“… Not the men we thought we were …”


Newt Gingrich once explained to me whilst sitting in my map room in the Pentagon how it was  that Japan decided to go to war against the United States in World War II.

He recounted that the decision had much to do with US embargoes of sales to Japan of strategic commodities such as; scrap steel, rubber and oil.  Japan in the late 30s was resource poor and skills rich.   The government was then in the hands of a clique of militaristic nationalists intent on winning lebensraum for their island empire.  To accomplish that, the Tojo government needed the instruments of war as well as a lack of effective US and British resistance to their ambitions.

The embargoes of the materials needed for Japanese industry were seen by the government as a major obstacle to territorial expansion and a profound indication of the permanent hostility of the United States, a country that was the only other serious Pacific Ocean naval power as well as the possessor of a major land base in the Philippine Islands, then an American territory.  With these beliefs as background, the Imperial War Council met in 1941 to consider options.  The Navy tended to believe that it could not win a protracted struggle with the US, but the Army insisted that whatever the risk Japan must fight the US to find its place "in the sun."  After long discussion the council recommended war to the Emperor in the belief that unless they were willing to fight the US and Britain they "would not be the men they had thought they were." 

IMO we are creating an analogous situation in US-Iranian relations.  The neocon imperialists present in both parties are riding high in the foreign policy apparatus of the United States.  As part of their program of gaining a thinly disguised global hegemony they are steadily squeezing Iran into a smaller and smaller "box."  The abandonment of JCPOA and the demand for a new agreement that would require Iran to abandon any effort to be a regional power is at the core of that effort.  The insistence that Hizbullah, Hamas and the IRGC are terrorist groups that may not be maintained or supported is a direct challenge to Iranian sovereignty.  As I have previously written, the terrorist designation of these groups makes them legal targets for military action under the US AUMF.  Add to these things, the effort to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero and you may well have a situation in which the Iranians decide that they must hit back or accept that they are not the men they thought they were.  pl

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67 Responses to “… Not the men we thought we were …”

  1. EEngineer says:

    I see the parallels, but not that one. I think the neocons hope to force the Iranians into making that “all-in” call though. Perhaps as the neocons see it, such a strike would magically rally the American populous to the war they so desire. Imperial conquest performed as a defensive reflex. So they needle nearly everyone in the hopes of triggering a replay of the WW2 saga which has taken on a mythical good vs evil aura in the US. Ironically, I would say it is the neocons who think they need to start a war with the Iranians so that they can be the men they think they are. The only thing still holding them back is the passive-aggressive need to make it look like someone, anyone, else started it so they can play the victim card once the body bags start coming home.

  2. Ed Lindgren says:

    USN CDR A. H. McCollum was the man who conceived the so-called “Eight Action Plan” which he outlined in his Oct 7, 1940 memo. This was his proposal for the U.S. and Britain to initiate actions which would essentially force Japan into making a decision to wage war against the United States.
    The key elements of the plan, as outlined in McCollum’s memo, include the following:
    A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore
    B. Make an arrangement with the Netherlands for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies
    C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek
    D. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore
    E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient
    F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific[,] in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands
    G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil
    H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire
    Not too terribly different from the squeeze currently being placed on Iran by the team of Pompeo/Boton.
    The text of the McCollum memo can be found here:

  3. turcopolier says:

    Was this plan approved by Roosevelt? the embargoes had been in effect for some time by then.

  4. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang
    It would seem that the best strategic option for Iran is to lay low and absorb the economic squeeze. The Chinese are unlikely to support the oil sanctions, so they’ll be able to continue to sell them until the US navy starts to interdict their tankers. But oil is fungible…..
    It would also seem that their best military strategy is a defensive one. Obtaining the best air defense systems and significant medium-range missiles with high payload capacity and accuracy. At the very least they’ll be able to give a black-eye while going down.
    Of course the question is how the Ayatollah controls his fire breathing, martyrdom loving hawks who bristle at their treatment by the US, Israel & the Saudis. My sense is Bibi will get more itchy than the Ayatollah to take advantage of his perception of complete control of Trump.

  5. turcopolier says:

    BP Merely logical

  6. EEngineer says:

    I’ve wondered if the Chinese will use their own tankers to pick up Iranian oil or re-flag Iranian ones with Chinese colors as the US did for Kuwait during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s.
    I can see the neocons wanting open conflict with Iran, but I don’t know if they would risk war with China.

  7. eaken says:

    Iran should publicly invite Trump to Tehran without his posse.

  8. ted richard says:

    if the true goal of the neocons is war, provoked upon iran then any naval battle group which includes a usa carrier sent into the persian gulf is the match the neocons are looking for once they decide to ”remember the maine” to it sending it to the bottom, then use that false flag as their pretext.
    if its obvious to me wouldn’t you suppose its obvious to the pentagon?

  9. O'Shawnessey says:

    An apt comparison, no doubt, to “The Day of Deceit.”
    Then there is the high probability that, even if Iran shows restraint and plays the long game, a provocation in the manner of “Assad gasses his own people” will be arranged for them.
    Even so, time is not on the side of the US Entity. How much longer can the Fed’s fraudulent T-bill scheme keep running? My sense is that they wouldn’t be weaponizing the dollar if they had other actual weapons to hand.

  10. Jack says:

    What real choices do the Iranians have? It would be foolish on their part to launch any kind of military action.

  11. catherine says:

    No sooner ‘warned’ then done. Who did it?
    Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and described it as an attempt to undermine the security of crude supplies amid tensions between the United States and Iran.
    The reports come as the US warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as the US is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf to counter what it called “threats from Tehran”.

  12. ancientarcher says:

    Exceptionally good argument. I would also posit that the element of religious belief makes the argument even more potent.
    I can’t help but think back to more recent instances where the neocons were basically daring the other party to do something – anything. Ukraine in 2014 and Syria later on, come to mind. They had been waiting for the Russians to send in their troops to Ukraine after which they could have totally choked the economy. They also waited for mistakes from Assad, which he wisely avoided.
    Similarly, Iran will be wise to avoid reacting in any way to these provocations. Since these provocations are meant to provoke a reaction, if the Iranians bite their lips and hold their hands, they would do more to hurt the neocons than by reacting blindly as the situation and their nature perhaps goads them towards.

  13. D says:

    I humbly suggest you watch this series. Unfortunately, I don’t know Persian so I can’t help with translation. I watched these series with my sister in law who is a Persian Jew with an excellent command of Farsi; the videos are pretty informative.
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LersWbaymTM
    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUHY17zF-9g
    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abODp1BeuAg
    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePDXnAe_zm4
    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNboW6WcC3U

  14. Pat,
    I share your concern, but for the neocons I fear that they see that backing Iran into a position where it has nothing to lose with a war is a feature, not a bug.

  15. walrus says:

    Time is not on America’s side
    In my opinion, the critical element is the forthcoming deployment of advanced Russian and Chinese systems such as the Sarmat heavy ICBM, scheduled I think for 2021, new submarines, etc., etc. and I am not even talking about joint Russo/sino developments.
    As Col. Lang/Gingrich explained, we are talking economics here. But unlike Japan, the Russian, Iranian, Syrian, Chinese and associated economies under the stimulus of OBOR are only going to get stronger if left to themselves. The American economy, in my opinion, is no longer capable of replacing ageing infrastructure, matching Russo Chinese military technical capabilities, fielding a million man Army and supporting allies like Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, Poland, etc. without beggaring its population.
    To put that another way, the American economic marvel of military production came off a low base with millions of underemployed work hungry people available as a result of the depression. I don’t think those conditions obtain today.
    Hence the Washington logic of picking off the weakest of the Axis – Iran, right now.

  16. Tidewater says:

    Nice map, I assume it can’t be considered a chart. Maps make me think. Anyway, when I heard about the four tankers at Fujairah damaged by “sabotage” I took a look up at Qeshm island in front of Bandar Abbas (it looks to me like a shark) and wondered how far it was down to Fujairah. I get about 140 nautical miles.
    I know that there are hardened sub-pens on the land side of Queshm Island probably out to the western end. Recently I have read comments speculating what the Iranian class of mini- or midget subs would be useful for. One learns that one use would be to deliver a sea-mine; another to launch the one torpedo it can carry; and another would be as a transport for naval commandos, or swimmers trained in demolition and mine warfare.
    Then I remembered something. I took a look at the last place down on the right side of the map on the Iranian mangrove shore, Trask, once an old fishing port. Trask is also where the pipeline down from the CIS countries will end, and a large refinery, manufacturing, and shipping complex is planned. Since 2008, Trask has been developed for a number of military uses. First as a naval base which berths fast motor patrol boats of the kind that can launch missiles like the Qader, a sea-skimmer carrying a warhead of 200 kilos which can reach out to 186 miles; also as a drone base, complete with a rail launcher which could indicate proficiency in big stay-aloft reconnaisance drones, soon enough to be weaponized, if not already. Significantly, it is also a base for littoral-class submarines, which would include mini-subs design based on the North Korean Yono class, submarines that would be similar to the one that is thought to have sunk the ROKS Cheonan in 2011 with a torpedo. Travelling at nine or ten knots, the Iranian model of the Yono, the Ghadir, could make the crossing to Fujairah in about twelve hours. That’s a distance of 127 miles or so.
    It looks to me as if the stern location of the tanker the news videos show would not have been hit unless the ship backed into a mine. And it doesn’t look like the kind of damage a naval mine would do. A naval mine would have made an enormous ten or twenty foot cavernous dent in that stern, at the least. What it looks like to me was that a swimmer or swimmers placed a sticky explosive or satchel charge. (?) I think it is meant as a warning. ‘We can get you any time…”
    There’s another message. Fujairah and also the ports of Salalah, Sohar, and Duqm, in Oman, have been billing themselves as “the Gateway to the Arabian Gulf.” (For that historical and scholarly insult alone they should pay.) Fujairah is the only one of the UAE that is on the eastern side of the Musandam Peninsula. It has been advertised as the emirate that would not be involved in a Gulf war. Out of range. Think again me buckaroos.
    The United States has just signed an agreement in late March with Oman which allows US naval and air forces to use the new state- of-the art port facilities and airport at Duqm, down in the middle of the Oman coast, and also Salalah. Sultan Qaboos, a very impressive leader, one of the best, who happens to be gay (but the father of his country), balances carefully between the various powers he must deal with. Iran is already there in Oman and has the right to establish companies and to store materiel there, and to ship cargoes. Just as Iran does in Qatar, where two hundred trucks come across from Bushire every day and have since June 2017 since Trump the Brain gave the OK to Mohammed Bin Salman to lay siege to Qatar. Consider this: “Sohar Freezone has options for leasing pre-built warehouses and commercial offices, as well as 100% foreign ownership…and a One-Stop-Shop for all relevant permits and clearances.” (From Overview–SOHAR Port and Freezone.) As to how you get this cargo to points south, that is an interesting question…
    Russia will come in if push comes to shove. Russia will not countenance the idea of an America naval and drone base on the Caspian, which is what will happen if Iran is bombed flat. Russia will second pilots to the Iranians and will send bombers like the Tu-95 Bear or the Backfire capable of carrying the KH-101 which will carry Iranian markings etc. These bombers, with enormous range, could wreck havoc on Diego Garcia, and could destroy a carrier group.
    The Iranians show us now that they were the ones who invented the game of chess. Trump can look at China, and then he can look at Fujairah, and he can see the American economy going down… The Iranian move is worthy of a grand master…

  17. Eliot says:

    “The American economy, in my opinion, is no longer capable of replacing ageing infrastructure, matching Russo Chinese military technical capabilities”
    I was in Russia for the first time last summer. I loved it, but I was surprised by how poor they are. Our debt load aside, they have do have more limited resources.

  18. rho says:

    I think the key difference is that Japan was isolated on its continent when it made the decision to go to war. (only being allied with Nazi Germany and Italy, which were so far away that the alliance made little difference to Japan’s economic situation in 1941)
    Going to war must appear more attractive when you have your back against the wall than when you have regional allies who are still willing to support you politically and economically in a meaningful way.

  19. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to Tidewater,
    Ouch. The place is called Jask.

  20. E Publius says:

    I have to admit Colonel that this post reminded me of an April 29th profile in the New Yorker of John Bolton. Several days ago after reading the lengthy New Yorker piece I realized how slowly but surely, the Trump admin has been consistently heading toward outright madness with the gradual departure of people like Tillerson, J. Kelly, and Mattis from the office. It was mentioned in the piece how Gen. Mattis thwarted multiple outright crazy attempts by McMaster (who is now at FDD shilling for the “Long War” strategy; once a neocon, always a neocon), Bolton and Mira Ricardel aimed at declaring war against Iran. Now that there are a few key vacant positions in the administration such as the UN Ambs, Homeland Sec, a few at the State Dep, and most importantly at the Pentagon, shouldn’t these vacancies act as major restraining factor against war or the Trump admin “is” stupid enough to go full war mode regardless? IMO some things still just do not add up. just wondering…

  21. Ed Lindgren says:

    COL Lang –
    The journalist Robert Stinnett in his now 20 year old book ‘Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor’ made the case that FDR was aware of McCollum’s memorandum. I have not read Stinnett’s book, but historians apparently doubted the veracity of Stinnett’s thesis regarding FDR’s knowledge of the McCollum memo.
    You are correct that initial embargoes of essential defense materials went to effect under the Export Control Act during the summer of 1940. Additional items were added to the list of embargoed materials subsequent to October 1940, following the drafting of the McCollum memo.

  22. Christian J Chuba says:

    Just curious about something. I hear news stories that we are sending the Lincoln inside the Persian Gulf. That seems like it would negate a lot of our advantage if we actually did fight Iran. It would be in range of every anti-ship missile they have as well as most of their navy which is designed specifically for the Gulf and not much of a blue water navy. Why wouldn’t we keep it just outside the Gulf in the open water where our carrier and escorts would seemingly have a bigger advantage?
    I don’t want a fight and I’m not pretending that I understand naval tactics, but this just seems a bit odd to me.

  23. Fred says:

    You mean a million H1B visa holders and 20 million illegal immigrants aren’t our strength? Who knew! Maybe we should outsource more manufacturing to China, that’ll teach the bastards to mess with us!

  24. Eliot says:

    “the chances of war…”
    Those damn fools.
    This makes war more likely.
    – Eliot

  25. VietnamVet says:

    The damage was above the water line and a slash as if perhaps a missile but did not penetrate the oil bunkers. It does not look like a limpet mine. There are no reports of airplanes or ships but is described as sabotage. It is unlikely to be a false flag. Media reporting has been muted. Simply that it is being investigated. But as pointed out here before there is no stockpiling of supplies needed for an invasion of Iran by a million-man army. Inside the Persian Gulf is the last place the Commander of the Carrier Group wants to be if war breaks out. My guess is that the sabotage to four tankers was a signal of what the Revolutionary Guards could do if they really wanted to and as a counter to ultra-mad man U.S. diplomacy and sanctions. Lloyd’s of London must raise their insurance rates. This will raise oil prices at the same time as prices rise due to Mid-West flooding, China’s African Swine Fever outbreak, and the imposing of a 25% tariff on Chinese imports. All sorts of bad things are happening at once. Rather than 2003’s misleading Shock and Awe propaganda, the 2019 Iranian war drums indicate total incompetence.

  26. ancientarcher says:

    Great comment!
    I think transferring a Tu-95 bomber will be a bit too much since the Iranians don’t have much of an air force. But missiles will do the job anyways, so why bother with planes. You don’t need to hit Diego Garcia, Israel is close enough. So is Al Udeid. Plus there will be attacks on all US bases spread across Iraq and I suspect Syria. There is no shortage of targets for sure for the Iranians, it this leads to war.
    By the way, Chess was invented in India not ancient Persia. So was the numeral system which is now called Arabic numerals (the Arabs have been trying to give their names to stuff which is not theirs for a long time now) including the decimal system and negative numbers.

  27. Fred says:

    So no FOR did not approve of that plan, but some guy wrote a book 20 years ago, one you didn’t read. That’s quite helpful in evaluating current war mongering over Iran today.

  28. Eric Newhill says:

    The Imperial Japanese believed that Americans were soft and that US troops would crumble when faced with the mighty spirit of Bushido. They were ultimately banking on that mistaken conclusion. I don’t think the Iranians have any such delusions.
    I don’t see how Iran can do anything more than make some trouble that is minor in the big scheme of things – and which will dig their hole deeper – and then lose.
    I don’t approve of what is being done, but I think the current Iranian regime could be destroyed if the neocons have their way; albeit with US casualties and great material and financial expense. I don’t like how US troops and sailors may be used as bait by the neocons.

  29. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill – IMO you are underestimating how much damage Iran could do to the fleet in a transition to war situation before the US Navy got its ducks in line and crushed them. As for the illusion about US willingness to fight, all our opponents have believed the same thing before the house fell on them.

  30. Eric Newhill says:

    I should add that to my mind the real question is what would follow in the wake of war. Would the Iranians be happy to be free of the Islamic Revolutionary govt? Or would they go on for generations with wounded pride that demands revenge, like the Palestinians? I think the latter. In which case war/regime change solves nothing. I’m willing to bet the neocons, as usual, have their own delusions about flowers, candy, purple thumbs, smiling faces and freedom.

  31. Eric Newhill says:

    Oh, I understand what Iran could do. As you know, it has been war gamed and the US Navy gets hit pretty hard.
    But Iran still loses. Each hit the US Navy takes, strengthens the resolve to crush Iran that much harder.
    Again, I am in no way approving of what I think may happen. I have been told by someone I know well in the DIA that we are doing to war with Iran sooner or later. The first time I was told this was when Obama was still in office. Then I was told that the election of Trump has changed nothing. Make what you will of that.

  32. Sylvia 1 says:

    I would love to know more about what you mean about Russian poverty. I was there last September and will return again. I would not say the same.

  33. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    People in the information parts of the USIC do not know what the US government may do, but they all have opinions.

  34. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    We won the Pacific War as well but if you were entombed alive in the bowels of USS Arizona that did nit mean much to you.

  35. Artemesia says:

    Iran should arrange with Italy for a meeting in Rome with Putin, Xi Jinping, and Trump. The Donald could take the role of Churchill in that meeting, who got an inkling that he was the odd-man out.
    Six months later, Mark Clark went to Rome alone rather than execute the British – American pincer plan.
    Historian Andrew Buchanan argues that Clark was ordered to take that action by FDR himself in a meeting with Clark at Bernard Baruch’s plantation in North Carolina https://www.c-span.org/video/?322137-1/discussion-us-engagement-italy-world-war-ii US forces in control of Rome shut out all diplomats, including Churchill’s representatives, from the diplomacy that then took place that determined Italy’s future; USA became, effectively, in charge of Mediterranean and trade routes to Levant and North Africa.
    Israel and its US lobbies, Jewish & Christian, have GOT to be reined in, or the American empire is on its way to the dustbin of history.

  36. Tidewater says:

    Thank you for your comment. You remind me that I have a group of expensive, unread books about that part of the world. I may never read them, the way things are going.
    I want to stress that Russia and Iran have already worked out the diplomatic agreements which allow Russia to have based bombers at Hamadan, from which attacks were made on Isis in Syria. In other words, Russia knows the way. The question is, is Russia going to stand by and do nothing while the United States bombs Iran back to the stone ages, as it did in North Korea during the Korean conflict? I find that hard to believe. I assume that at some point Russia will, as Russia has previously done in other conflicts, or places, such as in Yemen, in the 1970s and early 80’s, assign pilots, and transfer planes ostensibly to the control of the Iranian military.
    Diego Garcia is an atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is a critical anchorage for prepositioning supply ships for any land operations, such as the invasion of Iraq; it is also a support facility, where submarines and other ships can get repairs. It is also an airbase, where B-2 bombers might be assembling as I write, though given everything else that is NOT happening, I assume that is doubtful. Speaking in a general way, the distance from the Persian Gulf, Muscat, or Bahrain, say, to Diego Garcia, is about 2600 or 2700 miles.
    If Russia seconded a squadron of bombers such as the TU-22M3 (NATO reporting name Backfire C) under the aegis of Iran, and based them out of Bandar Abbas, Iran will have gotten a lot of reach out into the Indian Ocean, since the Backfire has a combat radius of about 1300-1500 miles.
    The missile it will be carrying would be the standard Russian cruise missile–it is not hypersonic– but it is a sea-skimmer, with a range of about 1550 miles. This is the KH-101/102 (nuclear). It seems certain to me that the Backfire can get the KH-101 (Raduga) missile out there; as can the Blackjack and the Bear. The mission of four or five bombers delivering each about eight missiles could be to sink some of those prepositioning ships; and to wreck the drone base/the airfield, and certain warehouse facilities. There is another thing such an attack could do. Diego Garcia has more than ample rainfall. As things stand today, it has never had a better fresh water supply system. Pipes and water storage, all has been greatly improved. Fresh water for two to three thousand support personnel and base activities is not a problem. I don’t think Diego Garcia even needs to have a desalination system. There is one thing, though. Diego Garcia is built on a series of coral reefs, the one stacked on the other in geologic history as ocean levels rose 300 feet from 13,000 years ago. The coral beneath the island is permeated with salt water. The fresh water aquifers of the atoll sit on top of the salt water in what are called “lenses”. These lenses hold an enormous amount of water kept stable and tappable by isostatic pressure, I am guessing. If an attack were made by JDAM missiles in areas determined from studies of the island to have these lense aqufiers, and if the missiles went deep into them before exploding, then I think the entire fresh water structure of the island could be ruined. The lenses would be penetrated and ruined. Salt water would permeate, mix and spread through the aquifer. It would become like Basra Governate, which now has an evil polluted salt brine aquifer where once it had fresh water. (And which means that there is already considerable migration from southern Iraq into Kurdish areas around Irbil, to the north.)

  37. Tidewater says:

    That historian Andrew Buchanan does not know that Bernard Baruch’s plantation was off of Winyah Bay on Waccamaw Neck across from Georgetown, SOUTH Carolina, is, in my view, a red flag about his scholarship. The plantation, Hobcaw Barony, was for FDR, in 1944, a month-long retreat which made it, in effect, the southern White House. Buchanan obviously doesn’t know anything at all about southerners in FDR’s administration and the New Deal. I cannot help but wonder if Buchanan has ever looked at the papers of James Francis Byrnes, which are held at the University of South Carolina. My guess is that Byrnes might have made some comment about significant matters which happened at Hobcaw, including the visit of General Clark. Shrewd, devious Byrnes is a fascinating figure. (His handiwork is the Santee-Cooper hydroelectric project which you get a glimpse of on I-95 as you drive over lake Marion there, created by damming the Santee. It provided electricity for the whole depression hit state of South Carolina.) Byrnes knew them all, including Stalin. Also, it ought to be noted that Buchanan himself says that there is not a shred of evidence that at Hobcaw FDR personally ordered Mark Clark to disobey the clear orders of Field Marshall Alexander and break away from what could have been a decisive victory and instead go into Rome. It ought to be noted as well that Buchanan’s argument that by putting into power the more left-wing politician Ivanoe Bonomi instead of the British backed General Pietro Badoglio, it meant that the communist partisans in northern Italy therefore accepted the new government and willingly laid down their arms, whereas under Badoglio and the King they might not have. I don’t think they had a choice; and I wonder if they actually didn’t maintain a clandestine arsenal thereafter. They were by no means ready to quit. A quick look at Wikipedia tells us that it was Churchill’s government that persuaded Bonomi, who came in in June and was ready to quit by November, to stay on. He did so. The communists were a powerful force in Italy all the way up almost into the 1980s–it was the Red Brigade which kidnapped and murdered Aldo Moro, for example. Further, as a reaction , to the communist threat, there is the whole question of “strategic tension” which gave Italy the “years of lead”– years of terror bombings by the right, such as the Bologna train station bombing, the bombing of the passenger plane which fell off of Ustica, and the whole mysterious thing that was Gladio. Michael Scammel in ‘Koestler’, his biography of the writer Arthur Koestler, gives an account of the near hysteria in western Europe in 1948 after the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia. “The coup fulfilled Koestler’s direst predictions and worst fears: there was no room for a third force in Europe anymore–not, at least, in countries where the Communists were strong. In France, rife with rumors of a coup of its own and convulsed by increasingly violent strikes, he found a populace growing more jittery by the day. Malraux talked darkly of a plot to foment civil war and publicly threatened “a reorganization of the Resistance” to oppose communism. Charles “Chip” Bohlen, the new American ambassador, talked wildly about dropping an atom bomb on Baku, and newspapers were full of the threat of a new world conflict.” (Page 311.) Koestler, when he left Europe for the United States, actually believed that Europe was going to go communist. That Europe was a lost cause.
    This is not to say that I am disagreement with what you are saying overall. I find Andrew Buchanan someone new and interesting. Very provocative. Perhaps he overreaches. Don’t know enough, really, to make the call. Thank you for the introduction to him. Hobcaw Barony is now a large natural preserve for environmental, oceanographic and coastal studies. Remarkable story about how the foundation was created, mostly by Baruch’s daughter, who must have worked a lifetime on it. Sixteen thousand acres on a neck of land that has the Atlantic ocean on one side and marshes and Winyah Bay on the other. It’s worth a visit.

  38. John Minehan says:

    I’m not sure how much control Iran has of its proxies (the Houthi rebels, Hezbollah, the Shia Militias in Iraq, etc.). That strikes me as a reason fo both the US/Britain AND Iran to go carefully and slowly.

  39. Eric Newhill says:

    Well, Sir, unfortunately I think you called this one spot on.
    IMO, if there’s going to be war, then the Europeans and Brits should fight it. Their the ones most impacted (though I recognize that everyone in the global markets will feel the pain resulting from a closure of the straight).
    Of course none of them will step up on their own and the US will have to do this. Still holding out hope that some kind of negotiation is possible, but becoming skeptical. The Iranians want to prove they are the men they thought they were. Still, maybe a good deal will satisfy that need.

  40. turcopolier says:

    IMO the Houthis, the Hizbullah and Hamas are not proxies of Iran. They are allies.

  41. When I read the Iranians captured a British Oil tanker it immediately reminded me of this article.

  42. GeneO says:

    pl –
    I was hoping yesterdays Zarif/Rand Paul discussion would lead to a ratcheting down of tensions. But the hardliners on both sides would hate to have that happen and will attempt to wreck any détente.
    Did Zarif offer the idea of allowing more intrusive inspections of its nuclear program before or after his meeting with Paul? In any case some unnamed US officials said it was a non-starter. Probably the unnamed ones were the Mousetache-of-Idiocy and his minions?
    Never should have cancelled JCPOA. Why should we have to do Israel/KSA/UAE’s dirty work?

  43. LA Sox Fan says:

    While some may think military action from Iran is foolish, a slow death from sanctions isn’t going to be something Iran chooses either.

  44. LA Sox Fan says:

    The Bolton/neoconservative plan of starting a war with Iran is working perfectly. In a tit for tat action, Iran has captured one or more U.K. tankers. My hopes for avoiding a completely unnecessary war with Iran, one we have a fair chance of losing, are becoming slimmer and slimmer.

  45. ISL says:

    Good points, I would correct:
    The “American Political class,” rather than the US economy – solutions are available and affordable, but not within the current US political and economic and legal and hence power structures.
    FIRE take up too much of the US economy and the best and brightest and has bought the political class hook, line and Epstein.

  46. Timothy Hagios says:

    One recalls the immortal words of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: “Absolutely no one could have predicted this.”

  47. John Minehan says:

    Much better choice of words than mine. Thus they are a significant wild card here, I would guess.

  48. John Minehan says:

    They had a front row seat for OIF and what came after. I suspect they have a good feeling for our capability and weaknesses . . . whether they can exploit that or not, might be the issue.

  49. Walrus says:

    Eric, I’m in Europe right now and I don’t think any Europeans are prepared in the slightest to support a war with Iran. For starters, if Iran did not surrender instantaneously, an oil shortage will collapse the European and Chinese economies and that is only one of the minor, first order effects.
    The question of “not being the men they thought they were” cuts both ways. Does the European union want to see war with Iran? No. Do the Europeans want to see Britain, egged on by the Neocons, take “a hard line” with Iran? No. Do the Europeans want to aid and abet the U. S. in fighting a war with Iran through NATO? No. Do they want to be “saved from Iran ” by the U.S. galloping all over hemisphere as in 1944? No.
    So do you really want to see NATO and American relationships with Europe, Russia and China, India and the rest of the world put under severe stress in a @#@# waving contest between Trump and the Mullahs? At the behest of Israel? Because that is what you are going to get.
    Then there is the prospect of the Chinese and Russians retaliating, and I don’t even want to go there.
    The Mullahs have ruined the weekend for the leaders of each and every major nation. What will be happening this weekend in every capital is a series of committee meetings asking the same questions; What should our response to Iran be? What should our response to possible American action be? What is the likely effect of war with Iran on our energy supplies? What is the likely effect of war with Iran on our own security? What is the likely effect of war with Iran on our economy? Public servants will be working late into the night to answer these questions. The only thing for sure is that the price of gold is going to skyrocket when markets open and that a lot of troops are going to get warning orders about notice to move monday morning.
    This is the same type of situation that started WW1. ……. So we decide to give those pesky Iranian Mullahs a good whupping because they had it coming. Should be easy, after all they are just more sand niggers, right? All of a sudden Russia drops an air defence regiment into Tehran, We lose aircraft. China let’s North Korea off the leash and at the same time issues an ultimatum to Taiwan. Suddenly we are taking losses, have three war theatres going at the same time. What happens then?
    I suppose you think nothing is going to affect the continental U.S., so who cares?

  50. ambrit says:

    Isn’t the “wild card” here the Israelis?
    I can imagine an Iranian government, or perhaps the IRGC in a ‘bitter ender’ phase targeting Israel proper before they collapse. As the fate of Gerald Ball indicates, the Israelis are understandably paranoid about their regional competitors.

  51. Christian Chuba says:

    Iranian grain ships stuck in Brazil due to U.S. sanctions
    We are now engaging in cartoon villainy in terms of trying to squeeze Iran into a tiny box. Iran cannot transact in dollars so they are reduced to bartering with Brazil for corn. Oops, even their urea export is sanctioned but that doesn’t matter because we won’t let Brazil sell them fuel oil to ship corn back to their home port. This is flat out evil.

  52. Jim Ticehurst says:

    I wondering if the former Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejah …2005 to 2013 and His “Apocalyptic Shiites” were put in the background…with disinformation about His falling out of Favor….So Iran could play strategic games with the P5+1 agreement IN 2015 especially with President Obama..

  53. SysATI says:

    Eric Newhill
    “But Iran still loses. Each hit the US Navy takes, strengthens the resolve to crush Iran that much harder.”
    Cm’on man… wake up and open your eyes…
    The US hasn’t won any war since… Eternity…
    Do I have to remind you what happens in Afghanistan, in Irak or more recently in Syria ?
    Well Iran is FIVE times bigger than Syria and is not a divided multicultural/multi-religious country. Do you think that anything you do could change the fact that those 80 something millions people will survive and will ALL be behind their leaders whoever he might be ?
    If I was Iranian and even if the leader of the country was Adolf Hitler or some fanatic religious Abu Satanist al Muslim, I would still be behind him if my country was attacked by some foreign bully. My guess is that 99% of the Iranians think the same way….
    Forget about allies like Hamas, Hezbollah or Houtis or even China and Russia.
    Iran exists since 7000 BC and you really think that the new kid in the block with a couple hundred years of existence would be able to take it out ?
    Given your history of military victories ???!!! Don’t make me laugh…
    Even if you naively believe that, do you think about the consequences of such a war ? Not on Iran, OK, you might level part of the country, but then what ?
    Israel would most probably cease to exist. But so as the middle eastern Arab monarchies and most the world’s oil industry, which we all depend on…
    Which means that the whole planet will suffer for years to come…
    If I can’t feed my kids because my country can’t get enough oil thanks to some nutcase in WDC guess how I’ll feel about the US ?
    Most of the world already hate you for a reason. If you want to be not just hated but treated like enemies where ever you go, go ahead, bomb Iran, start a war, have the whole world crumble…
    And for what ???
    Just “because you can” is not a valid answer…
    “IMO, if there’s going to be war, then the Europeans and Brits should fight it… Of course none of them will step up on their own and the US will have to do this.”
    Will HAVE TO do this ???!!!
    Who the hell is forcing you not to mind your own business ?
    Has Iran attacked the US ? Or Britain ? Or Europe ?
    Or anyone else in the past several hundreds of years ?
    But…. Does the US oil industry would like the oil prices to go up ? YES !!!
    Do the crazies in DC want to make more money by selling more weapons ? YES !!!
    Do the crazies in Wahabistan hate the Shias and want to get rid of them ? YES !!!
    Do the crazies in Israel want to get rid of a powerful neighbor ? YES !!!
    Do even some crazies in the US want Israel to go in flames so that Jesus comes back ?
    Unfortunately yes…

  54. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang
    “in a transition to war situation before the US Navy got its ducks in line and crushed them” what damage could Iranian ballistic missiles do to UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia? Could they devastate oil & gas, LNG, port and pipeline infrastructure sufficiently that it would take a year to re-build back to full capacity?
    It seems it would be a lose-lose proposition for everyone including Trump’s re-election prospects. I have seen private surveys of working class people in the mid-west and the south who by an overwhelming majority oppose a war with Iran when informed about some of the potential consequences.

  55. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    I read Day of Deceit a month ago and found Stinnett’s analysis and sourcing quite convincing. He demolishes the standard narrative that the attack was a total tactical surprise and to a large extent a strategic one as well. Admiral Yamamoto’s orders to maintain radio silence were honored very much in the breach, one of the worst offenders being the at-sea mission commander himself, Admiral Nagumo. Many individual ship captains continued reporting their positions at specified times of the day, as was their peacetime practice. This enabled the US, British and Dutch signals monitoring stations, which were sharing information in spite of the fact that the US was not yet a combatant, to triangulate and track the Japanese mission fleet from its assembly point near the Kurile Islands eastward to their launch position several hundred miles north of Oahu. Stinnett assembles a strong circumstantial case asserting this information was available to the intelligence circles in Washington DC and in the US radio detection/cryptanalysis stations at Corregidor, the Aleutian Islands, and Station H on Oahu itself, practically within sight of Admiral Kimmel’s office, but it never made it to the admiral himself or to General Short. He got much of the supporting information through the FOIA process, but some of the most damning documents he cited he found by walking into various historical archive sites outside of the DC area and simply asking to see what they had. He makes the point that many of the documents he cites never saw the light of day during any of the three formal investigations of the affair: in the months immediately after the attack; shortly after the end of the war; and half a century later in the early 1990s. What he is unable to cite are documents that concretely connect the president, Admiral Stark the CNO, or General Marshall the Army Chief of Staff with knowledge of the available intelligence. Those known to have existed which might have been smoking guns that he sought via the FOIA were either still highly classified or were “unable to be found.” However the circumstantial case that they must have known and been on board, in some cases reluctantly, is strong. For example, it is known that the McCollum memo gained the attention of FDR himself soon after it was published, and the White House chief usher’s log documents that the commander had several meetings with the president. McCollum, a USNA graduate, had spent much of his childhood in Japan as the child of Christian missionaries and was almost natively fluent in the language as well as deeply steeped in the culture.

  56. Charles Michael says:

    Eric newhill,
    There I must disagree:
    Nethanyaou is again in election campaign same goes for President Trump; IMHO no war for the newt 6 months and probably never.
    A deal is possible ? maybe
    but it should encompass the Syrian issue from where all this Iranian crisis is actually born-again.
    For example Iran could agree to withdraw its troops from Syria if USA and partners did the same as Trump was considering.
    This move would surely have some effect on the YPG position, thus on Turkey’s activism along its frontier with Syria (Afrin being not included).
    Entering in negociations for a JCPOA bis will not be acceptable for Iran if sanctions (some at least) are not lifted. My educated guess is that is precisely what’s going on.

  57. turcopolier says:

    Charles Michael
    You are not correct. The Israelis have a deep psychopatholgy about Iranian ballistic missiles and a possible nuclear weapon that might – might exist someday. That has nothing to do with Syria.

  58. Willy B says:

    I don’t know if it came from the McCollum memo or not, but at the ABC-1 meetings in early 1941, the British delegation proposed that the US take over the defense of Singapore from the Royal Navy, a proposal that was rejected by the American delegation.
    The minutes of the ABC-1 meetings were published by the British National Archives some years ago and I have it somewhere on my hard drive but I couldn’t give you a link. As I recall, it was interesting to see the American side rejecting the Singapore and other schemes to get the US to defend British colonial territories.

  59. All,
    I think the comment by ‘Elliot’ back in May reflects assumptions which are very deep-seated in the West, are questionable, and if wrong, could prove extraordinarily dangerous. So an extended response seems appropriate.
    Of course the Russians have far more limited resources than the United States. What is important is to understand the implications of that fact for their strategic thinking.
    On this I would strongly recommend two pieces at the top of the ‘Russia’ page on the ‘World Hot Spots’ section of the ‘Army Military Press’ site.
    (See https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Special-Topics/World-Hot-Spots/Russia/ )
    The first is a translation of a 2017 article from the journal of the ‘Academy of Military Science’, entitled ‘Color Revolutions in Russia’, by A.S. Brychkov and G.A. Nikonorov.
    Among other things, this illustrates very well the rather central fact that Russian military strategists are very well aware that one of the things that wrecked the Soviet Union was the attempt to maintain permanent preparedness for a prolonged global war with a power possessing an enormously greater military-industrial potential.
    As to the implications for contingency planning for war, these are spelt out in a piece, also published in 207, by the invaluable Major Charles K. Bartles of the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, entitled ‘Recommendations for Intelligence Staffs Concerning Russian New Generation Warfare.’
    At the risk of glossing his meaning overmuch, what is involved is a kind of ‘higher synthesis’ of the ideas of two figures who were on opposing sides of the arguments of the ‘Twenties of the last century, Georgiy Isserson, the pioneering theorist of ‘deep operations’, and Aleksandr Svechin, who cautioned against an exclusive focus of the ‘Napoleonic’ strand in Clausewitz.
    Both are quoted by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Valery Gerasimov, in his crucial and much misunderstood address to the Academy of Military Science in February 2013, reproduced on the same page as the articles to which I have referred.
    What Svechin was saying, in essence, was that an attentive reader of Clausewitz would realise that ‘toujours la’audace’ should be replaced as a motto by ‘l’audace at the right place and time’.
    It was crucial to be able to judge when an offensive approach was absolutely the right choice, and caution suicidal, and when the promise of a decisive victory was a snare and a delusion, and defensive and attritional responses appropriate.
    (This argument crops up in many contexts: the ‘Tabouleh Line’ strategy adopted by Hizbullah, which Colonel Lang discussed in posts during and following the 2006 Lebanon War, and also that advocated by James Longstreet at Gettysburg, are classic examples of what Svechin would have seen as circumstances where a sound ‘defensive’ strategy was the key to victory.)
    As regards contemporary Russian thinking, an implication is that one of things they have been trying to create is the ability, in appropriate situations, to use characteristics of ‘deep operations’ – surprise, speed, shock – in support of clearly limited objectives.
    The kind of possibility involved was alluded to in the conversation between the ‘Security Adviser’ and the ‘American Soldier’ – seemingly involved on the ground in the ‘deconfliction’ process – which accompanied Seymour Hersh’s June 2017 article in ‘Die Welt’ on the Khan Sheikhoun sarin incident the previous April, and the U.S. air strikes that resulted.
    (See https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905618/We-got-a-fuckin-problem.html )
    A key exchange:
    ‘SA: There has been a hidden agenda all along. This is about trying to ultimately go after Iran. What the people around Trump do not understand is that the Russians are not a paper tiger and that they have more robust military capability than we do.
    ‘AS: I don’t know what the Russians are going to do. They might hang back and let the Syrians defend their own borders, or they might provide some sort of tepid support, or they might blow us the fuck out of the airspace and back into Iraq. I honestly don’t know what to expect right now. I feel like anything is possible. The russian air defense system is capable of taking out our TLAMs. this is a big fucking deal…we are still all systems go…’
    And that brings one to another critical strand in the approach of contemporary Russian strategic thinkers.
    Not simply for war-fighting, but, critically, for ‘deterring’ the United States from escalating if the Russians do successfully achieve limited objectives, they have been concentrating on ‘asymetric’ involving focused investment in specific technologies.
    So, Bartles explains that the Russian Ground Forces are ‘significantly ahead’ of the U.S. Army in electronic warfare, key objectives being to disrupt the demonstrated American capability for precision strikes, and also exploit the latent vulnerabilities involved in the dependence of so much equipment on GPS. (As an Army man, he does not discuss the interesting question of naval and air applications.)
    And crucially, there has been a focus on developing a very wide range of missiles which ‘missile defence’ technologies are not going to be able to counter effectively in any forseeable future, and which have steadily increasing range, accuracy and lethality. One central purpose of this, which Gerasimov has spelt out in later addresses to the Academy of Military Science, also available on the page to which I have linked, is to provide non-nuclear ‘deterrence’ options.
    It is, of course, always difficult to be clear as to what is, or is not, hype in claims made for new weapons systems. That said, it is I think at least worth reading some contributions by the Brussels-based American analyst Gilbert Doctorow.
    In February, he produced a piece entitled ‘The INF Treaty is dead: will the arms race be won this time by the most agile or by the biggest wallet?’, and another, headlined ‘The Kremlin’s Military Posture Re-considered: strategic military parity with the U.S. or absolute military superiority over the U.S.’
    (See https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2019/02/05/the-inf-treaty-is-dead-will-the-arms-race-be-won-this-time-by-the-most-agile-or-by-the-biggest-wallet/ ; https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2019/02/24/the-kremlins-military-posture-re-considered-strategic-military-parity-with-the-u-s-or-absolute-military-superiority-over-the-u-s/ .)
    Certainly, a good many assertions Doctorow made merit being taken with a pinch of salt, if not a great deal more. However, before one empties the full salt-cellar over them, a few observations are worth making.
    How much salt should be applied to Shoigu’s assertion that the cost of the systems being developed is hundreds of times less than that of the systems being developed by the United States against Russia I cannot say.
    Some questions are however worth putting. It would be interesting to be clearer than I am as to how relevant, or irrelevant, is the fact that for a long time now Russian universities have, frankly, wiped the floor with their Western counterparts in international programming competitions is one.
    Another relevant range of issues relates to how expensive the ‘software’ component of the relevant weaponry actually produced, once it is developed. A third relates to that of how far the new missiles, with their greater range, can be effectively deployed, either by updating old platforms – like Soviet-era bombers – or by creating relatively low cost-ones.
    And then of course one comes to the question of how the technical military issues interact with the ‘geopolitics’ involved. In recent years, a range of different Russian analysts have been claiming, in essence, that the ‘Petrine’ era of Russian history is over. Three examples, from Dmitri Trenin, Sergei Karaganov, and Vladislav Surkov, can be found at
    https://carnegie.ru/2016/12/25/russia-s-post-soviet-journey-pub-66569 ; https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/pubcol/We-Have-Used-Up-the-European-Treasure-Trove-19769 ; https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/book/The-Loneliness-of-the-Half-Breed-19575 .
    If, as Trenin argued back in 2016, Russia has moved from aspiring to become part of a ‘Greater Europe’ to seeing itself as a central part of a ‘Greater Eurasia’, then this has implications for how it should react to the asymetry which was central to Soviet views of INF in the ‘Eighties.’
    Put simply, INF in Europe can pose a ‘decapitation’ threat to Russia, while Russian INF do not do so to the United States.
    At that time, the deployment of cruise and Pershing II helped to encourage a burgeoning awareness among important sections of the ‘security intelligentsia’ in Moscow of the extent to which their own security policies – of which the SS-20 deployment was just one of many examples – had created suspicion, fear and antagonism.
    The conclusion – classically expressed in Georgiy Arbatov’s joke about the terrible thing that Gorbachev was going to do to the United States, deprive it of an enemy – turned out hopelessly naive. The liquidation of the existing Soviet security posture did not lead to any lesssening of Western antagonism.
    In his second piece, Doctorow has an interesting discussion of views expressed by Yakov Kedmi, the sometime ‘refusenik’ who became a pivotal figure in organising Russian Jewish emigration to Israel, and is now a regular guest on Russian television. And he writes:
    ‘Perhaps Kedmi’s most interesting and relevant observation is on the novelty of the Russian response to the whole challenge of American encirclement. He noted that for the past 200 or more years the United States considered itself secure from enemies given the protection of the oceans. However, in the new Russian military threat, the oceans will now become the most vulnerable point in American defenses, from which the decapitating strike can come.’
    Putting the point another way. Potentially at least, the ‘Greater Eurasia’ as Trenin describes it includes the Western European countries – indeed, it appears to include Ireland. It is, obviously, enormously in the interest of the Russians to include these, in that doing so both makes it possible to isolate the ‘Anglo-Saxons’, and also to provide a counterweight to Chinese preponderance.
    To do so however – and at this point I am moving towards my own speculations, rather than simply relying upon better-informed observers – requires a complicated balancing act.
    On the one hand, the West Europeans – above all the Germans – have to be persuaded that if they persist in following with the ‘Russia delenda est’ agendas of traditional ‘Anglo’ Russophobes, and ‘revanchists’ from the ‘borderlands’, they should not think this is going to be cost-free.
    But on the other, the promise has to be implied that, if they ‘see sense’ and realise that their future is with a ‘Greater Eurasia’, without their needing to ‘remilitarise’ in any serious way, then they will not be threatened militarily.
    This balancing act, ironically, makes it absolutely imperative for the Russians not to threaten the Baltics – particularly given their historical links to Germany.
    By the same token, it provides a particularly cogent reason for threatening to respond to new American IMF deployments in Europe with ones that target the United States.

  60. walrus says:

    David and Col. Lang, how would Trump respond to Russian cruise missiles being deployed to Cuba?

  61. AS it happens I am just finishing off a piece arguing that what Russia is doing today is countering US “Must haves”. Much cheaper and easier to do than the former Soviet desire to do everything. Remember that in the Soviet days the USSR was also and “exceptionalist” country. Putin & Co know that that’s a waste of time and resources.

  62. Anon says:

    I remember when I was still at school,a religious Jewish school,my parents said to me we are going to the movies.I got really excited and asked which one and they said “Torah,Torah,Torah and thought holy Moses this should be good.Imagine my disappointment when it was “Tora Tora Tora” instead.Still enjoyed it though especially the scene with all those planes flying in.Those were the days of Great War movies like “Von Ryan’s express” and “Sand pebbles”.As to the Iranians they miscalculated when they got trump instead of Clinton.

  63. turcopolier says:

    I have no idea. It would depend on how much the ‘stache and Pompom could goad him into doing. They are also now trying to get him to appoint Fleitz s neocon as DNI.

  64. Fred says:

    An interesting comment as always. I was struck by this quote:
    “the terrible thing that Gorbachev was going to do to the United States, deprive it of an enemy ”
    In one respect he was correct; we are seeing the results of the intellectual apparatus of soviet progaganda continuing on, with, amongst others, AOC and the “squad” happily quoting the “victims/oppressors” narrative egged on by a lot of people hoping to cash in. The NYT take on the 50th anniversary being an example of thier new approach to American history.

  65. aleksandar says:

    Always funny how racism could lead people to write stupid things.
    So let’s go:
    – the only sure sources about Chess invention are from central asia, maybe not genuinely persian but at this time under persian influence.
    – Arabic numerals have never been known as ” arabic ” in the ancient arab world. It’s when it was disvovered by europeans around 900 AC ( see Gerbert d’Aurillac ) that it was called ” arabic “.
    So much for ” the Arabs have been trying to give their names to stuff which is not theirs for a long time now ”
    – And FOI iranians are not arabs, they are Persians mostly.

  66. Fred,
    What you write takes me ‘off topic’, but it raises another range of rather important issues, which may be more relevant than immediately appears to questions raised by Colonel Lang’s remarks.
    When I first came across ‘victim culture’, back in the ‘Seventies, it was not actually among ‘victims’, but rather among certain kinds of what might be called WASxPs (meaning ex-Protestants) on the Left. It often seems to me that a lot of the ‘victims’ were, as it were, taught it.
    Another phenomenon which was developing at that time, and a bit later, was what Steve Sailer, following Michael Barone, calls ‘Lennonism’ – very aptly in my view.
    (See http://www.unz.com/isteve/hillary-secretly-called-for-hemispheric-open-borders/ .)
    (There is, not uncommonly, a kind of ‘xP’ element to this: John Lennon himself was a product of the complex contradictions of Liverpool, including his complex responses to an upbringing by Aunt Mimi, a classic North-of-England Protestant matriarchal type. But then, in Liverpool, the ambiguous responses to a traditional Irish Catholic culture were also important – Cherie Blair being a case in point.)
    A weird thing – which Sailer brings out in that piece, by linking to his discussion of what he calls ‘the Washington Establishment’s Invite-the-World/Invade-the-World conventional wisdom’ as exemplified in a seriously weird May 2016 speech by John Kerry – is that this kind of thinking has spread way beyond those who would be considered ‘left’ in any traditional sense.
    An irony of the speech is that Kerry can evidently see, clearly, some of the pressures for a ‘Völkerwanderung’ which have been steadily increasing over past decades. He uses this however as reason for clinging to the delusion that somehow it is both necessary, and possible, to combat terrorism by using military force to remake the world in the image of the contemporary West.
    It is symptomatic that Kerry’s address was given at a Northeastern University graduating class.
    Unsurprisingly, this was very ‘diverse’. Idiots like Kerry take that as vindication of the assumption that the kind of people who pay large sums to study in American – or British – universities 1. are representative of the societies from which they come, and can collaborate in remodelling them, and 2. can be assumed to be absolutely honest and uncomplicated when, as often, they profess agreement with what people like Kerry say.
    An even odder element of the current situation is that people like Kerry really aren’t helping anyone – up to and including themselves.
    The tensions that would eventually produce ‘Brexit’ have been quite visible to anyone who cared to look for decades.
    Those of us who were not happy to lock ourselves up in the developing ‘bubble’ could also see that concerns about immigration arose among a range of different people for a range of different reasons. Then, as now, there was plenty of what could genuinely be called ‘racism.’ But that, rather clearly, was only part of a very complex set of responses.
    In the lead-up to the June 2016 vote prominent supporters of the ‘Remain’ campaign explained how, really, mass immigration was unstoppable. They appeared absolutely unable to understand that what they said was liable to be interpreted, in my view quite correctly, as indicating that, like John Kerry, they had no desire whatsoever to stop it.
    Likewise, because they had taken what one might call the ‘Alf Garnett’ /‘Archie Bunker’ types – to hark back to notable British, and American, ‘sitcoms’ of the late ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies – as representative, and had never had sympathy, or compassion, for those characters, they completely failed to realise that elements of their anxieties were now, with reason, very much more widely shared.
    As often, when it came to opinion polls, the responses people gave were influenced by what they recognised it was ‘acceptable’ to say – within the current ‘élite’ style of talking.
    A predictable result of all this was that those who had ‘talked the talk’ made no serious attempt to head off the ‘populist revolt’ which was clearly brewing.
    And, as was – famously – said of the Bourbons, they have ‘learnt nothing and forgotten nothing,’
    Rather than trying to make sense of, and try to find a response to, the reasons why people voted for Brexit, or Trump – or indeed Corbyn – they prefer to invoke ‘foreign devils.’
    It is a well-worn strategy, one pursued by Stalin and Mao. However, people like Kerry and Hillary – not to speak of Mueller and Comey – really do not have very much of the low and brutal cunning possessed by, at least, the former of those two not very loveable figures.

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