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Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S

Sanket Patel

i do stuff
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051100709638419.html

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.
In Moscow, Igor Panarin's Forecasts Are All the Rage; America 'Disintegrates' in 2010
By ANDREW OSBORN

MOSCOW -- For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.

In recent weeks, he's been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. "It's a record," says Prof. Panarin. "But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger."

Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.

But it's his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin's views also fit neatly with the Kremlin's narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.

A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.

"There's a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur," he says. "One could rejoice in that process," he adds, poker-faced. "But if we're talking reasonably, it's not the best scenario -- for Russia." Though Russia would become more powerful on the global stage, he says, its economy would suffer because it currently depends heavily on the dollar and on trade with the U.S.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces -- with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

In addition to increasing coverage in state media, which are tightly controlled by the Kremlin, Mr. Panarin's ideas are now being widely discussed among local experts. He presented his theory at a recent roundtable discussion at the Foreign Ministry. The country's top international relations school has hosted him as a keynote speaker. During an appearance on the state TV channel Rossiya, the station cut between his comments and TV footage of lines at soup kitchens and crowds of homeless people in the U.S. The professor has also been featured on the Kremlin's English-language propaganda channel, Russia Today.

Mr. Panarin's apocalyptic vision "reflects a very pronounced degree of anti-Americanism in Russia today," says Vladimir Pozner, a prominent TV journalist in Russia. "It's much stronger than it was in the Soviet Union."

Mr. Pozner and other Russian commentators and experts on the U.S. dismiss Mr. Panarin's predictions. "Crazy ideas are not usually discussed by serious people," says Sergei Rogov, director of the government-run Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, who thinks Mr. Panarin's theories don't hold water.

Mr. Panarin's résumé includes many years in the Soviet KGB, an experience shared by other top Russian officials. His office, in downtown Moscow, shows his national pride, with pennants on the wall bearing the emblem of the FSB, the KGB's successor agency. It is also full of statuettes of eagles; a double-headed eagle was the symbol of czarist Russia.

The professor says he began his career in the KGB in 1976. In post-Soviet Russia, he got a doctorate in political science, studied U.S. economics, and worked for FAPSI, then the Russian equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. He says he did strategy forecasts for then-President Boris Yeltsin, adding that the details are "classified."

In September 1998, he attended a conference in Linz, Austria, devoted to information warfare, the use of data to get an edge over a rival. It was there, in front of 400 fellow delegates, that he first presented his theory about the collapse of the U.S. in 2010.

"When I pushed the button on my computer and the map of the United States disintegrated, hundreds of people cried out in surprise," he remembers. He says most in the audience were skeptical. "They didn't believe me."

At the end of the presentation, he says many delegates asked him to autograph copies of the map showing a dismembered U.S.

He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.

"It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time." A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. "It's not there for no reason," he says with a sly grin.

Interest in his forecast revived this fall when he published an article in Izvestia, one of Russia's biggest national dailies. In it, he reiterated his theory, called U.S. foreign debt "a pyramid scheme," and predicted China and Russia would usurp Washington's role as a global financial regulator.

Americans hope President-elect Barack Obama "can work miracles," he wrote. "But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

The article prompted a question about the White House's reaction to Prof. Panarin's forecast at a December news conference. "I'll have to decline to comment," spokeswoman Dana Perino said amid much laughter.

For Prof. Panarin, Ms. Perino's response was significant. "The way the answer was phrased was an indication that my views are being listened to very carefully," he says.

The professor says he's convinced that people are taking his theory more seriously. People like him have forecast similar cataclysms before, he says, and been right. He cites French political scientist Emmanuel Todd. Mr. Todd is famous for having rightly forecast the demise of the Soviet Union -- 15 years beforehand. "When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him," says Prof. Panarin.
 
I see the WSJ has just published this no, but I read this about a month back here. Is it plausible? Well, first on philosophical grounds, everything eventually comes to an end. So we don't expect the USA to exist a thousand years from now anymore than a Roman living in 50 AD would have expected the Roman Empire to still be around six centuries later. After all, twenty years ago, could we have seen the imminent fracture of the Soviet Union? Will the US fracture occur in 2010? I don't think so. But somewhere down the road it will. The Pacific Rim states will go their own way, and the North Atlantic states their own.

The continental USA is too large and unwieldy to govern except as part of an even larger empire -- and this project is coming unstuck for various reasons.
 
BS. Empires fell because of the lack of information/supplies. They were too large to govern because if you wanted to send a message or food from Beijing to Kiev, it'd take you months. Right now, we have email and full infrastructure and jets.

America is a tiny something to govern, and we have elections every two years for something on the federal level and probably more often on the state level to make sure that we have government by, of, and for the people.
 
Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces -- with Alaska reverting to Russian control.
I could go on about how ridiculous it is to claim that Alaska, a state currently governed by anti-Communist nutcase Sarah Palin, would revert to Russian control, but the part about that that really gets me is "moral degradation". What does that even mean? This is the kind of vague, meaningless crud that signals the presence of a crackpot. It sounds to me like this guy's a crank, at best.
 

doug reich

Some guy
Ilya, I strongly disagree.

Adam, I agree with you. The entire "analysis" and "conclusions" display a total lack of understanding of, well, everything. Going back to a thread a few weeks ago about Peter Schiff, this guy is a crackpot who, even if he gets it right, deserves no credit for his being so wrong.
 
This article sounds like something written in the Weekly World News to be read while waiting in the checkout line at the supermarket. Perhaps right next to "Bush meets with aliens to discuss fate of Gaza". If there's a civil war in the making, I think Russia is a better candidate than the US.
 
I could go on about how ridiculous it is to claim that Alaska, a state currently governed by anti-Communist nutcase Sarah Palin, would revert to Russian control,

It's equally lunatic to argue that Texas will drift into Mexico's "sphere of influence": Mexico is almost a failed state, and for anyone who knows any history, Texas was deliberately carved out of Mexico by white settlers, many of whom had the idea of an independent Texan republic.
 
The article prompted a question about the White House's reaction to Prof. Panarin's forecast at a December news conference. "I'll have to decline to comment," spokeswoman Dana Perino said amid much laughter.

For Prof. Panarin, Ms. Perino's response was significant. "The way the answer was phrased was an indication that my views are being listened to very carefully," he says.
Prof. Panarin was expecting something along the line of "The US government is consulting with our top advisers to prepare for the scenarios expertly predicted by Prof. Panarin and the incoming administration is already in working closely with him".

I believe people now will pay more attention to talks about the end of the world predicted by many top astrophysicists and historical texts. It's a fun time to be in the business of gloom and doom.
Michael Drosnin, author of "The Bible Code," found a hidden message in the Pentateuch (the first five books in the Bible) that predicts that a comet will crash into the earth in 2012 and annihilate all life.
The Mayan calendar has many divisions of time: months of 20 days, years of 360 days, katun of 7200 days and a baktun of 144,000 days. Their calendar started on 3114-AUG-13 BCE with the birth of Venus. They expected the world to last for exactly 13 baktun cycles. They anticipated the end of the world near the Winter Solstice of 2012
On another unrelated note, many economists predicts http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20081229/ts_csm/aoutlook
 
As someone from the motherland, I cannot believe you guys posted this but since there's no other news out there why not. I dont like these types of predictions because they are too specific. The article quotes as proof someone who said the Soviet Union would collapse quite a vague proof. Moral degradation is an interesting catch phrase but nothing more. Btw this whole business of more information now is not quite accurate. While we do have more information we're only in the beginning stages of analyzing it effectively with huge gaps. We actually have too much information out there.
 
Skipping over fallacious remarks about civil unrest, I am even questioning the relative impact of this depression for U.S. vs other countries. More specifically, I don't see any evidence of relative slowdown of U.S. vs other powers.

China economy is slowing down more proportionally to U.S. due to this cycle. A tight dependency makes countries to move synced at least, China growth reduces from 10% to 5% or even less.
E.U. is in a deep crisis "spearheaded" by Spain, Italy, partially U.K.
Russia has huge problems due to drop in oil and natural gas prices. The relations with Ukraine and other Eastern European countries are not helping at all.
Shaky financial foundation brings some emerging countries on the brink of bankruptcy (e.g. Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria)

U.S. may have pulled the "depression signal", but other countries are swallowed first.
Some people couldn't wait for some damage, a payback for U.S. external politics however their judgement is clouded by bitter hate.
 
Moral degradation is an interesting catch phrase but nothing more.

Agree with your post. But let's look at Panarin's forecast a bit more deeply. What did it take for the Soviet Union to fold (Baltic secessionist movements, economic collapse,...)? What theoretically would it take for the US to splinter (secessionist movements, states' rights, economic collapse, unwillingness of foreigners to finance fiscal and current account deficits, weakening of the federal structure)? If this is impossible, then we can dismiss Panarin as one more crank and move on.
 
there will always be wackos predicting the end of the world (Nostradamus: 2012 series start on History Channel in a few days), so no surprises here.

an interesting thing is that the story is being endorsed by the official media.
to me it's just another tactic to divert attention from inner problems. it always helps to have a mega enemy, or know that others are faring worse than we are. fear-mongering is a powerful tool (ask Mr. Powell with his aluminun tubes story in UN prior to operation in Iraq).

another difference from the good old soviet brainwashing that i've become accustomed to is that instead of trying to anger citizens by just portraying americans as cunning imperialists, they are now trying to lift the spirit by telling everybody that US is about to collapse. yay! happy new year, comrades! so what that our economy is deflating, and that journalists are being assassinated on monthly basis, and that riots are happening around russian federation, etc, etc -- look, the US of A will collapse in June-July of 2010!

at the end of the day - a russian guy presents a theory of US collapse, and the story runs on russian official media...

i can't believe i'm discussing this.
 
What did it take for the Soviet Union to fold (Baltic secessionist movements, economic collapse,...)? What theoretically would it take for the US to splinter (secessionist movements, states' rights, economic collapse, unwillingness of foreigners to finance fiscal and current account deficits, weakening of the federal structure)?
I think there's an important difference between the Baltic seccessionist movements and the states' rights movements in America. First, the Baltic states had been somewhat autonomous, ethnically distinct regions prior to the Soviet Union's annexing of them. This is not entirely true of the states of the USA, with the exception of the Republic of Texas and maybe Puerto Rico and Guam. Since the Civil War ended over 140 years ago, nobody in America thinks of themselves as citizens of their state first, citizens of America second. (Well, maybe Todd Palin, but that's another story...) Even the most conservative of conservatives waves the American flag, not his or her state flag, on the fourth of July. We, as a nation, may very well be in decline, but I just don't see us breaking apart any time soon.
 
I simply disregard Prof. Panarin's article as total nonsense and I don't even want to spend time on reading it in whole. He should worry more on the impact of plunged oil price to the Russian economy. It might be good as the raw material of a fancy Hollywood movie for those who really need something to kill their time.
 
nobody in America thinks of themselves as citizens of their state first, citizens of America second. (Well, maybe Todd Palin, but that's another story...) Even the most conservative of conservatives waves the American flag, not his or her state flag, on the fourth of July. We, as a nation, may very well be in decline, but I just don't see us breaking apart any time soon.

I'm not disputing what you're saying but I seem to know an awful lot of people who fly the Dixie (Confederate) flag and take no pride or pleasure in being American at all. Some simmering resentment still down there. But as you say, it cannot be compared to the Baltics or Soviet Asia.
 
I simply disregard Prof. Panarin's article as total nonsense and I don't even want to spend time on reading it in whole. He should worry more on the impact of plunged oil price to the Russian economy. It might be good as the raw material of a fancy Hollywood movie for those who really need something to kill their time.

As an immigrant from Russia, I worry about this myself. I know there are a lot of damn good Russians both there and here (of course, there are also some very bad ones).

Not to mention, as was said in "The Russian Gamble" on CNBC that if Russia's economy collapses, Americans will be blamed in some form. On the other hand, I think it might be possible to mend relations in these times.

The Russians are good, smart people that are capable of some of the greatest ingenuity this world has ever seen, and should be seen as friendly people...
 
this guy's prediction is the biggest joke in China's media; although current Russian-China relationship is quite good, however, Chinese is not interested in sharing US with Russians, conditioned on this guy's dream come true, which is a infinitely small probability........
 
this guy's prediction is the biggest joke in China's media; although current Russian-China relationship is quite good, however, Chinese is not interested in sharing US with Russians, conditioned on this guy's dream come true, which is a infinitely small probability........

There's an informative new book out, titled "Axis of Convenience," which looks at the relationship between Russia and China. For the Chinese, Russia's pretensions to great power status are a joke. Unlike Russia, China prefers to downplay its significance in the world -- perhaps because in the next few decades, China will become more of an authentic great power than Russia. And for all the expressed cordiality between the two, the Russians are apprehensive of long-term Chinese intentions in the Russian Far East. Russia is now the junior partner in this "axis of convenience."
 
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