The View From Olympus 20: Scratch Another State

Several years ago, one of the “causes” favored by the Washington establishment and its globalist partners in the European Union was breaking up the state of Sudan. They prevailed, and through the spending of billions of taxpayers’ dollars and Euros, the facade of a new state was brought forth and named South Sudan. Over the past several weeks, that pseudo-state has dissolved in Fourth Generation war, of the sub-category “war between ethnic groups.”

Quelle surprise! The only real surprise is that the globalist elites are still surprised when their handiwork destroys yet another state. Or at least they pretend to be, pretense being a necessary quality in those who would be members of the establishment. Everyone not playing a game of “let’s pretend” figured out long ago that in an age of Fourth Generation war, when a state is fractured its remnants continue to fracture. The end result is not “democracy” and “human rights” as defined by Jacobins but bottomless chaos and statelessness’s usual outriders, war, plague, famine, and death. None of which counts for anything to the establishment, which justifies itself by its stated intentions, not its usual results.

Meanwhile, back in the Sudan, which is again merely a geographic expression, two ethnic groups, the Nuer and the Dinka, are doing what they have always done, namely killing each other. Why? Because he’s a Dinka and I’m a Nuer, or vice versa. That is war at its most elemental, reaching far back into pre-history. As ground for killing, it is quite enough. With spears and bows replaced by AKs and technicals, the body count is far higher than it used to be. Grafting the products of modernity onto traditional societies usually makes a mess.

Why did the establishment crusade to break up the state of Sudan? Because it was a corrupt, inefficient tyranny. Of course it was: it’s in Africa. There as in much of the world, the options are tyranny or anarchy. The fortunate get an honest and efficient tyranny, but those are few, and none are African. The billions of dollars spent to prop up the Potemkin state of South Sudan mostly went to Swiss bank accounts. Again, that’s Africa. They did not create a state. A piece in the January 1 New York Times reported that, as is the case in all pseudo-states,

Instead of governing through strong institutions, many power brokers and generals in this nation still essentially command their own forces, their loyalties to the government often determined by their cut of the national oil revenues.

“It is an extortion racket with bargaining ongoing on a regular basis, with either violence or the threat of violence” as a form of negotiation, said Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

That describes virtually all the pseudo-states the globalist elites have created by their wars against real states: Libya, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan (which under the Taliban became as real a state as Afghanistan can). The chain of serial failure will continue (they really, really want to do Syria but fear the cries of “ a lá lanterne ” from their voters if they do), because the Globalists are Jacobin ideologues and all ideologies demand shutting out reality. Anyone “in” who dissents from Jacobinism is immediately “out.” After all, what’s more important, additional thousands of little brown people dead or your career?

Realism knows that when Fourth Generation war raises its head in a typical corrupt third world tyrany, the best possible outcome is that the tyranny effectively represses it. That is what appears to be happening in Egypt (you can hear the globalists clucking). If both we and the Syrian people are lucky, it may happen in Syria, as badly off as the state there now is. If the public makes it clear to both the American and Europan Establishments that they want to stay out, the state, and with it some measure of order, may still have a chance, even in Africa. Sadly, for the Sudan, it’s already too late.

Victoria: Preface

The triumph of the Recovery was marked most clearly by the burning of the Episcopal bishop of Maine.

She was not a particularly bad bishop. She was in fact typical of Episcopal bishops of the first quarter of the 21st century: agnostic, compulsively political and radical, and given to placing a small idol of Isis on the altar when she said the Communion service. By 2055, when she was tried for heresy, convicted, and burned, she had outlived her era. By that time only a handful of Episcopalians still recognized female clergy, it would have been easy enough to let the old fool rant out her final years in obscurity.

The fact that the easy road was not taken, that Episcopalians turned to their difficult duty of trying and convicting, and the state upheld its unpleasant responsibility of setting torch to faggots, was what marked this as an act of Recovery. I well remember the crowd that gathered for the execution, solemn but not sad, relieved rather that at last, after so many years of humiliation, of having to swallow every absurdity and pretend we liked it, the majority had taken back the culture. No more apologies for the truth. No more “Yes, buts” on upholding standards. Civilization had recovered its nerve. The flames that soared above the lawn before the Maine State House were, as the bishopess herself might have said, liberating.

She could have saved herself, of course, right up until the torch was applied. All she had to do was announce she wasn’t a bishop, or a priest, since Christian tradition forbids a woman to be either. Or she could have confessed she wasn’t a Christian, in which case she could be bishopess, priestess, popess, whatever, in the service of her chosen demons. That would have just gotten her tossed over the border.

But the Prince of This World whom she served gives his devotees neither an easy nor a dignified exit. She bawled, she babbled, she shrieked in Hellish tongues, she pissed and pooped herself. The pyre was lit at 12:01 PM on a cool, cloudless August 18th, St. Helen’s day. The flames climbed fast; after all, they’d been waiting for her for a long time.

When it was over, none of us felt good about it. But we’d long since learned feelings were a poor guide. We’d done the right thing.

***

Was the dissolution of the United States inevitable?

Probably, once all the “diversity” and “multiculturalism” crap got started. Right up to the end the coins carried the motto, E Pluribus Unum, just as the last dreadnought of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy was the Viribus Unitis. But the reality for both was Ex Uno, Plura.

It’s odd how clearly the American century is marked: 1865 to 1965. As the 20th century historian Shelby Foote noted, the first Civil War made us one nation. In 1860, we wrote, “the United States are.” By the end of the war, the verb was singular: “the United States is.” After 1965 and another war we disunited—deconstructed—with equal speed into blacks, whites, Hispanics, womyn, gays, victims, oppressors, left-handed albinos with congenital halitosis, you name it. The homosexuals said silence = death. Nature replied diversity = war.

In four decades we covered the distance that had taken Rome three centuries. As late as the mid-1960s—God, it’s hard to believe—America was still the greatest nation on earth, the most productive, the freest, the top superpower, a place of safe homes, dutiful children in good schools, strong families, a hot lunch for orphans. By the 1990s the place had the stench of a third-world country. The cities were ravaged by punks, beggars, and bums; as in third century Rome, law applied only to the law-abiding. Schools had become daytime holding pens for illiterate young savages. First television, then the Internet brought the decadence of Weimar Berlin into every home.

***

In this Year of Our Lord 2068—and my 80th year on this planet—we citizens of Victoria have the blessed good fortune to live once again in an age of accomplishment and decency. With the exception of New Spain, most of the nations that cover the territory of the former United States are starting to get things working again. The revival of traditional, Western, Christian culture we began is spreading outward from our rocky New England soil, displacing savagery with civilization for a second time.

I am writing this down so you never forget, not you, nor your children, nor their children. You did not go through the wars, though you have lived with their consequences. Your children will have grown up in a well-ordered, prosperous country, and that can be dangerously comforting. Here, they will read what happens when a people forgets who they are.

This is my story, the story of the life of one man, John Ira Rumford of Hartland, Maine, soldier and farmer. I came into this world near enough the beginning of the end for the old U.S. of A., on June 28, 1988. I expect to leave it shortly, without regrets.

It’s also the story of the end of a once-great nation, by someone who saw most of what happened, and why.

Read it and weep.

The View From Olympus 19: All I Want for Christmas Is…

(Note: I have prevailed upon my esteemed friend and long-time mentor Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge to write this guest column. I am happy to be able to report that he is entirely recovered from the fit of madness that so evidently over took him toward the end of Mr. Dickens’ book, and is once again the man of sense he always was. His advice is not to be lightly regarded. – William S. Lind)

 

It is not my habit to desire anything, other than money. As some of your New England people, more sensible than the common lot of you colonials, like to say, “It sure is funny, the things a lot of damn fools would rather have, than money.”

There is nonetheless one thing I will undoubtedly “want” for Christmas, as your feeble Democracy wants it, that would fill my coffers and yours. That is, on the part of your government, a recourse to reality. Or, as your time, ignorant of the English language, would say it, “realism.”

Even to one as jaded as I, it is astonishing the degree to which your “people’s representatives” (representatives rather of banks, their one redeeming feature) have entered into a realm of Fantasy, little short of madness. They conceive themselves dictators to the world, ordering life in Africa, in Asia, among the benighted worshipers of Mahomet and in the domains of the Tsar of Russia. Your coffee-house gazettes report this very week that an Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland – if women now have the direction of your foreign office, it is no wonder the inhabitants of Bedlam have loosed their chains – was giving sandwiches to rioters in the city of Kiev, encouraging them to overthrow their lawful government! Is there no impudence these busybodies will not indulge? We shall hear shortly, no doubt, that they are ordering the planets to cease revolving in their courses, and the men on the moon to do handsprings.

It is cant, and humbug, all of it. Let America mind her own affairs, which I understand are not in the very best order. She, and I, might profit handsomely from it.

A recourse to reality would profit the world as well in the realm of military matters. There, too, your country has overspread the globe, quartering soldiers on virtually every other nation, where they are as welcome as quartered soldiers ever are. Tasked with fighting the natives your foreign office meddlers would command, they have lately found fortune not to attend their cause. Equipt though they are with fantastical weapons, flying machines, bastions that move themselves across the land, muskets that fire a multitude of shots on a single pull, they have nonetheless been bested by ragged followers of the Prophet, who in my time would have been swept away as chaff in tempest. Yet from their ignominious withdrawals your Soldiers and Marines learn nothing, telling themselves rather that they are the greatest military in all of history, greater than King Frederick’s regiments, greater even than the legions of Caesar! Bah! Humbug, high humbug! Pride, and the Fall cometh, or rather hath come, but been overlooked.

Overlooked most of all by your regiments’ paymasters, who pour unfathomable sums, hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars, into the coffers of persons who promise, but do not deliver. (My word, you will recall, was ever good upon Change; so affirms Mr. Dickens.) Were your dollars worth aught but the value of their paper, Heaven itself would be astonished at the profligacy of your Congress!

There, more even than in your Foreign Policy and your Defence, is a recourse to reality essential, lest profit become a mere memory, and loss and misery overwhelm all. Your money is supported only by the power of the presses, presses running hot night and day printing ever more banknotes. Do your authorities imagine such policy has never been seen before? Or that its consequence was universal wealth, as money replaced tallow for illumination, because it was yet cheaper to burn? Gold, Sir, and Silver, are money, and nought else!

More, and worse, through this Alchemy of paper into money, your oeconomy, as you call it, is now made up to the extent of no less than one-third of “financials,” which are mere numbers in ledger-books, representing no goods! Do your authorities conceive such fraud can continue forever, that no-one will enquire what these sums represent, and demand their goods? And what happens when they do? The South Sea Bubble will appear modest in comparison, as will the Depression which followed upon its Bursting.

I could add, at extended length, upon your Debt, which already vast, grows yet apace. Only a fool, Sir, indulges in debt, and pays interest! Interest is what a wise man, or a wise nation, collects, just as a wise nation’s policies follow upon its interest, and not Fancies. There were times for me, as careful and prudent a man as you will find, when an investment proved unhappy, and I suffered bitter loss – Oh! how bitter, as my bony hands found fewer coins in my coffer, to fondle and to love. But I paid on time, Sir, on my word, wear a barrel though I must. And compared, Sir, to debtors, I was a happy man.

I have no doubt this and all advice toward prudence, and caution, and oeconomy in all measures, and demanding,on the part of those who pay public monies, performance and goods, will be discarded, as naught but the saying of Old Scrooge, I am told that “realism” is that sole matter that is not for sale in your Capital of Washington City, and that may be, though to be sure all else is. What more is to expect, from “Democracy,” whose motto is Vox Plebi, Vox Dei, and whose product is Confusion? But ye have been warned. It is Nature’s invariable principle, that a recourse to reality will be made, volens nolens. On the Christmas when that Ghost comes to visit, it shall not depart.

The View From Olympus 18: Save the A-10!

Since air warfare began in World War I, several constants have emerged. One is that most aircraft are shot down by other aircraft they never saw. Another is that air cooperation with ground forces can have a decisive result while strategic bombing does not.

The US Air Force (and many other air forces) has done an exemplary job of ignoring both of these constants, the first by designing fighter aircraft with poor visibility rearward and the second by emphasizing strategic bombing while neglecting ground support. In recent years, it has accomplished the latter simply by not buying any aircraft that can effectively do ground support missions. No “fast mover” can; the mission cannot be performed at high speeds or from high altitudes. “Fast movers” are much too vulnerable to ground fire to fly low and slow as the mission—especially identifying ground targets as friendly or enemy—requires.

There is one big exception to this picture: the A-10. The A-10 is the world’s best ground attack aircraft, because it was designed from the beginning for this mission and no other. More, it was designed using a wholly different approach from that used for other combat aircraft. The main man behind the A-10 was Pierre Sprey, whom I know well. Pierre was John Boyd’s colleague and closest collaborator through much of John’s life. He designed the A-10 based on combat history. He interviewed many successful ground support pilots, including Hans Ulrich Rudel, the famous Stuka pilot who specialized in busting Russian tanks. The design of the A-10 reflects the aircraft characteristics these men said were most important to performing the ground attack mission. Subtle points were often highly important. I remember Pierre telling me Rudel’s reply when Pierre asked him how he survived when so many other Stuka pilots did not. Rudel said that in making an attack on a tank (with cannon, not bombs), he only flew straight and level for a second and a half. Other pilots usually took a second longer. That second made the difference between life and death.

How does the US Air Force usually design aircraft? Combat history plays no role at all. It and its captive “private” aircraft companies simply throw technology at the barn wall, going with however much sticks. The result is aircraft like the F-111 and its worthy successor, the F-35: hugely expensive turkeys that can perform no mission optimally and cannot do ground support at all.

The A-10 was forced down the Air Force’s throat by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Air Force has always hated it. It has tried to dump the A-10 repeatedly, only to have it come back because we have gotten into a ground war and it was the aircraft the guys on the ground loved.

Now, the Air Force is again trying to get rid of the A-10, from the Air National Guard as well as the active-duty Air Force (if the Marine Corps were smart, it would pick them up from the Air Force as fast as the latter gets rid of them). Because the war in Afghanistan is winding down, it looks as if this attempt may succeed.

It shouldn’t. If we care at all about the soldier or Marine on the ground, we need to save the A-10. The idea that the F-16 or F-35 can substitute for it is a joke.

Fortunately, there is an effort underway in Congress to keep the A-10s. That seems to be the only hope, although I find it difficult to understand why a Secretary of Defense who served on the ground in Vietnam would let the Air Force get away with screwing his successors. If Secretary Hagel does not intervene, then all we can do is hope Congress sees the game that is being played and does its duty.

At some point, the A-10 will wear out and need replacing. When that day comes, Pierre Sprey has given a lot of thought to what its successor should be like. It should keep the A-10’s combat-derived characteristics—slow speed, powerful gun armament, good armor protection for the pilot, heavy redundancy—but have better maneuverability and smaller size. Unless OSD once again puts Pierre in charge of the program, the Air Force will design a “successor” that has none of the characteristics a ground support aircraft requires. The Air Force does not want an aircraft that can do a mission it despises.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaOSwYF9hIo

Why Focus On Race?

The topic of race is en vogue in New Right and neoreactionary circles. It may even seem as though it is central to these circles, but more likely, thanks to the Internet, writers are making up for decades of lost time, having been smeared and shamed since the 1960s whenever the subject was broached. It is important, however, to understand why race needs to be examined and why it is important to the Right.

So why focus so much attention on race? The first and easiest answer is “Because the Left brought it up.” Cultural Marxism/political correctness/totalitarian humanism is the state religion in the West and its ultimate sin is “racism,” or anything perceived to be as such. What once began as perhaps an honest effort to move toward equal treatment under the law for minorities and whites alike in America morphed rapidly into an iron-fisted equaling of condition and status and spread to include every underclass, victim, and oppressed-loser-niche group one can think of (For a good laugh, the reader should Google “cis-privilege” and “fat shaming”). Genuine racism, of course, is to believe that individuals cannot deviate from their corresponding group norms or to harbor baseless hatred for a particular group. Cultural Marxism transformed race from something obvious into something no one is supposed to notice. Committing an act of modern racism, then, is to so much as hint that people from around the world may not be interchangeable. Should some unfortunate soul transgress against this commandment, he will be compelled to publicly confess his sin, then to repent, and finally to live out his remaining days in exile, stripped of his livelihood and social status. To focus on race is to dissent from the Church of Cultural Marxism’s Black Mass. Thwarting its goal—the destruction of Western culture and her people—is a central aim of this journal.

Part of the Left’s strategy has been to deny the existence of race (it’s really just a social construct) or to say that it simply does not matter. Well, of course it’s real and of course it matters. It is the first and most distinct aspect of a man’s identity. It is an indispensable part of who he is. Simple mail-order genetics tests can determine which part of the world a person comes from with incredible accuracy. Race and ethnicity are considered every day in the medical field; be it diseases specific to individual tribes, somatic responses to drugs, or organ transplants and blood transfusions. Athletic ability, behavior, and IQ are all determined in large part by race. None of these facts would be shocking in an intellectually honest society. Crushing any discussion of human biodiversity has been a net detriment to all of mankind, especially as it relates to the sciences. Maybe more importantly, it forbids people from saying what they mean and discovering what nature intended for them to become.

Folks calling themselves conservatives in mainstream American politics presumably want to conserve something. What that something actually is remains a mystery as it certainly is not the culture or ethnic stock of the country. Sure, they generally oppose “immigration reform,” but only on the grounds that it will cost tax payers more money to support an increase in welfare recipients. They are still careful to acknowledge that America is “a nation of immigrants” (how does no one see what a gigantic contradiction that is?) and that “diversity is strength.” This is because what passes for the Right in the United States has been fully enveloped by cultural Marxism. It is what today’s Left was 20 years ago. It is purely controlled opposition. Republican politicians are already championing gay “rights.”

A healthy society recognizes that race, culture, and ethnicity are worth preserving—surely a party professing to be “conservative” does at least. It should not matter one whit how much 30 million Mexican immigrants could theoretically contribute to the American economy or if they have a sob story about seeking opportunity. They cannot be Americans because it would irreversibly alter the culture and genetic stock of the country. Political change cannot be realistically expected until Westerners regain an understanding of what makes them who they are. Race plus culture begets an ethnic identity.

It’s necessary to recognize, too, that racial or ethnic purity should not necessarily be a goal. Looking to history, there is not a single instance of a civilization so isolated as to prevent mixture from neighboring populations. It is desirable, however, to protect the general identity of the various ethnic groups. It is a natural human impulse to have a preferential love for one’s own family and tribe. This phenomenon exists in nature as well. Population ecologists have extensively documented altruistic behaviors among social animals regarding members of their own colony or tribal group, yet the behavior usually does not extend to other members of their species. This ensures that close genetic relatives will survive to reproduce and pass down traits unique to a particular group. It is nature’s fiercest built-in dive.

This author visited Charleston, South Carolina over the summer. It is a beautiful and historic city. Because of this, it has attracted a substantial number of transplants from across the country and locals are careful to discern between the natives and outsiders. Their rule is that no one can be considered a native Charlestonian unless their family has lived in the city for four generations. Imagine now taking this practice to the national level, reserving full citizenship privileges for natives of at least four generations of ancestry. This would fully defend the culture and ethnic identity of the group and allow for incidental immigration and interaction with other populations.

The position being articulated here is known as ethnonationalism. It begins with the recognition of and appreciation for all the diverse peoples of the world and acknowledging that those differences are precious. It is the belief that they would be best served if they had a homeland and state of their own in order to control their destiny and ensure their preservation. Ethnonationalism is the expression of love of one’s own family, tribe, and community. Race is, of course, a component of how an ethnic identity is defined and its discussion need to be facilitated.

A new paradigm that traditionalRIGHT spies on the near horizon is that the politics of identity are the future. This means that individuals are going to begin organizing and acting politically (or otherwise) according to how they define their tribe. Identity will be formed on the basis of race or ethnicity for most people as this directly ties to family and community, but it can also be based on ideology, religion, causes, etc. European peoples, and American whites in particular, have not been permitted to organize around their ethnic identities for the better part of a century. traditionalRIGHT’s goal when focusing on race is to begin to prepare Westerners to thrive in a changing world. If the West and her people are to continue to exist, racial discussion can no longer remain off the table.

What’s Wrong With “Tolerance?”

One of the Left’s most frequent demands is for “tolerance.” It is a popular demand, because most people, myself included, think tolerance broadly a public good. Like anything, it can be carried to excess. One ought not, for example, tolerate boom boxes blasting barbaric music in public places. After all, we don’t force them to listen to Haydn.

Conservatives like tolerance because it helps create a climate of public order and harmony. In intolerant societies, such as Europe during the Reformation, people are quickly at each other’s throats. Conservatives do not like that, especially when it leads to murder, war, arson, destruction of historic art works and the like. During a tour of the Swedish military archives, I was handed a muster list dated 1642. The archivist said, “Turn it over.” On the other side was an illuminated medieval manuscript. The archivist commented, “Most such manuscripts ended up being used for cannon wads. It was the Reformation.”

Regrettably, with “tolerance” as with so many words, the culturally Marxist Left (now almost all of it) is playing tricks. The first, which I noted in an earlier column, is deliberately confusing tolerance with approval. This is most common with reference to “gay liberation.” The Left demands gays be tolerated, which, as with many differences, is the best solution (the old Victorian rule, “Don’t frighten the horses,” facilitates tolerance on both sides). But though they use the word “tolerance,” what they actually demand is approval, which is a very different thing. No Christian can approve sin of any kind; doing so is yet a greater sin, being a sin of the spirit not just the flesh.

So different are tolerance and approval that they are functional opposites. I only need to tolerate things I disapprove. Approval trumps toleration, as a higher degree of positive response (tolerance can be mildly positive or quite negative, in terms of the judgment it subordinates). In turn, to tolerate something I approve makes no sense, because I have no need to do so. I tolerate eating broccoli, but I have no need to tolerate eating an eclair, since I do so with enthusiasm.

By saying “tolerance” when they mean “approval,” the Left plays a game of bait and switch. The goal is to brand anyone who disapproves of sin—almost any sin, it seems—a “bigot.” Perhaps we should respond by remembering the medieval reference to “saints, martyrs, and bigots,” a bigot being someone who cleaves to the truth regardless of how hard he is pressed to abandon it. In the cultural Marxists’ usage, “bigot” is re-acquiring its old meaning.

Cultural Marxism plays a second trick with the world “tolerance,” one that reaches into almost everything it does or advocates. When cultural Marxists demand “tolerance,” what they really mean, in coded speech understood by other cultural Marxists, is “liberating tolerance.” Herbert Marcuse, a member of the Frankfurt School and perhaps the cultural Marxists leading voice in the 1960s, wrote a famous essay with that title. In it, he defined “liberating tolerance” as tolerance for all ideas and movements emanating from the Left, and intolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the right. In other words, when cultural Marxists demand “tolerance,” they are really calling for intolerance toward conservatives and their beliefs.

We see this most clearly on college campuses, where cultural Marxism is most powerful. Students who, for example, show disapproval of homosexuality, or question whether all races or ethnic groups are identical and interchangeable, are often hauled up before some kangaroo court and threatened with discipline, either reading a forced “apology” to whatever politically correct “victim” group they have “offended”–shades of North Korea—or being expelled. In contrast, no one who advocates from a leftist basis, no matter how extreme—as, for example, justifying killing cops—is ever so threatened. That is Marcuse’s “liberating tolerance” at work.

The intellectual dishonesty here is blatant. That cultural Marxists use a common word with a broadly understood meaning, but give it their own coded meaning, which is directly opposite what is commonly understood. It is straight from Orwell: war is peace, hate is love, intolerance of conservatives is tolerance. What cultural Marxists now do on campuses, they hope to do nationwide. Any expression of conservative ideas will be punishable, and the policy will be called “tolerance.” Words themselves can lie.

Conservatives should expose cultural Marxism’s lies embedded in words, and explain its tricks to the wider world. We should also reaffirm the benefits of true tolerance, tolerance as practiced in two of my favorite traditional societies, old England and Prussia. Both were famous for their broad toleration of eccentrics, and both benefited from it. At one point in the 1880s, General Helmuth von Moltke, chief of the Prussian General Staff, ordered the organization to go out and recruit the oddballs and the eccentrics, on the grounds that they usually have the best ideas. That is still true, especially of us eccentrics on the traditional right.

The View From Olympus 17: 1914 In The Pacific?

Several commentators have noticed that the Chinese-Japanese confrontation over the Senkaku Islands, exacerbated by a recent Chinese declaration of an air defense zone that includes the airspace over the Senkakus, which is also part of a similar Japanese zone, offers echoes of the crisis of 1914. The danger now, as then, is that the parties will back into a conflict without intending to do so, but with no way out.

According to the December 4 New York Times, China is now de-escalating, announcing that the zone “will not affect the freedom of overflight, based on international law, of other countries’ aircraft.” That may reflect preparation for Vice President Biden’s visit to Beijing, but I suspect it is based more on China’s timely realization that the situation could soon get out of hand, a lá 1914. That would be in no one’s interest, including China’s.

The US has not handled the crisis well to date. Our overriding interest, trumping all other considerations, is avoiding a war with China—or any other war, given our recent expensive military failures. Regrettably Washington has made it clear that it will stand with Japan, and that it regards the Senkakus as covered by the US-Japanese defense agreement. That leaves us a few errors by China, Japan, or both away from involvement in a war. We would have been wiser to restrain China by saying any attack on Japanese ships or aircraft would involve US forces, but at the same time to restrain Japan by saying the US would not go to war for the islands themselves.

That opportunity having been missed, which should we do now? The question has two answers; one tactical, one strategic. Tactically, given that our objective is to avoid war, we should propose putting the Senkakus under an international mandate—leaving their administration to, say, Sweden—for 50 or 100 years, thus kicking the can so far down the road we’re never likely to see it again. The Chinese, who are trying to establish a very shaky claim, might accept this, because it would undermine Japan’s position that there is no issue: the islands are Japanese. Japan would reject it, unless we could enable the Japanese to save face. How to do that? My proposal would be that we add an uninhabited American rock to the mandate, say, one of the many in the Aleutians. We wouldn’t miss it, and the Swedes would feel right at home. I can see Bismarck smiling at the idea.

Strategically, the 1914-style threat posed by the snit over the Senkakus points to a larger reality: our current position in east Asia has no strategic logic. We have enmeshed ourselves in two quarrels, or perhaps two-and-a-half, where we have no major interests at stake, yet where we could find ourselves in major wars. The first is the stand-off between North and South Korea, the second is the enmity between China and Japan, and the half is the fact that not only do the Chinese hate the Japanese, so do the Koreans, North and South.

The North-South Korean war—there still is no peace treaty, only an armistice—lost all strategic meaning for the United States the day communism fell in the former Soviet Union and the Cold War ended. Who controls Korea is important to Japan, Russia, and presumably the Koreans themselves. It has no more significance for American interests than who controls Bora-Bora. We have this wonderful thing called an ocean between us and them.

The same logic applies to North Korea’s nukes. If we were not involved in affairs on the Korean peninsula, there would be no reason for North Korea to target us. There is little reason in any case, since winging a highly unreliable North Korean rocket our way would result in the quick extinction of North Korea. It is still in our interest to remove what small incentive might be there. More likely is the ugly possibility that events on the Korean peninsula could involve us in another expensive land war. Again, who controls post-Cold War Korea has no strategic significance for the United States. Korea is not worth the bones of a single American grenadier.

We have equally little at stake in what is going to be a long feud between Japan and China, one that at some point will almost certainly result in war. Each party views the other both as a threat and with contempt, historic attitudes that go back centuries. Our alliance with Japan, like so many of our other alliances, benefits only Japan. Without it, she would have to go nuclear. That is a problem for China, Russia, and Korea, but not us. Our overriding interest in a Sino-Japanese war is staying out of it. That means the Japanese alliance is a net debit for the United States, one we should liquidate in an orderly manner.

The half-conflict is between Korea, North and South, and Japan. It may surprise Americans to say so, but this other ancient enmity is also likely to result in war at some point. The aggressor is more likely Korea than Japan—again, North Korea, South Korea, or both (it is the one cause in which the two could happily join). The South Korean Air Force and, especially, Navy are designed more for war with Japan than with North Korea. That is not by accident. All Koreans relish the idea of a war with Japan. It will be only the latest when it comes, in a line that goes back centuries. Only Americans think they can ignore or undo historic hates, an illusion that all too often leaves us caught up in them.

The reason an assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 led to world war is that other European powers, especially but not exclusively Russia, had involved themselves in the Balkans unnecessarily and in ways that contradicted their main interest, which was preserving peace in Europe. The Danube should have formed a fire wall with Balkan wars left to be Balkan wars only. The Pacific should form a similar fire wall for the United States today. Wars are coming in Asia, probably the last major wars among state militaries. Our position should be that of an observer of historical tableaux vivant, not a participant in them.

The View From Olympus 16: Be Thankful for Mr. Karzai

In this Thanksgiving week, all that stands between the United States and a strategic blunder of the first order is Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Each and every one of us should be deeply thankful to him for blocking a long-term security agreement between the US and Afghanistan that makes no sense.

After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, with more than 2000 dead and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, most Americans are looking forward to leaving. Regrettably, the American government is not. It has negotiated a treaty with the Afghan government—the treaty Mr. Karzai now refuses to sign—that would keep us in the graveyard of empires for another ten years. Yes, you read that right. Until 2024, the US would maintain a force of as many as 12,000 troops in Afghanistan. We would also pay the Afghan government at least $8 billion annually, for a total of $80 billion.

Why? The question has no rational answer, in terms of US interests. Everything achievable in Afghanistan was achieved within the first 30 days of US intervention. We pushed the Taliban government out of Kabul, put in power its old opponent, the Northern Alliance, and gave the latter some weapons and some money. That’s all an invader can do.

We have not extended the Afghan government’s authority beyond Kabul, because Afghan governments’ authority almost never runs beyond Kabul (the Taliban government was an exception). We have not defeated the Taliban, because it represents the Pashtun, and the Pashtun are happy to keep fighting anyone and everyone from now until doomsday. We did drive al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but it quickly found a better base in Pakistan. It had in any case largely worn out its welcome before we intervened.

Having done all we could a dozen years ago, we have remained in country, losing men, spending money and accomplishing nothing of any lasting value. Now, to ice that cake, the US government wants to stay another ten years. If we do, past is prologue: we will lose men, spend money and achieve nothing more than we did in those first 30 days.

The proposed long-term security agreement makes no strategic sense. Regrettably, seen from Washington, it does make political sense, which is why Washington is so eager for Mr. Karzai to sign it. It makes political sense because neither the Obama administration nor the Pentagon want to face the fact that we have lost yet another Fourth Generation war. The question of “Who lost Afghanistan?” terrifies the politicians, as the questions of “Why do we keep losing against guys in bathrobes and flip-flops armed with rusty AKs?” terrifies the Pentagon. If you were spending a trillion dollars a year and losing, you’d be scared too.

A moral question should trump the political concerns: can we rightly send more American soldiers to their deaths and waste tens of billions of additional dollars so politicians and generals don’t have to face facts? The answer is obvious, but moral issues cut no ice in Washington. The only question politicians—those in uniforms as well as those in suits—ask is, “Is it good for me?”

So the American public is left depending on the whims of President Karzai. His refusal to sign the agreement, despite agreeing to do so, is a weak reed to lean on. A man of readily changeable mind, he will probably change it again and let us make the blunder Washington is eager to make. Mr. Karzai’s mind has been noted to be especially changeable when presented with hard currency.

The real comment here is on the American electorate. It will be too busy with turkey and football to pay attention to a treaty with Afghanistan. It won’t like losing more guys or more money in a bottomless pit. But it won’t care enough up front to prevent it from happening, as it prevented an American attack on Syria just a few months back. Then, it deluged Congress with messages saying, “No more wars.” Now, its answer to extending a losing war for ten more years is “Huh?” Our troops and our pocketbooks deserve better.

The View From Olympus 15: Will the Real Chuck Hagel Please Come Forward?

Years ago, my old colleague Paul Weyrich said to me of then-Senator Chuck Hagel, whom he knew well, “He thinks about the Pentagon the same way you do.”

So far, there has been little sign of that from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. But a piece in the November 7 New York Times, “Cuts Have Hagel Weighing Realigned Military Budget,” suggests the real Chuck Hagel may be making his debut. The Times writes,

 

The Pentagon has traditionally managed rivalries among services by giving each more or less equal shares of the base military budget.

Today, under pressure from the threat of nearly $1 trillion in forced spending reductions, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the days of automatic, equitable allotment to the Army, Air Force and Navy may be over.

“We’re challenging every past assumption, every past formula,” Mr. Hagel said in an interview.

 

Such assertions are frequently heard in Washington. Most often, the mountain brings forth a mouse. Minor rearrangements in the deck chairs are presented as major reforms, and business as usual goes on largely untroubled. That will probably be the case here as well.

But what if Secretary Hagel really means what he says? How might he go about challenging every past assumption and formula? He could start by facing a few basic facts the Pentagon does its best to ignore.

First, geography dictates the United States is a sea power, not a land power. Like Great Britain, we are essentially an island. We face no conventional military threat on either our northern or our southern land border, although we face a serious Fourth Generation threat to the south—against which our conventional land forces are entirely useless. In terms of potential threats from other states, all lie overseas.

This means that while we must maintain naval superiority, we have little need for land forces. Neither of our two armies, the United States Army and the U.S. Marine Corps, are strategic necessities. If both disappeared tomorrow in a large cloud of red ink, we would miss little beyond the Marine guards at our embassies. Militarily, the only capability we would lose would be that of waging land wars overseas—and losing them, as we have proven adept at doing.

In theory, both the Army and the Marine Corps might learn enough lessons from our recent defeats to be able to win in the future. But neither shows any interest in doing so. The senior leadership of the Marines is as intellectually dead as I have seen it in my forty years of working with the Corps. The Army’s situation appears even worse. Testifying recently on Capitol Hill, the Army’s Chief of Staff, General Odierno, in response to a question as to whether the lessons of recent counterinsurgency fighting would be lost as those from Vietnam were, in effect said yes. He replied that in his view, the Army should focus on “combined arms warfare,” which is milspeak for fighting formal battles against the armies of other states. Since land wars against other states are something which, in the face of Fourth Generation war, we should not fight—the losing states will often disintegrate, giving the Fourth Generation, our real enemy, another victory—General Odierno in effect said the Army will have no strategic utility. It will be knights on horseback facing an army of musketeers. We could save money and provide public entertainment by reducing it to a company of actual knights on horseback to tour around the country staging tournaments. Perhaps it could get a gig with Monty Python.

The Times also reported that “Mr. Hagel said he was assessing whether there were savings in relying more on the National Guard and Reserves than on the active-duty armed forces.” The easy answer is yes. A National Guardsman costs about one-third as much as an active-duty soldier.

But there is more than budgetary logic to turning to the Guard and Reserve. The Air Guard and Reserve almost always perform better than the regulars. They are more open to aircraft such as the A-10, the only airplane in our inventory that can effectively support troops on the ground (and which the Air Force is sending to the bone yard). It is hard to think the Air Guard and Reserve, whose members have real jobs in the real world, would be buying an airplane as defective in design as the F-35.

As to the ground Guard, it is far and away the most relevant force we have for Fourth Generation war. Being now 0-4 against Fourth Generation opponents overseas (Lebanon,Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan) and with both the Army and the Marine Corps committed to learning nothing from their failures, we are probably not going to fight the Fourth Generation overseas again. If we do, we will again lose.

The real Fourth Generation threat is here, on our own soil. It is a threat we must confront, and against which we dare not lose. It manifests itself as a myriad of loyalties to things other than the state: gangs, races and ethnic groups, religions (think Islam), ideologies, “causes,” and so on.

These are at present law enforcement challenges, and it is greatly to a state’s advantage to keep them in that category. If they can break out to the point where they present military threats, threats beyond what law enforcement can handle, they are well on the way to victory over the state.

When law enforcement needs reinforcement, the Guard is where it turns. It is where it should turn, because the deployment of the regular armed forces in support of law enforcement is problematic. It is problematic in terms of dangers to our liberties, in terms of public perception, and in terms of regular soldiers’ skills, which come down to killing people and destroying things. Those are activities the American public does not want to see on American soil.

The National Guard, in contrast, specializes in skills people need and want. The Guard is what rescues them in case of natural disaster. It usually works unarmed. It presents no threat, because it is made up of our own friends and neighbors. The skills Guardsmen carry over from civilian life are an asset to their work in the Guard, especially when their communities face emergencies. Fourth Generation war is above all a contest for legitimacy. Deployment of the Guard enhances the state’s legitimacy, while deployment of the active duty armed forces in domestic emergencies can easily work against it.

So, Mr. Secretary, the logic of the challenge of “every past assumption” waits to serve you. Other than Special Operations Forces, our two land armies represent little but large expense. The same is true for most of the active-duty Air Force. We still need a robust Navy, as islands always do. But beyond SOF, the future of our air and ground forces is to be found in the Reserve and Guard. They also happen to represent enormous budgetary savings compared to active duty forces. Strategy and budgetary pressures for once work in concordance. All you have to do is go with the logical flow. Will the real Chuck Hagel please come forward?

Race or Culture?

Several people associated with traditionalRIGHT recently attended the National Policy Institute conference in Washington, D.C. (I did not go). The conference raised a question they asked me: can America be successful as a multi-racial society?

To answer that question, and many others, conservatives turn to history. History tells us America was successful—well-ordered, safe, and prosperous—in the past, despite being multi-racial and multi-ethnic. However, that America also had something we have lost: a highly successful common culture.

America’s historic culture reflected the origin of its people. It was, from broadest to most specific, Judeo-Christian, white, northern European, and Anglo-Saxon. Most of our early settlers came from Great Britain or Germany. They brought the historic culture of those areas with them, and it became ours.

The United States was highly fortunate, because Anglo-Saxon culture is a functional culture. Despite the blatherings of “multiculturalism,” very few cultures work well over time. Outside the Western tradition, only Chinese culture makes the grade. Even within the West, not all cultures are equal. Northern European culture has created order and prosperity better than southern European culture, at least in the modern period. That is why North America has had a happier history than South America. Even within northern Europe, some cultures work better than others. The top position is occupied by exactly the culture we got: Anglo-Saxon culture. Again, thanks to some accidents of history—North America had little gold to draw the Spaniards—we were lucky.

If our early ethnic origins formed our culture, a development that began in England in the 18th century refined it: the adoption by society as a whole of the values of the middle class. That triumph was marked by the huge success of Richardson’s novel Pamela around 1750; Fielding’s satire written in response and in defense of upper-class values, Shamela, (a far better read), could not stem the tide. Lower-class values held their physical if not moral ground until the Victorians came along. One of their many great achievements was bringing the lower classes to embrace middle-class values and, eventually, behavior. If we look at America in its most successful years, roughly 1890 to 1960, we see a country that was culturally overwhelmingly middle class and, at least in the public square, Anglo-Saxon.

That country was also multi-racial and multi-ethnic. Then as now, America had a substantial black minority. It took longer to adopt middle class values and (again, at least in the public square) Anglo-Saxon behavior, but it did. By the inter-war years, and up into the 1960s, the black urban community was not a bad place. It was safe, for blacks and whites alike. In the 1950s, 80% of black children belonged to families with a married mother and father. Those families’ incomes came from work, not welfare. Most of them kept their houses and yards neat and tidy. They gathered two or three times a day for home-cooked meals. Black women knew how to hold jobs and be good homemakers at the same time. Especially for women and children, the black church played central roles. You will never meet better Christians (or cooks) than the black “church ladies.”

America was also multi-ethnic. Beginning with the Irish and the Italians in the 19th century, Americans’ origins broadened out far beyond their original British and German sources. The process was fraught with difficulties, and beginning in 1920 we limited the number of immigrants to ensure we could acculturate them adequately. But acculturate them we did. So successful were the New York City public schools as agents of acculturation that even in that babble of many tongues, immigrants from places as different from Britain and Germany as the ghettos of Poland and the mountains of Amenia were acculturated in two, sometimes one, generation. At home, in their churches, and in their clubs they might maintain their ethnic traditions, but in the public square most became middle-class Anglo-Saxons. If they wanted to get ahead, they had to.

What has turned America into an increasingly dysfunctional country has not been race or ethnicity, but abandonment of the common culture. “Multiculturalism,” which is a tool cultural Marxists use to destroy their hated enemy, Western culture, has wrecked the place. The virtually unanimous consensus of American elites on the need for all citizens, regardless of race or ethnic origins, to “Americanize,” i.e. to adopt middle-class, Anglo-Saxon culture, has been replaced with a doctrine intended to fracture the country. Regrettably, it has succeeded. No one has suffered more from its loss than America’s blacks, where a disastrous culture of instant gratification now holds wide sway.

Conservatives know that what worked in the past can work again. We can again become a well-ordered and prosperous country if we again embrace the common culture we used to share; middle-class, Anglo-Saxon culture. Our success was a product of that culture. The first step in brining it back is to overturn the intellectual and political hegemony of cultural Marxism and break “multiculturalism,” its sword.