closer to joining NATO.

That is not right. That’s not right, Isaac. The fact is that, after the overthrow of Yanukovych, a series of governments in both Ukraine and the US heavily armed Ukraine, heavily modernized the Ukrainian Army, invested billions of dollars in armaments, and this is done Ukraine might resist the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Are you saying that once the country was invaded?

No no no no. As of 2014. This is important.

Once Crimea had been invaded, are you saying?

This is perhaps one of the things that needs further investigation by you and your colleagues, to investigate the events around the Maidan. This was the overthrow of a government that replaced a government that called for neutrality—

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