Archive for the ‘GLOBAL CIVIL WAR’ Category


December 18, 2018

National Interest has in a recent issue opined that it is time for U.S. and other Western nations to improve their political warfare capabilities. The authors of the NI article were:

Hal Brands, Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. His newest book, with Charles Edel, is ”The Lessons of Tragedy: Statecraft and World Order”.

Toshi Yoshihara, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He previously held the John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the U.S. Naval War College where he taught for over a decade. His latest book, with James R. Holmes, is the second edition of ”Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy”.
Excerpts below:

Both Russia and China are governed by opaque, highly centralized and increasingly personalized governments that are well suited to the darker arts of statecraft. Political warfare, for such regimes, is second nature.

Girding for that contest with tyrannies will require embracing the role of ideology and the clash of values. For too long after the Cold War, there was an assumption in U.S. policy circles that ideology no longer mattered and that authoritarian regimes in Russia and China could therefore be treated as useful transactional partners or even as actors that would come to see the blessings of full membership in the U.S.-led international order. This policy had its logic and its advantages. But by losing sight of the importance of ideology, Washington also lost sight of a fundamental driver of conflict with authoritarian states—the inherent clash between liberalism and illiberalism. No less, it deprecated its own ability, as a stable and vibrant democracy, to wage political warfare against repressive regimes. And to make matters worse, a values-based foreign policy fell into disrepute after the Iraq War: ideology came to be seen as something dangerous and quixotic, not as a fount of American strength.

This has it backward. During the Cold War, the administrations that most effectively waged political warfare never forgot the importance of highlighting the ideological differences between the United States and its adversaries. Restoring America’s competitive edge today, in a new era of competition with authoritarian rivals, will once again require putting the clash of ideas and values center-stage.

Comment: The term political warfare refers to warfare other than military action used to enforce the will of a state or movement upon its foe. Political war may be combined with violence, economic pressure, subversion, and diplomacy but the chief aspect is propaganda (if waged by an extremist enemy), information (when used by a democracy) and psychological warfare (definition based on Paul A. Smith Jr., ”On Political War”, Washington D.C., 1989, pp. 3 and 227).

”Modern Political Warfare – Current Practices and Possible Responses” by Linda Robinson, Todd C. Helmus, Raphael S. Cohen, Alireza Nader, Andrew Radin, Madeline Magnuson, Katya Migacheva, RAND, (2018) takes a new look at what was originally a Cold War mode of warfare.



December 12, 2018


Bertil Haggman

Vol. 3


Communist Political Warfare Training
The Orlando Committee and Alan G. Grant Jr.
The Freedom Academy
The Freedom Studies Center
A 1976 Seminar of the Freedom Studies Center


This is Volume 3 of Bertil Haggman’s political memoirs. The first volume was published by Kindle Direct Publishing in 2015 and is available from Kindle as an e-book. The second volume will be published in September 2018 on Bertil Haggman’s blog Academies like the Freedom Academy are important as a tool of freedom and democracy. This author has in the Swedish magazine Contra called for an American Freedom Academy to be established in the ongoing global war on terror.

Glimakra June 2018

Bertil Haggman


The American Freedom Academy concept is worth remembering in a time when the West is again challenged.. It was during the Cold War for decades much debated in the United States. It is a fascinating story on how an Orlando, Florida, grass roots group managed to attract interest, both in Congress and media, for a political warfare academy, a ‘civilian West Point’ to counteract hundreds of political warfare schools in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Here the term political warfare refers to warfare other than military action used to enforce the will of a state upon its foe. Political war may be combined with violence, economic pressure, subversion, and diplomacy but the chief aspect is propaganda (if waged by a totalitarian state), information (when used by a democracy) and psychological warfare (Paul A. Smith Jr., On Political War, Washington D.C., 1989, pp. 3 and 227).

My interest in this subject stems from the fact that in 1966, when a privately financed freedom academy was inaugurated. I was the chairman of the Free Asia Committee in Scandinavia, an initial cooperating agency of the center. In my private archive I have letters exchanged on the subject and material related to the importance that the West establishes a sort of West Point for defense against communist psycho-political warfare.

The basic agenda in the field would be to educate citizens on the dangers of communist ideology not only in the United States but in all non-communist countries.

Communist Political Warfare Training

Communist political warfare was during the Cold War part of the revolutionary global civil war of communism from 1917 to 1991. It had its roots in the French revolution. V.I. Lenin argued that if a revolution was to be successful it had to be led by professional revolutionaries.

There were hundreds of Communist political warfare training schools in the Soviet Union and in other countries as well as on other continents. Best known is the central International Lenin School (ILS) established in 1926. Subjects were guerrilla warfare, revolutionary techniques, armed uprising, agitation and propaganda, political warfare etc.

The most common name in the West for the most important political warfare school in the Soviet Union is the International Lenin School but it has also been described as university, academy, institute and college (Lenin Institute of Political Warfare and Lenin University). Underneath is a quote from the testimony of Professor Stefan Possony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA) :

“When Michael V. Frunze became Commissar of War in 1924 he started preparing for the establishment of a system of advanced training academies for foreign communists to make them professional revolutionaries. In 1925 the Hungarian Bela Kun, chief of Comintern’s Agit-Prop Department announced plans for a new Comintern school and the Lenin School was established in May, 1926. By 1959 the school had processed 120,000 pupils. The first graduating class was in 1928. ”….students came from many countries and were given an unusually intensive three year course designed to train them in all of the arts of a total power struggle. Guerrilla warfare, armed uprising, agitation and propaganda, legal and illegal methods, as well as advanced indoctrination in Marxism-Leninim, were all in the curriculum.” (United States Congress. Hearings on the Freedom Academy Bill 1964, p. 1194).

Teachers included Soviet leaders Stalin, Manuilsky, Bukharin, Molotov, Kuusinen, and Trotsky, before he had to escape from the Soviet Union (see below).

The school had two courses: the full course ran for three years while there was also a short course of one year.

One of the most extensive FBI reports on ILS in a synopsis of facts stated:

“Informants report Lenin School (LS) founded 1926 in Moscow, Russia to train Communist leaders from other countries both politically and practically. Other schools, such as Far Eastern University, also in progress in Russia simultaneously with LS. Branch of LS believed to have operated in Sweden. American students for LS were selected by CP, USA. A quota for each country assigned by Communist International. Those who were considered to be leadership material were selected. Travel to the school was paid by the CP and student received a subsistence for themselves and for their families while at school. Some informants state they were instructed to protect their identity while traveling. Students at LS transferred CP membership from country of origin to CP of Russia. At school, students were interviewed and indoctrinated concerning security. Most students assumed aliases at school. LS term was from 1 to 3 years. Classes held in various languages simultaneously. Instructors at LS were chiefly from Russia. Courses covered marxist philosophy and economics, history of CP movement, history of trade union work. Students received instructions in military training, firearms and illegal work. Some FBI informants report receiving instructions in espionage and sabotage. After completion of course at school, students toured Russia. Some were assigned in departments of CP of Russia. Others returned to country of origin to assume leadership role. Some students utilized as couriers during and after school year” (FBI Report, August 2, 1954, New York. Title: The Lenin School. 71 p.).

After the Soviet collapse it has been confirmed that the Soviets regarded ILS as very secret:

“Much of what went on at the ILS was secret. In 1930, William Weinstone, the CPUSA’s representative to the Comintern, rebuked the CPUSA’s Secretariat for publishing an article about the school. Weinstone told his comrades that the article ‘has aroused the School Administration and the students because there must be absolutely no publicity given in regard to the school or any of its activities…nothing like this must be repeated.” He also reminded the party not to send material to the students using an ILS address”
(H.Klehr, J.E. Haynes, F.I. Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism, New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 202).

Some of the more prominent pupils of the Lenin School were:

Chou En-lai, China
Harry Pollit, Great Britain
Sanzo Nosaka, Japan
Ernst Thaelmann, Germany
Maurice Thorez, France
Gus Hall, USA
L.L. Sharkey, Australia
Joseph Z. Kornfeder, Chzechoslovak-American communist defector
Sam Darcy, USA
Leonard Patterson, USA

Extensive material in files of the FBI is available on American trainees, but much information is blacked out.

Joseph Z. Kornfeder when testifying for the HCUA in 1959, presented as exhibit the curriculum of the Lenin School, which he had attended (“Curriculum”, Lenin University, Moscow, U.S.S.R., (as of 1944).

Below are the names of other Comintern training centers:

University of the Toilers of the East, Moscow (replaced the Tashkent School) was established on May 18, 1921. See also under section 8 below.

Trainees: Ho Chi-minh, Vietnam
Nalini Gupta, India
Raden Darsono, Indonesia

The Central European School in Moscow mainly had students from Balkan and Baltic countries.

The Sun Yat-sen University (Far Eastern University), Moscow trained Chinese communists. General Krivitsky wrote on this “university”:

“When the Comintern began to turn its attention to China, it created a university of the east, the so called Sun Yat-sen University, with Karl Radek at the head. Moscow was then in a frenzy of optimism over the prospects of a Soviet revolution in China. Sons of generals and high Chinese officials were invited to attend this special training school. Among them was the son of Chiang Kai-shek (Krivitsky, In Stalin’s Secret Service, NewYork: Enigma Books, 2000, p. 51).

The communist political warfare training system later went in the direction of greater diversification. For example, the Frunze Military Academy, for a while was the highest institution of military learning. It was established in 1918. This school was the equivalent of the Command and Staff School in the United States, something like the Ecole de Guerre in Paris.

In 1936 a new institution was created, the Voroshilov Higher Military Academy, which was the equivalent, on a somewhat higher level, of the National War College. It embraces all three military services, but, unlike the National War College, which is teaching essentially on the level of colonels, a great deal of the teaching at the Voroshilov Academy is at the flag rank level. In addition, it has extension courses, a research institute on doctrine, and also offers refresher courses for earlier graduates… (United States Congress. HCUA Hearings 1959, p. 81).

Among the trainees: Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia

The Tashkent School, Tashkent, Central Asia was established by Lenin in 1919 to train Asian communists. A special complex,”India House”, was to train Indian communists.

Trainees: Shankat Usman, India
Fazl Qurban, Pakistan
Manabenda Nath Roy, India

The New Lenin Institute (Institute of Social Sciences, Institute for Social Studies, International School of Marxism-Leninism), Moscow, was set up in 1967 and taught a systematic course in revolutionary techniques:

“…training [was] part of a systematic course in revolutionary techniques which has been on offer to carefully select Communists since 1967 but the existence of which was revealed only in 1973.The courses [were] run by the Lenin Institute,…Each course lasted about six months.” 300 to 600 were enrolled at any given time. The largest group was from Latin America. The training consisted of courses in armed and unarmed combat and guerrilla war, illegal operations, social psychology, open and clandestine journalism, subversive use of posters, radio, television, public speaking, and Marxist-Leninist ideology” (Brian Crozier, “Aid to terrorism”, Annual of Power and Conflict 1973-74 – A Survey of Political Violence and International Influence, London: Institute for the Study of Conflict, 1974).

The Orlando Committee and Alan G. Grant Jr.

The Freedom Academy concept was a typical private initiative started in Orlando in the fall of 1950 by citizens speaking in local high schools on communism and the Soviet threat. The initiator and prime mover of the group was Alan J. Grant Jr., who had fought in a parachute regiment during the Second World War, graduated from Harvard Law School and written a thesis at Harvard on guerrilla and revolutionary war. The Orlando Committee was formed in 1953, and in 1954 the Freedom Academy concept (first called Free-World Academy) was presented in a report later sent to the White House (Man of the Week: Freedom Academy’s Alan Grant, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Magazine, September 18, 1960, pp. 4-5).

In a testimony before the US Congress Senate on June 17, 1959, Grant explained his work on the concept from the beginning of the 1950s as a representative of the Orlando Committee (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and other Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-Sixth Congress, First Session, on S. 1689 to Create the Freedom Commission for the Development of the Science of Counteraction to the World Communist Conspiracy, June 17, 1959, pp. 10 – 23).

Grant said that “some of the members of the Orlando committee have been working with the basic proposal before you since 1951. This legislation presents a new idea, a new procedural concept in the cold war” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

He also more in detail told the story of the origins of the Freedom Commission Act:

“The origins of the Freedom Commission Act go back to the late
summer of 1950. American forces in Korea had been pressed into the Pusan perimeter and we faced a serious military situation. But more important, it had by then become plain that the Soviets had thrown an across-the-board challenge at the West which would test our national character and every part of our free society as it had never been tested before. The stakes were national survival and the challenge would continue indefinitely conceivably for the remainder of this century, or longer.

In the late summer of 1950, a small group of Orlando citizens organized themselves into a committee called the Know Your Enemy Speakers. This committee believed that as an absolute minimum our high school seniors should be given a broad survey course on world communism (in addition to courses in American history and civic courses to show the advantages of an open society) so they could understand something of the frightful challenge — political, scientific, economic, and military — facing their Nation, and as a result would better understand the unique obligations of American citizenship.

To avoid controversy, our committee was quietly organized on a
broad bipartisan basis to include management and labor, the major religions, and both political parties.

During the 5 months from the formation of the committee to the
beginning of the lecture series, we were careful to explain the program to the many organized groups in the Orlando area, and the Sunday before the kickoff the local newspaper ran a full page story explaining how the subject matter would be handled. Thanks to this careful public relations no opposition developed even though we where “bringing communism into the classrooms” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

The program ran 3 years.

The Freedom Academy

The report resulted in a more than a decade long struggle inside and outside of the American Congress. A bill was introduced both in the Senate (sponsored by Senators Karl Mundt and Paul Douglas) and the House.

In his continued testimony in 1959 Grant informed about the continued research of the Orlando Committee on the state of information in the United States concerning the Soviet challenge:

“While the school program was in progress, we made inquiries to learn what other communities were doing to inform our youth of the Soviet challenge. It appeared that very little was being done. No one had had the foresight to teach the teachers to give such courses and the school administrators, the PTA’s, and the general public felt no urgency in the matter. Furthermore, little was being done to reach the undergraduates in our colleges and universities.

…we asked how this educational failure [could] be corrected” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

The conclusion was that the Soviets had a better organized total political warfighting apparatus than the United States:

“All our reading and study pointed to the central fact that the Soviets were winning the cold war, because they had systematically prepared themselves over many decades to wage total political war, while the West had not. To the Soviets, political warfare or psychopolitical warfare is an all encompassing concept which gives direction and orientation to everything they do. They consider it the most important of the sciences. In the West it has been a neglected stepchild.

Soviet concentration on political warfare has given them three important operational advantages and a tremendous lead time. While these three advantages may appear obvious, nevertheless they are matters, the implications of which the West has not faced up to in terms of counteractivity. I would like to list these three advantages briefly, because they will help pinpoint the specific problems which the Freedom Commission Act will help solve.

First, the Soviets have developed their conspiratorial version of
political warfare or psycho-political warfare into a true operational science. To wage this new dimension of warfare, they have designed and fieldtested a broad spectrum of political weapons and political weapons systems. They have thought out the many open and covert organizational forms and operational techniques by which a highly trained, though small, power elite can acquire maximum power and influence in any given society or situation. Finally, the Soviets have meshed their psychopolitical warfare into their overall long-range strategy of protracted conflict, in which we are never given a sufficient provocation to use massive retaliation, but where, nevertheless, our overall position gradually weakens in relation to the Soviets. There is not time to make any detailed comments on Soviet operational methods and I don’t believe that is necessary before this committee. However, because so little has been written about Soviet conflict techniques, that is, communism as a method, I would like to respectfully refer this committee to three books which the Orlando Committee believes do this much needed job. They are Protracted Conflict, just published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania; The Organizational Weapon, a 1952 Rand Corp. study, and A Century of Conflict, by Dr. Stefan Possony, of Georgetown University.

Second, the Soviets have trained the most skilled, dedicated, and cohesive political warfare cadres and leadership groups the world has known. They simply fight harder and with more know-how than their opponents. From the beginning Communist leaders have realized that political warfare is a sophisticated science which makes heavy demands on its practitioners. Perhaps no other area of human activity requires a greater personal commitment. This is not something which can be entrusted to amateurs or dilettantes. It requires intensively trained, fully committed professionals” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

At one point in the testimony Grant presented several examples of media attention concerning Soviet and satellite states’ training centers for political warfare:

“I would like to list a few examples which have come to the attention of the Orlando Committee.

Daniel James, a leading authority on communism in Latin America, in a 1954 Washington Post article, described a training center in Prague devoted exclusively to the training of Latin American Communists and European

Communists who would be working in Latin America. According to James, the enrollment was 750, and political warfare was the primary subject. Presumably many thousands of Latin Americans have now received advanced training at this center and have been redeployed throughout the fabric of our southern neighbours. Recently there have been published reports of another training center in Prague for African Communists with facilities for 3,000 students.

Professor Alexander, of Rutgers University, in his book, Communism in Latin America, mentions briefly a whole system of training schools by the Chilean party to increase the sophistication and know-how of its members.

Herbert Philbrick, in I Led Three Lives, has described the secret district training school, run by the party in the Boston area to train party cadres.

Joseph Z. Kornfeder and William C. Nowell, alumni of the famed, but little understood Lenin Institute, have told us about the training in political warfare the present leaders of the various Communist parties received in Moscow in the twenties and thirties.

In the September 1955, issue of Facts Forum, Montgomery Green has written a revealing article on the system of political warfare colleges operated in Russia. The article begins with these words :

Perhaps the most closely guarded secret of world communism, cut off from view by the Iron Curtain and shrouded in unbelievable security precautions, is the system of colleges for professional revolutionaries that annually turn out thousands of skilled agitators to bedevil the free world. Although this educational program has been in action for 30 years, and has graduated political saboteurs estimated to number a minimum of 100,000, its very existence is unknown to most people in the West.

The reason for the supersecrecy with which these schools have been surrounded is that they constitute the most successful cold war weapon yet developed by world communism.

Third, they have a superior organization which is skilfully deployed throughout the fabric of each nation to obtain maximum power and influence for the numbers involved. This organization, manned by trained political activists, permits the Communists to take full advantage of the infinite variety of organizational possibilities inherent in a total political war, whether setting up a front to organize and manipulate a previously unorganized sector of a given society, infiltrating an existing institution, or recruiting student leaders for a guided tour of the “New China.” It is significant that an advanced textbook on Bolshevik strategy and tactics is called The Organizational Weapon — Selznick, McGraw-Hill, 1952” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

Grant also described the communists as “masters of conflict”:

“Finally tremendous resources within Russia and China have been mobilized to support Communist political warfare efforts. This is seen in their extensive language training program which emphasizes the numerous languages and dialects of Asia and Africa, and in the training of engineers and technicians beyond internal needs.

The Communists have been aptly described as the masters of “conflict management.” With their superior operational science, with their skilled cadres and leadership groups, with their sophisticated organizational forms, the Soviets are able to achieve their short- and long-term objectives through an amazing variety of means. Their overall attack is so diverse only a trained individual can begin to identify its many forms.

In summary, Soviet cold war gains have been made possible by the systematic development of the science of political warfare and conflict management, by the intensive long-term training of leadership groups in this science, and by the creation of the diverse organizational structure which can fully utilize the new science and the superbly trained cadres and leadership groups.

These Communist strengths highlight the basic United States and free world weaknesses which underlie many of our cold war defeats and are severely handicapping our long range efforts” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

After this presentation on Soviet strengths in the field Grant turned to the weaknesses in the Free World’s response:

“I would like to list these weaknesses briefly as the Orlando committee sees them, because I believe this will help your committee understand our thinking; and will lead to a fuller understanding of the Freedom Commission Act.

First, there has been no overall, intensive, systematic effort to develop counteraction to the Soviets into an operational science which will meet fully the Soviet’s total political warfare and protracted conflict strategy and techniques. When I say “counteraction” I mean both the so-called positive and negative aspects and also counteraction in the private as well as the governmental sector. Also, and this is important, I mean an operational science which fits within democratic morality and concepts — not a conspiratorial science to fight a conspiratorial science.

During the past few years a great deal has been written about Russia, China, and communism, but strangely almost nothing has been written which attempts to develop an operational science for the West which will fully meet the total Soviet challenge. This is of course, a tremendous challenge which, in its details, is beyond the capacity of any one man” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

Grant correctly held up Stefan Possony’s 1952 book as a pioneering work in the West on the ongoing war between the Free World and communism:

“As far back as 1952, Dr. Stefan Possony, professor of political science at Georgetown and adviser to the Defense Department on Soviet Affairs, wrote in his pioneering book, A Century of Conflict, and I quote :

Only fools refuse to learn from their enemies. There is no reason why we should not pick up some of the Communist tricks and use them, if and when they fit into the framework of our own requirements and morality. If only for defensive purposes, we must understand Soviet procedures. The Western World must urgently develop a new synthesis of the operational art.

You can go to most good libraries and pick up any one of dozens
of books containing a scholarly description of some aspect of communism. In the final chapters the author often feels a need to suggest free world countermeasures. But, at this point, the scholarly, analytical mind seems to run into a mental roadblock. We are seldom given anything more helpful than broad generalities. While the author may set forth commendable goals, he does not describe any realistic means by which we can achieve these goals. It does no good to say repeatedly that the free world must develop its own operational art, unless we describe the organizational means which will make this possible. For 15 years our political science community has turned its back on the greatest challenge to political thought in our age. This is a fantastic situation” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

Grant then turned to the fact that there were no broadgaged and systematic efforts in the West to train government personnel and private citizens in the complex science of counteraction:

“Second, there has been no broadgaged, systematic effort to train private citizens and cold war agency personnel in the tremendously complex and difficult science of counteraction. There are no free world counterparts to the elaborate system of political warfare training schools the Soviets have been running for 40 years — other than the limited facilities of the CIA which is in the covert area. We have specialists on various aspects of communism. We have almost no experts or trained leaders in the area of counteraction. Nor is any program underway to develop such experts and leaders. After all you can’t train people in a science which has yet to be developed. Moreover, not only have we failed to train in counteraction, but very few of our cold war agency personnel are well grounded in communism, particularly Soviet conflict techniques. Even fewer are well versed in the interrelated military — economic-political aspects of the problem” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

Grant went on to refer to a “memorandum prepared by Dr. Edward P. Lilly of the Operations Coordinating Board which summarizes all cold war educational activities of the Federal Government with the exception of the CIA and the FBI. This shows that present training is conducted along conventional lines and almost nothing is being done to give systematic training to cold war agency personnel in counteractivity. The same gap exists in the private sector. This will be developed by Dr. Gerhard Niemeyer, professor of political science at Notre Dame and current lecturer at the National War College [in a later testimony] (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

In the view of Grant this training failure resulted in well meaning amateurs competing with fully committed professionals. The lack of organizational focus was needed:

“Third, we have not created the organizational focus, particularly in the private sector, through which we can counter the total Soviet threat.

Because we have not done these three things, our Government has had to rely on the conventional means of diplomacy, military and economic aid, and intelligence. But these conventional means, regardless of the skill with which they are employed, fail to engage the Communists on much of the battleground. We simply lack the operational know-how, the trained manpower, and the organizational forms necessary to cope with many forms of the Soviet’s psychopolitical warfare” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

Even the State Department had admitted that there was a lack in the field of political warfare training in the United States:

“In hearings this spring before the House Appropriations Sub-
committee, the State Department asked for funds to set up small staffs which could work full time to counter Soviet political and economic warfare. During the hearings Douglas Dillon made this startling and revealing statement :

We feel that it is necessary to have some staff or some group responsible for giving full time to these matters, planning action, following it up, and working out what we should do to counter the Soviet threat.

I have felt the need for this for some time and last year, when the business advisory group looked into the problem they felt the need for it. It was found that there was no place in the Government, in the State Department or anywhere else, concerned solely with this problem and what to do about it. It has been handled, to the extent it has been handled, in the different regional bureaus where they frankly emphasize only what is happening in their own respective areas. They do not exchange views on various parts of the world. They do not know the total Communist drive that may be behind particular actions and I do not think that their results have been anywhere near as effective as they should be.

We have talked over this problem a little bit with some of the countries that are interested and one of the conclusions we came to was that we were not well enough organized ourselves to know intelligently exactly what we wanted to do about a number of these problems. About 6 or 7 months ago I came to the conclusion we do need a full-time staff to work on this subject.

But suppose these staffs are set up. Suppose they do fully understand what the Soviets are doing on a world scale. They will still lack the trained manpower and the organizational forms to meet this new dimension of warfare. They will be a general staff without any army. The Orlando committee predicts many breakdowns from sheer frustration” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

The use of psychopolitical weapons in the Soviet penetration of Asia, Africa and Latin America was well known, Grant continued:

“The pattern of Soviet penetration in Asia, Africa and Latin America is by now becoming known. The groundwork for this penetration was laid by decades of intensive cadre training and the careful testing and perfecting of a broad range of psychopolitical weapons. The tragic situations in Cuba and Iraq are not the result of any sudden Kremlin brainstorm. Their history goes back to the Lenin Institute in the twenties and thirties and the schools in Prague and Argentina in the fifties. Hundreds of intensively trained cadres, toughened by years of political warfare and underground work were poised to step in and develop any revolutionary situation. Conventional diplomacy and economic aid cannot cope with this. Our virtual helplessness in the face of those developing crises is a direct result of our failure over the past decade to develop counteraction and to get down to the hard, practical work of training leadership groups.

The Soviet challenge requires planning in terms of decades by systematically trained persons who understand the full spectrum of counteraction, both what can be done by government and what can be done by private citizens and organizations. The Cubas, the Iraqs, the Keralas of a decade from now may be lost because we are not training and deploying the people today who could be changing the whole climate of opinion and creating the anti-Communist strength in these target nations which would prevent the situation from ever developing to crisis proportions.

All of these matters deeply concerned our small group in Orlando. To us, the indispensable keys to our long-range victory against this new dimension of warfare were the rapid development of our own operational know-how, the training of leadership groups, and the creation of new organizational forms. But we searched in vain for any sign that a determined effort was being made along these lines either by the Government or by private institutions. It seemed ridiculous that a small group in

Orlando should have to take the lead in such an obvious matter” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

The Orlando committee in 1953 discontinued its school program to focus on the development of the Freedom Academy concept:

“In 1953, we discontinued the school program in order to spend all af our time developing this concept. A new committee was organized, called the Orlando committee, and, by the spring of 1954, this committee had produced a 50-odd page report recommending the establishment of a privately financed academy, which we first called the Lincoln-Petkov Academy and later the Free-World Academy. Petkov, of course, being the Hungarian patriot executed by Communists in 1947.

We sent this report to Robert Cutler, who then headed the planning board of the National Security Council, with the idea that if the administration agreed with us, it could quietly recruit a board of distinguished private citizens in whom the country would have faith and who could raise the large sums needed.

Cutler circulated our proposal through the various cold war agencies and, in July 1954, the Operations Coordinating Board set up a conference which I attended for the Orlando committee. There were wide differences of opinion among the participants as to details of the proposal and as to the urgency of establishing an academy. This resulted in a noncommittal, least common denominator report going back to Cutler, instead of the strong action report we were seeking.

Frustrated in Washington, the Orlando committee revised the proposal and, in November 1954, mailed it to approximately 160 persons and organizations. This mailing list included a cross section of political thinking and a number of the most experienced anti-Communists in the country. The response was heavy and generally favorable. We were particularly pleased to note that liberal, moderate, and conservative anti-Communists all seemed to be in basic agreement on the urgent need for the academy.

On the basis of this favorable response, the Orlando committee held three all-day conferences in New York City in the winter of 1955. These conferences were attended by a well-balanced group of distinguished liberal, moderate and conservative anti-Communists. Again, there was broad agreement on the pressing need for the academy and much work was done to activate the Orlando proposals.

At the end of the first conference, John K. Jessup, chief editorial writer for Life magazine, told me he was surprised that so representative a group of anti-Communist thinkers, some of whom had been fighting each other for years, could be brought together in one room. He was astounded when they were able to work together all day with hardly a scratch of the pen passing between them. This strengthened the long-held belief of the Orlando committee that persons of widely divergent backgrounds and political viewpoints can agree on a wide range of action in this area once they have done their homework and so have a common framework of reference and an understanding of the critical problems to be solved.

Despite general agreement among the conference experts, our attempt to establish the academy at that time failed because we were unable to produce adequate financing.

From late 1955 until last September [1960], very little was done to push the Orlando proposals. We felt we would have to wait until there was a change in the climate of opinion. By last September we began to detect a shift in the attitude of an increasing number of our fellow citizens. The stoning of Nixon [in South America] and our severe setback in Iraq was having its effect. Sam Lubell, the pollster, noted a vague and as yet inarticulate fear that the situation was getting beyond our ability to control and that the United States was gradually being pushed into a corner.

For the first time, the members of the Orlando committee felt there was a reasonable chance to create the academy through public legislation. On October 2, we met with our Congressman, A. S. Herlong, Jr. [of Florida], and briefed him on our ideas. He agreed to introduce legislation in this session” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

Grant regretted that it would not be possible in his testimony to outline the complete concept of the Freedom Commission and the Freedom Academy and referred to Congressman Herlongs floor speech when introduced the bill in the House in February:

“I wish there was time to outline our complete concept of what the Freedom Commission and the Freedom Academy can be and to pass on our many ideas and suggestions. If I were to do so, however, there would be no time left for other witnesses. Attached to this statement is the floor speech made by Congressman Herlong at the time of the introduction of the companion bill in the House on February 2. This speech outlines the substance of the bill and makes suggestions regarding the Commission, the joint watchdog committee, the academy curriculum, the academy faculty, and the student body. It also suggests some of the many benefits which can be expected” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

A brief comment was allowed, however:

“I would like to comment on the bill very briefly.

The heart of the Freedom Commission Act is section 6, which sets forth the principal functions of the academy.

Subsection 1 empowers the academy to develop systematic knowledge about the Communist conspiracy. …there is a need to bring together all of this material in a single center where it can be systematized and put to use. Too much valuable work is now gathering dust on library shelves. Also there are still important aspects of the Communist problem which have not been adequately researched or described, particularly material which presents and interrelates the full spectrum of Communist operational strategy and techniques.

Subsection 2 authorizes the Academy to explore and develop the full range of counteraction in both the civilian and governmental sectors, and to achieve a new synthesis of the operational art for the free world. This of course, is the vital area, where very little has been done. We would anticipate the Academy, for example, making a survey of all types of private organizations at the community, State, and National level to determine how they can participate in the Cold War in an effective, sustained, and systematic manner. We would expect the Academy to look several decades into the future and to develop programs now which will bear fruit in the sixties and seventies, as well as programs which can meet immediate pressing needs. The Academy would not be engaged in a general search for knowledge for knowledge’s sake. It would be seeking the practical, concrete means to meet the total Soviet challenge — the operational techniques and the organizational forms, which can activate and utilize every possible source of strength.

Developing counteraction into a science will be largely an academic accomplishment, unless we take the next step and get down to the practical work of training private citizens and Government personnel in this new science. We must get the material off the library shelves and pump it into our great civic organizations and Government agencies. This is provided for in subsections 3 and 4. There is little point in working out an inspired program for private organizations, unless there is a realistic training program which will provide them with the trained leadership which can give intelligent, bipartisan guidance. Since the Communist organizational weapon is working within a multitude of political, religious, economic, and ethnic groups, counteraction must be carried out by leaders of these same groups. This calls for a broadly representative student body and a training program tailored to a variety of conditions and circumstances” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

It was important to underline that the creation of a Freedom Academy would in no way be engaged in investigating the communist conspiracy. In the words of Alan Grant:

“The joint committee proposed in this bill would not be engaged in investigating the Communist conspiracy within the United States, nor would it be concerned with drafting or amending security laws. That would be the business of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and the House Un-American Activities Committee. The last thing we want to do is interfere with those committees in any way or to pre-empt their jurisdiction. If the language of section 15 needs any amending to make this absolutely clear, then it should be so amended.

What the joint committee would do is to make continuing studies of the work of the Commission and the Academy to see that the intent of Congress is carried out and that an intensive, practical effort is made to develop counteraction and to train relevant personnel. The most important reason for the joint committee is to increase public confidence in the Commission and the Academy. We are aware of the reluctance of the House and Senate leadership to establish further joint committees. We believe an exception is indicated here” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

It would be fatal, as the Justice Department had argued to have the functions of the academy handled by existing departments and agencies:

“Second, the Justice Department, in a letter to the House committee which has the companion bill, suggests that all the functions of the Commission and Academy can be handled by existing departments and agencies and with less confusion and overlapping. This would be fatal.

It is already very late. We must develop counteraction on a crash
program basis. To do this we must assemble at the Academy persons with a wide diversity of knowledge and talents, who

have been relieved of other responsibilities and can work full time on this problem. This is not something which can be scattered among the different departments and agencies, to be worked on piecemeal by different technicians and desk-level people whenever the day-to-day problems ease up” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

The State Department had admitted that it was a serious error to compartmentalizing its planning and direction of counter-activities to Soviet political warfare:

“In counteraction, every part affects and influences every other part. The State Department has admitted, in the already mentioned hearings before Congressman Rooney’s subcommittee, that it has made a serious error in compartmentalizing its planning and direction of counter-activities to Soviet political and economic warfare. A far greater error will be committed, if we try to divide up the development function into neat little watertight packages to be farmed out to different agencies. This area cries out for an operational science which can closely intermesh the whole range of private and governmental counteraction. This can best be done by a single organization able to consider all aspects of this infinitely complex and sophisticated problem.

Furthermore, no one, to our knowledge, has drafted or is intending to draft legislation to give these other departments and agencies the necessary authority and funds. The fact that these agencies have not sought such authority indicates they are not “hot” to undertake this challenging added burden. Rather, they appear to be fully engrossed with the day-to-day problems, and their whole setup is unsuited for either the development or training functions.

The Orlando committee has worked long and hard on the present proposal at a considerable sacrifice to business and professional careers. Certainly, the present legislation is not perfect but we are getting a little tired of nit pickers who have no counterproposals. This is war. There is no time to wait for the perfect bill. Let’s get on to the job. The bill can be amended at later sessions” (Freedom Commission and Freedom Academy Hearing, June 17, 1959, pp. 10-23).

In 1960 the bill was passed by the Senate but it bogged down in the House. New bills were introduced in 1961 and 1964. Opinion polls showed that the American people supported the Freedom Academy bill 4 to 1.

Finally the last bill was defeated in congress in 1964, which ended the attempts to create this political warfare training academy.

The Freedom Studies Center

As the efforts to create a Freedom Academy were resisted in Congress and by the Department of State a privately funded academy was inaugurated. The initiative was taken by the American Security Council and the Institute of American Strategy, both in Chicago and founded in the 1950s. It resulted in the foundation of the Freedom Studies Center established in Boston, Culpeper County, Virginia, with John M. Fisher as Director. Among the initial international cooperating agencies of the center was the Free Asia Committee in Scandinavia of which the author of this political memoir was chairman (Freedom Studies Center booklet, no publication year) For a detailed history of the Freedom Studies Center, American Security Council and the American Security Council Foundation see John M. Fisher, “History Milestones: American Security Council and American Security Council Foundation” (2005) on the foundation’s webpage.

The dedication was held in Boston, Virginia, on September 25, 1966. It took place after the first seminar for Congressional Aides on September 21-24. Some of the lectures were related to psycho-political warfare and the American response, which was one of the speakers, Arthur Meyerhoff defined as “America’s unused weapons in the Cold War. (September 22, 1966: Course Orientation by John M. Fisher and Dr. James D. Atkinson; Perspectives on the Cold War by Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Pulitzer Prize Winning Foreign Correspondent; The Response of American Constitutionalism to the Communist Challenge by Professor William Yandell Elliott, Harvard University; Free World Alliance Systems: Successes and Failures by Professor Eleanor Dulles, Georgetown University; September 23, Psychopolitical-Warfare: Continuity or Change of the Soviet Pattern? By Dr. Victor A. Fediay, the Library of Congress; Chinese Communist Conflict Management, Walter Judd, M.D., former Member of Congress; America’s Unused Weapons in the Cold War by Arthur Meyerhoff, President of Arthur Meyerhoff Associates Inc.; Dinner Discussion, Soviet Disinformation Operations by Allen Dulles; September 24, Soviet Trade: Peaceful Competition or Weapon of Political Warfare?, Joseph Gwyer of the Library of Congress; Competition or Cold War at Sea?, James J. Martin, Vice-President, National Maritime Union of America, AFL-CIO; Soviet Propaganda with Special Reference to Peace and Disarmament Themes, Professor Frederick C. Barghoorn, Yale University; Technological Competition: A Net Evaluation by Colonel Raymond Sleeper, USAF; Patterns of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency by Brigadier General Edwin Black, Director, Western Hemisphere Region, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense;

A telegram was sent from President Lyndon B. Johnson stating:

“The will to resist aggression is strengthened by our understanding of the alternative to turning back a foe who would deny man’s freedom. That understanding grows through education. It is a responsibility which public and private institutions must share. I commend your commitment to this great and urgent work of defending freedom and promote peace. You have my every wish for success” (Press release by the Freedom Studies Center on September 25, 1966).

Director J. Edgar Hoover of the Federal Bureau of Investigation also commended the establishment of the Freedom Studies Center:

“Americans need today to know about the [communist] enemy: who he is, how he operates, what he intends to do with their country. The Freedom Studies Center, by pointing out the evils of the enemy and encouraging our citizens to know more about the national heritage, will render a great service to our country. Only by an informed citizenry, conscious of its responsibilities in this giant ideological battle, can we hope to keep alive the flame of freedom” (Press release by the Freedom Studies Center on September 25, 1966).

For the use by the center the Institute for American Strategy acquired the publication right to the book Red Interpreter: The Lexicon of Communist Semantic Warfare (ed. By Erik J. Vesely). It had been published in a first edition in 1955 and further editions were prepared by Dr. Vesely.

In 1969 the center reported that it was prepared to operate as a small private freedom academy that year if sufficient financial support was available. During that year one seminar per month was planned. It would feature a special guest lecturer and for the first one it was to be General William C. Westmoreland, then Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

In September of 1969 the first class of thirty private freedom academy students toward acquiring a Master’s Degree in International Politics would start. The work, which had been a long-range objective, also started on a Cold War Situation Room where conflicts could be seen in perspective. At that time the financial requirements of the center were estimated at 11 million US dollars.

Situated close to Washington the center continued to offer training seminars during the 1970s. The goal was to open the academy to all segments of society in the Free World on Communist strategy and tactics and the development of programs for defending and extending the sphere of freedom in the world. A detailed curriculum was prepared by Dr. Erik J. Vesely and Professor Stefan Possony. In 1968 there were one to two meetings or seminars a month. From September 1968 the capacity was increased by nearly 50 % when an accommodation area was opened to house 35 seminar participants.

1973 the library of the American Security Council was donated to the center. A newly constructed library building was named “Sol Feinstone Library for the Survival of Freedom”. Mr. Feinstone was a well known historian, philantropist, and collector of American primary source material from the Revolutionary War and the early years of the United States. He had helped fund a number of libraries all over the country.

Alan J. Grant Jr. was on the Planning and Development Committee and the campus was planned to house a ‘civilian West Point’ (comparable to the Naval Academy in Annapolis and the military academy at West Point) but the full plan was never implemented.

A 1976 Seminar of the Freedom Studies Center

An important national security seminar was held in 1976 with Lt. General Vernon A. Walters as guest lecturer. USAF Major General George Keegan also lectured while John M. Fisher spoke about “What Can Be Done”. Among the participants were Ambassador Eldridge Durbrow, who was a director at the center and General Lyman L. Lemnitzer.

The American Freedom Academy concept during the Cold War is well worth remembering in a time when the West is again challenged. It was during decades much debated in the United States. This fascinating story began when an Orlando, Florida, grass roots group managed to attract interest, both in Congress and media, for a political warfare academy, a ‘civilian West Point’ to counteract hundreds of political warfare schools in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.
The author’s interest in this subject stems from the fact that in 1966, when a privately financed freedom academy was inaugurated, he was the chairman of the Free Asia Committee in Scandinavia, an initial cooperating agency of the Center. In my private archive I have letters exchanged on the subject and material related to the importance that the West establishing a sort of West Point for defense against communist psycho-political warfare.
The basic theory in the field would be to educate citizens on the dangers of communist ideology not only in the United States but in all non-communist countries.
In Volume 3 of his political memoirs Bertil Haggman basically tells the story of the Freedom Academy in the United States.

Bertil Haggman is a retired Swedish attorney and author. He has published 15 books and over 150 journal and magazine articles in various languages.


November 8, 2018

Washington Times on October 31, 2018, reported that the US State Department is stepping up efforts to block China from acquiring American technology in a large-scale, high-technology military buildup. Excerpts below:

Christopher Ford, assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, said the efforts are aimed at countering Beijing’s strategy of “military-civilian fusion” being directed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The fusion process moves technology acquired abroad ostensibly for civilian purposes to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Ford said in a speech at the US Naval Academy at the end of October..

Mr. Ford said his bureau at the State Department has joined with Los Alamos National Laboratory since July 2018 in a program aimed at “putting up barriers to the proliferation of sensitive technologies to the People’s Republic of China — technologies which Beijing has been using to build up its military capabilities in support of its ambitious ‘ChinaDream’ of ‘national rejuvenation’ to regain China’s position as a world leader in a range of fields, including military might.”

In preparing to defeat the United States in a military conflict, “China engaged in a massive [science and technology] development effort, focused upon getting the high-technology weapons that it was assumed would shape the nature of warfare in the 21st century,” Mr. Ford said.

Since last year, the Chinese military began to prepare for war using military-based artificial intelligence weapons and war-fighting concepts.

In doing so, the Chinese are seeking to match a similar U.S. military strategy of employing advanced war-fighting concepts called the “Third Offset” — also known as the most recent iteration of the revolution in military affairs, or RMA.

“Simply put, China aims to lead the next RMA and to reap the geopolitical benefits accordingly, by exploiting cutting-edge civilian technology,” Mr. Ford said. “This is the CCP’s blueprint for China’s global ‘return’ to military pre-eminence.”

Other targets of Chinese technology acquisition include nuclear technology, aerospace and aviation know-how, semiconductors, cloud computing, robotics, and big data processing technology.

Semiconductors, cloud computing and big data are needed for the artificial intelligence weapons, while AI will be applied to the other areas.

China also is considering building floating nuclear power plants in the South China Sea, where U.S. and Chinese naval forces have been confronting each other over disputed islands.

The U.S. government recently halted nuclear cooperation with China on advanced modular reactors and other designs that could boost China’s military.

Comment: China’s model of a Communist Party-run state is to combine a sociopolitical operating system of state capitalism with a Leninist party organization. The goal is to replace democratic capitalism around the world.

It is presently clear that Beijing wants to displace U.S. power and influence. It wants to reclaim the central geopolitical status it historically had but it believes was taken from China by so called ”Western imperialism”.

To achieve that goal, foreign technology acquisition has been a main feature of the military modernization since the 1980s.

China is following the advise of Sun Tzu to win wars without putting boots on the ground at all. A leading strategy is to integrate artificial intelligence into military systems.


October 29, 2018

The New York Journal of Books has published a review by American geopolitician Francis P. Sempa of Robert D. Kaplan’s 2018 book ”The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century”. Excerpts below:

Modern classical geopolitical thought dates from the late 19th century when the world, in the words of British geographer Halford Mackinder, became a “closed political system.” The territorial discoveries of the “Columbian epoch,” he noted, were complete.

Classical geopolitics includes the works of Mackinder, the American naval strategist and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan, the Swedish political scientist Rudolf Kjellen, the British scholar James Fairgrieve…and the Dutch-American international relations scholar Nicholas Spykman.

Robert D. Kaplan, in a series of books and articles—most notably, ”Monsoon”, ”Asia’s Cauldron”, and ”The Revenge of Geography”—has compellingly applied and updated classical geopolitics to current international relations. His latest book, ”The Return of Marco Polo’s World”, is a collection of articles written between 2001 and the present that combines elegant writing with a masterful grasp of global geopolitical realities.

What Kaplan calls the end of the “Long European War of 1914–1989” resulted in the dissolution of Europe as a geopolitical region and its unification with the “supercontinent” of Eurasia. Moreover, the interaction of technology, geopolitics, and globalization has brought to fruition Mackinder’s concept of the “World-Island”—the combined Eurasian-African landmass. “Who controls the World-Island,” Mackinder warned, “commands the world.”

Kaplan views China’s Silk Road policy toward Central Asia and Europe, and its development of a maritime network involving the Pacific Rim, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East (the land and maritime routes that Marco Polo traveled in the 13th century) as an effort to attain political primacy on the World-Island. Twenty-first century geopolitics will be defined by how other Eurasian powers and the United States respond to China’s moves.

During the “Long European War,” U.S. national security policy sought to prevent the political consolidation of the key power centers of Eurasia by a hostile power or coalition of powers. This in essence was the geopolitics underlying the First World War, Second World War, and the Cold War.

That same U.S. geopolitical imperative applies to the 21st century. China potentially replaces Imperial and Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Her pressure on Central Asia and the spread of her maritime influence in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean threatens to diminish U.S. predominance in the coastal regions of Eurasia—what Spykman called the Eurasian Rimland.

Kaplan believes that American security can be maintained by investing in sea and air power to ensure U.S. command of the sea in the Eastern Hemisphere. “Here,” Kaplan writes, “is where the ideas of Alfred Thayer Mahan meet those of Halford Mackinder.”

He praises the foreign policy realism of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, and the scholarly realism of Hans Morgenthau, Henry Kissinger, Samuel Huntington, and John Mearsheimer.

Realists understand, notes Kaplan, that in an anarchic world of states order precedes freedom and interests trump values. Utopianism can be dangerous and costly. History is not linear. Progress is not inevitable. Nations, as Thucydides noted long ago, still act based on fear, honor, and interests.

Comment: To understand the basics of classical geopolitcs a politician just has to look at a world map and the central mega-continent on that map (from the Channel in the West to the Pacific Ocean in the East, from the Arctic in the north to the southern tip of India in the south). It is one land surrounded by one Great Ocean. Outside this World Island of Halford Mackinder are the islands of Great Britain, Japan and three island continents: North America, South America and Australia.

As in the period of circa 1890 to 1989 focus must again be on the great mega-continent after a unipolar moment when the United States was the sole superpower. Great power conflict is once more back on the agenda. Among the present challenges of the West is the possibility of a Russian-Chinese condominium that must be prevented. One of the main strategies of the West must thus be to reach out to the smaller states in Central Asia. Russia must not be allowed to keep that part of the World Island as a ”sphere of influence”. Even if Russia presently most likely is in a continuing decline it is still one of the world’s largest nuclear powers on par with the United States. There are signs that also the West is in decline. A forward strategy to prevent the further rise of the three empires of China, Russia, and Iran is thus necessary. The possibility that the global North is in decline makes it necessary to include this matter in grand strategy planning in the West.

One or more powers must not control the World Island. This dictum of Mackinder in 1904 stands as a continuing, lasting warning for the West.


October 25, 2018

Washington Times on October 10, 2018 reported on China plans to use artificial intelligence warfare. Excerpts below:

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley warned recently that China is rapidly developing artificial intelligence (AI) for use in warfighting capabilities.

“China is aggressively pursuing a 2025 strategy where they want to be the main driver of AI, not only for their economic but for their industrial transformation,” Gen. Ashley told a conference on Oct. 8.

“The character of war is constantly changing, and we see AI as we see some of these disruptive technologies that continue to change the character of war — the complexity and the speed of human interaction.

China also is using AI in a three-phase project of “human performance enhancement,” he said.

[There is] a move into artificial intelligence with neural networks, and then the next step — the integration of human and machines,” Gen. Ashley said.

China is working to integrate AI into its next-generation jet fighter with the aim of achieving air superiority. Other AI-powered weapons will include large formations of unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles, space combat systems and armored vehicles.

China also is developing AI-backed information warfare capabilities that combine influence operations with cyberattacks for use in future conflicts.

Comment: Since 1998 the West is well aware of how China plans to act in case of a conflict. It would according to the authors of a book on the subject by, two Chinese colonels be impossible to win against the United States with conventional warfare. Instead China would use financial warfare, drug warfare, psyvhological and media warfare, resource warfare and ecological warfare, which are some of unconventional methods suggested in the book.

China now, says Lt. General Ashley, is moving into the field of artificial intelligence for its information warfare capabilities. In Sun Tzu’s ”The Art of War” deception is the most frequently discussed theme. China seems prepared to use artificial intelligence in the field of deception.


October 23, 2018

Journal ”American Conservative” recently reviewed the 2018 book by prominent realist, Professor John J. Mearsheimer, ”The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities”, Yale University Press, 328 pages. Excerpts below:

…Mearsheimer does indeed revel in the uproars he causes (and he certainly appears to), he’s about to get a lot of enjoyment. His latest book, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities, is a dagger pointed at the heart of America’s governing philosophy, progressive liberalism. His central thesis is that this philosophy has distorted U.S. foreign policy since America’s post-Cold War emergence as the world’s only superpower. The core of the problem, writes Mearsheimer, was America’s post-Cold War resolve to remake the world in its own image. The predictable result has been chaos, bloodshed, an intractable refugee crisis besetting the Middle East and Europe, increased tensions among major powers, curtailment of civil liberties at home, and generally an “abysmal record of failure.”

[There has been] a rare historical development—the emergence of America as a unipolar power. The country today enjoys the luxury of not having a single adversary capable of challenging its existence or global standing. Thus it can afford to indulge its relentless impulse to spread its own governing philosophy throughout the globe. But in the more normal circumstances of a multipolar world or particularly in a bipolar world, there would be no such luxury.

What’s new in The Great Delusion is Mearsheimer’s focus on nationalism and liberalism, as well as their relationship with realism. Exploring the three “isms” in tandem, he writes, led him to conclude that “this trichotomy provided an ideal template for explaining the failure of U.S. foreign policy since 1989.” Mearsheimer is known for his spare, muscular, unemotional prose, as well as his ability to marshal sturdy arguments that are intricately intertwined. In this book, true to form, he constructs a fortress of syllogistic argumentation.

There’s a paradox in his trichotomy: while progressive liberalism dominates American politics, including the country’s foreign policy, realism and nationalism ultimately are more powerful ideas. Mearsheimer notes, for example, that while liberalism and nationalism can coexist in any polity, “when they clash, nationalism almost always wins.” He adds that “liberalism is also no match for realism.”

Mearsheimer posits what he calls “two simple assumptions” about human nature. The first is that man’s ability to reason is limited, particularly when it comes to mastering the fundamental questions of existence. Enlightenment thinkers heralded man’s ability to reason to ultimate answers as humans worked their way toward their own perfectibility. This is the so-called Idea of Progress, so powerful in Western thought following the 18th century era of the French philosophes. Mearsheimer rejects it. “Reason does not rule the world,” he writes, adding that “people who believe their critical faculties can help them find moral truth are deluding themselves.”

The second assumption, related to the first, is that “we are social animals at our core.” Given that there can be no reasoning to core principles, there will always be disagreements on these fundamental and often emotional matters. That inevitably raises prospects for violence. For protection, mankind must divide itself into a great number of social groups, and the most fundamental of all human groups is the nation. “With the possible exception of the family,” writes Mearsheimer, “allegiance to the nation usually overrides all other forms of an individual’s identity.”

And this leads to Mearsheimer’s view of the essence of social groups—and, most particularly, of nations. He identifies six fundamental features of nationhood:

1) a powerful sense of oneness and solidarity
2) a distinct culture, including such things as language, rituals, codes, music, as well as religion, basic political and social values, and a distinct understanding of history
3) a sense of superiority leading to national pride
4) a deep sense of its own history, which often leads to myths that supersede historical fact
5) sacred territory and a perceived imperative to protect lands believed to be a hallowed homeland
6) and a deep sense of sovereignty and a resolve to protect national decision-making from outside forces

These features are found in all nation-states, and nation-states are where nearly all peoples of the world live. Hence these human impulses cannot be ignored or circumvented. And yet liberalism (here and hereafter, in using the term we’re talking about the country’s prevailing progressive liberalism) has declared war on many of these fundamental features of nationalism, emanating in large measure from human nature.

This universalist ideology has always been there, lurking in the liberal consciousness. Until recently it was seen most starkly in the humanitarian interventionism of Woodrow Wilson—hence the universally understood term “Wilsonism.” One of his biographers, August Heckscher, notes that he harbored a deep sense of national “honor” that he equated with America’s commitment to the rights of all peoples everywhere. Heckscher writes that “it was a vague concept…not necessarily identified with the basic interest of the [American] people.” Indeed, while Wilson took delight in the idea of deploying American power in behalf of humanity, the idea of using it in behalf of U.S. interests left him cold.

The universalist ideology presents a powerful allure, often leading to feelings among foreign policy liberals, per Wilson, that they are engaging in a monumental struggle of good and evil.

The result is that America has waged seven wars since the Cold War ended and has been at war continuously since the month after 9/11.

Can America pull its foreign policy away from liberalism and reclaim a realism-based approach? An end to today’s unipolar world would quickly upend liberal hegemony. But the only likely prospect for that would be the threat of a rising China, which of course would have the downside of necessitating a dangerous confrontation with that country. If China were to falter economically and thus be forced to abandon its pursuit of Asian hegemony, argues Mearsheimer, there would be little prospect that America would embrace realism. The foreign policy establishment is too wedded to hegemony and too entrenched at the pinnacle of foreign policymaking.

Mearsheimer does believe Donald Trump’s 2016 election demonstrated that liberal hegemony is “vulnerable.”

Although Mearsheimer doesn’t discuss the American elites in detail, he sprinkles into his argument several references to elite and establishment thinking as often being distinct from broader public impulses and sensibilities. “[I]t is important to note,” he writes, “that liberal hegemony is largely an elite-driven policy.” In another passage he notes that America’s foreign policy elites tend to be “cosmopolitan,” which isn’t to say, he adds, that most of them are like Samuel Huntington’s caricature of those Davos people “who have little need for national loyalty” and see “national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing.” But, adds Mearsheimer, “some are not far off.”

The reviewer is Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C. journalist and publishing executive, and a writer-at-large for The American Conservative.

Comment: Mearsheimer believes there is good reason to think that with the rise of China and the res¬urrection of Russian power great power politics will be back on the table. This will force the United States to concentrate foreign policy on the two great power challengers: China and Russia.

In classical geopolitics it means that the United States would have to go back to what has been it’s foreign policy since the 1890s. Halford Mackinder’s heartland and Nicholas Spykman’s rimland are both based on the ”world island”, that is Eurasia. The basis of the heartland-rimland theories is that world domination would reward the possessor of these areas. While the main challenger, China, is based in the rimland Russia controls the heartland.

Another challenger in the rimland is Iran, an old foe of the West. The present Iranian regime seeks domination of the Middle East. In reality the United States and all of the West are facing the challenge of three Eurasia-based empires: China, Russia, and Iran. There is good reason for the rest of the West (Canada, the European Union and Australia) to join the United States in meeting the present challenges in Eurasia.

Mearsheimer has earlier expressed the view that containment is the United States’ only way to prevent China from achieving regional hegemony. This means that there needs to be “a balancing coalition” with China’s neighbors, which would require the United States’ active coordination and military backing.

Containment in the view of Mearsheimer will howevere not prevent current tensions between the United States and China from escalating into a direct conflict.


October 22, 2018

Washington Times on October 17, 2018, reported on the new US Army manual on information operations. Excerpts below:

According a new manual, information operations are defined as the use during military operations of “information-related capabilities in concert with other lines of operation to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp the decision-making of adversaries and potential adversaries while protecting our own.”

Weapons include military information support and deception activities, public affairs work, electronic warfare and cyberoperations.

Unlike Russian and Chinese information warfare, the Army manual indicates that U.S. information operations will be carried out under professional military rules and legal constraints and will be conducted “ethically.”

U.S. military information operations have been hamstrung by legal restrictions, according to military officials at the Central Command.

The Army plans to use military deception — what it calls “MILDEC” — to deliberately mislead enemy decision-makers, whether military, paramilitary or terrorist leaders.

“The intent of MILDEC is to feed information that deliberately misleads the enemy decision-makers as to friendly military capabilities, intentions and operations and lead the enemy to take actions (or inactions) that contribute to accomplishment of the friendly mission,” the manual says.

Deception can be a decisive tool in altering enemy actions in response to U.S. military operations, the manual says.

Tactical deception is used by commanders in planning operations that will cause enemies to act or react in desired ways by masking U.S. vulnerabilities or enhancing U.S. defenses.

Counterdeception is used to prevent human and automated decision-makers from being affected by enemy deception.

The Army manual identifies two secret types of information operations. The first is called “integrated joint special technical operations” — IJSTO — that use special technical capabilities to “gain a decisive advantage over an enemy or adversary.”

A second secret category is special access programs, or SAPs, that include sensitive acquisition, intelligence or operations that can be used in information warfare operations.

Chinese use of information warfare was outlined in a military publication titled “Unrestricted Warfare” that called for using all means necessary for winning.

Russian information warfare was outlined by Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov in his 2013 book, “The Value of Science Is in Foresight.” The doctrine calls for extending traditional warfare to peacetime information warfare operations such as the campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Comment: The new US Army manual for information warfare is important. Modern warfare to a growing extent depends heavily on deception, public affairs work, electronic warfare and cyberoperations. These aspects have during the latest two decades not been given the attention needed in the United States.

The science of information warfare has in contrast been widely recognized in China and Russia. In ”The Art of Warfare” Sun Tzu stated that all warfare is deception. In a lengthy article (”Policy Review”, Hoover Institution) already in 2003 Tony Corn (”Clausewitz in Wonderland”) suggested that Carl von Clausewitz was outdated. He argued that as early as 1999 Clausewitzians should have understood that the military revolution of today is in irregular warfare and not in conventional warfare. One form of irregular warfare today is in what could be termed netwar or cyberwar. Clausewitz regarded irregular warfare as a mere ”support activity” of conventional warfare. It was Corn’s opinion that today Sun Tzu has much more to say on strategy than the 19th century Prussian general.

Sun Tzu emphasizes that mastering strategic warfare is a matter of survival for states. This view was shaped by the constant warfare during the Spring and Autumn period in China. Sun Tzu’s classical work is mainly about how to win decisive victories over enemies with deception, secret agents, and well-timed uses of overwhelming force. He advocates using force sparingly.

Sun Tzu’s aphorisms are highly applicable to the modern world. Former US Naval War College Professor Michael Handel has noted that the grand strategy approach of the Chinese general to warfare is more relevant today then Clausewitz’s tactical approach to warfare. Considering the costs of modern protracted wars undertaken with poor or incomplete intelligence, Sun Tzu’s emphasis on knowledge, caution, diplomacy, and strategic patience and efficacy in the use of force are still highly relevant.


October 18, 2018

National Interest in its November/December 2018 issue has an interesting article on bipolar world systems by Norwegian Professor Oystein Tunsjoe at the Defense University College, Norway based on his book ”The Return of Bipolarity in World Politics: China, the United States and Geostructural Realism” (2018). Excerpts below:

Xi Jinping is determined to take China into a new era that sets his country and the United States apart from other power…

…the United States and China are not rivals in a multipolar system. International politics has entered a new era in which the United States and China are the two lone superpowers in a bipolar system. China has risen to top-ranking status, and the both nations are much more powerful than any third state.

[It]resembles the stability that characterized the U.S.-Soviet Union superpower rivalry in the second half of the twentieth century.

With the return of bipolarity, we might expect another period of what historian John Lewis Gaddis termed “the long peace” of the previous bipolar system between the United States and Soviet Union…

While it is important whether the international system is bipolar or has some other structure, stability is heavily affected by geopolitics and how geography shapes the two superpowers and their relationship. Since the previous U.S.-Soviet bipolar system and the new U.S.-China bipolar system are concentrated on two different geographic regions, systemic effects differ. The likelihood of limited war and instability is higher in a new U.S.-China bipolar system in the twenty-first century compared to the old U.S.-Soviet Union bipolar system of the twentieth.

Two factors suggest that that the international system has returned to bipolarity. First, the power gap between the United States and China has narrowed considerably during the last two decades. China’s nominal GDP currently accounts for about 65 percent of that of the United States’ own GDP. This contrasts sharply with the early 1990s, when the U.S. nominal GDP was about fifteen times larger than China’s. Currently, U.S. military spending is about two to three times that of China’s. This differs from the year 2000, when the U.S. defense budget was more than ten times that of China’s, not to mention the early 1990s, when U.S. defense expenditure was more than twenty times higher. While China has not obtained power parity with the United States, the relative increase in China’s combined power places it in the top ranking with the United States, even if only barely. Similarly, the Soviet Union was never as powerful as the United States, but it was still regarded as a superpower and a pole in the old bipolar system.

Second, no other states match China’s power in the aggregate, and the top two states are now much more powerful than any third state. In 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund, China’s nominal GDP was about ten times larger than Russia’s and roughly five times larger than India’s. The Chinese economy is almost three times as large as Japan’s, more than three times as large as Germany’s, and more than four times as large as France’s and Great Britain’s. It is wrong to argue that the international system is multipolar when Russia has about one-tenth and India has about one-fifth of China’s nominal GDP while China has reached more than three-fifths of the U.S. nominal GDP.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated in 2017 that China’s and Russia’s defense spending amounted to $228 billion and $55 billion respectively. China’s defense budget is roughly four times India’s, Great Britain’s and France’s and almost six times larger than Germany’s and Japan’s, also estimated by SIPRI. The power gap between China and the power next in rank has become so large as to warrant the notion of a new bipolar system.

The features of the previous bipolar system were stability, strong balancing, and strong competition and rivalry at the periphery. The contemporary bipolar system is characterized by instability, moderate balancing, and limited competition and rivalry at the periphery. A bipolar system concentrated on maritime East Asia in the twenty-first century is likely to be more unstable and prone to limited war than the bipolar system concentrated on continental Europe was in the twentieth century. Instability at the power center in East Asia is likely to foster more stability at the periphery than during the previous bipolar era since the superpowers are more likely to be preoccupied with rivalry in maritime East Asia and less likely to be involved in proxy wars in other regions. The new bipolar system is not destined for another “long peace.” While nothing is preordained in world politics, and the new structural conditions can be resisted, they are likely to push the United States and China toward a limited war for the control and access to sea-lanes in maritime East Asia.

Comment: Tunsjoe has presented a strong case for an existing bipolar system since about 20 years after the end of the Cold War. But the US-Soviet confrontation also involved China. In the same way Russia is also involved in the new bipolar system. The latest developments in China mean that the United States will have to focus on China. It is reasonable that this includes defense against China’s economic aggression. Europe and Australia should also take defensive measures against the Chinese use of the present trade system, which is unfair.

All classical geopoliticians (Mahan, Mackinder and Spykman) warned that China’s geographical position, resources, immense population, and access to the sea made her potentially a formidable power on the Eurasian landmass. They argued that American and Western national security depended on the political pluralism of Eurasia. China is the leading challenger to this Eurasian pluralism but there are two other challengers in Eurasia – Russia, the former heartland, and Iran.

The Eurasian landmass or “great continent,” contains most of the world’s people and resources. The “pivot state” or “heartland” of Eurasia was Russia according to Mackinder in 1904. Since the fall of the Soviet Union Russia, the heartland empire, is no longer the main challenger to the West. Surrounding the heartland is a vast crescent-shaped region or coastland, which included Western Europe, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, India, China, and the continental nations of the Far East, all of which was accessible to sea power.

Spykman warned that China would one day be a “continental power of huge dimensions,” and her size, geographic position, natural resources and population would force the United States into an alliance with Japan to preserve the Asian balance of power. The American geopolitician was correct in his view on the future rise of China.

In a bipolar system the United States has a number of Asian allies. Of those Japan is the most important in the North Pacific and Australia in the South Pacific.


October 15, 2018

Washington Times on October 10, 2018, reported on warnings by top security officials in the United States that China, not Russia, presents ”the broadest most complicated, most long term counterintelligence threat” to America. Excerpts below:

In separate letters, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, South Dakota Republican, and Sens. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, questioned top executives at Super Micro Computer, Apple and Amazon over reports that Chinese spies siphoned information from the U.S. tech giants and possibly others via tiny chips inserted on server circuit boards made by Super Micro.

The Chinese government and the firms in question have soundly rejected the claim, which first appeared in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek report…

“If this news report is accurate,” Mr. Rubio and Mr. Blumenthal wrote, “the potential infiltration of Chinese back doors could provide a foothold for adversaries and competitors to engage in commercial espionage and launch destructive cyber attacks.”

The backdoor hacking scandal was expanding even as Justice Department officials were announcing charges against a Chinese government operative who they said tried to steal secrets from U.S. aviation and aerospace companies, including GE Aviation.

Yanjun Xu, a senior officer with the Ministry of State Security, is accused of luring U.S. executives to China in order to steal their company’s technology, officials said at a press conference…Mr. Xu was arrested in Belgium in April and returned to the United States…

On Capitol Hill, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen offered their own warnings to the Senate Homeland Security committee about the long-term threat posed by China’s economic and military rise.

“Russia is in many ways fighting to stay relevant after the fall of the Soviet Union,” Mr. Wray said. “They’re fighting today’s fight. China’s is fighting tomorrow’s fight.”

Committee members grilled the two top security officials on President Trump’s accusation last month that China is trying to meddle in the upcoming congressional midterm elections. Mr. Trump said Republican voters were being targeted because of his aggressive trade policies targeting Beijing.

Ms. Nielsen said China was “exerting unprecedented effort to influence American opinion,”…

Mr. Rubio unveiled the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s (CECC) annual report on human rights in China — a 300-page document that tracks what it calls a “downward trajectory” in human rights since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

The CECC was created in 2000 and has long been critical of China’s economic, security and rights policies.

Comment: These warnings underline how important the American policies are in defending against China’s economic aggression. China seeks to supplant the U.S. as the world’s pre-eminent geopolitical power.

The longstanding assumption that America’s China policy of integration is good has been a problem since 2012, when Xi took power. During 2012 to 2016 the regime in Beijing was allowed to strengthen its position unopposed.

It is not only the question of Chinese economic aggression but also the rise of China as a more globally oriented military power.

The belief that China’s military challenge to the U.S. was regional in nature is clearly dangerous. Beijing now is seeking the capabilities that will allow it to project its own military power well outside its regional neighborhood.
China is however not the only challenger to the West in Eurasia. Two other empires, Russia and Iran, are also challengers. There seems presently no signs that these three empires are coordinating their efforts more in detail. China, for example, is exerting growing control in Siberia, which might worry Moscow. The nearest target of China is the Pacific. In the North Pacific closer cooperation between the United States and Japan is needed to oppose Chinese attempts at growing influence among the island nation states. As to the South Pacific partners of support against China would mainly be Australia and Chile.


October 12, 2018

Newsmax TV on October 10, 2018, reported that Asia expert Gordon Chang had told the network that Mr Trump is ”knitting together a coalition” to create leverage against China. Excerpts below:

“The USMCA [United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement on trade] really is an indication that the Chinese are in trouble, because President Trump is knitting together a coalition…

“When you put that together with a handshake deal that he has with the Europeans and with the deal that eventually he’ll come to with Japan, it really means that China is isolated.

“That’s going to be a really important thing for us as we eventually — when we sit down and talk to Beijing about all of the grievances that we have. So, this is really good policy on the part of the Trump administration.”

“China right now looks increasingly fragile,” Chang told Winterble. “When their markets opened after the national week, they plummeted 4.8 percent, and that’s a real indication there’s a lack of confidence on the part of players: They don’t want to hold their stock; they don’t want to hold their own currency.

“So, President Trump has a lot of means to exert leverage…”

Comment: This is good news for all who believe it is important for the West to stand up against the rising superpower China (with North Korea) in Eurasia and the two other empires Russia and Iran.

Bad news for China was reported on October 11, 2018, by Geopolitical Futures, a leading US-based geopolitical think tank. The U.S. Treasury has presented plans to implement a review system concerning foreign investment in 27 different high-tech sectors that are critical to national security as for instance telecommunications and aviation bio-tech. Beijing thinks it will be possible to manage U.S. defensive moves against China’s trade aggression. If other major world economies start limiting Chinese investment, however, it will be a serious strike against China’s modernization plans. Other developments point to Chinese anxiety about being left out in the cold.