| 18.11.2014 | 00:00 US President Obama was joined by European leaders last weekend in trying to turn the G20 summit in Australia into a forum for baiting Russia, rather than dealing with the more onerous problem of a failing world economy. The annual meetings of the world’s top economies are by definition supposed to be aimed at addressing problems in the global economy. And those problems are increasingly onerous, with poverty in North America and Europe reaching record levels. Recent data from the EU, put the level of poverty in the bloc at an all-time high of some 122 million people – affecting around one-in-four citizens. Similar plummeting social conditions are haunting the United States, where economic recovery is anaemic at best despite official government statistics claiming that unemployment there is declining. As American commentator Paul Craig Roberts points out the official jobless figures in the US are meaningless when millions of long-term unemployed workers are excluded from the records. Worldwide, the economic outlook is grim, according to even the pro-Western International Monetary Fund’s latest assessment. So, you would think that top of the agenda for the G20 summit last weekend should be how governments are coordinating recovery efforts to get people back into work, relaunch economies with massive public investment, boost social welfare to mitigate rising poverty, and rebalance the explosion of inequality between capital and labour. No. Obama and European leaders sought instead to shift the focus from economics to «security» and in particular to add more international pressure on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. The American president told delegates in Brisbane that the US was leading the world in the fight against the Islamic State terror network, the Ebola disease (affecting a minuscule number of the world’s population), and «in opposing Russian aggression in Ukraine». Obama claimed that Russia presented a «threat to the world» and tendentiously reiterated the baseless claim that Russia was guilty in the downing of the Malaysia civilian airliner over Ukraine in July, with the loss of 298 lives. Obama’s «blame Russia» trope was supported by Hermann Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, who was also at the G20 summit. Van Rompuy – an unelected bureaucrat and the highest paid politician in the world on a salary of over $500,000 – said that EU foreign ministers were to meet in the coming days to slap more economic sanctions on Russia. «Russia must stop the inflow of weapons and troops from its territory into Ukraine and Russia must withdraw those already present,» said the former Belgian prime minister, without providing the slightest evidence to support this inflammatory assertion. Indeed three previous rounds of EU sanctions against Russia have been based on wholly unfounded accusations against Moscow, including the alleged downing of the Malaysian airliner, always on the basis of politicised innuendo bereft of any facts. Russia has consistently refuted that it is involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. It says it is not supplying weapons or troops and has continually demanded for evidence to be presented – a demand that has not been met by its accusers who simply pile on more baseless innuendo. Russian delegates at the G20 conference rebutted latest Western claims that it has deployed military convoys into eastern Ukraine as groundless «horror stories» that are not supported with verifiable proof. Moscow rightly points out that the conflict in eastern Ukraine has stemmed from Washington and its European allies illegally helping to overthrow the elected government last February and installing a deeply hostile regime in Kiev, which has proceeded to wage a murderous offensive on the Russian-speaking population in the east of the country simply because these people have refused to recognise the Western-backed coup. Russia has also provided information from satellite, radar and air traffic control communications that strongly implicate the Western-backed regime forces in the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner. Russia’s Channel One last week broadcast a satellite image showing the airliner being accompanied suspiciously by a fighter jet. That finding backs up previous claims that the passenger plane was shot down by a Kiev-commanded fighter jet, not hit with an anti-aircraft missile under the control of pro-Russian self-defence militia in Donetsk as the Western governments and media have continually alleged – and continue to allege as per Obama at the G20 last weekend. It should be evident from the complete dearth of evidence that the US-led hostility toward Russia has other ulterior motives. The expansion of NATO as an instrument of American global hegemony in a post Cold War world, the encirclement and attempted enfeebling of Russia as a global economic rival, the thwarting of a multipolar world that threatens to undermine American power and its declining dollar supremacy are all part of this agenda. Ironically, this desperate clinging to waning American hegemony, supported by European vassals, is serving to drive the world economy into deeper malaise and poverty. The truth is Washington and its European allies have no real alternative to resurrect their economies or that of the world. Their neoliberal capitalist dead-end policies of enriching a financial oligarchy while clobbering the mass of citizens with relentless austerity is a major reason why the world economy is irreversibly in demise. Meanwhile Russia with its ambitious new trade and financial partnerships with Eurasian partners, China in particular and other BRICS nations, is providing a bright potential way out of the global stagnation. This new geo-strategic direction also provides a more secure and law-based international order between nations. This explains why Obama and the European establishment were doing everything to keep the focus of the G20 summit away from «economics» and to scapegoat Russia for the mess that they have created. Western governments are bankrupt of new ideas to salvage the economic problems of the world. How could they be otherwise when it is their economic ideology that has produced the crisis facing humanity in the 21st Century? The real threat to the world is economic collapse and poverty. Without any solutions and in fact only exacerbating these problems, the US and European leaders are hiding behind a false agenda of non-issues, such as security, and in particular alleged «Russian aggression».