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12 December 2017

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Jack

Sir

It is not only in foreign policy that our elite groupthink lives in fantasy land. It is also in economic and financial policy.

Robin Wright and the rest of those who were cheerleaders of all our interventions since deposing Saddam can never believe they got it wrong. They can never self-reflect. After all they are all so smart, with the big degrees from the Ivy schools and they keep patting themselves on the back in their narrow social circles.

Compared to our interventions that have only resulted in chaos and anarchy and displacement of the locals, and of course enabling the Shia, we have to be impressed by the Russian intervention. It seems they learned some lessons from Afghanistan. We on the other hand continue to be besotted with fantasy. Sad!

In my old age I am getting sentimental and feel my generation failed our fathers. This failure is now endemic.

james

thanks pat... this rw person is in denial... it's very common... they believe the propaganda and remain in complete denial.. fortunately there are some americans able to voice an alternative version of reality who are not in denial.. what does it take to get rid of this malaise on the back of the usa? we have it here in canada by extension...

Harper

The visit to Syria this week by Russian President Putin was one more "reality check" that the Borg has lost. I thank Col. Lang for constantly providing a clear running account of the actual progress of the war, from the time that the Russians began their intervention in late September 2015. Syria is a defeat for the idea of permanent warfare, which argues that wars can no longer be won on the battlefield, but only through convoluted diplomatic processes, in which the Borg assets have the ability to assure that no end is reached. SST was the only place where the world of Clausewitz still applied to Syria, and where the myth that neither side could win the "war on the ground" was constantly mocked. As Col. Lang noted in this posting, that is a reality that the Borg can never accept. I may prove to be their Achilles Heel.

turcopolier

james

It is not be extension. Canada has plenty of fatheads who are completely home grown. pl

David Habakkuk

All,

The Colonel writes, of Robin Wright’s article in David Remnick’s magazine:

‘IMO it reflects the Borg’s bitter resignation to the reality of its defeat in Syria where it sought to affect its greatest stunt in fostering the dream of a westernized Middle East that would accept the presence and domination of Israel, the Borg’s most beloved tool in the region.’

For that – rather substantial – part of the ‘Borg’ which is Jewish, Israel was always very much more than a ‘tool.’

Involved here is a ludicrous fantasy of empowerment, in which it seemed that access to the ‘controlling levers’ of the massive power of the United States was supposed to make possible the realisation of inherently contradictory utopian visions.

A secularisation of a – millenarian – vision of exile and return, given immense force by the way that, in Germany and elsewhere, a resolution of the ambiguities of ‘modernisation’ which was anti-semitic on racial grounds had triumphed, came together with another quite different vision.

In this, which one finds in the original Bolshevik movement, and also in ‘Lennonism’ – a very useful notion which Steve Sailer took from Michael Barone – all the antagonisms which have characterised human history, racial, religious, cultural, can be transcended in some kind of future utopia of togetherness.

This vision has been particularly attractive to members of what I am tempted to call – not having as yet a better term – a ‘narcissistic pseudo-meritocracy.’

A bitter irony is that, in such a system, the Jews who end up having influence are people who are good at passing examinations, making money, and practising law.

In terms of the intellectual capabilities required for statecraft – understanding of culture, history and religion, military matters, practical experience of having to act in situation where if one gets it wrong things blow up in one’s face – they are beyond belief useless.


A very great tragedy is that so many people who are, ethnically, either wholly or partly Jewish have had so much to contribute to the understanding to these matters – and still do.

A good example comes from two Jews with whom I had some contact thirty years ago. Both had East European immigrant origins.

One, Sir Lawrence Freedman KCMG, CBE, PC, FBA, played a non-trivial role in getting us involved in the catastrophic venture in Iraq and is, as I came to realise, an utter dolt. Another, Stephen Shenfield, was the conduit through which the first intimations of what became the Gorbachev era ‘new thinking’ appeared in Britain.

At the outset, I paid attention to Freedman, and distrusted Shenfield, because he was, and remains, a socialist. He is also an anti-Zionist Jew, in a tradition which was actually very strong among left-wing – which included very many strongly anti-Marxist – Jews in places like Lithuania (thereafter massacred by the Nazis, with the enthusiastic collaboration of Lithuanian nationalists.)

Some time back, I came across an account by Shenfield of those years, dealing with his contacts with Fyodor Burlatsky and Colonel Viktor Girshfeld, whose views he published, under the alias ‘Colonel X.’ Both were very interesting men – the latter, in particular, provides a fascinating insight into the manifold complexities of the relations between Jewish identity and Soviet history.)

(See http://stephenshenfield.net/memories/ussr-russia/179-my-experiences-in-russia ; http://stephenshenfield.net/archives/research-jrl/92-special-issue-no-26-november-2004-the-girshfeld-file .)

Ironically, when I came across Shenfield’s site, I still thought that, on important issues, he was flat out wrong and indeed a silly ass – just as I did thirty years ago.

There were, however, critically important ways in which it turned out that the boot was on the other foot – he has been right, and I quite wrong.

Not simply moral, but simple prudential, calculations, dictate that it is critical to actually understand how people think – not how they would think, if they were totally objective and impartial, still less how they might think, if they thought one was a wonderful as one would like to think oneself.

Ironically, precisely because of his background, when people like TTG were saying that Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ was all about ‘reflexive control’, Shenfield could see that what Colonel Girshfeld was telling him was nothing of the kind.

Among Shenfield’s virtues is good manners. At one point in his account of Girshfeld, however, these obscure what is clearly a deep, and utterly justified, contempt. Referring to one of the – innumerable – pieces by Western analysts who suggested that he was a ‘useful idiot’, Shenfield wrote:

‘According to Harry Gelman, “Colonel X” did exist but he was not a former army officer as he “alleged.” He was “presumably in fact a representative of a Soviet intelligence service" whose mission was to plant "rumors and private suggestions” about possible unilateral Soviet reductions in order “to increase domestic popular pressures on Western governments to adopt a more forthcoming negotiating posture regarding Western reductions, and more generally to inhibit Western defense expenditures” (The Soviet Military Leadership and the Question of Soviet Deployment Retreats, RAND Report R-3664-AF, 1988). I cannot disprove this hypothesis, but it is surely implausible in the extreme. Gelman and many others with the same mentality were able to perceive Soviet people only as programmed robots rather than as thinking and feeling individuals pursuing their own goals within the constraints of a specific political environment. They were able to sustain this perception because their real contact with Soviet people was very limited.’

In the event, Jews like Shenfield, who thought, got marginalised, and Jews like Freedman, who didn’t were accepted into Western ‘establishments.’

The – not entirely unpredictable – result has been one catastrophic foreign policy mistake after another, and a revival of anti-semitism.

Anna

An interesting observation: http://thesaker.is/putins-syrian-withdrawal-announcement-an-analysis/
“…most Russians – including critically the great majority of Russians serving in the military – have understood and accepted the need for the Syrian intervention ... it most definitely is not a war which the Russian people have enthusiastically embraced, and which they wish to see perpetuated indefinitely. … most Russians – including those who serve in the military – want to see the war in Syria ended as soon as possible, and the troops once their mission is successfully accomplished quickly brought home.
Putin understands this completely, and this explains many of the things he said in his address to the troops at Khmeimim air base. Thus the address begins with an acknowledgement that for Russian soldiers: “…..the most important thing….is the defence of our fatherland, our people.”
Note that flowery language of the sort beloved by US or Western leaders about defending things such as ‘values’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ appear nowhere in Putin’s address. Not only does Putin have no time for such language but the Russian troops he was addressing have no time for it either.”
Also: "The Russians have had to fight a bitter war against Jihadism on their own territory in the northern Caucasus during the 1990s and the 2000s, and have also suffered sustained Jihadi terrorist attacks on their main cities on a scale that no Western country – not even the US – has experienced. No Russian wants to go through that again..."

Anna

It is a paycheck that determines the mental operations of Robin Wright et al. They can pretend to be objective and sophsticated, but a naked truth is that Robin Wright belongs to the presstitute corps.

And what an ugly trasnformation has happened to the New Yorker. It used to be a decent journal. Not anymore.

Anna

Moon of Alabama on Robin Wright' profitable (for her) delusions: http://www.moonofalabama.org
"In 2013 Robin Wright presented the Israeli dream of a split up Middle East. It was a remake of the "Blood Borders" map peddled in 2006 by the neoconservatives Col. Ralph Peters. That map went into the trash-bin when the U.S. had to leave Iraq. Wrigth's cartographic expression of imperial arrogance will end there too.
Wright is heavily wired in Washington. She is part of the *borg* and held/holds positions at the U.S. Institute of Peace (which plans wars), the Wilson Center, Brookings and Carnegie Endowment. That she has now given up on her ludicrous map likely reflects the leading opinions within those institutions..."

SmoothieX12

but only through convoluted diplomatic processes, in which the Borg assets have the ability to assure that no end is reached. SST was the only place where the world of Clausewitz still applied to Syria,

The so called Borg, far from properly (emphasis on properly) learning Clausewitz, among many other things, should also try to attend some kind of military-technological illiteracy mitigating course since the Borg has no clue on technological dimension of warfare and how it translates into the tactical, operational and strategic matters. Learning actual social facts on the ground is also a must. But then again, once actual knowledge and skills begin to penetrate the Borg it may actually make it less Borgy. I believe Borg's defining characteristic is it's existence in a perpetual Chalabi moment. It can not exist otherwise.

james

that is very true too starting with the bozo harper.. our political class is out of touch with reality..

Valissa

Group think is powerful stuff! The Borgians have been saying the mantra "Assad must go, Assad must go" for a long time now and are totally in thrall to it (it has become a pseudo-religious belief deeply locked into their thinking). It will not be easy to reprogram that belief pattern. Easier on the brain to create a modified mantra like "Assad will go later" or "Assad should go" before possibly acceding to the geopolitical facts on the ground.

And speaking of geopolitical facts on the ground... there are many reasons for Pax Americana to desire an ally country in the Middle East, anchoring the interests of Empire even if it is via Zionism and has all the extra problems that adds to managing that "outpost." I'm not denying the importance of the Jewish mythos, or the Evangelical mythos, or the politics just pointing out how conveniently those coincide with old-fashioned Machiavellian Imperialism.

Putin and company understand how to wield power soooooo much better than the Borg of Pax Americana that it's embarrassing really.

walrus

Mind expanding contributions, like those of David Habakkuk, are the reason that SST is such a joy to read.

signal-to-noise

Embarrassing but true. We even manage to export a few, such as David "Axis of Evil" Frum...

Kooshy


Colonel Lang, I have been reading and listening to WR on middle eastern affairs for many years, IMO Robin Wright is more than
a smart person or as you wrote “intelligent person” I think she actually is an smart ass. I got the feeling that’s also what you meant.

turcopolier

signal to noise

Is he from Toronto? pl

Cortes

Thanks again.

Here’s Alexander Mercouris’s take on the same subject, with comment about the importance of the visit to Syria by Pres. Putin:

http://thesaker.is/putins-syrian-withdrawal-announcement-an-analysis/

SmoothieX12

And what an ugly trasnformation has happened to the New Yorker. It used to be a decent journal. Not anymore.

David Remnick is not one's top Russia observer, but there he was and is in New Yorker. Albeit, against the background of other contemporary "Russia experts", he is not the worst. He is simply not good. American contemporary main-stream media, the New Yorker included, are dead as any intellectual stimulant, let alone source of any good information.

turcopolier

james

As your fellow Canadian citizen I can only concur. My ancestors inhabited Canada before it was Canada. How aboot yours? I think we should break up the country into the following new states (small c) 1. Quebec, 2. the Maritimes, 3. Ontario, 4. The Plains, 5. BC. The odd bits like the Yukon, Hudson's Bay, etc. could be "First Nations Land." pl

JohnA

I let my subscription to both The New Yorker and The New York Times both go this year. A few years ago, I cut loose The Economist. If they don't smarten up, next to be banished from my in box will be The Globe & Mail.

Johnson's Russia List is good value. A lot of good foreign policy and superb diplomatic skill is captured there.

Today, Johnson covers with...

"DJ: Thank you for supporting fair and balanced coverage of Russia."

...which is true. I've only ever seen David lose it with one outlet and that was WaPo. He usually stays away from commenting on material he includes.

J

Colonel, TTG,

In addition to the missing troops that is said that DoD cannot account for (44,000), the coming audit of DoD will be a dog on the hunt, a hunt for missing pocket change,namely $21 Trillion in pocket change.

"Pentagon & HUD ‘Lost’ $21 TRILLION"

https://solari.com/blog/dod-and-hud-missing-money-supporting-documentation/


What is interesting is that the day before 911, OSD Rumsfeld went national and disclosed that DoD had a 'missing' $2.3 Trillion, the very next day 911 happened and everybody seemed to forget about Rumsfeld's statement on the missing DoD Trillions.

outthere

I think Robin Wright went to Michigan, not Ivy League. Her father was a law prof there.

Castellio

Quite right.

On December 11, Canada's House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence tabled their Report. Among its 17 recommendations to the Government of Canada, the Committee stated,
"That the Government of Canada advocate for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Ukraine that respects its territorial integrity. [...]
"That the Government of Canada provide lethal weapons to Ukraine to protect its sovereignty from Russian aggression..."

It seems we expect United Nations "Peacekeepers" to walk into the Donbass and Lugansk, and then, I suppose Crimea, acting to respect Ukraine's "territorial integrity". Oh, but we are also going to arm and train the Ukrainian nationalist side of the conflict at the same time.

Very clever, eh? Gotta love it.

Bandolero

PL

"The Quds (Jerusalem) brigade of exiled Palestinian troops..."

I read news of that Palestinian Quds brigade in many Borg news papers. A couple of weeks ago the most spread German paper Bild demended even an apology from 1st German state TV, for identifying a General from the Quds force in the Euphrates valley as Syrian, while in reality it's a Palestinian militia - according to Bild. I almost couldn't hold my stomach aching from laughing. Noone had ever heard of many Palestinians in the Euphrate valley, but Bild demanded from ARD to identify the Quds brigade not as Syrian, but as a Palestianian militia.

In one way Bild was of course right: these guys in the Quds brigade are fighting and dying for Palestine. But from all what I know, not even the leader of the Quds brigade operating in the Euphrate vally, Qassem Soleimani, is really Palestianian.

Ishmael Zechariah

Seconded.
Ishmael Zechariah

Norbert M Salamon

Sir:
an interesting design for Canada. Speaking only as along time resident of the Yukon many moons ago, the First Nations could not survive on their own in that forbidding land. They barely survived ere the Coast Indians from Alaska overran the Hudson Bay trading post, when their population was way lower. These odd bits [over 1/3 of Canada's area], a.k.a. the Territories, are ruled by Ottawa, with apparent local political power, under the nominal rule of the Council and Commissioner.

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