The View From Olympus: Fake Military Exercises

The mice of the Washington foreign policy establishment are trying to nibble around the edges of President Trump’s successful summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.  One of their squeaks is that the President gave up too much when he ordered the suspension of major U.S.-South Korean military exercises.  The June 16 New York Times reported that:

“You could probably cancel a single major exercise, like this one (Ulchi Freedom Guardian, planned for August) without doing major damage to the alliance and its readiness,” said Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center.

But that cannot become the standard… 

If several major war games were cancelled for more than a year, the impact could be significant, officials said.

Balderdash.  Giving up our joint war games with South Korea entails no military risk whatsoever.  Why?  Because the games are fake.

The reasons are two.  First, the enemy or Opposing Force (OPFOR) is trivial.  It is tiny, ill-armed and amounts to little more than a tethered goat.  It bears no relation to North Korea’s armed forces.  Second, the exercises are scripted.  The OPFOR has to lose; it’s in the script.  Real war is not scripted.  What makes war is the “independent, hostile will of the enemy.”  That is scripted out in these so called “war games”.  They may be games (with rigged outcomes), but they are not war.

A timely book speaks directly to the Korean war games.  American Cobra Pilot, written by Marine Captain Jeff Groom (and timed for release the day after he left the Corps) is the detailed account of one such exercise, Operation Ssang Young in 2014.  Its subtitle, appropriately, is “A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show.”  Right at the outset he records,

Before heading to my stateroom (on the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard), I attended a preliminary briefing for the exercise and as I scan my notes it dawns on me that I haven’t taken anything down on the enemy situation.I understand we were going to do some shooting at one of the southern ranges in the vicinity of Pohang.But there is no mention of the enemy.Nothing, the word “enemy” isn’t even written…

Luckily, as if almost from heaven above, my inbox populates and I read words of my salvation from our executive officer…

“Everyone needs to realize this is NOT a tactical exercise.  This is a political exercise to show that even in fiscally constrained times we (Uncle Sam) can still throw together a dozen ships and do a beach assault with all of our toys.  What actually makes it to the beach is mostly irrelevant…” 

I breathe a sigh of relief…There just isn’t an enemy situation.  None.  My life is so much easier now…

Later in the book, when Capt. Groom offers a detailed description of the exercise, he writes,

I found out after the exercise that there was actually a small contingent of South Korean soldiers playing the role of the enemy on the beach.  They dug some shallow holes about 50 meters from the water and waited to be run over.  I don’t know if they did their homework on that one, but even by the battle of Okinawa, the Japanese figured out it was more advantageous to move into the center of the island and wait.  But then again that would make it hard if not downright impossible to get a picture of both the opposing force and the amphibious landing at the same time.  Taking pictures is of course the main goal of the exercise.  The pictures are then edited and reported on by the propaganda division of the Marine Corps, the Public Affairs Office.

It is typical that Washington foreign policy types would accept this show as real.  They know nothing about war, and they peddle the same kind of baloney themselves, in a city where one hand washes the other.  But the fact of the matter is exactly as President Trump stated it: we lose nothing by cancelling the Korean war games, and we save many millions of taxpayer dollars.

Sadly, the factors that make the Korean exercises poor simulations of war affect almost all U.S. military training.  The OPFOR is trivial and even that small force is constrained to follow a script in which it just sits there and gets pounded.

Decades ago, on a visit to the Army’s supposedly premier school, the School of Advanced Military Studies at Ft. Leavenworth (God help us if it is), the students were playing a war game set in the Persian Gulf.  The OPFOR was two majors with a tiny force.  I met with them and suggested some things they could do, small as their force was, that would cause the Americans some problems.  They got excited but said, “we have to ask permission.”  (Obviously, this was not the Kriegsakademie.)  They came back to me and said, “We were told, just follow the script.”

There is an old military saying, you fight the way you train.  We will, whether we want to or not.

 

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

The View From Olympus: The Crying Child

In its quest to swamp native-born Americans in a sea of third world immigrants, the Left last week deployed one of its most powerful weapons: a crying child.  You have all seen the photo: the illegal immigrant, the Border Patrol officer and the small child bawling.  At that sight, we are all supposed to dissolve into tears ourselves and do something, anything so the child does not cry.

This is the sort of drivel one gets in a feminized society.  Facts and reason are to yield to feelings.  It matters not that this day and every day somewhere around a billion children cry.  If thirty seconds later the officer handed the brat a sucker and the tears turned to smiles, there was no picture of that.  A feminized society indulges in a culture of emotion, of pathos, of weakness.

In a world of Fourth Generation war, such societies will not survive.  While most people think of the 4GW threat in terms of terrorism, that is a very small threat compared to the threat of invasion by immigration.  We would do well to remember that the barbarians who overwhelmed and destroyed the Roman Empire were immigrants.  With the exception of the Vandals, most of them did not come to destroy the Empire.  They were trying to move in and enjoy its benefits.  But they came in such numbers that Rome was overwhelmed.

The 21st century is likely to see similar flows of whole peoples.  A combination of climate change, state collapse, and famine will see not millions, but tens of millions and hundreds of millions of refugees.  Few are going to flee to India or Africa.  They will head to places where life is good, Europe and North America.  Unless we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to keep them out, we, like Rome, will be swamped, and all will end up in a new Dark Age.  The immigrants may be seeking our way of life, but their numbers will be such that they will turn us into whatever they are fleeing.  This has already happened along much of our southern border.

President Trump’s policy of separating children from their families was a disincentive for illegal immigrants to come here.  We need every such disincentive we can devise.  If the policy seemed cruel—again, to a feminized society—it was very moderate compared to what the U.S. and Europe will eventually have to do to stem the human tide.  When most of a flooded Bangladesh boards a fleet of rust bucket ships and heads for Europe, Europe will either have to sink the ships or watch The Camp of the Saints scenario play out.  We will need, along with our southern border, not a wall but something like the old East-West German border.  Anyone who tries to cross dies.

That is, after all, what borders meant well up into the post-World War II era.  Border patrols did not arrest people trying to cross illegally.  They shot them.

A practical measure we need to revive immediately is to prohibit all entry to anyone without prior approval, including asylum-seekers.  In the case of legitimate travel, this means bringing back visas.  If we are talking about immigrants, we should return to the policy we followed from 1920 until the 1960s.  Anyone wishing to immigrate into the United States had to be examined, tested, and pre-approved, under a quota system and with an American citizen’s sponsorship.  The sponsor was required to take responsibility for the new immigrant, which meant helping them find a place to live and a job.  They weren’t just dumped on the American taxpayer.

A feminized society can do none of these things because, well, a child might cry.  Someone might feel bad.  To America’s good fortune, feminization and the broader cultural Marxism into which feminism has been subsumed in recent decades is largely confined to the coastal elites.  Heartland Americans, men and women, know the world is a tough place.  A culture of sentiment and of weakness does not appeal to them.  They know their children and grandchildren will pay the price if we leave the floodgates open.  And, as President Trump’s election showed, the Heartland is rising as the coastal elites, sobbing all the way, lose their grips.  Heartland people’s answer to a crying child is the one their parents gave them:  “Keep it up and I’ll give you something to cry about.”  Starting with getting sent home.

  

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

The War on Men

People have long spoken or written on “the war between the sexes.”  No one ever imagined that the “war” in question was anything but a metaphor.  Usually, it was waged over the thermostat, with men wanting to set it colder and women, warmer.

A few weeks ago in Toronto, the war became literal.  A man drove a van down the sidewalk, attempting to kill a woman.  About a dozen people died.  A more recent killing in Portland, Oregon, may have been an assault on women.  How could such things be happening?  For as long back as history can remember, men and women, love and marriage, have gone together like a horse and carriage.

The origin of this new and dreadful real war between men and women lies, like most bad things these days, in cultural Marxism, and in the feminist movement it has subsumed (19th century feminism was pro-family).  Today’s feminism is openly hostile to men.  More, it has launched its own, non-violent but still devastating, war on men. 

The path that war follows is everywhere the same.  First, feminists demand that women be admitted to traditionally male career fields – cops, firemen, soldiers, construction, etc.—as equals.  When that happens, the women don’t become “one of the boys”.  On the contrary, the men are supposed to become eunuchs.  Men, including young men, are supposed to work cheek-by-jowl with women without showing the slightest interest in them as the opposite sex.  Since most men, especially young men, cannot do that – human nature makes it impossible – the women are empowered over the men because they can accuse any man who notices their femininity as “sexual harassment”.  Cultural Marxism denounces this as a sin and a crime, the man is presumed guilty until proven innocent, and men must now live in constant fear of the women with whom they share a workplace.

Of course, the man does not need to so much as look at woman to be accused of “sexual harassment”.  If he gives a woman an order she does not like, if he takes over because she can’t do the job right, or if he fails to notice her sexually when she wants to be noticed, she can charge him with the fatal accusation.  Men are put in a situation where they cannot work without women around them and simultaneously cannot work with them present.  What’s a guy to do?

The answer is, turn violent.  Here is a difference between men and women (there are many) that the magical incantation “equality” cannot nullify.  When pressed beyond endurance, men, but not women, resort to force.  Again, this is part of human nature.  No ideology can overcome it.  And, it works.  Hollywood may produce program after program in which lovely, petite women beat up big men.  The reality is otherwise.  If it turns physical, men almost always win.

To prevent it from turning violent, women rely on male chivalry.  But feminism pours scorn on male chivalry.  The man who opens a door for a feminist may get a kick in the shins.  But the same (hypocritical) feminist relies on the chivalry the man showed by opening the door to prevent him from grabbing her by her hair and breaking her neck.

Of all the “experiments against reality”, to borrow Roger Kimball’s phrase, that cultural Marxism has mandated, none is more absurd than pretending there are no differences between men and women.  Because those differences are real, inherent, and powerful, it may be that feminism’s absurd pretensions are the final straw that break cultural Marxism’s back.  More and more young men are gravitating to the alt-right in response to the impossible position they find themselves in vis-à-vis women.  And non- and anti-feminist women, who are a majority, are lining up with the men.  They like being different from men, they welcome both male chivalry and the well-mannered advances it includes, and they look forward to fulfilling women’s traditional roles as wives (in a lifetime marriage), mothers, and homemakers.

Reality says that men and women are inherently different and their traditional social roles reflect their inherent differences.  All experiments against this or any other reality fail.

 

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

      

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.