Archive for October, 2015


October 29, 2015


Thessalonians 2:6-7 are one the most debated passages in the Bible. It is not even certain that this second letter to the Thessalonians of Paul is genuine. There are a wide variety of translations besides the one I am suggesting here:

Verse 6

“and the thing now holding (him) down (or restraining him) you know, so that he (is) to be revealed in his own time”.

Verse 7

“for the mystery of this lawlessness is already working only until the one now holding (him) down (or restraining him) shall get out of the way.”

The Greek verb katechon is a compound verb containing kata (down) and echo (to have, to hold, to restrain).

One definition could be “to prevent an evil person or power from breaking out”.

One of the main debates have historically been whether the Roman Empire or the Roman emperor were to be seen as restraining forces holding back Antichrist. In this report some concrete possible restrainers in history from 500 AD to the present will be considered.

Byzantium and Islam

Since September 11, 2001, radical Islam has once more been focused on in the West as a threat. The new foe of Islam to Byzantium and the West appeared on the eastern frontiers of the Byzantine empire in 629. Islam swept out of Arabia to strike at Persia and Byzantium. Overwhelming Persia the eastern provinces of the empire (633-642) were lost but the Anatolian and Thracian heart of Byzantium survived. Now began a centuries long struggle to restrain the onslaught of the Islamic foe which has maybe not been historically emphasized enough. No doubt Byzantium served as an important restrainer in world history.

At the time when Islamic attacks started Byzantium was the most prosperous empire in the world. New conquests were however out of the question for Constantinople. The military concentrated on defense but understood that such a strategy would attract invaders.

Thus a medieval concept of deterrence was constructed. The desire was to avoid war if possible. When it was necessary to fight it had to be punishing to the enemy with a minimum of expenditure of wealth and manpower. Economic, political, and psychological warfare assisted the use of force. Dissension in the camp of the foe was fomented and alliances used to the advantage of the empire. A vast intelligence network of merchants and agents provided information.

In the seventh and eighth centuries the Moslems frequently managed to drive deep into Anatolia and the Byzantine possessions in North Africa were lost. Islam also seriously challenged Byzantine control of the sea. For the first time the foe was at the gate of Constantinople but all attacks were repulsed. Then, however, at the turn of the new century, internal discord set in. This was used by Islam to throw new attacks at the empire.

Strengthened the Byzantine Empire, however, rose to battle the Islamic Caliphate hammering at the eastern frontier. The empire was even expanded in the Balkans, Asia Minor, Syria, Armenia, Italy, and Greece.

A catastrophic reversal came when the Seljuk Turks under Alp Arslan defeated Emperor Romanus at Manzikert in 1071. This led to the loss of all Asiatic dominions and there only remained a few fortified seaports on the coast of Anatolia. The empire never fully recovered after Manzikert but continued to fight Bulgars, Turks, and Crusaders. Roughly, however, between 1100 and 1200 Byzantium was still the wealthiest and most powerful single nation of Southwestern Asia and the Balkans.

The end of the Byzantine Empire in practice, ironically, was the result not of an assault by Islam but by Western Crusaders. After 1203 only remnants scattered along the coast of Anatolia and Greece persisted. After 57 years the emperor managed to re-establish himself in Constantinople. Even if Byzantium survived for around two and a half centuries more, it was only a pale shadow of its strength as restrainer in the east. The Fourth Crusade had in practice smashed Christendom’s bulwark in the east.

John Foster Dulles and the Stalinist Threat

John Foster Dulles could be regarded as an important restrainer when the Stalinist Soviet Empire was at its peak of power. The British Economist summarized in 1959: “That he (Dulles) is a brave man and devoted servant of his country can be said now by everybody…He has the quality that every great American has had, the quality of character; and to this he has added the humdrum virtues that matter in democratic public life, tenacity, conscientiousness, and sheer hard work in his job… (Burnham).

Dulles really meant for containment to function. By blocking further Soviet advance it was possible to keep the Soviets from conquering the European non-communist nations. Dulles resisted communism as godless and evil from a stern duty of his Calvinist conscience. Stalinism threatened his country and civilization. Therefore he resisted as a man of the West and an American patriot.

It is a burden on the West that it stood passively by when Stalin died, the uprisings took place in the slave camps, during the East German and Polish mass demonstrations, the Hungarian revolt and the revolt in Tibet.

One theory contends that there is an ebb and flow in the sweeping tide of great conquerors – Attila, Hitler, and Lenin-Stalin. If the West managed to restrain the flow, the ebb could leave us intact and to move forward again.

Winston Churchill and the Bolsheviks

Winston Churchill regarded the Bolshevik revolt in 1917 as a great danger to the West, as it could spread westward. V.I. Lenin also openly declared his intentions of world revolution starting westward from Moscow. Even before he took over the War Office in January, 1919, Churchill had argued for a large-scale joint military intervention by all five principal Allies to bring down the Bolshevik regime. If the Americans were reluctant the other four should go alone – the British, the French, the Japanese and the Italians. But Lloyd George opposed it. Churchill argued that Russia would primarily have to be saved by the Russians themselves. The White Forces could be provided with arms, ammunition, and technical services on a voluntary basis. If this did not work Allied troops could be dispatched.

Churchill returned as a possible candidate for restrainer in 1945. Just after Germany’s defeat he ordered a draft contingency plan for an Anglo-American invasion of the Soviet Union. Codenamed “Operation Unthinkable” it would include the use of German troops to back up 500,000 British and American soldiers. They would attack the Russians through northern Germany. The background was the prediction that Josef Stalin would invade Turkey, Greece, Norway and the oil fields of Iraq and Iran. He would order extensive sabotage operations in France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The Churchill plan was later exchanged for a defensive plan of guarding against invasion of Soviet armies (Brook-Shepherd, pp. 165-167).

Emperor Rudolph II of the Holy Roman Empire

The rule of Emperor Rudolph II of Habsburg (1576 – 1612) was a crucial period for the West. An aggressive Ottoman Empire was moving on the Christian empires. In 1590 land war was renewed by the Ottomans. An Austrian army defeated and crushed the army of Hassan, Ottoman governor of Bosnia. This enraged Sinan Pasha to a degree that he led an army to invade Hungary and Austria. After initial successes Sinan was forced to return to Belgrade as the troops refused to operate in wintertime (it was October). During 1593 and 1594 Austrian raids were made into Hungary. The latter year Sinan made a new attempt, this time in northern Hungary, but was repulsed. In 1595 Christians in Transylvania,

Moldavia, and Wallachia revolted and drove out the Turks. Charles of
Manfeldt led an Austrian invasion into Hungary taking opportunity of the revolts. Local Turkish forces were defeated in the battle of Gran (August 4, 1595). Now the whole northern frontier of the Ottoman Empire was crumbling.

The Turks came back in 1596 to regain control of Hungary. Vizier Ibrahim Pasha led Turkish armies to repel the Austrian invasion. This led to the important Battle of Kerestes, October 24-26, 1596, when Austrian Archduke Maximilian and Transylvanian leader Sigismund Bathory with
40,000 troops stood against 80,000 Turks. It was a decisive Turkish victory which left 23,000 Christians on the battlefield.

New warfare on the border occured 1597 and 1598.

When Rudolph guaranteed Freedom of Religion in Bohemia in 1609 it lead to his overthrow. He died in 1612.

Rudolph’s reign was marked by continuing warfare against the Ottoman Turks but also Protestant-Catholic dissension. Had Islam broken through against the Austrian forces it might have had dire consequences for the European Christians.

Regional Restrainers – Marshal Jozef Pilsudski of Poland

Marshal Jozef Pilsudski (1867-1935) was a Polish war hero and the creator of an independent Polish republic in 1918. During the Russian Civil War Poland occupied areas bordering Belorussia and Ukraine. To defend Poland Pilsudski took to the offensive in April-May 1920 driving for Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, which he captured on May 7. He then swung north to attack Soviet forces behind the Pripet Marshes and then Soviet Generals counterattacked. The bolsheviks swept westward reaching the outskirts of Lviv (Lvov, Lemberg, Lvov) by June 13. In July it seemed that Warsaw would fall to Soviet forces. 180,000 Poles faced 200,000 Soviet troops. It was a crucial moment. A Soviet victory might have opened the door to communist revolutions in the heart of the West.

At that time the French sent General Maxime Weygand to advise Pilsudski, who decided to attack the Soviet center. The Battle of Warsaw, August 16-25, 1920, ranks as one of the decisive battles of the twentieth century. It was the first serious check of communism’s advance westward and comparable to the victory of Charles Martel against Islamic forces at Tours.

In September the Polish troops advanced eastward. The armies of Pilsudski entered Grodno on September 26 and the Soviets were beaten back to Minsk. This lead to the Treaty of Riga on March 21, 1921, when the Soviets conceded all of Poland’s territorial claims.
Had it not been for Marshal Pilsudski Berlin might have been the next Soviet target.

The possible Polish regional restrainer ruled Poland several times until his death in 1935.


An attempt has been made above to present a few examples of possible restrainers, both international and regional, in the West during the past 2000 years. It is likely that every epoch in Western history has had a restrainer. It ought to be an interesting subject for research to try to identify other possible restrainers during these 20 centuries. What is, for instance, or has been the role of European unity and rivalry as a restraining force?

What role have Portugal and Russia played on what has been a possible dual track global strategic restraining of the early Muslim attacks on the West?

When civilization was threatened by Muslim invaders the West countered in southern and northern global strategic counterattacks. To the north of the Muslim civilization Russia expanded eastward, a land based expansion. To the south of the Muslims the Portuguese expanded a seaborne empire with superior ship artillery.

The early Middle Ages was the time of an Islamic expansion. France was threatened and the Moors occupied most of Spain.

The West was preparing to move eastward, south and north of the Muslim empire, in defense. To go east Western explorers had to go south. The patron was Prince Henry of Portugal (1398 – 1460). In 1415 the Portuguese had captured Ceuta in North Africa, opposite Gibraltar. Originating in Portugal, ships started moving south along the coast of Africa. After Prince Henry’s death there was a pause. But new exploration followed supported by Portuguese Prince John during the 1470’s and 1480’s. In 1497 the Cape of Good Hope was rounded by Vasco da Gama.

The year after the Indian Ocean was entered and 1498-1499 da Gama followed north along the shoreline of East Africa to cross the Indian Ocean from a point in south Somalia to Western India and Calicut.

Later Portuguese Tomé Pires made a voyage to the East Indies. Early in 1515 he sailed from Malacca for the South China Sea. Now Portugal had entered the Pacific Ocean from the south but almost 150 years before the Russians founded Ochotsk on the Pacific Ocean.

While this was going on the Moors had been expelled from Spain by

Ferdinand and Isabella, who now had time to listen to the Genoese born

Christopher Columbus, who, funded by bankers and the Crown of Aragon, later crossed the Atlantic to America. The encirclement of the Muslim empire had in the south been completed in around 250 years.

As a result it may even be a matter of the sea frontier, at this stage, superseding the steppe frontier of Eurasia.

As Sir Halford Mackinder wrote:”Once the Portuguese had found the ocean-way into the Indian seas, they soon disposed of the opposition of the Arab dhows. Europe had taken its foes in the rear; it had sailed round to the rear of the land, just as Xerxes, Alexander, Hannibal, and the Crusaders had marched round to the rear of the sea.”

In the Middle Ages Russia had been ravaged by the Mongols. Gengis Khan, a supreme military genius, created a more efficient administration in Asia than the ones at that time existing in the West. Russia was part of a World-Empire-in-the Making. The Mongols created a world wide system of universal peace, justice and equality. This was laid down in the Mongol law code, ’the Yasa’. In reality Moscow owed its influence to the Tartar ”yoke” of 250 years. Tartars were the true unifiers of Russia. The system of a unified and centralized army based on universal conscription was introduced, there was a very efficient service of post and intelligence, known under the name of ’yam’ and in the sphere of finance and taxation the Tartars had few rivals. Names of many Russian fiscal institutions are of Mongol origin: ’kazna’, treasury, ’tamga’, customs office, ’kabala’ debt-slavery. The Russian name for money, ’dengi’, is also Tartar as ’kopeika’, coin.

A periodic population census was introduced unrivalled in the West. The Tartars also used capital punishment and judicial torture. The Russian state was born out of the blood and agony of Mongol subjugation.

Russia later started expanding with two campaigns by Ivan the Terrible in the 1550s destroying the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan. Now Siberia beckoned. When reaching the Urals a sea of forest lay ahead, thousands of miles to the Pacific Ocean. Within fifty or sixty years small Cossack bands traversed Siberia. The Urals was crossed by Yermak in 1581. It was only a century later that Russia had the first conflict with China. The principal towns in Siberia were established during the 16th and 17th centuries: Tiumen 1586, Tobolsk 1587, Obdorsk 1595, Narym 1596, Tomsk 1604, Yeniseisk 1619, Krasnoyarsk 1628, Yakutsk 1632, and Okhotsk 1649.

It took the Russians around 100 years to complete the northern encirclement of the Muslim world. It would thus be of interest to further research the Portuguese and Russian roles as restrainers.

Selected Bibliography

Burnham, James, The Dulles Record: An Appraisal, National Review, April 25, 1959.

Brook-Shepherd, Gordon, Iron Maze – The Western Secret Services and the Bolsheviks, London: Macmillan, 1998.

“Britain planned attack on Soviets”, The Michigan Daily Online, October 2, 1998.

D’Abernon, Edgar: The Eighteenth Decisive Battle of the World: Warsaw, 1920, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1931 (reprinted in the United States 1977).

Mackinder, Halford, Democratic Ideals and Reality, New York: Norton, 1962 (a collection of Mackinder’s most important geopolitical writings).

Mosley, Leonard, Dulles, New York: Dial Press, 1978.

Murphey, Rhoads, Ottoman Warfare, 1500-1700, London: UCL Press, 1999.

Pilsudski, Jozef, Year 1920 and Its Climax: Battle of Warsaw During the Polish-Soviet War, 1919-1920, London: Pilsudski Institute of London (in the United States Pilsudski Institute of America, 1972).

Pipes, Richard, Russia under the Bolshevik Regime, 1919-1924, New York: Knopf, 1994.

Reader’s Guide to Military History (Ed. Charles Messenger), London, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2001.


October 28, 2015

November 6, 2015, is fast approaching and The Journal of the Cromwell Association, Cromwelliana, in 2015 had an interesting essay on tactical influence of continental wars on the English Civil War of the seventeenth century (“Philip Skippon and the Lessons Learnt from Continental Coflict in the English Civil War” by Dr Ismini Pells.

Dr Pells draws on the experience of Cromwell’s Major General Philip Skippon (1598 – 1660). According to The Swedish Intelligencer, an English journal on Swedish warfare in taking towns Gustavus would not stand entrenching and building redoubts at a mile’s distance, but clap down with his army presently, about cannon shot from it. There he would begin his approaches, get to their walls, batter, and storm presently. The New Model Army preferred to follow Gustavus’s methods and storm directly.

In pitched battles several commanders of the Army of the Parliament, like Sir William Waller and Prince Rupert, would choose the fast-moving style of Gustavus’s Swedish Army.

Further Reading

Bertil Haggman, “Thirty Year’s War (1618 – 1648)”, Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment, 2000, Jonathan F. Vance, Editor, Santa Barbara, California, Denver, Colorado and Oxford England: ABC-CLIO, pp. 289 – 290.

Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500 – 1800, rev. ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Fritz Redlich, The German Military Enterpriser and His Work Force: A Study in European Economic and Social History, Vol. 1, Wiesbaden, Germany: Framnz Steiner Verlag, 1964.

William Watts, The Swedish Discipline, Vol. 2, London: John Dawson, 1632, pp. 39 – 69.


October 21, 2015

There have been many variations to explain the reason for the Gothic exodus from the Baltic Area in ancient times. No doubt there was no pressure from non-Germanic groups.
An outright famine due to deteriorating climatic conditions could be one explanation. There were likely a limited migration of a few aristocratic clans.

They might then in turn have organized the local population in given their name to it. But thedisappearance of incineration burials makes it more probable that all population strata were effected in Goetaland. The local provenance of the Wielbark culture in Poland may have been caused by rapid assimilation of the Goths.

Why did the Goths migrate first to the southern coast of the Baltic? One possible reason is that the migrators followed the traditional Amber Way, the old trade route linking southern Scandinavia with the eastern Mediterranean as early as 1800 BC.

Sweden historically “looked” east and south, not west (which was the way Norwegians “looked”, for instance). The other side of the Baltic was the traditional area of interest. If one wants to go southeast from Goetaland you end up in the Vistula delta and the surrounding area. The ethnogenesis occurred between the rivers Oder and Vistula.

The Barbarians were equally effective on the sea. They had probably learned their maritime skills on the Baltic for it would be impossible for a land-borne people to adapt to maritime warfare so fast.

In Italy the Ostrogoths created a Kingdom:

493 – 526 Theoderic the Great invaded Italy 489; he was recognized as king 493.
526 – 534 Athalaric (maternal grandson)
534 – 536 Theodahad (son of Theoderic’s sister)
536 – 540 Witigis married a sister of Athalaric; deposed, died 542.
540 – 541 Ildibad
541 Eraric
541 – 552 Totila (Baduila) (nephew of Ildibad)
552 Teias

Byzantine conquest of the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy 552.

The northern barbarians contributed to the fall of the Roman empire during the Era of Great Migration. Now there is another such migration, maybe. Now the emigration is from a former part of the Roman Empire to the North Germanic lands. Their intention may not be this time to topple governments but find welfare. Just as the barbarians sought during the Era of Great Migration.


October 20, 2015

James Burnham, Suicide of the West

Oswald Spengler, The hour of Decision, Man and Technics

C. Quigley, Evolution of Civilizations

M. Melko, Nature of Civilizations

A. Bozeman, Politics and Culture in International History: From the Ancient Near East to the Opening of the Modern Age

U. von Willamowitz-Moellendorf, Reden und Vorträge

G. W. F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History

A. Toynbee, A Study of Civilizations

A. Toynbee, Reconsiderations

A. Toynbee, One volume Jan Caplan 1972 update of A Study of History


October 17, 2015

Dai Jitao (1890-1949) was a leading theoretician of the Kuomintang Party. He saw the root of China’s crises in his time as a moral question. Statecraft was at the time alienating the Chinese people, and a shared faith would help to restore confidence.

In 1902 Dai Jitao attended school in Japan. He was influenced by what he learned and became an enemy of the Qing dynasty. Later he studied law in Tokyo. Returning 1909 to China he became a teacher in Jiangsu. After some time in China he returned to Japan and later moved to Malaya.

Dai Jitao was the most important theoretician of the KMT Party. in 1925 he published a book on the philosophy of Sun Yat-sen, “The Philosophical Foundations of Sun Yat Sen-ism”, a book that was revised in 1945 and republished. Possibly the most important book of his ideas was “The Republican Revolution and the Kuomintang”. Three Principles of the People of Sun Yat-sen, was a philosophy for the livelihood of the people. The people’s livelihood was an expression of the “great virtue” under Heaven. “Kind-heartedness and love” were the basics of the people’s livelihood. In his eyes, the thoughts of Sun Yat-sen were the vital thoughts of China, and a perpetuation of the kind-hearted government of the mythical rulers Yao and Shun and of the philosophy of Confucius and Mengzi.

Confucius’ philosophy had also basically been a philosophy for the livelihood of the people. Confucianism was a philosophy in which all members of society had mutual responsibility. Dai Jitao explained that Sun Yat-sen had been a Great Saint who had walked in the footsteps of Confucius and tried realizing the old master’s philosophy in practice. In a system of mutual support man was to overcome the individualist restrictions. Dai Jitao was an idealist who fought against the materialist worldview of the Communists. On Mainland China class struggle was and continues to be a solution for social problems.

Other important books by Dai Jitao are “The Peoples of the East and the Culture of the East” and “The Position and Value of Chinese Culture in the World”.

In contrast to the regime in Mainland China Dai Jitao’s ideas represented vital aspects of Chinese culture. The Chinese Communist Party represents the Legalist Tradition of China. One of the basic traits of Legalism is an uncompromising recognition that war and organization for war are the mainstays of government.


October 13, 2015

Swedish author Bertil Haggman on October 11, 2015, published his latest book. It deals with part of the Cold War era in Sweden.

When the Soviet empire collapsed 1989 – 1991 it was evident that anticommunists had been correct in their criticism of the totalitarian communist regimes. Communist ideology had built on incorrect views of society and the subjugated peoples including the Russian people rose up against the regimes.

Anticommunist organizations in the West, it proved, had played an important role in informing the public about the defects of the communist systems. Both in Europe and the United States there is the beginnings of research about the role of anticommunism in defeating communism in the Soviet Union and its subjugated nations. Sweden, however, is an exception. Here in large portions of media and institutions there is a negative attitude concerning anticommunism.

What is missing in Sweden is also a post-Cold War description of Soviet and communist subversive activities 1945 – 1991. It would be of great value if the activities of the Soviet KGB, GRU and the East German Stasi and Warsaw Pact countries in Sweden could be studied in for example an academic research program on Swedish relations to the Soviet Union and the satellite countries.

There is an imbalance in the research in Sweden on Nazism and Communism. While there has been a research project studying Swedish-German relations before and during the Second World War Sweden’s relations to the Soviet Union and the countries occupied by the Soviets from around 1920 to around 1990 have been ”forgotten”.

A research project was started in Sweden in 2000 and completed in 2006 on “Sweden’s Relations to Nazism, Nazi-Germany & the Holocaust”. (Stig Ekman, Klas Amark, David Kendall, John Toler, Sweden’s Relations With Nazism, Nazi Germany & the Holocaust – a survey of research, 2003)

The Swedish Science Council should as soon as possible prepare and carry out a similar research project on Sweden’s relation to communism, the Soviet Union and its satellites and communist genocide. It would make it possible to study the two totalitarianisms comparatively. The project could be preceded by an inventory of sources and an international conference of academic researchers. The costs could be estimated at around 25 million Swedish kronor or around 3,5 million US dollars.

A group of academic specialists could be chosen to prepare this new study project.

Product Details
• File Size: 355 KB
• Print Length: 60 pages
• Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
• Publisher: Publishing House Bertil Haggman; 1 edition (October 11, 2015)
• Publication Date: October 11, 2015
• Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
• Language: English


October 5, 2015

Wall Street Journal on September 28, 2016, in a leading article commented on the US administration’s mistakes in Syria. Excerpts below:

Mr. Obama said the U.S. departure from Iraq in 2011 would reduce “the tide of war,” but war has returned with a vengeance. He said a “reset” would improve relations with Russia, but tensions are far worse than when he took office. He said the U.S. could safely wind down its military operations in Afghanistan, but the Taliban took control of the city of Kunduz from the Afghan government on September 28.

Nowhere is that clearer now than in Syria, the catastrophe that has killed more than 220,000, nurtured the Islamic State caliphate, and is now flooding Turkey, Jordan, Europe and the U.S. with millions of refugees. Far from cooperating with the U.S.-led Syria strategy,Mr. Putin and Iran are moving to replace the U.S. coalition and strategy with their own.

This follows the weekend news that Iraq’s government, supposedly allied with the U.S. coalition, will share intelligence with Russia, Syria and Iran. It’s hard to fault Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the decision. He’s watched for a year while the U.S. coalition has made little progress against Islamic State. His decision risks putting Baghdad further under Tehran’s sway, and pushing more Iraqi Sunnis into Islamic State’s arms. But desperate leaders will act in desperate ways.

The Putin-Tehran goal in Syria is part of a strategy to build an arc of influence that extends from Western Afghanistan through the Eastern Mediterranean. It seeks to diminish U.S. influence in the region, pushing on the open door of Mr. Obama’s desire to leave. The goal is to isolate U.S. allies in Kurdish Iraq and Israel, while forcing the Sunni Arabs to accommodate the Shiite-Russian alliance or face internal agitation and perhaps external conflict.

The White House knows all this but so far is doing little more than protest.

But how is Mr. Obama going to achieve that result? Mr. Putin is establishing facts on the ground each day as he builds up Russian air and tank deployments in Syria. While claiming to target Islamic State, Russian planes can target anyone Assad deems an enemy, creating tens of thousands more refugees. And Mr. Putin publicly laughs at the feeble U.S. efforts to build a pro-Western anti-Islamic State coalition.

Even as he concedes the growing world disorder, Mr. Obama still won’t admit that his policy of American retreat has created a vacuum for rogues to fill. He exhorted the U.N. on Monday that “I stand before you today believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion. We cannot look backwards.”

Oh, yes we can, as the once promising world order deteriorates on Mr. Obama’s watch.

Comment: Russia, supporting the tyrant in Damascus, is allowed to break out into the Rimland of Eurasia by the present American administration. With a year left in power Obama’s administration may well end like that of Jimmy Carter: with an Iran disaster.


October 3, 2015

On September 29, 2015, Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou held his first videoconference with Members of the European Parliament since 2009. Earlier videoconferences of the President had been with academic institutions in the United States. They had proven to be effective platforms for exchanging ideas. Ma thanked the European Parliament Taiwan Friendship Group for the long-standing efforts to promote Taiwan-EU partnership. Below excerpts from the opening statement of the President:

Good morning!

First of all, I’d like to [mention] The European Experience that has inspired us here in the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Although France and Germany had been engaged in conflict for over a century, after World War II they launched a massive student exchange program that involved millions of young people. That program completely changed Franco-German relations, and together, those two countries became the mainstays of European unity.

After the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992, Europe decided to make the Euro its sole currency. France and Germany were ready to abandon their proud national currencies, the franc and the Deutsche mark, in favor of the Euro. I was visiting Europe at the time and was overwhelmed with admiration.

The second inspiration comes from the North Sea. In 1959 vast reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered on the North Sea continental shelf. But in the 1960s disputes arose as the UK, Germany, Denmark, and Norway all claimed sovereignty over that maritime zone. (Comment: here President Ma refers to the court cases in The Hague that solved the North Sea disputes)

In August of 2012 I proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative. Its core spirit is that although sovereignty cannot be compromised, resources can be shared, and urges all the relevant parties to shelve sovereignty disputes, resolve conflicts by peaceful means, and share natural resources. So in April of 2013, Taiwan and Japan reached a fisheries agreement by shelving the territorial disputes that had clouded our relationship for 40 years. Before the agreement, we had, on average, over ten disputes per year; after that, we’ve had none. And the fishery catch more than doubled. These are concrete achievements that show how the East China Sea Peace Initiative works in practice, helping to promote regional peace and prosperity.

Based on the success of the East China Sea Peace Initiative, in May of this year I also proposed a South China Sea Peace Initiative. My goal was to work together with all the stakeholders in the South China Sea to maintain stability, jointly develop natural resources, shelve territorial disputes, and foster long-term regional peace and prosperity.

The third European experience is the Basis of Relations Agreement, the Grundlagenvertrag, signed by East and West Germany in 1972. Both of them had already acknowledged their counterpart’s authority to govern. But they used the concept of Hoheitsgewalt, meaning supreme power, to decouple that authority from the traditional concept of sovereignty, orSouveränität.

Of course, the historical context of the two Germanies and the cross-strait circumstances at that time were quite different. But the situation in Germany still gave us much inspiration in thinking about cross-strait policy. The current cross-strait position, which entails the “mutual non-recognition of sovereignty, and mutual non-denial of governing authority,” was influenced by the concept of separating sovereignty and governing authority adopted by the two Germanies, and has been a great asset in the development of cross-strait peace and stability.

Since I became president in 2008, under the framework of the ROC Constitution, we have maintained the cross-strait status quo, defined as “no unification, no independence, and no use of force.” And based on the 1992 Consensus, whereby each side insists on the existence of “one China” but maintains its own interpretation of what that “China” means, we have continued to promote peaceful development in the Taiwan Strait. As a result, against the historical backdrop of the past 66 years, stability and peace in cross-strait relations are now at an all-time high.

Since I became president in 2008, the relationship between Taiwan and the EU and its member states has continued to advance. The most important indicator of that progress came in January of 2011 when the EU included Taiwan nationals in the Schengen visa waiver program.

It’s worth mentioning that in the 20 years between 1988 and 2008, only 54 countries or areas offered Taiwan nationals visa-free courtesies or landing visas. But since I took office in 2008, we have added 94 jurisdictions; in 2011 alone, we added 63. Taiwan citizens now enjoy visa conveniences in 148 jurisdictions. In addition to the 35 countries and territories in Europe that gave us the Schengen visa exemption, numerous other jurisdictions saw what the EU had done, and then followed suit. That includes 11 overseas territories of France, and six of Holland’s, as well as European countries like Albania and Kosovo.

So the European Parliament has been quite influential, directly or indirectly accounting for half of the countries and areas that extend visa-free courtesies to Taiwan nationals. So here, I want to acknowledge the Parliament’s tremendous contribution to Taiwan, and express my sincere thanks. Over the past seven years, Taiwan has signed 79 official agreements and memorandums of understanding with the EU and European countries, covering cooperative relationships on various levels, and in various areas including technology, education, customs and tariffs, telecommunications, judicial assistance, youth working holiday programs, food safety, innovation, and R&D.

The European Union is also very concerned about political and economic developments in Taiwan.

Taiwan and the EU have strong economic and trade relations. The EU is Taiwan’s fifth-largest trading partner, and Taiwan is the EU’s seventh-largest trading partner in Asia, and 19th largest overall. In 2014, two-way trade reached 50.9 billion US dollars, up 3.7% over the previous year. The EU is also Taiwan’s largest aggregate source of foreign investment, with total investments reaching 33 billion US dollars by the end of 2014.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the European Parliament for passing a resolution on Taiwan-EU trade relations back in October of 2013. That resolution calls on the European Commission to begin talks with the ROC on an investment protection and market access agreement. Since the EU and mainland China have been in talks about an investment agreement for almost two years, from a strategic point of view, the best time for the EU and Taiwan to start parallel talks on a bilateral investment agreement is…now.

I hereby propose that the EU open talks with Taiwan on a bilateral investment agreement, which will have a synergistic effect with our cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), and generate a cross-strait “peace dividend” that will benefit one and all.

Since day one of my tenure as president, I have pursued a path of viable diplomacy, stabilizing and strengthening relationships with our existing allies.

Our efforts toward greater international participation over the past 7 years have seen some success. In 2009 Taiwan became a signatory to the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). Since then, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also invited the ROC to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer for seven consecutive years. And in 2013, the director general of Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration was also invited to attend the 38th annual conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a special guest.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the EU for their continuing support for Taiwan in our quest for meaningful participation in international organizations. We also hope that the European Parliament will continue to pass resolutions supporting Taiwan’s meaningful participation in global cooperative efforts such as the UNFCCC, the ICAO, and the WHO, as well as international organizations, conventions, and mechanisms that are responding to the challenges of globalization.

For over 60 years, the European Union has been transforming hostility into friendship, while actively promoting peace, reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe, garnering the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. Here I would like to publicly state that the EU’s Peace Prize was indeed richly deserved, and that I was among your most enthusiastic supporters.

Taiwan and the EU share the universal values of freedom, democracy, rule of law, and human rights. I fully intend to work with the EU and its member states to strengthen Taiwan-EU relations, fostering an even closer and more solid partnership. At the same time, Taiwan will continue to act as a peacemaker, working with all of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region to maintain regional peace and prosperity.

Thank you all for listening. Our program will now continue with a Q&A session, so please do submit your questions.

I hope you will all find today’s videoconference both stimulating, and enlightening. Thank you very much!

Comment: This statement by President Ma is an important overview of what has been achieved by his administration. Of significance to solving border problems in Asia is the German model and also growing friendship between for instance Germany and Poland in the context of including former Soviet occupied countries in the European family.


October 2, 2015

Dagens Industri, Stockholm, publicerade den 30 september 2015 en artikel av professor Anders Åslund om konflikten i östra Ukraina. Utdrag nedan:

Enbart i år har det ukrainska parlamentet antagit fler än 400 reformlagar, många av dem både centrala och radikala. Energisektorn har reformerats. Framför allt har gaspriserna för hushållen fyrfaldigats, vilket har reducerat budgetunderskottet, minskat riskerna för korruption, lett till energisparande och förbättrat bytesbalansen.

Internationella valutafonden uttrycker stor uppskattning för vad som åstadkommits. I mars beslutade IMF att anta ett fyraårsprogram om 40 miljarder dollar, varav fonden själv bidrar med 17,5 miljarder dollar. Med IMF:s stöd har Ukraina nu lyckats skriva av 3,6 miljarder dollar av sin skuld till privata obligationsägare och skjuta upp ytterligare 11,5 miljarder dollar. IMF:s chef Christine Lagarde åkte själv till Kiev i september för att uttrycka sin respekt för de ukrainska reformatörerna.

I februari hade reserverna krympt till 5 miljarder dollar, motsvarande endast en månads import, och höll på att ta slut. Under tre dagar, 23–25 februari greps Ukraina av valutapanik. Växelkursen föll till hälften. Folk rusade till butikerna och tömde dem för att köpa vad de bara kunde.

Centralbanken tvingades införa strikt valutareglering. Tack vara IMF:s krediter lyckades centralbanken hejda paniken och växelkursen återhämtade sig. Ukrainas reserver har nu stigit till 13 miljarder dollar, men det är fortfarande för lite. IMF vill få upp dem till 17 miljarder dollar, men större vore önskvärt. Ukraina behöver mer reserver för att kunna lätta på sin valutareglering så att utrikeshandeln kan normaliseras.


Genom sitt handelsembargo har Ryssland berövat Ukraina hela 18 procent av sin tidigare export, vilken inte kan omdirigeras till andra marknader på kort sikt. Tidigare fick Ukraina utländska direktinvesteringar på 3 till 4 procent av BNP varje år, men de har försvunnit eftersom de flesta investerare är rädda för kriget.

Kan Ukrainas ekonomi räddas? Ja, men befolkningens lidande är stort…. Under första kvartalet i år föll BNP med 17,2 procent och under andra kvartalet med 14,6 procent. Nedgången har fortsatt under tredje kvartalet men mattats av kraftigt.

Ukraina lider men EU sviker. Chockerande nog har EU enbart avsatt 1,8 miljarder euro till lån till Ukraina i år, vilket gör Riksbankens bistånd till Ukraina i nödens stund än viktigare.

Anders Aslund, professor, Atlantic Council, Washington

Kommentar: Aslund uppgifter är betydelsefulla. Det är förvånansvärt att EU inte har givit Ukraina ett mer omfattande ekonomiskt stöd med hänsyn till att ett medlemskap i EU bör vara möjligt för landet år 2020.