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21 July 2016

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Bandolero

Pat

""the US embassy, which promptly ordered Merkel and Westerwelle not to make a demand to take back the US nukes in Germany." Prove that!"

See US cable 09BERLIN1433_a from 2009 November 12, 17:43, paragraph 8:

"... Gordon noted that it was important to think through all the potential consequences of the German proposal before going forward. For example, a withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany and perhaps from Belgium and the Netherlands could make it very difficult politically for Turkey to maintain its own stockpile, even though it was still convinced of the need to do so."

https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BERLIN1433_a.html

That argument was discussed at length on German TV. Of course, Merkel & Westerwelle complied, Merkel even making that her own position then. Tenor: the US demanded Germany to keep the US nukes for not inspiring the Turks to demand the removal of unpopular US nukes from Turkey, and Germany had to comply.

"to think that somehow the US controls the German government is, in my opinion, paranoid fantasy"

A couple of years ago, after the fall of the war, when people wanted to come clean about that, there was a short documentary based on now open acrhive records about US/CIA influence in Germany on German TV:

https://youtu.be/f1_w-aDY6mY

That was about the cold war, but, of course, there happened never anything to change that.

Of course, the mass media in Western Germany play a crucial role. As we all know they were built (in breach of US agreements with the Soviet Union) by the US military as licensed press and public broadcasting having "Germans trusted by the US" operating them, and later the supervision of the German mass media became the job of the CIA.

And, of course, in the post cold war era there was a propaganda shift back from the CIA to the military, so now NATO-run US-led networks dominate the German media regarding security policy.

http://www.halem-verlag.de/meinungsmacht-und-elite-journalismus/

As we all know how Gerhard Schröder's Chancellorship was destroyed by the "trans-atlantic" German media after he decided not take part in the US-led war of aggression against Iraq, hardly any politician comes out in the open defying any "wishes" - I think orders would be a more honest term - from the United States.

Schröder's way from being a reliable vassal of the US (even going great lengths to participate in the US-led illegal bombing of Belgrade) and then being so annoyed by US designs to take him down for not being deemed reliable enough that he went straight to become an ally of Putin (and a chairman of the board with a Gazprom subsidiary) may well be a good analogy to Erdogan and Turkey today.

I do think that Turkey's Erdogan in the light of the recent coup attempt may well follow Schröders way and go it all the way to become an ally of Putin.

turcopolier

Bandolero

"Gordon noted that it was important to think through all the potential consequences of the German proposal before going forward." You don't understand that thinking through a proposition is not an "order" to the German Government? I had no idea you Germans are so weak willed. If your government wants our forces and weapons out of your country, let them ask! They never have. Instead they ask us not to leave. pl

Bandolero

Pat

"You don't understand that thinking through a proposition is not an "order" to the German Government?"

Yes, of course. The US voicing an opinion after "thinking it through" is not an order, but just an opinion, though an opinion no top German politician can ignore, like in "offer you can't refuse."

Politicians know how the chancellorship of Schröder was destroyed after he refused to take part in the US-led war on Iraq. And some other also noted how Westerwelle's career ended on next occasion after he refused to take part in the US-led war on Libya.

"If your government wants our forces and weapons out of your country, let them ask!"

I personally know that some top German politicians would love to that, but it's deemed political suicide, so they don't.

With the US nukes in Germany it's a bit different, though. They are so deeply unpopular in Germany that Westerwelle thought he could pull it off. However, he was proven wrong when his party FDP was thrown out of parliament at next occasion. A sense of irony may come from the fact that this cleared the way for the AfD to come into being.

rkka

A company I used to work for interviewed Soviet emigres who had served on the Soviet general staff. They painted a picture of Brezhnev's conduct during exercises, his somber demeanor through the whole thing, his seeking repeated assurance that "...this isn't actually connected to anything, is it?", stuff like that. He was a Lt. Colonel when the war started, and a 1-star general at the end, much of it spent at the front. He made his reputation as a national-level politician supervising reconstruction in Eastern Ukraine. He had seen so much of war and its aftermath as to be truly traumatized, and with an iron determination that nothing of the sort ever happen again. In many ways he was a vain man (Order of Victory?? That car collection??), but his determination to enforce the peace of Europe was genuine.

turcopolier

rkka

"He was a Lt. Colonel when the war started, and a 1-star general at the end" An NKVD officer? pl

turcopolier

bandolero

"Politicians know how the chancellorship of Schröder was destroyed after he refused to take part in the US-led war on Iraq." How does that work exactly? Does the CIA control the media in Germany? Do they subsidize political parties? Tell us. pl

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang, SmoothieX12, bandolero,

I think ‘propaganda lies’ is an unhelpful term, which actually reflects a very common problem.

It is very dangerous to assume that what appears an obvious – and may indeed be a completely accurate – reading of evidence is that which will be made by an adversary. It is dangerously easy to assume that claims are deliberately disingenuous, when in fact they may be made in honest error – and there are a wide range of intermediate positions.

And it is important here to take into account entrenched ideological preconceptions, institutional vested interests, intellectual inertia – and also the influence of past traumatic experiences. It is very easy to misread evidence.

Back in 1989, the National Defense University published the first of three volumes of what they termed the ‘Voroshilov Lectures’. In October 1981, an Afghan General Staff officer, Colonel Ghulam Dastagir Wardak, who had gone through the two-year course at the Voroshilov General Staff Academy in 1973, and subsequently sided with the Mujahedeen, arrived in the United States with transcripts of the materials.

The volume was introduced by an analysis from Ambassador Raymond Garthoff, one of the pre-eminent American experts on Soviet military strategy. An excerpt:

“The 1973-75 lectures clearly and flatly state that as a ‘basic principle’ that the Soviet Union will not initiate war, and this is reflected throughout in specific ways such as in stressing the need for ‘detailed study of the methods of initiation of war by the aggressor’. I do not believe that this claim of defensive purpose should be disregarded as mere propaganda, but it is also not conclusive. The lecture materials representative authoritative Soviet views at the ‘Secret’ level on military doctrine and strategy for waging a war if war should occur; they are simply not a source for evaluating Soviet State policy decisions on war and peace, defensive or offensive, under various political contingencies.’

Almost thirty years earlier, in 1958, Garthoff had published a seminal strategy of ‘Soviet Strategy in the Nuclear Age’. This was written with the benefit of access to a crucial article published in the – confidential – Soviet General Staff journal ‘Military Thought’ in June 1950.

In this, General-Mayor V. Khlopov explained that, although a future war was likely to start with all-out American nuclear attacks, this would no more ensure the American ‘imperialists’ eventual victory than the Wehrmacht’s attacks in June 1941 had ensured a German victory.

Greater local air capabilities and ground forces capable of deploying ‘powerful offensive operations on a large scale and with a high tempo of advance’, Khlopov argued, would ensure that ‘the bridgehead on which the American militarists count to concentrate and deploy their forces for land engagements will be liquidated, and their plans for [winning’ the war will be buried with it.’

None of this implies that the very evident ‘capabilities’ threat posed by such forces did not need countering – in relation to prudent military planning, assessments of enemy intentions are commonly only one variable, and very often hardly a decisive one.

It is however relevant to the question of how far ‘capabilities’ can be taken as an index of ‘intentions’.

In fact, just over two years later, in September 1952, during his brief period as Ambassador to Moscow in the last days of Stalin’s rule, George Kennan would write a long despatch to Acheson, in which he specifically argued that, precisely because the Soviets had never had any intention of further military expansion into Europe, they had radically misinterpreted Western policy.

In this despatch – reproduced at the end of the second volume of his memoirs – Kennan spoke of a ‘cosmic misunderstanding’ among the Cold War antagonists about the significance of each other’s military preparations. Unreal Western and Soviet perceptions of a military ‘intentions threat’ were feeding off each other.

(See http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB14/doc1.htm .)

I recently came across an interesting piece by one Matthew Evangelista, applying a notion called ‘process tracing’ – which actually isn’t at all silly, despite the jargon – to Gorbachev’s decision to liquidate the traditional Soviet Cold War posture.

It was of particular interest to me, because I have rather vivid memories of interviewing some of the people he mentions at the time.

(See http://falcon.arts.cornell.edu/mae10/Evangelista,-Process-Tracing.pdf .)

I also recently came across an interesting discussion which appeared last month on the site of the Belfer Center at Harvard of ‘The German Blitzkrieg Against the USSR, 1941’, by one of the leading ‘new thinkers’ whom we interviewed, Andrei Kokoshin.

(See http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/Blitzkrieg%20Final.pdf .)

In it, he refers to General-Mayor Valentin Larionov, whom we also interviewed, and General-Mayor Aleksandr Svechin, the Tsarist ‘genshtabist’ who was Tukhachevsky’s great antagonist in the arguments of the ‘Twenties – about whom Larionov talked to us.

In disseminating key ideas of the ‘new thinking’, Kokoshin and Larionov had been close collaborators.

It was already apparent to me back in 1989 that there was a complex generational relationship, but this became clearer to me later. As a 17-year-old, wounded at Kursk, Larionov had participated in one of the meetings with American forces in Germany in 1945. He had subsequently become one of the pre-eminent Soviet nuclear strategists, but had later become aware that things had gone very badly wrong.

By contrast, Kokoshin, born in 1946, belonged to a younger generation of ‘security studies’ experts, one of whose defining characteristics was that they were fluent in Western languages and very familiar with the Western ‘security studies’ literature.

And they were people for whom the gap between the anticipations of Marxism-Leninism and the realities of the world of the ‘Eighties was all too glaringly apparent.

One ironic result was a curious coming together of groups in the West and the East who wanted to put an end to the Cold War, at the heart of which was the ‘Palme Commission’ and interchanges between different figures interested in notions of ‘non-provocative defence’, and suchlike matter.

So key ideas which would underpin Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ were set out by Colonel Viktor Girshfeld, a retired Red Army officer, then working at the Institute for World Economy and International Relations, in interviews with Stephen Shenfield, then at the Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies in Birmingham, in 1983-4.

At the same time, Larionov and some others in the Soviet military were going back to the ideas of Svechin. The greatest Russian interpreter of Clausewitz, he had picked up that strand in the master’s ideas which insisted that both ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’ elements have a proper place in strategy, and it is crucial to grasp what is appropriate at a particular time.

Involved here were arguments about how far the security problems of the Soviet Union had been self-generated.

As Evangelista brings out, the decision to as it were ‘run with’ the approach taken by Kokoshin, Larionov, and others like them was essentially a personal decision by Gorbachev. This involved bringing large elements of the military, as it were, to heel.

Ironically, the role of Svechin in this was rather complex, and ambiguous. Part of the points of his warnings and recommendations in the interwar period had been to argue that an initial defensive posture would be far more appropriate, if the Soviet Union was attacked, than to attempt an all-out offensive at the outset.

This was of course quite consistent with the suggestion that, once ‘attrition’ had exhausted the enemy, one should go on to the offensive (as Russia had done against Napoleon after 1812.)

This was the kind of revision which much of the military establishment wanted to see, which was why they did what they could to subvert Gorbachev’s plans for radical arms reductions. What Kokoshin and Larionov wanted was the liquidation of the whole conception of an offensive westwards. And that was what Gorbachev went for.

And this was not essentially because of the Reagan-era military build-up, the collapse in oil prices, Afghanistan, etc etc. It is absolutely clear from the documented record that he swallowed the ‘common security’ agenda hook, line and sinker.

A key paragraph from Evangelista’s account:

‘Anatolii Cherniaev, Gorbachev’s main foreign policy aide, took Reagan’s profession of the West’s goodwill to heart more than anyone. In May 1990, he reassured Gorbachev that it would be safe to withdraw Soviet forces from Europe, for “no one will attack us even if we disarm totally.”’

turcopolier

David Habakkuk

"I think ‘propaganda lies’ is an unhelpful term. I agree. I was quoting Bandolero. pl

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

I was very well aware of that.

What makes it really dangerous, in my view, is that it commonly indicates an implicit assumption that everyone really sees things the same way as one does.

What makes this all the more dangerous is that the ‘blind man’s buff’ element in human relations does not arise, as it were, simply because we are all nice chaps and if we talked to each other more there would be no problem.

While Evelyn Waugh is a writer about whom I have mixed feelings, I think the ‘pageant of birth control’ from ‘Black Mischief’ makes a fundamental point about the world.

(See http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-pageant-of-birth-control-in-waughs-black-mischief/ .)

SmoothieX12

Karaganov merely reiterated a foundation of Russia's post-WW II Military Doctrines. I read his interview you reference--yes, this is what dominates Russia's psyche for the last 70 years. Karaganov is smug and arrogant but I have to admit--he nailed it.

Bandolero

Pat

"How does that work exactly?"

Quite simply. After Schroeder declined to take part in the war on Iraq and won the German election 2002 based on this due to a narrow victory of Strobele in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, almost all German media went in attack mode against Schroeder and his government for anything they did - except keeping Germany out of the US-led war on Iraq, which was a very popular position. It was stunning to see the media reversing 180 degrees on issues, even inviting the very left, just to get all their titles and pages full with negative reporting on Schroeder. In addition to that US officials declared that Germany would be punished economically for siding with France and not taking part in the war. You may remember, it was the time were even "French fries" were suddenly called "freedom fries" in the US.

And the negative campaign against Schroeder worked out. The polls went south and Schroeder's party (SPD) lost one state election after the other, which is why Schroeder called snap elections in 2005, which was won by Merkel's CDU/CSU and brought a grand coalition between CDU/CSU and the SPD. Ironically, though, in a strategic way the opposite than the desired result was reached. Schroeder became the first German chancellor working for Moscow after his term ended - where he managed to successfully create the North Stream gas pipeline - and the German industry hit a gold mine when they went big into China early on, because in the US they feared punishment for German's non-participation in the war on Iraq.

"Does the CIA control the media in Germany?"

I don't know, but I think it's likely that the manufacturing of the complete dominance of US talking points in German media - which can easily be observed - is a bit more complex in the largely privitized world of think tanks and global corporations nowadays. See the link I posted in a comment above for hundreds of pages with details about this in German language, if you like. I think in this regard similar fashonable management trends apply for Germany as for the US itself, where I believe the CIA told the truth that it stopped their "Operation Mockingbird" - but regarding some topics like global security, war propaganda and Israel it looks like that, if it's not directed, than at least some kind of "group think" rules the bulk of the US mass media.

However, in Germany, one can know a bit on the past of the mass media and that makes educated guess possible on the situation today. So, the basic thing to know there is that as the allies conquered Germany the creation of a completely new media landscape to replace Goebbels propaganda apparatus was a major task for the allies. German media historians note that the post-WWII Western German media landscape is based on US (and some British) plannings of the Psychological Warfare Division of the SHAEF beginning January 1944. As the western Allies conquered Germany they first prohibited all German media publications to destroy Goebbels propaganda apparatus, and then they gave licenses to people trusted by them to publish German media. As the US was the dominant allied power in the western zones, naturally most of these "trusted people" were close to the US or at least published what the US wanted them to publish, though the US also took prominent "converted" people from the Nazi's propaganda machine to work for them after the war.

These "trusted people" licensed back then directly after WWII by the US and British forces and their heirs are still the very few families (about a dozen families), who own the bulk of the German media. Whether these about a dozen families had or still have any secret formal contract with the CIA or another US government agency to make sure they follow the US PR lines I don't know. Maybe, maybe not, but in the end it's not important. What counts is the result. And the result is that anybody who wants to be published in the German media needed to have a strong pro-US position, and later was a strong pro-Israel position also needed. The method of control is simple and comes from the owner families: who doesn't follow the US political line doesn't get a job in the German media oligopol. From the cold war era it is also known nowadays that the CIA had lot's of agents in German media back then, and not only media, but they had a big operation running to influence and control which had to do with publishing, culture and opinion influencing, like unions, parties, education, social clubs and so on.

The one exception from the rule in German media, as I see it, was Burda, where Jürgen Todenhöfer, who is now known as a peace activist, was a top manager for 20 years. Burda grew from the small French occupied zone, so it was licensed by France, and mostly follows the French line. The Soviets had their influence in eastern zone and GDR media, which they took over after the US broke their agreements with the Soviets to create a common German media landscape managed by all allies together, but these media were eradicated in the German reunification 1990, except one small paper selling about 10.000 copies daily, the Junge Welt.

"Do they subsidize political parties?"

Well, at least they did finance politicians to get control of all parties. In the video I linked in the comment above, hear CIA agent Tom Braden say, the CIA gave any German polititian money whenever he said he needed it to fight against communism. That worked out well. First the CIA took over the SPD and the unions in this way and made them accept founding the Bundeswehr and joining the NATO. A few decades later the greens were founded as a US-critical peace party, but then they were influenced to become a staunch pro-NATO, pro-US war party, and now a similar process of being put on a pro-US-line is well under way for the left party.

From what I see, this work is nowadays likely not done by CIA money, but has been privatized and is done now by selective media support, think tanks and financing and organizational support from foundations. But, of course, I wouldn't rule out direct CIA hands in that process, neither. It's a well establihed fact, that during the cold war the CIA had their hands in almost everything of importance in Western Germany - of course all in the name of the higher good of fighting against the evil of communism. However, after the end of the cold war and the demise of communism in eastern Europe, there was never anything which would have indicated that the CIA ended their massive use of agents of influence in Germany accordingly.

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