Archive for March, 2011

THE US IS ONCE MORE TAKING THE LEAD IN DEVELOPING SPACE-CRAFT

March 22, 2011

Lockheed Martin on March 22, 2011, unveiled the first Orion spacecraft, a part of a means to ferry humans into outer space and back to the moon.

Part of the Constellation project NASA and Lockheed Martin have pushed ahead on the Orion space capsule despite the reluctant attitude of the White House to its continuation.

“Our nation’s next bold step in exploration could begin by 2016,” said John Karas, vice president and general manager for
Lockheed Martin’s Human Space Flight programs:

Orion was designed from inception to fly multiple, deep-space missions. The spacecraft is an incredibly robust, technically advanced vehicle capable of safely transporting humans to asteroids, Lagrange Points and other deep space destinations that will put us on an affordable and sustainable path to Mars.

Orion includes a module for crew and cargo, a service module for propulsion, electrical power and other requirements, and a launch-abort system to carry the capsule to safety if the booster rocket fails. NASA successfully tested the launch-abort system two weeks ago at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

To accompany the Orion craft, the company took the wrappings off a spacious state-of-the-art Space Operations Simulation Center (SOSC), located at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Facility near Denver, Colo. The company said it built the $35 million, 41,000-square-foot test facility at company expense.

The first orbital space flight of an Orion capsule is expected in 2013, according to Karas as reported by AP.

SOVIETS GUILTY OF GENOCIDE

March 19, 2011

Two recent books have highlighted the question of Soviet genocide: the Holocaust was a unique evil but wasn’t Stalin as guilty as Hitler of the terrible crime of genocide?

The terrible Ukrainian manmade famine of 1932-33 is presented in Professor Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010). In Ukraine in the 1930s zeal, malice and indifference conspired to create a horror in which three million perished (the real figure could be twice as high). In Snyder’s view it was food distribution (or rather lack of) that killed millions in Ukraine, not shortage of food. Stalin decided who was entitled to what.

At the time of the Ukrainian genocide the country had already been devastated by collectivization and the killing of millions of its most enterprising inhabitants. The remaining peasants were trapped in their starving country. Nobody was allowed to leave. In the spring of 1933 the Ukrainians died at the rate of more than ten thousand per day. “The only meat was human”.

Communism is a unique ideology that brings mass starvation. The Ukrainian Holodomar was unique, however. It was deliberate in order to break a class enemy, the Ukrainian peasantry but also the whole nation.

Some historians try to deny that Stalin intended to break the Ukrainian nation by starvation. These deniers raise the question of why it was that so many European (and American) intellectuals regarded the Soviet Union as an ideal state. After all newspapers in the West reported on a regular basis what happened in Ukraine 1932-33. The cattle trucks started rolling in the Soviet Union earlier than in Nazi Germany. It is not surprising that some historians claim that Hitler modeled his methods on the Marxist-Leninist ones in the Soviet empire.

Things changed and the wider strategy of Hitler came to light. To empty the Bloodlands of inhabitants to make way for the master race, which was to settle these areas.

Indeed Marxism-Leninism in the Soviet Union was similar to the dream of Hitler: to create a utopia for the elites of this world. These were dangerous illusions. The utopian dreams opened the way for the Bolshevik revolution, which helped to pave the way for the Third Reich, which was a state that both reacted against and imitated the Soviet Union.

There can be no doubt that the Soviets were guilty of genocide but for some reason there has been a hesitation to put the official Western stamp on Stalin’s genocide. This hesitation is still there even after the fall of the Soviet regime in 1991.

Professor Norman Naimark in the important book Stalin’s Genocides (in 2010) points out how the definition of genocide was diluted before 1948 and the United Nations convention. The Bolsheviks, still in power, managed to exclude the destruction of specific social and political groups to avoid condemnation of the regime’s killing of class enemies. This worked after 1949 in China as well. Mao’s genocide was also largely passed over in silence.

Since the 1990s, however, there could be no doubt that if the architects of the Soviet mass murder, if alive, would stand trial today, they would be found guilty. It is a sad fact that there has been very few prosecutions of Soviet mass murderers since 1991, most of them in the free Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

FIGHTING THE THREAT OF GLOBAL CIVIL WAR

March 16, 2011

More than half of the world’s population lives in struggling and fragile states. Hundreds of armed groups, political movements, and extremists are competing for control of these territories, using irregular techniques.

U.S. and European national security systems are still too calibrated to clashes between major powers rather than the persistent conflicts that now dominate. To protect the West these systems need to be adapted to the new threats.

The National Strategy Information Center (NSIC) in the US worked with creative senior practitioners from democracies around the world to identify key 21st century actors, their visions, strategic cultures, and techniques. NSIC also examined effective practices from U.S. and foreign experiences.

The forthcoming book Adapting America’s Security Paradigm and Security Agenda (ISBN #978-0-9817776-2-7, April, 2011, 225 pages) concludes that managing the complex dimensions of the 21st century security environment goes beyond force levels and firepower.
The U.S. needs new or adapted capabilities to match the current environment, particularly:

Intelligence Control based on acquiring and operating with local knowledge;

Security, Stability, and Rule/Culture of Law Teams trained to assist local leaders in fostering stability, development, and rule of law principles;

Military Units organized and trained to address the full spectrum of irregular challenges;

Strategic Communication, integrated with policy implementation;

Coalition Builders–skilled professionals forging cooperation among local leaders.

Authors

Dr. Roy Godson, President, National Strategy Information Center, and Emeritus Professor of Government, Georgetown University.

Dr. Richard Shultz, Jr., Senior Research Fellow, National Strategy Information Center and Professor and Director of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s International Security Studies Program at Tufts University.

Dr. Querine Hanlon, Associate Professor, College of International Security Affairs International at the National Defense University.

Dr. Samantha Ravich, former Deputy National Security Advisor to the U.S. Vice President.

The volume also contains original contributions on specific capabilities from Gen. Sir Rupert Smith; Dr. Marin Strmecki; Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad; and Kevin McCarty.

NEW HOPE IN THE MIDEAST

March 14, 2011

There was reason to be sceptical at first about the revolts in the Arab world. After some time one could be more optimistic. The region’s dissidents fighting for democracy should now be the West’s real partners. These dissidents now have real partners and have shown that they have real military power (in Libya for example).

Anyone who followed the collapse of the Soviet empire between 1989 and 1991 knows that even if the fighting dissidents were few they had the support of tens of millions of others. They silently strained against the shackles that held them down. The few dissidents in the Soviet empire knew that they could confidently predict the fall of Soviet tyranny.

The lesson from those years should have been learnt but was not. The same arguments used against the Soviet dissidents during the dark years of the Cold War have later been used against support for Arab dissidents in North Africa and elsewhere in the Mideast. The North African dissidents have many times warned the West that the longer nothing was done against the tyrants, the greater the chances were that they would be followed by even worse dictators. Now there ought to be reason for hope and the United States, as always, has to take the lead. Hopefully the European Union will then follow, but in the case of Europe one has unfortunately to be careful. European politicians and academics have taking money from the dictators, thinking that they would not be found out as the tyrants continued their rule.

Now is the time to build a free society in North Africa. The West must continue its foreign aid. The oil-rich Arab lands must be mobilized into helping. Naturally there must be clear and secure conditions, a whole new type of aid. Now is the time for a free press, for freedom of religion, rule of law and creation of a civil society.

To make these things happen the foreign aid institutions in Europe must be reformed. To many billions have disappeared into the pockets of the dictators. In the worst cases these billions ended up in the bank accounts of socialist tyrants, who had sided with the Soviet Union.

THE FALL OF MODERN ARAB TYRANTS IN NORTH AFRICA

March 9, 2011

The revolts against the Arab tyrants in North Africa have once more focused on tyranny in the modern world.

The problem of tyranny is a classic problem and a also a problem of contemporary foreign policy. Not so long ago American philosopher Mark Lilla suggested in an essay in the New York Review of Books, that in the nineteenth-century the classic notions of tyranny and despotism were abandoned in the face of new developments in world politics and political thought. With communism, nazism and other totalitarian ideologies (including Islamism) the concept of tyranny has returned.

Today the concept of tyranny can be studied from two angles:

that of the history of ideas, and that of contemporary politics.

The struggle today in 2011 in North Africa is foremost a fight for human rights, not a question of poverty and other issues. Libya, for instance, is oil rich and with democratic rule and human rights respected, there could soon be a prosperous middle class in the country, a base for further democratic reforms.

The notion that Arab countries could not be democratic is totally false. Arab democracy could be an important contribution in the future. Arab peoples seek freedom as much as other peoples in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We may well experience a new wave of freedom 20 years after the collapse of Soviet communism.

OM VÄNSTERNS UNDERGRÄVANDE VERKSAMHET UNDER DET KALLA KRIGET

March 6, 2011

Så arbetar kommunistpartierna (Stockholm, 1979) är en kritisk granskning av kommunistisk ideologi, strategi och taktik av den svenske författaren Bertil Häggman och den norske statsvetaren Jon Skard.

Bokens första del behandlar svenska kommunistpartier (främst vänsterpartiet, men också KPML(r) och SKP), hur partierna växt fram och hur deras verksamhet utvecklats. Särskild uppmärksamhet ägnas extremistgruppernas verksamhet under det röda kvartsseklet på företagen i samband med strejker och aktivitet samt vid militära förband.

Bokens andra del innehåller en genomgång av den marxistiska ideologin och en redogörelse för hur kommunisterna gripit och utnyttjat makten i ett antal länder från 1917 till det kalla krigets slut.

Boken innehåller ett frågebatteri, som gör att den kan användas i studiecirklar. Den kan köpas i bokhandeln eller direkt från förlaget.

THE CONTINUING THREAT OF TYRANNIES AND THE RECENT REVOLTS IN THE ARAB WORLD

March 2, 2011

A number of tyrannies are still a threat proving that not much is new in the world. One difference between classical and modern tyrannies is that the latter can acquire weapons of mass destruction. The classical tyrannies only threatened the local citizens and neighboring cities and states. Modern tyrannies are often a global threat.

Since around 1980 there has been a number of reports on the possible use of weapons of mass destruction against the West in general and the United States in particular. In early February 1983 there was a meeting of radical Islamic groups in Tehran organized by the Iranian Foreign Ministry at which the poisoning the water supplies of major cities in the West was discussed. Already in 1975 European entrepreneurs attempted to sell the nerve agent Tabun to Palestinian terrorists. Arafat’s ‘Force 17’ terrorists received training in chemical warfare. There are reports that cyanide may have been incorporated in the bomb used to attack the World Trade Center in January of 1993, when the war to destroy the United States started in earnest.

A number of tyrannies in the Middle East are a danger to civilization and to the only liberal democracy in the region, Israel. These tyrannies are the main threat in the war against the United States. The terrorist organizations would not survive without support of these tyrannies. The danger of Syria has at last, in late 2003, been fully recognized by the United States, as it has adopted the Syria Accountability Act, ten years after the war started. Syria in 1983 used cyanide gas to put down a rebellion by members of the Sunni minority in the city of Hama. By controlling terrorist training camps and headquarters in southern Lebanon Syria is a continuing threat not only to Israel. Also terrorist fighters are coming from Syria to attack coalition forces in Iraq. The tyranny in Syria has an upgraded arsenal of mass destruction weapons and long-range missiles. It is working with other tyrannies like Iran and Libya.

Libya was earlier one of the tyrannies close to the region that has actually used chemical weapons. This was in an attack on neighboring Chad in 1987. Iran supplied the agents in question in exchange for mines and Libya had a chemical weapons plant in Rabta. The Libyan tyrant Muammar Quadaffi also funds biological warfare programs. Libya has however under pressure by the United States abandoned its programs of weapons of mass destruction. There is now as chance that this will change in Libya.

The main terrorist sponsor in the Middle East is however the Iranian tyranny. It has financed the North Korean missile development program. The theocrats in Tehran have also funded the Syrian missile buildup. Iran’s offensive chemical warfare program began in 1983. Its program of biological warfare, commenced in the 1980s, is hidden within the country’s extensive biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Most dangerous is the present development of nuclear weapons by Iran.

The three Middle East tyrannies mentioned here are in close contact with extremist Palestinian groups.

These tyrannies have developed their destructive weapons in cooperation with North Korea, which has nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. These could in the hands of international terrorists be a mortal threat to civilization. The tyranny in North Korea regards the United States as the main enemy. In accordance with this view North Korea may well be involved in providing terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.

The other tyranny in East Asia with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and possibly post-nuclear weapons of nanotechnology, is the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The aggressive China is a threat to Taiwan and the whole region, thus a future strategic problem of the United States. At present PRC is regarded as a partner in negotiations with North Korea but ultimately it is a competitor. (As early as in 2000 the Center for Research on Geopolitics warned of a cooperation between the Chinese tyranny and tyrannies in the Middle East in Research Paper No. 26, “The Global Challenge – A PRC-Islamic Coalition – A Few Notes”). The ongoing war on terrorism resulting in regime changes in the Middle East lessens the risk of a PRC cooperation with tyrannies in the region, but China is still a long term dangerous opponent of the United States. It should be central theme in the study of strategic warning, an art that needs to be developed and further strengthened in America, remembering Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

In the Western hemisphere Cuba is and has been a dangerous tyranny, even after the retirement of Fidel Castro. In the 1960s he allowed nuclear missiles to be stationed on the island threatening the United States. During the 1970s and 1980s the Cuban tyrant provided mercenaries for a number of communist tyrannies in Africa. Castro has also been a regular supporter of terrorism in the past.

Conclusion

It is important when regarding the threat of modern tyrannies to civilization to remember that Niccoló Machiavelli despised the cruelty of tyrants. In the writing on tyranny there are no loose threads, no words picked at random, or errors. His is, along with the writings of Xenophon, the supreme art of teaching on tyranny. When there is strategic thinking on tyrants and their removal in the modern era the best guides are classical authors and their interpreter Machiavelli.

In present U.S. grand strategy the question of remaining dangerous tyrants, tyrannies and regime change ought to be a priority. Foremost of concern are the Middle East tyrannies with weapons of mass destruction. The long term threat is in East Asia with the PRC with North Korea being a more imminent danger..

In ancient times tyrants were often removed through assassination. This option is in modern times no longer available to democracies. Instead the fate of Saddam Hussein is a warning to modern tyrants in for instance Iran, Syria and North Korea. If there is a future regime change in these countries the tyrants there could expect facing the same fate as Saddam Hussein in Iraq.