What does a conservative in the US most want to conserve? We would say: A commitment to liberty, the founding principle of his country. American conservatives may differ from each other on questions of religion, foreign affairs, entitlements and the economic “safety-net”, homosexual marriage and abortion, even on defense, but if they are not loyal to the Constitution and the idea of individual freedom that it enshrines, they are not true conservatives.
In Britain too, conservatives are dedicated to the defense of the traditional and hard-won liberties of the people.
In Russia, being a conservative means something different. The very opposite. What Russian conservatives want to conserve is their long and almost completely unbroken tradition of tyranny. The quarrel within their ranks would now, in post-Soviet times, be chiefly over whether they want a return to the Red Tyranny of Bolshevism, or the older tradition of Tsarist oppression, where cause for national pride may more confidently be found.
Owen Matthews, author of Stalin’s Children, writes in the Spectator (UK) about a conservative Russian military leader:
Strange times throw up strange heroes — and in Russia’s proxy war with Ukraine, none is more enigmatic than the Donetsk rebel leader Igor Girkin, better known by his nom de guerre of Igor Strelkov.
In a few short months, Strelkov has gone from being an obscure military re-enactor to the highest-profile rebel leader in eastern Ukraine. But at the same time Strelkov’s fame and outspoken criticism of Vladimir Putin for failing to sufficiently support the rebels has earned him the enmity of the Kremlin. Moreover, Strelkov’s brand of sentimental ultra-nationalism, extreme Orthodoxy and Russian Imperial nostalgia offer a frightening glimpse into one of Russia’s possible futures.
In the West, we are used to seeing Putin cast as a dangerous adventurer and nationalist. But to Strelkov, and to the millions of Russians who have come to admire him, Putin isn’t nearly nationalist enough.
Within weeks of his arrival in eastern Ukraine in May this year, apparently on his own initiative, Strelkov quickly became the highest-profile rebel leader thanks to his discipline and military bearing. A veteran of wars in Bosnia, Transnistria and Chechnya, Strelkov is a reserve colonel in the Russian army and a former (and possibly current) officer in Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. With his clipped moustache, pressed fatigues and careful charm, Strelkov styles himself on a pre–revolutionary Tsarist officer. In May he mustered a 2,000-strong local defence force in Slavyansk, banned his troops from swearing and ordered two of his own men to be summarily executed for looting.
He wrote a manifesto calling his troops “an Orthodox army who are proud that we serve not the golden calf but our Lord Jesus Christ” and declared that “swearing is blasphemy, and a Russian warrior cannot use the language of the enemy. It demeans us spiritually, and will lead the army to defeat”.
Russian state television built Strelkov up as a hero. The nationalist writer Egor Prosvirnin praised him as the “Russian God of War” who “rinks the blood of foreign mercenaries to the last drop, and then asks for more”. …
And then, in mid-August, Strelkov mysteriously resigned his post as “defence minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic — along with two other Russian citizens who had been the civilian heads of the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. All three rebel leaders were replaced by Ukrainian citizens.
The most obvious explanation for the reshuffle is that Moscow is preparing a negotiated settlement where the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine — or Novo-Rossiya, “New Russia”, in Russian nationalist parlance — will be given some degree of autonomy within Ukraine. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — from young soldiers’ Instagram selfies tagged to locations inside Ukraine to the Russian regular soldiers taken prisoners of war on Monday by Kiev’s troops — Moscow has also continued to insist that it is not a combatant in Ukraine. Clearly, having Russian citizens at the helm of supposedly autonomous rebel republics and their armed forces was a diplomatic inconvenience to the Kremlin which needed to be fixed — and pressure was put on Strelkov and his cronies to quit.
But there’s another, deeper meaning to Strelkov’s fall from favour. Though he’s often portrayed as a stooge of Moscow, Strelkov has in fact been consistently critical of the Kremlin’s failure to act decisively to annex eastern Ukraine as it annexed Crimea in spring. “Having taken Crimea, Putin began a revolution from the top,” Strelkov wrote in June. “But if we do not support [this revolution] now, its failure will sweep aside both him and the country.”
Strelkov’s close associate Igor Ivanov, the head of the rebel army’s political department, has also furiously denounced the “Chekist-oligarchic regime” of Vladimir Putin and has also predicted that Putin will soon fall, leaving only the army and the church to save Russia from chaos.
This mix of militarism, religion and a mystical faith in Holy Russia’s imperial destiny to rule over lesser nations has deep roots. Ivanov was until recently head of the Russian All-Military Union, or ROVS, an organisation originally founded by the White Russian General Baron Pyotr Wrangel in 1924 after the victory of the Bolsheviks in the civil war. Its guiding motive was to preserve the Tsarist ideals of God, Tsar and Fatherland. For much of the 20th century, ROVS was the preserve of elderly emigré fantasists — before a new generation of post-Soviet nationalists like Ivanov breathed new life into the organisation as a home for Russian ultra-nationalists who hate Putin’s brand of crony capitalism.
A similar outfit is the Narodny Sobor, or People’s Assembly, which describes itself as an “Orthodox-Patriotic organisation devoted to fighting ‘liberasts’ and western values, to promoting Orthodoxy, and to preserving the traditional family”, according to a recent study by Professor Paul Robinson of the University of Ottawa. In Russia, the Narodny Sobor has, along with the Russian Orthodox church, successfully campaigned for a tsunami of conservative legislation to be passed by the Duma, from banning swearing on television and in films to prohibiting the spreading of “homosexual propaganda”. The head of the Narodny Sobor’s Ukrainian branch is Igor Druz — a senior political advisor to Strelkov who has denounced the Kiev government as “pederasts and drug addicts”.
On the face of it, Strelkov and his ilk and Putin should be on the same side. They share a nostalgia for a lost Russian greatness — indeed Strelkov has a degree in history and was until recently an enthusiastic military re-enactor, playing White Guard and second world war officers. And this year, in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, Putin has abandoned years of hard-edged pragmatism and economic prudence and moved towards the kind of mystical, Orthodox nationalism so beloved of the ROVS and Narodny Sobor crowd.
Yet as Putin prepares to sign off on some kind of compromise peace deal with the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, there will be millions of Russians brainwashed by months of state television’s patriotic propaganda who will agree with Strelkov that Moscow is selling the rebels down the river.
Strelkov himself has little chance of becoming a serious opposition figure to Putin; he is too stiff and too weird for public politics. But Putin’s main challenger, when he comes, will be someone of Strelkov’s stamp.
We tend to think of Vladimir Putin as being most politically vulnerable from the left — from the liberal, western-orientated professionals who came out in their hundreds of thousands on the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg three years ago to protest at Putin’s third term. But in truth Putin’s real vulnerability is from the right — from the racist football fans who rioted unchecked through central Moscow in 2010; from prophets of a Russian-led Eurasian empire such as Alexander Dugin, who was in the radical nationalist opposition to Putin before falling temporarily into step with the Kremlin in the wake of the Crimea campaign; and from militaristic ultra-conservatives on the Russian religious right.
So for the countries of Eastern Europe emancipated from Russian servitude barely a quarter of a century ago, there is not only the growing threat of re-subjugation, but the probability that it will be applied according to the whims of a madman, a religious fanatic living out fantasies of Tsardom and limitless imperial expansion by military means.
Believe it! There really is such a thing – and has been for nigh on 20 years – called the Commission on Global Governance. It is of course a bureau within the headquarters of evil, the United Nations.
This is from Canada Free Press, by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, an authority on the UN’s baleful Agenda 21:
The UN Commission on Global Governance reported in 1995, “The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.” (United Nations, Our Global Neighborhood, The Commission on Global Governance, 1995, Oxford University Press).
It seems that our national sovereignty is yielding quite fast on the southern border without Congressional input, under the guise of a socially engineered humanitarian crisis. They could not erase national sovereignty fast enough in the name of “environmental cooperation”.
The progressives’ social engineering projects implemented around the world are not limited to just destroying national sovereignty, language, and cultural identity. Those who grew up under communism are familiar with the Soviet style, mass movement of entire villages to high density urban areas.
Social engineers had decided that land was better used in co-operative farms owned by the communist government. Private homes located on farm land were bulldozed and people were moved into densely populated cities with grey concrete apartments of 400-500 square feet, mushrooming practically overnight. They could not build them fast enough. Often it necessitated moving two families into a 600 square feet apartment, sharing the kitchen and the bathroom. …
In this country, city planners who oppose urban sprawl and begrudge the average 2,300 square foot homes as environmental destroyers of the planet, have designed and built living units of 140-200 square feet, called aPodments in Sammamish, Washington. Resident Judy Green “shares the kitchen with seven other tenants on the second floor.” To get to her loft cubicle, she must climb six flights of stairs. Because of non-existent global warming, cars and elevators are not allowed. The “micro-units” are smaller than a hotel room and rent for $600-900 per month. I checked with my favorite hotel chain – their average hotel room is 375 square feet. The average jail cell is 6 feet by 8 feet.
The “eco-progressives” use local government zoning to impose their ideas of “sustainable urbanism”, “sustainable communities”, and “equitable communities”, by changing the counties’ desired low density character and scale to high-density crime-ridden slums.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are crafting a plan to place Lilliputian slum dwellings in every area of the county. The Residential Studio Units (RSUs) will have a total surface of 220-320 square feet. Each high-rise will contain 75 such units and one parking space per unit. Locals object to the plan because it will reduce property values, change neighborhoods, increase population density, exacerbate the existing traffic congestion, and increase crime under the guise of “affordable housing” for the poor, low wage workers, and “diversity.” …
Reality television is now indoctrinating Americans into accepting the idea of micro-dwellings with the July 2014 debut of “Tiny House Nation” on the FYI channel. According to their website, “renovation experts and hosts, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, travel across America to show off ingenious small spaces and the inventive people who live in them, as well as help new families design and construct their own mini-dream home in a space no larger than 500 square feet. From a micro-apartment in New York City to a caboose car turned home in Montana to a micro-sized mobile home for road tripping – this is a series that celebrates the exploding movement of tiny homes”.
Perhaps “extreme downsizing” is the dream of retired people or the reality of young Americans who live with several roommates or in the basement of their parents because they cannot afford to buy a normal home on low wages driven by a mismanaged economy. What I do know for sure, this not an “exploding movement of tiny homes” and it has nothing to do with “financial independence”. Most Americans have never heard of such tiny dwellings, love their spacious homes, and are not remotely aware that they are an intricate part of a larger plan of social engineering [to take] people off the land, out of suburbia, and into inner cities.
It is certainly not the new American dream; it is the new forced reality as envisioned and carefully planned by the elite’s UN Agenda 21.
A book titled Utopias Elsewhere (in America, The Wilder Shores of Marx in Britain), by the wise and witty writer Anthony Daniels, chronicles his travels in five communist countries shortly before the Iron Curtain came down in 1991 – the year the book was published. One chapter is about Romania, the land of Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh’s birth, where she lived under totalitarian oppression. It is a book which should be read by anyone who doubts that life under communism is unimaginably poor and miserable. We guarantee it as a cure for those afflicted with leftist ideology. A decent education in the West would include it as a permanently prescribed text.
In the chapter on Romania, Anthony Daniels notes that in villages that were “systematized” (ie where the villagers had been evicted from their houses and the houses swept away) –
Uniform blocks of apartments – of the same design throughout the country – had been built, in earnest of the Ceausescu dream of a nation living in bugged, ill-lit, cold, waterless yet damp cells, in total dependence on the state for everything they consumed.
As the UN’s Agenda 21 dream for the world continues to be realized, the cells in America will not be quite as bad as that. Though they will be bugged, and not very well-lit or well-heated, they will almost certainly have some (rationed) water and they might not be damp.
But if the dream agenda is fully implemented, the tenants will be dependent on the World Government for everything they consume.
He walked Independence Square in Kiev, the site of months of turmoil, and spoke with leaders of the protest movement, many of them college-aged. He visited a hospital in Tzfat, Israel, where he saw Israeli doctors provide free medical care to Syrians gravely wounded in the civil war there.
Despite his god-botheriness (an infection of irrationality from which no American politician known to us is free), and at risk of attracting the disapproval of some of our highly valued readers, we confess that we like Ted Cruz. We think he might make a good president.
Here’s an account of his current travels abroad issued by the Heritage Foundation, with the views he has expressed on issues of foreign affairs:
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, visited Israel, Ukraine, Poland and Estonia this week and detailed his travels in a conference call today …
Cruz gave a personal account of how those countries perceive American leadership during a turbulent time in the region. …
[He] reaffirmed his contention that Israel is America’s strongest ally and one that requires support to buffer peace talks with the Palestinians.
“The U.S. needs to stand with Israel,” Cruz said on the conference call. “No one wants to see peace more than Israel. But consistently, the Obama administration has criticized and attacked the leadership of Israel. Over the last five years, America is receding from leadership in the world, and Russia, Iran, and China have stepped into that vacuum and made the world a more dangerous place.”
Cruz emphasized the U.S. has no business dictating terms of a peace agreement, but he criticized the Palestinians for recent failures in the talks, and established basic requirements he said any agreement must have.
“The Palestinians need to renounce terrorism and to declare that Israel has the right to exist,” said Cruz, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “If not, negotiations will fail.”
Similarly, after meeting with Ukraine protest leaders in Maidan Square and later on with Ukrainian Jewish and Catholic leaders, Cruz described a country eager for help, in any form it can get.
Help also means deterring the force of Russia, by imposing tougher sanctions than the Obama administration has applied, he said.
“One thing I took away from the Ukrainian leaders is that the military lacks basic equipment, such as armor, communication tools and night-vision goggles,” Cruz said. “The leadership in Ukraine is looking for help wherever it can find it. And it’s in our interest to help. We ought to be using all the tools of soft power to impose significant sanctions on Russia.” …
Cruz declared the nuclear threat of Iran the biggest hindrance to peace and the largest test of American credibility.
He criticized the Geneva interim agreement, a pact between Iran and the P5+1 countries officially titled the Joint Plan of Action, which decreased economic sanctions on Iran as the countries work at a long-term agreement.
Cruz said sanctions should be lifted only when Iran disassembles its centrifuges and hands over its enriched uranium.
“The current deal is a very, very bad deal and a historic mistake,” Cruz said. “In the best-case scenario, we leave Iran to the threshold of a nuclear breakout. There’s concern in Israel that the U.S. deal with Iran exacerbates the problem. Every leader I met viewed the prospect of Iran getting a nuclear weapon as the strongest threat facing Israel and the U.S.”
We agree with these views of his. (Only we don’t think there should be any “peace process” involving Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians should be integrated into some of the 21 Arab states, and Israel should set its borders.)
As always, we invite comment.
This is from Gatestone, by Soeren Kern:
The project — Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren — is being spearheaded by a Muslim advocacy group and is being financed by American taxpayers through a grant from the US Embassy in Prague. (The US State Department is also promoting Islam in other European countries.)
The group says the Czech Ministry of Education has authorized it to organize lectures and seminars aimed at “teaching Czech schoolchildren about Islamic beliefs and practices” and at “fighting stereotypes and prejudices about Muslims”.
But critics — there are many — say the project’s underlying objective is to convert non-Muslim children to Islam by bringing proselytizing messages into public schools under the guise of promoting multiculturalism and fighting “Islamophobia”.
The group’s website says the first phase of the project involves “analyzing the accuracy of the information about Islam in Czech textbooks on history, geography and social sciences, and mapping the level of teaching about Islam in Czech grammar schools and other secondary schools”.
The second phase of the project involves the implementation of a three-level program that will “acquaint both pupils and teachers with Islam and Muslims” and help them to develop better “critical reception skills” when analyzing supposedly Islamophobic information.
Develop “critical reception skills”? What is a “reception skill”? The ability to swallow any tosh that’s shoved down your throat? As for critical skill, that’s exactly what Muslims don’t want to have brought to bear on their holy texts.
This is a farce, a ruse, a sly cover for proselytizing. “Dawa” they call it. The wonder is that the Czech Ministry of Education cannot see that that’s the case – or doesn’t care that it is.
According to the group’s website:
“The first level acquaints the reader with the history of Islam, the basic religious concepts of tradition and contemporary issues such as family [Sharia] law, the veiling of women and Islamophobia.”
Notice how (unfortunately non-existent) “Islamophobia” is added on to the fact of “the veiling of women”, so that it seems to be equally factual.
“The second level offers a deeper look at the issues and puts more emphasis on the involvement of the pupils.… Pupils will be divided into three groups within which they will study any of the following topics: the veiling of women, media coverage of Islam, and Muslims in the Czech Republic.
The veiling of women, we have little doubt, will be explained to seem a Very Good Thing; and “media coverage of Islam and Muslims” will be objected to wherever it says anything that Muslims don’t like to have said, regardless of whether it is true or not. Any media discussion of Islam which is not obsequious will be condemned as “Islamophobic”.
Each group will be led by an experienced tutor, who will acquaint students with the problems by means of prepared materials and subsequent debate.
The experienced “tutor” will be a trained indoctrinator. The debate on his side will amount to “‘Shut-up,’ he explained.”
“The third level provides schools with artistically oriented projects or discussions with Muslims and professionals dealing with Islam. Artistic activities would involve making a film or taking photographs focused on a day in the life of a Muslim or art workshops and competitions focused on the possibility of integrating Muslims into Czech society.”
But not making cartoons of Muhammad, or there will be Muslim riots from Britain to Bangladesh.
A thought in passing: it seems that Muslims really believe that Islam is attractive; that once infidels know about it, they will be irresistibly drawn to it. Women to subjugation. Men to putting their foreheads on the ground five times a day. And perhaps even more amazing – there are apparently thousands of men and women who are drawn to it. Is it possible, we wonder, that the constant condemnation of our civilization by a dominant left-intelligentsia, our failure to teach the virtues of individual freedom, capitalism, and reason, is leaving our children easy prey to any confidence trickster with a mission, any ideological mountebank who comes along and offers them his certainties?
But to return to the text:
Do the Czech Muslims want to integrate? There’s yet more sly wording to confuse the easily gulled Ministry of Education. When they get down to the nitty-gritty in those classrooms, the “tutor’ will demonstrate that, as Sharia law cannot be reconciled with Czech law, it would be best to have just Sharia. “After all,” he will say, smiling all the while, “it is the word of Allah.”
The group also organizes thematic lectures, workshops and debates for schools or groups of students, many of which are held at the Municipal Library in Prague — and which are more openly geared toward converting Czech youth to Islam.
One such lecture entitled “Paths of Young Czech Women to Islam” answers questions such as: What makes a young Czech woman want to become a Muslim? It is the main motive always falling in love with a Muslim man or are there other reasons? How does one convert to Islam? How can new Muslims cope with non-Muslim relatives?
Another lecture entitled “Koran, Sunna and the Internet: Where to Do Muslims Get Their Information?” answers questions such as: Where can one get information about the Muslim faith? Is the Koran the only source of information about Islam or are there other sources? Where can one find information that is not mentioned directly in the Koran? The lecture is supplemented by providing students with hands-on opportunities to work with various Islamic texts, including the Koran and the Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet Mohammed].
Students wanting to participate in the lectures but lacking previous knowledge of Islam are advised to attend a 15-minute introductory course that “represents the characteristics of Islam and advocates it in the context of Christianity and Judaism.” The lectures are “suitable for children from about the age of 15, although it is possible to customize the program for younger pupils.”
A statement on the group’s website justifies the project this way:
The Muslim community in the Czech Republic is small, but it raises strong emotions. Issues relating to Muslims or Islam appear almost daily in television news, newspapers and Internet debates. But the topic is discussed only marginally in regular school lessons. This condition leads to acceptance and subsequent consolidation of prejudices and stereotypes that are supported by latent Islamophobia. We would like this project to contribute to improving the situation. We provide information about Islam that is factually accurate. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with Muslims and get to know them before forming an opinion of them.
We would laugh at the idea that Islam is dead keen on factual accuracy, if we were not depressed over this whole enterprise, and the degree of pusillanimity among Western governments that it so maddeningly illustrates.
One of the co-founders of the project, a Czech-Palestinian named Sadi Shanaah, was quoted by the Prague Post as saying, “School lessons do not pay sufficient attention to Islam. Pupils want to learn more about it.”
Czech school-children are clamoring to learn about Islam? A lie that is instantly contradicted by the group itself:
But the group recently ran an advertisement promising to pay 250 Czech korunas ($13 dollars) to any student aged 15 to 18 years who would agree to attend a two-hour presentation about Islam.
The ad — which indicates that the American embassy in Prague was financing the April 2 event — states:
Event will take place at a school in New Butovice (7 minutes’ walk from the metro station). You get a brief introduction to Islam through which you can learn more about the veiling of Muslim women, media coverage and Muslims in the Czech Republic. Then you will have the opportunity to meet with Amirah, a Malaysian Muslim who is studying medicine in Prague, and to ask her everything you want about Islam or Muslim life in the Czech Republic.
… Most Muslims in the Czech Republic are immigrants from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Turkey. But a study produced for the Czech Interior Ministry in 2007 … found … a large number of Czech converts to Islam. It is estimated that at least 2,000 Czechs have converted to Islam since the end of Communist rule in 1989.
They got to like being oppressed? Couldn’t bear being unyoked?
Many are women who have married Muslims, but just as many are young males who are “looking to Islam in their search for spirituality,” according to Radio Free Europe. …
As the Muslim population grows, so do tensions with the population at large.
In November 2013, two Muslim women threatened to file an anti-discrimination lawsuit against a nursing school in Prague after they were asked to remove their hijab head covering in class.
“The principal summoned me and told me: ‘If you want to be in the school, you must not wear the scarf.’ I said this was against my religion as I am a Muslim,” Nasra, one of the women, told Czech Television.
The school defended itself, saying that although Czech law does not regulate the wearing of headgear, the school’s dress code bans the practice. The school also said the women, one from Somalia aged 23, and another from Afghanistan aged 25, disagreed with the compulsory physical education and the conditions of compulsory practice.
More recently, Muslims in the Czech Republic have tried to ban a book about Islam they say is Islamophobic.
The book, Islam and Islamism, was written by Lukas Lhot’an, a former Muslim who is now an apostate from Islam. Released in 2011, the book describes how some Muslims are abusing the ideology of multiculturalism to infiltrate Czech schools.
Lhot’an … says Muslim institutions in the country are now headed by Islamists who dominate the entire Islamic community. He accuses Muslim extremists of giving lectures aimed at recruiting converts and new jihad fighters, and alleges that Czech mosques are being controlled by Saudi Arabia.
The Islamic Center of Prague has filed a ten-page criminal complaint against Lhot’an, accusing him of promoting hatred, while the head of the Muslim community in Brno, Muneeb Hassan Alrawi has this to say about Lhot’an: “He is a hyperactive idiot, but also an unhappy man. He makes his living from doing harm. The police investigation will only provide publicity to him. He desires nothing but this.”
But others say the objective of the criminal complaint is obvious: Its aim to prevent Lhot’an from disseminating his view of Islam. … [His] book describes extremist tendencies inside the Czech Muslim community and tries to highlight their contempt for democracy and women’s rights and their justification of suicide bombers.
And the Obama administration, through the State Department, is providing them with your money to help them.
In just five years, Barack Obama has succeeded in crippling the American economy and shattering the world order under the Pax Americana.
Americans feel the grave economic effects of his domestic policies more immediately and urgently, but it is the shattering of the world order that will ultimately change their lives for the worse.
President Vladimir Putin found that “he could annex Crimea without firing a single bullet”. He has good reason to think that “he will later be able to do the same with the rest of Ukraine”. But he will probably “wait until the situation worsens and the impotence of the United States and Europe becomes even more obvious”.
That is part of the picture of the crumbling world order, described here by Professor Guy Millière (of the University of Paris), at Gatestone.
[Putin] apparently considers that he has in front of him a weak and declining America. And the general demeanor of the present U.S. administration tends to prove him right. The United States seem in full retreat. U.S. military budgets continue to fall. For the last five years, Barack Obama spoke of “ending” the wars in which the U.S. was involved, and he depends on Russia’s cooperation for further negotiations with Iran, for dismantling chemical weapons in Syria, and for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Putin doubtless thinks that Obama will not enter into an open conflict with Russia. Sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States are insignificant, and Putin has every reason to think they will not increase. …
[He] evidently considers Europe even weaker than America. The way European leaders speak and act shows that he is not wrong. For decades, Western European countries relied on the U.S. defense umbrella; none of them today has an army capable of doing more than extremely limited operations. Their foreign policy positions converge with the Obama administration positions. They all have deep economic and financial links with Russia and cannot break these links. The UK needs the Russian capital invested in the City of London. France cannot cancel its Russian warship contract without having to close its shipyards in Saint Nazaire, and without being confronted with major social conflicts. Germany could not survive long without Russian oil and natural gas. Overall, Russia provides thirty percent of the natural gas consumed in Western Europe. Putin apparently thinks that Europe will not enter into an open conflict with Russia. …
Either the West will stand up to Putin, and it will have to do it fast, or Putin will win. Obviously, Europe will not stand up. Polls indicate that Americans are turning sharply toward isolationism.
Showing his view of the situation, Obama recently said that Russia is nothing but a “regional power”, acting “out of weakness”.
What is Russia’s “region”?
Russia covers ten time zones and has borders with Europe, the Muslim Middle East, China, North Korea, and Alaska.
Yes, Russia has a common border with the United States. The US is in its region.
If massing troops on the borders of Ukraine and annexing Crimea are signs of “weakness,” by its evident impotence, America appears even weaker.
Will Putin be content with annexing Crimea, or even the whole of Ukraine?
Several plebiscites have been held since 2006 in Transnistria, a strip of land between Ukraine and Moldova, and each of them has indicated a willingness to join Russia. Estonia includes a large Russian minority, and Russian leaders in Moscow speak of the need to “protect” the Russian population of Estonia.
Estonia is a member of NATO. If Russia were to attack it, NATO, according to Article 5 of its charter, should defend it with prompt military action. But would it? NATO’s military power is America’s military power. Under Obama,what chance is there that America would go to war in Europe?
The world order built after the Second World War was shaped by America. For almost five decades, its goal was to contain Soviet expansion. In the late 1980s, the Soviet empire collapsed, and another phase began: an arrangement in which America would keep the peace and assure the survival of liberty.
America has apparently abrogated that responsibility.
And if Russia is not deterred, other powers will be encouraged to advance their interests abroad by force.
Rogue leaders around the world are watching and drawing their own conclusions.
[The Iranian Ayatollah] Khamenei sees no reason to stop saying that America is the “Great Satan” and that Israel has to be wiped off the map. China sees no reason to hide its intention to occupy the Senkaku/Diyaoyu Islands. Last week, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un fired six missiles into the sea of Japan. [President] Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela reaffirmed its alliance with Russia and positioned Russian missiles in Caracas.
Guy Millière predicts that the chaos will increase and speed up. He sees disaster coming fast.
If we do not see the Ukraine as a warning signal, we could quickly discover that life could now easily enter the state of nature in Hobbes’s Leviathan: [solitary, poor,] nasty, brutish and short.
Contrary to Marxian dogma, no historical development is inevitable. And all actions have unintended consequences. So prophecy is a risky enterprise.
But we have to calculate the probable outcomes of what we do.
Daniel Greenfield has prophesied – plausibly, we think – what will happen when America ceases to be the predominant power in the world.
International organizations will be good for little except sucking up the last drops of wealth and prestige of the United States. It will be a chaotic place with everyone out for themselves. …
There will be three post-ideological powers, no longer global in scope, and one worldwide ideological alliance.
The United States, Russia and China are post-ideological states. Russia and China have abandoned Communism. The United States is even abandoning nationalism; to say nothing of capitalism, democracy or freedom. Its rulers cling to scraps of global leftist ideology that isolate them from their own people.
Russia and China are run by powerful corrupt elites who emerged from the old Communist order to build economic oligarchies enforced by the ruthless use of force. The United States is increasingly run by an oligarchy of ideological bureaucrats, corrupt technocrats and leftist academics that has a distant resemblance to the USSR and the PRC; but its long march through the institutions hasn’t turned fully totalitarian yet. That may be less than a generation away.
Russia, China and the United States are all demographically unstable. Russia and the United States are both on track to become majority-minority countries. China’s demographic disaster will be the outcome of its one child policies, gender abortion and its war on the countryside. The United States will probably weather its demographic problems better than Russia or China, because the former faces a fatal Muslim demographic takeover and the latter a conflict that will tear its society apart, but like Russia and China, the demographic crisis in the United States will be exacerbated by the lack of common bonds to see it through a period of social stress.
Russia and China will fall back into their own history, collapse and isolationism for China, barbarian rule for Russia. The United States has no such history to fall back on and its elites have abandoned any meaningful national identity that doesn’t rely on pop culture and liberal pieties.
There is little to unify Russia or China … The KGB oligarchs of Russia and the Communist princes of China are as globalist as any Eurocrat. They have few national commitments. Their goals are wealth and power for their families and associates.
Unfortunately there is even less to unify the United States after the left embraced multiculturalism at the expense of exceptionalism. The erosion of everything from free speech to the free market has reduced the American Dream from individual opportunity to vulgar exhibitionism. Uncontrolled immigration has imported masses of hostile populations everywhere from Nashville to Minneapolis radically changing quintessentially American cultures and replacing them with balkanized minority coalitions who have little in common except a mutual hostility against the United States.
In contrast to the cultural vulnerabilities of the three powers, Islam, the defining global ideological alliance, lacks a superstate as the center of its empire, though it has many state bases, but enjoys the allegiance of a worldwide population larger than any of the three powers. Demographic projections continue to favor the growth of Islam over China, Russia and the United States.
It would be a mistake however to think that China, Russia and the United States are in a conflict with Islam. While Islam is in a conflict with them, each of the three powers divides Muslims into three groups; those Muslims that are within the “empire”, part of China, Russia’s Eurasian Union or the United States, those that are outside the “empire” but allied to it, e.g. Syria for Russia, Saudi Arabia for the United States and Pakistan for China, and those that are its separatist or terrorist enemies.
Instead of coming to terms with a global struggle with Islam, each power largely concentrates on fighting Muslim separatist or terrorist groups that destabilize its sphere of influence while arming, funding and supporting those Muslim separatist and terrorist groups that destabilize rival powers.
It is therefore simplistic to act as if America, Russia and China have a common interest in fighting Islam. While that may be true, that is not how the leaders of the three powers see it. Putin fights some Islamists while incorporating others into his allied clergy and helping still others go nuclear. The United States bombs the Taliban, but would never consider bombing their paymasters in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.
Muslim terrorists operate in all three powers, but are dismissed as unrepresentative aberrations. That is wishful thinking, but empires are shaped to fight their own kind. Islam, like Communism, is something different. It is an ideology and post-ideological powers … are poorly adapted to fighting it. Instead many of their elites secretly admire its dedication. …
Like a hyena trotting after prey, Islam is a cultural carrion eater consuming the skills and knowledge of superior civilizations to sustain its warlordism …
The collapse of the Pax Americana under Obama has freed up Russia and China to begin their campaigns of territorial expansionism. Obama’s failure to deter Russia in Ukraine will encourage China to use force as a solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. These events will wake the world from the dream of the Pax Americana in which American power kept the peace in much of the developed world.
The end of the Pax Americana also means the end of international law. Instead of a post-American world ushering in a stable multilateral order … no single power will predominate, but … any country or militia that can seize a piece of land or a natural resource will go ahead and do so. …
The First World may wake up to discover that it is once again living under Third World rules.
Those most immediately affected by the decline of the United States will be the Asian and European countries that outsourced their defense to the United States after WW2. Japan has a limited time in which to turn around its economy, demographics and military to be able to face down China.
Europe was able to turn inward without having to make the hard choices and its elites were even able to drag the United States into implementing their vision internationally. But that is coming to an end. …
The European Union may implode in the coming years, but whether it does or does not, Western Europe will continue to be defined by the quarrels between the UK, France and Germany. The various other players have never been anything other than places to put factories, launder money or import cheap labor from. …
Europe, unlike the United States, has not been known for its altruism, and its nations face a crippling combination of problems. Europe suffers from Japanese birth rates, Russian demographics, Chinese corruption and American economics (though it would be more accurate to say that America suffers from EU economics.) Despite its size and population, Europe does not have an optimistic future. …
Russia will not stop with Ukraine and NATO will dissolve, officially or unofficially. It may stay around and limit itself to providing humanitarian aid internationally while expelling Poland and any countries that Russia is likely to want to add to its collection. …
The budding Russian empire will find that fighting a new wave of Muslim insurgencies in formerly peaceful republics will consume too much of its time and energy. The soldiers who will march on the scattered pieces of the old red empire will be Muslims and the Eurasian Union will become a Muslim empire with a handful of churches. Like Rome, its fall will come at the hands of its own barbarians.
Iraq and Afghanistan will not prove to be as psychologically devastating to Americans as Vietnam, but they will help discourage further deployments overseas. Severe military budget cuts and a campaign against the warrior culture will leave the military in no shape for anything except peacekeeping missions.
The United States will face escalating domestic unrest, less from militias than from gangs, terrorism and the economic collapse of entire cities. It will no longer be in a position to act abroad.
None of this has to happen, but it will if the same bad decisions continue to be made.
If eight years of Obama are topped by eight years of Hillary, this is where we will end up.
The writer points out that if the civilized world fails to resolve its “economic, demographic and military crises … the civilization in which we have grown up and which we have known all our lives will die and a long interregnum of darkness will follow in its wake”.
Yes, that’s all too probable, and profoundly horrible.
But it may be that an entirely different kind of civilization will emerge. That technologies – already in the womb of time – will set the individual freer than he could ever possibly have been before. That governments will lose power. That social elites without technological skills will lose credibility. That law-making will be done by new procedures, and the nature of law and the manner of its enforcement will change to fit new ideas of how liberty may be protected. That religion – so outworn and squalid a thing, a mere relic of an ignorant past – will wither away, perceived at last to be worse than useless.
There now, we ourselves have ventured beyond speculation and touched on prophecy. And because prophecy cannot be accurate, we are not likely to be right. But by the same token, we may not be entirely wrong.
The EU is a much prettier version of tyranny than rough Russia.
One might say it is the feminine version. It dresses nicely. It has its hair styled. It paints its nails. It smiles. It thinks it is alluring. It spends more than it has.
It is easy to understand why half the Ukrainians want to live with it. With her. Rather than with unshaven, violent, shabby, ill-mannered Daddy Russia.
Her corruption is prettily packaged. Her despotism has a gentle touch. It really is more pleasant to live with her than with him.
But it would be better for the Ukrainians if they just took off on their own.
Bruce Bawer offers that very advice. He writes at Front Page:
It’s in Europe, and it’s huge – after Russia and the top five EU members, it has Europe’s largest population, and twice as many inhabitants as all the Scandiavian countries put together – but Ukraine isn’t a nation we often think of in the West, except when, as in recent days, it’s in the midst of a crisis. It has spent most of its history being conquered and brutalized by its more powerful neighbors, and in the last century underwent one savage chapter after another: 1.5 million people died in the civil war that ended with its absorption into the USSR; millions more died in Stalin’s deliberately engineered famine in 1932-33; during World War II, Hitler slaughtered an additional three million in what was intended to be the first stage of a program of exterminating two-thirds of the country’s population and enslaving the rest.
Today, unsurprisingly, Ukraine is a basket case of a country, riddled with corruption and living in the shadows of its historic horrors. It’s also a linguistically and philosophically divided land, torn between a western chunk whose people speak Ukrainian and identify with Europe and an eastern chunk whose people speak Russian and still feel an attachment to their massive neighbor to the east.
Viktor Yahukovych, the corrupt, autocratic president who disappeared last weekend in the face of mounting public unrest, is a Russiophile whose fatal error was his decision to strengthen bonds with Moscow (which coveted Ukraine as a key ally in a new Eurasian Union) and to turn down a free-trade agreement with the EU; most of the rioters who sent him packing are Europe-oriented types, the majority of whom are eager to see Ukraine become a Western-style democracy free of Putin’s influence, but some of whom, it should be noted, are neo-Nazis who look westward to Germany for the least attractive of reasons.
Most of the Ukrainians who favor European ties also want to see their country join the EU – which, in their eyes, as one Swedish newspaper put it the other day, is “above all…a symbol of a society free of corruption”. Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister who was sprung from prison on Saturday after Yahukovych took it on the lam – and whose own years in office (ending in 2010) were far from corruption-free – told the Kiev crowds shortly after her release that she’s “sure that Ukraine will be a member of the European Union in the near future and this will change everything”.
Change everything! What is it that makes presumably liberty-loving Eastern European politicians talk about the EU as if it were a magic freedom elixir, a miracle cure for former victims of tyranny?
I suppose part of the explanation is that these politicians travel to the great cities of Western Europe and take in the relative freedom, the relative prosperity, and the relative lack of corruption and thuggery, and assume that all this has something to do with the EU. And part of it, naturally, is the ceaseless stream of pro-EU propaganda poured out by the Western European media and, not least, by the Western European politicians whom the likes of Tymoshenko consort with when they visit the West.
Yet how odd that the superstate’s economic woes haven’t put a dent in the magic for people like Tymoshenko. How odd that even the merest glimpse of the way things work in Brussels – where corruption is, needless to say, very much alive and well, even though it doubtless falls far short of Ukrainian levels – doesn’t give them pause. And how odd that when they witness the arrogance that’s characteristic of virtually all Brussels bigwigs – their habit of responding to any reasonable criticism of the EU not with cogent arguments but with vicious ad hominem attacks – they don’t immediately recognize that they’re observing tyrants in the making, the sort of folks that you’d think they’d had more than enough of over the centuries, thank you very much.
Take European Council president Herman van Rompuy, that colorless, Politburo-style mediocrity, who in a 2011 speech blithely ignored the essentially undemocratic nature of the EU, describing it – outrageously – as “the fatherland, or the motherland of democracy”.
Or take European Commission president José Manuel Durrão Barroso, who started his political career as a Maoist, and who in 2012 argued that the EU’s democracy deficit isn’t a bug but a feature: “Governments are not always right. If governments were always right we would not have the situation that we have today. Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong.”
What he says is not untrue (even democratically-elected governments are almost always wrong), but he is making an argument for despotism.
Or take halfwit EU Foreign Affairs honcho Catherine Ashton, whose 2011 Guardian article lecturing Hosni Mubarak on the need for democracy in Egypt was widely (and rightly) ridiculed as the work of someone who, as Brendan O’Neill neatly put it in the Telegraph,
… has never once bothered the ballot box, never once ventured into the rowdy arena of public opinion to win the masses’ backing, and who was elevated to her current position as the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs through backroom wheeling and dealing.
Noting Ashton’s enthusiasm, in her Guardian piece, for what she called “deep democracy”, O’Neill explained that “she doesn’t mean deep as in profound – she means bureaucracy, the grey and unaccountable sphere that she haunts, the removed realm of experts and unelected high representatives” – a phenomenon Ashton contrasted (favorably, of course) with mere “surface democracy”, the undesirable, old-fashioned sort of system in which elected officials actually seek (horrors!) to honor their constituents’ wishes.
Even a cursory look at the careers and pronouncements of these unelected demigods, these self-regarding technocratic hacks, is to recognize them as people who itch to rule an empire and who are, quite simply, outraged at anyone who dares to stand in their way for a moment. Given the transparency of their lust for monolithic power – a power, moreover, utterly liberated from any notion whatsoever of responsibility to an electorate – it’s baffling that so many observers can actually take the EU seriously as a formula for European peace rather than for European autocracy.
What Europe has in Barroso, Ashton, & co., after all, is a pack of men and women who have done their level best to impoverish real political debate, to blunt its impact, and to make it seem obsolescent, counterproductive, and in every way undesirable.
Former Czech president and staunch EU critic Václav Klaus asked in his 2011 book Europe: The Shattering of Illusions:
Do we have real politics in Europe today – the political conflict of opinions – or have real politics been in fact eliminated by reducing the weight and importance of the nation states and by the self-confessed apolitical ways of Brussels?
Which is another way of saying that Brussels isn’t a city of politicians who have different political philosophies and who come together to debate ideas and hammer out compromises; it’s a city of technocrats who share an ideology and who work together as a team to translate that ideology into policy – never mind what the rabble think. (Or, as Klaus put it even more bluntly: “the European Union is no longer the symbol of democracy it pretends to be.”)
Klaus has coined the term “Europeism”. It’s a useful word, because it places the unreflecting, reality-defying enthusiasm for Europe in the category it belongs to, along with other, earlier European-isms. Among much else, Europeism views the free market as uncivilized and anarchic, places collective rights above individual rights, and strives, as Klaus excellently puts it, “for a homogenized, ‘decaffeinated’ world (with no flavour, aroma, and smell)”.
Europeists, he writes,
… do not believe in spontaneous, unregulated and uncontrolled human activity. They trust the chosen ones (not the elected ones), they trust themselves or those who are chosen by themselves. They believe in a vertically structured and hierarchized human society … They want to mastermind, plan, regulate, administer the others, because some (they themselves) do know and others do not. They do not want to rely on spontaneity of human behavior and on the outcomes resulting from this spontaneity because they think that rationalistic human design is always better than an unplanned result of interactions between free citizens, constructed and commanded by nobody. Even though we thought that after the collapse of communism all this was a matter of the past, it is not so. It is around us again. Europeism is a new utopism and, I add, it is an extremely naive and romantic utopism.
Above all, writes Klaus, Europeism “is based on the idea that states, more precisely the nation states, represent the Evil – because they were once the cause of wars among other things – while the supranational, continental and global entities represent the Good, because they – according to eurocrats – eliminate all forms of nationalist bickering once and for all”. This understanding of things, he adds, “is obviously childish, yet it is generally accepted in Europe”. Yes, it’s accepted because millions of today’s Europeans have been brainwashed into thinking that national feeling – patriotism – was the root of all of the worst things that happened to the continent in the twentieth century. No, ideology was the root – ideology in the form of Nazism, fascism, and Communism. And Europeism – which, by the way, has multiculturalism and fanatical environmentalism built into it – is the twenty-first-century heir of those wretched systems of thought.
Which brings us back to the latest developments in Ukraine. Tymoshenko’s speech on Saturday night was followed on Sunday by the news that the EU – notwithstanding its own massive financial difficulties – is now ready to hand over bushels of cash to the newly Europe-friendly government in Kiev. …
Note to Ukrainians: accepting the EU’s money is one thing. Go for it. But why this longing, on the part of Tymoshenko or anyone else in your country, to board the Superstate Express? Set aside, if you wish, the economic downside of the whole project, the looming disaster that is the eurozone, and just ask yourselves this: after spending most of your history taking orders from far-off imperial capitals, most of the twentieth century living under the nightmare of Communism, and most of the greater part of the generation that followed under the gravitational pull of post-Soviet Kremlin despotism, why be so desperate to subordinate yourselves to yet another set of haughty, high-handed foreign rulers? Why slip away from being under one thumb only to voluntarily place yourself under another?
Ukraine, here’s one simple piece of unsolicited advice: vote for sovereignty. Vote for freedom. Take the money and run.
Stay out of the EU.
This is from a book review by Mark Tapson:
A recent book … lays out the historical evidence for massive Communist penetration of our government beginning in the New Deal era, increasingly rapidly during World War II, and afterward leading to gaping breaches of national security and the betrayal of free-world interests.
Contrary to the notion that domestic Communists were simply harmless, misguided idealists, Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government by M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein shows that widespread government infiltration by Soviet spies sabotaged our foreign policy and molded the post-WWII world in favor of the Soviet Union. Evans, the author of eight previous books including the controversial revised look at Joseph McCarthy called Blacklisted by History, is a former editor of the Indianapolis News, a Los Angeles Times columnist, and a commentator for the Voice of America. Romerstein is a leading Cold War expert, formerly head of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the U.S. Information Agency from 1983 until 1989, who has served on the staff of several congressional committees including the House Intelligence Committee.
The early Cold War spying which resulted in the theft of our atomic secrets, radar, jet propulsion, and other military systems was serious enough, but that wasn’t the major issue. “The spying,” as the authors put it, “was handmaiden to the policy interest,” which was by far the leading problem. As President Franklin Roosevelt’s health and mental ability waned, covert Communist aides exerted pro-Soviet influence on U.S. policy, which was reflected in postwar discussions by the Big Three powers about the new shape of the world.
We would contend that even if his mental powers had not been waning, he would still have tried to please “Uncle Joe” Stalin. FDR actually admired that evil man.
The policy impact of such deceptive influence on the part of Soviet agents was to turn Western influence and support against the anti-Communist forces and in favor of their Red opponents, as U.S. and other Allied leaders based decisions on false intelligence from pro-Soviet agents.
The effects were calamitous for the cause of freedom, as numerous countries were thus delivered into the hands of Stalin and his minions.
The three leaders – FDR, Churchill, and Stalin – “would ultimately decide what political forces would prevail where and the forms of government to be installed in formerly captive nations, including those in alignment with the victors.” Unfortunately, at that time “seeking Soviet ‘friendship’ and giving Moscow ‘every assistance’ summed up American policy [in meetings] at Teheran and Yalta, and for some while before those meetings.”
At the Yalta meeting at the end of the war, when the future of eastern Europe was decided, Roosevelt allowed the subjugation of hundreds of millions of non-Russians to Communist tyranny. Churchill was against it, seeing Stalin as the incorrigible tyrant he was, but Roosevelt’s decision prevailed.
Three notable examples of countries “pulled into the vortex of Communist power” were Yugoslavia, Poland and China. Other nations in central Europe were absorbed into the Soviet empire as well, as prelude to the Cold War struggle. Similar results occurred in Asia, where millions were slaughtered in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos where Communists came to power. “Red police states would in due course extend from the Baltic to the Pacific, and later to Africa and Latin America… The supposedly progressive twentieth century thus became a saturnalia of tyranny and violence, surpassing in this respect also all previous records of such horrors.”
The most powerful pro-Red influence was actually the President himself. He distanced himself from Churchill’s warier stance about Russian imperialism, and instead made common cause with Stalin. “His main object was to get Stalin to agree with the Rooseveltian vision of a peaceable kingdom to come via the United Nations.” FDR seemed to be “guided very heavily by his advisers and took no step independently,” as one observer noted. Harry Hopkins, FDR’s longtime and most powerful adviser, “held pro-Soviet views of the most fervent nature.” Indeed, the authors claim, “Throughout the war years, Moscow had no better official U.S. friend than Hopkins.”
FDR’s wife too advocated in a pro-Red direction, and Vice President Henry Wallace was “arguably the most prominent pro-Soviet political figure of his time.”
But entities outside the government affected American foreign policy in these years too. The press corps, academics, lobbyists, and think tanks all helped mold a climate of opinion that paved the way for pro-Red policymakers in federal office. Media spokesmen then helped promote pro-Soviet policy “while attacking the views and reputations of people who wanted to move in other directions.” A complicit media helping to advance the Communist agenda while shutting down opposition voices – sound familiar?
The most famous example of infiltration was, of course, the spy Alger Hiss, whose “skill in positioning himself at the vectors of diplomatic information indicates the degree to which Soviet undercover agents were able to penetrate the U.S. government in crucial places, up to the highest policy-making levels.” Hiss rose from obscurity to become the custodian of all memoranda for the President on topics to be considered at the crucial Yalta summit. However, “he wasn’t an isolated instance, but only one such agent out of many.”
The authors’ conclusions are threefold: 1) Communist penetration in the American government in the WWII-era and early Cold War was deep and extensive, involving many hundreds of suspects; 2) the infiltrators wielded important leverage on U.S. foreign policy in that period; and 3) pro-Soviet penetration and the resulting policy damage occurred because Soviet agents preyed on the credulity of officials who were willfully ignorant of Communist methods. “The net effect of these converging factors was a series of free-world retreats” in the face of Marxist conquests across Europe, Indochina, Latin American states, and African nations.
The lessons of this highly readable and concise history are well worth taking to heart today, not merely as an historical study, but as a reflection of the subversive infiltration and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on our current administration.
For Muslim infiltration and influence on the Obama administration see for instance our posts:
Obama gang submits to America’s enemy, June 14, 2012
The State-whisperer, August 16, 2012,
Al-CIA, al-FBI, al-DHS, al-USA, November 4, 2012
Margaret Thatcher’s reign over Britain was a pause in the decline of the nation. That is the verdict of almost all the most insightful obituaries that have appeared since her death. She changed Britain, held it for a while as a model to the world of how capitalism can restore wealth and prestige, but did not succeed in reversing its downward trend.
Nevertheless she was one of the British people’s greatest leaders.
Mark Steyn writes:
In Britain in the Seventies, everything that could be nationalized had been nationalized, into a phalanx of lumpen government monopolies all flying the moth-eaten flag: British Steel, British Coal, British Airways, British Rail . . . The government owned every industry — or, if you prefer, “the British people” owned every industry. And, as a consequence, the unions owned the British people. The top income-tax rate was 83 percent, and on investment income 98 percent. No electorally viable politician now thinks the government should run airlines and car plants and that workers should live their entire lives in government housing. But what seems obvious to all in 2013 was the bipartisan consensus four decades ago, and it required an extraordinary political will for one woman to drag her own party, then the nation, and subsequently much of the rest of the world back from the cliff edge.
Thatcherite denationalization was the first thing Eastern Europe did after throwing off its Communist shackles — although the fact that recovering Soviet client states found such a natural twelve-step program at Westminster testifies to how far gone Britain was.
She [Margaret Thatcher] was the most consequential woman on the world stage since Catherine the Great, and Britain’s most important peacetime prime minister. In 1979, Britain was not at war, but as much as in 1940 faced an existential threat.
Mrs. Thatcher saved her country — and then went on to save a shriveling “free world,” and what was left of its credibility. The Falklands were an itsy bitsy colonial afterthought on the fringe of the map, costly to win and hold, easy to shrug off — as so much had already been shrugged off. After Vietnam, the Shah, Cuban troops in Africa, Communist annexation of real estate from Cambodia to Afghanistan to Grenada, nobody in Moscow or anywhere else expected a Western nation to go to war and wage it to win. Jimmy Carter, a ditherer who belatedly dispatched the helicopters to Iran only to have them crash in the desert and sit by as cocky mullahs poked the corpses of U.S. servicemen on TV, embodied the “leader of the free world” as a smiling eunuch. Why in 1983 should the toothless arthritic British lion prove any more formidable?
And, even when Mrs. Thatcher won her victory, the civilizational cringe of the West was so strong that all the experts immediately urged her to throw it away and reward the Argentine junta for its aggression. “We were prepared to negotiate before” she responded, “but not now. We have lost a lot of blood, and it’s the best blood.” Or as a British sergeant said of the Falklands: “If they’re worth fighting for, then they must be worth keeping.”
Mrs. Thatcher thought Britain was worth fighting for, at a time when everyone else assumed decline was inevitable. … [But for her and] anyone with a sense of history’s sweep, the strike-ridden socialist basket case of the British Seventies was not an economic downturn but a stain on national honor.
A generation on, the Thatcher era seems more and more like a magnificent but temporary interlude in a great nation’s bizarre, remorseless self-dissolution.
She was right and they were wrong, and because of that they will never forgive her. … For eleven tumultuous years, Margaret Thatcher did shock them. But the deep corrosion of a nation is hard to reverse …
Not just hard. Impossible. What great power that declined and fell ever rose to greatness again?
China had to turn to the capitalist model set by Margaret Thatcher to save its economy – which it did, spectacularly.
But far from acknowledging a debt, this obituary published in China belittles all her achievements, putting her whole career through the Marxist class-analysis mincer.
Petty, mean, and puerile, it is an exercise in Schadenfreude; sneer after sneer concluding with a spiteful joke:
Thatcher grew up in a classical English petty-bourgeois family. Her father owned two grocery shops in Grantham. He preached the word of God, was staunchly patriotic, and became the town’s Mayor from 1945-6. His self-confidence derived from selecting food that commanded a good price and turned a good profit. His daughter, Margaret, also formed her intellectual outlook around the petty proprietor’s fetish for the magical qualities of prices. …
Her marriage to Dennis Thatcher in 1951 elevated her into the ranks of the bourgeoisie. He had inherited his wealth and felt that business distracted him from dabbling in amateur military escapades. He was generally seen as a blithering incompetent buffoon to be shunted out of ears reach, in case some bigoted diatribe escaped his lips, but Margaret dearly loved him and treasured the life opportunities his wealth had opened up for her. Dennis funded her career change from studying the chemical composition of ice cream, to studying to become a barrister …
The 1960s were characterized by an entrenched social-democratic consensus whereby social and economic development was widely seen as the product of an alliance between theclasses. Employment was easy to come by and wages rose, and public housing, health care and education expanded rapidly. This all smacked of communism to Margaret Thatcher, who was allowed to bark vitriol against socialism to the gleeful cheers of her bourgeois-aristocratic colleagues in parliament.
The victory of the mineworkers against the Conservative government in two strikes in 1972 and 1974 led to an election, which the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, claimed would answer the question “who runs Britain?” He lost the election to a minority Labour government and Margaret Thatcher became the Conservative Party leader in 1975.
The shopkeeper inside her, meant she automatically gravitated toward economic theory based on price. Her ideology imagined a world of free and unrestricted competitive pressures where atomized individuals replace organized workers. The pathway to this free market utopia involved selling off state resources and public housing at prices that were absurdly low. This created a significant constituency within the working and middle classes who suddenly acquired money from nothing. In this way the shopkeeper’s delusion, that an economy is simply a nation of buyers and sellers, was materially anchored in the minds of those who suddenly had loads of money. In this way a significant minority acquired a material stake in Thatcher’s “property owning democracy.” Making goods and services was replaced by selling second hand bricks; producing coal, steel, ships, trains and cars was replaced by speculative instruments conjured up by a Thatcherite tribe of arrogant barrow boys who were encouraged to take over the trading floors of the City of London, elbowing aside the “toffs” in bowler hats, and revolutionizing financial markets in a cocaine fueled [?] speculative orgy.
So severe was the economic dislocation and the scars of social conflict that the government was thrown into deep crisis. However, luck was on the side of Mrs. Thatcher, as President General Galtieri of Argentina used their nation’s historical conflict over British occupation of the Malvinas Islands to launch a war to take them by force. Thatcher dispatched the British fleet and reconquered the Islands, whipping up a wave of jingoistic flag-waving. Riding a new tide of popularity, the real war began. Its objective was to smash the central core of trade union strength, the National Union of Mineworkers. Huge reserves of coal were stockpiled, the police were militarized, and war was declared on millions of British workers. Thatcher proclaimed the miners’ union to be agents of the Soviet Union. When she described them as “the enemy within” she had the look of hysteria in her eyes. The strike lasted a year and was defeated. This was a result of Thatcher’s determination and an impotent response by the majority of Labour and Trade Union leaders. The defeat of the miners union led to greater control by capital over labour and a long period of passive industrial relations.
The greatest nonsense is spoken about Thatcher’s significance in the struggle against what she called “the Evil Empire” of the USSR. The role of the U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was insignificant and peripheral. Even though the Soviet press had given her the name, “the Iron Lady,” of which she was so proud. The collapse of the USSR was a result of internal disintegration and not external pressure. …
May the Iron Lady rust in peace!
China’s prosperity is the result of allowing private enterprise. It makes China a rising world power.
The pretense continues that “the rebels’ – a crowd of untrained Libyans dangerously armed – achieved the conquest of Tripoli and now the defeat of Gaddafi’s last defenders in Sirte and his capture.
Here is a report from the Telegraph in which the writer tries to uphold the internationally agreed lie, while yet supplying the information that a US drone guided from the Nevada desert, and French bombers, and British “advisers” – actually strategists and leaders and, probably, effective fighters in sufficient number – ended Gaddafi’s forces’ last stand and flushed out the man.
Deep in the lunar landscape of the Nevada desert, American specialists trained to their computer screens spotted unusual activity at around 7.30am in District Two. From their windowless bunker, lit by constantly flickering computer screens, the analysts directed their unmanned Predator drones to zoom in on the convoy [of trucks] as it picked up speed and headed west. Nato’s eyes were suddenly trained on Gaddafi’s convoy. …
Around 40 miles off the Libyan coast a Nato AWAC early-warning surveillance aircraft, flying over the Mediterranean, took control of the battle and warned two French jets that a loyalist convoy was attempting to leave Sirte.
As the convoy sped west, a Hellfire missile was fired from the Predator and destroyed the first vehicle in the convoy.
By now, the NTC troops had realised that the loyalists were escaping and a small number of lightly armed rebels began to give chase.
To me it seemed like a wild, chaotic situation. But we now know that it had, in fact, been foreseen by the British SAS and their special forces allies, who were advising the NTC forces.
British military sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that small teams of SAS soldiers on the ground in Sirte, armed but under strict orders not to get involved, had warned them throughout the siege to be alert to the fleeing of loyalists.
Assisted by other special forces – in particular the Qataris [put in because they're Arabs which makes it okay if they have "boots on the ground"? - JB] with whom the SAS have a long relationship dating back 20 years – the SAS tried to impress on the Libyans the need to cover all escape routes.
But despite the advice, the breakout seems to have taken the rebels on the Zafran front completely by surprise.
In the previous two weeks I had repeatedly seen the militiamen fail to hold forward positions at night as they fell back to their encampments. Again and again loyalists had used cover of darkness to surprise the militiamen and manoeuvre into new firing positions.
Once more their surveillance was lax, and one rebel fighter confessed to me that in the early hours of Thursday they had failed to keep proper watch on the western front and they were surprised by the convoy. …
At this point the SAS urged the NTC [National Transitional Council] leaders to move their troops to exits points across the city and close their stranglehold.
After the Hellfire missile struck its target, the convoy changed direction, possibly hoping to avoid a further strike, before heading west again. It had begun to fracture into several different groups of vehicles.
The French jets were also given permission to join the attack.
By now a group of 20 vehicles in the convoy had reached a point around three miles west of the city. The shattered streets had been left behind, and the convoy had halted next to a walled electricity sub station, in arid farmland dotted with breeze block compounds and trees.
Just then, the French pilot began his bombing run, seconds later releasing two 500lb GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, into the centre of the convoy.
The bombs unleashed massive force. Arriving at the site, a few hours later, their devastating power was clear to see: at least a dozen vehicles were shredded and burned out, while I counted more than 25 bodies, some lying twisted and charred inside the vehicles and others lying in clumps nearby.
The air strike marked the end of any attempt at an ordered retreat and the convoy’s remnants scattered. …
Col Gaddafi had survived the air strike, but was apparently wounded in the legs. With his companions dead or dispersed, he now had few options.
He and a handful of men … appeared to have made their way 300 yards north from the devastation and taken shelter in a drainage culvert running under a dual carriageway. …
Members of the Al Watan revolutionary brigade who had been following the convoy at a distance witnessed the explosion, but at that point still had no idea who was in the vehicles.
Saleem Bakeer, a rebel fighter who said he was among those who came across Gaddafi hiding in the pipes said they had approached on foot.
“One of Gaddafi’s men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me,” he said.
“Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. ‘My master is here, my master is here’, he said, ‘Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded’.”
“We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying: ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s going on?'”
The initial astonishment [on the part of the rebels] appears to have quickly switched to jubilation, and then rage.
“I don’t think that anyone thought he would be there, we all thought that he would be in the south, or maybe across in Niger or Algeria. We were as shocked as he was at first,” said Abdullah Hakim Husseini, one of the band of men who found him. “We were so happy when we knew it was him. I thought, ‘at last, it’s all over’.”
Mobile phone footage shows Col Gaddafi alive but weak and bloodied, with blows raining down on him from frenzied fighters. At one point he was hauled onto the bonnet of a pickup truck, then pulled down by his hair. His weighty golden gun, intricately engraved and decorated with the words “The sun will never set on the Al Fattah revolution”, was snatched by one of the revolutionaries. His satellite phone was seized, and it was later discovered that he had made one last call to Syria.
Omran el Oweyb, the commander who captured Gaddafi, said that he only managed to stagger ten steps before he fell to the ground. …
One rebel was heard screaming in his face: “This is for Misurata, you dog.”
Gaddafi – confused, bloodied, stumbling – can be heard to reply, in what could be his last, laughably philosophical words: “Do you know right from wrong?”
What happened in the next minutes is the subject of intense controversy. Sometime in the next hours or minutes he died of a bullet wound to the left temple. The official NTC account says he was caught in crossfire as he was being driven to hospital. …
However the ambulance driver who ferried him said Col Gaddafi was already dead when he was loaded into the ambulance, around 500 yards from his point of capture.
One NTC member, who did not want to be named, admitted that this version of events was likely. “They beat him very harshly and then they killed him,” he said. “This is a war.”
So British SAS soldiers directed the last battle on the ground.
A Hellfire missile and bombs released from French planes hit the truck-convoy in which Gaddafi was trying to flee from Sirte. Gaddafi and at least one of his men sought shelter in a large drainpipe. And only then the Libyan savages moved in for the kill.
This is also from the Telegraph:
In Benghazi, on the main square where it all started, they were slaughtering camels in celebration. … They daubed their hands in the camel-blood, and gave the V-for-victory sign with dripping fingers. …
In the cafes, people were watching TV pictures – more graphic than any shown in Britain – of a bloodied Gaddafi dragged along and beaten, feebly protesting, before a gun was put to his head.
The picture then cut to the dead ex-leader being rolled onto the pavement, blood pooling from the back of his skull. …
Gaddafi’s death is already showing up some of the weaknesses of Libya’s new rulers.
The claim by the interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, that he was killed in “crossfire” looks ever more false with every new piece of video.
Both he and his son Mutassim were alive when captured, and dead soon after. A statement by an anonymous NTC source that “they beat [Gaddafi] and they killed him” seems closer to the mark.
But Mr Jibril angrily rejected demands by the United Nations and some in the West for a proper investigation into the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death.
“People in the West don’t understand the agony and pain that the people went through during the past 42 years,” he said.
The dictator’s treatment – before and after death – underlines that Libya does not have a government, or a state with functioning standards, only a collection of militias.
After he was killed, his [torn and bloodied] body was taken by the Misurata militia and put on display in a shopping centre, where yesterday the corpses of his slain son Mutassim and Gaddafi’s army chief, Abu Bakr, were placed alongside.
Libyans from hundreds of miles away came to queue up and, some wearing gloves and masks, view the three bodies. …
The various militias are quarreling over who should take possession of the corpses. It is a harbinger of fiercer quarrels to come. Trouble looms.
Most of the militias are based on a particular town, financed and commanded largely autonomously. Gaddafi’s death means that the main thing which united them – the war against him – is over. Now, the many rivalries and disputes between them, and between them and the NTC, may come to the fore. …
The NTC is indeed going to vanish: Mr Jibril, along with the rest of the council, have already said they will serve only until elections in eight months’ time, and he repeated that yesterday. Eight months is quite enough time for political disputes to fester and harden into something more serious.
Such as more civil war?
This comes from DebkaFile:
[National Transitional Council leader] Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will be little more than a figurehead. Even now, he is confined in Benghazi by three strongmen, who control most parts of the capital, and have not given him permission to move the seat of the interim government to Tripoli. …
The regime taking shape could not be further from the Western ideal of a free democracy.
Behind the grisly images of Muammar Qaddafi’s last moments spilling out since Thursday, Oct. 20, a quiet contest is afoot between the US and at least two NATO allies, France and Germany, over who deserves the credit for his termination and therefore for ending the alliance’s military role in Libya.
American sources are willing to admit that US drones operated by pilots from Las Vegas pinpointed the fugitive ruler’s hideout in Sirte and kept the building under surveillance for two weeks, surrounded by US and British forces.
Both therefore had boots on the ground in breach of the UN mandate which limited NATO military intervention in Libya to air strikes. …
According to the London Daily Telegraph, his presence in the convoy was first picked up by the USAF River Joint RC-135V/W intelligence signals plane, which passed the information to French warplanes overhead who then carried out the strike on Qaddafi’s vehicle.
The German Der Spiegel reported Monday, Oct. 24, that the tip revealing Qaddafi’s last hiding place came from German BND intelligence agents. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel was dead against German participation in the NATO operation in Libya, the BND nonetheless played an important role in intelligence-gathering.
It is increasingly obvious now that without the active intervention of the US, Britain, France and Germany, the anti-Qaddafi rebels on their own would never have beaten Qaddafi or been able to end his life.
As usual, however, the foreign offices of all the NATO countries involved in the operation will follow a long established custom of the Western powers and allow the Arabs to lie.
The lie will be that the people of Libya overthrew a tyrant. The truth will be that they’ll instate an Islamic regime in his stead; and the West, for all its talk of helping Libya become a free democracy, will not raise a finger to prevent that from happening.