The View From Olympus: More Strategic Blindness

The Washington defense and foreign policy Establishment is once again beating the war drums on North Korea.  In doing so, it is showing a strategic blindness that seems to be its foremost characteristic. 

Most analyses of a potential new Korean War focus on the tactical/technical level.  At that level the dangers are many and apparent.  North Korea could dump massive firepower on Seoul with little or no warning, killing thousands of civilians.  It could plaster the area where American military dependents are concentrated with longer-range fire.  It could strike before South Korea could mobilize.  It could make its operational Schwerpunkt a light infantry advance down Korea’s eastern side with a turning movement south of Seoul, which could catch us mal-deployed in anticipation of an armor thrust down the west coast.  In sum, at the tactical/technical and operational levels there are many ways a Korean War could go badly for us.

But what about the strategic level?  Here the picture, which Washington cannot see, is no better, even if we assume (probably rightly) that North Korea would not be able to destroy an American city with a nuclear strike or fry all the electronics in our homeland with a high-altitude EMP blast.

To see the strategic danger, let’s assume that on the tactical and operational levels the war goes well.  With either a pre-emptive strike (Bismarck described preventive war as committing suicide for fear of being killed) or an immediate and overwhelming response to North Korean action we collapse the North Korean regime, destroy its missiles, quickly end the bombardment of Seoul and win.  The South suffers little damage.  We have few casualties.  North and South Korea reunite.  Birds soar, choirs of children sing, and we all dance around the Maypole.  What then?

At that point, I fear the danger of “catastrophic success” on the strategic level is high.  A reunited Korea would be an immense threat to Japan.  That would be true even if it was de-nuclearized.  As long ago as the 1970s, when I was in Korea with a U.S. Senate delegation, South Korean officials told me openly that the South Korean navy and air force are designed for a war with Japan, not North Korea.  The enmity between the two peoples goes back centuries.  Koreans want revenge for Japan’s occupation early in the 20th century.  They know Japan is militarily weak.  The temptation to attack, or at least dictate to, Japan would be overwhelming.

In response, Japan would have to re-arm.  If a united Korea retained North Korea’s nukes, Japan would have to go nuclear.  If not, she would still have to build up her “self-defense” forces to the point where they became the Imperial Navy and Imperial Army in fact if not in name. 

That in turn would be seen as a major threat by China.  Here too policy is determined at least in part by memory.  China’s nuclear weapons make a Japanese attack on China impossible, even if Japan wanted a war, which it does not.  But Chinese memories of Japanese invasion are recent and vivid.  They are stoked by rising Chinese nationalism.  A Chinese government that did not respond forcefully to Japanese re-armament would lose legitimacy.

Where does all this leave the United States?  We are allied to Japan.  So at the strategic level we would have traded a threat from North Korea brought about by our alliance with South Korea for a threat from China brought about by our alliance with Japan.  China is a far more powerful and potentially dangerous adversary than North Korea.  More, to confront effectively the rising Fourth Generation war threat around the world, we need an alliance with China (and Russia).  So there would be a high strategic opportunity cost.    

This is what catastrophic success looks like.  Even if we win, perhaps especially if we win, we lose.  There can be no greater strategic failure than losing by winning.  It tells us the whole strategy was wrong from the outset.  Which it is.

 

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

A Culture of Cant

“Cant” was one of Dr. Samuel Johnson’s favorite words and least favorite things.  In his usage, “cant” meant the third definition offered by my American Heritage dictionary: “hypocritically pious language”.  Thanks to the cultural Marxists, America is now immersed in a political culture of cant.

President Trump’s comments about some Third World countries recently brought forth a veritable festival of cant.  The President somewhat undiplomatically referred to Haiti, most African countries and El Salvador as “shithole” countries and suggested we would be better off getting immigrants from Norway than from those places.

Well, of course we would.  Immigrants from Norway are far more likely to contribute to our society than immigrants from Haiti.  At the same time, immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and most of Africa are more likely to end up takers, people who cost us more than they contribute.  Their low skills, large families, and propensity to crime (El Salvador is one of the most violent countries on earth) make this almost inevitable.  And yes, these countries are shitholes.  The only way in which President Trump was slightly at error is that in Haiti and most of Africa there usually isn’t a hole.  Even in India, a country far advanced over Haiti and most of Africa, a third of the population craps in the open like dogs.  They don’t call it the Turd World for nothing. 

The cultural Marxists’ response to the President speaking the truth was to howl to the heavens.  They trotted out every “-ism” word they could think of.  They found one Haitian woman who had done well in the U.S. and pointed her out (as a wholly atypical example).  I’m sure they tried to find a Norwegian mugger but quickly found that in Norway the muggers are mostly Somalis whom the Norwegians were dumb enough to import as “refugees”.  Norway had to publish a pamphlet in Somali saying no, it isn’t OK to rape Norwegian women because they were out in public without a male relative.

Here is where the cant comes in.  Everyone in this country, including the most avid cultural Marxists and people from the countries he called shitholes (who left because they are shitholes) knows that what the President said is true.  Their protests are entirely and wholly cant.

The Left has been in love with cant for a long time.  To pretend races and ethnic groups within races are all the same is cant.  To assert that men and women are interchangeable and that women make fine firemen and soldiers is cant.  To say all cultures are of equal value is cant.  Who was the Mozart of the Hottentots or the Palladio of the Apaches?

What makes the Left’s blather cant is that they know what they are saying is lies as they say it.  So deeply are they immersed in cant that their very vocabulary has become it’s language.  “Sexism”, “racism” (as they define it), “homophobia”, and above all “hate” are words that canter along at a remarkable pace.  The cultural Marxists are themselves champion haters.  They hate the Christian religion, Western culture, the White race, men (unless they are gay), non and anti-Feminist women (a majority), conservative blacks, Asians (because they are competent and thus not “victims”)— the list goes on forever.  Ultimately, they hate God.  But in their language of cant, none of this counts as hate.  Why?  Because by their definition only the Right can hate.  Again, they know all of this is B.S. as they solemnly pronounce it.  That is the essence of cant.

The rise of populism in the U.S. and in Europe is driven in part because ordinary people are starting to perceive the cant.  They increasingly understand that when the cultural Marxists and Establishment politicians spew the blather the Left demands, they know they are not speaking the truth.  They are speaking entirely in “hypocritically pious language”, i.e. cant.

In contrast, when President Trump and real conservatives in Europe call shithole countries shitholes, the public knows they are not canting.  They may on occasion be wrong (President Trump was not), but they are saying what they genuinely think.  The populist rebellion is in many ways a rebellion against cant.  For both the cultural Marxists and the Establishment, that is very bad news because they have nothing to offer but more cant.

 

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

His Majesty’s Birthday

I usually telephone my reporting senior and oberste Feldherr Kaiser Wilhelm II on his birthday, January 27, to offer my best wishes.  But His Majesty is fond of surprises.  This year, he gave me quite a surprise.

A fortnight earlier, on January 8, I received a peremptory telegram from Berlin: “Report to His Majesty January 26 at Nordholz.”  That set off a wild scramble.  I grabbed the first train from Cleveland to New York, where to my great good fortune our Doppelschifffschrauberturbinenschnellpostdampfer (H.L. Mencken’s favorite German word) Kronprinz Wilhelm was sailing for Hamburg that evening.  I informed the captain that I was a General Staff officer traveling on personal orders from His Majesty the Kaiser and he poured on the coal.  We made it into Hamburg with time to spare, and a quick train ride took me to Nordholz.  When the Imperial train pulled in on the 26th, I was on the platform.

Nordholz is the great base of German naval aviation.  Located close to the North Sea (and Britain), its heart is an astounding, vast hanger that holds two Zeppelins and revolves.  To see something that big move is quite astonishing.  The purpose is to enable the navy to launch airships regardless of the direction of the wind.  Getting a Zeppelin out of its shed in a crosswind is not something anyone tries a second time. 

After greeting His Majesty on the railway platform and offering my best felicitations on his coming birthday, I asked where we were off to the next day by Zeppelin.  I expected a raid on London.  We and the Brits still bomb each other in heaven, but the bombs contain food rather than explosives.  Still, a six-hundred pounder filled with with Teewurst makes an impression on Whitewall.

“We are going to Hell,” the Kaiser answered.

“Which Hell does Your Majesty have in mind?” I asked.

“If it’s the one in Washington, I’d just as soon stay here.  I’ve seen enough of that one to last a lifetime.”

“Which Hell?  The real Hell, of course.  I want you to hear what the master strategist Satan is up to, and I want you to hear it direct from him.”

Great, I thought.  From an America going to hell in a hand basket I’ve come to Germany to go to Hell in a Zeppelin.  Max Hoffman to the contrary, life on the General Staff is not all sausages and Champagne.

The next morning the Imperial party boarded L11, with Kaleu Mathy as ship captain, a reassuring choice.  Strasser wanted us to fly with him on L70, but His Majesty wisely declined.  “That didn’t work out too well last time, Peter,” the Kaiser reminded the old jinx.  His Majesty gave the order “Up ship!” And we rose majestically in the cool morning air.  It was nice to be flying as God intended, not in a cigar tube that falls out of the sky if the engines fail.

Out of His Majesty’s hearing, I quietly asked Kaleu Mathy how our hydrogen was likely to react to Hell’s flames.  “You have forgotten your Dante, Herr Oberst,” he replied. “Hell is cold.”

Cold it was, bitter cold, worse than Cleveland in January.  We had picked up our guide, Virgil, in Limbo, and he wisely was wrapped in more than a toga.  Our journey ever downward was swift, far swifter than Dante’s; he was walking and we sailed through the fumes that passed for air.  The engines didn’t like them much but being Maybachs they kept running.

“Won’t Satan and his devils spot us?” I asked Virgil.  “We’re not exactly small.”

“Fear not,” he replied.  “With all the politicians raining on Hell these days, no one will pay attention to one more giant gasbag.”

Even through Hell’s frigidity, as frigid as a female fighter pilot, my first sight of Satan frozen in the ice pierced me like a dagger from Mordor.  Mortals are not meant to see such sights.  We cut the engines and we drifted in close.  “Good timing,” the Kaiser said to me.  “He’s lecturing a group of new Joint Staff officers on Hell’s strategic plan.”  I did know service on the Joint Staff was hell; now I knew why.

“Like all good plans,” the Devil began, “my strategic plan is simple.  No matter what course humans choose, what path they take, what door they open in the world I own, they come to me.  Do they embrace politics on the Left as a way to help the poor?  I have twisted that desire into Marxism, the destroyer of churches.  Do they turn to the Right?  I smeared all that was good there with the mud of fascism and Naziism.  Thank you for your good help Herr Hitler.”  Satan nodded to the Fuhrer, who was sharing an eternal plate of gefiltefisch with Stalin and Roosevelt.  The Fuhrer did not look pleased.

“Perhaps they seek to find the good causes such as environmentalism or ‘animal rights’,” the Devil continued, munching on a PETA member.  “I am twisting environmentalism into the most anti-human ideology yet conceived, and I use pets to absorb the love people should have for their own kind.”

“Of course, most humans, sheep without wool that they are, just follow the herd in seeking pleasure and entertainment.  The sensual pleasures, carried now to such extremes as to know no limits, have always been mine.  In consumerism, I have built a world economy on the sin of covetousness.”

“Even many of the Enemy’s churches are now mine.  Instead of worshipping Him Whom We Name Not, they tell the poor fools who go there, “We’re all about you.  We want to make you feel good about yourself!”  And so instead of the Enemy they worship themselves.

“Even this might not have given me victory.  But Hell Laboratories have in recent years created what philosophers call a meta-level:  the Internet, to give it its true name.  Now, whatever poor mortals seek, they seek through their computers, phones, and the Internet, which is to say me.  So powerful is this tool, whereby the image displaces the Word, there can be no escape.  Conditioning through images and, soon, through HL’s latest brilliant stroke, genetic engineering, will destroy human free will altogether.  And that will be my final victory, for it will mean that when the Enemy returns to Earth, there will be no creatures made in His own image there to meet him, at least not among the living.”

Smirking in self-satisfaction, Satan asked, “Any questions?”

Far in the back, a small claw rose tentatively into the icy miasma.  “Yes?” The Devil indulged.

A very junior imp, probably a National Guardsman, ventured, “Sir, what if people just decided to go back, you know, just dumped all the technology and ideologies and the rest of the modern stuff and returned to the old ways of living?  I think there are some people who do that, called the Amish.  If lots of people started doing it, how would your strategy work?”

With a snarl of rage, Satan lashed out, grabbed the offending imp, and bit his head off.  “Any more questions?” The Devil asked.  Most Joint Staff officers knew never to ask questions.

“That’s it, time to head home,” His Majesty ordered.  Kaleu Mathy dumped water ballast, the engines kicked over, the elevators swung and L11 rose fast, as only a Zeppelin can.  Virgil thanked us for a much easier trip than his last one — the Kaiser graciously offered to send the airship whenever he wanted to travel — and in no time we were dropping the landing lines at Nordholz.

“A most instructive trip,” I said to the Kaiser.  “I can truly say I’ve been to Hell and back.”

“Just wait until next year!” His Majesty replied.  Der Reise Kaiser indeed!

 

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

The View From Olympus: Another Strategic Blunder

Last week Washington committed another strategic blunder.  On Thursday, January 4, President Trump announced a cut-off of almost all military aid to Pakistan.  This was an unfortunate and unwise strategic decision that contradicts three basic realities. 

First, the action was driven by Pakistan’s continued support for the Taliban in Afghanistan.  This is a classic strategic error, putting a lesser goal before a more important one.  Pakistan is far more important strategically than Afghanistan.  Afghanistan is a strategic backwater.  Success or failure of our efforts there means little beyond the borders of that unhappy country (Al Qaeda long ago found better bases elsewhere).  Pakistan is highly important for the whole region.  It is a nuclear power.  It has one of the few competent Islamic state militaries.  The ultimate nightmare scenario is that the already weak Pakistani state disintegrates and 4GW elements grab the nukes.  Cutting off military aid to Pakistan moves us closer to that strategic disaster.

Second, Pakistan cannot do what we want and move against the Taliban so long as the Afghan government remains aligned with India.  As I wrote in an earlier column, we should long ago have given the Afghan government an ultimatum: either de-align with India and become a very loyal ally of Pakistan or we are pulling out.  The Trump administration is correct that Pakistan holds the keys to success in our endless and largely pointless Afghan war.  But the Afghan government holds the keys to Pakistan, in the form of its alignment with India – an alignment we have encouraged, in a strategic blunder so elementary it suggests the inmates are running the asylum.

Third, we cannot support our war in Afghanistan without using logistics lines, air and ground, that run through Pakistan.  Does no one in Washington have a map?  There is an alternate (longer and more expensive) logistics route through Russia, but the same ninnies who want to weaken Pakistan have also led the charge to alienate Russia.  Do we expect to support our forces in Afghanistan from space?  Action by Pakistan, Russia, or both that finally forced us to leave Afghanistan would probably be a favor to us, since we seem unable to face reality (we’ve lost) and get out on our own.  But our troops still need an exit, unless they want to do what the British army did and remain in Afghanistan forever.

The recurrent question is how our foreign policy establishment can be so inept.  It has nothing to do with political parties or who is in the White House, although some of us voted for President Trump in hope that he would not listen to the Establishment.  The problem is that the foreign policy Establishment as a whole acts as if it is made up entirely of children.  It does so because you cannot become a member of that Establishment unless you see the world through a child’s eyes.  Our planet is a playroom in Miss Millicent’s Academy for Especially Annoying Children and Washington’s job is to make sure all the children play nicely.  We are to accomplish that impossible task by forcing democracy, consumerism, and our garbage popular culture down everyone’s throat, using the U.S. military as our long-handled spoon.  When other countries and cultures spit the poisonous mixture back up, we call in the drones and the bombers.

The only solution is to send the whole foreign policy establishment packing.  Give them a big sucker, a beanie with a propeller on top, and a swift kick out the door, with a parting suggestion they go play in the cat’s favorite sandbox.

In their place we need the sort of people we had at the Cold War’s outset, realists like George Kennan and Dean Acheson.  If it were up to me, the Foreign Service exam would consist of one essay question:  Why should every diplomat worship at the feet of Prince Bismarck?  Eating fois gras to the sound of trumpets in heaven, I’m sure the old man is laughing.

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

  

Blaming the Victim

One of the feminists’ favorite bleats is that pointing the finger at the woman in any case of “sexual harassment” is “blaming the victim”.  With a wave of a witch’s wand they have done away with all vamps, hussies, floozies, jades, tramps, and sluts.  Every woman is as pure as the driven snow and as innocent as Little Nell.

The game here is obvious: in cultural Marxism, the most exalted title is that of “victim”.  But if we depart from ideology and look instead at reality, we soon see that the real victims of Feminism are non-elite women and men.

Feminism has benefitted a small minority of elite women, who can now live as if they were (very successful) men.  But for the average woman, feminism has been a disaster.  Why?  Because with its promotion of no-fault divorce, it has taken away the main support of ordinary women’s lives: marriage.  Now, as they get old and fat, instead of a comfortable old age surrounded by children and grandchildren, they get dumped.  All the husband has to say is, “I want a divorce.”  The ex-wife is well past her sell-by date and is left alone, poor and miserable.  From what I have seen over a lifetime, men do a great deal better on their own than do women as they age.  I don’t know how many women of my generation have said to me, “If only I could have the life my grandmother had.”  Feminism has made that unlikely.

Men are another victim of Feminism.  The feminists’ game plan never varies.  First, on the basis of “equality” (defined as interchangeability) demanded that women be allowed into every job, including many that only a tiny handful can do such as firemen, sailor, and soldier.  When women cannot perform, the feminists demand that standards be lowered.  Then, they demand that the aggressively male culture organizations that do dangerous jobs require be altered to make it comfortable for women.  That drives the best men out.  Finally, the men who remain are put under a reign of terror where if they so much as ogle a woman they are in serious trouble, usually through a commissar system that deems the woman always innocent regardless of her behavior.  At that point, the institution is wrecked to where it cannot fulfill its purpose and everyone who depends on it becomes a real victim.

Both classical economic Marxism and cultural Marxism engage in loser worship.  “Victim” is simply the fashionable word for loser.  Both varieties of Marxism assume that losers have never become losers by their own fault.  They are losers only because they have been “oppressed” by those who are not losers.  Both Marxisms demand that society reach deep into humanity’s sewer and plop whatever it finds there on the civic altar where all must bow down and worship it.  One might call it a cacastrocracy.

This in turn reveals Marxism’s foundational trick.  It takes praiseworthy aspects of traditional Judeo-Christian societies, in this case charity for the blind, the botched, and the bewildered, carries them to an extreme and turns them into weapons against that society.  This is how the cultural Marxists took over so many universities beginning in the 1960s.  Those universities were run by liberals, but liberals who had not completely lost their grip on reality.  The cultural Marxists took those liberals’ stated values, such as world peace, tolerance, and equality, carried them to extremes, and then turned them back on the liberals.  The liberals could only respond with complete moral collapse.

Fortunately, both in the United States and in Europe, the day of moral collapse are coming to a close.  Reality is returning as a political force.  Reality tells us that if we want to keep men and women from sexually harassing each other (bat your eyelashes, girls), we have to keep them separate.  Reality facilitates doing so, because it recognizes that men and women are not interchangeable.  They are inherently different, their minds work differently and their traditional social roles reflect their inherent differences.  Women make poor firemen and soldiers, while men are lousy homemakers and child-rearers.  As always, there are individual exceptions.  But if societies are to work, they must be based on what is true of people in general.  And what is true is that feminism is a howling lie.

The View From Olympus: Getting Grand Strategy Wrong

One of the iron laws of warfare is that a higher level dominates a lower. You can be brilliant tactically, but if you are defeated operationally, you lose. You can win tactically and operationally, but if you get beaten strategically, you lose. And if you get your grand strategy wrong, you lose no matter how well you did at the lower three levels. The German Army was the best in the world for almost eighty years, but Germany lost both World Wars because its grand strategy was terrible.

Having failed to copy tactical and operational excellence, we now appear instead to be imitating Berlin when it comes to grand strategy. The new national security strategy published by the White House on December 18 is a disaster. The strategy it recommends was obsolete before the ink was dry.

As the New York Times reported on December 19,

Mr. Trump’s strategy contains more than a few hints of a return to a Cold War view of the world. . . China is a ‘revisionist’ power. . .Russia is also described as revisionist. . .it [the strategy] is animated by a single idea: that the world has been on a three-decade holiday from superpower rivalry and it suggests that the holiday is now over.

What a wonderful Christmas present to “terrorists”, i.e., Fourth Generation war and those who fight it! The White House just told them that instead of creating an alliance of states to fight and defeat them, we are going to put our energy into picking quarrels with the other two great powers, Russia and China – the two countries we need most as allies in defense of the state system. If 4GW were listed on the New York Stock Exchange, I’d sell all my Bitcoins and put everything into Terrorism Consolidated Amalgamated Ltd. (A financial note: critics’ argument that Bitcoins have no intrinsic value is not true. One Bitcoin is worth exactly one tulip bulb.)

As I have argued repeatedly and is evident all around us to anyone who has eyes, the world is caught up in a grand strategic paradigm shift. Fourth Generation war, war waged by entities that are not states, means that the grand strategic contest for the 21st century is the fight to preserve the state system itself. To do that, we need an alliance of all states in defense of the state system. Obviously, such an alliance must begin with the two other Great Powers, China and Russia. Only after these three have united in a Triple Alliance will it be possible to bring in everyone else.

The greatest hope of those seeking to undermine and destroy the state system is that instead of uniting in self-defense, states will expend their energies fighting other states. Every state vs. state conflict is a gift to the forces of Fourth Generation war, because the losing state will be so weakened that it may collapse and will certainly be more vulnerable. Yet this is exactly what the White House’s new grand strategy calls for. To quote a line from a favorite 17th century tavern song, “Huggle Duggle Duggle, the Devil Laughed Aloud.”

The New York Times, whose loathing for President Trump drips from every page, referred to the new grand strategic document as “Mr. Trump’s strategy”. But is it?

In his speech accompanying the paper’s release, the president said little about it. Instead of echoing its hostility toward Russia, he thanked President Putin for a call thanking our CIA for information that prevented a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg. The president said, “That’s a great thing. And that is the way it’s supposed to work.” Indeed it is, in an alliance against the forces of 4GW.

As was the case with the president’s earlier speech on Afghanistan, I think we are seeing Mr. Trump say, “This isn’t the way I want to go. My instinct is to do the opposite, i.e., get out of Afghanistan and ally with Russia. But this isn’t an area I know much about so I am deferring it to my advisors.”

In the early part of the 20th century, we saw another national leader, who is now unfairly looked down upon by too many historians, repeatedly defer to his foreign policy and military advisors even though he disagreed with them. That leader was Kaiser Wilhelm II. Unfortunately for Germany, he was usually right and his advisors were wrong. Had he followed his own instincts, Austria would have taken Belgrade but then stopped after Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination; had war come anyway, Germany would not have resumed unrestricted U-boat warfare in 1917, thereby bringing in the U.S. and guaranteeing Germany’s defeat.

The price of Kaiser Wilhelm’s deference to his advisors was the end of his dynasty. The price of Washington intentionally renewing the Cold War instead of accepting the new grand strategic paradigm and building the alliance of all states it requires may be the end of the state system itself.

When Will the World End?

With the commemoration of Christ’s first Advent, the end of the calendar year and a widespread (and justified) sense that we are all walking on the edge of a precipice, an old question pops up again: when will the world end?  Many seers, prophets, and charlatans have predicted a date when the world will end, only to find themselves both relieved and disappointed.  Unlike them, I know with complete certainty when the world will end.  It will end on June 28, 1914.

Had Archduke Franz Ferdinand lived, we would almost certainly inhabit a better world.  There would have been no war; he was the leader of the peace party in Vienna.  Without the vast civilizational catastrophe that was World War I, the West would not have lost faith in itself, its culture, and religion.  Instead of cultural Marxism, we could still have Christian, conservative monarchy as the West’s leading paradigm.  I doubt the House of Hapsburg, which had twice repelled the Moslem hordes from the gates of Vienna, would have opened those gates to more than a million Islamic “refugees” (really migrants).  Interestingly, it is mostly states that were part of the Empire, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, that have the moral courage to say no to the EU’s refugee quotas.  Had the Archduke lived, there would be no Lenin, no Stalin, no Hitler, no Holocaust.  Israel might have been established as a province of the Ottoman Empire, under German and Austro-Hungarian protection; the Zionists were quite influential at the Viennese court and Kaiser Wilhelm II had a number of close Jewish friends.  Russia, which by 1910 had reached the economic takeoff point, would not have lost the 60 million people killed by Soviet Communism, the figure revealed when the Soviet archives were opened in 1989.  Economically, the Russian people might enjoy the same standard of living Americans have today, while still residing under a Christian monarch in an Orthodox country. 

Vienna was not only a political capital, it was a cultural capital as well, the rival of Paris.  While the cultural pessimism that now rules the West was already stirring, without World War I and the fall of the Empire it probably would not have become dominant.  Music, art, and architecture would still strive for beauty, not alienation (thank you Adorno). Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of all values,” where the old sins become virtues and the old virtues sins, would have remained the delusion of a syphilitic philosopher instead of the guiding rule of Western elites.  In the year 2017, a Hapsburg Vienna might well be the source of much of the world’s cultural and intellectual greatness.

Only a handful of people are left who understand how much was lost on that June day in 1914.  With those pistol shots in Sarajevo, the West put a gun to its own head and blew its brains out.  Our history since has been the twitching of a corpse.

In 1971, when doing graduate work in Vienna, I had the good fortune to meet the Empire face-to-face.  My landlady was Frau Baron von Garabedian-Elislago.  Her father was General von Krauss-Elislago, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s aide-de-camp and favorite soldier.  She knew the Archduke and the last Emperor, Kaiser Karl.  As you entered her apartment, you saw two magnificent Renaissance chests, gifts to her father from the Archduke.  She could remember the picnics on the decks of Austrian battleships in the Adriatic. 

The good Frau Baron was lively, funny, and a window into all that was lost.  She spoke six languages fluently.  She enjoyed high culture as only a truly educated person can.  One night as we were coming out of the Burgtheater she gestured dismissively to two statues and said, “Those are the monkeys who founded the republic.”

Now, we Americans live in a country where the monkeys seem to be running everything.  Our downward spiral accelerates.  Soon, education and cultural levels will be so low that no one will be able to understand the value of a place governed by Christian monarchy and devoted to the life of the mind.  But Hapsburg Vienna was such a place.  Until, on June 28, 1914, the world ended.

The View From Olympus: Yellow Light

Those of us who supported President Trump in last year’s election because he promised a less interventionist foreign policy need to be aware of a rising danger.  Neo-con influence in the Trump administration seems to be on the increase.  Rumored high-level personnel changes could put neo-cons into key foreign policy positions.  Just as their neo-con predecessors led President George W. Bush into the disastrous Iraq war, a gift that keeps on giving, so today’s neo-cons want a war with Iran.

The obvious question is, how could anyone be so stupid?  War with Iran is a lose-lose proposition.  If the Iranians defeat us, we lose.  If we defeat them, we also lose because there is a high probability the Iranian state would disintegrate and Iran would become another stateless region.  That would be a huge victory for our real enemies, Islamic non-state entities such as Al Qaeda and ISIS that wage Fourth Generation war. 

The neo-cons refuse to see this because they are playing another game, a game driven by the misconceived interests of a foreign power.  To put it bluntly, many influential neo-cons are part and parcel of Israel’s Likud party.  Years ago, around the beginning of the George W. Bush administration, they helped Likud devise a strategy for Israel.  That strategy called for the United States to destroy every Middle Eastern state that could be a threat to Israel.  That was why the neo-cons pushed the Bush administration into war with Iraq.

Likud has largely abandoned that strategy since, because Iraq, Libya, and Syria showed them that destroying neighboring states merely creates new basis for far more dangerous enemies, Islamic 4GW forces.  Israel now works quietly with a number of Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to prevent further state collapses in the region.

But there is one state Likud still seeks to destroy: Iran.  It needs the United states to attack Iran not only because it sees Iran as a deadly threat but because it wants a major Middle East war for cover as it solves the Palestinian problem.

While Likud and the U.S. both pretend to be working for a two-state solution to the problem of Palestine, in reality Likud wants a one-state solution.  The whole of the West Bank is to be annexed.  But unless Israel is then to have a majority Arab population, it must take the land but not the people.  The Palestinians must be pushed into Jordan.

Such an act of ethnic cleansing is impossible in peacetime.  World reaction would be disastrous to Israel.  In fact, population transfers, voluntary or compulsory, are sometimes the only way to solve otherwise intractable problems.  The Greek/Turkish population transfer after World War l is an example.  But left-wing world opinion now categorically rejects population transfers under any circumstances.  If, that is, they are visible.

Just as the Holocaust was only possible because something far larger was going on around it, to the point where it was hardly noticed, so ethnically cleansing the West Bank can only be done in the context of a much larger regional war.  There is only one such war that would be big enough to provide the necessary cover: a war with Iran.

Here is where the neo-cons come in.  Likud does not want to fight that war itself.  Israel can only reach Iran with air and missile attacks.  That kind of war is not sufficient to provide the necessary cover.  Enter the United States: unlike Israel, we could actually invade and attempt to conquer Iran.  The attempt would be folly and the result would be disaster for both us and Iran.  But with all that going on, who would notice some ethnic cleansing in the West Bank (at least until the job was done)?

If all this seems far-fetched, remember this is exactly how and why we invaded Iraq.  American neo-cons created that war in service to Likud and Likud’s strategy at that time.  Now, Likud has a different strategic objective.  But it still requires America to go to war, and some American neo-cons remain Likud’s humble and obedient servants.

President Trump’s supporters need to remind him that “America First” means exactly that.  We go to war only for our own interests, not for the interests of any foreign power or party.  No “America First” president would ever turn this country’s foreign policy over to agents of a foreign power.  He would never send American soldiers to die to provide cover for another country’s actions.  The neo-cons used a Republican president once.  Never again.

The View From Olympus: The OO Loop Problem

One of the more curious aspects of the current U.S. military is its institutionalization of failure.  We have lost four Fourth Generation conflicts: Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq (which is still very far from being a real state), and Afghanistan, where we are fighting but not winning.  In response, we keep doing more of the same, more perfecting of our ability to put firepower on targets.  If war could be reduced to that, we would be the greatest, military on earth.  But it can’t.

The custodians of failure are our generals and admirals.  The problem is not what they do but what they do not do.  They preside blandly over the status quo, terribly busy all the time but changing nothing.  They have half an OODA Loop.  They observe and orient – then observe again.  They make no decisions and take no actions, beyond those necessary to continue business as usual.  Their time is spent receiving contentless briefings and going to meetings where nothing is decided.  As one Marine three-star said to me, “If anyone tells you it’s fun being a general officer, it’s not.”

How did we end up with this equivalent of the Soviet Union during the Brezhnev years?  As with so many of our military problems, it comes back to our personnel system, specifically to the kind of people we promote.  Years ago, one of my students, an Air Force officer, discovered something interesting while researching his dissertation.  He found that the Air Force academy made all its cadets take the Meyer-Briggs Personality Inventory, and, much later in their careers, the National War College did the same.  He looked at the ISTJs, who are the bureaucrats:  data-oriented, risk averse, people who never color outside the lines.  At the Air Force Academy, they were one personality type among many.  By the War College, they were completely dominant.  Why?  Because one of their characteristics is that they only promote other ISTJs.

The result is evident in our general officers’ OO Loop.  ISTJs avoid making decisions and taking responsibility.  By promoting only other ISTJs they ensure our armed services cannot reform themselves.  All they can give us is more of the same, i.e., more of what has not worked.

The hard question is what to do about it.  Giving promotion boards instructions to promote non-ISTJs will do nothing.  They will nod, say “Thank you very much” and go on promoting other ISTJs.  They cannot do anything else.  To them, the whole creative side of war is “bullshit” and officers who are imaginative and take initiatives are threats to the culture of order ISTJs prize above all else. 

Reform must come from outside.  I do not have all the answers for fixing this problem, but I do see a couple starting points.  First, we need Joe Stalin’s “urge to purge”.  We have far more general officers than we need.  Cut their number to about 10% of their current strength and use the opportunity to get rid of lots of ISTJs.  We might have to use the Meyer-Briggs test to identify them, although it is a very imperfect instrument (and ISTJs will try to game the test). 

In the longer term, we need to make the ability to think, decide, and act militarily central to promotion (at present it counts for nothing).  The best way to do that, at least for combat units, was suggested years ago by Chris Bassford in his book The Spit-Shine Syndrome. Every year, every unit goes up against a unit of similar strength in a free play exercise.  The winner gets, say, 50 promotions to divide up within itself, the loser gets five.  This would reward the characteristics we need in field-grade and, later, general officers: an eagerness to decide and act, what the old German army called Verantwortungsfreudigkeit, “joy in taking responsibility”.  It was the characteristic it looked for in officer promotions.

These reforms would not be enough in themselves.  Our armed services need to look deep within and identify other ways to promote warfighters instead of bureaucrats.  Of course, they will not do so under their present leadership.  To them, all this is a threat, not a promise.  Nor can I see a force for serious military reform either in the current Administration or in Congress.

So we will probably continue on with half an OODA Loop until the whole system collapses.  That is coming, and it may be closer than our ISTJ generals and admirals think.

Sexual Harassment

No law is more deeply engraved in human nature than that which leads men to make advances towards women and women to flirt with men.  It was written there long before history began, before time began to be reckoned.  Why?  Because it is necessary for the perpetuation of the human race.

Today, cultural Marxism seeks to overturn this law, or at least half of it.  Women are to be allowed to do whatever they want, befitting their “victim” status in cultural Marxism’s hierarchy of saints and sinners.  But men–should one so much as look at a woman with a gleam in his eye, he is to be damned to eternal shame, cast out of public life, deprived of employment, and ordered to undergo psychological “re-education”, presumably so he can become a better person by turning gay.

All ideologies seek to outlaw one or more aspects of human nature.  Orthodox economic Marxism sought to outlaw the connection between labor and reward; people would work hard simply because they were helping to “build socialism”, not because doing so would gain them more money.  We saw how well that worked out in the Soviet economy.  As the workers and peasants there said, “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”

Past societies, including the Victorians whom we should take as our models, also disapproved of advances and flirtations.  But knowing  as they did that they were dealing with a powerful force in human nature, they sought to limit it the only way it can be limited: by keeping men and women separate.  On the occasion when young men and young women mingled, they did so under the watchful eyes of chaperones.  And if Bobby and Betty Sue were left alone for a bit on the back porch, well, it was expected he would soon propose.

Cultural Marxism, in contrast, demands in the name of “equality” that men and women be put in the closest physical proximity, sometimes, as in military situations, literally cheek to jowl.  But if the man shows the slightest awareness he is with a woman, he is condemned for “sexual harassment”. In effect, the man must play the eunuch.  We may find that politically cutting our soldiers’ nuts off is not the very best way to make them fight.  And in the civilian world as well as the armed forces, every man must live in mortal terror of a woman accusing him of the dreaded crime.  The fact that the accusation may be false, that women know they can destroy male coworkers they do not like with a simple charge of “sexual harassment”, is unimportant.  The accused has as much chance of survival as did those in Stalin’s Soviet Union who were charged with being “an enemy of the people”.

Are the cultural Marxists insane to think they can simply outlaw so basic an aspect of human nature?  Not at all.  That is not their real objective.  Unlike the old economic Marxists, who painted a rosy if impossible picture of the Communist paradise they sought to create, the intellectuals of the Frankfurt School who created cultural Marxism offered no positive alternative vision.  Their sole purpose, in their own words, was “negation”, or “negative dialectics” – simply bringing everything down.  They were nihilists.  And if your goal is ripping your society apart, there is no better way to do it than to outlaw basic aspects of human nature and punish anyone who transgresses by acting human.  That is what cultural Marxism does on every aspect of identity; religious, ethnic, sexual, you name it.  Any normal human behavior, and especially any male behavior, is to be punished.

Both here and in Europe, the reaction against cultural Marxism is building.  Goaded beyond endurance, normal men and women are rebelling.  They are rejecting cultural Marxism’s “experiments against reality”, to borrow Roger Kimball’s apt phrase.

The cultural Marxists love denouncing any opponents as “fascists”.  Fascism has been dead for more than 70 years.  But cultural Marxism may well create a groundswell of opposition from the right that will take new and different forms.  If that is the only way to put a stop to the endless war on men, Whites, and Christians, let it come.