Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What motivated you to write your manifesto « The New Age of Sail »?
Dmitry Orlov: I had a realization that moving aboard a boat and sailing away would be a huge improvement over the typical work-car-house lifestyle I had before, and I turned out to be correct. I also did research on what sort of boat would work best, and was correct in that as well. I wanted to share my insights with others and to inspire them to do the same.
In recent years, climate refugees have been increasingly mentioned. In your opinion, are we at the beginning of the extinction of life on earth?
Their extinction is not observable by those who go extinct, because they are extinct. Therefore, this is a discussion of imagination, not fact.
In your books « Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects » and « The Five Stages of Collapse, » collapse is inevitable. Can you explain that?
I don’t see how any reasonable person can claim that collapse isn’t inevitable. A bit of research into nonrenewable natural resource depletion, population growth and energy consumption dynamics and the pace of environmental destruction is generally enough to understand this. I ask that people do their own research.
In your much commented article « Closing the ‘Collapse Gap’: The USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US », you assert that the USSR was better prepared for the collapse than the USA. On what arguments did you base your analysis?
Feelings aside, here are two 20th century superpowers, who wanted more or less the same things – things like technological progress, economic growth, full employment, and world domination – but they disagreed about the methods. And they obtained similar results – each had a good run, intimidated the whole planet, and kept the other scared. Each eventually went bankrupt.
Many of the problems that sunk the Soviet Union are now endangering the United States as well, such as a huge, well-equipped, very expensive military, with no clear mission, bogged down in fighting Muslim insurgents, such as energy shortfalls linked to peaking oil production, such as a persistently unfavorable trade balance, resulting in runaway foreign debt. Add to that a delusional self-image, an inflexible ideology, and an unresponsive political system.
The details of the analysis, sector by sector, are contained in this link: http://www2.energybulletin.net/node/23259
Can you explain why the theme of collapse is the main theme of all your work?
It isn’t. I’ve done what I planned to do in explaining collapse; now I am just an observer of it, commenting when this or that collapse occurs.
How do you explain the attitude of Obama who accuses Russia of having favored Trump to the detriment of Clinton in the last elections? Can we read it as the continuity of the Cold War or is it a real russophobia very present in particular in the US elites?
The Democratic Party establishment in the US has lost its way, disenfranchising most of its supporters and selling its soul to the likes of George Soros. As a result, they suffered humiliating defeat. And as a result of this defeat, they have lost their collective mind. They are at this point clinically insane.
Can the election of Donald Trump have a positive impact on US-Russian relations? Don’t you think that Obama and those who are behind him have prepared a crisis with Russia to leaving a poisoned chalice to Trump?
Trump is a wild card, but I suspect that relations with Russia can only improve at this point.
Isn’t this crisis with Russia that Obama wanted at the end of his presidency, orchestrated by the neocons, Soros, etc?
Yes, the neoliberals and the neoconservatives are both going down in a painful, humiliating defeat, and are thrashing about. But their reign of terror is over.
Is it in the interest of Vladimir Putin to give a blank check to Donald Trump or should he remain vigilant facing to the new US administration?
Putin’s job is to serve the interests of the Russian people. Good relations with the US serve these interests. Any notion of « giving a blank check » to anyone at all is, of course, out of the question.
You have alerted against an ecological catastrophe. Today we see the ice floe melting into near-general indifference. Are we witnessing the last cycle before the collapse of humankind?
I doubt that.
You mentioned the end of fossil energy. Don’t you think that the capitalist consumer society has prevented a real energy transition?
Hydrocarbons are what it takes to run an industrial economy, crude oil in particular. There are plenty of hydrocarbons left, but these remaining resources are of low quality and decreasing net energy. « Energy transition » is not practically possible for an industry that runs on coal, diesel and natural gas as its primary feedstocks.
Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen
Who is Dmitry Orlov?
Dmitry Orlov is a Russian-American engineer and author. He write on subjects related to « potential economic, ecological and political decline and collapse in the United States, » something he has called “permanent crisis”. Orlov believes collapse will be the result of huge military budgets, government deficits, an unresponsive political system and declining oil production.
Orlov was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and moved to the United States at the age of 12. He has a BS in Computer Engineering and an MA in Applied Linguistics. He was an eyewitness to the collapse of the Soviet Union over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late 1980s and mid-1990s.
In 2005 and 2006 Orlov wrote a number of articles comparing the collapse-preparedness of the U.S. and the Soviet Union published on small Peak Oil related sites. In 2006 Orlov published an online manifesto, « The New Age of Sail. » In 2007 he and his wife sold their apartment in Boston and bought a sailboat, fitted with solar panels and six months supply of propane, and capable of storing a large quantity of food stuffs. He calls it a “survival capsule.” He uses a bicycle to move on the ground.
Published in American Herald Tribune, January 18, 2017: http://ahtribune.com/us/1459-dmitry-orlov.html
In French in Palestine Solidarité: http://www.palestine-solidarite.org/analyses.mohsen_abdelmoumen.190117.htm