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09 October 2012


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Gen. Marshall was a patriot who served his country for half a century - his detractors are Israel Firsters who serve their country as best they can - it just happens to be a different country.

Romney's foreign policy is "Israel, Israel, Israel, first , first and always".

Enough with even dignifying the positions of these fifth column bastards.

Bill H

Ignatius and Clemons are suggesting a duopoly between moral principle and mundane national interest, and that Marshall was wrong on the first while sort of tacitly admitting that he may have been right on the second, but that it doesn't matter because the first is more important.

Our good colonel seems to be of the opinion, with which I would most heartily agree, that the first is essentially irrelevant in conducting international relations, and that the second is the basis upon which national leaders should operate. On that basis, of course, Marshall was a man of great vision and Truman was, as my father used to call him, "the little man in the White House."


Col: I guess I am waiting for these commentators to shun visits to Mount Vernon because President Washington warned against "foreign entanglements."

Off topic: the information war is heating up. See http://rt.com/news/nato-mortar-syria-turkey-954/

Any insight into this issue?

Clifford Kiracofe

Well, well...McCarthyism in a new form gratis Clemons and Ignatius. Very interesting inside the Beltway political move signalling something.

As it happens, lately I have been systematically reading declassified TS docs from JCS, State, SWNCC, and SANAC per China policy and Japan policy from the mid 40s to early 50s. This includes some original copies of letters and memos from Gen. Marshall himself.

It is very clear from the material I have just reviewed that our government was well aware that China was "lost" by Chiang and the KMT extremist CC clique, corrupt elements, and so on. Pragmatists like George Kennan and others advised being prepared to deal diplomatically with what would follow, namely Mao and the CCP.

The JCS position, reflecting MacArthur's strategic judgment, was to form a line of defense centered on the Ryukyu Islands/Okinawa to contain the Eurasian landmass and the Soviet threat (China threat added later per Korean War).

The McCarthyite Right included Christian Zionist fundamentalists, Zionists such as Roy Cohn, the Buckley crowd and other so-called "Anti-Communists." A strange brew to say the least helping the alcoholic senator. Not only did they go after Gen. Marshall, it is well known that Bircher Robert Welch wrote a book (The Politician) calling Eisenhower a Communist tool.

Eisenhower was well aware of this crowd and its Texas oil money backers of that day. It is my understanding that Ike behind the scenes aided the Senate censure of McCarthy.

I have read a number of TS docs which went to Marshall when he was Sec State per China and they all assessed correctly the KMT was losing China. He well knew the situation from his earlier mission there.

As for the Palestine Question, there is ample USG classified material from the 47-48 era. Some key material exists in now declassified form. To me some of the most interesting reports focus on how the international Zionist network worked to line up pro-partition votes at the UN. The offers of massive bribes and political advancement for those around the world who would influence a pro-Israel UN vote is revealing. On official, for example, was offered the presidency of Cuba if he would influence that vote. (he declined) and so on. This level of detail on the machinations of international Zionism was available to Gen. Marshall and others in responsible positions.

Back at that time, there was a proposal for a UN trusteeship for all of Palestine, after the partition faltered in the ensuing violence.

Truman sought the "Jewish Vote" in 1948 and shaped his pro-Israel stance accordingly. A number of scholarly works document this.

Clemons and Ignatius quick response to Romeny's remarks are quite interesting....could it be that some are nervous that Romney might start to follow in his father's moderate footsteps?

Clearly Romney has to dump his entire Neocon apparatus and align with normal serious Republicans like Scowcroft, Gates, Lugar, and so on. There are many experienced Republican foreign policy/national security hands who would work with Romney on the condition that the Neocons are purged.


Ignatius did question whether Romney understood what was happening in the ME. And he derided Romney's comments about no daylight between Israel and the U.S. He wrote:

"Taken at face value, that seems to mean the United States shouldn’t take public positions that are different from Israel’s. That’s a formulation that few Republican foreign policy leaders would agree with. Among those GOP luminaries who very deliberately opened “daylight” were Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Brent Scowcroft, James Baker and Condoleezza Rice."

"Romney can’t seriously mean that on all major issues affecting Israel, he will defer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? No nation hands over policy choices to another, even to its best friend"


Col, a recent article from Harvard Business review discussed General Marshall in comparison to the more political (in the author's opinion) military leaders of today.

You need to register to read the full article but there is an audio interview about the paper with the author that is immediately accessible.



CK: This is the Romney dilemma. How can you evaluate a candidate who appears capable of taking every position? And which one is his real position? We can know nothing until after the election.

I doubt Romney is the first American politician who has appeared before a group of largely Jewish American donors and stated as "fact" that the Israelis have no Palestinian peace partner. In all American history, has any politician suffered for being insufficiently pro-Palestinian? (The question answers itself.)


"Clearly Romney has to dump his entire Neocon apparatus and align with normal serious Republicans like Scowcroft, Gates, Lugar, and so on."

IMO, it is too late for Romney to do that. After all his pro Israelis comments, who in his right mind would trust his sudden shift??


How sure can we be that he "must have known?" The simplest explanation is that he and/or his speechwriter decided to say something nice about the alumnus namesake of the venue, and the speech was never vetted by his foreign policy aides, maybe because they are accustomed to content-free speeches. Now that there is a backlash externally, we will find out whether a) he keeps the same advisors and is more careful in the future to send out a coherent message, or b) there really is something to the thesis of the original post, and he adjusts the makeup his foreign policy team

ex-PFC Chuck

The wartime diaries of Gen. Joe Stillwell provide fascinating insight into the dysfunction and corruption of the Chinese Nationalist regime. (http://bit.ly/QdY4Oj) Chiang Kai-shek may have been adept at maintaining his position as the first among the warlords, but Stiwell regarded him as militarily incompetent. The foot soldiers in his army were treated appallingly. For example, their senior commanders were given the soldiers' pay for distribution, but by the time they and their subordinate officers and noncoms took their cuts there was little if anything left for the private soldiers. Thus they had to steal from the peasantry just to survive, which was a major factor in why the peasantry preferred the Reds to the nationalists. After much arm twisting and cajoling Stilwell got Chiang's agreement to send two or three divisions to India for training under the oversight of American officers. When these latter demanded that the soldiers be paid in formation by the Americans who were funding the training, the Chinese officers were enraged. Marshall was well aware of all this long before he went to China after the war. He would pass on Stillwell's requests that the president lean on Chiang to actually fight the Japanese instead of hoarding his resources for the future confrontation with the Reds. On many of the occasions on which Roosevelt did this the Nationalist's ambassador to Washington, T.V. Soong, would crank up the China lobby, and soon the calls would start coming into Congress and the president from around the country demanding that the Americans back off.


Welcome back, Clifford.

The funny thing about conspiracies is how people always deny that people ever conspire to anything, as if its the craziest thing in the world. Yet you have laid out a very succint explanation.

I do not think Romney will dump the neocons/globalists as much as I wish he would. I think Ron Paul was our only hope of anything but four more years of the same, no matter who was elected, and we see how that turned out.

The adults have left the building, more or less.


George Marshall was special, not many like him will ever serve our country. Sadly, the truth hurts the most.

Clifford Kiracofe


Thanks for the kind words. The problem with the Republican Party foreign policy is that the normal Republican policy folks have been purged over the past three decades and the Neocons have taken over. There are old stalwarts like Scowcroft, Gates, Baker, and Lugar around and many others with similar perspectives.

Here is a useful piece on William Kristol and the Neo-conization of Republican Party foreign policy from Mondo Weiss:

Basically, over the past three decades, the New Right, the Christian Right, and the Neocons have taken over party policy. With respect to foreign policy, the Neocons guide the Christian Right and the New Right. I explain this in my book Dark Crusade (London: IB Tauris, 2009).

Romney needs a serious discussion with Scowcroft and Gates at this point. Then he should purge the Neocons from his staff and replace them with policy people who are in line with the "adults" left in the party. There are plenty of non-Neocon policy experts with experience who would welcome the opportunity to work with Romney on the condition that the Neocons are purged.

To signal a change now, he needs to be seen with Scowcroft and Gates and other serious people at his side and his rhetoric needs to change to something serious and substantive. They can give him plenty of solid advice for his speeches in the remaining days of the campaign. The fact that his family has stepped in recently presents an opening toward moderation and sound policy.

If Romney wins and the Neocons stay, it is a rerun of GW Bush. We have been there, done that, and were led to disaster.


Thanks for the reminder. I need to finish the book. I'm 3/4 through it and just need to go the final stretch.

I'm so glad you're back.


Afraid I don't put much faith in Scowcroft, Gates, Lugar, et al. The Neocons are insane. The interventionist so-called liberals dangerously naive and arrogant. Always a bad mix. Scowcroft, Gates, Lugar et al hopelessly locked in another era. Not age wise....Kennan was ahead of most of us well into his 90s. Rather, locked in an era of "American leadership" and other now distant memories. I see few people really capable of recognizing a new era is upon on us...and the one that ran from approx 1941-2001 is over. On the other hand...Arthur Miller once wrote that “an era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted”. Perhaps there are few more illusions to go.


Ignatius and Clemons both forget that in 1947 the USSR was supporting partition and was on of the first states to recognize Israel believing, correctly, that the creation of the new state would severely damage Britain's position in the Middle East and hurt the USA also. Certainly none of the moral principle alluded to by those two authors included any consideration of the people already living in Palestine.


You are correct, Chuck. If you have not, I would recommend to you – and to all – the late historian Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize winning, “Stillwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45. “ It is a parallel history of General “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell – his combat success and feuds with many big names of the era, and a story about how we “lost” China. It is a must read for anyone interested in China’s recent history. http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/stillwell-in-china.html

“Stilwell was the US General rated by Marshall as his top field commander, who, were it not for his extensive knowledge of and experience in China, might have been one of the great (and well-known) US generals of WWII in Europe.”


William R. Cumming

Okay ao which party has accomplished the most in ending "The Ammerican Century"?

The real history of the "China Lobby" and its funding [mostly by USA military assistance dollars to the Nationalists IMO] has yet to be written. Just as the real history of the "Israel Lobby" has yet to be written.

The bottom line is that USA foreign policy largely for sale. Perhaps this is why George Washington feared "entangling alliances"!

There is virtually no effective system of policing foreign contributors to USA elections. If someone reading this comment thinks so please describe it? Interesting that NO academic articles or Congressional oversight hearings exist on this topic and GAO has never been allowed to conduct studies. By the way who lobbies for the TALIBAN in DC?

Clifford Kiracofe


A useful book on the Neocons is:
Jacob Heilbrunn, They Knew They Were Right.The Rise of the Neocons (New York: Doubleday, 2008).

Very revealing, and written by an ex-Neocon and thus an inside story.


Yes, dumping the Neocons is a long shot given how deeply they have penetrated the Washington scene. But Washington's rough and tumble politics can make for surprises. Many would like to see the beginning of a process to excrete them.

Politics being politics, things can change. With blood in the water now, as polls show, the sharks are beginning to swirl around. Sharks eyeing BHO and sharks eyeing the Neocons...

We shall see soon enough what Romney does. He could simply stick with them. He could keep them as window dressing for the pro-Israel Lobby and then dump them after the election. Or he could start to dump them now and get help from some adults. Perhaps the latter will be a consequence of the campaign shift led by his wife and eldest son.

Advisors Eliot Cohen, Dov Zakheim, Robert Kagan were noted in this blog piece. Bolton is a "fellow traveler" :

Here is an update on the transition team which is an early indicator. Zoelleck is an adult and realistic so...?:

William R. Cumming

BTW was not General Marshall the author of the five paragraph field order in WWI and still utilized?



That might be. pl


If you don't mind, what is the best way to get started reading these things? Where are they best accessed and is there anything vaguely resembling an index to them?


Sterling Segrave's "the Soong Dynasty" is another excellent book on the subject. particularly the sections dealing with the Triads and Chang Kai Shek's affiliation with Du Yuehsheng and the Green Gang.

Charles I

thank you for a cool cite to time and place I'm quite interested in, never came across these

Charles I

I think its too late for a change, there has also been a purge of the Republican minds, and a tremendous moving of the goal posts, the envelope, allowable debate.

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