Global cooling 1

With the facts on the ground now established in Crimea — several thousand facts in the form of Russian troops — the question now becomes: Will sustained economic, political and military isolation of Russia work? Will it reverse Vladimir Putin’s adventurism and deter future aggression?

Michael Gerson asks these questions at the Washington Post – as if there would be any sustained economic, political and military isolation of Russia.

In any case, his answer is no.

He writes at the Washington Post:

One of [Putin’s] primary foreign policy goals is to relitigate the end of the Cold War. His intervention in Ukraine will press toward that objective until serious resistance is met. Like international aggressors before him, Putin would prefer the fruits of war without its costs.

Does he have reason to believe the resulting isolation of Russia will be sustained? The history of the “reset” says no. The weariness of Congress and the American public with conflict — which Obama emphasizes and encourages in his own rhetoric — says no. America’s humiliating dependence on Russian influence in the Syrian crisis says no. The desire for Russian help in the Iranian nuclear negotiations says no. The dependence of Europe on Russian natural gas says no. European Union vacillation and disunity say no.

It is, perhaps, this confidence that has led Putin not only to intimidate but also to humiliate. To sponsor Edward Snowden. To follow a 90-minute telephone conversation with Obama with troop movements. Many Russian goals in Crimea might have been achieved by intelligence assets and paramilitary forces. The use of Russian troops was intended as a broader message to Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East: Don’t waste your hopes on the West.

Criticisms of the Obama administration’s foreign policy are now coming in waves. Its policy is improvised and feckless. Or it consists of cliches (“an interdependent world”) and condescension (“19th-century behavior”).

But Obama deserves more credit for good intentions and intellectual consistency.

Or no credit because of naivety and ignorance? Or – as we read him – an actual desire for America to lose, decline, and fall?

His foreign policy does have a theory. He believes that as U.S. power retreats from the world, a variety of good things will fill the vacuum. Allies and international institutions will take more responsibility. The United States will be better able to promote liberal norms, unburdened by discrediting military power.

If he believes that, then naivety and ignorance is right.

Gerson continues to give him the benefit of the doubt. He puts the best possibly interpretation on Obama’s actions: they may be mistaken but they’re benign.

This vision gives permission for drastic defense cuts, abandoned “red lines,” a scramble for the exits in Afghanistan and the ceding of leadership in crises such as Syria. It dovetails with domestic political imperatives — for Obama to be the ender of wars, focused on nation-building at home. …

The columnist himself has a better grasp of geopolitical realities:

The problem is this: When enlightened liberal norms are divorced from U.S. power, liberal norms do not win out. The vacuum is filled by:

●Radical Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra, which prosper in chaos. In an atmosphere like Syria, the most brutal are the most successful, and eventually become regional and global threats.

●Despots such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, who still believe in military solutions — such as using chemical weapons and “barrel bombs,” filled with oil and metal shards, on civilians — because these solutions are working for them.

●Nationalist powers such as Russia and China, which is now throwing its military weight around East Asia. Japan is experiencing an upsurge in nationalism.

In the 20th century, the United States was both unique and irreplaceable because it exercised great power without the blood-and-soil nationalism of Russia, Germany or Japan. It stood for universal, liberal, democratic ideals. We should not expect those humane ideals to thrive in the vacuum left by a retreating America.

He would seem to be using “liberal” in the real meaning of the word, and not as a euphemism for anti-Americanism, statism, and collectivism.  In which case, his liberalism isn’t Obama’s liberalism. But he seems to think it is. Which is why, we suspect, he takes so mild a view of the president’s motives and intentions.

*

Charles Karuthammer, also writing at the Washington Post,  is more scathing: 

Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he’s got three more years of luck to come.

He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it’s not in Russia’s interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it’s a sign of weakness.

Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia annexed it 20 years before Jefferson acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot.

Now Russia looms over the rest of eastern and southern Ukraine. Putin can take that anytime he wants — if he wants. He has already destabilized the nationalist government in Kiev. Ukraine is now truncated and on the life support of U.S. and European money (much of which — cash for gas — will end up in Putin’s treasury anyway).

Obama says Putin is on the wrong side of history, and Secretary of State John Kerry says Putin’s is “really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century.”

This must mean that seeking national power, territory, dominion — the driving impulse of nations since Thucydides — is obsolete. As if a calendar change caused a revolution in human nature that transformed the international arena from a Hobbesian struggle for power into a gentleman’s club where violations of territorial integrity just don’t happen.

“That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior,” says Kerry. Makes invasion sound like a breach of etiquette — like using the wrong fork at a Beacon Hill dinner party.

How to figure out Obama’s foreign policy? In his first U.N. speech, he says: “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.” On what planet? Followed by the assertion that “alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War” — like NATO? — “make no sense in an interconnected world.”

Putin’s more cynical advisers might have thought such adolescent universalism to be a ruse. But Obama coupled these amazing words with even more amazing actions.

(1) Upon coming into office, he initiated the famous “reset” to undo the “drift” in relations that had occurred during the George W. Bush years. But that drift was largely due to the freezing of relations Bush imposed after Russia’s invasion of Georgia. Obama undid that pushback and wiped the slate clean — demanding nothing in return.

(2) Canceled missile-defense agreementswith Poland and the Czech Republic. Without even consulting them. A huge concession to Putin’s threats — while again asking nothing in return. And sending a message that, while Eastern Europe may think it achieved post-Cold War independence, in reality it remains in play, subject to Russian influence and interests.

(3) In 2012, Obama assured Dmitry Medvedev that he would be even more flexible with Putin on missile defense as soon as he got past the election.

(4) The Syria debacle. Obama painted himself into a corner on chemical weapons — threatening to bomb and then backing down — and allowed Putin to rescue him with a promise to get rid of Syria’s stockpiles. Obama hailed this as a great win-win, when both knew — or did Obama really not know? — that he had just conferred priceless legitimacy on Bashar al-Assad and made Russia the major regional arbiter for the first time in 40 years.

(5) Obama keeps cutting defense spending. His latest budget will reduce it to 3 percent of GDP by 2016 and cut the army to pre-Pearl Harbor size — just as Russia is rebuilding, as Iran is going nuclear and as China announces yet another 12-plus percent increase in military spending.

Puzzling. There is no U.S. financial emergency, no budgetary collapse. Obama declares an end to austerity — for every government department except the military.

Can Putin be faulted for believing that if he bites off Crimea and threatens Kiev, Obama’s response will be minimal and his ability to lead the Europeans even less so?

Would Putin have lunged for Ukraine if he didn’t have such a clueless adversary? No one can say for sure. But it certainly made Putin’s decision easier. …

Next weekend’s Crimean referendum will ask if it should be returned to Mother Russia. Can Putin refuse? He can already see the history textbooks: Catherine the Great took Crimea, Vlad (the Great?) won it back. Not bad for a 19th-century man.

Posted under Commentary, communism, Russia, Soviet Union, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, March 7, 2014

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The lesser evil 4

George Will, at the Washington Post, sees the civil conflict in the Ukraine as the last battle – or “final episode” –  of the Cold War.

How pathetic is the plight of the Ukrainians. Their choice is between membership of the corrupt, socialist, failing EU (which is what the people want), or  – worse, far worse – domination by Russia (which is what the government wants). Under the Russian boot they would not be much better off than they were when Russia was called the USSR.

So the EU is a haven for them. Rather like sheltering from a volcanic eruption in a cave full of vipers.

The bodies of Ukrainian protestors laid out on the street – sleeping or dead?

Picture from PowerLine, where you can find more.

Posted under corruption, Europe, Russia, Socialism, Soviet Union, tyranny, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 20, 2014

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Furling the nuclear umbrella 1

There’s little that’s surprising, though much that’s shocking, in the way Obama is carrying out his duty as commander-in-chief. To justify a reversal of long-established defense policy, he and his obsequious mouthpiece Defense Secretary Robert Gates are delivering sermons rather than announcements on America’s “nuclear posture”.

One thing that doesn’t quite fit with what we know of Obama’s sentimental pacifism, stale ban-the-bomb leftism, and emotional sympathy for Islam, is that the commanders in the Afghan theater are still being permitted to use drones to kill Muslims. We expect Obama to decide that drone warfare is far too effective in giving America an advantage over the Taliban, and stop it.

For the present he may choose to overlook small American victories, because he is preoccupied with developing his grand plan to make America, and countries that look to America for protection, vulnerable to devastating attack.

Charles Krauthammer deplores Obama’s “nuclear posturing” and explains how his sentimental policy is a menace to the world:

Nuclear doctrine consists of thinking the unthinkable. It involves making threats and promising retaliation that is cruel and destructive beyond imagining. But it has its purpose: to prevent war in the first place.

During the Cold War, we let the Russians know that if they dared use their huge conventional military advantage and invaded Western Europe, they risked massive U.S. nuclear retaliation. Goodbye Moscow.

Was this credible? Would we have done it? Who knows? No one’s ever been there. A nuclear posture is just that — a declaratory policy designed to make the other guy think twice.

Our policies did. The result was called deterrence. For half a century, it held. The Soviets never invaded. We never used nukes. That’s why nuclear doctrine is important.

The Obama administration has just issued a new one that “includes significant changes to the U.S. nuclear posture,” said Defense Secretary Bob Gates. First among these involves the U.S. response to being attacked with biological or chemical weapons. …

Under President Obama’s new policy … if the state that has just attacked us with biological or chemical weapons is “in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” explained Gates, then “the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it.”

Imagine the scenario: Hundreds of thousands are lying dead in the streets of Boston after a massive anthrax or nerve gas attack. The president immediately calls in the lawyers to determine whether the attacking state is in compliance with the NPT. If it turns out that the attacker is up-to-date with its latest IAEA inspections, well, it gets immunity from nuclear retaliation. (Our response is then restricted to bullets, bombs and other conventional munitions.)

However, if the lawyers tell the president that the attacking state is NPT noncompliant, we are free to blow the bastards to nuclear kingdom come.

This is quite insane. It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections.

Apart from being morally bizarre, the Obama policy is strategically loopy. Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. without fear of nuclear retaliation?

The naivete [or evil intent – JB] is stunning. Similarly the Obama pledge to forswear development of any new nuclear warheads, indeed, to permit no replacement of aging nuclear components without the authorization of the president himself. This under the theory that our moral example will move other countries to eschew nukes.

On the contrary. The last quarter-century — the time of greatest superpower nuclear arms reduction — is precisely when Iran and North Korea went hellbent into the development of nuclear weapons.

It gets worse. The administration’s Nuclear Posture Review declares U.S. determination to “continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks.” The ultimate aim is to get to a blanket doctrine of no first use.

This is deeply worrying to many small nations who for half a century relied on the extended U.S. nuclear umbrella to keep them from being attacked or overrun by far more powerful neighbors. When smaller allies see the United States determined to move inexorably away from that posture — and for them it’s not posture, but existential protection — what are they to think?

Fend for yourself. Get yourself your own WMDs. Go nuclear if you have to. Do you imagine they are not thinking that in the Persian Gulf?

This administration seems to believe that by restricting retaliatory threats and by downplaying our reliance on nuclear weapons, it is discouraging proliferation.

But the opposite is true. Since World War II, smaller countries have agreed to forgo the acquisition of deterrent forces — nuclear, biological and chemical — precisely because they placed their trust in the firmness, power and reliability of the American deterrent.

Seeing America retreat, they will rethink. And some will arm. There is no greater spur to hyper-proliferation than the furling of the American nuclear umbrella.

To remind, expose, condemn, accuse, and praise 0

In this article, at Pajamas Media, Jamie Glazov does five things that we applaud:

He reminds all of us who are free – and trying to remain free under a government that prefers collectivism to libertyhow terrible it is to live under collectivist totalitarian oppression. Specifically he writes about how it was in the Soviet Union.

He exposes the feminists for what they are – indulged, self-absorbed, ignorant, silly, and petty.

He condemns the leftists, who are blind to the value of the freedom they have and strive to destroy it.

He accuses Islam of threatening us with totalitarianism now.

He praises Glenn Beck and his outstandingly excellent film The Revolutionary Holocaust, that conveys, entirely adequately in a very shot space of time, an enormously important lesson to an American generation who are not taught it in their schools, their universities, or by the mass media.

The tortures included laying a man naked on a freezing cement floor, forcing his legs apart, and then an interrogator stepping on his testicles, applying increasing pressure until the confession surfaced. Imagine the consequences of no surfacing confession. Indeed, many people refused to confess to a crime they did not commit. Daughters and sons were raped in front of their fathers and mothers — for the sake of extracting “confessions.”

These are just some of the delicacies that the Stalinist machinery inflicted on its citizenry in the hope of bringing socialism into earthly incarnation. …

Both of my grandfathers were exterminated by Stalinist terror. Both of my parents, Yuri and Marina Glazov, were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. They risked their lives for freedom; they stood up against Soviet totalitarianism. They barely escaped the gulag, a fortune many of our friends and relatives did not share. I come from a system where a myriad of the closest people to my family simply disappeared, where relatives and family friends died under interrogation and torture for their beliefs — or for simply nothing at all.

Now try to imagine me sitting in the company of left-wing “intellectuals” in the West who think they are oppressed. This is my lifelong experience. I remember one radical feminist, whom I sat next to in a graduate student lounge, lecturing me sternly about how women in the West are oppressed because they wear bikinis on beaches; with a reprimanding tone, she explained to me that this represented the way capitalism objectifies women, marginalizes them from spheres of power, and metaphorically decapitates them as human beings. I remember asking her what she thought of female genital mutilation and honor killings in the Muslim world. To this I received a stone-cold silence and a frightening hateful stare, a stare with which I have become accustomed: I would be confined to a gulag or a psychiatric hospital if this particular individual had the power to place me there. This would be done for the good of society of course. My question was heresy: she could not, naturally, admit that evil adversarial cultures and ideologies existed — under which women truly suffer real oppression — for if she did, then she would have to sacrifice her entire worldview and personal identity.

My family’s nightmarish experience in the Soviet Union was followed by a providential escape from totalitarian hell. We were among the lucky ones, the ones who got away. The United States gave us a safe and protected home — a home of unbelievable material well-being (in comparison to Soviet starvation) and human liberty. I will never forget the awe I felt experiencing my first taste of freedom, even as a young five-year-old boy who wasn’t completely sure what it was. My parents could now, for the first time, speak out without fear of brutal repercussions in defense of Soviet citizens who were being persecuted for their political and/or religious beliefs. For the first time, we lived without the dread to which I had been accustomed throughout my young life.

I remember while we were cherishing our newfound freedom, we encountered a strange species: intellectuals in the universities who reviled my parents for the story they had to tell. For the first time in their lives, my father and mother confronted an intelligentsia that was hostile to them. Back in Russia, dissident intellectuals risked their lives when they pronounced one word of truth about the horrible history (and reality) of their country under communist rule. In America, most of the intellectuals who surrounded us scoffed at the importance of real intellectual freedom and dismissed my parents’ experience; they demonized their own society, wished for its defeat, and supported the communist enemy that muzzled free speech and tortured millions of human beings.

As a very young boy, I learned that these intellectuals were “leftists.”… While my family agonized about the relatives and friends we had left behind, and as we kept the memory of their suffering alive in our hearts, our leftist acquaintances reprimanded us for our views, instructing us to see America — our personal liberator — as the most evil entity not only in the Cold War, but in all of human history. They wanted us to dedicate our lives — as they had done — to the victory of the West’s totalitarian adversaries.

But … today we have a best friend in the West … We aren’t orphans anymore. There is a certain individual in this land, by the name of Glenn Beck, who has a television show on the Fox News Channel with a mass following; he is masterfully exposing this phenomenon that we experienced — and are still experiencing. He is telling the truth about the Soviet regime and about communism and he is beaming a light on leftists and liberals for their long romance, which continues till this day, with communist systems and the ideologies that brought them into place. Just recently, Beck’s program featured his profound documentary, The Revolutionary Holocaust, which powerfully illustrates the evil of communism and the leftist ideals that brought its horrors into existence. Beck’s documentary exposes the crimes against humanity perpetrated by mass murderers such as Che Guevara and Mao Zedong, who, till this day, enjoy great idolization in leftist milieus and, as we know, in the Obama White House itself. …

Mr. Beck, thank you for having the courage and integrity to tell the truth about communism, despite the price you have had to pay for doing so. …

Because of people like you, the millions of victims of communism will not be pushed into the invisible sphere of historical amnesia — where the liberal left has perpetually tried to confine them. Mr. Beck, by producing documentaries like your recent The Revolutionary Holocaust, you are bringing personal affirmation to myriads of families like my own — and to all victims and survivors of communism — by validating our experiences and by telling the whole world that, despite the left’s attempt to impose gulag denial on our culture, we did live what we lived, we did endure what we endured, and we did see what we saw. And you are crystallizing the pernicious socialist idea that comes in the form of humanitarianism, but culminates in mass terror.

Glenn Beck, you are leading the crucial fight of the 21st century. In battling on the front lines for moral clarity on the issue of communism, you are setting a firm terrain on which free men and women will be able to fight the new jihadi totalitarians who seek to destroy our freedom and lives… Thank you.

How to win the war (2) 2

At the end of How to win the war (1) we asked: How can we fight an enemy who is not only spread over many countries but is also here in our midst, thriving and increasing dangerously amongst us, and striking at us unpredictably and at random?

There is a way. It can be done. America has fought such an enemy before when it was at war with another collectivist ideology, Communism. It was a ‘cold war’ for as long as the country that was ready to engage America in its name – Russia  – held back from military assault. Hot battles in the war were fought by proxy armies in Africa, South America, the Far East. At home it was fought with words.

Within America itself the war was fought by means of law, propaganda, and intelligence.

Eventually America defeated Russia, but it never won the war decisively on its own soil. Within the United States itself, Communism not only survived, but in certain ways triumphed. Its true believers came to dominate in the fields of education, the newspapers, radio and television, and the highly influential film industry. They established a secure stronghold in the universities, in the law courts, in the Democratic Party, and eventually at the apex of power in the presidency itself with the election of Barack Obama. Right now, it is stronger than it has ever been before in America. And it is in alliance with Islam.

The war against Islam will have to be won more decisively than the war against Communism. So how shall we fight it? What must we do? It is not up to the military alone to fight this war – though the armed forces will play their part. Every individual who values liberty is a soldier in this fight.

We must expose Islam for what it is. It must be shown beyond all doubt to be wrong. It must be defeated in argument.

Islam must be made ashamed of itself.

We must do the very thing that the Islamic bloc in the UN is trying to make universally illegal – criticize Islam.  We must do what weak European leaders say should not be done – treat it with brazen insensitivity, with scorn, with loathing.

We must expose every wrong committed in its name. We must stigmatize it, ridicule it with jokes and satire and cartoons, ‘disrespect’ it, force it to try and defend itself with arguments and counter every one of them. We must concede nothing to this ideology of death.

We must let Muslim men know that what they regard as honor we regard as dishonor. In their twisted morality they consider it necessary for the upholding of their honor that they bully helpless women, force their daughters to marry men they hate and fear, kill them if the don’t obey, if they are raped, if they fall in love with someone they don’t approve of. We must impress upon Muslim men that such deeds are deeply dishonorable, low, beneath contempt, as well as intensely cruel and incontrovertibly wrong.

Far from curbing our free speech, it is precisely with words that we must defeat the ideology of Islam. We must make a better job of it than we did with Communism; do it more the way we did with Nazism, which very few people dare now to defend. ‘Nazi’ has become a synonym for evil; so should ‘Islam’.

Hold fast to the understanding that Islam, like Nazism, is an ideology and must be despised and rejected by humanity as a whole. The evil will of Mohammad must be defeated here and now, at last, all these centuries after he first launched his warriors of death in 78 battles against any who would not submit to his vicious tyranny.

Our war is with a set of ideas and those who take action to force them upon us, not with everyone who is born into Islam. On no account must Muslim citizens in western countries be herded into internment camps. But there should be a total ban on Muslim immigration. And Muslim immigrants already admitted must  integrate fully into our way of life, accept our values, our law, our customs and traditional codes of behavior. They must be given no concessions: no separation of the sexes in gyms and swimming-pools, no time off for prayer, no building of special washing facilities in public places and business premises for their rituals of ablution. There must be no allowing of publicly licensed Muslim taxi drivers to refuse to take a passenger who is carrying a bottle of wine or has a lap-dog with him. No public rallies must be allowed that display placards urging murder. No threats against our free speech must be tolerated. No preaching or sloganeering against Christians and Jews must go unpunished. No new mosques may be built. Exclusively Muslim schools must be closed down.

Captured Muslim terrorists must be forced to talk, then tried by military tribunals and if found guilty summarily executed. Any Muslim who uses violence against us in the name of his religion must expect to be treated as a terrorist.

If there are political leaders who oppose these policies to any degree, they must be forced out of office as soon as possible. The present US administration does not want to accept that Islam is the enemy. If it did, it would have to acknowledge that it is fighting on the same side as Israel against the same enemy. It would support and join Israel in the use of force against Hamas and Hizbullah. It would stop Iran by every means possible from becoming a nuclear-armed power. It would not permit Iraq to reinstate sharia law. It would see the folly of having gone to war against Christian states in the Balkans to protect Muslim rebels.

If Muslims use our laws and civil liberties against us, we must do the same against them. For every suit brought by Muslim trouble-makers we must counter sue. Even better, we must sue first and often.

While Muslims may pray to their deity in their own properties, they must be deterred from attempting to do so in public places where, if they do it, they should expect to be mocked and verbally abused. They may dress as they choose, but if their clothing advertizes their faith, they must expect to be challenged. We must make them afraid of our opinion, of our disdain (but not of physical assault which we must abstain from unless in self-defense).

We must make Muslims who want to destroy our values, our liberty, our democracy, our civilization, afraid of us. We must make them afraid to preach their ideology. Also, and even better, we must make them ashamed to preach it.

These measures should be our battle plan. Only if we adopt it in full will we be taking the war and our survival as free people seriously. Only by doing these things will we win the war they have declared against us. Anything short of uncompromising opposition will not do: we will be terrorized, massacred, worn down, until we submit to be ruled by evil, and returned to the darkness of barbarism. We must all be anti-jihad warriors now.

Lessons of the fall 0

Melanie Phillips writes:

Twenty years ago today, supporters of freedom and human rights cheered and wept for joy as the Berlin Wall was torn down by jubilant young Germans.

To so many, that heady day seemed to herald the emergence of a better world. The spectre of communism had finally been laid to rest. Liberty had triumphed over tyranny.

The end of the Cold War even led some to proclaim that this was ‘the end of history’ — which was to say that liberal democracy was now the dominant and unchallengeable force in the world. However, the 9/11 attacks on America tragically proved this to be absurdly over-optimistic. The eruption of radical Islamism revealed that, while the West may have been rid of one enemy in the Soviet Union, another deadly foe had risen to take its place.

So much is, sadly, all too evident. But what is perhaps less obvious is that communism did not just vanish in a puff of historical smoke.

The Soviet Union was defeated and fell apart, for sure. But the communist ideology that fuelled it did not so much disintegrate as reconstitute itself into another, even more deadly form as the active enemy of western freedom.

Soviet Communism was a belief system whose goal was to overturn the structures of society through the control of economic and political life. This mutated into a post-communist ideology of the Left, whose no-less ambitious aim was to overturn western society through a subversive transformation of its culture. …

The collapse of communism was actually a slow-burning process. Its moral and political bankruptcy became obvious decades before that glorious Berlin day in November 1989. … But as communism slowly crumbled, those on the far-Left who remained hostile towards western civilisation found another way to realise their goal of bringing it down. This was what might be called ‘cultural Marxism’. It was based on the understanding that what holds a society together are the pillars of its culture: the structures and institutions of education, family, law, media and religion. Transform the principles that these embody and you can thus destroy the society they have shaped.

This key insight was developed in particular by an Italian Marxist philosopher called Antonio Gramsci. His thinking was taken up by Sixties radicals — who are, of course, the generation that holds power in the West today.

Gramsci understood that the working class would never rise up to seize the levers of ‘production, distribution and exchange’ as communism had prophesied. Economics was not the path to revolution. He believed instead that society could be overthrown if the values underpinning it could be turned into their antithesis: if its core principles were replaced by those of groups who were considered to be outsiders or who actively transgressed the moral codes of that society.

So he advocated a ‘long march through the institutions’ to capture the citadels of the culture and turn them into a collective fifth column, undermining from within and turning all the core values of society upside-down and inside-out. This strategy has been carried out to the letter.

The nuclear family has been widely shattered. Illegitimacy was transformed from a stigma into a ‘right’. The tragic disadvantage of fatherlessness was redefined as a neutrally-viewed ‘lifestyle choice’.

Education was wrecked, with its core tenet of transmitting a culture to successive generations replaced by the idea that what children already knew was of superior value to anything the adult world might foist upon them. The outcome … has been widespread illiteracy and ignorance and an eroded capacity for independent thought.

Law and order were similarly undermined, with criminals deemed to be beyond punishment since they were ‘victims’ of society …

The ‘rights’ agenda — commonly known as ‘political correctness’ — turned morality inside out by excusing any misdeeds by self-designated ‘victim’ groups on the grounds that such ‘victims’ could never be held responsible for what they did. …

This mindset also led to the belief that a sense of nationhood was the cause of all the ills in the world, precisely because western nations embodied western values. So transnational institutions or doctrines such as the EU, UN, international law or human rights law came to trump national laws and values.

But the truth is that to be hostile to the western nation is to be hostile to democracy. And indeed, with the development of the EU superstate we can see that the victory over one anti-democratic regime within Europe — the Soviet Union — has been followed by surrender to another.

For the republic of Euroland puts loyalty to itself higher than that to individual nations and their values. It refused to commit itself in its constitution to uphold Christianity, the foundation of western morality. …

We agree with most of what she says, but not with the value she places on the Christian religion and Christian morality. We do not believe that the greatness of Europe is due to Christianity. We share with Edward Gibbon the opinion that Christianity brought a thousand years of darkness down on Europe. What made Europe great was the Renaissance and the Enlightenment: the rediscovery of Greco-Roman civilization, the displacement of a deocentric by an anthropocentric world-view, the rise of scientific enquiry, the revival of the Socratean questioning of ideas in general, the ideal of personal liberty, the triumph of rationality. In other words, by the loosening and finally the casting off of the shackles of religion, even though Christianity, in proliferating variety, continued to exert a malign influence on Europe’s history for some centuries after Spinoza and Hume crippled it.

The dark ideologies of Leftism and  Islam cannot be overcome by the darkness of another religion, but only by reason. Physical force may be necessary, and should not be shirked when it is. But victory in war – as victory in the Cold War demonstrated – is not sufficient if the ideology lives on, whether openly or incognito under new names. It is the argument that must be won, however hard it is to change by reason a view that has not been arrived at by reason. Reason’s victory is enormously aided by its practical achievements in science and technology. Even the dark-age Muslims extant in our world want vaccinations, organ-transplants, aircraft, telephones, television, computers, the internet, refrigerators  – and also, ever more determinedly and dangerously, nuclear weapons. The West failed to keep those out of the hands of Communist and Muslim states, which is why war may be necessary again quite soon. Our side, the side of reason, demands that our weaponry should always be more advanced than the enemy’s. As long as we can innovate, we can win. Innovation is the child of freedom and rationality.

In commemoration of the fall of the Berlin wall 0

Today, November 9, 2009, is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It was one of the greatest events of history.

The wall both literally and symbolically marked the division between tyranny and freedom.

It was erected on Sunday, August 13, 1961, to prevent people living under the Soviet-controlled Communist regime in East Germany from fleeing into free West Berlin.  About 1500 people a day had been migrating westward.

Within 24 hours West Berlin was sealed off from the so-called Democratic Republic of Germany.

At first it was a fence consisting of barbed wire, spread over some 96 miles.

In 1962 an inner wall was built. The 100 yard gravel area between the fence and the wall was booby-trapped with trip wires, and mined.

In 1975  a stronger, higher, thicker wall made of concrete and reinforced with mesh fencing and barbed wire was constructed. It was known as the ‘Grenzmauer 75’. Soldiers stationed in some 300 watchtowers had a clear view of the space, and orders to shoot down anyone attempting to cross it.

Over 100,000 people tried to escape to freedom. Some 5,000 succeeded, mostly in the early years before the ‘Grenzmauer 75’ was built. Later, successful crossings were made through tunnels. Two families succeeded by hot-air balloon, and one man in a light aircraft. At least 136 people were killed in the attempt, most famously 18-year-old Peter Fechter, shot on August 17, 1962, as he tried to climb the wall. He lay for hours in the space between the wall and the fence, crying out for help while he bled to death. The East German border guards waited for him to die before they carried him away.

Twenty-five years later, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan of the United States stood on the west side of the Brandenberg Gate beyond which the wall ran, and said to the Russian leader in a famous speech, ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’

The speech was symptomatic of the firm stand he maintained against the Soviet Union.

Two and a half years later the wall was brought down.

Its fall heralded the collapse of Soviet Russia and its evil empire. It marked the end of the Cold War and the victory of the free world, led by the United States of America.

The conquering hero of that stupendous victory was President Reagan. How he won the Cold War is the subject of volumes, but win it he did.

Of inestimable help to him was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain.

A few days ago Mikhail Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush who was president of the US when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, and Helmut Kohl who was Chancellor of West Germany at the time, met on the stage of a Berlin theatre to commemorate the fall of the wall.

Margaret Thatcher, who had not wanted the reunification of Germany but nevertheless played a decisive part in defeating the Communist tyranny over Eastern Europe, was not included.

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, has refused to attend any of the celebratory ceremonies in Germany. His excuse is that he is ‘too busy’.

Jillian Becker  November 9, 2009

Biden’s hypocrisy over human rights 0

Why did this article by Vladimir Bukovsky and Pavel Stroilov (in Front Page Magazine on October 10) not surprise me?

It is about a US delegation to the Soviet Union, of which one of the Soviet officials noted:

 

This time, the [US] delegation did not officially raise the issue of human rights during the negotiations. Biden said he did not want ‘to spoil the atmosphere with problems which are bound to cause distrust in our relations.’ However, during the breaks between the sessions the senators passed to us several letters concerning these or those ‘refuseniks’.

 

Unofficially, Biden and Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for ‘human rights’. They must prove to their voters that they are ‘effective in fulfilling their wishes’. In other words, the collocutors directly admitted that what is happening is a kind of a show, that they absolutely do not care for the fate of most so-called dissidents.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, October 13, 2008

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The weakness of the West against Russia and Islam 0

 That lone voice crying the truth in the wilderness of Europe, Melanie Phillips declares in The Spectator:

The message Putin wants to deliver is that no-one messes with Russia. Like a Mafia godfather, he wants respect for his country’s power – and will mow down anyone who fails to offer it. That’s also why Russia is busy murdering those of its own citizens who oppose its fascistic regime. (It is, after all, the only country so far to have carried out an act of nuclear terrorism in Britain by murdering Alexander Litvinenko with Polonium 210 and leaving a trail of radioactive poison across London – for which it has never been brought to account, flicking away our huffing and puffing Foreign Office like a mosquito on the nose of a bear).

It is behaving in this way because it has correctly perceived that America is paralysed and Europe is steadily destroying itself, and so there is an enormous vacuum in global power which it thinks it can fill. It has no less correctly concluded that the west will no longer defend itself or the values for which it once stood. See yesterday’s entirely predictable and futile hand-wringing over Georgia by the EU, full of sound and fury but signifying no action at all. Once upon a time, the west believed it should go to war to defend the sovereignty of nations. Now, it supports instead those who destroy that sovereignty – as it did when it recognised Kosovo as an independent state, thus demonstrating contempt for the sovereignty of Serbia. Who therefore can be surprised that Russia, which not only complained bitterly about Kosovo but had previously insisted on the virtue of its own suppression of the Chechens on the grounds that national sovereignty had to be upheld or else chaos would follow, is now cynically using that very same Kosovo precedent to justify its support for South Ossetia and Abkhazia breaking away from Georgia?

Despite the fact that Russia is threatened by Islamism, there are nevertheless notable similarities between the attempt to re-establish the Russian empire and the attempt to re-establish the Islamic Caliphate. In similar fashion, both employ not only violent force but cultural infiltration and sedition; both use sophisticated propaganda and covert influence; both invert truth and lies; both hijack the concept of victimhood. Thus Russia’s patently absurd claim of genocide in south Ossetia parallels the preposterous Islamist claims of genocide in Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza; thus both claim that their own aggression is merely self-defence against victimisation. Such similarities are scarcely surprising considering that Islamism borrowed so much from Communism (as it did also from fascism). Nor is it surprising that both Russians and Islamists make common cause against the west – their common enemy.

The whole article is a must-read. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 2, 2008

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