The View From Olympus: The Next Stupid Neocon War

Last week’s most important news event received remarkably little press.  According to the February 14 New York Times, shortly after landing in Poland for a major international conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed truth.  

No sooner had he landed that the prime minister’s Twitter account announced “an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

In case anyone doubts that this was a case of committing truth, the Times reported that “An hour later, the Twitter posting was changed to ‘advance the common interest of combating Iran.’”

So Israel wants war with Iran, and so do several Arab states with loud voices in Washington, especially Saudi Arabia.  From an American perspective, the problem is that both the Israelis and the Saudis will want the United States to fight the war for them.

This promises to be the Iraq war all over again.  American neocons were major players then in devising a new strategy for the destruction of every Arab country that could be a threat to the Jewish state.  Iraq was first on the list.  But then, as now, America was supposed to do the fighting, take the casualties and pay the bill.  The neocons worked on a president who had little understanding of foreign policy (though Trump is a great deal brighter than W.) to do their bidding, and he fell for it.  The result was a disaster for America and the region (and, ironically, Israel).  We lost more than 5000 young Americans dead, tens of thousands wounded, trillions of dollars wasted, and the Iraqi state destroyed, to the benefit of Fourth Generation, non-state entities such as Al Qaeda and ISIS that are real threats to the U.S. and Israel, which Saddam’s Iraq was not.  We also destroyed the main regional power that was blocking Iran’s quest for regional dominance.

Now, we are supposed to make up for that blunder by going to war with Iran.  The result would likely be even worse.  Iran has three times Iraq’s population, is more competent militarily, and can cut off the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf, creating a major gas crisis here.  The Pentagon will think it can restrict the war to an air and sea contest, which we could easily win.  But the Iranians can strike back on land, going after American troops in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan and potentially ending up with thousands of American hostages.  At that point, what’s our next move?

There is also a good chance a defeated Iran would disintegrate as Iraq did, creating yet another happy hunting ground for 4GW entities.  Those entities, once again, would be far more threatening both to the region and to us than is Iran.  Indeed, it is hard to see how Iran is today such a threat to the U.S. that we must go to war.  Iran threatens Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, but a war among those countries would probably not suspend oil shipments from the Gulf for very long because they all need to export oil to keep their economies functioning.  Beyond that, how is Iran a threat to us?  Terrorist incidents in the U.S. and Europe have overwhelmingly been carried out by Sunnis, not Shiites, often Sunnis trained in madrassas funded by Saudis.

But there is a real danger to Israel here, and it does not come from Iran.  Heartland Americans are tired of wars where their kids get crippled or killed for reasons no one can explain.  The fact that the U.S. was manipulated by unregistered Israeli agents into the war in Iraq is not widely known, at least to the public.  But public reaction against a war with Iran would develop quickly and strongly.  Can Israel be certain the American people will not figure out that our troops are serving as Israel’s unpaid Hessians?  In the age of the internet, control of the mainstream media may no longer suffice to sweep the truth under the rug.  What happens if ordinary Americans in large number start pointing the finger at Israel as the cause of our latest disaster–and when they are correct to do so?

By attempting to repeat its “success” in pushing America into war with Iraq, using the same technique, Israel risks revealing the man behind the curtain.  Should the American public turn against Israel, to whom will Israel look for the external support without which it cannot survive?  It would not be the first time Israelis brought the temple down on their own heads.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

Russia’s National Character

Following the Trump administration’s announcement on February 1st of its intent to withdraw from the INF treaty in six months, Vladimir Putin has made it abundantly clear he will match an eye for eye. Speaking to Russian media on February 20, Putin claimed his country was prepared to initiate another Cuban missile crisis of 1962, this time with boomer submarine launched weapons. Any moves to station missiles closer to Russia would be met with similar deployments of Russian weapons in relation to the continental United States. 

As the Mueller investigation coasts to uneventful and wasteful end and the fog and misinformation shrouding the Russians slowly lifts, has the time come to soberly assess our relationship with our former Cold War adversary? In addition to election meddling and collusion, pundits and politicians consistently cite a litany of abuses ranging from targeted assassinations to human right’s abuses. Russia’s conduct over the last several years has clearly not been up to par with Western standards of democracy and open markets.

Diplomats, intelligence agencies, and the military provide varying degrees of explanations for Russia’s conduct, some simple, some complex. But one dimension of causation is left almost entirely unexplored: national character. 

Despite Winston Churchill’s framing of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”, examining Russia as a single actor on the world stage, possessing a unique personality akin to a singular human being, formed over many centuries, provides an intriguing and useful result and helps answer the question everyone should really be asking: What is the proper way to approach Russia today and is a better relationship possible?

On the surface national character seems straightforward and easily quantifiable. Each country’s culture is equated with a peculiar and unique form of dress, food, idiosyncrasies, and language. The average tourist can in just a few seconds conjure up visions of what it means to be German, Italian, or Spanish. 

But not only does national character exist in the physical realm, the most important aspect is in the mental and psyche. Each country could be said to have an averaged, singular national consciousness formed by wars, religion, geography, and shared history. 

Since the founding of the United States, America’s patriotic national character has been well documented. When Alexis De Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s he discovered something peculiar about the American people. Across multiple cities and geographic regions, De Tocqueville found that as soon as he moved his conversations into the realm of the American experiment in democracy our citizens would hijack the dialogue to make it abundantly clear that the United States was the most indispensable nation, the light of the world. And for the modern Americans who aren’t intimate with our country’s exceptionalism, two words will likely jar the memory: Freedom Fries.

Has a similar measurement been taken in Russia? Fortunately, it has. American reporter Hedrick Smith spent four years in the Soviet Union in the 1970s at the height of Soviet Communism. Totally immersing himself behind the Iron Curtain, he discovered something peculiar about the Russian people who Solzhenitsyn claimed were “living in Communist captivity.” Cataloging his findings in his book, The Russians, Smith cited the “Soviet obsession with overcoming historic Russian backwardness in relation to the West. Like the czars before them, Soviet leaders are driven by a burning sense of inferiority.” Smith claims, “it is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of this as a clue to Soviet relations with the West.” The Russians don’t want to be second best, they want “to be seen as the equals of their chief rivals.” (Smith’s italics)

How has this inferiority complex formed? In many ways it is due to war: pain retains. Focusing on the modern era alone highlights several examples. Following successfully absorbing Napoleon’s Grande Armee, the Russians were slow to change and on the eve of the Crimean War in 1853, her military was a poorly led and equipped peasant conscript army. As detailed in Orlando Figes’ excellent work, The Crimean War, the “ethos of the army was dominated by 18th century parade-ground culture of the tsarist court.” Following her thrashing by the modernized British and French militaries at a cost of 450,000 dead (for comparison the United States lost a similar number in World War 2), Russia again lost in 1905 to Imperial Japan, and finally her inflexible system came crashing down with another defeat in World War I, ushering in the Revolution. American empathy is difficult to come by, our only experience with physical invasion by a foreign military was brief stint of Redcoats raging in Washington during the War of 1812.

With the collapse of the USSR a new era opened for engagement with Russia. The administration of President George H.W. Bush wisely chose to give the bear its space. In exchange for German membership in NATO, promises were made to not move NATO’s eastern border “one inch closer” to Russia. This promise did not last long. In 1999 Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic were added. And then in 2004 seven more countries, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria were added. These decisions shifted the eastern border of NATO to 100 miles from St. Petersburg. During the Cold War it was 1,000 miles. Were these choices prudent given Russia’s inferiority complex? Her neighbors soon found out.

Despite vehement Russian and Western European objections, in 2008 Georgia and Ukraine were considered for NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP). The supercharged neoconservative Bush administration, eager to push the Freedom Agenda right up to the bear’s den, could not take no for an answer. Thinking the Americans had their backs, the Georgians under now imprisoned Saakashvili went up to the den and started poking. The bear had enough and swiped back, both in Georgia and then in Ukraine and Crimea in 2014. How would the United States feel if the President of Mexico invited Russian troops to drill in the Baja peninsula a few dozen miles from the Naval Base of San Diego?

Filtered through the Russian inferiority complex, recent Russian actions are more “clear”. In TAC-recommended The Limits of Partnership, Angela Stent examines post-Cold War US-Russian relations. In 2012 the Obama administration passed the Sergei Magnitsky Accountability and Rule of Law Act to address the questionable death of Mr. Magnitsky, a lawyer investigating embezzlement attributed to Russian law and tax enforcement officials. The bill created a visa ban list for individuals connected to his death and left open the possibility of adding more names of those deemed guilty of human rights abuses. 

The Russian reaction reportedly “surprised American officials.” The Duma passed the Dima Yakovlev Law, banning future adoptions of Russian children by Americans. Additionally, the “Kremlin announced that it had its own blacklist of U.S. officials guilty of violating human rights who could not enter Russia.” Was this list legitimate? Likely not, but through the prism of inferiority their retaliation doesn’t seem out of bounds. The Russians felt compelled to meet an eye for an eye, to be “seen as equal.”

This complex became abundantly clear in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. Crimea had been culturally Russian since 1783 after Catherine the Great annexed the territory following a war with the Ottoman Turks. Only in 1954 did Nikita Khrushchev return the peninsula in an act of goodwill. Sevastopol remained on lease for the Russian Navy, being only one of two warm water ports (the other being Tartus in Syria), a clearly vital strategic interest. Following the election of Russian leaning Viktor Yanukovych in 2010, the lease on the port was extended from 2017 through 2042. However after Yanukovych fled in the February 2014 revolution, the rights to Sevastopol were in jeopardy and Russia had no other strategic option than to act. Launching a hybrid war of “little green men”, the Crimea was seized and a separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine erupted. Following the downing of MH17, the United States enacted sanctions that “sharply restricted access for Russian state banks to Western capital markets, their biggest source of foreign lending.”

The Russian response to sanctions? They had to shoot back, even if it was into their own foot. They “banned food imports from all the countries that had joined the U.S.-EU sanctions.” As stores and restaurants became barren and dysfunctional, ordinary Russians sarcastically decided their new gourmet dish would be “oysters from Belarus.”

Running as an outsider, President Trump saw Russia as a possible ally and today should still be duly considered. Russia will strike back over every US attempt at encroachment or sanction. It is simply in their nature and cannot be wished away through intimidation or sanction. It is who they are. This is independent of the personal psychology of Vladimir Putin.

A better US position would be to demonstrate goodwill and move first with de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine and Syria and discuss concrete steps to find common ground in possible future security or economic cooperation. Give Russia something great to live up to and let them rise to meet it. Because as former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz have said, “isolating Russia is not a sustainable long-range policy.”

Can any Russian provocation be labeled a first move? It is hard to find one example in the last two decades. America First will never get off the ground with nuclear superpowers conveniently lined up as dragons to be slain.

The Unserious State of the Union

President Trump’s state of the Union speech to Congress was adequate as to both substance and delivery.  It included some important initiatives, such as a border barrier, ending pointless wars in Syria and Afghanistan, rebuilding  American manufacturing and improving relations with North Korea.  As the president might say, “All good”.

Of more interest, and concern, were the atmospherics within and surrounding his speech.  Both reflected a soft, sentimental, womanized culture of “feelings” that is a classic sign of decadence.  Indeed, both the president and his audience wallowed in sentiment to the point where the event simply lacked seriousness.

On the president’s part, his “celebration” of women entering the workforce and Congress was perfectly politically correct.  Unfortunately, he was elected in no small part because as a candidate he defied political correctness.  By bowing to it before Congress and the country he suggested he is now caving to the Establishment.  No doubt his remarks pleased feminists, but feminists will never vote for Donald Trump.

Had the president instead decided to be serious, he would have pointed out that when a nation’s women leave their proper sphere and try to take over the roles of men, that nation is on the downhill slide.  The problem is not merely that women firemen, women soldiers, and women pilots cannot do the men’s jobs they have assumed, at least when the going gets rough.  Far deadlier to the nation’s future is the fact that when women abandon their highly important traditional roles of rearing children, making good homes, and serving their communities in a wide variety of volunteer roles, those jobs go undone.  Men do not fill up the resulting vacuums.

Instead of fawning over the feminists, the president might have pointed out that most women who work do so because they have to, not because they want to.  They would rather be at home with their husbands and children.  For them to do that, their husbands need the good-paying jobs manufacturing creates.  That would tie helping the non- and anti-feminist women who are part of Trump’s base to his high tariff policies.  Just as America industrialized under tariff protection, so it will need tariff protection to rebuild its industry.

The culture of sentiment overflowed the president’s speech in another way, namely his repeated turning to “human interest” stories and the people behind them who stood to take their bows.  I’m sure they were all worthy of their applause.  But the whole business of dragging them into what should be a serious review of, well, the state of the Union, was trivializing.  Can Americans no longer hear and consider serious matters?  Is everything to be reduced to third-grade “show and tell”?  The answers, from Mr. Trump’s speech, seem to be “no” and “yes”.

The worrisome atmospherics were not restricted to President Trump.  Nancy’s Pelosi’s leers, grimaces, and paper shuffling were unsuited to what should be a high and serious event, a formal review of the state of our Union.  Worse were the camera pans of the audience, High Panjamdruns all, who collectively suggested a cross between bingo night at St. John Bosco and the Brezhnev Politburo.  The silly women in white–scarlet would have been a more appropriate color–acted as if they had been enjoying the champagne from an early hour.  Had the whole event been presented as a satire to itself, would it have been any different?

The harsh reality is that the state of the Union is not good.  The bonds that hold us in union are weakening.  As the Establishment takes ever more extreme actions to force cultural Marxism down everyone’s throat–just look at the farce in Virginia, where a bit of shoe polish from 35 years ago is supposed to drive a governor from office–the people who live in the Heartland are saying, “Why should we knuckle down to this nonsense?  If that’s all the elite can do, let’s let them row their own boat while we sail ours.”

If the Union is to endure, its people will have to recover an ability to be serious.  Serious problems demand masculine facts and reason, not feminine feelings.  Women have a vital role in our society, but pretending they are men is not one of them.  A Congress full of women will not be able to make decisions necessary to reverse our decay, restore a common purpose, and set us on a new collective course.  Designing, building, and sailing a ship of state is a job for a team of men, not a bridal shower.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

The View From Olympus: Following the Classic Pattern

Great powers tend to follow a similar pattern of rise, a short time of dominance, overextension, and fall.  It is ever more clear that this country is following the classic pattern.  Our period of dominance ran roughly from 1945 to 1965; its end was marked by our defeat in Vietnam.  We are now in the latter stages of the phase of overextension.  Fall, I suspect, lies around the next corner.

The evidence is all around us.  The most dramatic is the Senate’s recent vote to oppose President Trump’s efforts to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan, withdrawals that would reduce our overextension.  The legislation was drafted by the Republican Majority Leader, Senator McConnell, and received overwhelming Republican support.  But the vote (technically a vote to cut off debate but indicative of the line-up on the substance) of 68 to 23 showed many Democrats also voted for continuing our overextension.  When the fall comes, neither party will have clean hands.

I would like to be able to say President Trump grasps the root problem, but as the pernicious neo-con influence on him grows, he too is stoking the fires of overextension.  His withdrawal from the treaty with Russia that limited intermediate-range missiles is one example.  His action is in direct opposition to his promise as a candidate to improve relations with Russia.  Instead, he has ended up driving Russia and China into alignment against us, giving this country an entirely avoidable rising threat to its diminishing power.

Another case of pushing our overextension further is the mad notion of intervening militarily in Venezuela.  Not surprisingly, two neocons, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Senator Marco Rubio, have concocted this witches’ brew.  The neocons cannot grasp the rule, demonstrated in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, that if you break it, you own it.  I’m sure Bolton is assuring yet another Republican president that if we intervene we will be met with cheers and flowers.  Don’t count on it.  The Latins would rather govern themselves badly than be “helped” to better government by American troops.

Why are we, and so many other countries before us, incapable of recognizing their overextensions and reducing their commitments?  Three factors seem to be in play.  The first is money.  The Washington Establishment makes heaps of money from a “defense” budget sized to rule the world.  Whether as campaign contributions, jobs and contracts after they leave office, or payments to family members working as lobbyists, senior Washington figures, civilian and military, are experts in “cashing in”.  Many arrive in Washington poor, but few leave poor.  Our trillion-dollar “national security” trough is the biggest in the world and the pigs have their snouts in it up to their ears.

Another cause is the psychological benefits of playing the “big man”.  Senators, generals, admirals, and high administration officials all like to swagger around the world, propping up their often fragile egos by representing “the only hyperpower”, “the indispensable nation”, and the like.  Modesty does not become them, or they would not have spent a lifetime crawling up the Establishment ladder in the first place.  They take any reduction in America’s world role as a personal hit to their own prestige.

Thirdly, the Washington and broader military elites insulate themselves from reality and from failure.  What subordinate dares tell a general that we have lost our recent wars?  Who among Senate staffers wants to be the bearer of bad news to his boss?  Our elites spend a great deal of effort making sure they do not come face-to-face with reality. In that, they are successful, if not in much else.

And so, regardless of what party is in power, our overextension will continue and even grow, until it all comes down in a heap.  I think that reckoning is coming soon.  In the meantime, if President Trump decides not to run again, a perfect replacement is waiting in the wings, someone to whom our situation would be entirely familiar.  Does anyone happen to know the email address of the Count-Duke of Olivares?

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

What the President Should Have Said

The failure of President Trump’s attempt to coerce the Democratic House of Representatives into funding the border wall was inevitable.  The Democrat’s strategy requires open borders.  That strategy, about which the Left has been quite open, is to swamp the votes of native-born Americans in a sea of immigrant votes.  The Democrats will not support measures that contradict their strategic requirements.

The president’s failure was turned into something of a rout by his attempt to couple the border wall to funding the government.  While the president’s base was not directly hurt by the shut-down, many of his supporters identified with the middle-class wage-earners who were not getting paid.  When those people began going off the job in order to get part-time work to pay the bills, the consequences, such as disruptions to air travel, forced the president to capitulate.  He was defeated, and his threat to shut down the government again in a few weeks would merely bring another defeat.

Here is where a curious characteristic of the Trump Administration again came to the fore.  All presidents suffer legislative defeats.  Previous president’s have had staffs that helped them minimize their failures by spinning them in creative ways.  As an old saying goes, politics is showbiz for ugly people.  Just as in Hollywood, the top people in Washington have had dozens of flacks, image-shapers, and spinmeisters who know how to put lipstick on a pig, wrap it in swaddling clothes and present it as Little Orphan Annie.

But President Trump does not.  He was left twisting slowly in the wind, by himself, able to call only on his own resources (which fortunately are considerable).  The result not only hurt him, it cost him an opportunity to hurt his enemies.

Let us imagine I had received a telegram from the White House, delivered by Western Union messenger riding a bicycle, requesting me to draft some remarks for the president for the occasion.  Here’s what I would have him say:

Once again, the Left-wingers who run the Democratic Party have refused to defend America and its citizens from invasion.  They demand that we leave our southern border open to anyone who wants to cross.  Millions of people have come here illegally across the border and the Democrats want millions more to do so.

The American people need to understand why the Democrats want open borders.  It is not because they want to be nice to little children.  The Democrats have a strategy for taking and keeping power in this country.  That strategy is to flood the country with immigrants whom they will register to vote, whether they are legal or illegal immigrants.  They expect those immigrants to vote Democratic so they can swamp the votes of native-born Americans in a sea of immigrant votes.  They plan to make every American a stranger in his own country.  They want to make foreigners the real rulers through a corrupted ballot box.

I know the Democrats in the House will not vote to fund the border defenses we need.  They are not going to vote to undermine their strategy for taking power.

Therefore, I will tomorrow meet with the Chairman and Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  I will give them a direct order to secure our southern border.  I will leave it up to them how best to do that.

I want to use our military to defend America and its citizens, not fight wars half-way across the world for reasons that are far from clear.  To those who may object to using the military, I ask you, what are our armed forces for if not to protect us from invasion?  Invasions by whole peoples are what brought down the Roman empire.  I will not allow such invasions to destroy us the same way.

I have not declared a national emergency because I do not need to do so and because I think it would set a bad precedent, a precedent other presidents could use in the future to harm this country rather than defend it.  As Commander-in-Chief I can give an order to the U.S. military without declaring an emergency, and that is what I will do.

The government shut-down made it clear the Democrats would rather deprive hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans of their paychecks than secure our southern border.  Now, we will pay those hard-working people and secure the border.  

I call that a win.

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

His Majesty’s Birthday, or, Look Who’s Back

Having been to Hell and back last year with His Majesty Kaiser Wilhelm II, my reporting senior, I was by no means certain what might result this year from my annual call to congratulate him on his birthday, January 27.  The British had again been fooling around with our transatlantic cables, so I decided to go “hi-tech”, using Telefunken’s new wireless telegraphy to Potsdam via the big sender at Nauen.  I was surprised when, seemingly not getting through, my telephone rang.  On the other end was His Majesty.

“You got through all right, never fear.  The Russians were supposed to jam our signals to and from Nauen, but we sent them a trainload of vodka and they’re still sleeping it off.  London is leaving our phone lines alone now, after we dropped ten tons of Leberkäse on them in a zeppelin raid.  I’ve heard they are shipping most of it to Scotland where the locals take it for fois gras, or so Dr. Johnson told me.”

“Dr. Johnson can always be relied on when it comes to the Scotts, Your Majesty,” I replied.  “And happy birthday.”

“Thank you, and it is a happy one, for reasons you will soon understand.  It looks as if I will soon be going home.”

That puzzled me.  I went to Doorn, in the Netherlands, this summer, to see where Kaiser Wilhelm lived in exile and where he is entombed.  I know his will specified that he is not to be returned to Germany until that country is again a monarchy.  Could that day be near at hand?

“You’ll see it all plain enough from L-70.  Look for us from your front yard three days hence,” His Majesty said.  “Be ready for some high-altitude flying.”

L-70 was one of our “height-climber” Zeppelins that could rise up to 26,000 feet.  I had heard it was not a pleasant experience, since they were neither pressurized nor heated.  As it happened, I had heard right.

It’s hard missing a Zeppelin hovering low over a Cleveland street, and three days later His Majesty welcomed me on board.  We dropped a couple tons of water ballast, set the elevators for climbing and rose with remarkable rapidity.  No English aeroplane could win a climbing contest with a Zeppelin.

Long before 26,000 feet I was gasping and puking.  The bottled oxygen reduced the former but increased the latter.  His Majesty gave me a hearty slap on the back and told me to buck up.  We hit 26,000 and kept rising.

“Good God, how high is this thing going?” I asked dejectedly.

“High enough to see the future,” His Majesty replied.  At that, I passed out.

When I came to, all was well again.  We were cruising about 500 feet above the beautiful German countryside.  Every town seemed to be staging some sort of political rally or civic event.  Change was in the air.

“What’s going on?” I asked the Kaiser.  

“Some very interesting politics,” he replied.  “Let me fill you in.  The rise of the Alternative fur Deutschland (AFD) party gave Germans a truly German party.  But the broader growth of what has been termed “populism” in Germany and elsewhere didn’t stop there.  The AFD was a normal, respectable party.  But to its right soon arose something less respectable.  Calling itself the Nationale Deutsche Abiturlose Partei (NDAP), roughly the “National German Party for People Without Degrees,” this party hearkened back not to my Second Reich but to the Third.”

“The NDAP didn’t amount to much until it found a leader,” the Kaiser continued.  “He was an entertainer, a man of uncertain origins who called himself Adolf Hitler, looked like Hitler and seemingly never stepped out of his role.  Like the man he impersonated, he was a highly effective speaker and organizer and a man with a powerful, I would say unstoppable, will to power.”

“It’s a Look Who’s Back scenario!” I said excitedly.

“Yes, indeed, it was Er Ist Wieder Da.  And it had to be stopped.  As a Hohenzollern, the last thing I wanted was to see was Germany again led by an Austrian corporal, first as tragedy and then as farce.”

“So on the night before Christmas, I paid a visit to my descendent Georg Friedrich, the present head of the House of Hohenzollern and rightful King of Prussia and German Kaiser.”

“Did Mr. Dickens perhaps suggest this course?” I asked.

“I recalled it from when I had read Dickens,” His Majesty replied.  “But he was delighted.”

“Anyway, I told Georg Friedrich in no uncertain terms to get off his backside and stop this nonsense, as I would have stopped the Nazis if I had still been Kaiser.  You can thank Woodrow Wilson that I wasn’t.”

“The worst American President ever,” I added.  “He gave the world both Stalin and Hitler.”

“He did, but I wasn’t about to let it happen again.  I told Georg Friedrich to go talk to the AFD.  They needed to shore up their right flank and he was the man to do it.”

“Anyway, he took my advice as Mr. Scrooge took Marley’s and as a result the AFD made Georg Friedrich its leader and he won.  This time, the Left had the sense to back the legitimate ruler instead of leaving the door open for you know who.  In truth, Ebert never wanted me to go.”

“And now Germans have come to their senses and are today rallying and celebrating because the restoration of the monarchy is before the Reichstag and everyone except the NDAP is for it.  Which means I will finally be going home.  And Prussia is back on the map!”

“It seems I have much more to congratulate Your Majesty on this year than another birthday,” I offered.  “I hope this won’t mean we lose our connection.”

“Not at all, my friend, not at all,” the Kaiser assured me.  “I’ve already asked the Garde du Corps to admit you to its mess.”

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

Liberal Democracy is a Contradiction

The November 2 New York Times carried an article titled “What is Pulling Liberal Democracy Apart?”  The article itself was the usual drivel, but the title stuck with me.  The Establishment really does not understand why its definition of “liberal democracy” is failing. Yet the answer is obvious: “liberal” now contradicts “democracy”.

This was not always true.  When “liberal” retained its historic meaning as broad-minded, generous, and tolerant, desirous of a free market both in economics and in ideas, it was at least compatible with democracy, although there were tensions.  As a look at classical Athens quickly shows, democracy often went in distinctly illiberal directions.  Cleon was a product of democracy, just as much as Pericles, and it was not a monarch who ordered Socrates to drink the hemlock.  Nonetheless, in America and Britain, from the mid-19th century onward the old liberalism and democracy got along reasonably well.

Why is that no longer the case?  Why, in country after country, does the Left find democracy leading to governments (Trump, Orban, Putin) and measures (Brexit, keeping out migrants) liberals abhor?  Because the old liberalism is dead.  It died in the 1960s when the New Left took its arguments to the extreme, turned them against the old-line liberals and destroyed them morally by pointing out their contradictions.  I watched that happen at Dartmouth College in the late 1960s when I was a student there.  All the liberals who ran the college could do when the SDS threw their own arguments (always qualified, in the liberals’ minds, by common sense) back in their faces was to stammer and yield.

Herbert Marcuse provided the intellectual foundations of the New Left by feeding them the Frankfurt School’s cultural Marxism, carefully pureed into baby food.  Cultural Marxism became the ideology of the Boomer generation, and it remains today that generation’s definition of liberalism.  It is, in the old sense of the word, thoroughly illiberal: intolerant, ungenerous, narrow-minded, loathing free markets of all kinds, especially a free market in ideas.  Just look at any campus where cultural Marxism rules, which seems to be most of them.  Anyone who dares question feminism, “gay rights”, “equality” in any of its manifestations, is soon in serious trouble.  All must bow and scrape before the “general line of the Party”.

That “liberalism”, liberalism re-defined as cultural Marxism, is inherently contradictory to democracy.  Why?  Because normal people reject the swill.  Ordinary Whites don’t apologize for being White or regard themselves as “oppressors”.  Reasonable men and women recognize the sexes are not interchangeable.  While most people are willing to tolerate homosexuality, they reject a demand to approve of it, and they think discretion is the tribute vice of all sorts should pay to virtue.

The cultural Marxists have sought to deal with a widespread and growing democratic rejection of their ideology by subverting democracy.  They have done so by trying to keep any alternatives to themselves off the ballots.  For a long while, both here and in Europe, they succeeded.

But that trick has run its course.  People now see through “conservatism” such as that of too many Republicans here, the Conservative Party in Britain, the CDU in Germany and so on.  A “conservatism” that will not fight cultural Marxism, as those parties will not, is no conservatism at all.  So real conservative candidates and parties, candidates and parties that reject the whole Establishment and its ideology, are now getting on ballots and, where they do so, winning elections.  When ordinary people are not allowed a truly democratic choice, they vote against today’s liberalism and for their historic faith, culture, and race.  What a surprise!

And so the Left is now caught in a contradiction of its own making, a contradiction between its ideology of cultural Marxism, labelled “liberalism” or “progressivism”, and its promotion of democracy.  It can have one or the other, but not both.  At present, it cannot choose.  Eventually it will, and its choice will be to extinguish democracy and forbid people to vote for anything but more cultural Marxism.  If we get to that point it will mean war.

You can safely bet this was not the analysis the New York Times provided its readers on what is pulling liberal democracy apart.