His Majesty’s Birthday

As regular readers know, on January 27 of every year I telephone my reporting senior, Kaiser Wilhelm II, to congratulate him on his birthday. I always start with the number for the Neues Palais in Potsdam, but der Reisekaiser is often traveling and my call must set out in hot pursuit of him.  Such was the case again this year, when the first words I heard were, “Verspätet! Verspätet! How can the Imperial Train be later? Are Poles now running the Prussian State Railways?” The voice was Bismarck’s. It was coming from a distance, but there was no problem hearing his words or his mood. 

“Who the hell is this?,said the voice, now directly into the telephone. “If its the head of Prussian Railways calling to apologize, you lost your job 25 minutes ago. 

It is only Oberst i.G. Lind, Herr Foreign Minister, calling to wish His Majesty a happy birthday,” I replied. “I take it his train is late into Friedrichsruh. today’s Bundesbahn that would be the norm, but I share your puzzlement how such a thing could happen in your time.” 

“Wait a minute, I think I hear an engine,” said Bismarck. I’ll take your call with me out onto the platform.  Hey, Guderian, give me more wire on this thing. Yes, you, you’re a communications officer, aren’t you?”

General der Panzertruppe Heinz Guderian muttered something unprintable but he got the wire to play out, so I went with Bismarck out to meet the train. 

To my surprise, not only our Kaiser but Tsar Nicholas II of Russian and Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary off,the/train and from the engine, or so voices in the background suggested. It seemed our Willi enjoyed running steam locomotives and running them fast, so fast that he had caused the last car to jump the track, hence the delay. 

The story of my life,” I heard him mutter. 

“Hallo, is this our poor marooned General Staff Oberst, stuck in a crazy century in an insane country? “His Majesty asked. 

“It is, and happy birthday,” I replied. “But it seems I’ve caught you at an awkward moment. 

“Not at all, ” he replied. “I enjoy making Bismarck wait.  Reminds him who’s boss, well, sort of. As my grandfather said, sometimes it’s a hard thing, being Kaiser under Bismarck. Besides, my guests need to collect themselves.  It seems they’re not accustomed to riding the footplate at 150 kilometers.  Great fun!

“May I ask what’s going on?” 

“You may. The situation in Russia in your time is serious, very serious. 

Bismarck has done what needs to be done, namely call a conference of the relevant Great Powers. It’s something the current German Foreign Minister seems unable to do, so we’ve jumped into the breach.  Remember, we’ve been through this before, and we see the players in your world making the same mistakes we made. We can’t just sit by and watch. Anyway, I’m going to put you on hold until we three kings and Bismarck have washed up and are drinking some good Mosel wine around a table.” 

Time in their world is fluid, so it was only a few minutes before I was on speakerphone and taking part in the meeting. The Tsar kicked it off. 

“Europe and America must both understand that Russia cannot lose this war. I say that in two senses. First, Russia is much stronger than Ukraine. The Russian Army has started the war badly, as it usually does. But it learns, and in a war of attrition it always prevails by sheer numbers.

Second, Russia will do anything it has to in order to win. A defeat by Ukraine could bring down the Russian state, what’s left of it. Moscow will not let that happen again as I let it happen the first time.’ 

Emperor Franz Josef chimed in. “Austria again finds itself representing Europe. How? By remaining neutral. It’s bad enough that your Europe now has a war under way on its own soil. But the lesson of 1914 is if that happens, all diplomacy must focus on keeping it local. Had my own Foreign Ministry worked to keep it just between the Serbs and ourselves, the world order we represented, we three monarchs, would have lived.” 

It was now our Kaiser’s turn. “I knew that and I told my Foreign Minister, when Austria declared war on Serbia, to telegraph Vienna and tell Austria to take Belgrade and then stop. That telegram was not sent, and the situation ran away with us all. That is now happening in your world, which, like ours, will find itself  in a vast, destructive war no one wanted.

It was now up to Bismarck. As always, he saw the solution more clearly than anyone else and knew what to do. “Washington, Berlin and Moscow have made the same fundamental error the three Christian, conservative monarchies, Russia, Germany and Austria, made that brought them all down. They are operating inside an obsoløete paradigm. Then, each was focused on which ruling dynasty, Romanov, Hohenzollern or Hapsburg, would win this latest struggle. They did not see that they all faced a common foe they needed to unite against secular democracy.

So the winners in 1918 were Wilson and Lenin. Now, the winners will be the non-Western world as the West fights its last civil war.” 

“So what does Berlin need to do in my time?” I asked, knowing Washington was a hopeless case. 

Bismarck replied, “Do what I did and call a conference of the Great Powers. Then come up with a solution the Great Powers can live with, and tell Ukraine what it’s going to do. Stop letting the tail wag the dog. My proposal would be that Russia gets Crimea and the Donbass but has to buy them from Ukraine, while Ukraine gets Russian-held East Prussia and a heavy-haul railway connecting itself to the port of Königsberg, giving it two directions from which it can export its grain. But the key is to act now, before Germany is dragged into a final, fatal Western civil war that leaves nothing but ashes. 

And with that he rang off. My voice in today’s Berlin is small, but Bismarck is right.  Berlin’s role is not to be Washington’s dachshund but, with Vienna, to represent Europe. Europe’s most vital interest is peace in Europe. That means de-escalating the war in Ukraine, not fueling it further. Call a conference, decree a cease-fire, and work the Ukraine situation out around a table.

Does Germany want a third disastrous war?  I can say with certainty that its Kaiser does not.

The Greatest Danger

An article in the December 9, 2022 Wall Street Journal brought some rare good strategic news about the war in Ukraine.  It seems that a few of Ukraine’s allies understand that a complete Russian defeat could bring about the dissolution of the Russian state, and that this represents the worst possible outcome.

The Journal article, “Ukraine Minister Urges Bold Support from Western Allies,” reports that:

Ukraine’s foreign minister called on the country’s allies not to fear a possible breakup of the Russian state as a consequence of the war. . .

Though Kyiv’s Western allies are united over the goal of preventing a Ukrainian defeat, not all embrace the objective of a full-blown Ukrainian military victory. . . 

Some of these allies worry that such an outcome could destabilize the nuclear-armed Russian state, potentially leading to its fragmentation and wide-scale unrest, with unpredictable global consequences.

The Journal article does not identify the states that are expressing this concern, but hurrah for them.  They are daring to inject a note of realism into a policy world dominated by Washington’s neo-Wilsonianism, which has already led to the destruction of several states, including Iraq, Syria, and Libya.  These (undoubtedly European) governments expressing their concern about a potential Russian break-up seem to have grasped the central fact of the 21st century strategy, namely that a state collapse is a greater danger than state bad behavior.  Europe would be facing fewer problems today if Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya were all functioning states ruled by tyrants.

As I have written many times, state collapse is the greatest danger we face and it is spreading.  We may be witnessing it in Iran.  I too would be happy to see the fall of Iran’s Islamic theocracy and the return of the young Shah, who’s father it might be remembered, was overthrown because he tried to modernize his country.  But if the result of the ayatollah’s demise is a collapse of the Iranian state, which is a fairly fragile state because much of the population is non-Persian, then we are better off with the theocrats.

China, too, is facing unprecedented disorder, largely because of misgovernment by Xi Jinping.  He botched the coronavirus problem (which probably started in a military lab in Wuhan that was tasked with developing biological weapons), collapsed the Chinese real estate market which is where most middle-class Chinese stashed their savings, and then rewarded himself with an unconstitutional third term.  A more effective assault of the legitimacy of Communist Party rule is difficult to imagine.  But as Washington delights in China’s problems, it forgets that China’s history is one of internal disunion, civil wars, and prolonged periods of warring states.  Mix that with nuclear weapons and, as with Russia, it should be clear that stabilizing the Chinese state is a primary strategic objective.  Of course, all the Wilsonians do is bleat more pathetically about “democracy” and “human rights.”

That is unrealism Washington may pay for heavily.  If Russia or China break up into stateless regions, the world economy will tank the way it did in the 1930s, or worse.  America will not escape a second Great Depression.  If Washington’s folly results in nuclear weapons hitting American cities, the Blob (the foreign policy establishment) will find itself out of work if not hanging from lampposts.  

America is deeply riven over irreconcilable cultural differences, to the point where all that holds it together is a seeming prosperity – seeming because it is built on ever-increasing levels of private and public debt.  When the inevitable debt/financial crisis hits, that alone may endanger the American union.  Add a weakening or vanishing of states around the globe and the 21st century could end up a repeat of the 14th century.  

Let us hope those European states worrying about the potential break-up of the Russian Federation don’t lose their nerve.

Addendum:  The recent “coup attempt” in Germany will go down in history as the “Clown Putsch.”  Not only did the idiots behind it think a couple dozen men could overthrow the German state, they imagined they could put Prince Henry of Reuss on the Imperial German Throne.  Every legitimist, monarchist and Reichsburger knows that the throne belongs to the head of the House of Hohenzollern and no one else.  When Germany again becomes a monarchy, it will be through constitutional means and it will reflect a broad consensus among the German people that they want a Kaiser.

Trump in 2024? Yes, but. . .

. . . Not Donald.

I voted for President Trump in the 2016 Ohio primary, the general election that year and again in 2020.  I contributed to his campaign both times.  I think he was a successful President and would have been more successful had he not been repeatedly sabotaged by people in his own White House and in the broader Deep State.  Had he been re-elected in 2020, I doubt there would be a war in Ukraine today, among other benefits.

But it is time for Donald Trump to step aside and let other, younger men carry the torch.  It is true that time seemingly has no effect on him.  But the fact is, we now have an 80 year-old President, and voters will be leery of another, with some reason.  At age 75, I know neither my body nor my mind is in top form anymore.  Another five years won’t help.  The only respect in which I will grow from here on out is my waistline.

President Trump also faces some unpleasant political realities.  With the exception of my home state of Ohio, where J.D. Vance won, all the Senate candidates he endorsed were defeated.  Most of those races were winnable.  But Mr. Trump will not endorse any candidate who does not agree that the 2020 election was stolen.  

Was it?  It is impossible to know.  Once electronics enter into anything, security goes out the window.  The term “electronic security” is a contradiction in terms.  Now, in many states, the process of voting and vote-counting involves electronics.  So who knows what the actual votes were?  Electronic vote-rigging, like too many things electronic, is undetectable if it is done well.  And the Deep State can be counted on to do such things well.

President Trump’s policies are generally to his advantage.  Most Americans agree with him much of the time.  But there is no way around the fact that many voters, especially women, dislike him as an individual.  Women vote with their hearts, not their heads.  A majority of the electorate is now female.  Had the Founders ever envisioned such a situation, we would now be drinking to the health of our new monarch, King Charles III.  But we are stuck with it, and so is President Trump.

At the same time, his name remains magic to many Americans.  These are the “unpersons,” at least 74 million people, who the culturally Marxist Establishment has declared not to exist.  They are to have no voice.  Well, President Trump gave them a voice.  Their interests are never to be considered.  He represented their interests.  They are to be despised as “deplorables.”  President Trump was and still is happy to be labeled “deplorable” too.  He actually likes these mostly white, male or non-Feminist female, straight, usually Christian people, who live in “flyover land,” work hard for their livings, are kind to their friends and neighbors, and admire America’s history and culture.

So we have a conundrum: We need a Trump name on the ballot to bring these people to the polls (many do not otherwise vote), yet President Trump’s personal negatives are high enough to put another Democrat in the White House.  (If Biden runs again, it will be as a dead Inca.)  What do we do now?

In 2024, the Republican Party nominates Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida for President and Eric Trump, President Trump’s son, as Vice President.  

DeSantis won re-election by 20 points, carrying areas such as Miami-Dade that Republicans never carried.  His policies are largely those of President Trump, but without the personal negatives.  He is young and energetic.  He is not afraid to challenge cultural Marxism, aka “Wokeness.”  By running Eric Trump for Veep, the Trump name is on the ballot, President Trump can campaign heavily for the ticket and the Republican Party will once again be united.  If the Dems try to run against Eric Trump, all he need say is, “are you a carbon copy of your father.)

And so the circle will be squared.  Are Republicans smart enough to do it?  Or would they prefer to remain “beautiful losers?”

There’s Only One Issue in this Election, and It Says “Vote Republican”

Yes, I know there are many issues at stake in next week’s elections: inflation, the economy, crime, securing the southern border, and so on.  But these all pale into insignificance in the face of one other issue, one that is not overtly on the ballot and has hardly even been mentioned.  What is it?  Preserving freedom of thought and expression.

By this point, most Americans have encountered the growing censorship gripping our once-free country, either personally or by hearing about the experiences of others.  On university campuses, in corporate offices, in almost all media, any “offensive” word or remark means the person who said or wrote it is in trouble.  What defines “”offensive?”  The ideology of cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms, largely by the Frankfurt School.  More commonly known as “wokeness” or “Political Correctness,” cultural Marxism dictates that anyone who defies its dictates must become an “unperson:” fired from their job, expelled from their university, blackballed in their profession, unmentionable socially, hounded to the very gates of hell.  They are “thisists” or “thatists,” in a game with words that seeks to make aspects of reality vanish by calling them names.  Everyone knows it’s all cant, but they also know they will pay a price if they don’t bow down and worship its great clay god.

So far,  in this country, you won’t be jailed for saying or writing something “Politically Incorrect.”  But have no illusion: that is what the Democrats intend.  Just look at most university campuses, where the slightest offending word means you are dragged before a kangaroo court, assumed guilty unless proven innocent and often sentenced to “re-education,” meaning learning to mouth the lies “wokeness” requires.  Refuse to learn your lesson and out you go without your degree (or a refund).

But a quick look above our northern border at our once-nice neighbor, Canada, shows another picture.  There, an “unwoke” remark can get you in serious legal trouble.  “Hate speech,” with “hate” defined as any defiance of cultural Marxism, can mean arrest, trial before a “revolutionary tribunal,” not a real court, where the members are all cultural Marxists in good standing, and possibly prison.  The same is true in a growing number of European countries, including, shamefully, England, the source of our own liberties.  Not only can the same thing happen here, making it happen is at the top of the Democrats’ agenda.

That is why it is vital Americans vote in this off-year election and vote straight Republican tickets.  Most oRepublican office-holders fear cultural Marxism and must be pushed into confronting it, but when the alternative is losing their base, they will usually wobble up and do it.  If Republicans take just one House of Congress, they can and will prevent the Democrats from enacting more laws against freedom of thought and expression.  If Republicans take both Houses, they can pass legislation designed to roll cultural Marxism back and restore those freedoms.  Yes, President Biden will veto it, but by doing so he will make the Democrats’ role as the protectors and enforcers of cultural Marxism painfully clear.

There is no shortage of ways legislation can restore freedom of thought and expression.  In the last year of his first term, President Trump proposed a federal rule denying all federal funding, including research grants, to any college or university that will not adopt and enforce a code of strong protections of those basic freedoms (look to the University of Chicago for a good example).  That would change the balance of power on campuses overnight, because the hard sciences profs, their funding at stake, would go to the faculty meetings and outvote the nut-cases from the liberal arts and social sciences departments.  I’m sure that proposed rule died a quick death when Biden came in, but Republican majorities in Congress could easily resurrect it as legislation.

Another powerful piece of legislation in defense of freedom of thought and expression would be to add “political views” to the list if discriminations prohibited in civil rights laws.  Wouldn’t it be fun to make Biden veto that one?  Companies could still ban, let’s say, all political t-shirts in the workplace, but they could not ban just those reflecting conservative beliefs.  No Nazi tees?  Ok, so long as no tees with Che or Marx or Mao on them.  No Hitler salutes?  Fine, so long as Marxist clenched-fist salutes got the same treatment.  Any favoritism would be grounds for a lawsuit.

What it comes down to is this: if you want to preserve (and restore) freedom of thought and expression, vote next week and vote Republican.  A vote for Republicans gives the finger to all the “wokeness,” the “white supremacy” crap, the “64 genders” nonsense, the demands that we all bow down to blacks, Feminists, Third World immigrants, gays, etc, the whole “woke crowd around the bar in Star Wars.  Don’t be fooled by the Democrats’ “protecting our democracy” red herring.  All “democracy” means is voting for Democrats.  Freedom of thought and expression are issues that impact every American every day.  Those are the freedoms our ancestors fought for, the freedom we are now losing, and the freedoms without which America is no longer our country.  We can fight with ballots now or bullets later.  Go vote.

Words That Lie

Words have many meanings, and knowing their meanings is indispensable in any search for truth.  More, some words have semi-secret, “coded” meanings, known only to the Illuminati of a cult.  And while all words can be used to tell the truth or to lie, some words are themselves lies (one example is “homophobia:” unreasoning fear and moral disapproval are two very different things).

If we are to know our enemy, which on traditionalright.com is cultural Marxism, we have to learn what the words it commonly uses mean.  Again, some of these words have both a common meaning, what they mean to you or me, and a coded meaning.  In political and spiritual warfare it is just as important to break the enemy’s code as it is in warfare with guns.

Let us start with one of the cultural Marxists’ favorite words, “hate.”  We all know what hate means.  But most of us do not know what it means in the mouth of cultural Marxists.  Again, to them, it has a coded meaning.  What is it?  Any defiance of cultural Marxism.  Now, the cultural Marxists are themselves champion haters.  They hate whites.  They hate males and non-Feminist females.  They hate Western culture and the Christian religion.  In the end, they simply hate God.  But in their lexicon, none of this counts as hate because it is coming from the left.  Only the right can hate.

Another word that lies is “divisive.”  Like “hate,” “divisive” means any rejection of cultural Marxism.  The lie embedded in the word is that most people are cultural Marxists, so any dissent represents division.  In fact, most people are not cultural Marxists and cultural Marxism itself fosters every division it can: sex, race, clase, etc., all with the goal of ripping society apart.  Unlike the old economic Marxists in Moscow, cultural Marxists offer no positive goal; they are about “negation,” which is to say they are nihilists.

A new word that lies is “violence.”  Everyone knows violence requires physical contact.  But in the cultural Marxists’ mouths, it means anything that disturbs or upsets cultural Marxists.  This word that lies is becoming common discourse on many university campuses.

Then we have the “ism” words: racism, sexism, classism, gourmetism (wanting your food to taste good), and so on.  The coded meaning in these words is that the things themselves, e.g., race and sec, are just “constructs,” castles in the air with no foundation in reality.  But we all know that’s can’t, to use Dr. Johnson’s favorite word.  There are real differences among race and among ethnic groups within races, taken as wholes.  Who can say with a straight face that there are no differences between, say, Swedes and Italians, or Russians and Irishmen?  How many people, looking for amusement on a Saturday evening, go to a Russian bar?  As to “sexism,” men and women are inherently different and their traditional roles reflect what we have learned over millennia about their inherent differences.  The endless stream of movies and shows in which lovely, petite young women beat up big men are fantasy.  And most men aren’t really keen on babies.

My answer when”thisist” or a “thatist” is that the name-calling is “ismism.”  “Ismism” is a magical, totemic belief that realities some people don’t like can be made to disappear by calling them names ending in “ism.”  Cultural Marxism is not unique in wanting to do away certain realities; all ideologies do that.  But none before it tried to abolish realities so fundamental, such as that there are two sexes, which are physically determined at birth.  One woman recently wrote that, when she was little, she told her mother she wanted to be a boy.  Her mother replied, “kiss your elbow.”  Go ahead, try it.  You can’t.

All this mendacity with words traces back to Frankfurt School member Herbert Marcuse’s essay on “liberating tolerance.”  Marcuse defined liberating tolerance as all movements and ideas coming from the right.  Today’s cultural Marxists are carrying that into language itself, giving words new definitions that add up to left good, right bad.  Conservatives need to see through what they are doing to words and expose it to all Americans.  Sunlight turns cultural Marxism, like other trolls, to stone.

Playing with Nuclear War

As of this writing (September 12), Ukraine’s counter offensives appear to be succeeding.  The widely telegraphed offensive in the south is making some progress.  But it looks as if its primary role was deception, where it has already succeeded because Russia responded by drawing down its forces in eastern Ukraine, opening the door for the main Ukrainian counteroffensive.  That is moving forward at Blitzkrieg pace, to the point where Russian units are disintegrating.  All this is, of course, wonderful news for Ukraine and for anyone who wants to see David beat Goliath.

But interests must be matters of cold calculation, not warm emotions.  Foreign policy is more than consulting Sant’s list of who is naughty or nice.  Yes, the Russians have been beasts and their invasion of Ukraine has been criminal.  But Ukraine’s victories are not good news for America’s most vital interest.

What is that most vital interest?  Avoiding nuclear war.

Throughout the Cold War, everyone in Washington understood this.  Party did not matter, liberal or conservative was of no consequence.  The whole foreign and defense policy establishment knew we and the Soviets were walking on eggs.  The slightest mis-step could mean nuclear catastrophe.  We came close on occasion; the closest was probably during the Cuban missile crisis, when the skipper of a Soviet submarine was about to fire a nuclear torpedo at an American destroyer.  His politruk stopped him.  As the representative of the Party, he knew Moscow did not want nuclear war any more than Washington did.

But it seems all the adults in the room died and a bunch of drunk teenagers now have their fingers on the button.  Russia has hinted from the outset of its invasion of Ukraine that the nuclear option is available.  If the Russian army is beginning to disintegrate, I suspect that option is or soon will be on the table.

What would it mean?  My guess is one or more nuclear strikes in western Ukraine, aimed at the supply lines bringing in American and European weapons.  Initially, I don’t think they would attack NATO territory.  But the winds blow east to west in Europe, and the fallout could be considered a weapon on its own.

This is, of course, madness in Moscow.  President Putin regrets the break-up of the Soviet Union; some old Party hands should remind him that no Soviet leader would ever have started a nuclear war.  Had one moved to do so, he would immediately have been recognized as a Trotskyite and toppled.

Unfortunately, the situation in Washington is as bad or worse.  Some circles there are planning to respond with American nuclear strikes if Russia uses nukes in Ukraine.  But what could our targets be?  If we target Russian-held regions of Ukraine such as Donbas, we create the bizarre situation where Moscow and Washington are both nuking Ukraine.  The latter will find out what it was like to be Germany during the Thirty Years War, the place where everyone from Swedes to Spaniards fought it out.  Some German towns still have not recovered.

It does not stop there.  These same circles (hint: there’s a “neo” in their name) know this, plan to hit targets on Russian territory and are calmly discussing the fact that we might lose some east coast cities.  The U.S. military has reportedly been directed to develop contingency plans for such a situation.

Playing with nuclear war goes beyond folly.  It is insanity, plain and simple, straight out of Dr. Strangelove.

If there are any adults left in Moscow or Washington, they need to kick the teenagers out of the room, consider their interests rationally and sit down and talk.  Let us imagine the man we need, old Bismark, returns as the Ghost of Crises past (I think Turkish President Erdogan might serve as his avatar).  Here’s a draft agreement:

Russia has a legitimate interest in Ukraine, namely that it does not constitute a threat to Russia.  That means Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO, although it may join the EU.  If Ukraine succeeds in retaking Donbas, it returns to Ukraine, but as a special autonomous region with some degree of self-government and a general amnesty.  If Russia can hold it, it stays Russian.

Russia keeps Crimea, because it has historically been Russian.  Like the Donbas, the Russian corridor connecting Russia proper to Crimea stays with whoever holds it when the fighting stops.

In return for Russia getting Crimea, Ukraine gets East Prussia (now called the “Kaliningrad Oblast”) and a new, broad-gauge, heavy-haul railway connecting Konigsberg to Ukraine, giving Ukraine two seas through which it can export its agricultural products.

Finally, Russia joins an international consortium to rebuild Ukraine, with Russia allowed to concentrate its efforts in towns and cities where the population is heavily Russian.

In all this, there is one point Washington must keep in mind above all others: the United States has no vital interests at stake in Ukraine.  That is why it is insanity for us to be contemplating nuclear war.  For what?  How do we benefit?

The thought that, having avoided nuclear war with the Soviet Union for all those years, we are now planning for a nuclear war with a non-Communist Russia is beyond rational comprehension.

The View from Olympus: The Marine Corps Gazette Gets the Evolution of Maneuver Warfare Right.

The September issue of the Marine Corps Gazette includes an article for which there has been a long-standing need, namely an accurate recounting of the history of maneuver warfare’s evolution into official Marine Corps doctrine.  Written under the pen name Marinus as part of an ongoing series, the Maneuverist Papers, it does what none of the books on the subject have managed, namely provide a non-partisan account that identifies all the streams that fed into the maneuver warfare river.

Of these streams, which the article calls threads, there were five: intense dissatisfaction among Marine Corps officers over our performance in Vietnam and our final loss of that war (something that seems to have vanished with more recent defeats); interest in mechanized operations because that is what a conflict in Europe with the Soviet Union seemed to require; the model offered by the Prussian/German Army, for which I was the main spokesman; renewed interest in classical military literature, especially Clausewitz and Sun Tzu; and the theoretical work of Col. John Boyd, USAF.  My only quibble with the account is its failure to mention that I began the maneuver warfare debate with a critique of forthcoming Army doctrine that I wrote in 1976 and was published in Military Review in 1977.  Like it or not, I was first.

I appreciate the fact that the article gives credit to someone who played a highly important role in the process but is often overlooked, namely Col. John Greenwood USMC, the editor of the Marine Corps Gazette at that time.  Col. Greenwood did not always agree with what the maneuverists were writing, but he published their material anyway, because he understood the function of a professional journal.  The Gazette was the main forum through which I reached Marines; Col. Greenwood later told me that over a twenty-year period, I wrote more articles for the Gazette than any other single author.  Without the Gazette and its editor the maneuver warfare movement in the Corps simply would not have happened.

I highly recommend that all who have not read this latest Maneuverist Paper do so.  But my purpose here is to pick up where it leaves off.  Its last sentence reads, “Three decades after maneuver warfare became doctrine, we believe the Marine Corps is overdue to have a conversation about its views on the nature and conduct of warfare going forward.”  I agree.  In fact, that conversation has been going on for some time, but a lack of interest from senior levels has pushed it into something of a backwater.

The conversation is about Fourth Generation war, war with opponents who are not states.  We just lost such a war, the war in Afghanistan.  We have also given a big boost to Fourth Generation war throughout the Middle East by destroying the states in that region, including Iraq, Syria, and Libya, helpfully clearing the way for Fourth Generation entities to move in.  We have demonstrated no ability to win Fourth Generation wars.

But, as was the case with the maneuver warfare movement, individual Marines, mostly junior officers, have been thinking, studying, and writing in order to fill the vacuum.  For a few years, thanks to an initiative by then-colonel Ron Bailey, I co-led a seminar at Expeditionary Warfare School devoted to Fourth Generation war.  Just as was true in the earlier movement, it was quasi-clandestine (the seminar couldn’t be named for 4GW), the students received no course credit and the fact that I (briefly) had an office at EWS upset the brass.  But that seminar paralleled earlier maneuver warfare seminars by writing draft field manuals on 4GW.  Were General Gray still Marine Corps Commandant, those FMs would have come out as official Marine Corps publications.  Sadly, he was not, though some of us would like to bring him back.  Fortunately, as head of the Central Powers Military Mission to the Marine Corps, I was in a position to approach the relevant authorities in Vienna and Pola, with the result that they were published by the K.u.K. Marinekorps.  They are available in English in the “resources” section of traditionalright.com.

But unofficial efforts did not stop there.  The Marine officer who co-led the later seminars with me, Lt. Col. Greg Thiele USMC, and I drew on what we learned from those Marine captains to write the Fourth Generation Warfare Handbook.  It is available from Castalia House Press and on Amazon.  It is intended to serve as a starting point for the Corps as it moves to become the nation’s go-to force for 4GW, much as my Maneuver Warfare Handbook, published 1985, helped kickstart the Marine Corps adoption of maneuver warfare.  (With regard to which, I am currently writing a new, improved Maneuver Warfare Handbook, not to replace the current book, but to talk about some things we’ve learned since it was written.)

So let me offer a challenge to the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Gazette: let’s do with Fourth Generation War what the Corps did thirty years ago with maneuver warfares and develop it intellectually, experiment with it in the field, have another giant food-fight over it in the pages of the Gazette and finally make it doctrine for, again, America’s force of choice for this kind of war.

The Corps can move into 4GW while the Army remains stuck in 2GW.  The Marine Corps only survives by having an expertise the country needs that no other service can offer.  4GW is where war is going, whether it justifies F-35s or not.  Those of us who led the maneuver warfare fight – Mike Wyly, G.I. Wilson, Bill Woods, General Gray, John Schmitt, sadly not John Boyd – are still alive and we have one more campaign left in us.  Are HQMC and the Gazette up for it, or will us old guys have to hit this beach alone?

I want to close on a personal note.  “The Evolution of Maneuver Warfare Theory” writes that, in comparison to the Army’s top-down doctrine development process (which has left the Army stuck fast in the Second Generation),

The Marine Corps process more resembled the cafeteria food fight scene in Animal House, with Lind in the Bluto role

Animal House was inspired by one of the fraternities at Dartmouth College when I was a student there (1965-69).  I was known to occasionally have a drink and smoke a pipe at their bar, the picture of which in the film was not inaccurate.  So closes another circle in my life.

Two Political Dilemmas and One Solution

As we look toward the 2024 Presidential election, we see each political party faces a dilemma.  On the Republican side, if former President Donald Trump runs again, his personal negatives are so high that, according to recent polls, President Joe Biden would still beat him.  For a Republican victory, it is essential that he not be the candidate.  I say that as someone who voted for Mr. Trump both in the 2016 Ohio primary and in the general election that year and in 2020, contributed to his campaign and met with him in March, 2016 in Cleveland to give him a copy of Paul Weyrich’s and my last co-authored book, The Next Conservatism.  That meeting was not at my request but that of some of his campaign staff who saw the potential the book offered for a new and widely attractive conservative agenda.  

The dilemma here is that it is likely Mr. Trump will run again because he seeks vindication for his Presidency.  That is understandable, even laudable, because he was a successful President who gave us a booming economy, no new wars and Operation Warpspeed, without which we probably would not yet have Covid vaccines.  If he runs again, he will win the Republican nomination because he retains tremendous support among the Republican base – again, for some good reasons.

I think this dilemma has a solution: a Republican ticket of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and, for Vice President, Eric Trump, President Trump’s son.  DeSantis has been a true conservative, one willing to challenge cultural Marxism (most Republicans won’t), defy federal mandates and back effective local law enforcement.  He has also been a successful governor, and Presidential candidates should generally be governors rather than U.S. Senators or Representatives.  Why?  Because governors actually have to make things work while Senators and Congressmen need only give speeches.

By putting Eric Trump on the ticket as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, President Trump can get the vindication he seeks without having to run himself.  Why not Donald Trump, Jr.?  Because voters may get confused between two Donald Trumps.  Putting Eric on the ticket will bring millions of voters who voted for his father.  And if the Democrats try to run not against Eric but against former President Trump, all he will need to say is, “How many people are carbon copies of their father?”  A DeSantis/Eric Trump ticket will be the Dems worst nightmare.

Well, second-worst.  Their worst is the dilemma they face, for which I do not see a solution.  It is clear that President Biden is on his last leg physically and mentally.  I say that with sadness.  I remember him from when I was U.S. Senate staff.  Indeed, I once worked with him to get an amendment through the Senate Budget Committee.  He was intelligent, considerate, and a pleasure to us lowly staffers, which was not true of all Senators.  But running him again in 2024 would be like bringing out all the dead and mummified Incas, still dressed in their finery, for state occasions in the Incan Empire.  It is simply not possible.

That leaves the Democrats facing President Biden’s poison pill, Vice President Harris. She was a failure as a candidate in 2020 for the Democratic nomination and she will be a failure again if she heads the Democratic ticket.  But how can the Democrats deny the nomination to a black woman without enraging a large portion of their base?  The only way forward I see for them is to nominate a different black woman.  But someone like Stacy Adams would alienate not only whites but Asians and Hispanics as well.  Michelle Obama?  That would probably be their best shot, but I don’t think she wants to put her family through another Presidential campaign, or, for that matter, another Presidency.

If the Republicans solve their dilemma with a DeSantis/Eric Trump ticket while the Democrats remain trapped in their own, the 2024 election outcome is not difficult to forecast.  All it requires is for Republicans to be smarter than Democrats.   Ulp.

Pronouns

On the surface, the cultural Marxists’ war on normal pronouns is simply silly, the vaporings of unhinged women.  Even those unhinged women know that in the real world, men are “he,” women are “she,” things are “it,” and “they” is plural.  We all learned this by third grade.

So what is all the pronoun nonsense about?  As foolish as it seems, it has a serious purpose: it acts as a political barometer.  The cultural Marxists can and do gauge their power by the absurdity of what they command.  The more absurd the demand, the greater their power if we obey.

Obviously, from a conservative point of view, it is important that we not obey.  Yet many are tugging the forelock, bowing to requirements we call each nutcase whatever pronoun he/she/it wants, even if it sounds and reads like Esperanto spelled backwards.

Why are we yielding to such absurdity?  Part of the answer is that, at least in some institutions, we are forced to do so.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported a case where a child in elementary school was threatened with a federal felony charge for calling some girl by a pronoun other than the one she specified.  Sunlight killed that bacterium, but many like it go undisclosed.  In places such as university campuses where cultural Marxism rules (and our tax money goes to sustaining their rule), any student who uses the “wrong” pronoun, which is to say the grammatically correct pronoun, faces school discipline.  The same is true in “woke” workplaces.

This sort of enforcement points to 1984, where the mandated language was “Newspeak” and anyone who spoke normal English was sent to a labor camp or shot.  Do not doubt that the cultural Marxists want the same power here.  At the moment, all they can do is fire or expel the employee or student who defies their rules.  But they seek a totalitarian state like those the classical, economic Marxists created in the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc.  Here, if cultural Marxism wins, a “wrong” pronoun will send you to the basement of the Lubyanka.

But there is more to it than threats and brute force.  The members of the Frankfurt School, the institution that created cultural Marxism, crossed Marx with Freud.  From psychology they took the weapon of psychological conditioning: working on people’s minds through “Critical Theory” and endless propaganda to the point where anyone who defies their rules thinks he has done something wrong, something terrible.  He looks in the mirror and sees “another Hitler.”

The pronoun game is a tool the cultural Marxists can use to further condition normal people and gauge the success of their conditioning.  If Ma and Pa Kettle use the standard pronouns, they have scorn heaped upon them, are called “thisists” and “thatists,” told how ignorant they are and ordered to grovel in the dirt and “apologize” to whatever creatures in the left’s zoo they have “offended.”  If they yield and use absurd pronouns, cultural Marxists can claim another victory and cook up yet more ridiculous demands.  

As is generally the case with cultural Marxism and other ideologies, the way to fight back is to defy their rules.  If you get expelled for using normal, standard English pronouns, sue.  There are conservative organizations that will take your case pro bono.  And make sure you demand trial by jury.  Most people on juries speak standard English.  In states governed by Republicans, pass free speech laws that outlaw requiring anything but standard English for employment or attendance at a state college or university (and defund any academic department at such schools that require non-standard pronouns).  There is one, only one case where I could accept a newly-created pronoun.  For women who are so bizarre, so ditzy, so plain old butt-ugly that calling them “she” is an insult to all ladies, I will consent to a new pronoun that combines the feminine with the neuter: “she-it.”  Wear it with pride, former gals, wear it with pride.

Repeating a Blunder

In my latest book, Reforging Excalibur, I argue that the threat of state disintegration and spreading Fourth Generation war is so great that only an alliance of all states can ensure the state system will survive the 21st century.  Further, I suggest that an alliance of all states must begin with a new Triple Alliance of the three Great Powers, the U.S., Russia, and China.  Only then can all other states be led to combine their efforts, because only then will other states not be pushed or pulled into one or another blocks built around contending Great powers.  I am saying that Great Power competition is obsolete, a mutual error on the grand strategic level that will lead to the destruction of all three of the current Great Powers.

The Blob, the Washington foreign policy establishment, will dismiss such a notion as piffle.  How could all three Great Powers possibly make such an error?  My reply is that three of the five Great Powers in the pre-1914 world made just such an error, and in the process all three were destroyed.

In the world of 1890 to 1914, all Great Powers were European countries, and by general consensus there were just five: Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Great Britain.  Three, Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, were conservative, Christian monarchies.  France was a republic and the leader of Europe’s left.  Britain was a monarchy but all real power was in the hands of Parliament, not the monarch.

All five Great Powers shared a grand strategic orientation in which the threats they perceived came almost entirely from other Great Powers.  In 1890, Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary were loosely allied despite Austro-Russian rivalry; Bismarck’s Reinsurance Treaty allowed Germany to ally with Russia without openly betraying Austria.  Britain saw her threats as coming either from France or Russia; she was friendly with though not allied to Germany or Austria.  By 1914, these alignments had shifted.  Britain, France, and Russia were allied against Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Unfortunately, this whole grand strategic orientation was an error, especially on the part of the three conservative monarchies.  The real threat they faced was democracy coupled with secularism and, often, socialism.  This new and growing threat meant more than the loss or gain of a province here or there or perhaps some colonies, with a resulting effect or prestige.  Democracy, secularism and socialism promised to wipe Christian, conservative monarchy from the board and all three ruling houses, Hohenzollerns, Hapsburgs, and Romanoffs, from future history.  As we now know but they could not foresee, that is what happened, with the result a grand strategic shift of the whole political spectrum sharply to the left.

What I am saying in Reforging Excalibur is that all three of today’s Great Powers are repeating the blunder three of the five Great Powers made then, the blunder of operating within an obsolete grand strategic framework.  This is the largest and therefore the most damaging error a country’s foreign office can make.  Then, it damaged, perhaps fatally, Western, Christian civilization.  Now, it may fatally damage the state system itself, leading to global anarchy.  Just as the three conservative Great Powers of 1914 needed to be allied then, in a new Holy Alliance or Dreikaiserbund, so all three Great Powers need to be allied now in defense of the state system against the non-state forces which drive Fourth Generation war.

The Blob cannot think in these terms, because any departure from its institutionalized groupthink endangers the career of anyone suggesting there is a problem.  The same seems to be true in Moscow and Beijing.  All I can do is point to the price earlier foreign policy establishments in the Wilhelmstrasse, the Ballhausplatz and on the Nevsky Prospekt paid for making the same mistake.  Some mistakes are so vast and have such baleful consequences that the phrase, “Heads will roll,” becomes more than a metaphor.