Archive for May, 2015

SWEDEN’S COLD WAR STANCE AIDED THE SOVIETS – N0. 2 IN A SERIES

May 29, 2015

At the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s the Social Democratic government of Sweden shifted its policy in relation to the Soviet influenced part of the world. The Soviet Union repeatedly lauded Sweden’s policy of “friendship” and the policy was in Soviet daily newspaper Pravda described as:

an important contribution to the strengthening of European security.

The policy of Stockholm in support of Allende’s regime in Chile and the Indochinese communists was also mentioned by Soviet state controlled media as “positive”. Mr. Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister later assassinated, termed this policy “active neutrality”. It could have been a term produced by the Kremlin. In fact it stood for criticism of the West and silence about injustices in communist countries.

Olof Palme started attacking American policy in Indochina in the early 1970s. Swedish aid to the regime in Hanoi and its appendix Viet Cong/NLF had started already in 1969. In 1967 and 1970 anti-American so called “war crimes tribunals” were held in Stockholm to propagandize the cause of the Vietnamese communists. It should be noted that the 1970 “tribunal” was organized by the Soviet international front organization World Peace Council (WPC).

Of interest is to note that during the years of 1970 to 1976 Swedish ministers only visited communist countries in the Soviet sphere. The Olof Palme governments from 1973 could only rule with support in parliament by Sweden’s Communist Party (VPK). This led to the Social Democrats being forced to make concessions to VPK.

During the Palme years as prime minister Sweden even progressed into a leading subversive center for Soviet style communism. Growing amounts of aid was distributed to communist-leaning and Marxist regimes as well as to various terrorist organizations. The most important aid was to North Vietnam with aid continuing into the 1980s. In 1979, for example, over US $ 200 million, were received in Swedish aid by the heirs of Ho Chi Minh.

Latin American terrorism received generous support, directly or indirectly. The regime in Havana benefited greatly. Allende’s extreme leftist regime was lauded. Sweden received a large number of Latin American refugees, some with ties to terrorist organizations. Circa 400 Argentinians, just under 400 Bolivians, almost 500 Brazilians, nearly 2,500 Chileans, around 350 Colombians, over 200 Peruvians and 730 or so refugees from tiny Uruguay. Many certainly had legitimate reasons for being admitted as refugees but many slipped into Sweden to continue supporting terrorist causes. These refugees in some cases established links to the Cuban Embassy in Stockholm. The Swedish-Cuban Society was then regarded as an important link with the embassy. Sweden also moved into becoming a “transition zone” for terrorists trained in the USSR for infiltration into the West.

Among those apprehended were Nelson Gutierrez, second-in-command of MIR, a Chilean Maoist organization. The Mexican terrorist Gonzales Carrillo, was sent to Sweden in January 1976 from Havana. He had been condemned in Mexico to 40 years of imprisonment for political terrorism. On April 1, 1977, the Swedish police broke up an international terrorist group and arrested over 30 of them, some of them from Latin America. The group had planned to kidnap a Swedish ex-minister to achieve the release of West German terrorists imprisoned in then West Germany.

SUBVERTING SCANDINAVIA – SOVIET COLD WAR DISINFORMATION, ESPIONAGE AND POLITICAL WARFARE – NO. 1 IN A SERIES

May 28, 2015

The present Russian disinformation aggression against the West is to a great extent based on Soviet techniques during the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was experiencing a downturn towards collapse. It might therefore be of interest to recall some of the Soviet activities in Scandinavia during the last decade of the existence of the Soviet regime. Scandinavia is an area close to the Soviet and Russian empires. Scandinavia in the twenty first century along with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland feels a cold wind of threat from the East in the Baltic Sea area.

No doubt the Soviet Union in the 1980s regarded the northern flank of Europe as important. It comprised not only the NATO countries Denmark, Iceland and Norway but also non-aligned Sweden and Finland.

The Soviets were studying the concept of a strike through Scandinavia to outflank the central front in then West Germany. The Manchurian Campaign in 1945 was studied as well as the Nazi Blitzkrieg against Norway and Denmark in 1940. The Nazi landings in 1940 were almost duplicated in the Soviet Sever exercise of 1968 and Okean of 1970. Soviet naval forces then sailed out of the Baltic and along the Danish and Norwegian coasts to conduct amphibious landings on the Pechenga Peninsula in the Arctic.

The Manchurian campaign of the Soviet Union used strategic surprise as a model. It was the primacy of offensive employing massive forces. Extensive use of deception and camouflage in the pre-attack period was also employed. The chief weakness of the enemy, the Japanese Kwangtung Army (and of NATO’s northern flank during the Cold War) was the failure to prepare in depth.

Soviet military strategy continuously stresses the importance of directing the main attack at a place where the enemy least expects it. This had a special meaning in the Cold War when NATO’s forces were most heavily concentrated on the border between West and East Germany. Meanwhile on the northern flank it was little more than a tripwire.

The Soviets wrote extensively on the Maginot Line and how the Nazis outflanked the Allies by going through the Benelux countries. Soviet mass murdering leader, Lenin, originally referred to the Western colonies when the doctrine of the weakest link was presented but it had military applications as well. Depriving NATO of its northern flank would mean less ability for Germany to resist Soviet attacks. If West Germany went, so would probably all of NATO’s European member states.

It is against this background facts will be presented here to demonstrate the dangers of leaving the northern flank almost undefended. A few examples from the Cold War: on the Norwegian-Soviet border two motorized rifle divisions totaling 27,000 men faced only 500 Norwegian border guards. Close to the border was the largest military concentration in the world at the time, the Kola Peninsula. In northern Norway there were only three airfields with runways over 1,700 meters.

During the Cold War internal forces in Scandinavian countries with pro-Soviet leanings combined with Moscow-directed forces to weaken the northern flank. It was in reality a most dangerous security situation in Scandinavia.

CHINA STRATEGY CONFIRMS TRENDS ON THE GROUND, U.S. SAYS

May 27, 2015

Wall Street Journal on May 27, 2015, ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY JET reported on China strategy. Excerpts below:

The Chinese “white paper” on defense strategy—which said Beijing plans to shift its armed forces’ focus toward maritime warfare—confirmed trends the U.S. has been monitoring for some time, a senior U.S. defense official said.

“I don’t think there were any surprises for us in the latest white paper,” the official told reporters traveling to Hawaii with Defense Secretary Ash Carter. “The trends described in that paper are trends that we’ve been following for some years.”

In its first public summary of military strategy, the State Council—China’s cabinet—said the navy will expand its operations from offshore areas to the open seas, while the air force will broaden its focus to include offensive operations as well as defense of China’s territory.

…as China continues to expand artificial islands in the South China Sea, the country’s true military intentions continue to be mysterious, the official said. American officials have long sought more clarity from Beijing about its military spending, policy and hardware-acquisition plans.

The white paper expressed Beijing’s interest in operating more aggressively in air and at sea, noting that it would operate vessels in so-called blue waters, farther from shore.

“Chinese blue-water capability has been building for quite some time,” the official said.

CHINA WON’T BACK DOWN

May 23, 2015

Wall Street Journal in May 2015 published a report on China’s territorial expansion plans. It was a review of Jonathan Holslag’s new book, China’s Coming War with Asia, 176 pages. The Communist Party’s major aspirations have set it on a collision course with free and democratic Asia. Anyone seeking an explanation for China’s recent headline-making belligerence in the South China Sea might do well to pick up a copy of Jonathan Holslag’s new book. Excerpts below:

The professor of international politics at the Free University of Brussels has produced a crisp and lucid overview of China’s disputes with its neighbors dating back to the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. He offers clear explanations of the Goliath of Asia’s recent attempts to advance its political aspirations without overt conflict through a combination of diplomatic, economic and military manipulation.

…the Chinese Communist Party has four great aspirations. It wants to keep control of its border regions, and Tibet and Xinjiang’s natural resources in particular. It wants to keep itself in power by buying off domestic opposition with the creation of a high-income economy. It wants to gain and maintain international recognition of its right to rule. And it wants to recover its supposedly “lost” territory. Mr. Holslag claims that failure in any of these areas weakens the Party’s grip on power.

The Communist Party likes to speak of its foreign policy as if it were a force of nature that can’t be controlled. Any attempts by foreign powers to resist it are bound to result in violent conflict.

Setting aside the Communist Party’s history of towering indifference to public opinion, the problem with Mr. Holslag’s argument is that it fails to acknowledge that such statistics are never independently verifiable in China. They always say what the government wants them to say and are only evidence for what it wants you to believe.

…China’s cooperation with neighboring member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has amounted to little more than distracting talks about naval piracy as it increases its military occupation of disputed shoals and reefs.

Despite being a signatory to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and a 2002 agreement with its Asean neighbors to resolve territorial disputes without the use or threat of force, Beijing has since comprehensively breached both agreements by the occupation of new territory, the creation of artificial islands and the unilateral declaration of exclusion zones. And in 2002, after promising Japan that it would shelve its claims over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Beijing promptly passed a law asserting its exclusive ownership of them.

As the book’s title makes clear, Mr. Holslag does not see the future as being bright, and this is mainly the result of a domestic political system “that makes China almost pre-programmed to crush the existing liberal world order as soon as it has the means to do so.”

Rising powers often become more nationalistic and dangerous when their growth stagnates, Mr. Holslag warns. Either way, war in Asia has become more likely.

Mr. Neville-Hadley is a Vancouver-based writer.

Comment: The American answer to rising China should be to prepare in the Pacific Ocean for further aggression by the nationalist communist party regime. Strengthen Hawaii, Guam and other strongpoints.

BIN LADEN’S BOOKSHELF: ANTI-AMERICAN WORKS BY LEFTIST US AUTHORS

May 22, 2015

Fox News on May 21, 2015, reported that the English-language bookshelf in Usama bin Laden’s personal library featured a collection of anti-U.S. polemics and left-wing conspiracy theories from some celebrated darlings of American academia, according to critics who analyzed the terror mastermind’s reading list. Excerpts below:

Anti-American conspiracy tomes on everything from the CIA to the Federal Reserve were among the 39 English books seized from the Al Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where a team of Navy SEALs took him out in May 2011.

“It’s … not nearly as ideological in its anti-Westernism as you would find in many U.S. college social science courses.”

– Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson

“Bin Laden’s bookshelf showed a generous tolerance for bad prose and an undergraduate’s faith in bad ideas,” said retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a Fox News contributor and author of nine non-fiction works and more than 20 novels. “With his career as a master terrorist in decline, he would have made a popular Ivy League professor: a great opportunity missed.”

The Bin Laden books were listed among some 103 documents, including newspaper clippings and Arabic-language works, declassified Wednesday by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and released under the title, “Bin Laden’s bookshelf.”

Noam Chomsky, William Blum and Bob Woodward appeared to be among the terrorist kingpin’s favorite authors to curl up with. Chomsky, the liberal icon and MIT professor known for his disparaging view of the U.S., had two of his works in the Bin Laden collection, “Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies” and “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.”

It was already known that bin Laden was a big fan of Blum, a onetime State Department employee who became disillusioned during the Vietnam War and became a harsh critic of U.S. foreign policy. Blum’s “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” and “Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II” were recovered from Bin Laden’s compound.

CHINA’S CONFIDENCE CAN BE SHAKEN

May 20, 2015

Wall Street Journal on May 14, 2015, published an article by Michael Auslin on China expansionism in the South China Sea. The Pentagon has announced that it is considering deploying military ships and planes to patrol territory near China’s newly built islands in the South China Sea. Such a plan, if approved by the White House, would open a new phase in the struggle to shape Asia’s balance of power. Excerpts below:

Reshaping China’s international environment is a far more likely way to influence Beijing’s policy choices than is changing the nature of Chinese government or waiting for a democratic uprising in the country.

Already opposition to China’s expansionary behavior has caused Beijing to alternate between assertive action and attempts to calm its neighbors’ suspicions.

U.S., no less than China’s neighbors, has generally been too timid in responding to Beijing’s coercive behavior.

Such reticence may be changing thanks to Beijing’s land reclamation in the disputed Spratly Islands. Incoming U.S. Pacific Commander Adm. Harry Harris says Beijing is trying to build a “great wall of sand” in the Spratlys. Adm. Samuel Locklear, the outgoing Pacific Commander, has warned that Beijing’s island-building spree may give it “de facto” control over the waters around the Spratlys through new airstrips and port facilities.

In response, Washington has been gradually expanding its links with the Philippines and is close to finalizing an agreement that will allow U.S. forces to use up to eight bases on the islands on a rotational basis. Japan also is conducting naval drills with the Philippines, following its agreement to give 10 maritime patrol vessels to Manila, and has pledged to provide an unspecified number to Hanoi.

No one should be lulled into thinking that Beijing’s core policies will change anytime soon. Yet the fact that China feels it needs to try and allay suspicions at all shows that it is concerned about the growing response to its moves. Japan’s indications that it will continue to expand its role in regional security, possibly including joint sea or air patrols with U.S. forces in the South China Sea, is of particular concern to Beijing.

Washington must further maintain its pressure to send Beijing the message that the new constellation of opposition will not disappear just because China offers a few conciliatory messages. At the same time, Washington will have to make clear to other nations that they, too, cannot unnecessarily exacerbate tensions with China and expect stability in the regional security environment.

Pressing China to adopt liberal norms will always falter on the rocks of the Communist Party’s self-interest. Yet by reshaping the environment surrounding China, liberal states have a much better chance of curbing some of the policies that cause them to fear Beijing’s growing power and influence.

Mr. Auslin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and a columnist for WSJ.com, is writing a book about risk in Asia.

NASA: 10,000-YEAR-OLD ANTARCTIC ICE SHELF WILL DISAPPEAR BY 2020

May 18, 2015

One CNN on May 18, 2015, reported on one of the last remaining sections of Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf dramatically weakening, according to a new NASA study. Excerpts below:

The study predicts that what remains of the once-prominent ice shelf, a thick floating platform of ice, most likely will “disintegrate completely” before the end of this decade.

Ice shelves are extensions of glaciers and function as barriers. Their disappearance means glaciers potentially will diminish more quickly, as well, increasing the pace at which global sea levels rise.

A team led by Ala Khazendar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, found evidence of the ice shelf flowing faster and becoming more fragmented. The flow is creating large cracks in the ice shelf.

The Larsen B Ice Shelf has existed for at least 10,000 years.

The ice shelf’s disintegrating state came into light after it partially collapsed in 2002. Scientists watched in amazement as the ice shelf splintered and vanished rapidly in six weeks. No one had ever witnessed a large ice mass disappear so quickly, according to Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist at Slate.

The collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf seems to have been caused by a series of warm summers on the Antarctic Peninsula…

Larsen B measured 4,445 square miles in January 1995. It went down to 2,573 square miles in February 2002 after the major disintegration, and a month later Larsen B was down to 1,337 square miles.

At present the Larsen B remnant is about 618 square miles. That’s less than half the size of Rhode Island, the smallest U.S. state.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory glaciologist Eric Rignot, who co-authored the paper, said the research gives insight into how ice shelves closer to the South Pole will react with the warming climate.

Other prominent ice shelves in the region also have been affected over the years.

Larsen A disintegrated in January 1995. Larsen C has been somewhat stable with some evidence of thinning and melting, the space agency said after observing satellite imagery in 2012.

Comment: The good news is that the melting of the Larsen ice-shelf opens up for the possibility of underwater mineral mining.

BALTIC SEA SOCIETY AND THE JOURNAL MARE BALTICUM 50 YEARS

May 17, 2015

After the collapse of the Soviet Union there has been an increase of cultural and economic activities linking Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany across the waters of the Baltic Sea.

The predecessor for these activities was a society initiated in Germany but with an active participation of Scandinavians who cared about Baltic Sea culture. For thousand of years the community flourished already before the Viking Era. During the Era of Great Migration Scandinavian peoples pushed southward to the Black and Caspian Sea areas. Hanseatic merchants opened trading offices.

Opening links to the East with trade was an important part of the countries around the “Northern Mediterranean” for cities like Malmö, Karlskrona, Kalmar, Roskilde, Turku/Åbo, Copenhagen and Stockholm as well as Lübeck, Reval, Riga, Gdansk/Danzig and Stettin. The era between the First and Second World Wars was a time when the contacts between cultures were especially strong.

It was important for the Baltic Sea Society, created in the 1960s, to initiate the publication of the journal Mare Balticum. It came to be published quarterly and articles appeared in Scandinavian languages as well as in English, German and French. Chief editor was Professor Friedrich Seebass in the Kristianstad area of the Province of Scania in Southern Sweden. The editorial committee consisted of Professor Alf Åberg, Danish journalist and MP Karl Bøgholm, Assistant Professor Birger Hagård, Swedish MP, three intellectuals exiled in Sweden, Endel Krepp, Arturs Landsmanis, Juozas Lingis, from the three Baltic countries, then occupied by the Soviet Union. Last but not least there were Professor Birger Nerman, the Swedish archaeologist, and Professor Johannes Paul in Hamburg, Germany.

In the first issue of the journal Nerman published an introduction in English. Bishop Helge Ljungberg, Stockholm, informed about Ansgar, the Apostle of the North. Professor Bertil Ohlin, party leader of the Swedish Liberal Party contributed the text of a speech in connection with the celebration of Estonia’s National Day. Dr Martin Koch wrote about the ferry connections between Scandinavia and the continent.

Of vital importance for the publication of Mare Balticum was the League of Exiled Pomeranians based in Lübeck-Travemünde, Germany. Since 1988 there is a Baltic Sea Academy (Ostseeakademie) for the study of culture, history and economy of Pommern on the northern coast of Germany.

It is important in 2015 to remember the activities of Östersjösällskapet/Ostseegesellschaft and Mare Balticum when the free and democratic countries around the Baltic Sea are once more threatened by Russia seeking to re-create the Soviet Union.

IS RISE OF THE ROBOTS BENEFICIAL TO THE WEST?

May 16, 2015

Wall Street Journal on May 15, 2015, published a review of an interesting new book on intelligent machines. Should you be worried by the emergence of intelligent machines? The question is asked by futurist Martin Ford in “The Rise of the Robots”, Basic, 334 pages. Excerpts below:

“No one doubts that technology has the power to devastate entire industries and upend specific sectors of the economy and job market,” writes Mr. Ford, a Silicon Valley software developer turned futurist. Will machine intelligence, tackling tasks once thought of as humanity’s exclusive preserve, “disrupt our entire system to the point where a fundamental restructuring may be required if prosperity is to continue?”

Mr. Ford invokes Norbert Wiener, who in 1949 prophesied an “industrial revolution of unmitigated cruelty” in which machines would outstrip humans in routine work “at any price.” In Mr. Ford’s view, just such a revolution is under way in blue-collar work. Robots are ousting low-skilled workers everywhere, from fast-food joints to factory floors—a trend that Mr. Ford argues is central to the puzzling “jobless recovery” of the past decade as well as to other anomalous trends in pay and employment.

We are still a long way from all-round human intelligence—smart machines are becoming more flexible but still tend to excel in only a specific area—but Mr. Ford lucidly sets out myriad examples of how focused applications of versatile machines (coupled with human helpers where necessary) could displace or de-skill many jobs. If you are of the professional classes, you will likely read with mounting dismay Mr. Ford’s compelling explanation of how tools that encapsulate “analytic intelligence and institutional knowledge” will enable less qualified rivals to carry out your job proficiently, quite possibly from another country. An intelligent system might mine huge corporate data sets to distill years of experience into simple instructions for an overseas worker—who can then use translation and telepresence to overcome linguistic and geographical barriers. When the tools systems have become smart enough, those offshore workers may in turn be deemed surplus: In a particularly dastardly move, computers may even acquire those smarts by spying on their human users.

The author is persuasive in his discussion of the business logic that makes this process seem all but inevitable. Machines may be less accomplished than humans, but they are often cheaper, more dependable and more docile.

We should always be skeptical about the difficulty of transferring polished theories into unruly reality. And for the moment, there will remain bastions of human exceptionalism. One recent analysis suggests that “highly creative” work (including architecture, design and entertainment), which accounts for around a fifth of U.S. jobs, will prove intransigent. Mr. Ford also dedicates chapters to the ways in which the health-care and educational sectors have resisted automation.

The author’s apparent reluctance to engage with technological solutions to a technological problem perhaps reveals where his true object lies. His answer to a sharp decline in employment is a guaranteed basic income, a safety net that he suggests would both cushion the effect on the newly unemployable and encourage entrepreneurship among those creative enough to make a new way for themselves. This is a drastic prescription for the ills of modern industrialization—ills whose severity and very existence are hotly contested. “Rise of the Robots” provides a compelling case that they are real, even if its more dire predictions are harder to accept.

The reviewer is Mr. Paul-Choudhury, the editor of New Scientist.

Comment: The robots may be of importance to Western civilization in the future, which obviously has a demographic problem. So have China and the Arab world. The popular scare version is that the robots may take over the world. From the beginning of the 20the century there has been a “dissemination of industry” according to the German civilizationist Oswald Spengler. It is good for industry but there is a problem. It gives what British macrohistorian called the “external proletariat” the opportunity to challenge Western civilization.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO IS CALLING FOR ‘PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH’

May 14, 2015

Washington Times on May 13, 2015, reported that Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is calling for increasing military spending and for the U.S. to aggressively confront Russia, China and others that he says threaten the nation’s economic interests. Excerpts below:

Sen. Marco Rubio continues to perfect his presidential posture, delivering a major policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday night, revealing the three “pillars” of his ideal doctrine: A strong America, the protection of the U.S. economy on a global stage and the moral clarity of the nation. Mr. Rubio also alluded to the bywords of the Reagan era, when the simple motto “peace through strength” sustained the U.S. through the Cold War.

“American strength. This is an idea that stems from a simple truth: the world is at its safest when America is at its strongest. When America has the mightiest Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and intelligence community in the world, the result is more peace, not more conflict,” Mr. Rubio said.

“To ensure our strength never falters, we must always plan ahead. It takes forethought to design and many years to build the capabilities we may need at a moment’s notice. So to restore American strength, my first priority will be to adequately fund our military. This would be a priority even in times of peace and stability, though the world today is neither peaceful nor stable.”

Comment: Senator Rubio is reviving the spirit of grand strategy theorist James Burnham, the pathbreaker, as he was called by famed German thinker Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing in his influential “Konservative Publizistik – Texte aus den Jahren 1961 bis 2008” (Berlin 2011). Von Schrenck-Notzing reminds us that Burnham:

Den Aussenpolitiker der konservativen Leitorgans National Review wurde unde schrieb von 1955 bis 1978 eine Kolumne, erst unter dem Titel “The Third World War”, seit 1970 “The Protracted Conflict”. 1964 erschien nach fuenfjaehriger Arbeit “Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism”, vielleicht sein aufschlussreichstes Buch. The destiny of the left is of vital importance for the survival of the West as a civilization. It is of great importance that the West revives the spirit of the 1980s. This is important to remember as we are waiting for the outcome of the struggle for the American presidency in 2016.