“10 to 20 million max” Buck Turgidson


"For Putin, his Syrian intervention has been an unambiguous win on the world stage. Its benefits exist on many levels, not least Russia’s reinforcing the potent message that Moscow, unlike Washington, stands by its friends. When his regime was collapsing in 2011, Hosni Mubarak, who had led Egypt for three decades as a loyal ally of America, was coldly abandoned by the White House. President Obama, against the advice of his own national security experts, cut Mubarak loose to the mob, refusing to take his panicked phone calls pleading for help.

That same year, when his regime was facing the abyss as civil war enveloped Syria, Bashar al-Assad got all the help he wanted from Moscow. Russia saved Assad and has not cared one whit about cries from the international community and NGOs about the brutal methods employed by the Syrian regime against rebels. This message has not been missed in the Middle East. It’s no wonder that even Israel has sought parley with Moscow, which has replaced Washington as the new regional kingmaker-cum-sheriff, while Egypt has renewed security ties with the Kremlin that Cairo abandoned more than four decades ago, in favor of the Americans. No more."  Schindler in Observer


Trump's son in law is the publisher of Observer Media.  Here we have a clear statement of what the change in tone would be like in a Trump Administration.

Well, pilgrims, decide.  Do you want the Borg Queen and her neocon/R2P pals to run our relations with Russia?  Do you want to gamble on the controllability of an escalatory ladder process if a Russia/US war breaks out in Syria, the Ukraine or the Baltic States? 

General Buck Turgidson in "Doctor Strangelove" assures the president that US losses in a thermonuclear exchange with the USSR "will be 20 million, max!"  Would that work for you if HC decides to discipline the naughty Russians?   BTW, don't believe in any fairy tales concerning magic anti-missile defenses.  People like me and my wife in the DC suburbs and Edward Amame on the Manhattan island would simply disappear, literally in a flash.   The "rubes," as Amame calls them, or at least a lot of them would survive in misery. 

If the Russians follow Soviet target planning they would put several warheads on each of their major aiming points. 

Johnson and Weld are obviously not going to win.

The next president will probably be Hillary.  That will be great for her.  She can then order her AG to suppress the remaining ongoing investigation concerning her conduct and the Clintonworld Foundations.  If the Democrats capture control of the Congress there will be no brake whatever on her power and plans for us all.  pl  


This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Politics, Syria. Bookmark the permalink.

153 Responses to “10 to 20 million max” Buck Turgidson

  1. BillWade says:

    I’ve heard,unsubstantiated, that Trump will win here in Florida and if I believe my own eyes that’s likely true. The Trump rally in Tampa drew 50,000 supporters of which 3/5s had to be turned away. I’ve also heard, again unsubstantiated, that Clinton has unofficially conceded here, “Florida is not a big deal”, ha ha.

  2. hemeantwell says:

    We don’t live near a large city. We’ll just get our hair mussed.

  3. Bill Herschel says:

    Victor Hugo said, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, look who he gives it to.” They don’t want it taken away from them and they cry and have a tantrum when interest rates don’t support them. They don’t want war. Let us hope that the monied class has the kind of influence on the Clintons that will prevent them from doing something stupid. Let us hope that China gently messages the Clintons that they will not support an adventure against Russia and will actively oppose it.
    Chop, chop Mandrake the Redcoats are coming.

  4. turcopolier says:

    How are you planning to deal with disruption of supply chains, financial services, communications, refuges, etc.? pl

  5. Fred says:

    “a loyal ally of America, was coldly abandoned by the White House. President Obama,…..”
    Sounds exactly like the treatment given to the California NG. Good for them the re-enlistment bonus “clawback” program has been “suspended”. What was it Chelsea said about the military?

  6. NHaller says:

    Don’t worry, CNN analyst and neocon Middle East expert Michael Weiss says that all the WWIII talk is Putinista propaganda. Plus, he said earlier today on Twitter that should Russia not submit in Syria, no big deal. As he said:
    “It’s hardly a risk of ‘open-ended’ conflict with Russia in Syria. Entire Russian deployment could be wiped out in 48 hrs by U.S. Putin knows it.”
    Anne Applebaum and the rest of the neocon monsters are already trying to lay the groundwork for war against Russia. This has been in the works for a few years and we have seen the puppets faithfully parroting the neocon Russophobic talking points.
    My sister in western Maryland, near the Appalachian Trail, has been rattled out of her bed the last couple nights and mornings by huge numbers of U.S. military aircraft. She sent me a picture of AC130s flying VERY low which she took while out walking her dog (she lives in an isolated area backing up to the AT). The last time she saw this was after 9/11 and leading up to Iraq war.

  7. Jack says:

    “Do you want the Borg Queen and her neocon/R2P pals to run our relations with Russia? Do you want to gamble on the controllability of an escalatory ladder process if a Russia/US war breaks out in Syria, the Ukraine or the Baltic States?”
    No, Sir!
    Its exclusively for this reason why this registered independent, who hasn’t voted for a candidate from the duopoly for president in over 20 years, marked his ballot for Trump today and mailed it in. I want a clear conscience that I did vote to ensure my grandchildren do not slowly bake in the fallout of a nuclear detonation. As I’ve noted before I should move to a location at the epicenter of a blast zone. At least the ending will hopefully be instantaneous.

  8. mike allen says:

    As you say, the Observer is published by a Trump relative. That indicates to me that the article is not about a change in tone by a Trump Administration, but more like a last gasp effort by the owner to elect his father-in-law.
    As for nuclear war, nobody wants it.

  9. turcopolier says:

    mike allen
    IMO she is emotionally ill and unfit as Trump is. As for nuclear war “wanting it” has nothing to do with having it. pl

  10. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re:” People like me and my wife in the DC suburbs and Edward Amame on the Manhattan island would simply disappear, literally in a flash. The “rubes,” as Amame calls them, or at least a lot of them would survive in misery.
    IMO an instant death would be a blessing if a thermonuclear exchange starts. Those who speak about “winning” a nuclear war-and surviving in the aftermath- really know not whereof they speak. Perhaps the military should stage a live exercise with a small device, after placing the “elite” close to ground zero. If this is deemed unpalatable, a modest box barrage, with the “elite” in the box, might demonstrate some facts of life. I cannot understand the “bravery” of some folk at all.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  11. wisedupearly says:

    Another wannabe Borg angling for acceptance by HRC.
    “Playing With Fear: Russia’s War Card. Propaganda-driven war hysteria in a vast land with imperial nostalgia, one-man rule, ethnic divisions and a weak economy cannot be taken lightly. ”
    NY Times yesterday.
    actually is more accurate as
    “Playing With Fear: Hillary’s War Card. Propaganda-driven war hysteria in a vast land with imperial nostalgia, one-woman rule, ethnic divisions and a weak economy cannot be taken lightly. ”

  12. Walrus says:

    Once a city is gone, political survival, dictates retaliation in kind. What the neocon supporters in Israel don’t seem to understand is that the powerful “holocaust” guilt narrative employed by Israel will not survive that first detonation.
    To put that another way; “we are all Israelis Now!”.

  13. Hillary will be to Obama as Johnson was to JFK.
    They don’t have to kill Obama, just pull out all the stop to get her elected.
    The entire US Deep State is with the program, neocons and neolibs.
    Johnson led to 50K+ Americans dying; Hillary will be millions.
    All bets are off on our survival in 2017 after January 20th.

  14. Sam Peralta says:

    I draw a different conclusion. I think Trump has been rather consistent throughout this campaign including during the primary that he will de-escalate with respect to Russia and will collaborate with Putin to destroy the jihadis. The MSM have turned that position into a treasonous bromance with Putin as they villify the Russians for all their own perfidy.
    It is that real fear that Trump noted on the trail in Florida that was picked up at least in conservative papers in the UK yesterday, that Hillary’s plan for Syria would lead to direct conflict with Russia and a very real threat of WW III.
    This real possibility of an escalation gone awry, is dismissed by all the ziocon staffed MSM punditry who will be staffing the Borgist administration of Mrs. Clinton. They believe that Putin will back down under threat of attack. That’s not a bet any sober person would take.
    Hillary’s track record of poor judgment on national security affairs is consistent. In retrospect, her decisions have always been wrong for America and the world.
    Col. Lang is not known for hyperbole. His track record has been amazingly prescient and spot on for all the years I’ve been coming to SST. I would not take his warning lightly.

  15. NHaller says:

    “As for nuclear war, nobody wants it.”
    Ok, so no wrongful acts possible because there is no intent.

  16. It’s unfortunate that neocon Hilary will win according to the most accurate pollsters/surveys, even if Trump wins all the toss-up swing states, Hilary just has to win Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes to win the Presidency -and it voted Blue/Dem for the past 3 elections & strongly leans Blue.
    so how do you stop her neocon/warhawk push>

  17. mike allen says:

    Colonel –
    We are all entitled to opinions. IMHO, a nuclear war if it comes, will be coming from the deranged grandson of Kim Il-sung and not from Putin, or it will be between India and Pakistan. God forbid on any of that happening.
    Putin does not want a nuclear war anymore than we do. He is certainly neither crazier than Kruschev nor Brezhnev nor Andropov. Hillary is not any more aggressive towards Russia than Kennedy and Reagan were during the cold war.

  18. former NATO German military officer MoonofAlabama has a relevant post: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/10/trumps-foreign-policy-is-sane-while-clintons-is-belligerent-.html
    “Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Sane While Clinton’s Is Belligerent
    Some highlights of a recent Donald Trump interview with Reuters:
    U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Democrat Hillary Clinton’s plan for Syria would “lead to World War Three,” because of the potential for conflict with military forces from nuclear-armed Russia.
    In an interview focused largely on foreign policy, Trump said defeating Islamic State is a higher priority than persuading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down,..
    Trump questioned how Clinton would negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin after demonizing him; blamed President Barack Obama for a downturn in U.S. relations with the Philippines under its new president, Rodrigo Duterte;…
    Trump’s foreign policy talk is far more sane than Clinton’s and her camp’s. It is ludicrous to event think about openly attacking Russian (or Syrian) troops in Syria with an al-Qaeda supporting “no-Fly-Zone”.
    Russia would respond by taking down U.S. planes over Syria.
    The Russian government would have to do so to uphold its authority internationally as well as at home.
    The U.S. could respond by destroying all Russian assets in and around Syria. It has the capabilities.
    But then what? If I were Putin my next step would be a nuclear test shoot in Siberia – a big one – to make a point and to wake up the rest of the world. I would also provide secret support to any indigenous anti-U.S. movement anywhere.
    China would support Russia as its first line of self defense.
    “What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria,” said Trump as he dined on fried eggs and sausage at his Trump National Doral golf resort. “You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton.”

  19. turcopolier says:

    mike allen
    “Hillary is not any more aggressive towards Russia than Kennedy and Reagan were during the cold war.” IMO that is totally wrong. She is deranged and self-actualizing as world mommy. pl

  20. Our only hope is if Hilary is just saber-rattling to win the support of her donors in the military-industrial complex & fellow chickenhawks .. they would love Cold War 2.0 as an excuse to massively increase spending on more expensive stealth bombers, fighters to take on Russia’s might
    If only Bernie Sanders or Johnson or other more peace-oriented candidate would win

  21. Tom Cafferty says:

    History is full of wars no one wanted…outside of a few wackos. Great powers,1914, Serbian Archduke? Hell, our own beloved civil war…some nut jobs in SC attack Ft. Sumter. Your concern is well founded. Colonel. Did the rulers of Merv, Oueen of the Desert, understand what they were starting when they returned the heads of his envoys to the great Khan? Few know the story of hubris and nemesis and Achilles who thought he was immortal before the gates of Troy.

  22. Bobo says:

    It has been fifty plus years since most of us learned how to hide under a desk at school, where the closest nuclear shelter was located or had a neighbor digging out his backyard to put in a shelter not that any of that would be of help. None of us want to go back to those days. Personally I believe Putin will not go there. He will poke, prod and threaten. He also will retaliate fully if the USA stupidly launches a first strike. Maybe naive.
    Now the for the good news. The American voter is now starting the process of voting for a President and while many will disagree with me Donald J. Trump will be elected the next President of the Unites States of America. How do I know, well take a look at your news programs whether CNN, MJ, ABC and other C’s as the tone has changed. They are no longer so cocksure that Trump will lose. Florida, Nevada, North Carolina will go Trump and all he needs is ten more EV’s which will happen. The American People are not stupid.
    As to Trump and nuclear war that is not in his character. He is a negotiator and knows how much he can take or give but also knows when to fold.

  23. Swamp Yankee says:

    In terms of HRC’s aggression towards Russia: many in the West may not perceive it as aggression, but the Russians do, and that’s what matters. I think they have a decent case. If things had gone the other way in some alternate reality, would we in the USA be content with Russian/Soviet missile systems in Jamaica and Mexico, with an independent Texas* on the verge of joining the Warsaw Pact? I don’t think so. Likewise, the Russians don’t like having NATO more or less within artillery range of St. Petersburg and missile systems in Poland and Romania. See also Ukraine**-EU/NATO relations.
    And of course no one sane wants nuclear war. But wars can happen by accident, by a series of terrible concatenations of circumstances, as in 1914 (or “Dr. Strangelove”). That seems of grave concern to me, and is totally ignored by our putatively “educated” nomenklatura, metropolitan-elite “Morning Joe” class.
    * if anything, Ukraine is more central to Russian historical memory than Texas is to the America’s — Kiev as the birthplace of East Slav civilization, the long struggle with the Turks, the new lands of the black earth belt, the Great Patriotic War — but it serves for purposes of the analogy.
    ** This is another problem with Western, or at least Anglophone, coverage of that crisis, the false sense that Ukraine is a unitary whole, when it was deeply divided internally about Russia and Europe, based on longstanding differences — Lvov/Lemberg after all was a Hapsburg city, which is a different story than, e.g., the Donbass.

  24. kooshy says:

    Colonel we are not alone, all those nice,neat,orderly, ultra civilized european countries, hosting American bases on Russia’ “near abroad” will also be at the receiving end.

  25. Ghostship says:

    It’s a mistake to assume that Kim Jong-Un is deranged, he’s actually quite rational. After what happened in Libya to Gadaffi, it’s pretty clear that the only way to stop the deranged idiots in Washington from attacking you is having deliverable thermonuclear weapons. The thousands of artillery piece aimed at Seoul just don’t cut it anymore.
    As for Russia, NATO would most likely have lost a conventional war against the Soviet Union so there was little risk of NATO attacking the Soviet Union and even the Soviet Union under Stalin had no intention of attacking NATO so the conditions for a nuclear war never arose. These days there are numerous deranged idiots in Washington who believe that a conventional NATO attack on Russia could be successful, that the Russians would not go thermonuclear and the United States can reassert its position as the World’s sole power controlling the Eurasian landmass.

  26. kooshy says:

    Last night I heard someone on TV, don’t remember who (on Fox?) calling them the Bonnie and Clyde of the American politics, that, IMO is nicely fitting. Colonel also put it in a nice way, “they industrialized the American elections”.

  27. mike allen says:

    Colonel –
    I respect your opinions about 99% of the time. And I admit I am not well read on psychology. I do however respect Maslow’s theory. Below are some of the things that Maslow says about self actualizers. Does not sound deranged to me. I think #s 9 and 15 particularly relate to whether or not she will goad Putin into a holocaust.
    1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
    2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
    3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
    4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
    5. Unusual sense of humor;
    6. Able to look at life objectively;
    7. Highly creative;
    8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
    9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
    10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
    11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
    12. Peak experiences;
    13. Need for privacy;
    14. Democratic attitudes;
    15. Strong moral/ethical standards.

  28. Timothy Hagios says:

    I did as well, for the same reason. I’d never voted for a Republican before, but Obama ended my involvement with the Democratic Party and Hillary guaranteed that I would not go back. I voted Trump for president, a Ron Paul-esque Republican for the House, and wrote in the names of a few alt-news sites where there was a write-in option in hope of piquing the curiosity of whoever tallies the write-ins.
    On the main topic, one thing I’ve noticed is that some people have no natural sense of when to stop, so they keep pushing their luck on the expectation that someone will stop them before they go too far. I believe that several jailed white-collar criminals have offered this explanation as to why they did what they did. I have the bad feeling that Hillary is one of them.

  29. Ed says:

    In the nuclear confrontation envisioned, how will the Israeli nukes be targeted?

  30. Bill Herschel says:

    The United States has already used nuclear weapons in war in a preemptive strike against Japan to “save American lives”. Ironically, Japan may have surrendered as much because Russia destroyed its army in Manchuria as because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And the United States has very recently demonized, dishonestly, a foreign leader specifically accusing him of posing a nuclear weapons threat to the United States (Rice’s “mushroom cloud”) as an excuse to invade his country.
    Note that Japan is now an ally who explicitly spent years under colonial rule before becoming said ally.
    I don’t like hearing about low flying AC130’s or crowded harbors at Diego Garcia. And I remember crossing Oahu before Iraq and seeing tanks on the highways.
    No draft. No Congressional oversight despite the Constitution. An Imperial Presidency now in the hands of a person who may very well have believed what she was saying.
    So, okay, I do believe it’s possible.

  31. Ivan says:

    Read here on this site https://quivo.co/21605-rusia-tiene-una-nueva-arma-secreta-que-esta-lista-para-la-accion.html tell the truth Russia has your weapon or just again some sort of tale, just interesting to know your opinion,thereby trump wants to improve relations with Russia,as Hillary Clinton is opposed to Russia

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Rosalyn Carter stated last year that American people prefer war to peace. She must know the minds of her fellow countrymen rather well to have voiced such an opinion.
    I personally find her assertion to be credible – both from personal experience as well as reading and listening to others.
    I consider Vladimir Putin to be a statesman of highest caliber. So when he made the astonishingly public statement which, essentially, meant that nuclear war was an option on the table; I surmised that he must have felt compelled to warn the United States and EU.
    This was, in my opinion, an unprecedented public threat perhaps to concentrate the minds of Western leaders like the proverbial death sentence…

  33. Bill Herschel says:

    And the bogus threats and aggressive drums of war keep coming. I’m bringing some sand into the house so that I can put my head in it. Time to think beautiful thoughts.
    The Guardian being a complete neocon rag.

  34. charly says:

    The what you call deranged grandson has only a few nukes. He literal can’t have a nuclear war, only a nuclear battle. That is survivable. No chance of a nuclear winter and radiation would be less than in 1960.
    Cold War had deep lines in the sand which neither side broke with the added bonus that the upper class of the pact-members didn’t want to switch side for the reason that their personal standing would be worse on the other side. American red lines are now figuratively east of the Russia red lines and changing sides is a very possibility (see Philippines)

  35. VietnamVet says:

    Yes, once again, a year of living dangerously.
    Like many here, I was raised during the first Cold War. We were aware of the danger of a nuclear war. We practiced duck and cover drills in grade school. The realists were in the White House and crazies in the basement. Today the realists are gone and Victoria Nuland and Anne-Marie Slaughter are Hillary Clinton’s cabinet in waiting. Regime change is the announced American policy. No big deal if America’s Deplorables become shadows burnt into a radioactive wasteland. The Cold War has come back to the future but it is invisible even though the danger is real.

  36. eakens says:

    Obama must know something. After all, first thing he plans to do is take off.

  37. Charles Michael says:

    I fully agree on the Saoudis dismay at the Obama let-down of Mubarak.
    This must have bring old memeories of the letdown of the Shah and subsequent Khomeiny révolutionnary intentions.
    More recently the difference in treatment of Ghadafi in Libya and Bachar Al Assad in Syria has surely reinforced these fears, and spread them amongst all the GCC.
    Maybe this Oil prices war against US LTO, did feed on those suspicions.
    About nuclears; born in Paris August 1945, I have lived without much fears confident that sanity would prevail. Still optimistic, but not so sure nowadays.

  38. rjj says:

    1. Kennedy and Reagan were aggressive toward the Soviet Union.
    2. The cohort running things had experienced the XX Century War and had had a XIX Century education.

  39. ISL says:

    Mike Allen,
    Thanks for the cold comfort. Declassified documents show how close we have come to the END in both those time periods.
    Folk who pay for fire insurance (what are the odds?), seem willing to accept ridiculous odds of a spiral out of control where the end result is the END. So how many times have two countries that didnt want war but prepared for war ended up in a war where in the end both lose? I wager that is more likely than that your house catches fire – so are you canceling your fire insurance? Thought not.
    On the plus, Nuclear winter removes the threat of global warming.

  40. J says:

    How would Hillary look in green glow?

  41. Peter Reichard says:

    Russia is today infinitely less of a threat to the US than was the Soviet Union during the Kennedy and Reagan eras. Hillary is reckless, trigger happy, seemingly ignorant of history and while experienced in the halls of government and highly intelligent is lacking in wisdom, a dangerous combination.

  42. walrus says:

    I have a feeling that the preferred option of the Neocons is to deprive Russia of its navy. I do not believe that Admiral Kusznetsov and its escorting vessels will ever see a Russian port again. The “benefit” of this approach is that it does not threaten the Russian land mass and therefore provoke a continental nuclear exchange. The assumption is that the U.S. Navy would be unscathed.

  43. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Sooner or later there will be an Armageddon anyway.
    Who said that the Anti-Christ has to be male?
    We are all in God’s hands – Inshallah. Take your pick.

  44. Peter Reichard says:

    While his ideas towards Putin and Russia are more benign than Ms. Clinton’s Trump presents us with a different sort of quandary. He is too ill informed, too mercurial and spontaneous in his reactions, by all accounts too loath to listen to advise and worst of all too thin skinned to be entrusted with the oval office. He regards any criticism as a personal insult to be avenged at all costs. These are very dangerous traits in a leader. For very different reasons he is as frightening as is Hillary.

  45. All,
    I am concerned that there may be many people in the United States – and in Britain – who are under the extraordinary and quite incredibly dangerous delusion that the fact that nobody wants a nuclear war provides sufficient grounds for confidence that it will not happen.
    Throughout the Cold War, informed analysts on both sides of the Atlantic were very well aware that the notion that either the American or Soviet leaderships would deliberately take large risks of all-out war was nonsense. However, such analysts time and again warned that it was perfectly possible for a war to happen without any wanting it.
    Now that the complete series of the ‘Foreign Relations of the United States’ documents is available on the internet, anyone can – in a few minutes – familiarise themselves with the remarkable series of memoranda in which the most experienced Foreign Service Soviet specialist of the time, Charles ‘Chip’ Bohlen, argued against central assumptions made in the key NSC 68 paper of April 1950.
    As Bohlen was not an academic engaged in a theoretical debate, but a practical man trying to have an influence, the scale of his contempt for that document only intermittently becomes fully apparent. Key elements of his concerns about it are however made fully apparent in the suggestions he made for a redraft to the follow-up NSC 114/2 paper in in September 1951.
    A proposed redraft of a key passage both struck at the whole conception of the Soviet leaders as having a ‘grand’ or ‘fundamental’ design, and explained Bohlen’s own conception of the real dangers of war inherent in the Cold War confrontation:
    “While the assumptions contained in NSC 68 and subsequent papers of the same series concerning the Soviet Union in its attitude and probable actions in the present world situation contain much that is sound, nevertheless, developments since April 1950 have perhaps pointed up sharply the difficulty, if not impossibility, of laying down certain fundamental principles as a guide to the interpretation of Soviet actions and basis for forecasts of future actions. It must be recognized that the attitude and actions of the Soviet Union in relation to Korea, which is unquestionably the most serious development in the world situation since the end of World War II, have not in every respect coincided with the hypotheses and analyses contained in the NSC 68 series. These discrepancies do not indicate that the given analyses were necessarily less faulty than any other generalized theses, but rather indicate the defect of an attempt to lay down in advance principles or rules which the Soviet Union could logically be expected to follow. Soviet actions in Korea and their subsequent attitude to the United States’ response to the challenge served to underline the extraordinarily pragmatic and opportunistic nature of Soviet policy and the absence of any fidelity to a blueprint, or even design. Such a conclusion by no means reduces the danger of the present period to the United States. On the contrary, it tends to make the danger more continuous since it enhances the possibility of general war arising through either a miscalculation on the part of either one of the principal powers of the world—the Soviet Union and the United States – or the equally great danger that local situations could so develop through a process of action and reaction as to render war in the eyes of either one of these two powers preferable to any alternative course open to either one.
    (See https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951v01/d44 .)
    Unfortunately, over the succeeding four decades, it was the heirs of NSC 68 – in particular, the appalling spawn of the abominable Wohlstetters – who won out, while the heirs of Bohlen were marginalised. And that is a very large part of the reason why his concluding words in the above passage are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them.

  46. turcopolier says:

    “Nuclear arsenal of Russia. The exact number of nuclear warheads is a state secret and is therefore a matter of guesswork. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that Russia possesses 4,490 nuclear warheads, while the U.S. has 4,500; Russia has 1,790 active strategic nuclear warheads, compared with 1,750.[2] According to 2016 data from the New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms facts sheet, the United States has fewer operationally deployed strategic warheads than Russia.[11] On the other hand, Russia is estimated to have roughly 1,500 tactical nuclear weapons, all of which are declared to be in central storage.[12] Wiki on Russian nuclear weapons. It seems to me that you may have been speaking archly in re the small number of weapons that Russia possesses.” pl

  47. Miletus says:

    I’m curious as to what models the General is basing his assessment on. There are certainly those who argue a future nuclear exchange would be less devastating than would previously have been the case, based on the assumption that the nuclear powers are focussing on lower yield and tactical battlefield nukes. My recollection is within the 5-10 Mt range.
    If we just assume for a moment that we’re working within that range. http://www.nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ is a computer model which is maintained by Stevens Institute of Technology. It’s a little crude but we can try to simulate a fairly low yield detonation in downtown DC and calculate the number of casualties.
    For example, I chose a 5 Mt preset and selected surface detonation based on an assumption that I wish to minimize fallout casualties and extensive EMP.
    The model predicts 800,000 fatalities and a similar number of casualties (many of whom would presumably succumb in time to various after effects).
    There are some 150-200 major cities in the US if I’m not mistaken (I’ll ignore military targets). The General’s assumption seems ridiculous unless he is implying that the US can either prevent launches; or intercept the vast majority of enemy missiles in the air; or the Russians and the US, for example, restricted themselves to a limited exchange. I’ve never seen a model that predicts those scenarios.
    In fact, the models I’m familiar with raise doubts as to whether any exchange could even be limited to two powers. I recall seeing models that showed China would launch its own missiles at the survivor of an initial exchange based on a belief that no power that had shown willingness to use nuclear weapons could be allowed to survive as a potential adversary (even if presently an ally).
    In terms of comparisons between Clinton and Reagan: I don’t recall having a sense of fatalism at the time Reagan was upping the rhetoric. It feels to me that Reagan at least tried to argue for de-escalation and to present a vision of a better world. I don’t sense that with the Borg. My impression is that they believe a world that doesn’t reflect their vision is not worth living in.

  48. turcopolier says:

    My recollection of the actual estimates of US casualties that would result from the execution of the Red SIOP were higher than those of Buck Turgidson. pl

  49. Miletus says:

    Agreed. It feels inevitable. Even if not according to the scenario we’re discussing now, according to some other.
    Human beings will either survive in Dystopia and have to rediscover that thing called civilization, or we find a way off this rock so we at least have an insurance policy.
    Fermi paradox – where are all the aliens? A popular theory is that they’ve all wiped themselves out; that this inevitably occurs before any of them (us) have a chance to spread their (our) wings.
    The human population once shrunk to the thousands. As a species, we’re pretty inbred as a result of that. I sometimes wonder how much of an effect that period had on our collective IQ.

  50. Stuart Wood says:

    After being in SAC from the late 70’s to the early 90’s and remembering Reagan, Breznev, and Andropov, I do not feel as threatened by today’s Russia, Putin, or Clinton.

  51. BrotherJoe says:

    Let us not forget the sage advice of professor Groeteschele from the same movie, Fail Safe.
    These are Marxist fanatics, not normal people.
    They do not reason the way you reason, General Black.
    They’re not motivated by human emotion such as rage and pity.
    They are calculating machines.
    They will look at the balance sheet, and they will see they
    cannot win.
    Then you suggest doing what?
    – Nothing.
    – Nothing?
    The Russians will surrender…
    Or will they …. ?

  52. BabelFish says:

    Agree. One Virginia class or one of the three Seawolf class subs could take out the whole formation . The Kuznetsov looked like a coal powered locomotive coming through Euro-waters. Fouled injectors, boiler jacket leaks, contaminated fuel, who knows? Spain refused to refuel them. They are extended, probably past the point of true effectiveness.
    Not denigrating Russian tech but, IMO, this isn’t a competitive strike force.

  53. LeaNder says:

    One sure can argue that Obama’s Red Line statement was a mistake. But this nitwit in the larger Machiavellian context, also considered it one of the better ‘turning points’ in events, since it brought in the Russians on a diplomatic level. With maybe (?), one could argue, positive outcome at least concerning chemical warfare tools being used in Syria.
    I never favored American military intervention in that civil war – seeing the incompetent hash Washington made of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya I knew the disasters that would likely follow – but I strongly believed that the global hegemon’s word had to be honored. If Obama said it was a redline, he had to mean it. Alas, he did not. As I explained at the time, outsourcing American policy in Syria to the Russians was sure to end in tears and diplomatic defeat with wider consequences.
    Obama had to mean it? Not hesitate but bomb the hell out of the Syrian regime?
    Just for the hell of it? To prove American power? America as the ultimate leader of the “Western World”? …
    Trump for me somehow manages a peculiar emotionally charged election dance, on one hand he supposedly objected to the war in Iraq, on the other hand he praises the surge and it’s pacifying outcome. Iraq ‘was pacified’ before the democrats took over. Obama created ISIS by not leaving enough military to prevent its rise. For how long exactly and with how much troops or ‘surges’ could this have been prevented? How should he have forced the Iraq admin to accept the Americans as some type of long-term occupying force? Would Americans have liked the idea? Both his party supporters and his opponents?
    The “evil Russians” hyperbole surely is the top sickening campaign element of Clinton on her way to power, the second next sickening thing is her suggestion that Trump will have his finger on the red button way too easily. Am I wrong? Doesn’t this invite a ‘countercheck’? Not used as it should be here, but instead the usage of the same theme in reverse against her? Rhetorical tit for tat? Mushroom Clouds? Anyone?
    More from the top of my head: his foreign policy speech felt both good and ugly.* It no doubt contained good elements but also a lot of continuity concerning the enemies out there. The original speech is hard to google up, but his campaign now offers an annotated version.
    * I have no problems with any type of ‘gotcha’ partisans around here.
    I stumbled across the report of a exchange-student over here, who wound up in Minnesota for one year. At her school there were regular “duck and cover” exercises, curiously enough. She also was an absolute outsider before in a 100% Trumpian environment, she claimed, at least before a girl from a highly religious background got curious and opened the path for her community integration as “the German” that could add some German invectives via ian invitation for a match of the school’s football team.
    I have no idea, if I can trust the report, some matters must paint I a picture that feels slightly exaggerated. While others seem to make sense. Highly familiar themes. But also only in some type of reversal: The girl that helped her out of the outsider context was from a highly religious family.

  54. Allen Thomson says:

    (Repeating a 2008 post): I remember a very impressive CONUS map with guesstimated RISOP laydown in a NIE 11-3/8 annex back in the day. It had a lot of red circles on it.
    However FEMA did an equivalent and usefully unclassified exercise called NAPB-90. The executive summary, with numbers, is at https://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/napb-90/execsum.html
    As an aside, one of the things in the study was the definition, “Low Fallout Risk Counties were defined as those which have the potential to receive a one-week unprotected radiation dose of less than 3,000 roentgens.” IIRC, LD50 for radiation dose is around 600 roentgens.

  55. apol says:

    On the Kali Youga.
    Sounds like we’re here!

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think South Carolina wanted war, also Massachusetts

  57. irf520 says:

    You’re not seriously going to tell us that 9 and 15 apply to HRC?

  58. FourthAndLong says:

    Could it indicate he has been threatened behind the scenes?

  59. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    re: “This has been in the works for a few years and we have seen the puppets faithfully parroting the neocon Russophobic talking points.”
    Perhaps post-Soviet Russia is just the latest pocket of resistance that has to be plowed through on a campaign that’ been underway for decades, and maybe began more than a century ago. Here’s a quote from Carroll Quigley’s 1966 book **Tragedy & Hope**, whichis included in the piece by Brandon Smith posted yesterday at Alt-Market entitled “The Dark Agenda Behind Globalism And Open Borders:”
    “The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank… sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.”
    Is Russia is fighting the battle for the non-elite citizens of all countries?

  60. FourthAndLong says:

    I’ve been thinking same thing, with less confidence. Rather reckless of the Rooskies IMHO.

  61. rjj says:

    @MA “And I admit I am not well read on psychology.
    try counting.
    how many times does a person use the first person singular in his or her posts.

  62. Bill Herschel says:

    On to Raqqa, within weeks…
    Raqqa is 100 miles east of Aleppo and Deir ez-Zur is 100 miles east of Raqqa. The no-fly zone is beginning.
    The Obama administration certainly does want to go out in a blaze of glory. Doesn’t he realize this won’t change his revenue from speaking gigs one iota? Can he actually be this stupid? Or is the Trump meltdown clearing the way for an administration that has never been under his control? Does he want war? Does Carter want war? Do they think the Russians in Syria will pack their bags and go home like tourists at the end of a cruise? George C. Scott is lucky. He won’t see this.

  63. tim s says:

    I’d keep in mind that our military achievements against less powerful opponents have not been very good over the past few decades. Also that war with Russia may well involve the Chinese, so the fact that Russia is weaker than in the past in some respects should give no comfort.

  64. J says:

    Looking Glass, oh looking glass, where art thou?

  65. Jack says:

    All one needs to do is read the papers from a year prior to World War I. If you had asked anyone then if there would be a great war they would have laughed at you.
    I recall you linking to some documents by someone who served on the crisis team in the Kennedy administration and how close we were to miscalculating.
    The risks are unprecedented now since the ziocons that will staff the Hillary administration will reinforce Hillary’s proven track record of belligerence and poor judgment.

  66. J says:

    Russia and their Система Периметр.

  67. kooshy says:

    I can’t understand the logic, how is it that you think, if we take out their navy, they are going to put their tail between their legs and go and lick their wounds. Don’t you think the Bear may get angry and retaliate with couple of those ICBMs.

  68. kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang
    IMO, American elite ruling class/ Borg’ deep down problem with Russia is that they never accepted or want to accept that Yeltsin is gone dead. Just like they are slow to believe their mono polar world is ended. We just recently heard, and IMO in a hubristic way, Brzezinski suggest we are in a multi polar world. That mentality of indispensability and the shining city on hill, will do wonders for starting new wars.

  69. James Loughton says:

    But then what? If I were Putin my next step would be a nuclear test shoot in Siberia – a big one – to make a point and to wake up the rest of the world. I would also provide secret support to any indigenous anti-U.S. movement anywhere.
    This is exactly what I have been thinking. Announce it first, of course, so as to prevent inadvertent escalation.

  70. jsn says:

    The most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves and this kind of self delusion “”It’s hardly a risk of ‘open-ended’ conflict with Russia in Syria. Entire Russian deployment could be wiped out in 48 hrs by U.S. Putin knows it.” (quoted by NHaller above) is the most dangerous kind.
    The group think and pressure of internal competition within silo-ed decision makers leads them to discount all information outside the group selected “orthodoxy”, the more actual power the group holds, the more insistent it becomes on its “orthodoxy”: these people, without realizing it, have become the most dangerous fanatics.

  71. James Loughton says:

    Yes sir.
    If only the largest 350 cities in the US were to be targeted, that would include every city of a population of 35,000 or more.

  72. Croesus says:


  73. kao_hsien_chih says:

    The whole thing feels very “Japanese,” circa 1941. (and the South Carolinians in 1861–not 1860–behaved like the Japanese would 8 decades later.)
    Most Japanese leaders in 1941 very much wanted war, but they were also convinced that they knew what kind of war they were going to get–namely, the one that whose course that they could control and win. The handful of sane men who thought things could get out of control were assassinated, overruled and shut up, or exiled to positions of irrelevance. The analogue to today’s neocons/R2P crowd is deafening: they also want war, as much as the Japanese leaders in 1941. They are also convinced that they will be able to control the course of the war when it breaks out and that their adversaries will helpfully and obediently lose by staying on the script.
    The attitude towards empiring is also strikingly similar: after a few confused about-faces in 1920s and 30s, Japanese by 1940 or so arrived at a peculiar “multicultural” notion of empire: the propaganda of the time emphasized how Japan was creating a new empire that drew on the strengths of different Asian peoples for their mutual benefit, under beneficent leadership of the Japanese, of course. Many Japanese leaders really believed their lines too, except, well, the usual band of cynics. In the end, it didn’t matter: the “Japanese-led multiculturalism” turned out to be self-serving lie, as everyone knows, but with a few twists: some Japanese leaders were shocked that Asian peoples who now became their subjects were not enamored enough with the idea of becoming part of the Co-Prosperity Sphere to sacrifice everything for it. Heck, the same logic applied even to Japanese homeland: Japanese civilians who were not sacrificing everything for the sake of Japan’s holy war to liberate Asia, so to speak, were subject to brutal treatment by the Kempeitai and other arms of state power. The faith of Japanese imperialists that they were on the right side of history added to their brutality: many honestly saw the Japanese dissidents or Asian resistance to Japanese imperialism as traitors to the righteous cause and hated them as being beyond mere enemies. This is something that I see among a lot of “believers” in today’s US politics–and possibly elsewhere in the world, on both/all sides of the political ledger, on matters beyond just foreign policy: they are so convinced of their own righteousness that they cannot even conceive others disagreeing with them or their ideas being abused (and people being wary of being on the other end of the abuse), without some kind of ill will. Disagreement is a reason to suspect ill will and thus the reason to be hated and treated with contempt–it’s not just W who believes “you are with us or against us.” When objections are raised on material limitations to power, there’s the American Exceptionalism in place of Yamato Damashi. Same thing, really–the faith in the allegedly infinite power of the spiritual righteousness that would somehow make good material deficiencies–and if you don’t believe that, you’re a traitor too.
    My take on successful “democratic” politics is that it works when people believe that they can disagree among themselves for good reasons: if people don’t agree with you, accept your arguments, or otherwise have different viewpoint, they do so in good faith, based on legitimate experiences and worldviews, and that these experiences and worldviews ought to be respected and understood, even if not necessarily accepted. I suppose one might say that this is necessary even in nondemocratic politics as well. The “Japanese imperialist” mode of thinking, where dissent and disagreement indicates hostility and contrary experiences to the accepted “legitimate” worldview evidence of treason, runs contrary to this idea of “democracy.” But, somewhere along the line, “democracy” became a mathematical formula, where you count up snouts of righteousness and more snouts means you win the power over life and death, and lies and truth. Will wonders ever cease?

  74. Croesus says:

    This SST discussion does not mention Iran, but it appears to be high on the Hillary – neocon – protect Israel at all costs agenda.
    Tamara Wittes and Martin Indyk of Brookings moderated a discussion by Michael Doran of his new book, https://www.brookings.edu/events/ikes-gamble-americas-rise-to-dominance-in-the-middle-east/ about how Ike was responsible to USA rise to dominance in Middle East (Doran’s views differ radically from those of Jeremy Black in “Dwight Eisenhower and the Cold War” https://www.c-span.org/video/?407529-1/dwight-d-eisenhower-cold-war — in Q & A Black says Ike was not tuned into Middle East concerns and had very little effect on US policy toward ME . )
    Wittes, Indyk & Doran agree: Iran is enemy #1 and will be dealt with more kinetically by a Clinton administration.
    International law is a fiction; Kissinger endorsed that view (so does Donald Kagan). Doran agrees: nations operate on interests, not rule of law. And if an ‘ally’ like Israel contravenes the principles of its patron state (USA), then USA must understand and put those quibbles aside in the name of the larger “interests.” It was Kissinger who re-focused US policy, placing Israel’s security & Israel’s interests as the center of concern. Indyk: “We must always ensure Israel’s security . . .”

  75. b says:

    The U.S. has 11 carriers and some 12 semi carrier landing ships. Nice juicy
    targets for lots of capable Russian subs.
    What is the U.S. going to do when those go down for a deep see dive?
    ISIS will helpful claim responsibility. Then what?
    And if that happens in the Japanese sea or somewhere else near China?

  76. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Again, you are missing the point.
    Russia altered the strategic calculus with only 24 aircrafts in Syria.

  77. jonst says:

    “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed a bit”

  78. McGee says:

    I continue to think that Hillary’s hawkishness is largely for show. Because democrats feel they have to appear strong on national security, and especially because she is a woman, she sometimes needlessly doubles down. At least a few people that I am familiar with and who have worked with her agree with this assessment.

  79. BraveNewWorld says:

    If Hillary wins and the Republicans hold Congress you can bet all the money in the world that every thing in US government will come to a halt as Congress runs hearing after hearing after hearing on Hillary, Bill, Chelea and the foundation. It will be all Clinton all the time at the hearings. Yes some of that would be good and warranted.
    The part that is troubling is that the Republicans have adopted a scorched earth policy that if they can’t rule then NO ONE can rule. That is why they don’t mind turning their backs on Trump. That is very undemocratic and leads to a break down in the way the government functions and leads to abuses of the system as well as a lack of accountability.
    Every one makes lots of noise about who will get in the White House but that isn’t where Americas real problem is.

  80. Fred says:


    “he supposedly objected to the war in Iraq” ….
    “… top sickening campaign element of Clinton on her way to power, …”
    News flash my German friend. United States Senator from NY Hilary Clinton voted for the AUMF. That is POWER that you forgot she had and the real estate billionaire did not.

  81. Fred says:

    ” preemptive strike”
    That’s some new creative fiction. The Bataan Death March survivor I met in high school and the man who waded ashore at Tarawa (he taught me how to run a small boat when I was 8 or 9) would both dispute with you the need to bomb Japan with nuclear weapons. I’ll have to ask my Japanese classmates now back in Japan how they liked being colonized by the US. I think they’ll find the idea pretty laughable right along with the idea that Japan is a permanent allies of the US.

  82. BraveNewWorld says:

    If the Russians decide the only way to keep the US from attacking them is to hit the US mainland they are not going to be using tactical warheads. If it gets that far they are fighting for their lives and will do what it takes to win, as will the US.

  83. marc b. says:

    ‘nobody wants it.’ i don’t know if that is true or not, my mind reading skills being in decline. any military confrontation with russia, nucularish or not, is foolish. (and frankly, my experience is that people are generally terrible at sorting out what they really ‘want’. maybe clinton doesn’t ‘want’ a nuclear war, just to prove how tough she is, thus increasing the chances of nuclear war.) the us gov. shouldn’t be nosing into syria or the ukraine, spheres of influence, and all that. sore winners of the cold war have taken us down this path.

  84. Jony Kanuck says:

    Re: Russian task force
    Yes, the carrier is coal burning and yes the Russians have subs escorting the surface ships. The point of the task force is to sit in the east med. and use the threat of a ‘wall’of cruise missles (30+ granit)to keep any US carrier more than 400k away from Syria.

  85. FourthAndLong says:

    Early voting would have altered Brexit referendum, some say. Inclined to agree. Cannot fathom relevance to current US prez election.

  86. turcopolier says:

    jony kanuck
    “Admiral Kuznetsov is conventionally powered by eight gas-fired boilers and four steam turbines, each producing 50,000 hp (37 MW), driving four shafts with fixed-pitch propellers. Her maximum speed is 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph), and her range at maximum speed is 3,800 nautical miles (7,000 km; 4,400 mi). At 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph), her maximum range is 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi).” Not coal propelled. pl

  87. Charles Michael says:

    I do hope the Powers in charge do not share this kind of feeling.
    The weak, and I mean very weak and shaking, part of all the US strategy in Europe are the Europeans: they know wars they have been there and not visitors at the last session (sorry to be a bit offencing).
    So in case of this kind of insane action what Russia would do ?
    they have a tremendous choice of targets to catch with conventional forces on the european theater, starting with Baltics 3 nuts, Ukrainia, Poland,Rumania.
    So USA is going to pull the nuclear trigger to protect those friendly warmongers ? against the strong advises of Merkel and Hollande, and probably many more ? or pipe down as long as no US soldier has been KA ?
    No West European would accept an other war on their soil and specially against Russia (Merkel, Renzi and Hollande knows that pretty well). They just agree to go along with the charade, up to a point.
    and the populace start to really dislike it.

  88. rjj says:

    The Russians have direct knowledge of what happens during during famines, sieges, shortages, and major disruptions.
    We have our experience of Dr. Strangelove and the trauma of “Duck and Cover” drills.
    The Russians also have Chernobyl sitting there a couple hundred miles from Moscow – and probably some duty of care to the disabled kids born as a result.
    google this –
    “A study by UNICEF suggested that more than 20% of adolescent children in Belarus suffer from disabilities caused by birth defects.”

  89. charly says:

    Surface navy is death. Can’t be hidden from satellites and then it is just typing in the coordinates in a “sunburn” type weapon.

  90. Dr Puck says:

    Fortunately for the GOP’s future, the gerrymander and their superior ability to garner the small town and rural voter in many blue states, means they do not have to govern at the national level at all. All they need to do is anticipate census years, redistrict accordingly, and then blame the Democrats as being the culprits behind the nanny state warm embrace of non-whites, economic inequity, and the failure of supply-side economics.
    So, the GOP is nihilistic; but, don’t many retired congresspersons become well-paid lobbyists?
    Looks like win/win to me.

  91. Croesus says:

    As I understand her psychology, she’s a fundamentally damaged person whose neediness & vulnerability supplied the hook that made her useful to Haim Saban and associated patrons. Her need for their validation keeps her in their thrall, and supplying that validation is pathetically cheap — this was on (shameless) display several years ago when HRC introduced Hannah Rosenthal, the first director of the newly created State Dept. bureau to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
    In order to keep that ‘friendship’ HRC will do what her “friends” want her to do: she will place their demands above US interests, while they will act in not only callous disregard of US interests but in disdain of harms that might come to USA — as Saban has said, “I’m a one-issue man and that issue is Israel.” USA resources and institutions, including the power of the presidency, are regarded by Saban & cie as theirs to exploit. There is no downside to Saban if US is damaged.

  92. kao_hsien_chih
    I think that is a brilliant comment, providing an enormous amount of food for thought.
    From my own family’s experience, I can testify that the degeneration is frightening.
    Although arguments about ‘appeasement’ could become very bitter, it was possible for people to disagree radically but do so with civility, and respect each other. And that was one of the reasons why a ‘course correction’, although it came later than it should have, was possible.
    These days, if you voice any substantive disagreement with columnists on the ‘FT’ on matters such as the Ukraine or Syria, they either ignore you or accuse you of being a ‘Russian troll’. (Leaving aside other elements, the sheer bad manners is almost unbelievable.)
    Older forms of ‘tribalism’ have been replaced by what, is in effect, a kind of ideological ‘tribalism’.
    It makes ‘course correction’, very difficult, because for people who define their identity in ideological terms to accept they have been wrong is liable to be intolerably difficult.
    While I can see some of the reasons for the degeneration, I still find the sheer scale of it hard to explain.

  93. different clue says:

    At which point the question becomes: Win? Win what?

  94. ISL says:

    David, I recall finding (and buying) a British book on Japan written in ’98 that argued due to new technology and globalized trade that a new and more enlightened leadership that the next century would be a flowering of peaceful achievement.
    Oh forgot to mention the book was written in 1898. but could have been written in 1998. Will things be different in 2098?

  95. charly says:

    Deranged Grandson is North Korea, not Russia. And making a nuclear bomb when you have highly enriched uranium or plutonium isn’t exactly difficult so i would add a few thousand potential nukes to that total.

  96. charly says:

    In other words. Kill Them All

  97. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Belligerent actions toward the Soviet Union and its allies were indeed taken during the Kennedy administration, but what has become clear as more and more documents of that era are made available is that was a restraining factor in most of those actions, not an inciting one. In his deeply sourced book JFK and the Unspeakable, James Douglass describes one of the president’s first meetings with the JCS after the inauguration in which chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and USAF chief Curtis LeMay took the lead in pitching a preemptive nuclear attack on the USSR. Kennedy was appalled, especially when the conversation took a turn that eerily presaged Turgidson’s soliloquy in the movie. The intelligence assessment of the time held that a window of opportunity had opened during which the adversary would not have sufficient deterrence capability be to respond to such an attack, but that said window would close by the end of 1963. Hence Lemnitzer and LeMay continued to press Kennedy on this whenever the opportunity arose, and the president soon began avoiding meetings with the JCS if at all possible. A few weeks before the Cuban Missile crisis broke the president kicked Lemnitzer across the Atlantic to head up NATO to succeed Lauris Norstad. He probably would have liked to get rid of LeMay as well, but that would have been too politically damaging. LeMay, among others, was bitterly disappointed when Kennedy refused to use the opportunity presented by the Cuban Missile crisis to launch an attack, and allegedly went to his grave with the belief that Kennedy had betrayed his country.
    Not long ago I read somewhere else (don’t remember where at the moment) that soon after his inauguration Kennedy had learned that President Eisenhower had delegated the authority to use nuclear weapons to at least NATO, and perhaps CinCPac as well., and that t was that first JCS meeting that convinced him to pull all such final authority back to the president. The brass fought this tooth and nail, none more so than General Norstad of NATO. McNamara was Kennedy’s point man on this, and according to this source much of the public animosity between the SecDef and the Pentagon establishment over his so-called ‘whiz kids’ was really about the control of nuclear weapons, since the latter couldn’t be mentioned in public.
    http://amzn.to/10yGTiI “JFK and the Unspeakable”

  98. charly says:

    The USSR didn’t have that many nukes and ICBM’s in Buck’s “time”.

  99. Jony Kanuck says:

    My allegation of a ‘coal powered’ Kuznetsov was in jest.
    It doesn’t matter if the Russian task force is ramshackle, all it has to do is keep US naval strike aircraft away from Syria until east Aleppo is subjugated. I am guessing that no matter how uneven a naval exchange got, losing a carrier would have a high cost to the POTUS.

  100. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    “…successful “democratic” politics is that it works when people believe that they can disagree among themselves for good reasons…”
    It seems that this tolerance for the opposing view points is lacking in most places on this planet. Even in Europe, questioning Shoah will land you in trouble, or worse; for example.
    And certainly, in Japan, we all recall the murder of Mayor of Nagasaki.
    By this definition, then, a democratic politics is decades or centuries into the future for most of mankind and by sheer number, they are likely to alter the practices of a few places on this world in which Freedom of Though and Speech is still practiced.
    I agree with much of what you have written about Imperial Japan – an Oriental Culture par Excellence to which was added a Prussian veneer, followed by the grafting of some ideas & practices from US.
    I would add to your fine presentation another observation; Japan was always poor – and they went out plundering Korean whenever they could. In that, I think, they shared much with England – in terms of motivation as well as some of the practices.
    On the other hand, the United States is not a poor country, like Japan or Korea or England – she is blessed with water and good dirt for example. I think the motivation – the Imperial Impulse – for US was not poverty, rather the emulation of Rome – which herself was trying to emulate the Great King.
    US, in my opinion, has not gained anything from her imperial possessions in East Asia – South Korea, Japan, the Philippines. This is quite clear to me.
    Every once in a while, one of these US Think-Tankers – like a Communist Party Political Officer – has to gather tried and tired and trite arguments about strategy and marshal them to a gullible public to justify US holding onto those outposts.

  101. LondonBob says:

    Clinton campaigning in MI and WI, cancelling events in NC and FL.

  102. Joe100 says:

    BabelFish –
    Saker had what appears to be a thoughtful analysis of the rationale for dispatching this task force (mostly more anti-air support focused on cruise missiles with some potential for additional ground strike support) and making it clear that the Kusnetsov is not a “carrier” as we think of them. He suggests that this task force is reasonably well suited for the most plausible threats Russia faces in Syria.
    I would be curious what you or others who know far more than I about such naval matters think of Saker’s analysis:

  103. Joe100 says:

    Add me to this list. I have never voted republican for president in the ~50 years I have been voting, but voted for Trump today and voted R down ticket just to make a statement.
    The national policy area I work in is far from as important as foreign policy and wars, but the D deep state is just as delusional as the neocons are in foreign policy/wars.

  104. kao_hsien_chih says:

    In a sense, LBJ’s policy towards Vietnam was also a show: he did not want to escalate too much but did not want to look weak, so we were stuck being indecisive for years. I don’t think being stuck in the middle, as engaging in a warlike endeavor for “show” seems to involve, is necessarily a good idea except for prolonging misery and draining lives and treasure. I’m not a military person so it’s only my opinion, I’ll admit.

  105. The Porkchop Express says:

    The author, John Schindler (apparently ex-NSA, Ex-NAVSECGRU) actually viscerally loathes Trump. He writes against him almost constantly.
    But even he can admit the military reality. Syria is more or less over, done. Barring something exceptionally surprising. Unless the US thinks it can dislodge the Russian military from Syria. A harrowing thought. (Can read more on his site or on Twitter @20Committee).

  106. kao_hsien_chih says:

    David and Babak,
    What I worry is that, in a culture where everyone “already knows” what the “right answer” should be, everyone becomes stupid. As Imperial Japan took on an ever more “moralizing” tone, so to speak, its policy not only became both self-serving and self-deceiving, its leaders began to engage in increasingly foolish policy while believing themselves to be fully rational and grounded. With all the sane men dead or marginalized, there was no one to tell them otherwise, if they valued their lives–not that they would have been paid attention if they did speak up.
    When I was learning serious statistics for the first time, my professor was insistent that we learn statistics because we don’t know the whole truth, and that the whole point of statistics and its techniques is to identify what it is that we don’t know and how much we don’t know about the universe, not necessarily what the right answers are. After more than a decade in academic universe, I have never met anyone, especially not in social sciences or in positions applying social sciences to policy, who shared this view. Instead, the prevailing attitude is, we know the answer because we have data and statistical analysis that say so. My old prof would be amused and appalled at such attitude towards data and statistics. But then, too many of “us” don’t go ask for data and analysis because we honestly don’t know what we want, but we need justifications for things we want to do anyways, I suppose, and knowing what and how much we don’t know isn’t going to justify doing whatever.

  107. fjdixon says:

    Indeed, it seems the borg has been successful in spreading what Yonatan Mendel called the ‘conception, which tries to explain how a state of mind can penetrate all levels of society and bring about a general stagnation in thinking’ (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n04/yonatan-mendel/diary).
    That article from 2007 on the Herzliya Conference exposes the same ‘experts’ conducting a ‘symposium’ that does not allow for dissenting voices, or take into account inconvenient facts. A more up to date example of such ‘group think’ is reviewed in http://lobelog.com/think-tanks-beg-give-us-war/.
    In pondering what can be done to derail this madness, it occurred to me that one needs to act on the weakest point.
    I believe that weak point is the support of the Saudi’s war on Yemen in that:
    • On Sept 21, S.J. Res 29, the US Senate attempted to stop weapon sales to SA (27 Senators supported). http://preview.tinyurl.com/hm34rsm
    • On Aug. 30, 60 bipartisan members of the house signed a letter requesting ‘delay and review ‘of weapon sales to SA. http://preview.tinyurl.com/zdw3pma
    • On Oct 27, UK Labor and SNP call for suspension of SA weapon sales pending results of UN led investigation of SA war crimes (unfortunately Labor back benchers bailed on leadership)
    • Apart from the ‘think tankers’ specifically subsidized by SA (and the armament suppliers), SA does not have the sympathy of the vast majority of citizens of US / UK.
    By pressuring and publicizing this point we expose the mendacity, stupidity and greed of supporters of weapon sales and support for SA actions in Yemen (who are the same group that trivializes the effect of conflict with Russia). Johnson: ‘If we do not sell weapons to SA others will gladly do so’; McCain: ‘It’s about giving a nation that’s under attack by Iranian-sponsored militia the arms it needs to defend its people and its territory.’

  108. BabelFish says:

    Babak, what I think is that it is likely that the Kuznetsov will end up having to be towed to some port with a major engineering casualty. That will not only negate it being there, it will further complicate their deployment. I’ve talked to friends who were ‘Snipes’ in the Navy and they all thought the engines on the ship were probably in very bad shape based all the smoke it was billowing. I admit that the Russians build tough ships that are resilient but this, IMO, is a really bad sign.
    In addition, without a catapult system, the aircraft it launches are compromised regarding the load of fuel and weapons they can carry and their operating range. Why bring them into that theatre?
    The Russians have the right to navigate the waters off Syria with their warships. If some mistake happens, we can all fervently hope the deconfliction process works fast enough to not get everyone shooting at each other.

  109. turcopolier says:

    I dunno. I have seen lots of Soviet made tanks that billowed black smoke continuously and ran fine. Why would the battle group not go into Algeria or have tankers from the Black Sea meet them? pl

  110. Doofus says:

    @ Col Lang:
    I am curious about your assessment that Hillary is emotionally ill. This is different from the claims that she has a neurological problem. Since you live within walking distance of the Potomac where you can ask the fish what they’re hearing (jocularity warning) this is an intriguing assessment.
    I am also curious about Putin from the point of view of how he is assessed in the IC. When you see pix of him when he first came to power he doesn’t look like much–although he was well-spoken even then. In the space of 15 years he’s blossomed into either a stateman or the new Hitler, depending on who’s doing the talking. Issues that seem relevant are:
    His Orthodox faith and his Orthodox spiritual advisors. Does he practice his religion in more than a nominal way?
    His practice of the martial arts. Is he in fact a judo master? If so how has it affected his self-image and the way he handles himself? How does it affect the way he handles issues of war and peace?
    He once remarked somewhere that his KGB trainer rebuked him that he had a diminished sense of fear. The reported episode where he stood down a crowd in front of the KGB station when the Berlin wall was coming down, if true, would bear this out. How does this affect his crisis management style?

  111. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Russia in 1914 was infinitely less of a military threat to Germany than a couple of decades before, too, though. That was why Germany decided to jump into the war so eagerly–Russian weakness plus casus belli in the Balkans gave them an excellent chance to deal with those pesky Entente powers when they were weak. Russia, on the other hand, precisely because they were weak, but not so weak as to abandon all pretense of a great power altogether, felt that they had to fight back to preserve their credibility. The rest is a big war that no one expected and no one wanted.
    Weak, but not too weak adversaries, embolden warmongers and make war more rather than less likely, I think.

  112. LeaNder says:

    I am aware of that, Fred, ditto that Americans did not vote for her but for Obama 2008. I think it was on top of the reasons on their list. I may be misguided. My own dislike for Hilary started during her campaign or matters emanating from her larger campaign. But I would lie, if I would pretend that I am a fan of Trump. I am definitively not.

  113. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Opinions vary as to what happened with regards Japan, even among the Japanese at the time, as historical evidence attests.
    On the one hand, some factions in Japan had given up as early as February of 1945 and were trying to arrange some kind of peace agreement behind everyone’s backs, through Switzerland and Russia. They didn’t get anything, obviously, and it’s not clear how they planned to break the news of their secret attempts at negotiations (not even secret negotiations) if they got anything is beyond me.
    On the other hand, some factions in Japan hadn’t given up literally until the night of August 14, 1945, days after the second A-bomb had been dropped. There was a coup attempt that night by the Tokyo garrison, including the Japanese Imperial Guard, so that Japan would keep fighting until all Japanese were dead. It didn’t succeed, but the actual Japanese surrender was itself a close thing because there were so many Japanese fanatics still left.

  114. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Likely, your professor was a Bayesian at heart – treating statistics as a crutch in delimiting areas of ignorance and quantifying it.
    They know the Truth because, as I have repeatedly stated, the NATO states’ policy makers as well as populations rely on US output.
    There used to be an Iran analyst in the EU Foreign Policy Arm and then there was none.
    These are deliberate funding decisions.
    And in UK, evidently no one in government listens to ambassadors or ambassadorial staff – it as though they have no knowledge and no insight regarding the countries that they serve.

  115. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If indeed someone had threatened the Russian Federation, that someone or that some country have made a very very foolish mistake that would haunt them for decades – in my opinion.

  116. Fred says:

    “murder of Mayor of Nagasaki” He wasn’t the first one an assassination attempt was made on.

  117. turcopolier says:

    I do not claim to diagnose her. That would be vanity and I insist that I found her charming, too charming. I think she is terribly wounded and like all really vain males … ah, if only she had me first met met before the damage was so great. pl

  118. Mark Logan says:

    I personally believe Putin is following the path Solzhenitsyn layed out for a post-communist Russia: Rally the people around the Russian Orthodox church. I think it likely his personal religious beliefs are roughly in line with that but he isn’t an ardent or dogmatic believer.
    I see it as indeed a clear choice on our relations with Russia, even though Trump’s comments mean little. He seems to have a solid opinion on the matter and it makes sense. However he has also promised to tear up the Iran agreement. I fear the neocons would find President Trump surprisingly easy to manipulate, despite their fear of him now. They won’t have the Jesus card to they could play on with George II, but Bibi would find it easy to convince Trump that Iran had personally insulted him in some way. He is a narcissist, a liar, and a thief. I can’t vote for him.

  119. Giulio says:

    Thank you Col. for your work,and thank you for the commentary of your well-informed readers.
    Early in the campaign I reread the American Centennial History of the Civil War as I had remembered that it began with the campaign of 1860. Similarities to the ongoing race abound,but what really got me was the theme,throughout the 3 volumes,that the War decided itself where it was to go and what it was to become,which was something no one,not even the war-mongers,had ever dreamed of. War is not something that can be “controlled” by Generals or Presidents.
    The posturing by HRC and her backers is dangerous,irresponsible and ignorant. I can see her now trying to out-do that dreadful former SOS Albright with her “cajones” speech.
    (ps….I will get nearly the same dose as you…I’m not far from you.)

  120. BabelFish says:

    they have 10 active Akula class and 5 active Oscars, according to Wiki.They are good, even fearsome, boats but they are not numerous. Of those numbers, they would certainly not all be available.
    The Kilos are more littoral boats. I believe their top speed is below that of Nimitz class carrier and, IMO, they are not truly blue water weapons.
    Fred might have something to add but carrier battle groups used to be accompanied by at least one fast attack boat. Not sure what the practice is now but I believe it would not be easy for the Russians to sink an American carrier at this point in time.

  121. charly says:

    A big conventional explosion works better. You don’t have to break treaties and the effect is the same

  122. rakesh wahi says:

    at this stage a trump win would also mean a very large republican congress ? any ideas how that would play out?

  123. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Yeah, I thought that was very funny. He was, after all, a professor of mathematical statistics but technically not a Bayesian, methodologically speaking at any rate, but he did have a very Bayesian mindset towards statistics.

  124. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Well, the mayor(s) that Babak was referring to were shot in 1990s/2000s. Two mayors in a row, for saying something that was taboo in Japan, that the now-dead/dying emperor bore some responsibility for World War II decades ago, and not necessarily something that’s too controversial outside Japan, in a country that supposedly left its warlike past behind.

  125. charly says:

    What do you consider nominal? But the rumors are that he went to church during the time of the USSR. It wasn’t at that moment of time good for business so i doubt i would call him nominal.

  126. BabelFish says:

    Good question on Algeria but why did they ask Spain? The tankers, I believe, would have to go through the Bosporus and back, a long trip to refuel themselves. I will try to check on just how much ‘at sea’ refueling capability they now have ,but they obviously knew they had that need once their ships arrived and sent them along.
    Acknowledge that they make some rough and ready equipment that is still effective but my Snipe friends tell me that it is a really bad sign in a propulsion system as complex as the one on the Kuznetsov. I have to defer to them.

  127. threadbare says:

    I found this site civil and amusing.

  128. Dabbler says:

    Outstanding question, one I’ve thought about for a while. To rephrase, “How are they targeted now? Where are they positioned?”

  129. Ghostship says:

    Perhaps it’s what the Russians want people to think after all they’re quite keen on deception as part of their operational planning.
    Or maybe they wanted to be clearly visible to the Royal Navy and Air Force while passing through the English Channel since the RN and RAF have a bit of a history when it comes to missing warships of opposing navies passing through the English Channel.

  130. Ghostship says:

    I think the Russians would stay away from Europe after all the Europeans, including most east Europeans are probably their best insurance against a land war on their western borders. I exclude Ukraine from that because some Ukrainians are stupid enough to think that war with Russia might end in a glorious victory, but then Ukraine isn’t part of NATO and unlikely to become so anytime soon.
    Far more likely that one or more of the GCC will receive a “visit”.

  131. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thanks, I am doing my best.

  132. Doofus says:

    @ML & Charly
    I was not trying to state that in my opinion Putin is a nominal Orthodox. What I am hoping to do is touch on some basic issues in his character.
    In other words, is he devout? Is he a nominal believer? Given your answer to that issue, what can we predict about his behavior in a crisis?
    Similarly for judo (and the other martial arts he is said to have practiced before he settled on judo). Leaders’ male accomplishments are often hyped so I’m not sure just how advanced he is in judo. Given your answer to that question, what can be predict about his behavior in a crisis?
    Similarly for his diminished sense of personal fear. Is it true? If it is, what does it say about his behavior in a crisis?
    I suppose there is another issue, which is how much control does he have over Russian response in a crisis? That is, what’s the power balance between him and the circle around him?

  133. Fred says:

    I think we over-rate the survivability of our carriers to submarine attack. However I don’t think the Russians would try and wage a war of attrition against our capital ships. Should we start a war with Russia, which is what intervening in Syria on Al-Nursa’s behalf (which is the only opponent left with real strength) then Putin is going to respond where it hurts and quick, though he would probably not be too bloody about it. Our escalatory response after we are shown to be completely vulnerable is going to initiate the end of everything. Thing the Dolittle raid with cruise missiles and cyber attacks for starts. We have no real defense other than sinking – in port, in advance – everything the Russians have. What countries on Earth are going to trust us after that?

  134. kooshy says:

    That’s great if you think you can just keep the war limited at sea and we sink all their navy assets, now I can sleep better, knowing that they all call it a day and go home. This is more like a gentleman sport game rather then a hot war.

  135. Phil Cattar says:

    There is an old Russian saying “Act like a lamb and you will soon meet a wolf”.If you have not already read it, you might enjoy an article written on the blog Cluborlov in Jan/2015.It is titled “Peculiarities of Russian national character.”

  136. Peter Reichard says:

    Exactly my point. As Russia presents no threat to US preeminence the warmonger Hillary feels emboldened to poke the Russian bear in the eye making war between our countries more likely on her watch than during the cold war. It does indeed have the frightening feeling of July, 1914.

  137. Pundita says:

    Short film clip posted at YouTube of Vera Lynn, during the war, singing a few stanzas of “We’ll Meet Again.” She was singing to about 1,000 RAF troops — as they sang along with her. Deeply moving.

  138. J says:

    Colonel, TTG,
    What concerns me is Russia’s Система Периметр, their Dead Hand. NATO could do something really stupid and set Dead Hand in motion, and as the saying goes, we’re all up shit-creek. There are so many sensors in the Система Периметр that makes your eyes water. NATO shits wrong, and Dead Hand takes over.

  139. “International law is a fiction; Kissinger endorsed that view (so does Donald Kagan). Doran agrees: nations operate on interests, not rule of law.”
    This quote shows, I believe, how politicians and diplomats who see themselves as realists think and operate. No law, merely the no-limits pursuit of national interest.
    It doesn’t work. If it worked on a domestic scale we’d all go shopping with shotguns instead of cash. We don’t, not only because conscience forbids it or because the police might stop us, but because anyone not a sociopath can clearly see that in short order there’d be no shops left to loot.
    Nor can it work in foreign policy. Realpolitik pursued to the limit is similarly self-defeating. Destabilising other countries or rendering them less prosperous does not make us better off. It may, in the short term, be profitable for a parasite class but even there it’s not viable long term. The parasite that has destroyed the host is just as badly off as the dead host. And eventually it runs out of other hosts to move to and itself dies.
    I suppose we’re nowhere near that stage yet. There are still continents full of countries that lack either the wit or the means to resist. But it looks to me – with all due deference to the military experts on this site – as if the game’s getting more difficult. We’re running up against stiffer opposition.
    Possibly the limiting factor will be how far the parasite class can go in looting their own countries. Will the domestic host resist? America is, as usual, well ahead of the other western countries in this and perhaps we’ll see in the forthcoming election whether the domestic host has got it together enough to start fending off its parasites.
    But if that limiting factor doesn’t come into play then the other will. Either we come up against countries that are too strong to loot, or we destroy what we attack and they’re not worth looting.
    Realpolitik, then, must always be self-defeating when taken to the limit. Not a moral argument, merely one based on true self-interest. But that the argument from self-interest accords with morality is scarcely a drawback.

  140. turcopolier says:

    English Outsider
    That is a nicely crafted exposition of the R2P position. Unfortunately, this statement of principle does not reflect the common experience of mankind. You cite the example of our ability to go grocery shopping without shotguns as evidence of the ability of mankind to live in a state of nature reminiscent of Rousseau’s visions. In fact, we can go to grocery stores, or anywhere else, because the police have shotguns even in the UK. ENFORCEABLE law is the basis of civilized life, not good will. pl

  141. Jack says:

    Mike Shedlock has a nice review of some of Podesta’s exposed emails. What is rather interesting is the email from a Citi executive to Podesta with a list of candidates to staff Obama’s cabinet and other key positions. Citi received the largest taxpayer bailout as their speculative financial losses were socialized. Two observations from those emails – one, reinforcing KHC’s view that the multi-cultural promoters really think of Americans as hyphenated people to be put in boxes and checked off; two, the Citi executive’s cabinet appointment suggestions to Podesta were who turned out to be Obama’s cabinet.
    I didn’t know much about Podesta, but what I find fascinating is that he was,Slick Willies Chief of Staff, he headed Obama’s transition team and effectively picked the cabinet and now he’s running the Borg Queen’s campaign. Is he the real POTUS?

  142. LeaNder says:

    great comment. Love you. Not always, but mostly. 😉

  143. Marcus says:

    I’ll put my faith in the darker drives of humans– fear and greed specifically. The Iraq misadventure probably lost Hill her first attempt at POTUS. She cynically voted for it and BO voiced opposition to the war. Americans generally don’t like war and became tired and bored with the aforementioned error. What would be the benefits of an extensive war with Russia outside of the benefits to the war machine producers? We are no longer a primarily manufacturing economy.
    Americans would soon tire of the losses and futility of this war also. And this risk of nuclear exchange would scare the saner crowd, which I think is still in the majority. Hillary is smart and basically a political animal. An extensive war with Russia would shortly become unpopular, and therefore bad for her “business.”

  144. Charles Michael says:

    Thanks, you are rigth,of course,
    Walrus nonsense just turned me agressive, I am not as Putin and admire his self control.
    OTOH iI maintain my remarks on relying on the fighting spirit nowadays of Europeans.

  145. kao_hsien_chih says:

    It is still fairly common that people take shotguns to grocery shopping, figuratively or even literally, in many parts of the world. More often, though, people are tribal, and deal only with those whom they deem as “their own people,” defined by a variety of gauges–race, religion, ideology, whatever–that they consider “trustworthy.” The idea that you can go grocery shopping with anyone, as long as you have just cash is a fairly new concept that is true only in some parts of the world, made possible, as the Colonel pointed out below, because there are policemen and other arms of the state who are willing to use force if necessary to enforce the laws.
    Often, of course, whether the laws will be enforced meaningfully and fairly is in question: even when there are trappings of fair law enforcement, the often-justified expectation in many parts of the world is that the law will not be enforced fairly, and those on the receiving end will not abide by the law and instead make their own arrangements, independent of the law and perhaps involving only their tribal kin and violence meted out behind the scenes through “informal” “enforcers,” which in turn furthers tribalism and insularism. In a sense, the attempts at crafting and enforcing “international law” without trying very hard to win trust from many different tribes has only furthered the distrust that sinister forces were behind these endeavors. (Was it ever really possible, though? I wonder about it all the time. But insisting that the opponents are Neanderthals who will be inexorably swept away by “progress,” as many whiggish internationalists have certainly has not helped matters.) I think the kind of rule of law that the Westerners take for granted that allows grocery shopping without shotguns is both very unusual, unnatural, and quite frankly, very fragile thing–even in a many parts of the Western world that are not readily apparent to the “mainstream.”
    When only individual people are involved, arranging for a rule of law will be difficult enough, but when the parties involved are entire states and tribes, I don’t know if it is at all achievable, at least on a universal basis. Maybe some states with common cultural-legal ties, or with too much at stake in regularized transactions in the long term, or whatever exceptional circumstances there might be. Pure “realism” might be a bit too cynical, but whatever “legal” arrangement that exists has to be rest on both someone willing to use shotgun and an assurance that the shotgun will not be used mostly on tribal basis.

  146. Stephanie says:

    “Benign” is one word for it. Trump initially denied that the Russians were in Ukraine. Putin would swallow him whole, python-fashion.

  147. Chris Chuba says:

    One side believes in confrontation, the other side can’t back down
    These are dangerous times because Hillary and the foreign policy establishment believe that the Russians must be confronted and that they will always back down. The Russians believe (correctly) that they cannot afford to back down. Michael Weiss’ quote could have been stated by thousands of other Borg drones. I have read it many times.
    WW2 vs WW1
    Michael Weiss is a Dartmouth College history major who only seems to know about WW2. Why doesn’t anyone study WW1 where a really big war broke out because no one backed down? Another parallel to WW1 is the ever expanding alliances entangling the great powers of the day with small countries. Instead of always naming members of the ‘Axis of Evil’ try thinking about the Central Powers.

  148. Colonel,
    If my contribution gave the impression that I support R2P then that contribution was poorly stated. I believe R2P to be an abominable doctrine, the more so in that it is so often used as cover for abominable acts.
    I do agree that we need more than conscience to keep us on the straight and narrow. I do not hold with the Libertarian, or the Rousseauist, when they assert that moral or communal values are sufficient. They plainly are not so we need the Law, and the means of enforcing Law, if we are to have a functioning society.
    That mix of moral values and enforced Law works up to the national level. In my comment I ask how we should operate at the level above that, the level of Foreign Policy, given that the currently fashionable Realpolitik dispenses, in practice, with both conscience and Law.
    I wished to argue that even in the absence of those two constraints, self interest should hold us back from a destructive or predatory foreign policy.
    Might I add that to that mix of conscience and Law that suffices at the national level should be added an extra ingredient, defence, an ingredient that the more doctrinaire Libertarians invariably downplay. If we don’t have that we don’t, ultimately, have a country and if we don’t have a country we can forget about a functioning society anyway.
    It is the use of our defence forces for purposes other than defence that gives our Realpolitik its destructive force. As far as the rest of the world is concerned we in the West, or rather those I termed our predator class, could be as amoral and lawless as we pleased if we kept it in-house. But we don’t, so given our immense and sophisticated defence capabilities the result is destruction on a scale never before seen in what we are pleased to call a time of peace.

  149. rjj says:

    “I’ll put my faith in the darker drives of humans-”
    the triumph of faith (and wishful thinking) over history plus the established, ongoing track record of hubris, waste, folly, and fuckups …

  150. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I think people don’t study WW1 because it’s too complex so it lacks a “moral clarity.” AJP Taylor, my favorite historian of 19-20th centuries, famously said: WW2 is simple: everything is because the other guys (the Nazis) were evil, while WW1 is complicated, and nothing could be easily blamed (balance of power? the kaiser? the capitalists? imperialism? everything had some share of the blame, but no single obvious thing.) But this also means that World War II is good for pointless moralizing which is often misleading (WW2 in Eastern Europe was complicated–see Ukraine, the Balkans, the Baltic states) that Westerners didn’t have to deal with. But once the same logic as the West during WW2 gets applied to the East, we start running into bizarre contradictions–so many people who were aligned with Hitler are now freedom fighters? At the very minimum, if these people actually listened to what they were saying, they should start realizing that things are a bit too complicated to be reduced to sloganeering.

  151. Just saying,though on an expired thread, that I read your reply after I had added a further comment below.
    It is the distinction between how we operate at the national level – however imperfectly or incompletely – and how we operate at the foreign policy level that I failed to state clearly in my original comment. Hope I got it right the second time round.
    If I didn’t get it right then your concluding remark, that we need an assurance that the shotgun won’t be used mostly on a tribal basis, does.
    Behind all that, and my reason for venturing a comment at all, lies a hope that I think I share with a lot of people. It is a hope, perhaps now a belief, that Trump, if elected, won’t go around blasting the shotgun at everything within range. If that hope isn’t realised, or if Mrs Clinton lives up to her neo-con credentials, there are going to be mass graves in more places than the Ukraine or Syria.

Comments are closed.