In this recent interview Jeffrey Sachs reveals a great deal from an insider’s point of view on the role of the West in ginning up the present war in Ukraine and about the "Shock therapy," that the West administered to both Russia and Poland in the 1990s. The interview carried on The Duran YouTube channel is both informative and in certain respects inspiring.
"Insider" is an understatement when it comes to Sachs. For example, as an advisor to the Soviet government on economic reform in the 1990s, he sat in a room with Russian economist colleagues in the Kremlin when Boris Yeltsin entered with an announcement. Yeltsin had just conferred with the Soviet military in a nearby room and they had agreed to dissolution of the Soviet Union!
Perhaps the most stunning bit of information in the interview comes from Sachs’s disclosure of the reason for the failure of "Shock therapy" in Russia. "Shock therapy" is the name given to the abrupt transition from the Soviet-style command economy to a market-oriented economy. It was a success in Poland, but a failure in Russia where it led to a depression deeper and more costly than our own Great Depression. Why? Sachs was an advisor to Poland and then Russia for the "therapy." So he had witnessed a "controlled experiment," as he put it elsewhere. At a certain point it the process, financial help from the outside was needed to revive the economy on a new basis. It was provided to Poland; but when Sachs called for the same help in Russia, it was refused by the West, specifically by the White House. This happened despite Sachs’s direct pleas to the White House. The depression that followed was neither accidental nor a surprise. Far from it. This was the first time that the US attempted to "weaken" post-Cold War Russia, an attempt that was eventually reversed under Putin.
Various aspects of the US role in Ukraine are also touched on. Why, for example, have the European nations not stood up to the US’s demands to press on with the Ukraine war even though it is damaging to them? Sachs says he discussed that issue with a number of unnamed European officials and their reply was that the decision was not under their control; the US controlled that. What a sad admission that, in their alliance with the US, they have lost their sovereignty.
There is more. Sachs admits to his early naïveté as a younger man about the role of the US and holds out hope despite the present dismal order of things. In that last sense the interview is inspiring. Watch it. It is an antidote to the naïveté that abounds in almost every quarter of the West.