Archive for May, 2009

WORKING FOR KGB? – ERNEST HEMINGWAY

May 27, 2009

The recently published book Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. (on the authors: John Earl Haynes is a historian at the Library of Congress. Harvey Klehr is a professor of politics and history at Emory University. They are co-authors of several books, including Venona. Alexander Vassiliev, a journalist, is co-author of The Haunted Wood contains interesting information. It reveals much new material from the KGB archives in Moscow. There is extensive added information on such well known Soviet spies and contacts as Alger Hiss, I.F. Stone (the ([in]famous liberal journalist [using the American expression for leftist] ).

Ernest Hemingway never provided any significant information to the KGB but was close to several Soviet agents and was an object of interest for the Moscow spy agency.

During the Spanish Civil War as a reporter Hemingway cooperated with party front organizations and he continued having contacts with the Communist Party of the United States of America, which had placed many communist party members in highranking positions in several departments in the US federal capital.

Harry White, one of the top communists in Washington, asked Hemingway to report secretly on relations between China’s Communist Party and Kuomintang, the Chinese railways and the condition of the Burma Road. During the stay in China the future Nobel Prize laureate met other American communist agents. Hemingway gave information that could well have ended up in KGB Headquarters in Moscow.

A quote from the new book:

White assuredly was a Soviet source, but any link with Soviet intelligence Hemingway might have had through White would have been indirect and unknowing. What has not been previously known, however, is that Hemingway had been in direct contact with Soviet intelligence before leaving for China. Moscow Center received a report from Jacob Golos, the KGB’s liaison with the CPUSA, stating: “A few days ago I found out that Ernest Hemingway is traveling to China via the Soviet Union. He may apply for an entry visa to the Soviet Union. He was in New York for only one day and I couldn’t meet with him. I arranged with him that our people will meet with him in China and show him the stamps that he gave us. We must attempt to meet with him in China or the Soviet Union by using the password that was arranged with him previously. I am sure that he will cooperate with us and will do everything he can.” Golos didn’t state who arranged the password and picked up the stamps that Hemingway handed over. (One possibility would be John Herrmann, an old Hemingway drinking buddy and friend who had himself worked for the CPUSA underground in Washington for several years in the 1930s.)

Hemingway had a KGB cover name, “Argo,”. The KGB New York Station was instructed to let him travel around. His reports could be of value.

VÄRLDSÖNS HISTORIA – EN JÄMFÖRANDE KRONOLOGI

May 26, 2009

Denna synopsis får inte kopieras och publiceras utan författarens tillstånd.

Definition av termen världsön

Först använd av den brittiske geopolitikern Sir Halford Mackinder, som 1919 beskrev den som världens största landområde bestående av Europa, Asien och Afrika. Den brittiske civilisationsforskaren eller makrohistorikern delade upp världsön i två delar, som i sin helhet på klassisk grekiska kallades oikoumene.

Den västliga oikoumene avgränsades av Uralbergen och Kaspiska havet i öster och av Sahara i söder med dess mellanöstliga förlängning. Den östliga oikoumene på världsön var Kina och Fjärran östern. En sydlig oikoumene bestod framför allt av den indiska subkontinenten.

Kronologi

3000 f Kr

Södra delen av världsön: pyramiderna byggs i Egypten. Papyrus börjar användas för skrift.
Kina: den kinesiska civilisationen utvecklas.

2000 f Kr

Södra delen av världsön: Abraham, Hammurabi, Trojanska kriget
Kina: skrivsystemet utvecklas

1000 f Kr

Norra delen av världsön: Homeros

500 f Kr

Norra delen av världsön: Sokrates, Platon
Kina: Konfucius

250 f Kr

Norra delen av världsön: den romerska republiken
Kina: landet enas

Omkring Kristi födelse år 0

Norra och södra delen av världsön: det romerska imperiet
Kina: papper uppfinnes, den stora muren byggs

300 e Kr

Södra delen av världsön: den indiska kulturen blomstrar
Kina: inre stridigheter

500 e Kr

Norra delen av världsön: det romerska riket i väst går under, gotiska stater upprättas i Italien och Spanien
Kina: återförening

700 e Kr

Norra delen av världen: den anglo-saxiska kulturen blomstrar
Kina: kulturen utvecklas (konst och litteratur)

1000 e Kr

Norra delen av världsön: Kontinentaleuropa under angrepp från vikingar i norr, magyarer i öst och araber i söder. Omkring 900 skrivs hjälteeposet Beowulf i England
Kina: svag militärmakt under perioden Norra Song

1200 e Kr

Norra delen av världsön: Ukraina och Ryssland erövras av mongolerna
Kina: mongolinvasionen

1500 e Kr

Norra delen av världsön och Amerika: Columbus och upptäcksresor
Kina: Mingdynastin

1600 e Kr

Norra delen av världsön: religionskrig
Kina: Manchudynastin grundas. Landet erövras utifrån.

1700 e Kr

Amerika: självständighetsförklaringen och författningen
Europa: den franska revolutionen och terrorn, Napoleons världserövringsförsök
Kina: stor befolkningstillväxt

1800 e Kr

Amerika: inbördeskriget 1861 – 65
Europa: restauration och revolutionsförsök (Västeuropa, Ryssland)
Kina: Manchudynastin försvagas

1900 e Kr

Amerika, Europa: de båda första världskrigen börjar i Europa. Ett europeiskt inbördeskrig har pågått sedan 1789.
Kina: republiken Kina grundas, inbördeskrig och kommunistiskt maktövertagande

2000 e Kr

Amerika: Förenta staterna blir hegemon
Europa:kontinenten enas, Ryssland står utanför

2100 e Kr

Amerika: Förenta staterna fortsätter som hegemon i förbund med andra stormakter
Kina: landet befrias från kommunistiskt styre

-oo-

Ett intressant scenario 1830 – 2603 står att finna i John J. Reillys bok Spengler’s Future – An Outline of the Next Seven Centuries of Western History, as suggested by Comparison with the Life Cycles of Four Other Civilizations (1993), 198 sidor.

ON THE PROTECTION OF AMERICA AND WORLD FREEDOM

May 23, 2009

The global civil war is continuing. The international terrorists do not rest. It does not matter what American administration is in power.

For the latest views of leaders on Western defense see below:

President Obama spoke about national security at the National Archives: “After 9/11, we knew that we had entered a new era — that enemies who did not abide by any law of war would present new challenges to our application of the law; that our government would need new tools to protect the American people, and that these tools would have to allow us to prevent attacks instead of simply prosecuting those who try to carry them out… I believe that many of these decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people.

Former Vice President Cheney spoke at the American Enterprise Institute: “When President Obama makes wise decisions, as I believe he has done in some respects on Afghanistan, and in reversing his plan to release incendiary photos, he deserves our support. And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer. The point is not to look backward. Now and for years to come, a lot rides on our President’s understanding of the security policies that preceded him. And whatever choices he makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history… For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings. And when the moral reckoning turns to the men known as high-value terrorists, I can assure you they were neither innocent nor victims. As for those who asked them questions and got answers: they did the right thing, they made our country safer, and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.”

THE VITAL FORCE

May 22, 2009

One ought to be grateful to the University of Kentucky Press for publishing Dr. Steven Lambakis’ On the Edge of Earth – The Future of American Space Power (Lexington, 2001, 365 pages). It is one of the most important geopolitical books published in later years. The fact that it appeared just before September 11, 2001, does not lessen the importance of this work

America is fighting a global war against international terrorism in alliance with much of the civilized world. A war against one of the support regimes of this terrorism, Iraq, started in 2003. One can only hope that these wars do not halt the building of American space power. There are great geopolitical risks involved in attacks on American satellites and PRC has publicly several times declared that it is seeking antisatellite weapons. In addition it is fighting a cyberwar against the United States and the European Union.

Dr. Lambakis correctly points out that GPS satellites, for instance, are of great value to United States warfare capability. Harm to these satellites would lessen American military strength. Space is already militarized and what seems now inevitable is force projection from space. Satellites can by used for much besides communication. They are present over battle areas that are difficult to deny. They do so repeatedly and frequently, so that force application using them would have both a strategical and tactical effectiveness. The force can be applied anywhere rapidly, with minimal risks to U.S. forces, and at all levels of conflict. Satellites move at a speed of 25,000 mph, thus with the advantage of enjoying complete surprise.

So why not use the satellites? The next generation of bombers, in the eyes of many analysts, seems to offer planes that can fly at supersonic (Mach 1 to Mach 5) or hypersonic (Mach 5 to Mach 25) speeds. They would make the entire world reachable for attack from any point and completely reshape the geography of surface warfare. But developing these bombers would be costly, so why not do it from space?

The next step could be the space maneuver vehicle (SMV). It would be able to deliver lethal and nonlethal power while a suborbital space operations vehicle (SOV) would be capable of striking targets anywhere on Earth in less than sixty minutes. Such a vehicle could make it possible to facilitate lightning strikes against WMD storage and production facilities and associated platforms. There would also be a chance to wreak havoc against bases of terrorism. Additionally it is necessary to find solutions to the problem of defeating “hard and deeply buried targets”.

Speed-of-light, or directed energy, weapons also hold intriguing possibilities. Space-based interceptors are important as well. They may use kinetic energy or directed energy systems to destroy in-flight theater ballistic missiles soon after launch, like the space-based laser (SBL). Particle beam or high-power electromagnetic (HPM) weapons could be directed against other space or terrestrial objects to disrupt and destroy the target internally. HPM weapons may blow out, jam, spoof, and distrupt electronic equipment on earth or in space as well as disseminate disinformation.

Space-control capabilities include surveillance of space, a daunting task. Here sites outside the United States are important (in Mexico, Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territories), Greenland, and the United Kingdom). It may also in the future become necessary to incapacitate satellites.

A problem in the 1990s was a U.S. Presidency and a Congress dominated by Democrats. There is a similar problem in 2009. A number of senators and congressmen made efforts to stop programs to develop weapons for space. With a Republican controlled Congress it was easier to fund projects for developing the weapons mentioned above. There are no legal restraints. No international agreements forbid defensive use of space weapons. The situation now is back to what it was in the 1990s

Dr. Lamakis excellent book indirectly clearly demonstrates how the European Union is lacking capabilities in the field of space weapons. Europe is indeed a military pygmy compared to the United States. That seems to be one of the reasons why anti-Americanism is on the rise. Seemingly pure envy. During the Cold War American administrations repeatedly urged European allies to spend more on defense. Instead many European countries have decreased military spending. The result is of course that the EU is not capable now of developing weapons for warfare after 2010. Meanwhile the recent increase in the American defense budget allows the United States to raise spending in research and development of hightech weapons.

In today’s geopolitical arena it might not be possible to deploy space weapons but toward the end of the decade the situation might be different. If regimes like the ones in Iran and North Korea are still existing then and have been allowed to continue to develop WMD the opinion might be changing both in the EU and in Japan. The PRC has openly declared that it seeks to hinder the United States to deploy weapons in space. It is also pouring billions into space capabilities of its own.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld headed a commission that in the beginning of 2001 recommended that America strengthen its capabilities in space. Then came September 11 and much attention was diverted to the threat of asymmetric warfare. Meanwhile the European governments are sliding further behind in defense capability. The West will more and more have to rely on the United States.

There is much more in this book that is of great interest with important policy recommendations. It ought to be in every university library in the United States, Japan and the European Union..

LENINS PLUNDRING AV RYSSLAND

May 19, 2009

Sean McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist. The Bolshevik Looting of Russia (Yale University Press, 2009) – en betydelsefull ny bok

I sin nya bok (History’s Greatest Heist. The Bolshevik Looting of Russia, Yale University Press, 2009) skildrar Yaleprofessorn Sean McMeekin bland annat bankmannen Olof Aschbergs arbete för att tvätta stulna ryska rubelmiljoner åt den kommunistiska regimen i Moskva efter första världskriget.

Sverige var ett viktigt centrum för bolsjeviker i exil. Redan före krigets utbrott kom de till Sverige. De utnyttjade den liberala svenska asylrätten. Det fanns en omfattande officiell rysk representation i Stockholm. Pengar som intjänades i Skandinavien från handelsoperationer skickades via Stockholmsbanker till det kommunistiska partiet i Moskva.

Finansmiljön i Stockholm var lämplig för dessa aktiviteter. Redan hösten 1918 slöts ett svensk-sovjetiskt handelsavtal. En svensk, Fredrik Ström, blev sovjetrysk företrädare i politiska frågor i Sverige. På handelsområdet var det Wilhelm Hellberg.

Ledande vänstermän som bankiren Olof Aschberg, en nära vän till Hjalmar Branting, grosshandlaren Sten Stendahl och Ström övertalade tillsammans med den sovjetiske diplomaten Litvinov i Köpenhamn den svenska socialdemokratiska regeringen att motta en delegation från den sovjetryska kooperationen ledd av Leonid Krasin. Ett avtal slöts i maj 1920 med Sveriges Allmänna Exportförening. Som säkerhet för svenska leveranser deponerades stulet ryskt guld i Sverige. Därmed bröt Sverige mot en existerande västlig guldblockad riktad mot Sovjetunionen.

En sovjetisk legation in Stockholm och en Kominternbyrå byggdes ut. Man tog emot sovjetiska kurirer, medverkade till försäljning i väst av stulna ryska juveler, skötte en rad penningfonder för stöd till Sovjet samt författade, tryckte och spred sovjetisk propaganda. Därtill kom att Sverige blev ett huvudcentrum för en blockad av det borgerliga Polen. I Stockholm trycktes flygblad som uppmanade till blockad av hamnen i Gdansk, den enda polska Östersjöhamnen.

På handelsområdet skulle Sverige leverera för hundra miljoner kronor mot att Sovjet deponerade stulet guld värt 25 miljoner kronor. Bland annat skulle 1 000 svenska lokomotiv sändas till Sovjetunionen.

Olof Aschbergs Svenska Ekonomi AB (SEAB) spelade en central roll. Bolaget mottog stulna guldmynt som smältes och blev försedda med svenska stämplar. SEAB grundade 1922 i Sovjet Rossijskij Kommertjeskij Bank (Ryska Handelsbanken), som gav krediter till svensk handel med Sovjetunionen.

DOKUMENT

Utskrift av ett förhör med Olof Aschberg vid Paris polisprefekur den 18 september 1939.

Aschberg erkänner här, utan minsta beklagande, att han tvättat ett värde av omkring 200 miljoner svenska kronor i ”metaller (guld, platina, juveler, diamanter och pärlor)” under perioden 1921 till 1924. Då det gäller guld under åren 1920 till 1921 rör det sig om i närheten av 150 miljoner dollar. Det framgår av registren från den estniska ångaren Kalewipoeg när hon lämnade hamnen i Tallinn. Härmed kan man uppskatta Aschbergs ”tvätttjänster” för kommunistregimen i Moskva till 200 miljoner dollar. Det motsvarar i dag ett värde av 20 miljarder dollar på den internationella vapenmarknaden.

A BOLSHEVIK DECEIVER – FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE GLOBAL CIVIL WAR

May 18, 2009

Introduction

Yale University Press has again provided an important new work in its documenting of Bolshevik subversion (Sean McMeekin, The Red Millionaire : A Political Biography of Willi Münzenberg – Moscow’s Secret Propaganda Tzar in the West, New Haven and London 2004).

From recently opened Moscow archives the author and professor provides a full account of the political career of the master subverter. Münzenberg managed to get friendly with V.I. Lenin to get a media empire. Moscow and Stockholm were paying. His mysterious financial manipulations in the end served the Nazis. The deceiver on the other side of the political spectrum, Joseph Goebbels, countered with propaganda attacks.

There is much important information in the new book on finances of the Communist International, how it organized communist propaganda structure using front organizations to infiltrate non-communist circles and how it broke down the Weimar Republic.

This is one of the most important tales after 1991, how a Bolshevik con man rose and fell. He was probably assassinated on the orders of Stalin in France during World War II.

The Files

The most important files on Münzenberg are at the Russian Government Archive of Social Political History but there is also relevant material in the Comintern archives. These are still closed. In Moscow are also the Gestapo files. Some material is in the United States and Germany. Many crucial documents have vanished.

Inventing the Front Organization

Münzenberg had the ability and capacity to spread Comintern gold through the dozens of corporate fronts he invented. In the end they were too cash thirsty to survive. He recklessly launched new firms through German and to some extent Swedish bank loans. The Comintern had a problem keeping up with servicing the debts. In the book this communist con man is rightly labeled “Comintern’s junk bond king”.

The origin was with Lenin’s circle of friends in Zurich during World War I. He did not travel with his master via Stockholm to Petrograd, so by default he became a leading Bolshevik subverter in the West. It was his type of technique that led to calls for an invasion of central Europe by the Red Army and elimination of millions of “class enemies”. That it helped rally support for the Nazi party in Germany was only viewed as a bonus by Comintern.

Münzenberg, born 1889 in Erfurt, became a red millionaire and certainly lived like one, with chauffeur, personal barber, freshly tailored suits and a bottomless expense account. His stock portfolio was run by Bett, Simon & Co., and valued at several million dollars in today’s currency.

His weekly, “Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung”, ran portraits of Lenin, Stalin, and Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Cheka. The future Stasi (State Security) head of a communist Germany would probably have been his friend Leo Flieg. This co-conspirator was the main liaison from the KPD Zentrale to the party’s military and terror units during the preparations for the 1923 uprising. Flieg was later purged by Stalin and died in a Soviet prison in 1939.

The Death of A Swindler

In the end the Bolshevik master subverter had no luck. He was in France when Nazi troops entered the country. Interned he was hunted by Stalin’s agents and there was certainly a NKVD death sentence hanging over his head. Fleeing southward from a French internment camp in an attempt to reach Switzerland, Münzenberg disappeared. He was later found dead and French authorities claimed he had died by selfinflicted hanging. More likely he was executed by Stalin’s murderers, who were on his trail.

The Swedish Connection

Olof Aschberg, a Swedish banker and Communist sympathizer, whom Münzenberg had first met in 1917, sometimes funded the ventures. He was one of the main figures helping the Bolsheviks at an early stage by selling looted gold for the party on the Stockholm market after having ingots melted down and given new markings. Aschberg’s Berlin-based Guarantee and Credit Bank for the East handled loans used for communist subversion (although most financing came from Soviet banks). Aschberg moved to France before the Nazis took power in Germany. Münzenberg also started a printing house with Aschberg money. The Bolshevik master propaganda chief lived well in Paris before World War II with money provided by Aschberg. By that time he was hunted by Stalin’s agents.

Conclusion

Comintern was no doubt the greatest terrorist conspiracy of the twentieth century. Its purpose was to destroy the “bourgeois” society by infiltrating its institutions from within. It played on the weakness of selfcriticism like present day radical Islamists transporting men, money and munitions across borders to try to use the West’s own technology to kill us.

Münzenberg helped launch the plague of moral blindness upon the world from which we are still recovering. Great crimes of history, we should remember, are created by real criminals with utter contempt for the truth.

This is a brilliant book on one of communism’s most intelligent swindlers. It should be required reading, especially in Sweden, where political power recently rested partly with the old communist party, now calling itself “Party of the Left”. It is looking to its Marxist-Leninist roots and has not apologized for its past. The Social democrats have renewed their partnership with the “Party of the Left”. If there is a leftist win of the elections in Sweden in 2010 the Communist might even get to join the government with ministers. The political world of the socialists is a strange theater especially in Sweden.

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AFGHANISTAN AT THE CENTER OF ASIAN HISTORY

May 16, 2009

Stephen Tanner, Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban. 392 pages. Da Capo Press; First Edition 2003, Revised Edition edition (April 27, 2009).

A much needed revised addition of Stephen Tanners acclaimed book on military history of Afghanistan appeared in April 2009.

Following the events of September 11, 2001 many “experts” proclaimed that Afghanistan would be the grave of the American army. They had not counted on the fact the military might of the United States is extraordinary in world history. This reviewer believes that America’s victory over the guerrillas of the Taliban regime was proof that at present America’s military might is unique. It can handle counterinsurgency too although there is some refinement to be made. More psywar and political warfare too meet Taliban propaganda in traditional media and on the Internet.

For over 2,500 years this Asian country has served as meeting place of empires, the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, and Tartars, Britain and Russia. It is ridiculous to claim that Afghanistan could be the graveyard of American forces. The defeat of the guerrillas is only a matter of politics. If the United States and the European Union were willing to send 200,000 men and increase political warfare the war in this remote country would soon be over. Military victory is not the only necessary tool. The country could become a democratic model in Asia and needs much development, construction and education.

Tanner writes:

Unlike some mountainous lands, such as Peru, Nepal, and Norway — even at times Switzerland, its closest European counterpart — it has never been Afghanistan’s lot to exist benignly apart from the rest of the world. It has instead found itself at the hinge of imperial ambitions since the beginning of recorded history, from the world’s first transcontinental superpower, the Persian Empire… In between enduring or resisting invasions from every point of the compass (and most recently from the air), the Afghans have honed their martial skills by fighting among themselves, in terrain that facilitates divisions of power and resists the concept of centralized control.

A geographical map, more than a political one, best explains Afghanistan’s importance over the centuries. It is the easternmost part of the great Iranian plateau, and given the nearby impenetrable arc of the Himalayas, it is the primary land conduit connecting the great empires of Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent…Afghanistan’s claustrophobic passes have borne mute witness to armies of Persians, Greeks, Mauryans, Huns, Mongols, Moghuls, British, Soviets, and Americans — among others — including many of the most famous captains in history. As a strategically vital piece of real estate, Afghanistan has also given birth to empires of its own such as the Ghaznavids, Ghorids, and Durranis, who spread fear of Afghan fighting prowess from Delhi to the Caspian Sea.

Comparative Civilizational Science

One can only admire the way Tanner uses Arnold Toynbee to explain the complicated geopolitical and civilizational role of this large but thinly populated country:

The historian Arnold Toynbee once suggested that upon viewing the rise of civilization from its center in Mesopotamia, the map of the Old World becomes startlingly clear. He distinguished countries between blind alleys and highways, and among the latter he thought two held prominent place: Syria, which was the link between the civilizations of Europe, Africa, and Asia; and Afghanistan, which was the nodal point between the civilizations of India, East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and thence Europe. “Plant yourself not in Europe but in Iraq,” he wrote, and “it will become evident that half the roads of the Old World lead to Aleppo, and half to Bagram.” Toynbee noted that Bagram was once the site of Cyrus the Great’s Kapish-Kanish as well as Alexander the Great’s Alexandria-in-the-Caucasus. He would have nodded appreciatively had he seen Bagram airfield become the primary Soviet base in Afghanistan during the 1980s and that at the onset of the 21st century not only American but British, German, and Australian troops have been disembarking at that strategic spot, nestled in the southern foothills of the Hindu Kush.

Geopolitics

The present geopolitical picture of Asia is one based on the rimland theory of American geopolitician Nicholas Spykman. Much of the turmoil after 1991 is ongoing in the southern part of the rimland that surrounds the Russian heartland of Sir Halford Mackinder. Compared to Iran, Pakistan and India one cannot be so sure about Afghanistan’s historical role in the fate of nations.

Historian Rhea Talley Stewart has stated that two men did irreparable damage to Afghanistan. The first was the conquering Genghis Khan; the second was Christopher Columbus, who sailed past the presumed ends of the earth, establishing tremendous avenues for commerce and conquest that did not depend on land powers. Another writer explained:

“Afghanistan is far less important to a round world than it was to a flat one.”

To refer further to Mr. Tanners excellent recent article in National Review:

Once global seapower emerged as an equivalent to land power (airpower was not yet on the drawing board), the definition of Afghanistan changed from an essential passageway between civilizations to a place more desirable as a no-man’s-land. It remained crucial territory in the view of great empires, but in a negative rather than a positive sense. In the 19th century the world’s greatest seafaring empire and the world’s greatest land one vied for control of Afghanistan in a Cold War–like contest known as the “Great Game.”

There is however no new “Great Game”. There are no competing superpowers. There is only the American hegemon for mainly freedom and democracy. Of course there is a necessary national interest to some extent in what the United States does. It is only a matter of dividing resources to the different flashpoints of the world in cooperation, sometimes, with the European partners.

Tanner points out in National Review:

Among Afghanistan’s more remote mountain regions are tribes, still governed on a feudal basis, that have never been conquered. Neither have they ever been fully subjugated by domestic government. Invading armies may pass through, seizing sedentary communities on accessible transit routes, which in Afghanistan are more the exception than the rule, while among remote heights and deep valleys tribes have maintained their independence for thousands of years. This is not to say the country’s mountains are populated by hermits or pacifists. On many occasions the tribes have descended from Afghanistan’s mountains with devastating results: to participate in collective defense, civil wars, or expeditions for plunder. When the Afghans have acted in common cause, their country — though often ravaged — has never been held down by a foreign power; on the other hand, evidence indicates that Afghanistan is only capable of unity when its people respond to a foreign threat. Left to their own devices, Afghans engage in internecine battles….

One can only hope that Mr. Tanner’s revised edition of Afghanistan. Maybe a copy of the 2009 edition could be given to American and European servicemen going to the battlegrounds in this crossroad of the empires.

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THE NEW BOOK ON GENERAL LEMAY BY WARREN KOZAK

May 15, 2009

After Pearl Harbor the American leadership asked the military to commit acts of hard retaliation. In 1945 then 38-year-old General Curtis LeMay ordered the deaths of more civilians than any other man in U.S. history.

He sent 346 huge B-29 bombers with napalm to attack the Japanese capital. Around 16 square miles of the capital city were burnt, two million people had no homes, and 100,000 Japanese were killed. In all LeMay ordered attacks on over 60 cities in Japan. Around 350, 000 people lost their lives. The media in the United States thought it was a great achievement.

This should be compared to the retaliation after 9/11.

When at peace a country can deliberate the balance between securty and civil liberties. When a nation is in peril strong defense is important just as after 9/11.
Many Americans and Europeans do not know today that Japan during the Second World War had killed almost 17 millon Asians of other nations in a war that took the Japanese military all the way across Asia to the islands of the Pacific Ocean. When LeMay helped bring the war to an end all countries in the West understood the importance of saving lives in Asia by hitting Japan hard.

Then came the atomic bomb, which to be tested July 16, 1945, and no one knew if it would really work. But before that atom bomb Le May saved the lives, probably, of one million American servicemen and 2 million Japanese.

For many years extreme leftists (mostly academics) have attacked General LeMay. No is the time to hear the other side of the story. Warren Kozak is the author of a new book LEMAY: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay (Regnery Publishing, Inc.; ISBN: 1596985690 354 pages, May 2009)

On the book the publishing company writes:

General Curtis LeMay is perhaps the most infamous general of the 20th century. Despite playing a major role in many important military events of the last century—from defeating Japan without a costly land invasion to being on the Joint Chiefs during the Cuban Missile Crisis—historians have been content to paint LeMay as a crude, trigger-happy, cigar-chomping general who joined political forces with one of the most famous racists in American history, George Wallace.

However, in LEMAY, Kozak reveals the LeMay that only those close to him knew—a commander who was gruff yet compassionate, brilliant, and accomplished. In LEMAY, you’ll learn:

• How LeMay devised the plan to use incendiary bombs over Japan that killed hundreds of thousands but saved millions from an impending ground invasion
• How he turned the Strategic Air Command from a dismal failure into the deadliest fighting force in history
• Who really came up with the idea of bombing the North Vietnamese back into “the Stone Age”
• Why LeMay agreed to be George Wallace’s running mate in the election of 1968—despite loathing Wallace and most of his policies

Giving an unprecedented glimpse into the might and mind of perhaps the most controversial general in our nation’s history, Kozak shows why today, more than ever, America needs another man like Curtis LeMay.

HERMAN KAHN – ESSENTIAL READING

May 14, 2009

Herman Kahn was for many years a leading futurologist. He started out as a mathematical assistant to Nobel physicists at RAND. Kahn was self-taught in many fields and authored more than a dozen books. The Washington Post called him a polymath-a specialist and he was regarded as a great briefer. Physical scientist, popularizer and entertainer were other descriptions. Kahn himself liked to be thought of as a macrohistorian, a modern-day Arnold Toynbee, the great British comparative civilizationist.

Books like The Year 2000, The Emerging Japanese Superstate, and The Next 200 Years extremely important. The evolution of strategic thinking was one of his favorite subjects. He told the US defense community that a policy of mutual assured destruction was wrong. Kahn was also critical of pacifists and recognized that unilateral disarmament was unrealistic. In a 1967 Law Review article he proposed that an antinuclear movement-if truly worldwide including the Soviet Union-was one of the best ways to reduce the chances of a nuclear holocaust. Unfortunately the peace movement during the Cold War was aiding the Soviets.

The Hudson Institute in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, was founded in 1961 by him.. The institute has continued. There are now the Center for Naval Analyses in Alexandria, Hudson Institute moving to Indianapolis, and the spin-off of Hudson Strategy Group in New York.

The book The Essential Herman Kahn by Kenneth Weinstein and Paul Dragos Aligica offers an anthology consisting of the best of Herman Kahn’s work. It brings together, out of the several thousands of pages published in his life, the most relevant, consequential, and interesting themes, ideas, and arguments of his work. The areas are international relations, geopolitics, public policy, environmentalism, strategic thinking, and futurology. It should be essential reading also in the twentyfirst century.

GEOPOLITICAL AND GEOSTRATEGIC MEMORANDUM NO.6 – RUSSIA AND CHINA VS. THE UNITED STATES, NOT TRUE

May 14, 2009

In October, 2007, the SCO and CSTO seem to be on a course of Eurasian cooperation. There is, which is claimed by the Secretary General Nikolay Bordyazha, no intention of integration, like the EU. The plan seems to be to counteract “modern challenges”. Officially the line is to interact with NATO (and perhaps the EU). NATO is not regarded as a threat. Two of the main problems, according to Mr. Bordyazha, is narco trafficking and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Russia and the other members of CSTO would even be willing to help Kabul. At present an important point is that the non-Russian members would be allowed to purchase Russian weapons at “internal prices”. Military staff training is intended as well as sale of police equipment. Also peace keeping is considered with participation not only of Russian troops. The role of PRC is at present unclear.

Concerning China border disputes with Russia are possible in the future. PRC is claiming 1,5 million square kilometres of Russian territory in Asia. Peking already in 1963 raised the question of the “nine unequal treaties” with Russia from 1689 to 1881. Along the Sinkiang border only there are 20 areas from 1,000 to 30,000 square kilometres in dispute according to PRC. In 2008 a per se insignificant development took place. Russia signed a deal to remove it’s forces from 67 square kilometers of territory on several Amur river islands, Tarabarov and Bolshoi Ussuriysky. For those who remember it was the two islands over which Russia and China battled in 1969.

Some of the so called “unequal treaties” are:

Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689, Treaty of Aigun, 1858, Treaty of Tientsin, 1858, Treaty of Peking, 1860, Treaty of Chugusak, 1864, Treaty of Tacheng, 1864 and the Treaty of St. Petersburg, 1881.

Around twenty areas in Sinkiang are in dispute. Also should be noted the Wakhan panhandle. On final river protocols between Russia and China regarding islands in the Amur and Ussuri rivers.

Realistically, however, is a Russo-Chinese alliance possible. Russian Siberia and the interior of China along the Russian border are empty places. This makes trade between the two countries in he interior complicated. The cost of building infrastructure is enormous. There is little also to separate Russian Far East from Manchuria. Here there is a 15:1 population imbalance. Russia’s position is weak. It can hold on to its Far Eastern lands only as long as China has no desire to take them.

For transportation the rivers in Siberia are of no greater use. They mostly do not interconnect. Russia has little ice-free ocean access. The only reasonable harbor is Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula in the Arctic. Siberia has limited infrastructure.

In contrast China has large populations and access to transport. Therefore it can easier industrialize. But trade must go by sea not by land. Sea trade is vulnerable to the sea powers, read the United States. This makes it important to China to have good relations with America.

Central Asia is an additional complication for Russia. The Soviet Union (earlier) and Russia has controlled the gas and oil production in the Central Asian states. Lately China has constructed a lot of infrastructure in the north. In that way the oil and gas could just as easily flow east to China as north to Russia. So in fact China and Russia are rivals over Central Asia and its vast oil and gas reserves.

Historically China regards Russia as a relatively new force in Asia. But it has been a force on the rise since the 1500s. As mentioned above China tried to resist Russian conquests in the borderlands between the two powers but failed. Russia took around a million square kilometers of territory from a weak China.

When the Soviets supported Mao in the early years after the Second World War it improved the relations between the Bear and the Dragon. Moscow never sent troops to help Mao’s communist and after 1949 charged China for the aid given the communist side in the civil war. Relations cooled and the Soviets allied themselves with India and Vietnam, old enemies of China. In 1969 this lead to military clashes between the two great communist powers.

China and Russia are possible but not probable partners. They share a vast land border. If their interests collide there is a possibility of confrontation. One has to remember that China outnumbers Russia in term of population 7 to 1. In terms of economic power it is 3 to 1. An alliance between the Bear and the Dragon seems both unnatural and unlikely.