Pre-revolution riots 3

… attacks on businesses, invasion of restaurants, arson, looting, random killing led up to the Russian Revolution.

It is the pattern of what is happening in 2020 in the United States.

Gary Saul Morson writes at First Things:

Between 1900 and 1917, waves of unprecedented terror struck Russia. Several parties professing incompatible ideologies competed (and cooperated) in causing havoc. Between 1905 and 1907, nearly 4,500 government officials and about as many private individuals were killed or injured. Between 1908 and 1910, authorities recorded 19,957 terrorist acts and revolutionary robberies, doubtless omitting many from remote areas. … Robbery, extortion, and murder became more common than traffic accidents.

Anyone wearing a uniform was a candidate for a bullet to the head or sulfuric acid to the face. Country estates were burnt down (“rural illuminations”) and businesses were extorted or blown up. Bombs were tossed at random into railroad carriages, restaurants, and theaters. Far from regretting the death and maiming of innocent bystanders, terrorists boasted of killing as many as possible, either because the victims were likely bourgeois or because any murder helped bring down the old order. A group of anarcho-­communists threw bombs laced with nails into a café bustling with two hundred customers in order “to see how the foul bourgeois will squirm in death agony”. 

… Sadism replaced simple killing. … One group threw “traitors” into vats of boiling water. Others were still more inventive. Women torturers were especially admired.

Not just lawyers, teachers, doctors, and engineers, but even industrialists and bank directors raised money for the terrorists. Doing so signaled advanced opinion and good manners. A quote attributed to Lenin—“When we are ready to kill the capitalists, they will sell us the rope”—would have been more accurately rendered as: “They will buy us the rope and hire us to use it on them.” True to their word, when the Bolsheviks gained control, their organ of terror, the Cheka, “liquidated” members of all opposing parties … Why didn’t the liberals and businessmen see it coming?

That question has bothered many students of revolutionary movements. Revolutions never succeed without the support of wealthy, liberal, educated society. Yet revolutionaries seldom conceal that their success entails the seizure of all wealth, the suppression of dissenting opinion, and the murder of class enemies.

In educated Russian society . . . by no means every view [could] be expressed. A whole school of thought . . . [was] morally forbidden, not merely in lectures but in private conversation. And the more “liberated” the company, the more heavily this tacit prohibition [weighed] on it. …

Though some liberals recognized their differences from the radicals, most acted like [radical] wannabes who were unwilling to acknowledge, even to themselves, that their values were essentially different. [They were] socialized to regard anything conservative as reprehensible—and still worse, as a social faux pas

These liberals illustrated how moral cowardice develops, while love of truth and intellectual daring are extinguished. Captivated by public opinion, they signed petitions they did not agree with and excused heinous acts, always observing the rule: Better to side with people a mile to one’s left than be associated with anyone an inch to one’s right. Educated society knew that one could not just abolish the police, as the anarchists demanded, and that socialism would not instantly cure all ills, but they assured themselves that progressive opinion must be right …

When a party is willing to push its power as far as it can go, it will keep going until it meets sufficient opposition. … In Russia, Stalin proclaimed “the intensification of the class struggle” after the Revolution, entailing an unending series of arrests, executions, and sentences to the Gulag. What meets no resistance does not stop.

The Democratic Party is threatening continued and intensified violence. It has become the terrorist party. 

Opposing it is as urgent as defending the country against invasion by a foreign power.

Posted under revolution, Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 21, 2020

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

This post has 3 comments.

Permalink

The hypocrite of Turtle Bay 1

The United Nations MUST be abolished. 

It is evil and it does evil. Nothing but evil.

This organization is the most blatant hypocrite of all the hypocritical institutions in the world. More so even than the churches. And though hypocrisy is, as La Rochefoucauld said, the “tribute vice pays to virtue”, this hypocrite’s continued existence is an insult to the entire human race.

Hypocrisy House in Turtle Bay, N.Y.

Judith Bergman writes at Gatestone:

As accusations of “institutional racism” in organizations, professions, universities and cultural institutions continue to make the headlines, no one is calling out the institutional racism of the United Nations (UN).

What is institutional racism? The first entry on Google tells you, “Institutional racism is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within society or an organization”.

If you google “racism”, a Google dictionary defines it as:

Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

The UN counts all the states in the world as its members, and all are ostensibly equal under international law, to which the UN claims to adhere. According to its own rationale, therefore, all the member states in the UN should be treated equally by the organization’s various bodies and be judged according to the same standards. If the UN would systematically single out a minority of only one member state to be condemned for alleged human rights abuses for example, while completely ignoring the documented human rights abuses of an entire host of member states, this double-standard would amount to systematic discrimination, or “racism”, against that state according to the definition of “institutional racism” mentioned above.

This form of systematic discrimination, or “racism”, is in fact what the UN has been engaging in for decades against one country, Israel, a tiny state of roughly 8.7 million citizens – with a landmass roughly the size of New Jersey — out of a total world population of 7.8 billion people:

The UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the UN Commission on Human Rights have passed a large number of resolutions and decisions against Israel. According to the human rights non-governmental organization (NGO), UN Watch:

Every year, the General Assembly adopts some 20 resolutions against Israel and only 5 or 6 against the rest of the world combined, with one each on Iran, Syria and North Korea. The General Assembly adopts zero resolutions on systematic abusers like Cuba, China, and Saudi Arabia.

The discrimination is too obvious to ignore. There are 193 member states in the UN. For 20 resolutions a year to be lobbed at the only democratic country in the Middle East, which actually observes human rights and equality under the law — but only 5 or 6 at the remaining 192 states, which include major violators of international law such as China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Nigeria and Iran — speaks of an extremely ingrained form of state-sponsored discrimination or “racism”.

China, a state of 1.4 billion people, continues to be the number one executioner in the world …  The Chinese Communist regime ruthlessly persecutes ethnic and religious minorities, and withholds from its own citizens the most basic human rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly, as previously reported by Gatestone Institute. Every one of those rights is enshrined in the UN’s own conventions and declarations. …  Even though China is a leading violator of international law and one of the most outrageous abusers of human rights, neither the General Assembly nor the UNHRC has condemned its actions.

There are countless other examples of UN member states who do not live up to even a fraction of the UN’s treaties and declarations of human rights, yet those countries are never called out. The UNHRC has not passed a single resolution against Saudi Arabia, for instance, a country of more than 33 million people that largely continues to operate according to medieval human rights standards, despite the efforts of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to effect some reforms. Last year, the kingdom surpassed its own record for executions …  when it beheaded 184 people. Saudi Arabia only decided to end flogging a few months ago. The desert country, which takes up most of the Arabian Peninsula, also still operates a male guardianship system, which treats women as legal minors, so that they usually can only travel and perform the most mundane tasks, such as applying for a passport, under the supervision of a male guardian. …

There are countless other examples of countries with atrocious human rights records that are not only not called out by the UN and its human rights bodies, but actually serve on those bodies; countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, which all currently serve on the UN Human Rights Council. …

Even the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), at its annual assembly, assigns Israel its own separate agenda item, number 14. In it, every year, Israel is condemned as a violator of “Palestinian health rights” in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan”.

In fact, Israel provides free medical care to thousands of Arabs hurt in the ongoing war in Syria, and medical treatment and aid of all sorts to Palestinians.

The UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) “dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women”, also routinely singles out Israel for condemnation for “violating women’s rights” [which it does not, of course – ed], while countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Iran, some of the world’s most dangerous countries for women, are not even mentioned. Not only is there no condemnation of Saudi Arabia — where women are still treated as legal minors, and where campaigners for basic women’s rights face long prison sentences — but Saudi Arabia was even elected to the CSW a few years ago to assist in the task of “promoting women’s rights”.

Regrettably, almost all UN member states, apart from the United States, appear to find this discriminatory treatment of just one country in the world to be completely normal and as matters should be. There is simply a whopping international double-standard here on what passes as institutional racism and what does not — and it needs to be acknowledged.

Ironically, the institutional racism against Israel at the UN takes the focus away from countries that are in acute need of scrutiny — which is possibly the reason for its success. Countries where women have few to no rights, where political opponents are tortured and stashed away in prisons or killed, and where people cannot speak their minds freely, get a pass. At the very least, people might question whether an organization that has made discrimination against one country in the world one of its operating principles — as institutionalized in permanent agenda items and almost ritual condemnations — is worth the exorbitant cost. The United States, for instance, as the organization’s single largest donor, in 2018 funded the UN to the tune of $10 billion.

At a minimum, instead of paying a mandatory “slightly less than one-fifth of the body’s collective budget” every year, the US — and the UN — would fare far better if the US paid for what it wanted and got what it paid for. At present, the UN has long ceased being a force for good [it never was – ed] and is being used, first, to prop up its majority of un-transparent, unaccountable anti-democratic despots, and second, to perpetuate conflicts — largely at the US taxpayers’ expense.

UNITED NATIONS DELENDA EST!

American hero 4

A future president? Successor in 2024 to Donald Trump?

Richard Grenell

President Trump’s acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell told the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Adam Schiff, that if they did not release transcripts of interviews conducted by the panel during its Russia probe in 2017 and 2018, he would do it himself.

The deeply dishonest and dishonorable Representative Adam Schiff had tried to keep the transcripts secret, because they reveal that the truth is the exact opposite of a claim he has been making for years. He had spoken often and vehemently of the massive quantity of evidence he possessed that Donald Trump, when he was a candidate for the presidency he later won, had “colluded” with the Russian government, in particular with President Putin, against the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

No such evidence could possibly exist because such “collusion” never happened. We now know that it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign and some sympathetic bureaucrats and intelligence agents who had used fictitious information (some of it perhaps from Russia, and if so in collusion with that enemy!) to frame Donald Trump.

Schiff, it emerges, had so totally deluded himself into believing his own lie that even after the transcripts were released under pressure from Grenell, and everyone could see that they provided no such evidence as he had claimed, he went on insisting that they did.

Fox News reported on May 7 that Schiff even cited the Mueller report, which had cleared President Trump of the charge, as confirmation that the alleged Trump-Russia collusion had taken place! Schiff said:

Despite the many barriers put in our way by the then-Republican Majority, and attempts by some key witnesses to lie to us and obstruct our investigation, the transcripts that we are releasing today show precisely what Special Counsel Robert Mueller also revealed: that the Trump campaign, and Donald Trump himself, invited illicit Russian help, made full use of that help, and then lied and obstructed the investigations in order to cover up this misconduct.

Not only do they show no such thing, what they do show is witness after witness testifying that he or she knew nothing about any such collusion. Not a drop or hint of any evidence whatsoever to support Adam Schiff’s false claim emerges from anyone’s testimony.

Fox reports:

The transcripts are full of testimony from officials who said they were unaware of evidence showing coordination between the Trump team and the Russians.

And no matter what deluded Schiff imagines to be case, the facts are now in the open, thanks to Richard Grenell.

And that is not all Grenell has done. He made more information public which Democrats had tried to keep hidden.

He declassified and released a list of top Obama administration officials who had requested the “unmasking” of Lt. Gen. Flynn during the presidential transition period. The list included then Vice President Joe Biden, James Comey then head of the FBI, John Brennan then head of the CIA, and James Clapper then Director of National Intelligence.

Soon after that he released an entire email that Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice had written and sent to herself on President Trump’s inauguration day, about an Oval Office meeting held some days earlier in which the Russia investigation plot was discussed. Present at the  meeting, she recorded, was Obama himself, Joe Biden, James Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. She repeated several times that Obama insisted everything they did to carry out the plot against the incoming president and his appointed security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, must  be “done by the book”. Yet Obama could not have believed that there was a legal way, a method approved by the “book” of the law, to stage a coup d’état!

So the plot has been blown wide open, and President Trump rightly calls it “the greatest political crime in the history of our country”.

Grenell has also served his country and its president well as US Ambassador to Germany.  Bruce Bawer specifies how at Front Page (in an article mainly about the furious reaction of the Democrats to the fact that the first openly gay man to be a Cabinet member has been appointed by President Trump, who, they constantly allege without a trace of evidence as usual, is “anti-gay”).

In Berlin [Grenell] called on German firms to stop commerce with Iran and pushed Angela Merkel’s government to spend more on defense, take back an old Nazi from the U.S., and ban Hezbollah. …

Anyone remotely familiar with the situation knows that Germany has long been the most anti-American country in Western Europe; a few months ago, a survey showed that only 35% of Germans view the U.S. positively and that “Germans now have more trust in China than in the United States”. …

[[Yet] German firms did cut ties with Iran; Merkel’s government did hike its defense budget; she took that old Nazi off our hands; and, yes, Hezbollah got banned. …

The salient point about Grenell’s stint in Germany is that he’s exactly what the German-American relationship has needed for a long time. Germans, or at least German elites, have always looked down on Americans as rubes and boors; after we crushed their evil empire in 1945, they kept a low profile for a couple of decades, whereupon the War in Vietnam gave them an excuse to climb back on their high horse. After that, the contempt ran deeper than ever, because, whatever their pretensions, they knew we were a superpower and they weren’t, and that was, for them, an unbearable thought. Their chronic lust for power was satiated by the transformation of the Common Market into the EU, which gave German leaders the vast continental empire they always wanted.

While consolidating power over that empire, the Germans have treated their sometime conqueror and longtime protector, the U.S. with increasing disrespect, welshing on NATO debt and ignoring U.S. concerns about their dealings with Iran and Russia. More than any American envoy before him, Grenell, with Trump’s backing, has called them on the carpet for this, put them in their place, knocked them off their perches. (As Victor Davis Hanson has put it, “Trump did not create the wound with Germany. He simply tore off the scab, exposed, and poked at what was long festering beneath.”) They can’t stand it, but they have to take it, because they know what’s what and who’s who. It’s good for them. It’s good for the world. …

So Richard Grenell is good for America, good for the conservative Right, good for the Trump administration – and good for the world.

Cold war with China 1

Yes.

Cold war with China needs no question mark. It is not a question – should there be, or should there not be …?

It is a fact. It is a war even longer than the one in Afghanistan.

Colonel Richard Kemp (who commanded British forces in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans) writes at Gatestone:

Commentators and politicians today worry that the current situation might trigger a new cold war with China. They fail to understand that, in a similar but much more far-reaching pattern to the jihadist conflict, China has been fighting a cold war against the West for decades, while we have refused to recognize what is going on….

Few in the West fully recognize the threat to our own economies, security and liberty. Many who do refuse to speak out for four reasons: 

First, fear of coming into China’s crosshairs, provoking economic harm or character assassination.

Second, fear of accusations of racism, a concern readily exploited by the Chinese state whose own egregious racism is only too obvious.

Third, belief that our liberal values can change those that oppose us. The hope that Chinese exposure to free trade, including entry into the WTO in 2001, would have this effect has proven woefully misguided and served only to strengthen Beijing’s oppressive regime.

Fourth, many political leaders, businessmen, academics and journalists have been bought and paid for by Beijing whether by financial incentive or blackmail.

How can the West fight back? Although still militarily and economically inferior to the US, China is a formidable and growing economic power, interwoven with Western economies to an unprecedented degree. We must begin to divest from and sanction China, repatriate and use alternative sources of manufacturing and technology, restrict capital investment there and curb Chinese investment here, especially in our infrastructure.

We must re-invigorate and develop our own technology, much long abandoned to the Chinese juggernaut. We must enforce the norms of international trade and act vigorously to prevent and penalize China’s orgy of industrial theft that has gone largely unchallenged for decades. We must push back globally against Beijing’s imperialism and propaganda wherever it occurs.

But what if cold war with China leads to hot war with China?

We must also prepare for military conflict, with an emphasis on deterring Chinese aggression.

America will have to lead the fightback as it did previously in the cold war [with Soviet Russia], but success will require Europe and our allies around the world to stand with them for the long term. This is not a party political issue, but must become a fundamental element of enduring Western grand strategies. This is the task of decades and will be high-risk and costly. The alternative is to remain on the hook and in hock to the Chinese communist state and let future generations suffer the incalculable consequences of our continued purblind inaction.

Tom Basile, writing at American Greatness, thinks cold war with China is yet to begin in ernest on our side, but certainly will, and should be unhesitatingly engaged.

Our struggle will not be against China alone, but also against Russia and Iran.

 We shouldn’t be afraid of a new Cold War. …

Economic alliances that have made the Western democracies weaker, less focused, and often playing into the hands of authoritarian competitors seeking to expand their power.

We believed that opening China would produce a stronger level of trust, cooperation, and liberalization. …

It has not done so.

We genuinely wanted the Russian experiment in democracy to succeed. It hasn’t and we need to accept that. …

We may have wanted it to succeed, but not all of us expected that it would.

For decades we failed to make Iran pay for financing global Islamic terrorist networks that have taken countless innocent lives and destabilized countries around the world. The Obama Administration’s capitulation to the mullahs was perhaps the lowest point in American foreign policy of the last half-century.

Agreed.

The troika of China, Russia, and Iran represent a significant and present threat to the safety and security of the free world.

That requires an aggressive response.

Agreed again.

The Chinese, through their Belt and Road Initiative, have set about conquering Africa.

The three are also making inroads in the Western Hemisphere as well, including information manipulation that reaches the eyes and ears of Americans every day.

China, Russia, and Iran will act with insidious intent to damage the United States. Having an economic, military, and diplomatic counter-posture is absolutely critical.

America should not fight the “troika” alone, but with Western allies:

From 1960-1975, the United States threatened or imposed economic sanctions more than 25 times, not counting U.S. support for U.N. sanctions against South Africa and other nations. We invested in the developing world to provide an incentive for those nations to align with the West. The Cold War promoted enterprise-based, free-market capitalism that strengthened our democratic allies. The military effort led to significant technological advancements.

Redrawing the lines of engagement now would mean igniting the ability of the United States and Western economies again to consolidate economic power. The economic opportunity for American and European countries for freezing out Huawei is enormous.

But the opportunity is not being seized by America’s closest European ally. Britain is obstinately sticking to its contract with Huawei to build its G5 network, careless of the risk that doing so further empowers the Communist Chinese enemy.

A new Cold War means creating new trading blocs and incentives to dissuade free nations from supporting authoritarian competitors. It means governments making the tough decision to economically marginalize these regimes. Such a move may increase consumer prices but can lead to a restoration of millions of American jobs, economic growth in the developing world, and protecting superior Western innovation from piracy.

During the Cold War [with Soviet Russia], a vast majority of Americans understood that it was important for the United States and its allies to counter Communism. We cannot allow the moral relativism of the Left in America today to make us timid in the face of real threats to our security and individual liberty, not to mention the sovereignty of other nations.

Sure, there was debate and protest over disarmament and détente. Of course, there were those who were opposed our strong anti-Communist stance and Ronald Reagan’s “We win, they lose” posture, and many who railed against the so-called military-industrial complex.

Today, empowered by the media and digital platforms, those forces clearly have a strong voice.

Nonetheless, America’s destiny is—as it has always been—to be a beacon of freedom and prevent the human race from being dominated by authoritarianism that saps the soul of the individual, devalues life, and prevents human advancement for the sake of ruling elites.

Prevent the whole of the human race from falling under oppressive government? That is a very large assignment. Is it really America’s mission? And if so, is it possible?

Those who today fancy themselves experts in the media will say we can’t shift our posture in such a fashion. …

We would do well to remember our history. In the past century, hundreds of thousands of Americans died fighting the Germans, only to see Germany become one of our staunchest allies. We used the atomic bomb to obliterate two Japanese cities, yet today Japan is one of our closest trading partners.

A new Cold War-style approach to China, Russia, and Iran is a call for America reconstituting the strong allied bloc it once led and rejecting the free-for-all globalist movement that turns a blind eye to enemies allegedly for the sake of cheap products.

America first needs to mean America leads again.

[The pandemic of] COVID-19 can indeed reset the world order placing us in the familiar position of making bold moves to protect freedom. What remains to be seen is whether we have the courage to lead again.

Using economic and if necessary military power to fight China, preferably with the co-operation of Western allies, is one thing – necessary and possible.

But America resetting the world order?

That requires a question mark.

Posted under Africa, China, Iran, Russia, Soviet Union, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 1 comment.

Permalink

Loving prayers, hate speech, and disinformation 1

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives and official leader of the campaign to destroy President Trump by impeaching him, furiously denied to a reporter that she hates Donald Trump when he asked her if she did:

“I don’t hate anybody,” responded Pelosi. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. Don’t accuse me of hate.”

Being accused of hatred was, in Pelosi’s mind, the same as accusing her of being a bad Catholic.

“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” she said. “I don’t hate anyone.”

Hatred was not part of her upbringing, she said. “I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love.”

On the contrary, she said, she always prays for the president. “I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time.”

How deeply reassuring for the president. (And the reporter – a rare one to provoke Speaker Pelosi! – must have felt warmly loved too.)

But in Reality, for the last four years, the Democrats, the Left everywhere, and the media have been spewing hatred of Donald Trump non-stop, night and day. They hate him.

It’s not that they merely don’t like what he stands for, what he does or how he does it. They certainly don’t, and they would be against anyone who stood for the same and did the same. But their intense hatred is plainly for the man himself.  

The hatred is totally irrational, and for those of us who much admire and like President Trump, impossible to understand. Is their hatred motivated by envy? Can they not bear it that Donald Trump is a successful businessman, a billionaire, a TV star, and on top of it all, president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world? And he has a very beautiful wife. And successful children. How dare he?

They – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa activists, the professors, the media hacks – hate him with a hatred that drives them to any length in their effort to destroy him. For days, weeks, months, years on end they rage against him in the House and the Senate. They make up absurd lies about him. There is no accusation, however farfetched, however unlikely, however ridiculous, however crazy, however impossible that they have not or will not level against him, over and over again.

Has there ever before been so much hate speech poured out against an elected American leader?  

No matter how much good he does for the country – and he has done a lot; no matter how competent he is – and he is highly competent; no matter how generous he is – and he is generous, even giving away his salary: they hate him, hate him, hate him. They want him thrown out of office; they want him humiliated; they want him tortured; they want him dead. 

To help them achieve his ruin, to help them advance the great cause of destroying Donald Trump, the media (most of them) lie about him. They spread misinformation, disinformation, scurrilous rumors, obscene tales, filthy smears.   

And at the same time they all – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa actvists, the professors, the media hacksceaselessly rail against “hate speech and disinformation”.

What they mean by “hate speech” is the expression of any opinion that differs from their own. And by “disinformation” they mean any contradiction, any disproof, any exposure of their lies.

They want “hate speech and disinformation” stopped. Pronto. It’s intolerable to them that people go on saying things they don’t like. It’s too provoking! People .. people … do it, go on and on doing it, in the “social media”. Freely. Saying whatever they like. No regulation. No punishment. Good grief, they behave as if the United States of America were Liberty Hall!

We quote parts of an article by Paul Bradford at American Greatness:

 Joe Biden wants to punish Facebook and Twitter so they will censor more.

Biden endorsed one of the most aggressive proposals against Big Tech last week in an interview with the New York Times. He wants to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from publisher liabilities.

“Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one,” Biden said. “For [Mark] Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] and other platforms.”

“It should be revoked because [Facebook] is not merely an internet company,” Biden said. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible. It’s totally irresponsible.”

Biden also won’t rule out criminal penalties for Zuckerberg over alleged collusion with the Russian government.

Biden, it needs to be borne in mind, was vice president when Barack Obama was president and they were colluding with the Russians.

He implied the Facebook executive is selling out American democracy to foreign tyrants for cold hard cash.

Biden, it should also be borne in mind, and through him his brothers and his son and his sister and his son-in-law, corruptly raked in cold hard cash, much of it from foreign tyrants, by the million when he was vice-president. He sold his office.

Biden is particularly upset with the number of ads Trump runs on Facebook.

He sees a terrible risk that if Trump is allowed to do that, he could get himself re-elected! Why can’t Zuckerberg and the other tech giants see what danger they’re running America into?

Nearly every Democratic presidential candidate, both former and current, wants to punish tech companies for allowing “hate speech” and “disinformation” on their platforms.

Three candidates besides Biden want to target Section 230. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to look into Section 230 to make sure “right-wing groups don’t abuse regulation to advance their agenda” and that tech platforms censor hate speech. He doesn’t call for the outright elimination of Section 230 but his meaning is plain enough.

Similarly, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a forgotten presidential candidate, wants to revise Section 230 to hold Big Tech accountable for “misinformation and hate speech on their platforms”.

The other candidates also want to pressure Big Tech to censor more, but haven’t specifically mentioned Section 230. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to break up Facebook and other tech giants as punishment for “profiting off of hate speech and disinformation campaigns”.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says his administration would investigate and call out platforms that “traffic in hate and encourage or fail to moderate abuse and hate”. Buttigieg wants more aggressive measures to suppress ads that liberals deem to be erroneous.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another former presidential candidate, also wants Big Tech punished for alleged hate speech. “We will hold social media platforms responsible for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” she told the NAACP last year.

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, that candidate will demand more online censorship. Every major candidate sees what they call “hate speech” as something that should not be protected by the First Amendment. Every single one of them wants to use state power to push Facebook, Twitter and other platforms into only allowing liberal discourse.

In fact, in Reality – the sphere where Leftists do not like to live – conservatives are constantly being censored, suspended, rebuked, and outright banned by the Powers that govern the internet. Every one of those Powers is Left-biased. But some conservative opinion does get published to the world, and how can the Left, and especially those in it who have been raised in a way that fills their hearts with love, be expected to tolerate such a state of affairs?

Is NATO worth saving? 5

It is 70 years since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established.

Theodore Roosevelt Malloch writes at American Greatness:

Only nine of its 29 member states pay their agreed dues—up from five last year, thanks to President Trump’s pestering. Not that he gets any credit for it.

Nevertheless, that is $130 billion more for NATO’s collective defense! Which is both more money than one can fathom, and simultaneously a pitiful fraction (around 20 percent) of America’s defense spending.

NATO’s membership is paying more thanks to constant hammering by President Trump. But many [more than two-thirds of the member states] have not yet reached the treaty’s required 2 percent threshold, including the richest countries, like Germany. So long as Angela Merkel remains in power with the votes of left-wing socialists (called the “Grand Coalition”) in the Bundestag, the chance is near zilch of this issue being dealt with. For her part, Merkel has promised Germany will hit the 2 percent target sometime in the “early 2030s”. …

By which time Germany will be a Muslim ruled country, a fate from which its only salvation might be Russian conquest.

That Russian domination could be considered by indigenous Germans preferable to Islamic subjugation is in itself a vivid indication of just how horrible the outlook is for Europe.

But Trump is turning [NATO] round. Give him credit.

The world has changed a great deal in the 70 years since the Washington Treaty was first signed and the North Atlantic Charter was put into force. American soldiers held the line on the free side of the Iron Curtain long enough for Moscow to trip on its own contradictions.

But 1989 was 30 years ago and the triumph that was the 50th anniversary celebrations (1999) is a distant memory. Today NATO is fully benefiting from nostalgia for the 1990s, despite the Balkan wars awkwardly underscoring the limitations of collective security in the new world order.

This week’s NATO summit is less of a celebration of the military achievements and the collapse of the Soviet empire than it is a day of reckoning.

Does NATO have a future or is it, as French President Emmanuel Macron recently called it, “brain dead”? Merkel herself famously criticized NATO in the months after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and backed Macron’s version of a European army, widely seen as a threat to the alliance.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the enfant terrible of the alliance (whose rough neighborhood includes long borders with Iran, Syria, Iraq, all unstable war zones) has also come out swinging, this time against Macron. It is Macron who’s brain dead, the Turkish president said. His ambassador in Paris was called in for a stern dressing down.

Turkey has been not just an uncooperative member of NATO; it has been positively obstructive, in the past and again now.

The question has arisen whether Turkey could be expelled from NATO.

At [the 70th] anniversary summit of its members, President Trump, who has long thought the collective security arrangement “obsolete” … reiterated his demand that Europe pay more (South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Japan, as well) for their defense.

He suggested NATO should refocus on terrorism, Syria, cybersecurity, and most critically, China, the number one adversary NATO countries face. …

Can NATO adapt fast enough?

Can NATO adapt?

The Russians are in no state [at present] to take over Ukraine, much less Germany. …

The organization has certainly proven to be resilient—but is it relevant any longer?

Is it an alliance any longer?

Witness the differences in implementing nuclear sanctions on Iran—Europe has set up INSTEX, a sanctions-dodging mechanism for blockade-running. Iran’s regime, currently wracked by the worst protests in 40 years, when the mullahs came to power, is being thrown a lifeline by Paris, Brussels, and Berlin.

Why?

As the strongest and most successful military alliance in history—at least it is according to its own secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg of Norway—the crux of the matter on this birthday is, does NATO have an ability to change significantly? He certainly thinks so.

In our new book Trump’s World, Felipe J. Cuello and I argue that the “dog fight” over NATO is in a critical stage and the disruptor-in-chief, Geo Deus Donald Trump, may give it a second breath—but only if the alliance pays and it shifts.

GEO DEUS DONALD TRUMP.

 

 

An earthly Deus even we can believe in. Thank you Theodore Roosevelt Malloch and Felipe J. Cuello for that!

In his America First paradigm, but not alone, there is a new taskmaster in town and he plays by new rules not old ways and ideologies of globalism. NATO survives and grows in strength thanks to one Donald J. Trump.

That is to say, if it survives and grows in strength it will be thanks to Geo Deus Donald J. Trump.

Perhaps a new type of “alliance” is needed. States that want to be protected by the mightiest military in the world pay America directly; put their own forces – those few who have them in working order – under the command of the president of the United States; their ordnance, warships and aircraft, technological facilities, satellites, and foreign offices (yes, those too!) at his disposal. At least for as long as Donald J. Trump or successors approved by him are in power.

Would the world not then be a safer, more peaceful, more prosperous place? Could be. It’s at least a possibility.

An impeachment process in search of a crime 3

Rep. Devin Nunes truthfully accuses the lying accusers at the start of the impeachment enquiry, which is the latest move in the Democrats’ evil plot to overthrow the elected president:

Posted under corruption, Crime, Russia, Ukraine, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tagged with , , , , , , , , ,

This post has 3 comments.

Permalink

Veterans Day 2019 1

The First World War, which ended 101 years ago today, was an utterly unnecessary war. It was started for no better reason than to satisfy the vanity of kings.

According to War History Online:

There were around 8 million Frenchmen fighting, 13 million Germans, 9 million Austro-Hungarian men, 9 million British soldiers, 18 million Russians, 6 million Italians and 4 million from the United States.

Here’s the “official” break down [of dead and injured in the engaged armies]:

France: 1.4 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Germany: 1.8 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Austria-Hungary: 1.4 million dead, 3.6 million injured.

Russia: 1.8 million dead, 5 million injured.

Britain and British Empire: 900,000 dead, 2 million injured.

Italy: 600,000 dead, 1 million injured.

Serbia suffered the greatest losses [proportionately] to their military. Nearly three quarters of their soldiers were either killed (130,000) or wounded (135,000).

The battles of Verdun and the Somme in 1916 left 770,000 and 1.2 million (respectively) missing, wounded or dead from both sides.

Some of the most devastating losses were caused in the beginning weeks of the world war. In one day, August 22, 1914, nearly 27,000 French soldiers were killed. That day remains the deadliest day in France’s history in regards to military men killed.

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I: about 40 million.

It was a vast blood-letting that started the ever accelerating decline of Western civilization.

It destroyed a great part of a whole generation of men.

It facilitated the turning of Russia into a Communist torture-chamber and graveyard, and source of sepsis for the whole world, still spreading.

It led causally to the Second World War, which the allies had necessarily to fight, and in which there were even greater numbers of dead and injured.

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth wept as the customary wreaths were laid at the foot of the cenotaph in memory of the men and women killed in the two world wars.

Today in America we honor all those who have served and serve now in the US military.

It was because America came to the aid of Europe twice in the last century, that liberty was preserved for our world. Whether it will survive much longer remains to be seen. Half the voters of America seem to want to live under the tyranny that was militarily defeated in the last century.

We do well to remember, as Europeans mourn their heroes and Americans honor theirs, how precious and rare is the liberty they fought for.

Posted under Austria, Britain, communism, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, liberty, nazism, Russia, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, November 11, 2019

Tagged with ,

This post has 1 comment.

Permalink

Russia 1

An illuminating article. For us, lifelong students of Communism and the modern history of Russia, almost as full of surprises as of affirmations.

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society”, as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions”, which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

Religious morality? Communism not a religious morality? Not the same religious morality in certain vital respects? All red capes waving at us bulls!  But for the sake of what’s to come, we’ll only stand and paw the ground – and give a snort or two.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

A louder snort. But on:

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West”. Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia. Moscow let countless priorities languish as it rebuilt in record time its massive Christ the Savior cathedral to original specifications. As the Russian Orthodox church resumed its place as a pillar of the Russia that had been Christianity’s bastion against the Mongol horde as well as against the Muslim Ottomans, golden domes soon shone throughout the land. Whatever anyone might think of the Russian Orthodox church, it anchors the country to its Christian roots.

Few Americans understood Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the close of the 20th century as the reassertion of a bankrupt, humiliated, resentful people looking to make Russia great again. Since then, Putin has rebuilt the Russian state into a major European power with worldwide influence. Poverty and a resource-based economy notwithstanding, it is on a sounder financial basis than any Western country. Corruption is within historical limits. The leadership is appreciated by the vast majority, whose national pride and solidarity dwarf those of Western publics. Nearly all Russians approve strongly of its absorption of Crimea. Russia effectively controls Ukraine’s eastern end, and has exposed the West’s incapacity to interfere militarily in the former Soviet empire. In the Middle East, Russia is now the dominant force.

In sum, the Russian bear licks its deep wounds as it growls behind fearsome defenses.

The Neighborhood

Russia’s Westernism is neither imitation nor love of the West. It is the assertion that Russia is an indispensable part of it. The Russians saved Europe from Napoleon, and from Hitler, too. That they did the latter tyrannically, as Soviets, does not, in their minds, disqualify them from their rightful place in Europe, or justify Europeans, much less Americans, trying to limit Russia’s rightful stature. Today’s Russian rulers are not gentler or nicer than the emperor who shook off the Mongol yoke—who wasn’t known as Ivan the Nice Guy. Like their forebears they are calculating Russia’s stature in terms of the limits—primarily in Europe—set by their own present power as well as by that of their immediate neighbors.

Russian writing on international affairs focuses exclusively on the country’s role as a member of the European system. By the 2030s, if not sooner, the Russian government will have filled such territory, and established such influence, as befit its own people’s and its neighbors’ realities, and will be occupied with keeping it. More than most, Putin is painfully aware of Russia’s limits. Its declining population is less than half of America’s and a tenth of China’s. Despite efforts to boost natality, its demography is likely to recover only slowly. Nor is its culture friendly to the sort of entrepreneurship, trust, and cooperation that produces widespread wealth. What, then, are Putin’s—or any Russian leader’s—national and international objectives?

As always, Ukraine is of prime interest to Russia because it is the crux of internal and external affairs. With Ukraine, Russia is potentially a world power. Without it, it is less, at best. But Putin’s pressures, disruptions, and meddlings have shown him how limited Russia’s reach into Ukraine is, and is sure to remain. Hence, Russia’s conquest of Ukraine east of the Don River signifies much less the acquisition of a base for further conquest than the achievement of modern Russia’s natural territorial limit in Europe. The 20th century’s events forever severed Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia; even Belarus has become less compatible with it. Modern Russia is recognizing its independence, even as the Soviet Union at the height of its power effectively recognized Finland’s. As the Russian Federation’s demographic weight shifts southeastward—and Islamism continues to gain favor there—the Russian government will have to consider whether to shift its efforts from keeping the Muslim regions within the federation to expelling and building fences against them.

As the decades pass, post-Soviet Russia will have to work harder and harder to cut the sort of figure in Europe that it did under the tsars. That figure’s size is the issue. The Russian empire’s size has varied over the centuries according to the ratios between its and its neighbors’ national vigor and power. In the past, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the Hanseatic powers, Germany, all have shrunken or swollen Russia. Borders and spheres of influence have varied. There is no reason why this should not be so in the future. Russia will neither invade Europe nor dominate it politically because its people lack the political will, and its state the capacity, to do either. During Soviet times, this will and this capacity were the product of the national and international Communist Party apparatus, now gone forever.

A glance back at this gargantuan human structure reminds us of how grateful we should be that it now belongs to history. The Communist faction that resulted from the 1918 split in the international socialist movement—like the rump socialist faction that ended up governing Europe after 1945, but unlike the fascist one—already intended to conquer the world. (Fascism, Mussolini’s invention, recalled some of ancient Rome’s peculiar institutions and symbols—the fasces was the bundle of punishing rods carried by the consuls’ lictors—and added governing Italy through business-labor-government councils. It was not for export.) Communists worldwide came under the firm control of the Soviet Party’s international division run by formidable persons like Andrei Zhdanov and Boris Ponomarev, disposing of virtually unlimited budgets and, after 1929, of the services of countless “front organizations.” These, the party’s hands and feet and its pride and joy, reached out to every imaginable category of persons: union members, lawyers, teachers, journalists, housewives, professional women, students, non-students. Each front organization had an ostensible purpose: peace, through opposition or support of any number of causes. But supporting the “Soviet line” was the proximate purpose of all. Through tens of thousands of “witting” Communists, these fronts marshaled millions of unwitting supporters, helping to reshape Western societies. Soviet political control of Europe was eminently possible, with or without an invasion, because the Soviet domestic apparatus had marshaled Soviet society, and because its international department and front organizations had convinced sectors of European societies to welcome the prospect.

The tools that today’s Russia wields vis-à-vis Europe are limited to commerce in natural gas, and to the opportunities for bribery that this creates—witness Russian Gazprom’s employment of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Not only do European governments not fear being invaded by Russia, they refuse to diversify their sources of natural gas, and generally oppose American sanctions imposed on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The notion among European ruling parties that the voters who are in the process of rejecting them for various “populist” and nationalist options, are pining for Russian-style governance or tricked by Russian wiles is a baseless attempt to sidestep the ruling parties’ own failures.

The Lefty globalists think that? There’s a surprise! Whatever makes them think so? We see the populist movements as being unequivocally towards conservative nationalism, self-determination, personal liberty, not … neo-tsarism.

Europe’s rulers know that Russian military forces are not built to conquer the continent, because these forces lack the wherewithal for large-scale projection of power. Instead, they possess formidable capacity for what soldiers call “area denial”. This fits Russian leaders’ strategic goals, the people’s sentiments, and material constraints. The wars that today’s Russian military are built to fight are in areas that today’s Russian military sees most threatened by the U.S. and NATO, on its borders with Poland and Lithuania (where Russia crushed the Wehrmacht in 1944-45), and in Ukraine, north of Crimea. Russia’s military posture has ever been, and gives every sign of remaining, strategically defensive but operationally offensive. Now as before, when war seems imminent Russia’s operational doctrine calls for taking the initiative in a preemptive manner.

Although Russian strategy would be to surround and seal off foreign troops by air and ground, for the first time in Russia’s history, military manpower is scarce and precious. Economizing manpower is one reason why the country has fully integrated nuclear weapons in ordinary military operations, recalling nothing so much as President Dwight Eisenhower’s doctrine in the 1950s of “more bang for the buck”. To seal off the airspace, and to provide an umbrella for their ground forces, the Russians would use the S-400 air-missile defense system—the world’s best, which is now deployed around some 300 high-value locations. Strikes (or the threat thereof) by the unique Iskander short-range missile would preclude the foreign forces’ escape, as Russian troops moved in with Armata tanks, which carry the world’s best reactive armor.

Possession of perhaps the world’s best offensive and defensive strategic forces—comparable to America’s and far superior to China’s—is why Russia is confident that it can contain within limited areas the wars that it needs to fight. Because Russia has nothing to gain by military action against America or China, this arsenal is militarily useful only as insurance against anyone’s escalation of border disputes, and as the basis for Russia’s claim to be a major world player.

Priorities and Collusion

Russia loomed small in U.S. foreign policy from the time of the founding until the 1917 Bolshevik coup, because the interactions between America’s and Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests were few and mostly compatible. Given that these fundamentals have not changed, it would be best for both countries if their policies gradually returned to that long normal.

But for both countries, transcending the past century’s habits is not easy. The essential problem is that neither side’s desires, nor its calculus of ends and means, is clear to the other, or perhaps to itself. It seems that the main thing Putin or any other Russian leader might want from America is no interference as Russia tries to recreate the tsars’ empire. Thus Russia’s continuing relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America can only be understood as Cold War inertia—the almost instinctive sense that what is bad for America must somehow be good for Russia. The U.S. government, for its part, while largely neglecting Russia’s involvement in the Western hemisphere, tries to limit its influence in Europe while at the same time reaching agreements concerning strategic weapons—a largely Cold War agenda. The soundness of these priorities on both sides is doubtful.

Both Russia and the U.S. fear China, and with good reason. The crushing size of contemporary China’s population and economy frightens the Russians. The fact that some Russian women marry Chinese men (disdaining Russian ones) embarrasses them and has made them more racially prejudiced than ever against the Chinese. Yet Russia aligns with China internationally and sells it advanced weapons, paid for with American money—money that China earns by trading its people’s cheap labor for America’s expensive technology. With these weapons as well as its own, China has established de facto sovereignty over the South China Sea and is pushing America out of the western Pacific. Nonetheless, the U.S. treats Russia as a major threat, including “to our democracy”. For Russia and America to work against one another to their common principal adversary’s advantage makes no geopolitical sense. But internal dynamics drive countries more than geopolitics.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election—a charge which has roiled American public life for the past two years and counting. Interference in American life? That is what the Soviet Union was all about. By contrast, current concerns about Russia are a tempest, albeit a violent one, in a domestic American teapot.

In America, the Soviets worked less through the Communist Party than they did in Europe. Here [in America], they simply seduced and influenced people at the top of our society. Even in America prominent persons in the Democratic Party, academia, media, and intelligence services (or who would become prominent, e.g., future Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and CIA Director John Brennan), were Communists more or less openly. Far more important to the Soviets were persons convinced that Soviet and American interests were identical. Harry Hopkins, for example, who ran the U.S. government on President Franklin Roosevelt’s behalf, considered Stalin’s objectives to be so indistinguishable from America’s that the KGB considered him to be effectively Stalin’s agent. By contrast, Alger Hiss, an important State Department official, was one of many controlled Soviet agents within the U.S. government. But the compatibility between Hiss’s views and those of many in the U.S. ruling class was striking. For example, even after Soviet archives confirmed Hiss’s status as a Soviet agent, Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, like many of his class, angrily insisted on Hiss’s innocence.

The comradeship of American liberals and Soviet Communists lasted to the Soviet Union’s end. In May 1983, for example, in an incident widely reported at the time and confirmed by Soviet archives, former U.S. senator John Tunney visited Moscow and, on behalf of his friend and classmate—and prospective Democratic presidential candidate—Senator Edward Kennedy, proposed to KGB director Viktor Chebrikov that Kennedy work with Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov to “arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA” because “the only real potential threats to Reagan [in the 1984 election] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations”. Kennedy promised “to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews”. Collusion, anyone? Today, with the Soviet Union gone, its moral-intellectual imprint on our ruling class remains.

The contemporary notion of Russian interference, however, owes nothing to Russia. It began when, in June 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tried to explain how a trove of e-mails showing its partiality for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders got into the public domain, alleging that they had been hacked from its server by Russian agents. To this day, there is zero evidence for this, the DNC not having allowed access to that server by any law enforcement agency or independent party.

Throughout the rest of the 2016 campaign, this narrative merged with one from CIA Director John Brennan and other leaders of U.S. intelligence, who were circulating a scurrilous dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, that alleged Trump’s connections with Russia. The Obama Administration used the dossier as the basis for electronic and human surveillance of the Trump campaign. Together, these narratives prompted a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no basis for the dossier, or for a relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, the assertion of Trump’s indebtedness to Russia became the pretext for #TheResistance to the 2016 election’s result, led by the Democratic Party, most of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the media.

In Europe as well as in America, the establishment’s protagonists have pointed to Russia to allege that their rejection by the voters is somehow “undemocratic”. Larry Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, following Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, wrote that “in one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence [from sovereign voters] of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” Voting against the establishnment, you see, is undemocratic!

What Are Our Interests?

Making impossible a rational public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia is the very least of the damage this partisan war has wrought. American liberals believed the Soviet Union’s dissolution was impossible; conservatives flattered themselves that they caused it. Few paid attention to what happened and how. Once the Soviet Union was gone, the West in general and Americans in particular presumed to teach Russians how to live, while helping their oligarchs loot the country. Russians soon got the impression that they were being disrespected. At least as Soviets, they had been feared. The Clinton Administration was confident that Russia would become a liberal partner in the rules-based international order. At the same time Clinton tried to load onto Russia the hopes that the U.S. establishment had long entertained about global co-dominion with the Soviets. In the same moment they pushed NATO to Russia’s borders—a mess of appeasement, provocation, and insult. Long-suffering Russians, who had idolized the West during the Soviet era, came to dislike us.

As the George W. Bush Administration fumbled at the new reality, it tried to appease Russia by continuing to limit U.S. missile defenses in fact, while publicly disavowing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; it formally objected to Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, while effectively condoning it. The incoming Barack Obama Administration tried to go further along the same self-contradictory line by withdrawing anti-missile support from eastern Europe, and quietly promising even more restraint. But when, in 2014, Putin seized Crimea, Obama imposed serious economic sanctions and agreed to place NATO and American troops in Poland and the Baltic States. Then, for the most tactical of domestic political considerations, the Obama Administration, and hence the U.S. establishment, decided to try explaining the course and results of the 2016 U.S. election campaign as “Russia’s attack on our democracy”.

What are the American people’s interests in Eurasia, and how big are these interests? Although today’s Russia poses none of the ideological threats that the Soviet Union did—and despite the absence of geopolitical or any other clashing interests—Russia is clearly a major adversary in Europe and the Middle East. Its technical contributions to China’s military, and its general geopolitical alignment with China, are most worrisome. What, other than Soviet inertia and wounded pride, motivates the Russians? The U.S. maintains economic sanctions on Russia. To achieve precisely what? From both sides’ perspective, it is difficult to see what good can come from this continued enmity.

Today’s triangular U.S.-Russia-China calculus is not comparable to the Soviet-Chinese military confrontation of the 1970s and ’80s, when both the U.S. and China feared Soviet missiles, and the U.S. best served its own interests by implicitly extending its nuclear umbrella over China. Today, the problems between Russia and China stem from basic disparities that U.S. policy obscures by treating Russia as, if anything, more of a threat than China. The best that the U.S. can do for itself is to say nothing, and do nothing, that obscures these disparities. Without backhanded U.S. support for close Russo-Chinese relations, the two countries would quickly become each other’s principal enemies.

Ongoing U.S. anxiety about negotiations with Russia over weaponry is nothing but a legacy of the Cold War and a refusal to pay attention to a century of experience, teaching that arms control agreements limit only those who wish to limit themselves. Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing the Iskander missile; the U.S. was right to withdraw from the agreement, but mistaken in ever expecting another country not to arm itself as it thinks best. In that regard, Americans should not listen to, never mind accommodate in any way, Russia’s (or any other country’s) objections to U.S. missile defenses. These are in our clear and overriding interest. Defending America as best we can—against missiles that might come to us from anywhere, for any reason—is supremely our business.

What then are America’s legitimate, realizable demands on Russia?

Putin’s Russia, by its 2015-18 intervention in Syria and its management of Turkey, achieved the tsars’ historic desire for a warm water port. Although the former conquest is firm, keeping Turkey friendly to Russia must ever be troublesome. Absent a friendly Turkey, Russia’s renewed control of Crimea and even the Syrian bases will be of very limited worth for any but defensive purposes. Whatever else might be said of its role in the Middle East, Russia has brought more stable balance to local forces than ever in this young century. Only with difficulty will American statesmen regret that our old adversary now deals with some of the problems that bedeviled us for a half-century.

The U.S. would be more secure geopolitically were Russia merely one of several European powers. But it has always been an empire, whose size has varied with time. An independent Ukraine has always been the greatest practical limitation on Russia’s imperial ambitions. That is very much a U.S. interest, but is beyond our capacity to secure.

U.S. relations with Russia regarding Ukraine are analogous to U.S. relations with Europe 200 years ago. Our overriding interest then was to prevent the Europeans from holding any major part of the Western hemisphere. By stating America’s intention to guard its hemispheric interests while forswearing meddling in European affairs, the U.S. encouraged them to face that reality. Today’s Russia realizes it cannot control Ukraine except for its Russian part, nor the Baltics, never mind the Visegrád states. The U.S. could lead Russia to be comfortable with that reality by reassuring it that we will not use our normal relations with Ukraine or with any of Russia’s neighbors to try to define Russia’s limits in Europe. We should realize that our setting such limits is beyond America’s capacity, and that it undercuts the basis for fruitful relations.

The U.S. prefers the Baltic States, and especially Ukraine, to be independent. But we know, and should sincerely convey to Russia, that their independence depends on themselves, and that we regard it as counterproductive to make them into American pawns or even to give the impression that they could be. Ukraine’s independence—and hence Russia’s acceptance of it as inevitable—depends on Ukraine retrenching into its Western identity, rejecting the borders that Stalin and Khrushchev had fixed for it, and standing firmly on its own feet—as, for example, by asserting its Orthodox church’s independence from Russia’s.

Wise U.S. policy would remove sanctions that previous administrations placed on Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Fruitless strife has been these sanctions’ only result. For example, they emboldened Ukraine to suppose it had U.S. support for presuming it had the same right to navigation in the Sea of Azov, passing under a Russian bridge, as it does in the Atlantic Ocean.

But in accord with the Monroe Doctrine, we should be willing to wage economic war on Russia—outright and destructive—on America’s own behalf, were the Russians to continue supporting anti-U.S. regimes in the Western hemisphere. If you want economic peace with America, we would say, stop interfering in our backyard. We Americans, for our part, are perfectly willing to stop interfering in your backyard.

In sum, nothing should be geopolitically clearer than that the natural policy for both America and Russia is not to go looking for opportunities to get in each other’s way.

Nazism and Communism embraced each other 3

… 80 years ago today.

On August 23, 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed. Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were in alliance. Nazism and Communism, twin religions, united with each other.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at The Daily Signal:

Eighty years ago, on Aug. 23, 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, formally known as the “Treaty of nonaggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”

The world was shocked—and terrified—by the agreement. Western democracies of the 1930s had counted on the huge resources of Communist Russia, and its hostility to the Nazis, to serve as a brake on Adolf Hitler’s Western ambitions.

Great Britain and the other Western European democracies had assumed that the Nazis would never invade them as long as a hostile Soviet Union threatened the German rear.

The incompatibility between communism and Nazism was considered by all to be existential—and permanent. That mutual hatred explained why dictators Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin both despised and feared each other.

Yet all at once, such illusions vanished with signing of the pact. Just seven days later, on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. World War II had begun.

After quickly absorbing most of Eastern Europe by either coercion or alliance, Hitler was convinced that he now had a safe rear. So he turned west in spring 1940 to overrun Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and the Netherlands.

Hitler accomplished all that relatively easily, failing only to conquer Great Britain with an exhaustive bombing campaigning.

During all these Nazi conquests, a compliant Stalin shipped huge supplies of food and fuel for the German war effort against the West. Stalin cynically had hoped that Germany and the Western democracies would wear themselves out in a wasting war—similar to the four horrific years in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I.

Communism then easily would spread to the Atlantic amid the ruins of European capitalism. Unlike Czarist Russia in 1914, this time around the Soviets wanted to stay out of a German war. Instead, Stalin rearmed during the nonaggression pact with Hitler.

Stalin, of course, had no idea he had created a Nazi monster that would quickly devour all of Continental Europe—and turn to its rear to eye a now-isolated Soviet Union.

Much less did Stalin realize that the battle-hardened German war machine would soon overrun his country in a surprise attack beginning on June 22, 1941, a little less than two years after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

The nonaggression pact in a way had also ensured that a European war would soon turn into a global massacre that left roughly 65 million dead.

At the time of deal, imperial Japan was fighting the Soviet Union on the Manchurian-Mongolian border. The Japanese were de facto allies of Nazi Germany. They had assumed that Stalin’s fear of an aggressive Germany meant the Soviet Union would have to worry about a two-front war against both Germany and Japan.

But now, the surprise agreement stunned the Japanese, who saw it as a German betrayal. It left them alone against the superior forces of Russia’s eastern armies.

Japan quickly withdrew from its losing Russian war. In time it signed its own nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union, in April 1941—ironically, just months before Hitler’s planned Operation Barbarossa, the massive invasion of Russia.

Japan correctly concluded by the betrayal that Hitler’s Germany could not be trusted and deserved tit-for-tat duplicity. So Japan never joined Hitler’s surprise invasion of Russia. Instead, the Japanese turned their attention to the Pacific and especially the vulnerable British and American bases at Singapore, Burma, the Philippines—and Pearl Harbor.

In sum, the August 1939 nonaggression pact ensured the German attack against Great Britain and Western Europe. It also convinced Hitler that Russia was vulnerable, gullible and appeasing, and could be overrun in weeks following an invasion.

Finally, the deal ended all Japanese ideas of fighting the Soviet Union on the ground from the East in partnership with Nazi Germany invading from the West. Instead, Japan turned toward the vulnerable British and American eastern forces.

In sophisticated times, we sometimes forget that time-honored concepts like the balance of power and military deterrence—not good intentions and international peace organizations—alone keep the peace. When the pact destroyed fragile alliances and encouraged German adventurism, war was certain.

The final ironies? The Soviet double-cross of the Western democracies eventually ended up almost destroying Russia, which bore the brunt of an empowered Germany.

The redirection of Japanese war strategy to target America finally brought the United States into World War II, which ensured the destruction of Japan and Germany.

Add this all up, and in some sense World War II really started on Aug. 23, 1939, 80 years ago this summer.

Older Posts »