The View From Olympus: A Disastrous Decision–Or Is It?

On the surface, President Trump’s decision to abandon the nuclear accord with Iran is a disaster.  If Iran considers the accord null and void without U.S. participation and resumes uranium enrichment on a large scale – Tehran for now says it will stick with the deal – we would be on the road to yet another unnecessary war in the Middle East.  President Trump was elected to get us out of the wars we are in, not start new ones.

Meanwhile, revived and new U.S. economic sanctions on Iran may put us on a collision course with Europe.  Will Europe allow Washington to dictate to European companies and banks whom they can do business with?  If not, American sanctions on European businesses may be met with European sanctions on U.S. firms.  Europe, China, and Russia have already said they will continue to honor the accord, which leaves the U.S. diplomatically isolated.  Couple diplomatic with economic isolation and we will have a problem.

Some supporters of President Trump’s action hope the damage it will bring to Iran’s economy may inspire the Iranian people to revolt and overthrow the clerical regime.  That is a possibility, although most peoples rally around the flag in response to outside pressure.  But it is possible that, in the face of a widespread revolt, the Iranian state could collapse altogether.  That would be a disastrous outcome for all concerned, because it would be a great victory for the Fourth Generation war entities that would fill the vacuum created by yet another American-facilitated state collapse.  If Washington had any understanding of 4GW – which it doesn’t – it would realize a collapse of the Iranian state is far a greater danger than that state can ever pose.

But there is another way to read President Trump’s action.  Both on North Korea and on some trade issues he has gotten good results by using a standard business technique: going in with maximalist demands, threats, etc., then backing off as part of a deal.  In diplomacy, this is known as brinksmanship.  You push a situation to the brink of disaster, then pull a rabbit out of the hat in the form of an agreement that leaves everyone satisfied and the situation more stable than it was before.

If that is the game here – I have no way of knowing – then the President’s action was not a disaster.  But it is still a high risk.  The whole performance may have been coordinated with the Europeans in advance, in which case everyone is just following a script.  Again, that could lead to a renewed and improved accord with Iran.  But if not and our diplomatic isolation is real, the risks go up.  And if Iran responds by tearing up the whole deal and going for the bomb, again, we face another unnecessary war.  In that war, all the American troops in Syria and Iraq and perhaps those in Afghanistan as well will become Iranian hostages.  What then, Mr. President?

President Trump’s brinksmanship with North Korea appears to have worked well, so far at least.  If he comes out of his summit with Kim Jong-Un with an agreement that denuclearizes North Korea, ends the Korean war with a formal peace treaty, allows and helps North Korea to join the world economy and gets U.S. troops out of South Korea, he will indeed deserve, with Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon, the Nobel Peace Prize.  Should he be able to build on that by making a similar deal with Tehran, one allowing Iran to improve its economy while reducing its considerable regional military and diplomatic overreach, he would at least be a candidate for sainthood.  Has the President or anyone around him thought all this through?  God only knows.  And I’m not sure He is paying attention.

Solving the China Trade Problem

President Trump is right to confront China on the trade issue.  China has long been dumping materials such as steel on the American market, and it has been acquiring technology we have developed by means open and surreptitious.  Together, China’s predatory trade policies have devastated American manufacturing and largely destroyed our blue collar middle class.  Here in Cleveland we have seen whole factories bought by Chinese, torn down, and re-erected in China.  What were good-paying American jobs became Chinese jobs.

At the same time, America needs China at the grand strategic level.  To meet the threat posed by Fourth Generation war, we need an alliance of all states.  The core of such an alliance must be the three greatest powers, Russia, China, and the U.S.

Nor should we wish to damage China’s economy.  The world is teetering on the edge of a global debt crisis.  Such a crisis is most likely to begin in China, whose recent prosperity is built on a $15 trillion mountain of debt, much of it bad.  A debt crisis in China will quickly spread.  It is likely to end in a world-wide depression to rival that of the 1930s.  America, which like China continues to pile up both public and private debt, will not be exempt.  America tomorrow will be Greece today, with the added nightmare of hyperinflation as the federal government seeks to pay off its debts with worthless money.  That is a future we should do our utmost to avoid. 

I think there is a way out of this seeming dilemma.  What is it?  Managed trade.

Managed trade is where two countries sit down and negotiate in detail what each will export to the other and import from the other.  The objective is a trade balance, where neither runs a large and continuing trade surplus with the other, as China now does with us.  Each country will have natural advantages over the other in certain products.  The objective is to balance the advantages of each with the comparative weaknesses of each.

Managed trade is possible with China because China has a state-controlled economy.  China’s economy today is neither Marxist nor socialist.  Instead, it is mercantilist.  Mercantilism is the economic model followed by Japan, then South Korea, and now China in transforming themselves from poor countries into prosperous ones.  Though ideological free traders loath the fact, mercantilism works.

Mercantilism was the predominant economic model in 17th and 18th century Europe.  For the most part, it relies on a regulated free market domestically.  But the state intervenes in the economy in order to promote its objectives.  Those objectives include full employment; the ability to meet most if not all needs domestically, which leads the state to finance industrial development aimed at import substitution; the use of tariffs, quotas, and other restraints on trade, again to promote domestic manufactures; and a positive balance of trade.

While free trade has benefitted Wall Street, it has done massive damage to Main Street.  One of America’s proudest achievements, a large blue collared middle class, is now largely gone as a consequence of free trade.  The white collar middle class’s neck is now on the block as companies seek to cut their cost by importing white collar workers from places such as India and outsourcing white collared jobs overseas.  A mercantilist federal government would stop both practices by denying visas to foreign workers coming here to displace Americans and by putting a large export duty on jobs shipped overseas.

Mercantilism on China’s part makes a deal based on managed trade possible.  Mercantilism here at home, instead of free trade, could rebuild the American economy we had in the 1950s and ‘60s, where prosperity was not limited to the 1%.

The View From Olympus: The Worst Possible Choice

In selecting John Bolton to be his National Security Advisor, President Trump has made the worst possible choice.  His decision is so bad it is likely to destroy his Presidency and perhaps a good deal more.

I do not know John Bolton personally.  But I do know he is a neo-con, and by reputation neither the best nor the brightest of that loathsome brood.  The neo-cons, in case you have forgotten, pushed another President with limited international experience into the disastrous war with Iraq.  And they are unrepentant.  They still think the war in Iraq was a good idea, despite the enormous boost it gave to 4GW Islamic entities such as al Qaeda and ISIS.  They want more such wars.  John Bolton will now be in just the right position to start them.

From his past statements it appears Mr. Bolton most of all wants wars with North Korea and Iran.  The President does not seem to want the former, although Bolton may try to push him into it.  But the major danger looks to be a war with Iran.  Here, Bolton’s view and the President’s may reinforce each other, with potentially disastrous results.  I have written in other columns about how such a war could go wrong.  Even if we won, the result would likely be a break-up of the Iranian state and another big victory for 4GW.  And a war in the Persian Gulf could be the spark that sets off a global debt crisis, which would mean a long-lasting, world-wide economic depression. 

Given the miserable results of our previous and continuing wars in the Near East, how could anyone want another one?  Why would they expect any outcome other than another failure?  Regrettably, neither the neo-cons nor the President know much about wars or militaries.  That has left them prey to the baloney the U.S. military feeds itself and the American public, and in turn expects the public and federal officeholders to feed back to it.  You have often heard it: “The U.S. military is the greatest in all of human history.  No one can beat it; no one can even fight it.”  Its only problem is that, with a measly trillion-dollar budget, it just doesn’t have enough money. 

It is, as I said, baloney.  The U.S. military is a lavishly-resourced, technically well-trained Second Generation military.  It can win against other Second Generation state armed forces.  Were it to come up against a Third Generation state opponent, it would go down fast, for the same reasons the French did in 1940.  Against Fourth Generation opponents it has a consistent record of failure.

But when speaking of the neo-cons, the consequences to the U.S. of a war with Iran may be unimportant.  Collectively, the neo-cons are agents of a foreign power, and specifically a foreign political party, Israel’s Likud.  They created the war with Iraq as part of a strategy for Israel they helped put together for Likud.  That strategy called for using the U.S. military to destroy any Arab state that could be a threat to Israel.  Iraq was the first target.

Israel’s Likud Prime Minister, “Bibi” Netanyahu, has been described in Israel as a tactical genius and a strategic idiot.  But even he figured out, after the Iraqi state was destroyed and Islamic 4GW spread throughout its ruins, that those 4GW entities were far more dangerous to Israel than were the Arab states they replaced.  Israel now has a quiet alliance with most remaining Arab states against the forces of Fourth Generation war.

But since its founding Likud’s objective has been an Israel stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.  It has carefully sabotaged any and all possible two-state solutions, to the point where that possibility is gone.  But a one-state solution means an Israel with an Arab and a Moslem majority, which Likud also finds unacceptable.  So Likud needs to ethnically cleanse Palestine of Arabs.  And to do that, it needs a big war in the region, big enough that only the U.S. can create it, to give Israel cover.  If the war is big enough, no one will notice the ethnic cleansing until it is done.  Ironically, that’s how the Holocaust happened.

The assignment of American neo-cons is now to start a war with Iran, as their previous assignment was to start the war with Iraq.  And one of their number is now President Trump’s National Security Advisor.

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

The View From Olympus: The Greatest Strategic Danger

Director of National Intelligence and former U.S. Senator Dan Coates recently told Congress that the greatest threat our country faces is our own vast and growing national debt.  During the 2016 Presidential campaign JCS Chairman General Joseph Dunford gave the same message to both candidates.  No one, it seems, is listening. 

When I served on Capitol Hill as a staffer in the 1970s and 1980s, the two parties fought fiercely over whether to fund more domestic programs and cut defense spending or do the opposite.  Now, that fight is over.  Both parties in Congress agree that we will just give everyone whatever they want and borrow the money to pay for it.  The latest budget deal is merely one example.

Nor is the practice of buying whatever anyone wants and piling up debt to pay for it restricted to government or to the United States.  It is a world-wide phenomenon, and it is as marked a practice in the financing of private individuals and households as of governments.  In China, the twin piles of government and private debt have built the two tallest pagodas the world has ever seen.

Apart from a few spoil-sports, everyone agrees we can ignore history’s warnings about the dangers of debt because, well, this time is different.  That is the title of an excellent book on three hundred years of financial crisis.  People always think “this time is different.”  It never is.

Let me offer a quick refresher on debt crises.  They are not mere garden-variety recessions.  A debt crisis usually creates, first, a deep, long-lasting depression.  The depression comes from the fact that lenders are no longer willing to make loans at interest rates anyone can afford.  Consumption, public and private, must shrink to whatever revenues can support.  More, a great deal of what revenue remains must be used to pay interest on the mountain of debt.  In the late 1780s, interest on France’s debt claimed more than half the state’s revenue.  Good King Louis XVI had to call France’s parliament, the Estates General, into session for the first time since the 1600s because only the Estates could raise taxes. The Estates General quickly proclaimed itself the National Assembly, sidelined the King and, well, the rest is history.

Worse, both states and individuals have to cut their consumption below what their revenues can support in order to pay back the debt.  But states have another way out.  They can inflate the currency and pay the debt back in worthless money.  At that point, the unhappy state’s citizens have the worst of both worlds: a depression and hyperinflation that wipes out their savings.  Economists will say you cannot have a depression and inflation at the same time.  History begs to differ.

In the face of looming disaster, the very least states ought to do, along with putting their financial houses in order, is to avoid actions that are likely to set off the crisis.  At the top of the list is war.  War is the most expensive activity in which a state can engage.  War’s outcomes are unpredictable, as are their boundaries: many a war has spread far beyond the place where it began.  If I were betting, I would wager that the two wars most likely to push the world’s financial system over the cliff are wars in east Asia or the Persian Gulf.

Here we see the broadest picture of the folly of those in Washington pushing for war with both North Korea and Iran.  Either war can go wrong militarily.  Neither is likely to improve our strategic position.  But if either were to set off the international debt crisis, we would have put the existence of this state and many others in jeopardy over trivial causes.

For many years, I have warned that what is at stake in the 21st century is the state system itself.  Nothing can more quickly or powerfully sharpen the crisis of legitimacy of the state than an international debt crisis.  Most of the world’s peoples, in rich countries and poor, will find themselves and their families and businesses ruined.  Their anger will run deep.  Who will be to blame other than the state?  What state will then retain its legitimacy?

As the Orthodox Church prays, God curse those who would bring on the apocalypse.

 

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

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.

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.

  

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.

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.

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.