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Milk-Bar Clausewitzes …

… Bean Curd Napoleons

In the Reign of Kaiser Don

by Fred Reed

The Unz Review (August 03 2017)

Why do those inadequate little men in Washington and New York dream of new wars? Because the empire is near a tipping point.

Washington must either start a war in Korea or get faced down by the North, its carriers ignored, its bombers “sending signals” and making “shows of force” without result. For the empire, this is a loss of face and credibility and an example to others that America can be challenged.

Iran has not caved to Washington’s threats and sanctions and clearly isn’t going to. Another strategic loss, a big one, unless – the hawks seem to think – remedied by a war. Iran wants to trade with Europe and Europe likes the idea. Worse, Iran is becoming a vital part of China’s aim to integrate Europe and Asia economically. To the empire, this smells of death. The frightened grow desperate.

China shows no signs of backing down in the South China Sea. For Washington, it is either war now, when it thinks it might win, or be overshadowed as China grows.

Russia has irrevocably gotten the Crimea, is quietly absorbing part of the Ukraine, and looks as if its side is going to win in Syria. Three humiliating setbacks for the empire. Loss of control of the Mideast would be a strategic disaster for Washington.

Continued control of Europe is absolutely vital. European governments have groveled but now even they grow restless with Washington’s sanctions against Russia, and European businessmen want more trade eastward. Growing trade with Asia threatens to loosen Europe’s shackles. Washington cannot allow this.

When you have militarily stupid politicians listening to pathologically confident soldiers, trouble is likely. All of these people might reflect how seldom wars turn out as those starting them expect. Wars are always going to be quick and easy. Generals do not infrequently advise against a war but, once it begins, they bark in unison. They seldom know what they are getting into. Note:

* The American Civil War was expected to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas. Wrong, by four years and some 650,000 dead.

* Germans thought that World War One would be a quick war of movement, over in a few weeks. Wrong by four years and fantastic slaughter, and was an entirely unexpected trench war of attrition ending in unconditional surrender. Not in the Powerpoint presentation.

* When the Japanese Army urged attacking Pearl Harbor, their war aims did not include two cities in radioactive rubble and GIs in the bars of Tokyo. That is what they got.

* When the Wehrmacht invaded Poland, having GIs and the Red Army in Berlin must have been an undocumented feature. Very undocumented.

* When the French re-invaded Vietnam after World War Two, they did not expect Les Jaunes to crush them at Dien Bien Phu, end of war. Les Jaunes did.

* When the Americans invaded Vietnam, having seen what had happened to the French, the thought did not occur that it might happen to them too. It did.

* When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the US in a war against peasants, they did not expect to lose. They did.

* When the Americans attacked Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the Soviets there, they did not expect to be fought to a slowly losing draw. They were.

* When the Americans attacked Iraq, they did not expect to be bogged down in an interminable conflagration in the whole region. They are.

Is there a pattern here?

From the foregoing one might conclude that when grrr-bowwow-woofs start wars, they seldom foresee the nature of the war or its outcome. This is particularly true of military men, who seem to have little grasp of their profession. Whether anyone else could better predict does not matter. The generals do not.

Why? One reason is that war by its nature is not very predictable. Often the other side proves uncooperative, imaginative, and resourceful. Another reason is that militaries inculcate unreasonable confidence in their own powers. Troops cannot be told that they are mediocre soldiers, and may lose, that their publics may not support the war, that the other side may prove superior. Consequently, they are told, and tell themselves, that they are the best trained, best armed, most lethal force imaginable. They tell themselves that they have great fighting spirit – cran, bushido, oorah. If this is so, they think, how can they not win?

Just now, the usual damned fools in Washington and New York contemplate wars against Russia in Syria, China in the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia in the Ukraine, and Iran. All of these offer superb chances for disastrous and unexpected consequences.


A pregnant-and-girl simulator, forced on American troops by feminists. The intention obviously is to humiliate, and they have succeeded. The problem is, first, that we have troops willing to put up with this and second, and far worse, is that the generals, who know perfectly well the effects of this sort of thing, have let the military become the playground of feminists, homosexuals, transvestites, transgenders, single mothers, and so on. They value their careers over the military.

An attack on North Korea will be called a “surgical strike”. “Surgical” is a public relations phrase implying that no civilians will be killed, that the war will be quick and cheap. You know, like Iraq, a cakewalk. This idea has little relation to military reality. The assumptions will be that American intelligence actually knows where the North’s missiles and nukes are, that North Korea is too stupid to put them deep underground, that Kim Jong Un won’t respond with a massive attack on the South, that he doesn’t have aircraft that can carry a nuke for a short distance – to Seoul, say, or a carrier-battle group, or to the barracks of the 28,000 GIs in South Korea, that the North Korean infantry could not get into Seoul, thirty-five miles away, forcing the US to bomb the South Korean capital into rubble.

Them is a lot of assumptions.

Similarly, we hear that the US military could devastate Iran. Today, “US military” means airplanes. American ground forces are small, not rapidly deployable and – if I may lapse into rural accuracy -pussified, obsessed with homosexuality, girls in combat, trans this and trans that, and racial and sexual quotas in the officer corps. The Pentagon has trouble finding recruits physically fit enough for combat arms.

Iranians are Muslims, not pansies and not afraid to die. They might not – I would say definitely will not – cave in to a bombing. They might close the Straits of Hormuz (“Damn, sir! I was sure we could blow up all those missiles they have on pickup trucks”). They might launch dispersed infantry attacks into various surrounding countries. Getting them out would be a hell of lot harder than letting them in.

In all of these contemplated wars, there is the belief in the Last Move: that is, that after the US defeats the Russian Air Force over Syria, which it could, Russia would throw up its hands, go home and do nothing – instead of, say, occupying the Caucasus, which it could. Always, always, the assumption is that the other side will behave as the bow-wow-woofs think it will.

People tend to think of countries as suprahuman entities with rational minds. We say, “Russia did this” or The US decided that …” Countries don’t decide anything. Men (usually) do. You know, McCain, Hillary, generals, delusional Neocons, and Trump, who is eerily similar to Kaiser Wilhelm, another stochastic military naif with a codpiece need. These massive egos are not well suited to backing down or conceding that they have made a mistake.

This egotism is important. Washington’s vanities could not accept being humiliated, not allow any country to show that resistance to America is possible.


The carrier Forrestal, 1967. A single Zuni ground-attack missile was fired accidentally, hitting a plane. A huge fire ensued, bombs cooked off, 134 men were killed, and the ship was devastated, out of service for a very long time. One five-inch missile.

Suppose that the Navy fired on a Chinese ship in the South China Sea, expecting Beijing to roll over as it would have thirty years ago – but it didn’t, instead leaving a carrier in flaming ruin. This is far from impossible. Carriers can be surprisingly fragile, and China has focused resources specifically of defeating the American Navy in what it regards as its home waters. The American fleet has not fought a war since 1945. It doesn’t really know how well its weapons will work against their weapons.

Times have changed. Carriers today are useful only for bombing defenseless countries. Against serious opposition – Russia and China for example – they serve only as trip wires. The carrier itself does not amount to much, but if you cripple one, you are at war with the US. This is less scary than it used to be, which is dangerous in itself, but still not something one undertakes casually.

The following news story is worth reflection. Surprise! Boo!

 

 

The Uninvited Guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of US Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced.

American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast USS Kitty Hawk – a 1,000-foot supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

By the time it surfaced the 160-foot Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

According to senior Nato officials, the incident caused consternation in the US Navy.

 

 

The story clearly was not written by a student of submarines or carriers, but the incident occurred, ten years ago – and Chinese submarines are getting rapidly better.

Emotionally unable to walk away from a local defeat, Washington would have to double down, likely by bombing China. The consequences would be disastrous, unpredictable, perhaps nuclear. Things soldiers do not think about: revolution when the United States, already deeply divided with the middle and lower classes pushed to the wall financially, suffer the depression that would follow on ending commerce with America’s largest trading partner – China. The lower middle class, already pushed to the wall, having no savings, finds prices going way up at Walmart. Apple stores have no iPhones. Boeing loses Chinese orders, laying off thousands. This list could go on for many pages. The elderly will remember the civil unrest during Vietnam.

If the war remained conventional, the outcome might boil down to which population could best survive privation – the Chinese, only a generation or so removed from living hard, or America’s squealing millennials, looking for safe spaces. If the Pentagon destroyed the Three Gorges Dam and killed several million people, China might go nuclear. Note that if a few well-placed nuclear bombs shut down food distribution in the US for even a month, people in the cities would be fighting for food on the third day, and eating each other on the fifth.

This, those absurd vanities and overgrown children in New York are playing with.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)

http://www.unz.com/freed/milk-bar-clausewitzes-bean-curd-napoleons/

Categories: Uncategorized

US Sanctions Symptomatic of a Failing Empire

by James Oneill

New Eastern Outlook (August 15 2017)

On 26 July 2017, the US Congress overwhelmingly approved a Bill providing for fresh sanctions against North Korea, Russia, and Iran. The passage of this Bill, and its level of support in the US Congress, is instructive on a number of levels.

The first point is that the US, or more accurately factions within the US establishment, are prepared to pursue policies irrespective of the lack of an evidential foundation that runs counter to the interests of its supposed friends and allies, and completely lacks any knowledge of or reference to historical realities. The net result of the latest sanctions is to create a singularly dangerous situation that could very easily lead to a nuclear war. Contrary to the bizarre beliefs of some US policy makers, there would be no winners in such an outcome.

These points may be illustrated by reference to the sanctions applied to Iran. For years, the rhetoric from the US and its close ally Israel was that Iran was on “the verge of developing a nuclear bomb”. For more than a decade, the Israel government was saying that Iran was “only months away” from such a development. That the deadlines came and went without incident did not deter the repetition of what were manifest falsehoods.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared before the UN General Assembly brandishing a cartoon depiction of the alleged “imminent threat”. The western media largely omitted to mention the fact that it was Israel that was the Middle East’s sole nuclear power; that Israel was not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and that it was Israel that consistently refused to allow inspections by the IAEA of its nuclear facilities.

Not only was there no evidence that Iran had or wished to develop a nuclear weapons capability, it was the unanimous view of all seventeen US intelligence agencies on two separate occasions that Iran was not developing a nuclear weapons program.

To head off the prospect of the constant anti-Iran propaganda escalating to an attack by the US and its allies upon Iran, the Russian government was instrumental in achieving an agreement in 2015 that prevented an alleged, non-existent nuclear weapons program becoming a justification for war. The recent historical example of Iraq was illustrative of how constant demonization, undermining by sanctions, and overblown false allegations of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction could quickly lead to the utter devastation of a previously prosperous nation.

The lessons that should have been learned from Iraq, Libya, and Syria are determinedly ignored by the western media that is currently beating the drums of war over North Korea, again ignoring history, logic and military realities.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) negotiated in 2015 and agreed by the participating parties, including the United States, provided an instrument through which it became virtually impossible for Iran to become a nuclear-armed power. The mechanisms for ensuring compliance included regular IAEA inspections, and six-monthly reports certifying Iran’s compliance. Those reports went to the US Congress.

For the Americans and their allies, however, it was not enough. Although the JCPOA deprived them of an immediate casus belli for war, the anti-Iran rhetoric continued non-stop. One example of the false propaganda was the constant claim that Iran was a supporter of Shia groups, intent on fostering terrorism and destabilization across the Middle East and elsewhere.

This allegation bore no resemblance to the facts. The US Carnegie Foundation, for example, in a report entitled “Iran’s Small Hand in Yemen” criticized the depiction of Iran as supporting “Shia rebels” against the forces supporting the deposed President Hadi. The reality is that Hadi was a dictator, elected in an election where he was the only candidate, and whom popular opposition forced him to flee to Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis, who are the main opposition to Hadi, are Zaidi Muslims, much closer theologically to the Sunni branch of Islam than they are to predominantly Shia Iran. The brutal war currently being waged on Yemen is led by Sunni Saudi Arabia, supported by the UK, US, and a heavy involvement of mercenaries, including Australians, about which the Australian government is silent. The reality has more to do with Yemen’s strategic location overlooking the narrow outlet from the Red Sea to the Arabian Sea and its massive oil reserves coveted by the Saudis than it does with any alleged Iranian support. Djibouti, across the strait from Yemen, has similarly attracted US and Chinese strategic involvement, without as yet being ravaged by war.

Iran also offers political and moral support for Hamas in Palestine, Muslims in Kashmir, and the Rohingya in Myanmar, all of whom are overwhelmingly Sunni. The feature they all have in common is that they are repressed and subject to genocidal policies by other political and religious groupings.

The Trump administration is demonstrating the truth of President Putin’s observation about the previous Obama administration, that they “are not agreement capable”.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal “if it was up to me I would have found (the Iranians) non-compliant 180 days ago” (when he was sworn in). According to an article in the US Journal Foreign Policy, Trump threw a tantrum in the Oval Office and berated his three senior foreign policy advisers (Tillerson, Mattis, and McMaster) for not having found a way to claim that Iran was in breach of the provisions of the JCPOA. The New York Times ran a similar story.

In fact, it is the United States that is in violation of the JCPOA, both the letter and the spirit of the agreement, and also of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) that approved the agreement. Article 29 of the JCPOA commits the US to refrain from any policy intended to affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.

The latest round of sanctions and the bellicose rhetoric accompanying them are manifestly not in compliance with Article 29.

Among the many falsehoods asserted against Iran is the claim that Iran’s missile tests are a violation of the JCPOA. There is nothing in the agreement that inhibits Iran from developing a self-defense capability, including the use of anti-aircraft and anti-missile technology. That is also a right enshrined in the UN Charter.

Iran took delivery of the Russian made S300 anti-missile system in 2016, also in pursuance of its right to self-defense. Given the bellicose threats made against Iran on an almost constant basis, the two recent incidents of “warning shots” being fired at Iranian vessels by US Navy ships operating close to Iran’s territorial waters, and the recent history of American actions in Iran’s neighborhood, self-defence measures are at the very least a prudent course of action.

Iran’s compliance with the terms of the JCPOA has enabled action in another area arguably more important than military self-defense measures. Rapid progress has been made by Iran in strengthening its economic ties to China, India, and Russia. Memoranda of Understanding worth $40 billion have been signed with Russia or Russian companies. The Russian company Gazprom has signed a multi-billion dollar deal to develop Iran’s Farzad B gas field. Gazprom is also helping to develop the Azar and Ghanguleh oil fields in Lurestan province where there are an estimated 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves.

Iran similarly has $7 trillion in natural gas reserves. The $200 billion needed to develop those reserves will come from Russia, China, and other non-western sources. Iran has announced that it will give preference in infrastructure and other development deals to those nations who were supportive through the years of sanctions and other forms of warfare.

China, that is currently building a high-speed rail link between Mashad and Tehran (to link with other Central Asian lines) sees Iran as a key player in its massive Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI”) that is transforming the Eurasian economic and geopolitical landscape.

Iran is similarly a key player in the North South Transportation Corridor that links India via Iran and Azerbaijan with Russia, transporting goods at a fraction of the cost and time of existing conventional routes that are vulnerable to US Navy interference.

Also of major significance is Iran’s associate membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, with full membership highly likely in 2018. The SCO is a central component of the BRI with ever growing trade and security links with the Russian initiated Eurasian Economic Union (“EEU”). Russia is the common denominator of BRICS, the SCO, the EEU, the SCO, and the NSTC. The countries in these four groups, as well as other nations (now more than sixty) who have joined the BRI, are increasingly trading in other than dollar denominated arrangements. The days of the US dollar’s dominance are clearly numbered.

It is this combination of major economic and geopolitical shifts in the balance of power away from US dominance that has prevailed for the past seven decades that is the key to understanding why the Americans are reacting in the desperate, dangerous, and irrational manner that they are. It is the classic end of empire syndrome. One hopes that the adults in the room will constrain the US from traveling further down a path that could spell the end of humanity.

_____

James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.

https://journal-neo.org/2017/08/15/us-sanctions-symptomatic-of-a-failing-empire/

Categories: Uncategorized

The Demolition of US Global Power

Donald Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East

by Alfred W McCoy

TomDispatch (July 16 2017)

The superhighway to disaster is already being paved.

From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported US global power for the past seventy years and set out to topple each of them in turn. By degrading Nato, alienating Asian allies, canceling trade treaties, and slashing critical scientific research, the Trump White House is already in the process of demolishing the delicately balanced architecture that has sustained Washington’s world leadership since the end of World War Two. However unwittingly, Trump is ensuring the accelerated collapse of American global hegemony.

Stunned by his succession of foreign policy blunders, commentators – left and right, domestic and foreign – have raised their voices in a veritable chorus of criticism. A Los Angeles Times editorial typically called him “so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality” that he threatened to “weaken this country’s moral standing in the world” and “imperil the planet” through his “appalling” policy choices. “He’s a sucker who’s shrinking US influence in [Asia] and helping make China great again”, wrote New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman after surveying the damage to the country’s Asian alliances from the president’s “decision to tear up the twelve-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal in his first week in office.”

The international press has been no less harsh. Reeling from Trump’s denunciation of South Korea’s free-trade agreement as “horrible” and his bizarre claim that the country had once been “a part of China”, Seoul’s leading newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, expressed the “shock, betrayal, and anger many South Koreans have felt”. Assessing his first 100 days in office, Britain’s venerable Observer commented: “Trump’s crudely intimidatory, violent, know-nothing approach to sensitive international issues has encircled the globe from Moscow to the Middle East to Beijing, plunging foes and allies alike into a dark vortex of expanding strategic instability”.

For an American president to virtually walk out of his grand inaugural celebrations into such a hailstorm of criticism is beyond extraordinary. Having more or less exhausted their lexicon of condemnatory rhetoric, the usual crew of commentators is now struggling to understand how an American president could be quite so willfully self-destructive.

Britain’s Suez Crisis

Blitzed by an incessant stream of bizarre tweets and White House conspiracy theories, observers worldwide seem to have concluded that Donald Trump is a president like no other, that the situation he’s creating is without parallel, and that his foreign policy is already a disaster without precedent. After rummaging around in history’s capacious closet for some old suit that might fit him, analysts have failed to find any antecedent or analog to adequately explain him.

Yet just sixty years ago, a crisis in the ever-volatile Middle East overseen by a bumbling, mistake-prone British leader helped create a great power debacle that offers insight into the Trumpian moment, a glimpse into possible futures, and a sense of the kind of decline that could lie in the imperial future of the United States.

In the early 1950s, Britain’s international position had many parallels with America’s today. After a difficult postwar recovery from the devastation of World War Two, that country was enjoying robust employment, lucrative international investments, and the prestige of the pound sterling’s stature as the world’s reserve currency. Thanks to a careful withdrawal from its far-flung, global empire and its close alliance with Washington, London still enjoyed a sense of international influence exceptional for a small island nation of just fifty million people. On balance, Britain seemed poised for many more years of world leadership with all the accompanying economic rewards and perks.

Then came the Suez crisis. After a decade of giving up one colony after another, the accumulated stress of imperial retreat pushed British conservatives into a disastrous military intervention to reclaim Egypt’s Suez Canal. This, in turn, caused a “deep moral crisis in London” and what one British diplomat would term the “dying convulsion of British imperialism”. In a clear instance of what historians call “micro-militarism” – that is, a bold military strike designed to recover fading imperial influence – Britain joined France and Israel in a misbegotten military invasion of Egypt that transformed slow imperial retreat into a precipitous collapse.

Just as the Panama Canal had once been a shining example for Americans of their nation’s global prowess, so British conservatives treasured the Suez Canal as a vital lifeline that tied their small island to its sprawling empire in Asia and Africa. A few years after the canal’s grand opening in 1869, London did the deal of the century, scooping up Egypt’s shares in it for a bargain basement price of four million GBP. Then, in 1882, Britain consolidated its control over the canal through a military occupation of Egypt, reducing that ancient land to little more than an informal colony.

As late as 1950, in fact, Britain still maintained 80,000 soldiers and a string of military bases astride the canal. The bulk of its oil and gasoline, produced at the enormous Abadan refinery in the Persian Gulf, transited through Suez, fueling its navy, its domestic transportation system, and much of its industry.

After British troops completed a negotiated withdrawal from Suez in 1955, the charismatic nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser asserted Egypt’s neutrality in the Cold War by purchasing Soviet bloc arms, raising eyebrows in Washington. In July 1956, after the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower had in response reneged on its promise to finance construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Upper Nile, Nasser sought alternative financing for this critical infrastructure by nationalizing the Suez Canal. In doing so, he electrified the Arab world and elevated himself to the top rank of world leaders.

Although British ships still passed freely through the canal and Washington insisted on a diplomatic resolution of the conflict, Britain’s conservative leadership reacted with irrational outrage. Behind a smokescreen of sham diplomacy designed to deceive Washington, their closest ally, the British foreign secretary met secretly with the prime ministers of France and Israel near Paris to work out an elaborately deceptive two-stage invasion of Egypt by 250,000 allied troops, backed by 500 aircraft and 130 warships. Its aim, of course, was to secure the canal.

On October 29 1956, the Israeli army led by the dashing General Moshe Dayan swept across the Sinai Peninsula, destroying Egyptian tanks and bringing his troops to within ten miles of the canal. Using this fighting as a pretext for an intervention to restore peace, Anglo-French amphibious and airborne forces quickly joined the attack, backed by a devastating bombardment from six aircraft carriers that destroyed the Egyptian air force, including over a hundred of its new MiG jet fighters. As Egypt’s military collapsed with some 3,000 of its troops killed and 30,000 captured, Nasser deployed a defense brilliant in its simplicity by scuttling dozens of rusting cargo ships filled with rocks and concrete at the entrance to the Suez Canal. In this way, he closed Europe’s oil lifeline to the Persian Gulf.

Simultaneously, UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, backed by Washington, imposed a cease-fire after just nine days of war, stopping the Anglo-French attack far short of capturing the entire canal. President Eisenhower’s blunt refusal to back his allies with either oil or money and the threat of condemnation before the UN soon forced Britain into a humiliating withdrawal. With its finances collapsing from the invasion’s soaring costs, the British government could not maintain the pound’s official exchange rate, degrading its stature as a global reserve currency.

The author of this extraordinary debacle was Sir Anthony Eden, a problematic prime minister whose career offers some striking parallels with Donald Trump’s. Born into privilege as the son of a landholder, Eden enjoyed a good education at a private school and an elite university. After inheriting a substantial fortune from his father, he entered politics as a conservative, using his political connections to dabble in finance. Chafing under Winston Churchill’s post-war leadership of the Conservative Party, Eden, who styled himself a rebel against hidebound institutions, used incessant infighting and his handsome head of hair to push the great man aside and become prime minister in 1955.

When Nasser nationalized the canal, Eden erupted with egotism, bluster, and outrage. “What’s all this nonsense about isolating Nasser”, Eden berated his foreign affairs minister. “I want him destroyed, can’t you understand? I want him murdered, and if you and the Foreign Office don’t agree, then you’d better come to the cabinet and explain why.” Convinced that Britain was still the globe’s great power, Eden rejected sound advice that he consult fully with Washington, the country’s closest ally. As his bold intervention plunged toward diplomatic disaster, the prime minister became focused on manipulating the British media, in the process confusing favorable domestic coverage with international support.

When Washington demanded a ceasefire as the price of a billion-dollar bailout for a British economy unable to sustain such a costly war, Eden’s bluster quickly crumbled and he denied his troops a certain victory, arousing a storm of protest in Parliament. Humiliated by the forced withdrawal, Eden compensated psychologically by ordering MI-6, Britain’s equivalent of the CIA, to launch its second ill-fated assassination attempt on Nasser. Since its chief local agent was actually a double-agent loyal to Nasser, Egyptian security had, however, already rounded up the British operatives and the weapons delivered for the contract killers proved duds.

Confronted with a barrage of angry questions in Parliament about his collusion with the Israelis, Eden lied repeatedly, swearing that there was no “foreknowledge that Israel would attack Egypt”. Protesters denounced him as “too stupid to be a prime minister”, opposition members of parliament laughed openly when he appeared before Parliament, and his own foreign affairs minister damned him as “an enraged elephant charging senselessly at … imaginary enemies”.

Just weeks after the last British soldier left Egypt, Eden, discredited and disgraced, was forced to resign after only 21 months in office. Led into this unimaginably misbegotten operation by his delusions of omnipotence, he left the once-mighty British lion a toothless circus animal that would henceforth roll over whenever Washington cracked the whip.

Trump’s Demolition Job

Despite the obvious differences in their economic circumstances, there remain some telling resonances between Britain’s postwar politics and America’s troubles today. Both of these fading global hegemons suffered a slow erosion of economic power in a fast-changing world, producing severe social tensions and stunted political leaders. Britain’s Conservative Party leadership had declined from the skilled diplomacy of Disraeli, Salisbury, and Churchill to Eden’s bluster and blunder. Similarly, the Republican Party has descended from the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and George H W Bush to a field of seventeen primary candidates in 2016 who promised to resolve an infinitely complex crisis in the Middle East through a set of incendiary policies that included making desert sands glow from carpet-bombing and forcing terrorists to capitulate through torture. Confronted with daunting international challenges, the voters of both countries supported appealing but unstable leaders whose delusions of omnipotence inclined them to military misadventures.

Like British citizens of the 1950s, most Americans today do not fully grasp the fragility of their status as “the leader of the free world”. Indeed, Washington has been standing astride the globe as a superpower for so long that most of its leaders have almost no understanding of the delicate design of their country’s global power built so carefully by two post-World War Two presidents.

Under Democratic President Harry Truman, Congress created the key instruments for Washington’s emerging national security state and its future global dominion by passing the National Security Act of 1947 that established the Air Force, the CIA, and two new executive agencies, the Defense Department and the National Security Council. To rebuild a devastated, war-torn Europe, Washington launched the Marshall Plan and then turned such thinking into a worldwide aid program through the US Agency for International Development meant to embed American power globally and support pro-American elites across the planet. Under Truman as well, US diplomats forged the Nato alliance (which Washington would dominate until the Trump moment), advanced European unity, and signed a parallel string of mutual-defense treaties with key Asian allies along the Pacific littoral, making Washington the first power in two millennia to control both “axial ends” of the strategic Eurasian continent.

During the 1950s, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower deployed this national security apparatus to secure Washington’s global dominion with a nuclear triad (bombers, ballistic missiles, and submarines), a chain of military bases that ringed Eurasia, and a staggering number of highly militarized covert operations to assure the ascent of loyal allies worldwide. Above all, he oversaw the integration of the latest in scientific and technological research into the Pentagon’s weapons procurement system through the forging of the famed “military-industrial complex” (against which he would end up warning Americans as he left office in 1961). All this, in turn, fostered an aura of American power so formidable that Washington could re-order significant parts of the world almost at will, enforcing peace, setting the international agenda, and toppling governments on four continents.

While it’s reasonable to argue that Washington had by then become history’s greatest global power, its hegemony, like that of all the world empires that preceded it, remained surprisingly fragile. Skilled leadership was required to maintain the system’s balance of diplomacy, military power, economic strength, and technological innovation.

By the time President Trump took his oath of office, negative, long-term trends had already started to limit the influence of any American leader on the world stage. These included a declining share of the global economy, an erosion of US technological primacy, an inability to apply its overwhelming military power in a way that achieved expected policy goals on an ever more recalcitrant planet, and a generation of increasingly independent national leaders, whether in Europe, Asia, or Latin America.

Apart from such adverse trends, Washington’s global power rested on such strategic fundamentals that its leaders might still have managed carefully enough to maintain a reasonable semblance of American hegemony: notably, the Nato alliance and Asian mutual-security treaties at the strategic antipodes of Eurasia, trade treaties that reinforced such alliances, scientific research to sustain its military’s technological edge, and leadership on international issues like climate change.

In just five short months, however, the Trump White House has done a remarkable job of demolishing these very pillars of US global power. During his first overseas trip in May 2017, President Trump chastised stone-faced Nato leaders for failure to pay their “fair share” into the military part of the alliance and refused to affirm its core principle of collective defense. Ignoring the pleas of these close allies, he then forfeited America’s historic diplomatic leadership by announcing Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord with all the drama of a reality television show. After watching his striking repudiation of Washington’s role as world leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told voters in her country that “we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans”.

Along the strategic Pacific littoral, Trump canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact on taking office and gratuitously alienated allies by cutting short a courtesy phone call to Australia’s prime minister and insulting South Korea to the point where its new president won office, in part, on a platform of “say no” to America. When President Moon Jae-in visited Washington in June, determined to heal the breach between the two countries, he was, as The New York Times reported, blindsided by “the harshness of Mr Trump’s critique of South Korea on trade”.

Just days after Trump dismissed Moon’s suggestion that the two countries engage in actual diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang, North Korea successfully test-fired a ballistic missile potentially capable of reaching Alaska or possibly Hawaii with a nuclear warhead (though experts believe Pyongyang may still be years away from effectively fitting such a warhead to the missile). It was an act that made those same negotiations Washington’s only viable option – apart from a second Korean War, which would potentially devastate both the region and the US position as the preeminent international leader.

In other words, after seventy years of global dominion, America’s geopolitical command of the axial ends of Eurasia – the central pillars of its world power – seems to be crumbling in a matter of months.

Instead of the diplomacy of presidents past, Trump and his advisers, especially his military men, have reacted to his first modest foreign crises as well as the everyday power questions of empire with outbursts akin to Anthony Eden’s. Since January, the White House has erupted in sudden displays of raw military power that included a drone blitz of unprecedented intensity in Yemen to destroy what the president called a “network of lawless savages”, the bombardment of a Syrian air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles, and the detonation of the world’s largest non-nuclear bomb on a terrorist refuge in eastern Afghanistan.

While reveling in the use of such weaponry, Trump, by slashing federal funding for critical scientific research, is already demolishing the foundations for the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower’s successors, Republican and Democratic alike, so sedulously maintained for the last half-century. While China is ramping up its scientific research across the board, Trump has proposed what the American Association for Advancement of Science called “deep cuts to numerous research agencies” that will mean the eventual loss of the country’s technological edge. In the emerging field of artificial intelligence that will soon drive space warfare and cyber-warfare, the White House wants to reduce the 2018 budget for this critical research at the National Science Foundation to a paltry $175 million, even as Beijing is launching “a new multi-billion-dollar initiative” linked to building “military robots.”

A Future Debacle in the Greater Middle East

With a president who shares Sir Anthony Eden’s penchant for bravura, self-delusion, and impulsiveness, the US seems primed for a twenty-first-century Suez of its own, a debacle in the Greater Middle East (or possibly elsewhere). From the disastrous expedition that ancient Athens sent to Sicily in 413 BCE to Britain’s invasion of Suez in 1956, embattled empires throughout the ages have often suffered an arrogance that drives them to plunge ever deeper into military misadventures until defeat becomes debacle, a misuse of armed force known technically among historians as micro-militarism. With the hubris that has marked empires over the millennia, the Trump administration is, for instance, now committed to extending indefinitely Washington’s failing war of pacification in Afghanistan with a new mini-surge of US troops (and air power) in that classic “graveyard of empires”.

So irrational, so unpredictable is such micro-militarism that even the most fanciful of scenarios can be outpaced by actual events, as was true at Suez. With the US military stretched thin from North Africa to South Korea, with no lasting successes in its post-9/11 wars, and with tensions rising from the Persian Gulf and Syria to the South China Sea and the Koreas, the possibilities for a disastrous military crisis abroad seem almost unending. So let me pick just one possible scenario for a future Trumpian military misadventure in the Greater Middle East. (I’m sure you’ll think of other candidates immediately.)

It’s the late spring of 2020, the start of the traditional Afghan fighting season, and a US garrison in the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is unexpectedly overrun by an ad hoc alliance of Taliban and Islamic State guerrillas. While US aircraft are grounded in a blinding sand storm, the militants summarily execute their American captives, filming the gruesome event for immediate upload on the Internet. Speaking to an international television audience, President Trump thunders against “disgusting Muslim murderers” and swears he will “make the desert sands run red with their blood”. In fulfillment of that promise, an angry American theater commander sends B-1 bombers and F-35 fighters to demolish whole neighborhoods of Kandahar believed to be under Taliban control. In an aerial coup de grâce, AC-130-U “Spooky” gunships then rake the rubble with devastating cannon fire. The civilian casualties are beyond counting.

Soon, mullahs are preaching jihad from mosques across Afghanistan and far beyond. Afghan Army units, long trained by American forces to turn the tide of the war, begin to desert en masse. In isolated posts across the country, clusters of Afghan soldiers open fire on their American advisers in what are termed “insider” or “green-on-blue” attacks. Meanwhile, Taliban fighters launch a series of assaults on scattered US garrisons elsewhere in the country, suddenly sending American casualties soaring. In scenes reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, US helicopters rescue American soldiers and civilians from rooftops not just in Kandahar, but in several other provincial capitals and even Kabul.

Meanwhile, angry over the massive civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the anti-Muslim diatribes tweeted almost daily from the Oval Office, and years of depressed energy prices, OPEC’s leaders impose a harsh new oil embargo aimed at the United States and its allies. With refineries running dry in Europe and Asia, the world economy trembling on the brink of recession, and gas prices soaring, Washington flails about for a solution. The first call is to Nato, but the alliance is near collapse after four years of President Trump’s erratic behavior. Even the British, alienated by his inattention to their concerns, rebuff his appeals for support.

Facing an uncertain reelection in November 2020, the Trump White House makes its move, sending Marines and Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the Persian Gulf. Flying from the Fifth Fleet’s base in Bahrain, Navy Seals and Army Rangers occupy the Ras Tanura refinery in Saudi Arabia, the ninth largest in the world; Kuwait’s main oil port at Shuaiba; and Iraq’s at Um Qasr.

Simultaneously, the light carrier USS Iwo Jima steams south at the head of a task force that launches helicopters carrying 6,000 Special Operations forces tasked with seizing the al-Ruwais refinery in Abu Dhabi, the world’s fourth largest, and the mega-port at Jebel Ali in Dubai, a twenty-square-mile complex so massive that the Americans can only occupy its oil facilities. When Teheran vehemently protests the US escalation in the Persian Gulf and hints at retaliation, Defense Secretary James Mattis, reviving a plan from his days as CENTCOM commander, orders preemptive Tomahawk missile strikes on Iran’s flagship oil refinery at Abadan.

From its first hours, the operation goes badly wrong. The troops seem lost inside the unmapped mazes of pipes that honeycomb the oil ports. Meanwhile, refinery staff prove stubbornly uncooperative, sensing that the occupation will be short-lived and disastrous. On day three, Iranian Revolutionary Guard commandos, who have been training for this moment since the breakdown of the 2015 nuclear accord with the US, storm ashore at the Kuwaiti and Emirate refineries with remote-controlled charges. Unable to use their superior firepower in such a volatile environment, American troops are reduced to firing futile bursts at the departing speed boats as oil storage tanks and gas pipes explode spectacularly.

Three days later, as the USS Gerald Ford approaches an Iranian island, more than 100 speedboats suddenly appear, swarming the carrier in a practiced pattern of high-speed crisscrosses. Every time lethal bursts from the carrier’s MK-38 chain guns rip through the lead boats, others emerge from the flames coming closer and closer. Concealed by clouds of smoke, one finally reaches an undefended spot beneath the conning tower near enough for a Revolutionary Guardsman to attach a magnetic charge to the hull with a fateful click. There is a deafening roar and a gaping hole erupts at the waterline of the first aircraft carrier to be crippled in battle since World War Two. As things go from bad to worse, the Pentagon is finally forced to accept that a debacle is underway and withdraws its capital ships from the Persian Gulf.

As black clouds billow skyward from the Gulf’s oil ports and diplomats rise at the UN to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach back to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of imperial Britain to brand this “America’s Suez”. The empire has been trumped.

_____

Alfred W McCoy, a TomDispatch regular, is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (2003), which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the forthcoming In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (2017), out in September from Dispatch Books.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two (2017), as well as John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands (2016), Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead (2016), and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (2014).

Copyright 2017 Alfred W McCoy

(c) 2017 TomDispatch. All rights reserved.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176308/

Categories: Uncategorized

Retired Green Beret Warns …

… “North Korea Can Deliver an EMP Weapon Dead Center Over America”

by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces)

SHTFplan.com (August 03 2017)

Zero Hedge (August 04 2017)

Most are aware by now that North Korea has tested (successfully) another ICBM missile, and its nuclear ambitions are more concrete by the day. The mainstream media and the Obama administration are the creators of the public’s skepticism and denial regarding North Korea’s capabilities. The Obama administration consistently and deliberately downplayed the true strengths and capabilities of North Korea over an eight-year period. Such a downplay was further enabled by key press conferences in which members of the US military’s command structure (specifically those serving in the Pentagon) were made to parrot the administration’s denial.

By “pulling Pentagon officials out” and having them categorically deny North Korea’s capabilities, it set the tempo to create a false narrative that Obama and his minions would champion throughout the eight years. Pentagon officials (Admirals and Four-star Generals) were periodically “rotated” into these press pools to downplay the abilities of North Korea to launch a nuclear missile against the United States.

This obfuscation, orchestrated by Obama and parroted by those general officers who were about to retire in a couple of years was a precise and deliberate weakening of the United States’ defensive stance against a nation that declared its intentions to strike her.

All the experts on the subject were marginalized and labeled either as “crackpots”, or just scoffed at with their opinions relegated to page A-14, just above a coupon for “Captain Crunch” and at the bottom of the page of the newspaper. The public bought it. They swallowed the pill offered by the government-media complex, and in their own narcissistic hubris, discounted the efforts of a “backward” country such as North Korea to send a nuke to the US.

Not anymore.

Now the media is grudgingly, painfully admitting what cannot be hidden: North Korea has more than enough capability to hit the United States. All of it. The North Korean ICBM test on Friday, July 29 proves they can strike the US anywhere. Here you go:
 

Looks like it pretty much can get to New York, Boston, and probably falls just short of Washington [DC]. If those numbers are correct, the missile flown on a standard trajectory, the missile would have a range of 10,400 kilometers (6,500 miles), not taking into account the Earth’s rotation. However, the rotation of the Earth increases the range of missiles fired eastward, depending on their direction. It is important to keep in mind that we do not know the mass of the payload the missile carried on this test.

-David Wright, Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists to CNBC

 

Keep this sentence in mind from the excerpt: “However, the rotation of the Earth increases the range of missiles fired eastward, depending on their direction”.

Such proves they have at least enough “juice” to deliver a warhead containing an EMP weapon {1} dead center over the continental United States, and can strike the US anywhere.

Dr Peter V Pry, formerly an analyst with the CIA, and now the head of the Committee to Assess EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Threats against the US, is the foremost expert on such threats and briefs Congress on them annually. Dr Pry has assured Congress countless times that North Korea not only has miniaturization capabilities regarding nuclear warheads {2}, but also has that capability regarding the deployment of an EMP weapon. I strongly urge you to read his writings and articles.

Now-retired Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (Republican, Maryland) practically hopped up and down during both the Bush Jr and Obama administrations to try and initiate action by the government to protect the grid and infrastructure {3} from an EMP attack. To no avail, all his pleadings … substantiated by piles of research documents and assessments – pure evidence – fell on deaf ears, and he has since retired and withdrawn from mainstream society. Several general officers over the past years (such as General Curtis Scapparotti, for example) went “against the grain” during the Obama years and declared that North Korea did indeed possess EMP weapons {1}, miniaturization capabilities, and ICBM’s. Their declarations also went unheeded.

Now, just as Obama planned it, we are “behind the power curve”, and vulnerable: North Korea has had years to prepare, in the face of mere “sanctions” or other “paper-tiger” rumblings. Through our complacency, they have been enabled to strike the US. Along with the mothballing of TARS (Tethered Aerostat Radar System), the string of radar-equipped balloons along the Gulf Coast to add about ten minutes early warning time to our missile tracking capabilities. As SHTF Plan reported, TARS was taken out in 2013 {4} at Obama’s direction. North Korea has two satellites in orbit {5} that each cross over the US several times daily at 300 kilometers, the optimal height for an EMP strike.

Just as Obama planned it.

The United States, South Korea, and Japan all equally assessed the North Korean launch on July 29th with the same capabilities. President Trump said that he would take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the US and its allies. The nations (the US included) have all declared the intention of more sanctions against North Korea. More nonsense. These two excerpts came from a Dailymail.com article {6} by Cheyenne Roundtree and Gareth Davis for Mailonline that are interesting, if not “amusing” (from a cynical perspective). Here’s the first, with the main point underlined:
 

[President] Donald Trump released a statement yesterday after the missile launch, saying: “North Korea’s test launch yesterday of another intercontinental ballistic missile – the second such test in less than a month – is only the latest reckless and dangerous action by the North Korean regime”.

 

Yes, there you have it from the mouth of the President of the United States, confirming it was indeed an intercontinental ballistic missile (“ICBM”) and was indeed the second one that is confirmed. Here is the second excerpt:

Washington and its allies have watched with growing concern as Pyongyang has made significant progress toward its goal of having all of the US within range of its missiles to counter what it labels as US aggression. While there are hurdles, including building nuclear warheads to fit on those missiles and ensuring reliability, many analysts have been surprised by how quickly Kim Jong-Un has developed North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Well, along with interesting and amusing, let’s add infuriating to the list to describe these words from the excerpt:
 

Many analysts have been surprised.

Significant progress toward its goal.

 

Do you think those analysts will be surprised when, suddenly, all the lights and air conditioning in their offices go out and they’re in the dark on the thirtieth floor? Or if not that, perhaps they’ll be surprised when they look out of their windows and see a nice blinding flash of light and a mushroom cloud? Do you think either an EMP and/or a mushroom cloud over what was once an American city will prove that North Korea has made significant progress toward its goal?

Sometimes valuable information comes from sources that might normally never see the light of day. I found this comment on Steve Quayle’s website {7} that may place things into perspective from a “grass roots” level. Obviously, it is written by a mother of someone in the service, probably the US Army. Here it is, along with its citation:
 

Angel says: Comment ID: 3722746 August 1 2017 at 1:22 am

Wanted to give a heads up that the upcoming fight with North Korea is very real. My child is a Combat Engineer stationed at the DMZ currently and they are readying for a fight. They are doing things in that area that haven’t been done in fifty years. Such as clearing mine fields. They are awaiting orders to attack. Get prepared now if you’re not already. I have someone on the front line and I can tell you it’s getting bad.

 

Sometimes information from the average person will give you insights on things you will not hear in the mainstream media. This woman’s comment is both simplistic and unsolicited, and anyone with more information who is in the area? Your comments would be greatly appreciated. Such comments can reveal (at least in part) what is taking place over there and is valuable because there is no such thing as “grass roots” journalism anymore. There are no more reporters to interview the “man on the street” or to cover things happening in foreign countries. We must rely on what information we bring to one another and our wits to be able to recognize the valuable parts … pieces to the overall puzzle that present the big picture.

Let’s once more examine the “flip” side of things. We have a President who has not been able to accomplish much and thus far has been railroaded by Congress and members of his own political party every day since being sworn in. His popularity ratings are falling, and the midterm election campaigning is right around the corner. What is the solution? Why the same as it was for Bush Jr back in 2003. War. War is the solution, either false flagged/orchestrated by the US, or allowed to be initiated by North Korea. War is the vehicle to create a cohesive bond and gain the support of the populace: nothing new here with this method.

The cost, however, will be sustained by the population and not by those who initiated the conflict, whether North Koreans, Americans or others. The ones who initiate the hostilities will be safe in underground bunkers with food, water, medical supplies, and armed guards … funded by their “host” populations, who will be busily engaged in being vaporized and incinerated on the surface. I close with the point that I have stood by all along, and exhort you to make the best possible choices and take actions for you and your family {8}, while there’s still time to do so, in whatever way you can. Now is the time to act, and not “one second after”, so to speak:

The next world war will be initiated by an EMP weapon {1} detonated over the United States, followed by a nuclear exchange and a war between conventional forces.

Links:

{1} http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/the-threat-is-real-and-imminent-the-next-world-war-will-be-initiated-by-a-first-strike-utilizing-an-emp-weapon_07262016

{2} http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/doomsday-emp-weapon-could-kill-90-of-u-s-population-and-government-wont-save-you_12232015

{3} http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/congressman-bartlett-every-citizen-should-develop-an-individual-emergency-plan-to-prepare-for-the-absence-of-government-assistance-for-extended-periods_08212012

{4} http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/collision-course-as-obama-weakens-america-the-russians-and-chinese-prepare_11162015

{5} http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/the-threat-is-real-and-imminent-two-north-korean-satellites-orbiting-over-u-s-may-be-armed-with-miniaturized-super-emp-weapon_10022016

{6} http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4741100/North-Korea-hit-American-cities-experts-claim.html

{7} http://www.stevequayle.com/

{8} https://toptiergearusa.com/product/familypackage/

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/retired-green-beret-warns-north-korea-can-deliver-a-warhead-containing-an-emp-weapon-dead-center-over-the-continental-united-states_08032017

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-04/retired-green-beret-warns-north-korea-can-deliver-emp-weapon-dead-center-over-americ

Categories: Uncategorized

Avoiding Nuclear War


Why Kim Jong-un’s Strategy Makes Sense

by Federico Pieraccini

Strategic Culture Foundation (August 11 2017)

Looking at the recent North Korean testing of two intercontinental missiles, it may seem that Pyongyang wishes to increase tensions in the region. A more careful analysis, however, shows how the DPRK is implementing a strategy that will likely succeed in averting a disastrous war on the peninsula.

In the last four weeks, North Korea seems to have implemented the second phase of its strategy against South Korea, China and the United States. The North Korean nuclear program seems to have reached an important juncture, with two tests carried out at the beginning and end of July. Both missiles seem capable of hitting the American mainland, although doubts still remain over Pyongyang’s ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to mount it on an intercontinental ballistic missile (“ICBM”). However, the direction in which North Korea’s nuclear program is headed ensures an important regional deterrent against Japan and South Korea, and in some respects against the United States, which is the main reason for North Korea’s development of ICBMs. Recent history has repeatedly demonstrated the folly of trusting the West (the fate of Gaddafi remains fresh in our minds) and suggests instead the building up of an arsenal that poses a serious deterrence to US bellicosity.

It is not a mystery that from 2009 to date, North Korea’s nuclear capacity has increased in direct proportion to the level of distrust visited on Pyongyang by the West. Since 2009, the six-party talks concluded, Kim Jong-un has come to realize that the continuing threats, practices, and arms sales of the United States to Japan and South Korea needed to be thwarted in some way in the interests of defending the sovereignty of the DPRK. Faced with infinitely lower spending capacity than the three nations mentioned, Pyongyang chose a twofold strategy: to pursue nuclear weapons as an explicit deterrence measure; and to strengthen its conventional forces, keeping in mind that Seoul is only a stone’s throw away from North Korean artillery.

This twofold strategy has, in little more than eight years, greatly strengthened the ability of the DPRK to resist infringement of its sovereignty. In contrast to the idea commonly promoted in the Western media, Pyongyang has promised not to use nuclear weapons first, reserving their use only in response to aggression against itself. In the same way, a pre-emptive attack on Seoul using traditional artillery would be seen as intolerable aggression, dragging Pyongyang into a devastating war. Kim Jong-un’s determination in developing conventional and nuclear deterrence has succeeded in establishing a balance of power that helps avoid a regional war and, in so doing, contributes to the strengthening of overall security in the region, contrary to what many believe.

The reason the United States continues to raise tensions with Pyongyang and threaten a conflict is not out of a concern for the protection of her Japanese or South Korean allies, as one may initially be led to think. The United States in the region has a central objective that does not concern Kim Jong-un or his nuclear weapons. Rather, it is driven by the perennial necessity to increase forces in the region for the purposes of maintaining a balance of military force (Asian Pivot) and ultimately trying to contain the rise of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). One might even argue that this strategy poses dangers not only to the entire region but, in the case of a confrontation between Washington and Beijing, the entire planet, given the nuclear arsenal possessed by the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

In this respect, the triangular relationship between China, North Korea and South Korea takes on another aspect. As always, every action is accompanied with a reaction. The statement that Beijing would prefer to get rid of the DPRK leadership is without foundation. Central in the minds of Chinese policy makers is the threat of a US containment that could undermine the country’s economic growth. This strategic planning is well known in Pyongyang, and explains in part why the DPRK leadership still proceeds with actions that are not viewed well by Beijing. From the North Korean point of view, Beijing derives an advantage from sharing a border with the DPRK, which offers a friendly leadership not hostile to Beijing. Pyongyang is aware of the economic, political, and military burden of this situation, but tolerates it, receiving the necessary resources from Beijing to survive and develop the country.

This complex relationship leads the DPRK to carry out missile tests in the hope of gaining many benefits. First of all, it hopes to gain a regional, and possibly a global, deterrence against any surprise attacks. Secondly, it forces South Korea to have a symmetrical response to DPRK missile tests, and this strategy, coming from North Korea diplomacy, is far from improvised or incongruous. In recent years, South Korea’s response has come in the form of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (“THAAD”) system, designed to intercept missiles. As repeatedly explained, it is useless against North Korean rockets, but poses a serious threat to the Chinese nuclear arsenal, as its powerful radars are able to scout much of China’s territory, also being ideally positioned to intercept (at least in theory) a responsive nuclear strike from China. In a nutshell, THAAD is a deadly threat to China’s strategic nuclear parity.

From the point of view of the four nations involved in the region, each has different aims. For the United States, there are many advantages in deploying the THAAD: in increases pressure on China, as well as concludes an arms sale that is always welcomed by the military-industrial complex; it also gives the impression of addressing the DPRK nuclear problem adequately. South Korea, however, finds itself in a special situation, with the former president now under arrest for corruption. The new president, Moon Jae-in, would prefer dialogue rather than the deployment of new THAAD batteries. In any case, after the latest ICBM test, Moon required an additional THAAD system in the Republic of Korea, in addition to the launchers already there. With no particular options available to conduct a diplomatic negotiation, Seoul is following Washington in a spiral of escalation that certainly does not benefit the peninsula’s economic growth. Ultimately, the PRC sees an increase in the number of THAAD carriers close to the country, and the DPRK is growing in its determination to pursue a nuclear deterrent. Indeed, the strategy of the Pyongyang is working: on the one hand, they are developing a nuclear weapon to deter external enemies; on the other, they are obligating the PRC to adopt a particularly hostile attitude towards South Korea’s deployment of THAAD. In this sense, the numerous economic actions of Beijing towards Seoul can be explained as a response to the deployment of the THAAD batteries. China is the main economic partner of South Korea, and this trade and tourism limitation is quite damaging to South Korea’s economy.

This tactic has been used by North Korea for the last several years, and the results, in addition to the recent economic crunch between the PRC and South Korea have indirectly led to the end of the reign of the corrupt leader Park Geun-hye, an ever-present puppet in American hands. The pressure that the DPRK applies to bilateral relations between China and South Korea increases with each launch of an ICBM carrier, which is the logic behind these missile tests. Pyongyang feels justified in urging its main ally, China, to step up actions against Seoul to force it to compromise in a diplomatic negotiation with Pyongyang without the overbearing presence of its American ally pushing for war.

The main problem in the relations between South Korea, China, and North Korea is represented by American influence and the need to prevent a rapprochement between these parties. As already stated, the United States needs the DPRK to justify its presence in the region, aiming in reality at Chinese containment. Pyongyang has been isolated and sanctioned for almost fifty years, yet serves to secure China’s southern border in the form of a protected friend rather than an enemy. This situation, more than any United Nations sanction to which the PRC adheres, guarantees a lasting relationship between the countries. Beijing is well aware of the weight of isolationism and economic burden on North Korea, which is why Beijing is symmetrically increasing pressure on South Korea to negotiate.

In this situation, the United States tries to remain relevant in the regional dispute, while not having the capacity to influence the Chinese decisions that clearly rely on other tactics, specifically putting pressure on South Korea. In military terms, as explained above, Washington can not start any military confrontation against the DPRK. The consequences, in addition to millions of deaths, would lead Seoul to break relations with Washington and seek an immediate armistice, cutting off the United States from negotiations and likely expelling US troops from its territory. Ultimately, there is no South Korean ability to influence the political process in the North while they continue to be flanked by the United States in terms of warfare (very aggressive joint exercises). The influence Washington can exert on Pyongyang is zero, having fired all cartridges with over half a century of sanctions.

Conclusion

 

The bottom line is that the United States cannot afford to attack the DPRK. Pyongyang will continue to develop its own nuclear arsenal, with Beijing’s covert blessing in spite of its officially continuing to condemn these developments. At the same time, South Korea is likely to persevere with a hostile attitude, especially in regard to the deployment of new THAAD batteries. Sooner or later, Seoul will come to a breaking point as a result of further restrictions on trade between China and South Korea. As long as Seoul is able to absorb Chinese sanctions, little will change.

What will lead to a major change in the region will be the economic effect of these restrictions that will eventually oblige Seoul to consider its role in the region and its future. Seoul’s leadership is aware of three situations that will hardly change, namely: Pyongyang will never attack first; Beijing will continue to support North Korea rather than accept the United States on its border; and Washington is not able to bring solutions but only greater chaos and a worsening global economic situation to the region. In the light of this scenario, time is all on the side of Beijing and Pyongyang. Eventually the economic situation for Seoul will become unbearable, bringing it to the negotiating table with a weakened and certainly precarious position. Beijing and Pyongyang have a long-term common goal, which is to break the bond of submission between South Korea and the United States, freeing Seoul from Washington’s neo-conservative programs to contain China (on a Russia containment model).

Indirectly coordinated work between Beijing and Pyongyang is hardly understandable to Western analysts, but examining every aspect, especially with regard to cause-and-effect relationships, these decisions are not so incomprehensible and even more rational in a broader viewing of the region and its balance of power. On the one hand, Seoul sees the DPRK offering peace, stability, and prosperity based on a framework agreement between Seoul, Pyongyang, and Beijing. This would also particularly benefit South Korean trade with China, eventually returning to normal relationships between countries, with important economic benefits.

The alternative is an alliance with Washington that would completely eliminate the economic benefits of a healthy relationship with Beijing. This could even potentially lead to a war involving millions of deaths, fought on South Korean soil and not in the United States. The United States does not offer any solutions to South Korea, either in the short or long term. The only thing Washington is offering is a fixed presence in the country, together with a stubborn anti-Chinese policy that would have serious economic consequences for Seoul. As paradoxical as it may seem, Kim Jong-un’s rockets are much less of a threat than is Seoul’s partnership with Washington in the region, and in fact seem to offer Seoul the ultimate solution to the crisis in the peninsula.

Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/08/11/avoiding-nuclear-war-why-kim-jong-un-strategy-makes-sense.html

Categories: Uncategorized

Harry Truman and the Atomic Bomb

by Ralph Raico

LewRockwell.com (August 12 2017)

Excerpted from “Harry S Truman: Advancing the Revolution”, in Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom (2001) by John Denson, editor

The most spectacular episode of Harry Truman’s presidency will never be forgotten but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians, including several thousand Korean workers. Twelve US Navy fliers incarcerated in a Hiroshima jail were also among the dead. {1}

Great controversy has always surrounded the bombings. One thing Truman insisted on from the start was that the decision to use the bombs, and the responsibility it entailed, was his. Over the years, he gave different, and contradictory, grounds for his decision. Sometimes he implied that he had acted simply out of revenge. To a clergyman who criticized him, Truman responded testily,
 

Nobody is more disturbed over the use of Atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. {2}

 

Such reasoning will not impress anyone who fails to see how the brutality of the Japanese military could justify deadly retaliation against innocent men, women, and children. Truman doubtless was aware of this, so from time to time, he advanced other pretexts. On August 9 1945, he stated, “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.” {3}

This, however, is absurd. Pearl Harbor was a military base. Hiroshima was a city, inhabited by some three hundred thousand people, which contained military elements. In any case, since the harbor was mined and the US Navy and Air Force were in control of the waters around Japan, whatever troops were stationed in Hiroshima had been effectively neutralized.

On other occasions, Truman claimed that Hiroshima was bombed because it was an industrial center. But, as noted in the US Strategic Bombing Survey, “all major factories in Hiroshima were on the periphery of the city – and escaped serious damage”. {4} The target was the center of the city. That Truman realized the kind of victims the bombs consumed is evident from his comment to his cabinet on August 10, explaining his reluctance to drop a third bomb: “The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible”, he said; he didn’t like the idea of killing “all those kids”. {5} Wiping out another one hundred thousand people … all those kids.

Moreover, the notion that Hiroshima was a major military or industrial center is implausible on the face of it. The city had remained untouched through years of devastating air attacks on the Japanese home islands and never figured in Bomber Command’s list of the 33 primary targets. {6}

Thus, the rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication, which has gained surprising currency – that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives. These, supposedly, are the lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of Kyushu in December, then in the all-out invasion of Honshu the next year, if that had been needed. But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives lost. {7} The ridiculously inflated figure of a half-million for the potential death toll – nearly twice the total of US dead in all theaters in the Second World War – is now routinely repeated in high-school and college textbooks and bandied about by ignorant commentators. Unsurprisingly the prize for sheer fatuousness on this score goes to President George H W Bush, who claimed in 1991 that dropping the bomb “spared millions of American lives”. {8}
 

The rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication – that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives.

 

Still, Truman’s multiple deceptions and self-deceptions are understandable, considering the horror he unleashed. It is equally understandable that the US occupation authorities censored reports from the shattered cities and did not permit films and photographs of the thousands of corpses and the frightfully mutilated survivors to reach the public. {9} Otherwise, Americans – and the rest of the world – might have drawn disturbing comparisons to scenes then coming to light from the Nazi concentration camps.

The bombings were condemned as barbaric and unnecessary by high American military officers, including Eisenhower and MacArthur. {10} The view of Admiral William D Leahy, Truman’s own chief of staff, was typical:
 

the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan … My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children. {11}

 

The political elite implicated in the atomic bombings feared a backlash that would aid and abet the rebirth of horrid pre-war “isolationism”. Apologias were rushed into print, lest public disgust at the sickening war crime result in erosion of enthusiasm for the globalist project. {12} No need to worry. A sea change had taken place in the attitudes of the American people. Then and ever after, all surveys have shown that the great majority supported Truman, believing that the bombs were required to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of American lives, or, more likely, not really caring one way or the other.

Those who may still be troubled by such a grisly exercise in cost-benefit analysis – innocent Japanese lives balanced against the lives of Allied servicemen – might reflect on the judgment of the Catholic philosopher G E M Anscombe, who insisted on the supremacy of moral rules. {13} When, in June 1956, Truman was awarded an honorary degree by her university, Oxford, Anscombe protested. {14} Truman was a war criminal, she contended, for what is the difference between the US government massacring civilians from the air, as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Nazis wiping out the inhabitants of some Czech or Polish village?

Anscombe’s point is worth following up. Suppose that, when we invaded Germany in early 1945, our leaders had believed that executing all the inhabitants of Aachen, or Trier, or some other Rhineland city would finally break the will of the Germans and lead them to surrender. In this way, the war might have ended quickly, saving the lives of many Allied soldiers. Would that then have justified shooting tens of thousands of German civilians, including women and children? Yet how is that different from the atomic bombings?

By early summer 1945, the Japanese fully realized that they were beaten. Why did they nonetheless fight on? As Anscombe wrote, “It was the insistence on unconditional surrender that was the root of all evil”. {15}

That mad formula was coined by Roosevelt at the Casablanca conference, and, with Churchill’s enthusiastic concurrence, it became the Allied shibboleth. After prolonging the war in Europe, it did its work in the Pacific. At the Potsdam Conference, in July 1945, Truman issued a proclamation to the Japanese, threatening them with the “utter devastation” of their homeland unless they surrendered unconditionally. Among the Allied terms, to which “there are no alternatives”, was that there be “eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest [sic]”. “Stern justice”, the proclamation warned, “would be meted out to all war criminals”. {16}

To the Japanese, this meant that the emperor – regarded by them to be divine, the direct descendent of the goddess of the sun – would certainly be dethroned and probably put on trial as a war criminal and hanged, perhaps in front of his palace. {17} It was not, in fact, the US intention to dethrone or punish the Emperor. But this implicit modification of unconditional surrender was never communicated to the Japanese. In the end, after Nagasaki, Washington acceded to the Japanese desire to keep the dynasty and even to retain Hirohito as emperor.

For months before, Truman had been pressed to clarify the US position by many high officials within the administration, and outside of it, as well. In May 1945, at the president’s request, Herbert Hoover prepared a memorandum stressing the urgent need to end the war as soon as possible. The Japanese should be informed that we would in no way interfere with the Emperor or their chosen form of government. He even raised the possibility that, as part of the terms, Japan might be allowed to hold on to Formosa (Taiwan) and Korea. After meeting with Truman, Hoover dined with Taft and other Republican leaders and outlined his proposals. {18}

Establishment writers on World War Two often like to deal in lurid speculations. For instance, if the United States had not entered the war, then Hitler would have “conquered the world” (a sad undervaluation of the Red Army, it would appear; moreover, wasn’t it Japan that was trying to “conquer the world”?) and killed untold millions. Now, applying conjectural history, in this case, assume that the Pacific war had ended in the way wars customarily do – through negotiation of the terms of surrender. And assume the worst – that the Japanese had adamantly insisted on preserving part of their empire, say, Korea and Formosa, even Manchuria. In that event, it is quite possible that Japan would have been in a position to prevent the Communists from coming to power in China. And that could have meant that the thirty or forty million deaths now attributed to the Maoist regime would not have occurred.
 

The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan.

– Admiral William D Leahy

 

But even remaining within the limits of feasible diplomacy in 1945, it is clear that Truman in no way exhausted the possibilities of ending the war without recourse to the atomic bomb. The Japanese were not informed that they would be the victims of by far the most lethal weapon ever invented (one with “more than two thousand times the blast power of the British ‘Grand Slam’, which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare”, as Truman boasted in his announcement of the Hiroshima attack). Nor were they told that the Soviet Union was set to declare war on Japan, an event that shocked some in Tokyo more than the bombings. {19} Pleas by some of the scientists involved in the project to demonstrate the power of the bomb in some uninhabited or evacuated area were rebuffed. All that mattered was to formally preserve the unconditional-surrender formula and save the servicemen’s lives that might have been lost in the effort to enforce it. Yet, as Major General J F C Fuller, one of the century’s great military historians, wrote in connection with the atomic bombings:
 

Though to save life is laudable, it in no way justifies the employment of means which run counter to every precept of humanity and the customs of war. Should it do so, then, on the pretext of shortening a war and of saving lives, every imaginable atrocity can be justified. {20}

 

Isn’t this obviously true? And isn’t this the reason that rational and humane men, over generations, developed rules of warfare in the first place?

While the mass media parroted the government line in praising the atomic incinerations, prominent conservatives denounced them as unspeakable war crimes. Felix Morley, constitutional scholar and one of the founders of Human Events, drew attention to the horror of Hiroshima, including the “thousands of children trapped in the thirty-three schools that were destroyed”. He called on his compatriots to atone for what had been done in their name and proposed that groups of Americans be sent to Hiroshima, as Germans were sent to witness what had been done in the Nazi camps.

The Paulist priest, Father James Gillis, editor of The Catholic World and another stalwart of the Old Right, castigated the bombings as “the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law”. David Lawrence, conservative owner of US News and World Report, continued to denounce them for years. {21} The distinguished conservative philosopher Richard Weaver was revolted by
 

the spectacle of young boys fresh out of Kansas and Texas turning nonmilitary Dresden into a holocaust … pulverizing ancient shrines like Monte Cassino and Nuremberg, and bringing atomic annihilation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

Weaver considered such atrocities as deeply “inimical to the foundations on which civilization is built” {22]

Today, self-styled conservatives slander as “anti-American” anyone who is in the least troubled by Truman’s massacre of so many tens of thousands of Japanese innocents from the air. This shows as well as anything the difference between today’s “conservatives” and those who once deserved the name.

Leo Szilard was the world-renowned physicist who drafted the original letter to Roosevelt that Einstein signed, instigating the Manhattan Project. In 1960, shortly before his death, Szilard stated another obvious truth:
 

If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them. {23}

 

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was.

Notes:

{1} On the atomic bombings, see Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth 1995); and idem, “Was Harry Truman a Revisionist on Hiroshima?” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Newsletter 29, (June 1998); also Martin J Sherwin, A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance 1977); and Dennis D Wainstock, The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb (1996).

{2} Alperovitz, Decision, page 563. Truman added: “When you deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true.” For similar statements by Truman, see ibid., page 564. Alperovitz’s monumental work is the end-product of four decades of study of the atomic bombings and is indispensable for comprehending the often complex argumentation on the issue.

{3} Ibid, page 521.

{4} Ibid, page 523.

{5} Barton J Bernstein, “Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little-Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory”, Diplomatic History 19 (Spring 1995): 257. General Carl Spaatz, commander of US strategic bombing operations in the Pacific, was so shaken by the destruction at Hiroshima that he telephoned his superiors in Washington, proposing that the next bomb be dropped on a less populated area so that it “would not be as devastating to the city and the people”. His suggestion was rejected. Ronald Schaffer, Wings of Judgment: American Bombing in World War Two (1985), pages 147~148.

{6} This is true also of Nagasaki.

{7} See Barton J Bernstein, “A Post-War Myth: 500,000 US Lives Saved”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 42 (June/July 1986): pages 38~40; and idem, “Wrong Numbers”, The Independent Monthly (July 1995): pages 41~44.

{8} J Samuel Walker, “History, Collective Memory, and the Decision to Use the Bomb”, Diplomatic History 19, (Spring 1995): pages 320, 323~325. Walker details the frantic evasions of Truman’s biographer, David McCullough, when confronted with the unambiguous record.

{9} Paul Boyer, “Exotic Resonances: Hiroshima in American Memory”, Diplomatic History 19, (Spring 1995): pages 299. On the fate of the bombings’ victims and the public’s restricted knowledge of them, see John W Dower, “The Bombed: Hiroshimas and Nagasakis in Japanese Memory”, in ibid, pages 275~295.

{10} Alperovitz, Decision, pages 320~365. On MacArthur and Eisenhower, see ibid, pages 352 and 355~356.

{11} William D Leahy, I Was There (1950), page 441. Leahy compared the use of the atomic bomb to the treatment of civilians by Genghis Khan, and termed it “not worthy of Christian man”. Ibid, page 442. Curiously, Truman himself supplied the foreword to Leahy’s book. In a private letter written just before he left the White House, Truman referred to the use of the atomic bomb as “murder”, stating that the bomb “is far worse than gas and biological warfare because it affects the civilian population and murders them wholesale”. Barton J Bernstein, “Origins of the US Biological Warfare Program”, Preventing a Biological Arms Race, Susan Wright, editor (1990), page 9.

{12} Barton J Bernstein, “Seizing the Contested Terrain of Early Nuclear History: Stimson, Conant, and Their Allies Explain the Decision to Use the Bomb”, Diplomatic History 17 (1993): pages 35~72.

{13} One writer in no way troubled by the sacrifice of innocent Japanese to save Allied servicemen – indeed, just to save him – is Paul Fussell; see his Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays (1988). The reason for Fussell’s little Te Deum is, as he states, that he was among those scheduled to take part in the invasion of Japan, and might very well have been killed. It is a mystery why Fussell takes out his easily understandable terror, rather unchivalrously, on Japanese women and children instead of on the men in Washington who conscripted him to fight in the Pacific in the first place.

{14} G E M Anscombe, “Mr Truman’s Degree”, in idem, Collected Philosophical Papers, volume 3, Ethics, Religion and Politics (1981), pages 62~71.

{15} Anscombe, “Mr Truman’s Degree”, page 62.

{16} Hans Adolf Jacobsen and Arthur S Smith, Jr, editors, World War Two: Policy and Strategy. Selected Documents with Commentary (1979), pages 345~346

{17} For some Japanese leaders, another reason for keeping the emperor was as a bulwark against a possible postwar communist takeover. See also Sherwin, A World Destroyed, page 236: “the [Potsdam] proclamation offered the military die-hards in the Japanese government more ammunition to continue the war than it offered their opponents to end it.

{18} Alperovitz, Decision, pages 44~45.

{19} Cf Bernstein, “Understanding the Atomic Bomb”, page 254: “it does seem very likely, though certainly not definite, that a synergistic combination of guaranteeing the Emperor, awaiting Soviet entry, and continuing the siege strategy would have ended the war in time to avoid the November invasion”. Bernstein, an excellent and scrupulously objective scholar, nonetheless disagrees with Alperovitz and the revisionist school on several key points.

{20} J F C Fuller, The Second World War, 1939~1945: A Strategical and Tactical History (1948), page 392. Fuller, who was similarly scathing on the terror-bombing of the German cities, characterized the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “a type of war that would have disgraced Tamerlane”. Cf Barton J Bernstein, who concludes, in “Understanding the Atomic Bomb”, page 235: In 1945, American leaders were not seeking to avoid the use of the A-bomb. Its use did not create ethical or political problems for them. Thus, they easily rejected or never considered most of the so-called alternatives to the bomb.

{21} Felix Morley, “The Return to Nothingness”, Human Events (August 29 1945) reprinted in Hiroshima’s Shadow, Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz, editors (1998), pages 272–74; James Martin Gillis, “Nothing But Nihilism”, The Catholic World (September 1945), reprinted in ibid, pages. 278–280; Alperovitz, Decision, pages 438~440.

{22} Richard M Weaver, “‘A Dialectic on Total War”, in idem, Visions of Order: The Cultural Crisis of Our Time (1964), page 98~99.

{23} Wainstock, Decision, page 122.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

_____

Ralph Raico (1936~2016) was Professor Emeritus in European history at Buffalo State College and a senior fellow of the Mises Institute. He was a specialist on the history of liberty, the liberal tradition in Europe, and the relationship between war and the rise of the state. He is the author of The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton (2011).

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/08/ralph-raico/harry-trumans-atomic-bombs/

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Tyranny at Nuremberg

by Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org (August 11 2017)

Update August 12 2017: Here is David Irving’s account of his arrest, trial, and imprisonment in Austria. His conviction was overturned by a higher court, and he was released. http://www.fpp.co.uk/books/Banged/up.pdf

The show-trial of a somewhat arbitrarily selected group of 21 surviving Nazis at Nuremberg during 1945~1946 was US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson’s show. Jackson was the chief prosecutor. As a long-time admirer of Jackson, I always assumed that he did a good job.

My admiration for Jackson stems from his defense of the law as a shield of the people rather than a weapon in the hands of government, and from his defense of the legal principle known as mens rea, that is, that crime requires intent. I often cite Jackson for his defense of these legal principles that are the very foundation of liberty. Indeed, I cited Jackson in my recent July 31 column. His defense of the law as a check on government power plays a central role in the book that I wrote with Lawrence Stratton, The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2008).

In 1940 Jackson was US Attorney General. He addressed federal prosecutors and warned them against
 

picking the man and then putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him. It is in this realm – in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense – that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views or being personally obnoxious to, or in the way of, the prosecutor himself.

 

Later as a Supreme Court justice, Jackson overturned a lower court conviction of a person who had no idea, or any reason to believe, that he had committed a crime.

Having just finished reading David Irving’s book Nuremberg (1996), I am devastated to learn that in his pursuit of another principle, at Nuremberg Jackson violated all of the legal principles for which I have so long admired him. To be clear, at Nuremberg Jackson was in pursuit of Nazis, but their conviction was the means to his end – the establishment of the international legal principle that the initiation of war, the commitment of military aggression, was a crime.

The problem, of course, was that at Nuremberg people were tried on the basis of ex post facto law – a law that did not exist at the time of their actions for which they were convicted.

Moreover, the sentence – death by hanging – was decided prior to the trial and prior to the selection of defendants.

Moreover, the defendants were chosen and then a case was made against them.

Exculpatory evidence was withheld. Charges on which defendants were convicted turned out to be untrue.

The trials were so loaded in favor of the prosecution that defense was pro forma.

The defendants were abused and some were tortured.

The defendants were encouraged to give false witness against one another, which for the most part the defendants refused to do, with Albert Speer being the willing one. His reward was a prison sentence rather than death.

The defendants’ wives and children were arrested and imprisoned. To Jackson’s credit, this infuriated him.

President Franklin D Roosevelt, General Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill thought that surviving Nazis should be shot without trial. Roosevelt laughed about liquidating 50,000 German military officers. Eisenhower told Lord Halifax that Nazi leaders should be shot while trying to escape, the common euphemism for murder. Russians spoke of castrating German men and breeding German women to annihilate the German race. US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau wanted to reduce Germany to an agrarian society and send able-bodied Germans to Africa as slaves to work on “some big TVA project”.

Robert Jackson saw in these intentions not only rank criminality among the allied leadership but also a missed opportunity to create the legal principle that would criminalize war, thus removing the disaster of war from future history. Jackson’s end was admirable, but the means required bypassing Anglo-American legal principles.

Jackson got his chance, perhaps because Joseph Stalin vetoed execution without trial. First a show-trial, Stalin said, to demonstrate their guilt so that we do not make martyrs out of Nazis.

Whom to select for the list of 21 to 22 persons to be charged? Well, whom did the allies have in custody? Not all those they desired. They had Reichsmarschall Herman Goring who headed the air force. Whatever the valid charges against Goring, they were not considered to be mitigated by the fact that under Goring the German air force was mainly used against enemy formations on the battleground and not, like the US and British air forces in saturation terror bombing of civilian cities, such as Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, or by the fact that in Hitler’s final days Hitler removed Goring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest.

The Nuremberg trials are paradoxical in that the law Jackson intended to establish applied to every country, not to Germany alone. The ex post facto law under which Germans were sentenced to death and to prison also criminalized the terror bombing of German and Japanese cities by the British and US air forces. Yet, the law was only applied to the Germans in the dock. In his book, Apocalypse 1945: The Destruction of Dresden (1995), Irving quotes US General George C McDonald’s dissent from the directive to bomb civilian cities such as Dresden. General McDonald characterized the directive as the “extermination of populations and the razing of cities”, war crimes under the Nuremberg standard.

They had foreign minister Ribbentrop. They had field marshals Keitel and Jodl and the grand-admirals Raeder and Donitz. They had a German banker, who was saved from sentencing by the intervention of the Bank of England. They had a journalist. They had Rudolf Hess who had been in a British prison since 1941 when he went to Britain on a peace mission to end the war. They wanted an industrialist, but Krupp was too old and ill. He was devoid of the persona of a foreboding evil. You can read the list in Irving’s book.

Goring knew from the beginning that the trial was a hoax and that his death sentence had already been decided. He had the means (a poison capsule) throughout his imprisonment to commit suicide, thus depriving his captors of their planned humiliation of him. Instead, he held the Germans together, and they stood their ground. Possessed of a high IQ, time and again he made fools of his captors. He made such a fool of Robert Jackson during his trial that the entire court burst out in laughter. Jackson never lived down being bested in the courtroom by Goring.

And Goring wasn’t through with making his captors look foolish and incompetent. He, the field marshalls and grand admiral requested that they be given a military execution by firing squad, but the pettiness of the Tribunal wanted them hung like dogs. Goring told his captors that he would allow them to shoot him, but not hang him, and a few minutes before he was to be marched to the gallows before the assembled press and cameras he took the poison capsule, throwing the execution propaganda show into chaos. To this injury, he added insult leaving the prison commandant, US Colonel Andrus a note telling him that he had had three capsules. One he had left for the Americans to find, thus causing them to think his means of escaping them had been removed. One he had taken minutes prior to his show execution, and he described where to find the third. He had easily defeated the continuous and thorough inspections inflicted upon him from fear that he would commit suicide and escape their intended propaganda use of his execution.

There was a time in Anglo-American law when the improprieties of the Nuremberg trials would have resulted in the cases being thrown out of court and the defendants freed. Even under the ex post facto law and extra-judicial, extra-legal terms under which the defendants were tried, at least two of the condemned deserved to be cleared.

It is not clear why Admiral Donitz was sentenced to ten years in prison. The chief American judge of the Tribunal, Francis Biddle, said: “It is, in my opinion, offensive to our concept of justice to punish a man for doing exactly what one has done himself”. “The Germans”, Biddle said, “fought a much cleaner war at sea than we did”.

Jodl, who countermanded many Nazi orders, was sentenced to death. The injustice of the sentence was made clear by a German court in 1953 which cleared Jodl of all Nuremberg charges and rehabilitated him posthumously. The French justice at the Nuremberg Tribunal said at the time that Jodl’s conviction was without merit and was a miscarriage of justice.

The entire Nuremberg proceeding stinks to high heaven. Defendants were charged with aggression for the German invasion of Norway. The fact was kept out of the trial that the British were about to invade Norway themselves and that the Germans, being more efficient, learned of it and managed to invade first.

Defendants were accused of using slave labor, paradoxical in view of the Soviets own practice. Moreover, while the trials were in process the Soviets were apparently gathering up able-bodied Germans to serve as slave labor to rebuild their war-torn economy.

Defendants were accused of mass executions despite the fact that the Russians, who were part of the prosecution and judgment of the defendants, had executed 15,000 or 20,000 Polish officers and buried them in a mass grave. Indeed, the Russians insisted on blaming the Germans on trial for the Katyn Forest Massacre.

Defendants were accused of aggression against Poland, and Ribbentrop was not permitted to mention in his defense the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union, without which Germany could not have attacked Poland. The fact that the Soviets, who were sitting at Nuremberg in judgment on the Germans, had themselves invaded Poland was kept out of the proceedings.

Moreover, without the gratuitous British “guarantee” to Poland, the Polish military dictatorship would likely have agreed to return territories stripped from Germany by the Versailles Treaty and the invasion would have been avoided.

The greatest hypocrisy was the charge of aggression against Germany when the fact of the matter is that World War Two began when the British and French declared war on Germany. Germany conquered France and drove the British from the European Continent after the British and French started the war with a declaration of war against Germany.

Irving’s book is, of course, politically incorrect. However, he lists in the introduction the voluminous files on which the book is based: Robert Jackson’s official papers and Oral History, Francis Biddle’s private papers and diaries, Colonel Andrus’ papers, Admiral Raeder’s prison diary, Rudolf Hess’ prison diary, interrogations of the prisoners, interviews with defense counsel, prosecutors, interrogators, and letters from the prisoners to their wives. All of this and more Irving has made available on microfilms for researchers. He compared magnetic tape copies of the original wire-recordings of the trial with the mimeographed and published transcripts to ensure that spoken and published words were the same.

What Irving does in his book is to report the story that the documents tell. This story differs from the patriotic propaganda written by court historians with which we are all imbued. The question arises: Is Irving pro-truth or pro-Nazi. The National Socialist government of Germany is the most demonized government in history. Any lessening of the demonization is unacceptable, so Irving is vulnerable to demonization by those determined to protect their cherished beliefs.

Zionists have branded Irving a “Holocaust denier”, and he was convicted of something like that by an Austrian court and spent fourteen months in prison before the conviction was thrown out by a higher court.

In Nuremberg, Irving removes various propaganda legends from the holocaust story and reports authoritative findings that many of the concentration camp deaths were from typhus and starvation, especially in the final days of the war when food and medicine were disappearing from Germany, but nowhere in the book does he deny, indeed he reports, that vast numbers of Jews perished. As I understand the term, a simple truthful modification of some element of the official holocaust story is sufficient to brand a person a Holocaust denier.

My interest in the book is Robert Jackson. He had a noble cause – to outlaw war – but in pursuit of this purpose, he established precedents for American prosecutors to make the law a weapon in their pursuit of their noble causes just as it was used against Nazis – organized crime convictions, child abuse convictions, drug convictions, terror convictions. Jackson’s pursuit of Nazis at Nuremberg undermined the strictures he put on US attorneys such that today Americans have no more protection of law than the defendants had at Nuremberg.

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/08/11/tyranny-at-nuremberg/

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