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In destroying country after country, the US Empire is doing well. One devastated country after the other has made it clear that any country which pursues independent sovereign policies and attempts to better its own position and the state of its people becomes a target for the US Empire.

According to Dr. Michael Parenti, in an interview with the Voice of Russia; "... any leader who uses the resources, and labor, and substance of his country for the well-being and self-development in that country is seen as someone who is evil, has a hidden agenda, hostile toward America and is hostile toward the West." A term which he says really means the western plutocracy. Ukraine is a perfect example after having chosen a path of economic betterment which does not include US/EU/NATO, US backed "color-revolution" assets which have been left in place are being activated to cause another color revolution and more upheaval in that country. According to Dr. Parenti these people are: "... still so rabidly anti-communist, that even the residue of a shadow of a former Communist country is a little too much."

Part 1

© Voice of RussiaDr. Michael Parenti
Robles: Hello Dr Parenti. How are you this evening? And it is a great pleasure to be speaking with you.

Parenti: Thank you John.

Robles: Regarding Imperialism; now, one of your recent books was called "The Face of Imperialism", kind of a big question, I would like to ask you about the United States. Is it a dying empire in your opinion?

Parenti: No, I don't think so. I think the empire is doing very well. The empire is racking up victory after victory.

The US Empire is now, despite its defeat in Indo China and Vietnam, it now has Vietnam in the market system pretty much. In these recent years it has knocked out Iraq, because Saddam Hussein was committing economic nationalism, and that's not allowed by an empire. And they've dismantled Libya and got rid of Gaddafi. They are destroying Syria, and it goes on and on, and they're targeting Iran.

Robles: I'm sorry sir, would you call that success? I mean Afghanistan was an over 12 year quagmire. What was the success there?

Parenti: Yes, that one... They are going to lose Afghanistan, but they do succeed, they succeeded in stopping the betterment of the masses of people.

They are committed to stopping a world in which the land, the labor, the natural resources, the markets are directed toward the betterment of the ordinary people in that world.

When the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan, and it went in only after the third or fourth request by the Afghani military government.

Robles: Thank you very much for saying that.

Parenti: Yes.

Robles: They were requested several times and just like when Russia went into Georgia. There were 3 days ... there was requests and pleadings by Russian nationals being killed there for Russia to intervene.

Parenti: Right! Exactly.

Robles: Go ahead. I am sorry for the interruption.

Parenti: Well, and the policy that the Soviets pursued in cooperation with the existing Afghani government was to break the feudal class. To do a much needed land reform, to allow schools for women and for children, and all that, and these Mujahidin and these other people were just absolutely furious at this, this was totally intolerable.

Plus they convinced themselves that the Soviets were the Devil's atheist, "Godless Communists" were coming, and the US played on that a lot.

That was a success basically. The Mujahidin, backed by the CIA and such, destroyed the Afghani revolution, destroyed all the reforms that were being made, killed a lot of people, and today we have this horrible retrograde Taliban as the only alternative to the puppet government under Karzai and headed by the US.

Robles: And that is called success? It's a shame; it's a disgrace I think. You mentioned destruction of country after country after country. Now sir, how is that a success then?

Parenti: Ok, it's a success because the goal or the function of the state in the empire is to advance the interests of the empire, and those interests are to make sure that the - as I said - the land, the labor, the natural resources, the human resources, the social organization of culture. The markets of every country should be a part of, and in the orbit of this giant US imperial state.

You see the US Empire sees only two kinds of countries in the world: satellites or enemies (or "potential" enemies). The satellites are the countries that vote the way the US wants in the UN, that had their country opened to investments and resource extraction, all the things we were just saying. Their markets are open, the EU, all of that. Of course they can take independent courses in limited ways on particular issues. But the overall pattern is to make this world safe for the Fortune 500, for the plutocracy in the US, and the plutocrats in other countries too. They are very internationally minded, in the sense of sharing in the wealth and investment, and even as they compete with each other. So that's the satellites.

And if a country doesn't fit as a satellite, such as Russia, or China, or maybe to some extent India, then those countries are seen as potential enemies, or actual enemies. I heard Obama say in one of his speeches - a State of The Union I think it was to the Congress - he said "China, our competitors, are out producing us".

And I'm saying "our competitors", I'm saying "I have no competition with China, I'm not in any fight with China, what is this stuff, what is this?"

And with Russia also, it does seem like the Cold War is going on, as you mentioned when we were talking earlier, before we went on the air. It's absolutely right, has this Cold War ended or what is the US now doing? The US was one of the countries that started this Cold War many decades ago, and they're still doing it.

Well we find out now that you don't have to be a Communist, or a Bolshevik, or anything. If you are charting an independent course, if you are trying to use the land, the labor, the markets, the wealth of your nation, in a way that is for the self-development of your nation for the interests of your own people, then you become marked and the US media goes into high gear and they talk about "Milosevic", and they talk about "Noriega". They talk about just about every...

Robles: A perfect example just right now. A glaring unbelievable example...(Ukraine) and I would like to comment on what you said about the Cold War. I think the Cold War was over for Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Parenti: Since the end of the Cold War, so-called, what back in 91, 2, around there was it?

Robles: Yes, yes.

Parenti: Since then the US military budget, the enormous US military budget has more than doubled in its size. It's now about, counting the money that goes into the Department of Energy and such, almost all of it is targeted for military purposes. It's about a trillion dollars a year. That's just enormous; that's tremendous.

Now why? Who is attacking us, who is doing this? Hugo Chavez in Venezuela wasn't attacking the US, but the minute he started taking some of the oil earnings and using it for ... or subsidizing it and putting it out at a subsidized rate for his own people, and making all sorts of other reforms for the poor and the not so poor. But the minute he was doing that he became, he was pegged as a firebrand, hostile to America...

Robles: Well there were plans to assassinate him. For what?

Parenti: Yes, and they overthrew him. They participated in a coup that overthrew him, which didn't work, he got back in. And there are questions about his death, which he himself took with him to the grave. He was saying "isn't it strange that 5 leftist progressive heads of state in Latin America all have cancer suddenly". But we don't know. All right we won't even get into that. The point is...

Robles: Well that's a very good point. I studied that; I researched that and going way back if we could for a minute, if you will humor me for a second? Going back to Lee Harvey Oswald and Ruby, they were actually involved in trying to off Fidel Castro - now this is out there this information - under, I don't know if you read Dr Mary's Monkey, I believe that was the title of the book, it was regarding a CIA cancer assassination program, and that was "way back when", in the 50s right, late 50s early 60s? Can you imagine with the technology that the CIA has, I think they have already delivered mechanisms to install cancer, and I don't think it was a coincidence.

Parenti: Yes, and Ruby himself, Ruby himself was whacked I think that way. And he himself said, he himself said: "They are killing me here, bring me to Washington where I can talk, they are killing me, I'll tell you everything blah-blah and I think someone else, I forget now, I haven't done ... I haven't been in there ... I did some original research in that area. I republished an old article, it's available on the Internet, anybody can get it about Oswald and all that. But Ruby, or somebody reported, that they were giving him injections of some kind in his cell, and he died of cancer in the cell.

Let me get to the major point, which is any leader who uses the resources, and labor, and substance of his country for the well-being and self-development in that country is seen as someone who is evil, has a hidden agenda, hostile toward America, hostile toward the West - that curious term "The West" - which really means the western plutocracy, the ruling plutocracy

They say "The West", but they do want to make a kind of a multi-national component that is running the globe, and this multi-national, mostly American, but now it's got British plutocrats and multi billionaires and French multi billionaires, and others too are on the ride, and Canadian ones, and so forth.

So ... and it's so consistent, it's so consistent. Anybody who starts to do that - Gaddafi, he was demonized - you take the leader and you demonize him, and you say he's got weapons of mass destruction, or he's crazy, he's an extremist, he's a terrorist, he wants to kill us.

Robles: A dictator. A despot.

Parenti: And the American public sometimes falls for the Messianic call that's sent out, which is "we are God's gift to humanity, we Americans really care about the world, America is always on the side of virtue; Americans reach out, when we fight wars they're humanitarian wars to save people from some harsh dictator or ruthless killer," be it Noriega or Chavez, or whomever.

Robles: You are an informed, educated person. What is your opinion on President Bashar Al-Assad? The main thing he did was try to improve the social conditions for his people before all of this happened.

Parenti: The Ba'athist Party that he ruled was a leftist, it was the leftist wing of the Ba'athist Party, and they had a lot of human services.

The tens of thousands of refugees from Iraq that flooded into Syria, Assad gave them, he gave them full human services, the same services that the people in Syria were getting at the time when they were still had them before everything got torn up by this war. And refugees that he got from Libya, he also did the same, and he countenanced a country with multi-denominations of religions, and he didn't try to impose any one sect on anybody else.

So he, it seems to me, he was doing pretty well, and he had an awful lot of support. And, well, but the country's ruined now, I don't know, and the FSA, which is I guess is the CIA/USA backed group is getting knocked out by the Islamic ... the other group, these Sharia hardline boys.

Robles: Moving away if we could, a little bit to something that's been very important, and it's very obvious, and when you're talking about Imperialism, and all these nefarious attempts to replace governments and install governments and demonize and everything. It's all right there, on page one, for everyone to see, going on right now in Ukraine.

Parenti: Well I think they might do the old sweetheart revolution, color revolution, which one? Orange, green, blue - they are going to try that.

Secondly, wouldn't it be kind of risky that close to the Soviet borders to start a full-fledged war, they don't have a good alibi cooked up just yet?

Robles: OK, Russian borders, there's no more Soviet Union.

Parenti: Right, I'm sorry, did I say Soviet?

I think President Putin was correct when he said 'the elimination of the Soviet Union, the overthrow of the Soviet Union was one of the great catastrophes of modern history'. He was quite right on that one.

Robles: He also recently said that, "the Soviet Union is gone, and it will never be revived". He said that in July, I believe it was.

I think the way it was done, it could have been done a lot different to preserve some of the power that Russia had at the time, but they gave up too much territory. I think that's a point that always has bothered me. There was no need to give up all the Republics.

What kinds of US imperialist intervention do you see going on in Ukraine right now?

Parenti: Well it just seems that these antigovernment demonstrators are people who were from the earlier demonstrations.

They seem to have, they have resources of all kinds: communications, money, food, headquarters. They seem quite equipped that they've got the world, and that means the western world, and all the western media, they've got all that on their side, so that their efforts doesn't look like a sabotage or trying to advance a rightwing thing their efforts look like "Oh they're just lovers of democracy, and that's all it is", or they want to join the EU, which would really take them, well, would take them to the cleaners - that's the old American expression - it would cost them a lot.

This is that element whose hearts are in the West, who are still so rabidly anti-communist, that even the residue of a shadow of a former Communist country is a little too much.

And what they've go against the present Russian government is that it hasn't completely stripped the entire economy of subsidies and public services.

Part 2

Robles: Since the end of the Soviet Union the Russian people just opened their arms to the West and welcomed everything.

Parenti:Well they have such a mythology, they just self-generated a mythology about the West. Everything in the West: "Oh yes, you have things that are wrong but you fix them, we don't. Oh, you are this, oh, you are that. There is no starvation, there is no poverty in the West". I used to hear that from people. It was really something to hear it.

There was a guy in Moscow, he had gone to Moscow University, he spoke very good English, so he had a good education. He had a fairly small apartment, but a wall full of books and all that, and he seemed like he lived fairly comfortable. And he said: "The very poorest people in your country (in the United States) the very poorest people in your country live better than I do".

And I say: "No, you don't know. They sleep in doorways in my country, the very poorest people, and there are hundreds of thousands of them."

He said: "That's all right, you don't have to lie to us anymore". That was what he said. I couldn't believe the guy, yeah.

And they've even got racist, some of them, and they say: "Oh, well, that is just the blacks, they are stupid and lazy anyway and blah blah".

I said: "No, it's not just the blacks". And anyway that's an outrageous comment. So they were very much brainwashed.

I thought Lech Walesa, a couple of years ago (a few years ago) made a very, very good comment, I mean it is the first thing that ever came out of his mouth that I could tolerate anyway. He turned to his people, he was talking to the Polish people who were full of complaints about how terrible things were and how this and that. He said: "Look, you wanted America, you are getting America". And that was it.

And their favorite theme, I mean, we saw some of this right here on the western media and I was so surprised that they even ran it. But they did a few little specials, like documentaries on what's happening in Poland. And these people were repeatedly saying, people they interviewed, were repeatedly saying: "It was better under the Communists. This is terrible, we've got to pay for this, we've got to pay for that, and so it was better under the Communists. I'm going to lose my little plot of land here now and it was better under the Communists'. Well, too late. you wanted America, and you are getting America.

And I think that same element, by the way, there is an element of that in Ukraine. Some of the people who are opposing the Russian and Ukrainian relationship and want Ukraine to go West, some of those people have the dream of: someday I'll be dancing in Paris or New York or something, or there is so much I can get still, and some of its going to come down to me, I talked to all those people who rallied us and gave us some money. And there they are.

Robles: Do you believe like some people do (and I think some people cannot believe it's any other way) that the US government actually cares about people, or cares about countries, or cares about the people?

Parenti: No, as I tried to say, they put out that messianic front about how we have to fight this humanitarian war. We have to go in and stop Milošević who is another Stalinist, and demonizing the Serbs for killing all these people, when in fact the Croats and the Kosovars and the Bosniacs were all engaged in savage killings with each other. And the Serbs were the only honest ones who said: "We weren't angels". While all the others pretended that they were angels.

And the US has supported some of the worst and horrible people, as I've mentioned with Afghanistan for instance. No, they support the devil himself, there is no virtue, there is no virtue in their position. They don't even give support to their own people! When hurricane Katrina almost destroyed all of New Orleans. They didn't do a thing, they had been warned about it, we again and again told them.

Robles: But that was because they were blacks, right?

Parenti:They were blacks and they voted against the Republican Party when they did vote. They were people who were critical and were not really adoringly swept up in the American dream. So that's it.

So the process has been, again and again, to take leaders, demonize them (if they are leaders who have been recalcitrant and trying to take an independent course) and use that as an excuse to bomb their people, or coop their people, take their people in.

And they do want, of course they want, Ukraine in NATO, that would be wonderful for them. They would be right at the doorstep, it would be a way of really hemming in their enemy (or potential enemy) which is Russia.

The Russians haven't been acting like an enemy, they don't rattle their sabre against the United States, and neither do the Chinese nor anybody else. But it doesn't matter, you could just declare that: "They're enemies and they are hostile to us and we try to negotiate with them", and that means unless you agree in the negotiation with the proposal that I put up, you are not negotiating; "We try to negotiate but they don't want to, they don't want to cooperate".

For those the word cooperate means: "you've got to do what I tell you." But yes, they don't want to cooperate, if that's what cooperate means.

Robles: I believe it was Sergey Lavrov, when all this Ukrainian stuff started up, and he says: "Well, it might sound ridiculous, but I'm telling you to make an independent sovereign decision, even it is slapping ourselves in the face". Something (I'm paraphrasing) something to that effect, and you would never hear a US official saying that, it's ridiculous.

Parenti:Well Yanukovich though is not... he is not wanting to get dragged into the EU net, is he? I mean, here I will defer to you, because you are right there on the spot, but it does seem to me that he seems quite pleased with the offer that the Soviets just made.

Robles: Russians, Russians there are no more Soviets, Doctor.

Parenti:I know, this is absolutely outrageous. I have for 30 years been fighting (or more, I forget for how many years now) for the Russians. Doesn't that sort of pull the rug out of some of these "democracy-loving-protestors", or what?

Robles: Well yeah, but they were open to the agreement right, and they sat down and they looked at the benefits. Of course, he is the president of the country, any president he wants to do what is better for his country, right? And when you are talking about.. this is just the first part, $100 billion for your country over 7 years, as opposed to $1 billion, and giving up your sovereignty, and the one thing that the Ukrainians thought ...

Parenti:What do you mean giving up their...?Who's giving up their...? The Ukraines are giving up their sovereignty?

Robles: Well, in my opinion and I think many people would agree, that any country that joins the EU, and that is one reason the UK didn't want it, they would give up a lot of their sovereignty.

Parenti:Oh. Right.

Robles: In joining NATO they give up their sovereignty. I mean, when you have American troops in your country...


Robles: Like in Serbia, what did they do? They recognized Kosovo and the first thing they did, they built the biggest military installation (US military installation) in the world outside the USA, in Kosovo?

Parenti:In Kosovo! Yeah, yeah.

Robles: Yeah.You've written and spoken about Serbia in the past?

Parenti:I wrote a book called "To Kill a Nation: The Destruction of Yugoslavia". And that was what it was about, it was about the whole war that took Yugoslavia, which was a viable social democracy where more than 80% maybe 90% of its economy was publicly state owned and it was going well and they were trying to also build up the worker-controlled enterprises and such, and turn it into a cluster of small right-wing mini-republics where everything has been privatized and everything has been deregulated and the people are poor and miserable, and that is what they got.

Or in the immortal words of our "friend" Lech Walesa: "you wanted America, you got it". But now most of those people did not want it, they got bombed into it, you know.

Robles: You know who Doctor Edward Herman is right? He has done some really good work on exposing the Srebrenica Massacre, there was actually two: the first one(s) were when these Albanian Muslims came in and they obliterated thousands of ... they murdered, Serbian women and children. Do you know anything else about ...?

Parenti:Right.The Bosnians made the big complaint that the Serbs massacred them.

Robles: Yeah, and that was the pretext for the invasion.

Parenti:Right, yeah. Well, all I can say is Milošević stood trial for one year about Bosnia and Srebrenica,and all that stuff and at the end of it, the head jurist, their Carla del Ponte, she said: "We do not have a case of genocide here. We haven't made the case, we haven't won the case." People would get up and then they were cross-examined by Milošević, and they would recant and say: "No, no I didn't kill that many, no, no...".

Robles: Why is the US now...(you're there, I'm here right, so this is a good dialogue here,) can you tell me from sitting over there, why does the US keep demonizing Russia and why is it surrounding Russia with missiles, and China as well? And why is NATO continuing to expand, in your opinion?

Parenti:Well, as I just said, there are only two kinds of countries: satellites and enemies. And any country that can go its own willful way, and do what it chooses; any country that can shut out the US and Western plutocracy, that country is getting in the way of the profits and the dominance that people could have.

Some of the writers here in America will talk about this as "craving for power", but I don't think so. They use the power for a particular function, which is to make the world safe for global capitalism because they have a huge link or investment in that global capitalism. It's a class war, still very nicely disguised behind things like "security, democratic elections and humanitarian wars and fighting against genocide or something like that, and terrorism".

But in fact, just take an area like the Middle East. If you have leaders who let the IMF in, let the World Bank in, opened the country to the western plutocratic investors, who rally their own people into a work force that works at a level of servitude, very poorly and all that, then that guy... those leaders are fine.

I'll give you example of one: Mubarak in Egypt. Now there has never been a harsh word in the US media about Mubarak, and the guy was a murderer and he was an oppressor, he was a dictator. But you never heard a word, now the US supported demonstrations and uprisings when it was in Libya and Syria, and Iraq, and Yugoslavia. But in Egypt, they didn't support that at all (they weren't supporting it), and they would rather ... they would rather end up as they did in Afghanistan.

They would rather end up supporting Islamic militant terrorists (not that I'm saying all Islamists are militant and terrorists but this extreme Sharia group)...

Robles: Of course not....

Parenti: ... they would rather see those guys take over, they would rather see the Taliban take over in Afghanistan, rather than seeing the kind of country that the revolutionary movement in Afghanistan was trying to build: a country where the children could go to school, women could go to school, there was land reform, all the things I mentioned before; human services and the country was developing.

They don't want development, they want exploitation. They don't want people who have a keen sense of their own entitlement, who have a high level of expectations.

They do the same thing here in the United States. They fight against human services, they are still trying to attack and destroy Social Security, what little that we have left of our own social services.

They are furious against anything that resembles a social democracy of any kind. For them, they want us poor and hungry and ready to work at any desperate level that we have to. And it is time that we get our chains back on, and so that kind of struggle that they are carrying out in Ukraine or in the Middle East or in Central Europe with Yugoslavia, it's the same struggle they are carrying out here in the United States itself.

Robles: That's become clear to me since 9-11, I think. But I think maybe a lot of us: we believed this stuff about "promoting democracy" and "freedom" and "helping build societies" and everything". So it was quite a... I think a lot of people were kind of shocked...


Robles: If I could just for a second, why they went in and invaded/destroyed Iraq? And then people were kind of surprised: "Why isn't there a plan for rebuilding? There is no plan for afterwards". But what you are saying now is that was done on purpose, there was not supposed to be any rebuilding, right?

Parenti:What country are we talking about?

Robles: Well, we could talk about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya...what they are trying to do with Syria.

Parenti:Yeah, there is no plan to rebuild. No. They want it shattered, they want it on its knees, they want to be able to go in and make their own terms. That's exactly what they want to do.

Robles: It is a shame. Regarding Afghanistan, I've talked to some people that were there in Soviet times, I've interviewed some Afghani "patriots" (I would say), and people who commented that everything they had in Afghanistan was built by the Soviet Union, almost, all the infrastructure: roads, airports, buildings, apartment blocks, right? And effectively 12 years (13 years almost) of NATO occupation and US occupation - they destroyed everything. There is nothing left.


Robles: And there is no plan for rebuilding. I mean, some people thought: "Oh, KNBR and Halliburton they will go in and they'll start building stuff". But they are not interested in building anything.

Parenti:That is a good point, a very good point.

Robles: I mean if they do go and rebuild they are going to profit from it, right?

Parenti:Yeah. Or if they do go in and build, as in Kazakhstan or in Kosovo,they build a big monster military base. That's what they build.

Robles: They are not going to build hospitals; they are not going to build schools.

Parenti:No, no, they are not interested in that. And that's again and again that is the case. And that is why they can support a Mubarak, but if you had a political group or individual leader like Gaddafi or even Assad, or Milošević or anybody else, then they would really be putting the heat on Egypt.

Even with Iran. Iran is big, it is still a counterweight, it is not socialist, it is not even particularly maybe anti-capitalist, but it is independent and it is critical of the US and it doesn't fall in line, and Israel is very keenly hoping to see Iran go the way of Libya, Yugoslavia, Syria, and the like.

That was the end of part 2 of an interview with Dr. Michael Parenti, a Yale graduate, a noted scholar and the author of several books, including The Face of Imperialism. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish you the best wherever you may be.

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