Dr. Strangelove returns.

Last night  General (ret.) George Joulwan  was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.  In the course of this discussion Joulwan told Blitzer that NATO should play tough with Russia, move troops around, make belligerent statements, etc.  Blitzer basically told him to shut up.  Georgie was variously theater commander in Latin America and in Europe.  Whilst in Europe he was an advocate of driving the NATO alliance as far east as possible for the evident purpose of "penning up" Russia.  So, I suppose that Joulwan can be thought of as one of the early architects of the policy that brought us to this point.  George was never too bright.  He made his way as a horse holder for various senior officers and as a hale fellow.  Today I also listened as Donna Brazile, a political consultant assured her audience that war with Russia is not our "only option."

There used to be a considerable body of literature about what would happen if the US and Russia "squared off " with each other.

Perhaps some of it should be re-visited.  pl






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41 Responses to Dr. Strangelove returns.

  1. I can’t help but think that if NATO had been dissolved in the mid-90s, instead of expanded eastward, that we’d have a far more western-oriented and less militaristic Russia today than the one we are currently dealing with. Unfortunately with this Ukrainian confrontation, NATO just got an undeserved lease on life.
    On the plus side though, watching Dr Strangelove was my first date with my wife. Admittedly, it came really close to being our one and only date, but still…

  2. Will says:

    Alas Babylon & One Second Later are must reads.
    As for Joulwan- too many knocks to the head as a lineman and deterimental association with Gen. Alexander Haig.
    “George Joulwan played football and basketball as a cadet, winning two letters in football as a lineman. Commissioned in the Infantry, he first served with the First Battalion, 30th Infantry of the 3rd Division in Europe. Posted to Vietnam, he was assigned to the First Battalion, 26th Infantry of the First Division. As Battalion Operations Officer (S-3), his commanding officer was General (then Lieutenant Colonel) Alexander Haig, who has termed him a “consummate warrior.” For his service in Vietnam, George Joulwan was awarded two Silver Stars, the Bronze Star with “V” device, four Air Medals, and the Army Commendation Medal.”

  3. turcopolier says:

    Yes and Kerry has three Silver Stars, the best that money could buy. “A consummate warrior!” Hah! You are a Wikipedia editor. I get a kick out of the business that has been made by professional writers in doing up the WIKI articles on general. pl

  4. Matthew says:

    Col: After Kerry and Vicky Nuland took a “victory” lap in Kiev, Kerry supposedly was going to meet with a Russian official to give the Russians an “off ramp.” Considering that the Russians aren’t leaving the Crimea, I’m not sure what Kerry means.
    Our government seems to think only in optics. Do you know if the Gas Princess, who was in Moscow yesterday, actually negotiated seriously with Putin? She and Putin apparently can work together. See http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/yulia-tymoshenko-iron-lady-who-could-keep-russia-on-side-1.1297098

  5. Duncan Kinder says:

    Of course a military confrontaton with Russia would be absurd.
    What would not be facially absurd – although I disagree with it – would be some sort of economic sanctions. (Laying aside whether the United States should impose sanctions; I question whether it can.)
    But what no one has explained to me is what interests the United States has in the Ukraine. (Apart from some sense that Russia has dared transgress our exhaulted status as “the superpower,” lingering jingoism from the Cold War, some need for a bogeyman to justify bloated DOD budgests, or the like.) And please don’t tell me it has anything to do with promoting democracy or such.

  6. Fred says:

    Perhpas instead of moving NATO East and deploying troops, planes and a missle sheild we should form an alliance with the Russian Federation and tell the EU, Isreal and assorted other allies where to get off. It worked for the English and French when they finally decided to stop being enemies, no reason changing sides – i.e. putting US national interests first – can’t work for us.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Duncan Kinder
    “some need for a bogeyman to justify bloated DOD budgets, or the like” Lefty crap. With the exception of a few nutjobs like Joulwan, DoD is completely against making this into a military confrontation. Who do you think has told BHO how suicidal that would be? pl

  8. Thomas says:

    It is about punishing Russia for daring to diplomatically find a way for Syria not be bombed into smithereens.

  9. Will Reks says:

    I’m not sure BHO even needed to be told that. He hadn’t even been sworn in yet when Russia put Georgia in its place in late 2008. McCain did his “we’re all ________” gimmick then too as I recall.

  10. turcopolier says:

    Will Reks
    You underestimate the cumulative effect of 5+ years of exposure to the neocon/R2P wing of the Civilian/Political Complex. Remember the neocons never left. They infest both parties with their Jacobin drivel. And then there is the mummy R2Pers for whom BHO is an obvious sucker. Bad Joke pl

  11. Haralambos says:

    In regard to the mid-90s, I think post 9/11 was in full swing and the US was concerned about the logistics of Afghanistan and thus secured agreements with several of the stans regarding bases. This coupled with NATO expansion eastward must, understandably, make Russia feel like it is being further encircled. I imagine US policymakers still are committed to the Monroe Doctrine. Why should one expect Russia not to assert a similar geographical claim regarding its (perceived) security, political, and economic interests? I recall the hubris of a quote attributed to one of the Bush the younger’s spokespersons that they “make reality.”

  12. Medicine Man says:

    I think John McCain should just get it over with and challenge Putin to a duel.

  13. Utah Blaine says:

    Dear Col Lang,
    If any of your readers are interested in finding out what ‘squaring off’ with the Russians would mean for the United States, they should go to this link:
    Click on SS-25 and select ‘casualties’, pick your favorite big city, and see what would happen. The Russians have hundreds of these weapons.
    Utah Blaine

  14. So what does the IC make of all of this affair? Will Russia go west in the Ukraine or not [by west I mean seizing more than the Crimea]?
    What did all the Sovietologists make of the power of the Facists in the Ukraine in the heyday of the Soviet Union? Was not the Ukraine largely supportive of Hitler initially?

  15. Eliot says:

    I’m getting awfully confused about my natiolities, it seems like just the other day McCain discovered my Georgian heritage and now I’m Ukranian too?
    It’s all a bit overwhelming really.
    Just as purely tactical matter I think sanctions could actually backfire. It’s the only stick we have and using it would in turn free the Russians to pursue more dramatic solutions. If they’ve already paid the price, why settle for just Crimea? Why not teach the ultra-nationalists in Kiev a real lesson?
    I suspect Europe would also find sanctions too painful.
    – Eliot

  16. Ryan says:

    I saw Wolf with Joulwan and as a bonus got to see retired MG Bob Scales on Greta. Scales thought the USG should send SFs to train the Ukrainians, sell them high tech equipment and send to Poland army and marine units to train. He called Poland “a great maneuver area”. Indeed. The Germans and Russians can attest to the accuracy of his statement from their experiences during 1939 and 1944-5.

  17. Will says:

    actually the wiki joulwan article was really abbreviated. had to go to a USMA site to dig up the football stuff.

  18. turcopolier says:

    the Register or whatever they call it of the Association of Graduates of USMA is one of the more entertaining creative writing places in the world. I read the entry for my first company commander. He was a madman eventually boarded out of the Army for nuttiness, but in his USMA entry he is a saint. pl

  19. Valissa says:

    Yup, and it’s also about smacking down and denigrating Putin because the foreign policy establishment was mightily miffed by the masterful op-ed Putin wrote in the New York Times last September about the Syrian crisis.
    I’ve included the paragraph that was probably perceived as a thrown gauntlet to said establishment. I have to admit I chuckled about this op-ed for days.
    It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

  20. jerseycityjoan says:

    Sure, “some need for a bogeyman to justify bloated DOD budgets, or the like” may be “lefty crap” at times.
    But it’s also true that there are a lot of nonmilitary people and groups that always want more military spending.
    Don’t you think they are ready to everything they can to make sure that Hagel’s recently proposed cuts won’t make it through Congress?
    I’m figuring they will go beyond that. I’m assuming they’ll try to get Congress to increase future defense budgets based on what’s happened in Ukraine.
    I’d be thrilled to hear you tell me I’m wrong.

  21. turcopolier says:

    You don’t actually know how the system works. DoD generates its own threat estimates used to justify programs and monies to Congress. that is one of the main functions of DIA. If SECDEF and the Chairman approve assessments that justify lower expenditures it becomes difficult for Congressmen whose districts are involved to try to force more funding on an administration. They can try. they can bargain with the administration but is is not easy. Soemimes this is a good thing as in the case of funding SOF when the military did not want it, the SR-71, the A-10, and other pieces of useful equipment. pl

  22. MS2 says:

    The BBC movie Threads deserves a mention in a nuclear war movie list.

  23. Medicine Man says:

    That’s interesting; I’ll admit I have a somewhat dismal view of how Congressmen decide their stance on military spending. They mouth platitudes about “supporting the troops” to defend bases in their districts (jobs) and then stick a shiv into funding for veteran’s services, like the Senate recently did.

  24. Poul says:

    A hint from the Russians of what could happen if NATO acts rashly?

  25. Karel Dolejsi says:

    Simply idiots. U.S. missile defense in Ukraine in exchange for financial aid is on negotiating table.
    “It’s a friendly call. Of course, it’s a friendly call. Listen, if it wasn’t friendly, you probably wouldn’t have even got it. They will not reach their targets for at least another hour. I am, I am positive, Dmitri. Listen, I’ve been all over this with your Ambassador.”

  26. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    Was it not General Haig who was quoted as being” in charge” after Mr Hinkley shot President Reagan ?

  27. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Putin said yesterday any attempt to ‘freeze’ Russian assets would be met by non payment of Russian and Russian company’s loans to US institutions. I assume those who hold the loans would be told to collect from frozen assets. It would be interesting to know how much the Russians deposited in US based institutions as opposed to the total value of the loans.
    He also made comments about the use of the dollar as a defacto reserve currency.

  28. The real Dr. Strangelove:
    Wiki extract:
    “Edward Teller (Hungarian: Teller Ede; January 15, 1908 – September 9, 2003) was a Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist[1][2][3] who, although he claimed he did not care for the title,[4] is known colloquially as “the father of the hydrogen bomb”. He made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, spectroscopy (in particular, the Jahn–Teller and Renner–Teller effects) and surface physics. His extension of Enrico Fermi’s theory of beta decay, in the form of the so-called Gamow–Teller transitions, provided an important stepping stone in its application, while the Jahn–Teller effect and the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) theory have retained their original formulation and are still mainstays in physics and chemistry.[5] Teller also made contributions to Thomas–Fermi theory, the precursor of density functional theory, a standard modern tool in the quantum mechanical treatment of complex molecules. In 1953, along with Nicholas Metropolis and Marshall Rosenbluth, Teller co-authored a paper[6] which is a standard starting point for the applications of the Monte Carlo method to statistical mechanics.
    Teller emigrated to the United States in the 1930s, and was an early member of the Manhattan Project charged with developing the first atomic bombs. During this time he made a serious push to develop the first fusion-based weapons as well, but these were deferred until after World War II. After his controversial testimony in the security clearance hearing of his former Los Alamos colleague J. Robert Oppenheimer, Teller was ostracized by much of the scientific community. He continued to find support from the U.S. government and military research establishment, particularly for his advocacy for nuclear energy development, a strong nuclear arsenal, and a vigorous nuclear testing program. He was a co-founder of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and was both its director and associate director for many years.
    In his later years, Teller became especially known for his advocacy of controversial technological solutions to both military and civilian problems, including a plan to excavate an artificial harbor in Alaska using thermonuclear explosive in what was called Project Chariot. He was a vigorous advocate of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Throughout his life, Teller was known both for his scientific ability and his difficult interpersonal relations and volatile personality, and is considered one of the inspirations for the character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 movie of the same name.”
    I actually met Dr. Teller who sat on the FEMA Advisory Council during the Reagan Administration. I was one of the legal advisors to the designated FEDERAL OFFICIAls who ran the Council which operated under FACA [the Federal Advisory Committe Act].
    When I met Dr. Teller in person I asked him how humanity would be doing at the end of the next century. His answers: “Any survivors will be living underground!”

  29. Maureen Lang says:

    It surely does, MS2.
    As does this one:
    [after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War]
    Joshua(computer voice): Greetings, Professor Falken.
    Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.
    Joshua(computer voice): A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
    -War Games, 1983

  30. J says:

    Is NATO trying to pull a fast one, and appears got caught with their britches down?

  31. J says:

    Russian FM publishes docs exposing Ukrainian nationalists’ wartime cooperation with Nazis

  32. BTW Dr. Robert Oppenheimer never lost all his security clearances. He did oppose development of the Hydrogen Bomb.
    He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by JFK!

  33. Thomas says:

    One only has to watch MSM channels here to see the Thunk Tank Bloviators and Congress Critters say encircling Russia is the goal.
    There is no end to bringing Freedom.

  34. Thomas says:

    The inability of the US government to have a long term strategic view is why this crisis bothers me. Eventually a crisis gets out of hand and spirals out of control as the topic of this thread implies.
    While I believe this situation will be brought under control, this summer in Syria could boil passions to were everyone has to act.

  35. Thomas says:

    Those Ukrainians are slow learners in western ways. It was only yesterday that Turchynov dumped the black shirt for a suit and tie. Good thing Hollywood Handlers landed just in time before the photo op with Kerry, can’t have the narrative that the only fascists are in Bad Vlad’s deranged mind with a poor visual.

  36. ked says:

    “I’m sorry too, Dmitri. I’m very sorry. All right, you’re sorrier than I am. But I am sorry as well. I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri. Don’t say that you’re the more sorry than I am because I am capable of being just as sorry as you are. So we’re both sorry, all right?”

  37. ked says:

    also nominated as components of the character Strangelove are Herman Kahn & Dr. Kissinger. quite a jazzy trio.

  38. oofda says:

    BTW- in the KGB Museum in Lubyanka Square, Moscow, there is/was an exhibit on the development of Soviet nuclear weapons. Along with pictures of people like Igor Kurchatov, the director of the Soviet bomb project, are two pictures of Oppenheimer. On my first visit to the museum, I noted the pictures of Oppenheimer to a US colleague; a museum docent saw me and quickly rushed up to us exclaiming, “Hed wasn’t a spy” in Russian.

  39. John says:

    There is madness afoot…

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