Archive for June, 2017


June 20, 2017

Fox News on June 19, 2017, reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un travels incognito in his poverty stricken Hermit Kingdom. It might be prudent for him to be careful. On June 20 media reported that American student Otto Warmbier had died as a result of torture in a North Korean prison camp. Excerpts below:

The 33-year-old, third-generation ruler is “extremely nervous” about a clandestine plot to take him out, according to a key South Korean lawmaker who spoke to The Korea Herald. Rep. Lee Cheol-woo, chairman of the South Korean parliament’s intelligence committee, made the claim based on reports from South Korea’s intelligence agency.

“Kim is engrossed with collecting information about the ‘decapitation operation’ through his intelligence agencies,” Lee said following a briefing last week.

The rumored “decapitation plan” to target Kim and key deputies in the event fighting broke out on the peninsula first surfaced in late 2015, when the U.S. and South Korea signed “Operation Plan 5015,” a joint strategy for possible war scenarios with North Korea. According to the Brookings Institute, the plan “envisions limited warfare with an emphasis on preemptive strikes on strategic targets in North Korea and “decapitation raids” to exterminate North Korean leaders.”

According to Lee, Kim’s is so frightened that he now disguises his movements, travels primarily at dawn and in the cars of his henchmen. Public appearances and jaunts in his prized Mercedes Benz 600 have been curtailed.

By January of this year, there were reports that South Korea was speeding up the creation of a specialized unit designed for this mission, initially slated to be ready by 2019.

“A U.S. special operations strike against Kim Jong Un in today’s conditions would make the bin Laden raid look easy,” said Mark Sauter, a former U.S. Army and special forces officer who operated in the Korean de-militarized zone during the Cold War and now blogs about the decades-long effort to defend South Korea at

“Pyongyang is surrounded by antiaircraft weapons, and while the corpulent Kim presents a large and sluggish target, he’s kept on the move, always surrounded by fanatical guards and often near or in complex underground compounds,” Sauter said.

Despite those potential challenges, Sauter suggests the North Korean leader “does need to worry about strikes by precision-guided missiles and bunker-buster bombs in the early stages of a preemptive allied attack, and if a conflict continues, everything from (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to special operators will be on his tracks.”


June 19, 2017

Fox News on June 18, 2017, published a commentary by former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi on the need for the West to unite to stop Iranian missile tests. Excerpts below:

Since the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany concluded their nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, several Iranian ballistic missile tests have been carried out.

Even though such tests are plain violations of a UN Security Council resolution that accompanied implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the global media and the nations of Europe have given unfortunately little attention to the issue. Under the previous administration, the White House downplayed such activities, which are obvious violations of the spirit of the closely-guarded JCPOA.

President Donald Trump is, rightly, developing an assertive policy toward the Islamic Republic…the White House has moved to new sanctions on the ballistic missile program. The U.S. Senate voted almost unanimously [on June 16] to impose new sanctions on Iran (and Russia) for its missile program among other activities.

…The European governments must quickly follow suit. The EU and the global media have been slow to adapt to the new geopolitical reality, and Tehran remains barely deterred from its brazenness.

…Iran’s illicit tests demonstrate the capability of hitting Israel and Western assets throughout the Arab world. It is little wonder, then, that Israel, Saudi Arabia and others expressed mutual anxiety about the growth of Iranian power and influence on the occasion of President Trump’s recent visit to the region.

The EU has remained reluctant and hesitant about standing up to Iran’s destabilizing behavior and disregard for international rules. This has much to do with a false narrative and the political environment encouraged by the JCPOA.

The multiple functions of the IRGC also call attention to the fact that Iranian missile development does not exist in isolation. It has an impact on the types of capabilities that Iran is able to share with other entities which pose significant threats on their own. It is thanks to Iranian missiles that the Houthi rebels in Yemen have been able to penetrate deep into Saudi Arabian territory and target Western vessels around the Arabian Peninsula. The Islamic Republic also has a record of arming Lebanese Hezbollah, their proxies in Iraq and Syria, and Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad which Tehran directly controls.

The White House is engaging in a more assertive policy vis-a-vis Iran. European policymakers and public opinion must do their part. They should exert pressure on the EU and its national governments before their laxity leads to Iran taking a central role in a much larger crisis.

This message will be emphasized on July 1 when the National Council of Resistance of Iran holds its Iran Freedom rally [in Europe]…As on previous occasions – and even more now in an increasingly unstable Iranian environment – millions of Iranians will follow the event via satellite, taking personal risks, as a clear indication that the Iranian people support the NCRI and the measures the Council suggests.

“The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people,” President Trump said during his May visit to Saudi Arabia. “Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism.” But terrorism is not the only issue. The regime’s weapons development must be severely constrained. And European nations need to get on board.

Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy, is a member of United Against Nuclear Iran’s Advisory board.

Comment: Mr. Terzi believes in the importance of placing radicalization and violent extremism at the center of the political debate in the West. It should create a shared political framework for the military engagement against ISIS and effective programs to counter radicalization in Muslim communities inside Europe and the U.S.

He has furthermore compared the current situation to the “war of moral and ideals” that the West faced before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In speeches Terzi has emphasized the magnitude of the threat that Iran and its militias represent to the West. ISIS is distracting the West from the robust and extensive network that Iran has developed to promote extremism and anti-Western sentiment. A number, he said, of Muslim institutions in Europe are associated with Iran and promote anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments. Terzio has also warned against doing business with Tehran as the regime is funding terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and others.


June 18, 2017

Cuban freedom fighters were present in Little Havana (Miami) when the Cuba policy of the Republican administration was announced on June 16, 2017. President Donald Trump slammed Obama’s policy and put Castro on notice.

Among those honored in Miami were Mario and Miriam de la Pena, parents representing Mario Manuel de la Pena who was murdered by the Castro regime in 1996 at the age of 25. Freedom fighter de la Pena served as volunteer pilot for the operation Brothers to the Rescue. His plane was shot down by a Cuban MiG-29 over international waters, killing four.

It was a crime against humanity and violation of American law by the Cuban tyranny and condemned by the United Nations Security Council and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. A Cuban spy in the United States had to the Castro regime revelead the flight plan of the rescue planes. After serving 16 years in an American prison the spy was allowed to return to Cuba, where he was celebrated.

Mirta Costa Mendez represented her brother Carlos Costa. He was among those humanitarian helpers who were shot down by Cuban Migs. Carlos Costa was another victim of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown. Costa was 29 years old when he died.

Freedom fighter Antonio G. Rodiles is a Cuban dissident who works with dissident groups based in Miami. His advice to the Trump administration is to squeeze the government in Havana once and for all. Rodiles said that many Cubans share his views.

Rosa Maria Paya represented her father Oswaldo Paya. He was a Cuban democracy activist who was murdered by the Castro regime in 2012. A vehicular homicide was used to cover up this communist crime. His daughter is working to inform about the abuse and terror tactics of Raul Castro. For her work Paya has been subject to harassment herself.

Her activities include calling out the regime for the abuses of power and terror tactics it supposedly abandoned when Obama implemented his liberalizing policy.

Sylvia Iriondo is the president of Mothers and Women Against Repression. She has been critical of those who has supported Obama’s Cuba policy and the belief that a communist regime can self-liberalize. Irondio is wondering how any member of the Cuban-American community can fail to see the ongoing crimes of the Castro regime. Raul Castro is still ordering the killing of opponents and use of totalitarian techniques to remain in power.

Violinist Luis Haza began performing at the age of 11. His father was murdered by Fidel Castro when he was still a child. His family fled to Spain and continued to seek refuge in the United States. In a 2003 interview Haza said:“I had so much emotion pent up that music became my obsession. Since I could not express my feelings verbally, violin became my way of expression,” he said in a 2003 interview. For years he has been fighting for the cause of freedom for his native land.He is now able to express those feelings verbally, musically, and through tireless education and activism in the cause of freedom.

Once he was forced at gunpoint by the Castro regime to play music after refusing to participate in a command performance for Raul Castro. Instead he played the American national anthem, which he also played in Miami on June 16.

The freedom fighters Jorge Luis Garcia Perez and Bertha Antunez, a brother and sister, were also among those honored in Miami on June 16. Jorge Luis Garcia Perez was arrested in 1990 at the age of 24 for protesting the Castro regime and its discrimination against the Afro-Cuban minority. He served 17 years because he was refusing to attend “re-education”.

His sister Bertha Antunez has signed an open letter calling the Obama policy “little more than a string of unilateral concessions to a totalitarian dictatorship that has tirelessly repressed the Cuban people for the past 56 years.” She thinks the repression has increased in Cuba because the government believes that it can repress without reaction as Obama recognized the communist regime as a legitimate government.

Bertha Antunez received an award from the National Endowment for Democracy on behalf of a group of Cuban dissidents, including her father, in 2009. She did not at the time receive any message from President Obama in support of the award.


June 15, 2017

Den kristna nättidningen Inblick publicerade den 9 juni 2017 en artikel om några av de vänsterextremister som dömdes för terrorbrott på 1970-talet. De hade planer på att kidnappa justitieminister Anna-Greta Leijon. Av naturliga skäl vill de idag helst inte tala om sina brott. Utdrag nedan:

För drygt fyrtio år sedan, den 31 mars 1977, greps ett sjuttiotal vänsterextremister av Säpo.

Säkerhetspolisen hade nämligen avslöjat att den så kallade Kröcher-ligan hade avancerade terrorplaner på att kidnappa statsrådet Anna-Greta Leijon och placera henne i en bur.

Pia Laskar, i dag universitetslektor på Linköpings universitet, blev dömd till tre års fängelse i samband med det planerade kidnappningsdramat. Hon har än i dag kvar sina vänsterextrema uppfattningar.

Efter att ha avtjänat sitt fängelsestraff skrev hon en pamflett om anarkistisk feminism (Syndikalisternas förlag), som i efterhand rönt stor uppskattning bland vänsterintellektuella i Sverige.

Som universitetslektor vid enheten för genus med särskild inriktning mot kritiska sexualitetsstudier har hon i sin forskning och i sina böcker ifrågasatt heteronormen och lyft fram den samkönade sexualiteten.

Laskar var under åren 2008-2012 forskningsledare för projektet Homo-, bisexuella och transpersoners rättigheter.

Karl Gratzer, professor vid Södertörns högskola, som dömdes till tre månaders fängelse, vill [inte heller] tala om sitt engagemang kring Kröcher-ligan.

– Nej. Jag ger inte några intervjuer, det har varit ett missbruk i media av det här. Hej då!

Katarina Motzi Ekelöf var Norbert Kröchers andra svenska flickvän. Hon dömdes till två års fängelse och är i dag verksam som docent vid Linköpings och Uppsalas universitet, och har skrivit böcker som propagerar för alternativmedicin.

En som har valt att berätta är Anna-Karin Lindgren, som fick två års fängelse för sin medverkan i planerna på att kidnappa en svensk minister. Hon förklarar för Inblick att det i själva verket var hon som kom på idén att kidnappa Anna-Greta Leijon.

Hon var flickvän till terroristen Norbert Kröcher, som i sin tur var aktiv i 2-junirörelsen och hade starka band till Röda arméfraktionen (RAF).

Tillsammans genomförde paret bland annat ett bankrån i Bandhagen i Stockholm, men i dag ångrar hon sina vägval.

När Stasi-arkiven blev offentliga visade det sig att Baader Meinhof-ligan, eller RAF som den alltså […]hette, var finansierad och tränad av Stasi, och styrd från Moskva. Även 2 juni-rörelsen och flera andra medlemmar i Kröcher-ligan hade denna koppling.Anna-Karin Lindgren var själv medveten om att en av medlemmarna i Kröcher-ligan, Armando Carillo, var tränad i Nordkorea.

Två av de svenskar som dömdes för delaktighet i terrorplanerna lever inte längre: fil lic Lennart Warring, som dömdes till fyra och ett halvt års fängelse för bland annat förberedelse till människorov, grov stöld och föreberedelse till grovt rån, samt Eive Tungstedt, som skaffade sprängmedel och vapen. Tungstedt dömdes till sex månaders fängelse.


June 14, 2017

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation on June 9, 2017, reported that Dr. Mart Laar of Estonia had been bestowed the foundation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom. Dr Laar is a historian, professor, and scholar who became the first official Prime Minister of Estonia’s Second Republic in 1992. Excerpts below:

Dr. Laar’s time in government was dedicated to…the implementation of free-market principles in the economy. During his first tenure as Prime Minister, from 1992 to 1994, Laar established a flat tax and took steps to privatize previously state-run industries and services…During his second term, he laid the groundwork for Estonia’s accession to the European Union and to NATO, which took place in 2004.

Dr. Laar’s scholarly œuvre is built on historical studies of the Estonian anti-Soviet resistance. His numerous books include War in the Woods: Estonia’s Struggle for Survival, 1944–1956, a history of the “Forest Brother” partisans who fought the Soviet occupation of Estonia, and The Power of Freedom, a history of Central and Eastern Europe after 1945.

Dr. Laar is involved in the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba, the Human Rights Foundation, and the International Advisory Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He is also a founding member of the Unitas Foundation. In addition to the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Laar has received the Hungarian House of Terror museum’s Petőfi Prize and the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.

On receiving the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Dr. Laar provided remarks to be read at VOC’s 10th Annual Commemoration and Roll Call of Nations Wreath Laying Ceremony by a representative of the Estonian government.

“Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom. This makes me extremely proud and happy as it is a recognition to my long-lasting commitment to study communist crimes and to honor their victims. Estonia and Estonians lived for decades under the rule of communism, so we know precisely what communism is. This is why our task is not to let it happen again. This demands that we all keep memory alive. In this work, we stand side by side with all freedom-loving people around the world. Let’s make the Museum of Communist Crimes happen—this is the most certain way to put communism on the ash heap of history.”


June 13, 2017

Washington Times on June 7, 2017, published a review of two new histories of the Russian revolution in 1917: ”Lenin on the Train” by Catherine Merridale (Metropolitan, 2017) and Sean McMeekin, ”The Russian Revolution: A New History” (Basic Books, 2017). Excerpts below:

In the spring of 1917, the German spy service sensed a sure-fire means of persuading Russia to make a separate peace and exit the Great War. Czar Nicholas II had abdicated in the face of mass protests that swept the streets of Petrograd, the then-capital, and signs of war-weariness were increasingly evident.

German eyes fell upon Vladimir Lenin, an aspiring Communist leader in exile for decades. He was considered to be a man of extraordinary ruthlessness — a “one-man demolition crew” who would wreck Russia’s war effort, in contrast with the moderates then in the vanguard of revolution.

…Lenin and selected followers would transit Germany in a sealed train that would be declared “an extraterritorial entity.” Once in Finland, smugglers would take them across to Petrograd.

The remarkable story of Lenin’s odyssey — and the bloody chaos he would inflict on the world — are told in the striking work by Catherine Merridale, a noted historian on the human consequences of the Soviet era…

A minor glitch arose at the border. Although a British intelligence estimate had written off Lenin and friends as “fanatical and narrow minded,” and of no particular danger, a British agent at the border argued against letting them continue. Finnish authorities insisted that a country had the right to admit its own citizens, so Lenin passed into Russia.

Within an hour of his arrival, Lenin gave a fiery two-hour speech denouncing the “piratical imperialist war” and the moderates who were forming an interim government. His program was so extreme that Pravda, the party organ, refused to print it. No matter; his oratory provided the expected spark.

Further, Lenin’s pockets sagged with German gold. He spent millions of dollars on propaganda aimed at convincing Russian troops to stop fighting. (The energetic Mr. McMeekin unearthed long-hidden files on secret German financing that escaped destruction).

Lies have long shelf lives: A million Russian rubles went to leftist writer John Reed for his acclaimed 1919 book “Ten Days That Shook the World,” which in 1981 was the basis for Warren Beatty’s historically laughable movie “Reds.”

In short order, Lenin added a new ingredient to what had begun, more or less, as a grass-roots revolution. His contribution was terror — directed first at the relatively moderate leadership he replaced but rapidly expanded to include anyone who objected to his harshness. Lenin opted for terror to cleave away opponents — and he continued that course long after the government he established was on a secure footing.

Was Germany’s decision to return Lenin to Russia a valid strategy? Winston Churchill gave backhanded approval in acknowledging “the desperate stakes” facing Germany. But he added, “Nevertheless it was the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland to Russia.”

In the end, the totalitarian state that Lenin created carries responsibility for uncountable millions of deaths — many of them his own people who he perceived as enemies.

Two superb reads, and in the end, tragic ones: of how a demagogue shaped world history for the worst for almost a century.

Joseph Goulden writes frequently on intelligence and military affairs.

Comment: In 1917 the Bolshevik secret police, Cheka, was established and revolutionary tribunals started convicting “enemies of the revolution. Trotsky in 1918 called for the creation of outdoor prisons (concentration camps (kontslagers) in remote regions. This was the beginning of the Gulag.

Lenin’s head of the Cheka, Felix Dzerzhinsky, in July 1918 said: ““Terror is an absolute necessity during times of revolution. … We judge quickly. In most cases only a day passes between the apprehension of the criminal and his sentence.”

From an order by Vladimir Lenin: “Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers… the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucker kulaks.” (Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive, Yale University Press, 1996, p. 50).

Lenin cited by Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy, HarperCollins, 1994, p. 203:
“Russians are too kind, they lack the ability to apply determined methods of revolutionary terror.”

Vladimir Lenin: “It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables… The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.” (Richard Pipes, ed., ”The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive”, Yale University Press, 1996, pp. 152-4).

McMeekin in his important new history of the Russian revolution writes that Lenin wanted not revolution but civil war: the goal was not revolution but civil war, and he got it. “Lenin’s imperative was to transform the ‘imperialist war’ into a civil war.” McMeekin notes however that things could have gone the other way. Had the Western allies been more willing to support the anticommunist forces fighting the Bolsheviks and listened to Winston Churchill, Lenin could have been stopped. The author of ”The Russian Revolution” shows how devious and brutal Lenin was.

In his 2008 book ”The World’s Greatest Heist” McMeekin revealed why the Bolsheviks were victorious in the Civil War that followed the 1917 coup d’etat . Based on undiscovered materials from the Soviet Ministry of Finance and other European and American archives the author reveals how the Bolsheviks financed their aggression through thievery: cash savings of private citizens to gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, icons, antiques, and artwork. Soviet financial transactions accomplished history’s greatest heist between 1917 and 1922 and turned centuries of accumulated wealth into the sinews of class war. The Swedish social democratic government played an important role in helping the Soviets to sell stolen gold in the West to finance its civil war in Russia.

Professor McMeekin is emerging as one of the leading experts on the criminal and terrorist policy of the early Soviet leaders. His books are must reads for anybody who wants to understand the rise of genocidal marxism-leninism in Russia.


June 11, 2017

Professor Geoffrey Sloan of the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Reading, UK, is a leading British geopolitical theorist. In 1988 he published one of the best books available on United States strategic policy: “Geopolitics in United States Strategic Policy 1890-1987”.

Using the theories of Alfred Thayer Mahan and the less known American General Homer Lea Sloan in this path-breaking book offered important insights into US strategic policy since 1890. Mahan had examined the relation between the action of a navy concerning political control of the sea and the effect a powerful navy had on foreign policy. From this he predicted the role that a powerful navy could have on the foreign policy of the United States. Homer Lea formulated laws from which political aims and objectives to a certain degree could be deduced.

In the first law Lea maintained that the security of an insular power was not measured in number of warships. Instead it was the ability to control the coasts around which it is situated. Preventing the superiority of any state on the external shores of the sea in which it is located was an important part of the second law. That a continental state with access to the sea would eventually become a more powerful maritime power than the insular sea-power was the third law. Importantly Lea drew attention to the problems American policymakers would face if attempting political expansion in the Pacific Ocean.

30 years later Professor Sloan is now back with an excellent new book which will likely remain central to all future analysis of classical geopolitics, “Geopolitics, Geography and Strategic History” (Routledge, 2017). It is published in the Geopolitical Theory Series which revisits the classical geopolitical theories of the twentieth century. In the most important section of the book the author presents a Trinitarian perspective on geopolitics. It is a science that draws from three different academic disciplines: geography, strategic studies and history.

Most important of these, as seen by this reviewer, is geography. Other modern geopolitical theorists have claimed that geography has shaped the world of today. It will in the future continue to shape the world in the midst of enormous changes. To illustrate the importance of geography and maps Sloan quotes John Hillen, former US assistant Secretary of State (2005-2007), who offers a corrective to the existing cacophony of sentiments, assumptions and utopian fixes of all worldviews in present strategic commentary:

“The answer should be the map – literally, the physical map, and more broadly, geopolitics classically defined, which of course has political geography at its root…Of course, the map doesn’t spit out easy answers…but geopolitical realities – can point one in a very sound direction.”

Sloan describes strategic studies as an examination of interaction between or among adversaries, engaging in conflict, potential or realized. It very often is focusing on stratagems for attaining victory. Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War” (around 400 BC) is mentioned and it is noted that surprise, deception and propaganda are most essential processes.

On history Sloan is less clear when it comes to the relation to geopolitics. He believes history could be a guide enabling an observer to describe and analyse conflicts in the past or break out in the present. It could also possibly predict future conflicts and how to find resolutions to end them. Unfortunately he is not delving in detail on the use of history in geopolitics. It had been interesting to learn more about his views on macro-history and its leading scholars such as Arnold Toynbee and Oswald Spengler.

Robert D. Kaplan in one of his latest books on geopolitics claims that he is on “dangerous ground in raising geography on a pedestal”. He quotes Isaiah Berlin’s admonition in “Historical Inevitability” (1953) who condemned it as “immoral and cowardly” to claim that vast impersonal forces like geography determined the direction of world politics. Kaplan, however, goes on to present Herodotus as a geopolitician before classical geopolitics of the twentieth century.

Sloan’s new book continues with an excellent presentation of the classical geopolitical theories of Halford Mackinder and Nicholas Spykman and concludes that their message is vital to strategic policy. Political predominance is not only about having power in a material sense but also how the geographical structure is exercised within that power.

Adding to the weight of the book are five highly interesting case studies in geopolitics of which four are historical and one contemporary. Rightly Sloan in his review of geopolitics in the United States during the Second World War points to the fact that geopolitics, geography and geostrategy permeated wartime United States in a remarkable way. Contributing to this was the republication of Mackinder’s book “Democratic Ideals and Reality” in 1942. In 1944 Penguin books published a paperback edition of the same book. Mackinder now also published a new book, “The Round World and the Winning of the Peace”. Here the British geopolitical theorist concluded that the Soviet Union was emerging from the Second World War to become a conqueror of Germany. As a result she would have to be ranked as the greatest land power on the globe. The Heartland is the greatest natural fortress on earth, so Mackinder. For the first time in history it is manned by a garrison sufficient both in number and quality. In this way Mackinder imagined the geopolitical structure of NATO.

Just three weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Spykman at a joint session of the Association of American geographers and the American Political Science Association called for a complete change of policy. After the end of the war the rimland powers of Germany and Japan would have to become allies of the United States to counter Russian expansionism. Spykman’s wartime contribution was the book “America’s Strategy in World Politics”. In this work he drew attention to the impact of the Eurasian power balance on American security.

In the American military it was deemed necessary to educate soldiers in geography, geopolitics, world trade and the enemy’s social and political philosophy. General Ben Lear commanding the US 2nd Army was in the forefront organizing lectures and courses. There was a similar upsurge at American universities. In 1942 around 1,500 courses were given at the academic level. The concentration of geographers in Washington DC during the Second World War was unprecedented especially in the Office of Strategic Services, the War Department, the Foreign Economic Administration and the Department of State to mention a few.

Sloan’s case study of the geopolitics of China at the end of this new book is of great value. Too little has been written about China changing the geopolitical reality. Sloan mentions Andrew Small’s “The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics” of 2015 and Robert Kaplan’s “Monsoon” of 2010 as exceptions.

The Asian superpower has been busy settling border disputes with northern neighbours signing agreements with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It can now concentrate on the south and the east.

China is presently according to Sloan presenting a new geopolitical reality of the Eurasian continent as it is in the process of becoming “a continental oceanic country” It is in Mackinder’s words fusing “oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent”. He also argued that China could build a new civilization that would be neither Eastern nor Western.

China is in the process of making the twenty-first century very different from the previous one. This view of China is of great geopolitical significance but there are other possible scenarios concerning this superpower. Internal pressures and inequalities can cause it to fragment and the central government losing much power. A process of fragmentation may cause the central government to choose an aggressive policy of expansion. A result of fragmentation could also be that China splits into regional states thereby losing geopolitical influence.

Sloan’s book is a major contribution to geopolitical literature in this century and should be in all major academic and public libraries.


June 9, 2017

Washington Times on June 6, 2017, published a review of an important new book by Professor Eliot A. Cohen on the necessity of military force in strategic policy. ”The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force” (Basic Books, 2017) should be required reading for policy makers. Excerpts from Dan Negrea’s review below:

Professor Eliot A. Cohen, a Johns Hopkins University historian who served as an adviser in both the Defense and State Departments,…argues forcefully that strong American leadership is indispensable for peace and prosperity in the world, and relying on soft power alone to provide it is unrealistic.

Facts are stubborn, the reality of world conflicts is not pretty, and…leaders better be prepared to deal competently and unsentimentally with the tough decisions they must make.

The author’s overview of America’s adversaries starts with increasingly aggressive China, whose rapid economic and military rise he views as the most important international phenomenon of the 21st century. Still, China has many obstacles on the road to becoming a superpower and a weak strategic position because of its border disputes with every single one of its neighbors.

As for confronting al Qaeda, ISIL and other terrorist organizations, Mr. Cohen asks for clarity of purpose: We need to state plainly that their ideology is rooted in Islam and that we are engaged in a generational war to eradicate them. But he also believes that their barbarism limits their appeal and will eventually halt their momentum.

A chapter titled “Dangerous States” Cohen treats…adversaries [like Russia] and Iran They are…authoritarian, willing to use force, and economically fragile. And their nuclear weapons or nuclear aspirations are central to their national defense…[They] have a “paranoid style” in politics, with their media filled with presumed plots by enemies both foreign and domestic.

…America’s military spending dwarfs that of its opponents. Since it represents today just 3 percent of our GDP (compared to 8 percent in the Reagan years), America’s strategic solvency is high. Its many alliances are a critical asset that give it “an extraordinary global logistical infrastructure.” And considering its powerful economy, positive demographics and robust political system, the odds are that America will prevail: “No other country, or collection of countries, has a better hand to play in international politics.”

…this is a book about difficult decisions imposed by unforgiving facts. Diplomacy has an important place in the tool kit of statecraft, even when it requires political compromises with “odious regimes.” So does soft power, which, Mr. Cohen argues, is not always gentle: Sanctions, for example, can deprive a country’s poor of food and medicine.

But when all else fails, our leaders must make politically difficult decisions involving hard power. Like increasing military spending to at least 4 percent. Or like stationing troops for many years in areas of potential conflict, which worked well in the past: Leaving American troops for decades in Germany and South Korea helped those two war-torn nations find their way to democracy and prosperity. In the interest of global stability, today’s American politicians must find the courage to station American troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Poland and the Baltic states.

The ultimate hard power decisions, though, deal with going to war and even doing so preemptively. The most sobering passages of the book regard pre-emptive strikes, especially necessary if weapons of mass destruction fall into “utterly irresponsible hands.”

This is a lucid book about war by a man who loves peace…But he also knows that appeasing evil is not an option. Tragically, the world continues to add to what Churchill called the “dark and lamentable catalog of human crime.”

“The Big Stick” is a valuable resource for those trying to keep America’s flame of liberty burning bright in this stormy world.

Dan Negrea is a New York private equity investor.


June 2, 2017

Washington Times on June 1, 2017 published a commentary by Wesley Pruden on President Trump’s abandoning of the Paris climate agreement. Excerpts below:

“As of today,” he said, “the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. We’re getting out but we’ll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

This was exactly what the 196 signers needed to hear, and the president told them without heat, bombast or blather.

The president thus makes good on one of his most important campaign promises, mocking the holy writ of global warming, or “climate change” as it’s called now because the globe refuses to warm as promised and all the dead polar bears are still not dead and the ocean that was supposed to have inundated the financial district of lower Manhattan by now, [is still above water].

The president sounds like the reasonable one now. “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris accord for an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States.” He identified several sectors of the American economy that would lose jobs and paychecks if the United States stays in the accord — 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

This puts a large dent in Barack Obama’s legacy, about which he can’t stop talking.

“The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created,” he said, trying to remember how to affect a presidential tone. “I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership, even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future, I’m confident that our states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.” This was a stunning exercise in disrespect for the one president we currently have, and for the office as well. Pittsburgh and Peoria with a foreign policy.

Mr. Trump’s critics are eager now to play holier than thou — even the pope, who had said earlier that if Mr. Trump withdrew from Paris the Vatican would take it as “a slap in the face.” Leonardo DiCaprio was disappointed, too, because he had earlier urged Mr. Trump to “make the moral position.” Moral tutelage from the Vatican and Hollywood on the very same day. Religiosity reigns, if only for the day.

But back where it counts, the president’s decision won praise from Republicans in Congress. “I applaud President Trump and his administration for dealing with yet another blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs.” Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment, observed that “the Paris climate agreement set unworkable targets that put America at a competitive disadvantage.”

Whatever new agreement President Trump can make will be a treaty, and must, as the Constitution makes clear, be ratified by the Senate. Barack Obama, the famous professor of constitutional law, wouldn’t do that because he knew that the Paris agreement would never have made it through the Senate..

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

Comment:  The Paris climate agreement is an unequal treaty forcing the United States and other Western nations to pay for China’s heavy use of fossil fuels.  Conservatives in the United States have praised the president for his move.

Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America: [Trump is “not succumbing to pressure from special interests and cosmopolitan elites.”

“Withdrawal from the agreement marks a critical step in unraveling former President Obama’s destructive legacy,” President Trump’s decision is a win for both his administration and the American people.”


The Club for Growth:  [Trump’s decision put] “American taxpayers and businesses back in the driver’s seat.”

“For far too long the Obama Administration allowed foreign governments and alarmist environmentalists to dictate, not only climate change policy, but worse our nation’s economic policy,” President Trump’s decision sends a strong message to the environmentalist movement: no longer will the United States be strongarmed by their scare tactics intended to harm our economy and inhibit economic growth.”


Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute: [Trump is] “leading the world toward a brighter future.”

“The Paris Climate Agreement promises no measurable climate benefits at an incredible economic and political cost to Americans,” By getting out of the agreement, President Trump is leading the world toward a brighter future as low energy prices over the long-term will benefit consumers and energy-intensive industries.”