Author Archives: Michael Clemmesen

President Trump’s World View and the Direct Consequenses

I shall start by quoting from Jessica T. Mathew’s brilliant analysis What Trump Is Throwing Out of the Window in the 9 February issue of The New York Review of Books:

The global financial crash of 2008 at America’s hands, the rise of ISIS, the transformation of Russia under President Vladimir Putin into a dangerous and committed adversary marked by its 2014 annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine, nuclear weapons programs in North Korea and Iran, cyber interventions in the US election, and a steadily more nationalistic and militarily provocative China—all of these have dramatically raised the stakes of these conflicts over policy. The crux is no longer in deciding how far America should reach in deploying its power and forcing its values on others, but in what it must do to meet a cascade of challenges to its core interests and national security.

Into this particularly dangerous moment comes Donald Trump…

The World View
With Trump’s Inauguration Address his messages are no longer just for campaigning simplicity.

It is the official and revolutionary U.S. new world order view that was presented in the Inauguration Address. A view totally in conflict with the traditional Republican line and the stated intent of the approved key Cabinet members.

Trump’s analysis has remained the same over more than three decades. The problems of the American economy were not created by the too low productivity to support the salary level, weak investment in technical innovation and sloppy management of the old American industries. They were the results of malicious acts of formal enemies such as China and the dependent, but in this sense illoyal Allies such as Germany and its economic empire, the so-called European Union. This view of hostile conspiracies laying siege on his country is another view that Trump share with Putin.

Let me quote again from Jessica Mathew:

Trump’s foreign policy often seems invented in the moment—a mixture of impulse and ignorance amid a morass of contradictions. But in fact its essence, … has been remarkably consistent for decades. In 1987, either toying with the possibility of a presidential run or building publicity for the forthcoming publication of “The Art of the Deal” (or both), Trump paid to publish an open letter to the American people in The New York Times and two other major papers with the headline “There’s Nothing Wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy That a Little Backbone Can’t Cure.”

Other nations, he wrote, “have been taking advantage of the United States.” They convince us to pay for their defense while “brilliantly” managing weak currencies against the dollar. “Our world protection is worth hundreds of billions of dollars to these countries”; yet weak American politicians respond “in typical fashion” to “these unjustified complaints.” “End our
huge deficits,” he concludes, “reduce our taxes, and let America’s economy grow unencumbered by the cost of defending those who can easily afford to pay us for the defense of their freedom. Let’s not let our great country be laughed at anymore.” …

In a 1990 interview he returned to the same theme: “We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing…. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us.” The same is true for Europe: “Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually … These are clearly funds that can be put to better use.”

The only recent addition to the simplistic world view is the addition of the Muslims to enemies, something likely to endear the President to fellow romantic populist interpreters of the “Will of the People” in Europe.

Trump’s consistent views and latest hate focus led both to the new U.S. leader’s address with its declaration of a general trade war to redress the perceived injustice against the suffering American people, and to the reorganisation of the alliance system of the country to match that double conflict system.

The Implications
Those nervous allies still in denial such as Denmark that think that it will only take a visible increase of the defence budget to consolidate U.S. commitment to their security will have a rude awakening. They make the mistake thinking and repeating that the new U.S. have maintained a “soft” geo-strategic interest as leader of the Free World. This is no longer the case. In addition to that they have to contribute directly to Trump’s projects of Making America Great Again and crusading against the Muslims.


Ending NATO and informally replacing it with bi-lateral Trump White House-dictated contracts

Making America Great Again is mainly an economic issue and will eventually include giving privileged access to your country to uncompetitive imports from America (something similar to trading in the 1930s and later Western trade with the Soviet Union). Of course this assumes the dissolution of the EU. However, it will logically initially mean direct and visible participation in the coming huge investment in improving the run-down American infrastructure, either by state funds or by states “encouraging” of national private pension funds to participate. It will also mean graciously accepting that you loose planned American, international or own national companies’ investment projects that you need for the development of your own society.

This result was confirmed on 4 March 2017 when I received the following email from a Washington friend: On Friday, I had a conversation with a parliamentarian from a relatively small NATO country. He and others visited the Trump transition team in December. They were told that if they wanted their country to have a good relationship with the new Administration, they needed to be able to say how many jobs they could create in the United States. He is still in a condition of disbelief.

The second will be a full, unreserved and visible participation in Trump’s announced war against the radical Islamists even if it will assume and be seen as a Crusade against Muslims. It will not only mean symbolic participation in coming the offensive military operations in spite of their likely scant attention to collateral damage. It will also have implications for how you are expected to deal with Muslim refugees and the already parted integrated Muslim population of your country. Trump’s expectations are likely to worsen the already difficult domestic situation in several of the European Allies of the U.S.

Back to Jessica Mathew:

The views Trump published in 1987, when he was forty-one, have not changed with time: mercantilist economic views; complete disdain for the value of allies and alliances; the conviction that the world economy is rigged against us and that American leadership is too dumb or too weak to fix it; admiration for authoritarian leaders and the view that the United
States is being “spit on,” “kicked around,” or “laughed at” by the rest of the world. … Trump’s core views don’t align with any of the current approaches to foreign policy … Their close relatives are to be found in Charles Lindbergh and the America Firsters’ admiration for dictators, the mercantilist and isolationist policies of Robert Taft, also
in the 1940s, and the similar views of Patrick Buchanan twenty years later.

The coming Trump-Putin Reykjavik Summit
It will be in Reykjavik for two very good reasons.

For Vladimir Putin it will be a return to the place where Mikhail Gorbatjov officially started his treason against the Soviet Union in October 1986. It will clearly mark that now the period of weakness and over and have not only been replaced by equality with the U.S., but will a warm partnership with a like-minded leader.

For Donald Trump it will add enormously to his legitimacy in the Republican Party and the American population generally by formally making his the direct successor of the only other non-Establishment president in modern time, the now hugely popular Ronald Reagan.

To make that link even more clear, Putin will probably accept a visible mutual reduction in nuclear arms. To get that, Trump may even agree to come to the conclusion of the Kazakhstan Peace Conference to add visibility to the Russian victory in Syria. It will be a truly Trump Deal.

Back to Jessica Mathew a final time:

In the quietest of times Trump’s policies would be alarming enough. But this is, nearly all agree, a particularly dangerous time of rapid and fundamental change in the military, economic, and political dominance to which the United States is accustomed, exacerbated by Islamist terrorism and technological transformation.

What Putin Got and What Trump Gave Up in Yesterday’s Phone Call (analysis by Paul A. Goble, Staunton, 29.1.2017)

In advance of talks with a foreign leader, the sides often employ one of two strategies to ensure that the outcome can be presented in the ways that they want. Thus one side may suggest no real breakthrough is possible thus lowering expectations. Or it may suggest something many oppose could happen in order to get credit when it doesn’t.

Both these tactics were on display in advance of the telephone call between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, with the former leaking that sanctions might be lifted when that wasn’t going to happen overnight and the latter signaling via his foreign ministry that any talks with the Americans would be difficult.

That is all in the way of such events, but it has the unfortunate effect of leading some to misread what in fact happened. Thus, in this case, because Trump didn’t end sanctions, many in the US are delighted because what they feared most didn’t happen and even allowing themselves to believe that their opposition to such a step played a role.

In order not to fall into that well-prepared trap, it is important to look at what each leader took away from the talks. If one does that, it becomes clear that not only did Putin get far more that he wants but that Trump received in return promises that aren’t worth the air the Kremlin dictator used in expressing them.

Using the Kremlin readout of the talks on which almost all commentaries east and west currently rely (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53787), it becomes obvious just how much a victory the phone call was for Putin and how little, all the hoopla notwithstanding, Trump got in return. The consequences of this imbalance tragically will be seen soon enough.

Here is a list of what Putin got:

· An end to his diplomatic isolation that has been in place since his invasion of Ukraine

· Explicit Promises of a summit soon between the two leaders

· Implicit recognition of spheres of influence and of Russia and the US as equal “partners”

· Explicit acceptance of his insistence that the US and Russia should decide things, apparently without the participation of those involved, including Ukraine

· An implicit promise to lift sanctions in the name of improving economic relations between the two countries.

Here is a list of what Trump got:

· A promise that Russia would cooperate in the war on Islamist terror and assurances that Russians like Americans just as Americans like Russians.

Putin’s behavior in Syria shows just how little that promise is worth, although one can be sure that Moscow and its Western supporters will view this as a great breakthrough, just as Putin and apparently Trump as well intend them to.

But the real meaning of yesterday’s conversation between the two leaders is underscored by the reactions of Russian commentators who signaled that their hopes were coming true: One politician, for example, said that as a result of the Putin-Trump talks, NATO is in disarray (politobzor.net/show-121008-pushkov-nato-v-uzhase-ot-rezultatov-razgovora-putina-i-trampa.html).

And others suggested this conversation had been between two “friends” rather than just chiefs of state (politobzor.net/120995-tramp-sdelal-zvonok-drugu.html) or insisted that it was a breakthrough to a new era of good feelings in which Ukraine and other problems of the past could now be put aside (kp.ru/daily/26636.7/3655052/ and svpressa.ru/politic/news/165212/).

The author of these lines has often lamented the unfortunate impact of jet travel and telephonic communication on relations between countries, two technical innovations that have elevated the importance of personal ties among leaders above other things even as they have reduced the role for diplomats and a careful consideration of national interests.

That unfortunate trend has some deep and disturbing precedents: When Nevil Chamberlain returned from Munich, he celebrated what he said was the fact that Hitler really liked him and that such feelings could be the basis for a new era of good feelings between Germany and the United Kingdom.

One can only hope that no Western leader in the rush to boost his ratings will be similarly manipulated by this generation’s counterpart to the Nazi dictator.

What to expect from President Donald Trump

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Col. Sam Gardiner, USAF (ret) sent this after a contact to his “strategic psychiatrist” who has been contacted to help him understand Trump. She had been asked what could be expected next now that the rallies were done and the admiration seems to be diminished.

She suggested that he read about narcissistic rage.

Here is the description:
Narcissism (or Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is a diagnosis given to individuals under the classification of personality disorders. Narcissists are extremely selfish and self-centered people who are capable only of thinking about their own issues regarding power, prestige, and personal adequacy. They have little to no empathy, cannot understand the problems of people around them, and are not aware of other peoples’ feelings. Although they act superior and confident, this actually hides the fact that they have very fragile egos. The slightest disrespect or challenge can quickly lead to the development of a furious rage in them.

“Narcissistic rage” is a term coined by Heinz Kohut in his book The Analysis of the Self when it was published in 1972. It occurs when the narcissist perceives he is being personally “attacked” by someone else. Grandiose self-worth, vanity and entitlement are basic characteristics of this disorder; when these are challenged it often leads to narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage is a reaction to” narcissistic injury”- a perceived threat to their self-worth or self-esteem. Their rages can be of two types: explosive or passive-aggressive. The explosive rages are just as they sound- explosive, volatile outbursts which may be verbal, physical, or both. The passive-aggressive rages are exhibited as withdrawal into a sulky, silent treatment as the means to punish the offender.

Narcissists need constant admiration, attention and compliments. They live with the illusion that they are perfectionists and that people revere them. That makes them dependent on other people to keep their self-esteem high. Therefore, any challenge, mildly negative remark, or disagreement from another person is considered criticism, rejection and even mockery. They take these personally as an assault or betrayal and lash out at the person who provoked them. Narcissistic rage often results in physical and/or emotional abuse.

Causes of Narcissistic Rage
1. Challenge to their Confidence: People with narcissism often place unrealistic demands on their partner or children. These demands are frequently challenged by the person in the relationship. When challenged, the narcissists’ brittle egos are unable to accept the idea that they were wrong or seen as imperfect. They turn this into a personal attack and respond with rage toward that person to regain their sense of superiority.
2. Injury to Self-Esteem: When a narcissist’s shortcomings are pointed out by someone, they feel an overwhelming sense of shame. The narcissist then lashes out toward the person who pointed out the shortcomings. The rage is executed to seek revenge upon the accuser. The need for revenge results in explosive rage and does not die down until the narcissist feels the person was dealt appropriate punishment.
3. False Sense of Self: The narcissist has a false sense of self. Underlying this false sense of self are feelings that he is not loveable for who he is or what he offers in relationships. When a lover or partner begins to feel doubts about the narcissist, that is when the narcissistic rage surfaces.

Types of Narcissistic Rage
Explosive: Narcissistic individuals have a violent outburst which can be both verbal and physical in nature. [Self-harm: Some narcissists like to manifest their rage by inflicting injury to themselves by cutting, burning, stabbing, etc.]
Passive-aggressive: The other way of expressing rage is passive-aggressive behavior where the narcissists do not harm the victim physically or mentally, but punish him passively (sulking, silent treatment, pretending they are invisible).

Just before New Year, we got the following analysis from a Ministry of Defence HR Director with a background as a Doctor of Psychiatry

Trump, he concluded, is a severe and blatant example of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The symptoms of believing oneself to be more entitled, correct and justified, are readily Google-able.

Sufferers have little empathy towards others and the need for constant adulation, which for Trump to date has been little problem.

Soon hitting reality and being frustrated, angered and misunderstood by being thwarted or brought to task by other decision makers and nations, who also have needs and aspirations, and by sheer complexities, will lead to disproportionate anxiety and depression and probably more severe problems.

His evident delusions and inconsistencies indicate he may already have reached there.

Being surrounded by fearful acolytes would mask and complicate matters. Like past authoritarian leaders, he could wind up, discretely, on a cocktail of drugs, making him even more illogical, erratic and difficult to deal with.

He remains if sufficiently praised and encouraged though, a highly predictable and exploitable personality.

PS: Writing ‘Personality Profiles’ is something the Director said, he was successful at, and had been paid for in and out of uniform

Why Russia Cannot be Appeased … and What Then

In order to find a way to co-operate with Russia, one has to understand how the present and coming elite have come to see, reject and counter the West.

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In the present Russian leaders’ understanding the Soviet Union Empire did not only collapse in 1991 as a result of the economic crisis and the leadership’s loss of belief in their project’s future. They believe that it also happened due to deliberate actions of hostile forces in the West, mainly the U.S. They exploited the weak – and thus bad – Soviet leaders and illoyal small nations such as the Baltic peoples and – much worse – the Ukrainian nationalists to achieve their aim of depriving Russia of her rightful place in the World. These hostile forces continued their work until finally found out and confronted by Vladimir Putin, the new strong and thus good Russian leader that joined the former great rulers that pulled a weakened country out of crisis and moved it towards revival such as Ivan Grozny, Peter the Great, Katherine the Great and Josef Stalin.

The present Russian leaders consider a state and its leaders as hypocritical or naïve if not built on power and not exploiting all tools to enhance its position in its region and the world. The idea that human beings or states can work in equal partnership for common good is a false mirage exploited by the stronger, as the U.S. did with Russia in its period of weakness.

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In domestic repression this includes employment of such types as the Chechnyan dictator Ramzan Kadyrov and his henchmen

All relationships are built on power between the dominant side and the dependent client. Thus the EU and NATO are just intelligently manipulated fronts of U.S. power employed to weaken Russia and other states that stand up to it. The whole concept of democracy, the liberal civil society and its trimmings of equality of opportunity, justice and a free press is meant to undermine opposition to America gaining world power. The notion of such positive values are employed in a hybrid tandem with open and unilateral use of own or client military power to enhance U.S. power as against Serbia in 1999 and against Iraq in 2003. What happened in Ukraine in 2014 was a successful Russian response to an American attempt to move the Ukraine from the natural, historically rightful Russian client status to that of the U.S. Here the U.S. initially used non-military means in the spectrum of total, hybrid warfare, employing the “front” of Western sponsored NGO.

The whole set of liberal ideas of truth and historical truth is seen as fundamentally naïve and false. The truth is what furthers the aims and power of your country and the internal power of the leader group. The Soviets were basically limited in their propaganda by their commitment to the class struggle where something was just and right – others actions unjust and wrong. Not so the present Russian leaders.

What serves the promotion of relative Russian power and leadership control is justified. This includes suppression of the free press and any political opposition. It also justifies the full exploitation of the media plus any opposition in the naïve Western societies to further division there and undermine the influence of the U.S. establishment and its allies in the rest of the West.

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Actually the Russians have never fought the I.S. Her actions in first Chechnya and thereafter Syria have nourished and worsened the Islamic problem of especially Europe. In spite of this Putin has been successful in presenting Russia as the natural anti-Islamic and fellow xenophobic ally of right-populist forces such as UKIP, Front Nationale, Alternative für Deutschland, Viktor Orbán’s version of Fidesz and Denmark’s “Dansk Folkeparti“. That Putin actually agrees fully with Islamic groups’ contempt and rejection of our ridiculous, anti-macho, and naïve progressive societies cannot be formally recognised by these allies as this will expose their less than full commitment to the values of their societies.

The Russians consider themselves at war with the West, a total if still not open fighting war that we started as already described. Therefore any means to undermine our already weakened cohesion is legitimate, as it will change the correlation of forces in Russia’s favour. A simple and often effective means is to corrupt our leaders by offering personal economic benefits for acting in support of Russia rather than in the interest of your country. The German ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is a notable example. Others can be found in both Eastern and Western Europe.

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Since late 2011 Russian-speaking minorities have been targeted in a constant propaganda and disinformation campaign meant to develop and strengthen their inherent pride in Russian resurgence and undermine their loyalty to their state of residence.
Aggressive military body-language and explicit threats to use military force to support Russian interests are routinely employed, including the threat of nuclear weapons. The de facto open use of the Russian military in 1999-2000 in Chechnya, 2008 in Georgia, after 2014 in Crimea and the Donbass and since 2015 in Syria has underlined Russian determination to change the world order in Russia’s favour.

During the last years of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. tried constantly to reset the relationship with Russia in a positive direction, including by deliberately limiting the American support of the Ukraine to further the progress towards a compromise with Russia. However, at the same time as pressing the Ukrainians to compromise, both the U.S., Canada and the EU has worked hard to reform Ukraine into a Western type of country by confronting the rampant corruption and creating transparent economic and government structures.

By strengthened civil society in the Ukraine, the West has emphasised its hostility to Russia, because by spreading the naïve notion of fair, free, just societies, we have been doing just what the Russian leaders want us to stop because it is the continuation of the “hybrid warfare” campaign that rolled back Russian control over its empire from 1988 until 2008.

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The forward basing of symbolic NATO forces in the Baltics and elsewhere as agreed at the Warsaw Summit should not be seen as a hostile military act, even if is presented as such by the Russians to both the always fairness-seeking, anti-military Westerners and the Putin-supporters that apparently long for the adoption at home of his model repression of the liberal and permissive anti-macho societies. The deployment is a hostile act from our Russian perspective because it will reinforce local determination to resist pressure to enter into the traditional, corruption nourished client relationship that Russia considers natural.

In order to deal with Russia in the future, as we have to do to avoid a misunderstanding that can lead to catastrophe, we have to understand that what Russia considers a threat are the liberal institutions and values that we have spent hundreds of years to consolidate. That is what the Russian leaders work so energetically to destroy, because they correctly senses our loss of focus and will. Russia will seek to undermine our remaining defence cooperation in NATO, not to reduce any military threat, but to gain freedom to roll back the civil liberties in the neighbouring states by all required and suitable means and thereby recreate the corrupt and illiberal great power environment that existed before the First World War.

Let us understand that Russia’s objective is to poison liberal democracies to remove the threat they present to his power and Putin’s country’s ambitions. Let us face that this is incompatible with our interests. Giving the Russians what they really want, appeasing them by no longer being a visible systemic threat, will require the self-destruction of our democratic political system. Even making the superficially limited concession of allowing them to corrupt and crush the aspirations for freedom and justice of such peoples as the Ukrainians will mean that we have quietly surrendered what we should stand for and created dangerous doubt about whether and when we will be willing to stand-up for anything.

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(Finnish soldiers)

If we understood and accepted this and gathered the will to act accordingly, then we could develop and follow a policy of peaceful coexistence with Russia, formally respecting her as the world power she continued to be.

If we found that will, we could base such a policy on a minimum nuclear deterrent and robust defensive conventional military posture with an area denial capability like the Finnish. We would then follow a policy that would include co-operation against common threats in such fields of climate change, nuclear proliferation and common real action against Islamic and other terror.

On NATO Burden Sharing to an old Estonian Friend

He suggested that it was understandable that Americans such as Trump were critical of the defence spending of nearly all European Allies. I agree, but also underlined both that the situation had a background in recent history of the Alliance and that a rise it defence spending east of the Atlantic because of that history would not necessarily help in the real requirement, namely of creating capable militaries out of the present inert, over-staffed Potemkin Villages:

From the start of NATO during the Korean War, the U.S. paid the most. The Continental European partners did something else: they committed their full manpower as conscripts and prepared their economies for defence support within the framework of “total defence”. They also took the risk of making their countries available as the main East-West battlefield and thus faced the total destruction.

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The U.S. also paid more because as now it was a global power that also had the Pacific theatre to worry about.

In NATO the U.S. was “paid” by having the near total power to decide what happened, and it earned money on producing nearly all hardware of the Allies.

When the Cold War ended, the U.S. (and UK) used that dominating influence to declare that history had ended and the maintenance of conscription was both anachronistic and waste of money. T Keeping conscription was incompatible with membership of the Alliance. Total defence preparations were therefore unnecessary and improper in the globalised liberal economies of the future.

Of the new Central and Eastern European NATO Member States only Estonia kept conscription. The background was the Finnish example that influenced the main architect of the defence forces, former Soviet tank Polkovnik, later Estonian General, Ants Laaneots. This strong character professional convinced his friend Andrus Ansip and the rest of Reformerakond, the Liberal Party, that he was right, because history might not have ended after all.

Most European Allies were happy to comply, advised by shallow-thinking civil servants convinced that history was irrelevant in this Post-Modern Era. The Ministries of Finance applauded. Now the important part of Alliance solidarity was a willingness and to send your soldiers into harm’s way on American Campaigns.

This both your and my country did, and in Afghanistan both Estonia and Denmark had a higher percentage of their contingents killed than the rest, because we served in the Helmand Province where the U.S. avoided striking the Taliban bases in the Quetta area not to offend Pakistan.

We both showed the required solidarity in campaigns devoid of sound and realistic U.S. strategies for success. The result of the loss of conscription and the adoption of U.S.-type grotesquely over-officered peace time staffs meant the loss of balance between number of cadre and number of units with practical service experience opportunities, the loss of combined-arm balance as well as capable logistic units and the disappearance of reserve structures. All European members concentrated on learning and applying the latest NATO (ex-U.S.) buzzwords in the running of their forces. They forgot that in military organisations what counts is the output in capable and sustainable war structure forces, not the defence budget percent of GDP.

If you have unsound structures such as the Continental NATO members now, a budget increase does not necessarily lead to more military effect.

Now we realised and are told that history did not end, that Article 5 is relevant after all, and that the U.S. expect us to have the initial defence forces that the U.S. and Brits told us to abolish in the 1990s. Suddenly solidarity is no longer a matter of symbolic presence in American campaigns, it is about a budget contributions. This Burden-Sharing balancing that amateurs in and without uniforms ask for will not give defence or deterrence without a fundamental re-booting of structures developed since the end of the former Cold War.

“When the wealth and our future was allowed to emigrate” – my 15 October 2011 article republished with a tentative conclusion

Five years ago I published the article below on the blog. It was followed by two more articles discussing the possible implications and politico-economic effects of the described development.

These implications and effects in the West are now all too clear: the loss of mass welfare and a popular belief in the future and in the effectiveness of liberal democracy; a rejection and withdrawal of binding commitments to international co-operation; a withering of the ability and will to domestic political dialogue and compromise and the rise of “brown” opportunistic political movements as a popular reaction to loss of the good, remembered world and the fascination with and yearning for a former great and simple past. All very similar to the reactions in nearly all states in the 1930s.

The only difference between the 1930s and now is the nobody understands how terribly it can end.

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The brutally clear-thinking Israeli meta-historian Azar Gat has underlined that there is no real and certain link between liberal democracy and capitalism. A capitalist economy will not necessarily generate a democratic system and democracy is not automatically the ideal and most effective framework for capitalism. The latest twenty years have all too clearly demonstrated that he is correct.

As ahistorical media and nervous politicians are incapable or unwilling to see anything but the closest ‘trees’, they have missed the total character of the ‘forest’ of the current economic crisis. The Western economies North America, Europe, Australia and Eastern Asia do not only lack money because of problems created by short-sighted stupidity of irresponsible bankers investing in the real estate bubble of the previous ten years. We are not only looking at the risk of a ‘second dip’ or even an international depression as the one that started in 1929. The steps taken to contain the actual phase of the collapse equals wetting you pants for warmth in a Siberian blizzard.

Drugged by the ideology of Globalism – capitalism ‘in absurdum’ – where the bankers’ greedy and irresponsible gaming was a comparatively innocent aspect, the West has allowed its wealth to emigrate to breed faster, thereby undermining its own position and future, including the future of the fruits of its culture and civilization.

Religion is the opium of the masses; however the ideologies of the West during the last two centuries have been far more dangerous because they always stopped the critical application of experience, moderation and common sense by the elites. As lemmings intellectuals launch the human race into dangerous experiments guided by repeated buzzwords. No small boy around to remark on the flimsiness of the substance.

Here the ideology has led to a fixed belief that the free movement of capital is automatically to the common benefit of all, ignoring that the purpose is basically to increase the immediate income of the capital owners (that are thereafter beyond the effective reach af the national tax-man). They seem to have forgotten that it was the Western states’ successful efforts to contain the negative workings of capitalism that made it more attractive than socialism in the end. The unbridled capitalism of the pre-WWI era was like an uncontrolled petrol fire. The post-WWII versions had harnessed the energy like different types of petrol engines. Capitalism, necessary for economic innovation, dynamism, rational organisation and motivation, had been harnessed so that it nourished and supported the society rather than destroying its cohesion. The unbridled globalisation of capitalism is as destructive to positive and controlled development the human project as is unharnessed nuclear energy.

The ideology also seems to have blinded the West to ignore that migration of capital linked to production is bound to weaken its banking sector.

During the two decades following the end of the Cold War, an accelerating amount of industrial production left the West. It was not the fault of the Chinese and other developing economies, but of the Western economist and politicians, who ignored that the production and money not only moved to places where the salaries were more competitive. It moved to places where the political leaders deliberately ignored and still deliberately ignore patent rights and copy everything freely.

It moved to places where the rights of labour to organize to improve its salaries and working conditions beyond sweat-shop slavery is blocked by the autocratic police state, places where the environmental conditions is ignored as badly as in the Soviet Union. What was allowed to happen within the framework of Globalisation of industrial production amounted to what would previously have been termed unfair and destructive dumping. However, the economic gurus ignored the certain medium and long time effects. They emphasised the benefits to Western consumers and Western welfare level of the cheap Chinese and other low cost products and started to consider and develop the happy ‘Post-Industrial’ society of increased leisure and service rather than production economies.

The capital thereby freed from common sense and human experience to move by the ideology of Globalisation. It followed the initial cheap production to earn some of the money generated by the unfair dumping of China and to get access to the expanding marked of the world’s largest population. Soon all large Western companies including Japanese and South Korean moved an increasing part of their production there.

The Chinese got legitimate access to the latest patents and technology, and as less and less was produced in the West more and more capital was accumulated and thereafter used to buy the remaining brand and technologies as the Swedish Volvo and Saab. The Western states and local communities were happy to sell the increasingly unprofitable factories unrealistically hoping to keep the workplaces.

However, China will be hit by the recoil when the Western markeds collapse and default on its debt. The present accelerating slow-down is already being felt.

Western Universities – forced by another shallow, brainstopping ideology to substitute academic norms and ideals about quality with business principles demanding quantity – were and are happy to accommodate the armies of paying Chinese students that sap into the ideas and technological innovation that might otherwise have generated some resurgence of Western production. A Chinese recently bragged that he had gained access to iPhone5 technologies plus software and was already producing a pirate copy before the original. In a country as ridden with corruption as China his claim could be true.

The result of the fiction of a Post-Industrial economy is that the West is now without both capital and an acceptable future. Political leaders underline to their people that they are not going to compete with the salaries in lower income areas in Mexico or Eastern Europe – not to mention those of developing Asia. Banks now fail not just because of irresponsible speculation, but because the only robust part of their income should come from interests of loans given to sound and competitive production and from loans to individuals involved in that production. States have similar problems because the only solid taxation is from competitive production and related external and internal services.

Western politicians hope and conjure up that their borrowed welfare will be safeguarded by new Green technology, opportunistically ignoring that there is absolutely no chance that such production cannot be done much cheaper in China, both because it is more profitable for Western companies and because the ideas are transferred as they co-developed by the Chinese students.

They hope against all evidence that China will go the way of Japan, Taiwan and South Korea and become more normal and democratic and allow its now established advantage to slip. This is where Azar Gat’s analysis is so awkward. In the meantime they muzzle their concerns about the status of human rights in the country.

They pretend that the main problem of their economies is their aging population, ignoring that there will neither be productive jobs nor the previously hoped for paid leisure for those who will get ever older – at least for as long as there is money to sustain the full health system. They are happy to notice that China is facing the same problem of an aging population, ignoring the still vast labour supplus in the interior as well as the very limited social support spent on old Chinese people.

No state can maintain its wealth if it cannot produce at a combination of competitive price and superior quality that make the products attractive. Even well engineered and rationally produced German products of well-established brands are now coming under pressure due to the far too high cost of any production in Europe, and even if a significant part of the parts come from China or other low cost countries. Our remaining industries stand on quicksand.

Within the fiction of a still rich West, they have adopted the ideas of ‘New Public Management’ that have added a massive non-productive, Soviet type ‘nomenklatura’ to the already large public sectors without any evidence that the resulting control and centralisation add any benefits.

In an attempt to prepare for the ‘Post-Industrial’ fictional future, they have increased the number of university students far beyond the requirement and available talent. It has been done by lowering the student quality and academic staff morale within the irrelevant business ideas of the management fad.

Anyone with a minimum of historical sense knows that the unhappy result of academic overproduction is the creation of a large group of frustrated unemployed academic youth that will nourish and drive revolutionary protests – as we now see illustrated on both sides of the Mediterranean. They are not going to make easier the necessary dramatic downwards adjustment of welfare in the probably vain attempt to regain competiveness.

The reaction is now starting. Argentina tries to counter the development by legislation aimed at stopping capital flight and ensuring some taxation of multinational companies.

The Americans experience the fast collapse and proletarisation of a middle class. It could not be sustained without a basis of industrial production. They ask from their bankrupt position that China revalues its currency to make completion fairer. The Chinese threaten trade war. Due to the emigration of capital from the West the Chinese hand is the far stronger, but in self-defence of its future the American democracy will accept the challenge and initiate protectionist measures.

For Europe the situation is far worse. Heavily endebted, with some very inefficient economies, with fast falling income from exports, lack of labour mobility, inability to act quickly in crisis due to its decentralised and democratic decision making organisation and with a tradition to break rank and appease under pressure – hoping for miracles around the corner. Without drastic and painful adjustment we now stand at the end of some often nice 400 years.

Some may argue that the West has always been able to get out of economic depression after some years. My reply is that it was never in a situation where there general collapse of relative competiveness was in relation to asymmetric outsiders with significant reserves of both capital and well educated labour.

History Repeated to Threaten Our Future …. Again

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Franco and Hitler, formerly the preferred Allies of populist nationalists in both Europe and America (such as Charles Lindberg) against the perceived main threat. As with Putin now, they could underline that Franco acted in support of the Church and Christian values.

During the Interwar Period, Western liberal democracies were threatened by totalitarian/authoritarian forces from both left and right, but very few were willing confront the double challenge (with the core parts of the Nordic and German Social-Democratic Parties as the notable exceptions).

One example: During the mid-1930s the Danish Social-Democratic led Government asked the State Security Police to report on the threats to the Denmark from both the totalitarian Right (Nazi Germany) and from the International Communist Movement and the Danish Communist Party. The report underlined the different character of the two threats, but saw both as extremely serious.

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The Social-Democratic Party parliamentary election poster from 1935, the year of the State Security Police two parallel threats report, showing the Prime Minister, Thorvald Stauning. The text reads “Stauning or Chaos. Vote for the Social-Democratic Party”.

Large parts of the Centre-Right forces allied themselves with the totalitarian Right. Communists, and democratic Socialists were grouped together as enemies. In the same way Centre-Left forces allied themselves with the Communists and Popular Front movements against both democratic Conservative and Fascist Forces.

Now we see the same destructive hunt for dangerous simplicity. In their hatred and fear of the destruction of their way of life by Muslims and other Migrants, Centre-Right political forces (both fundamentalist economic Liberals and Conservatives) want to ally themselves with Putin’s Russia, incapable of realising that she is as hostile to their safe future as the Islamists. Actually the Russian view of individual liberty is a mirror of that of the Islamic forces. The urge for simplicity that formerly meant that Communist and democratic Socialists (and Jews) were grouped together means that all Muslims and other migrants and other foreigners are seen and treated as enemies, thereby threatening to make this an unmanageable reality.

Unfortunately the populist Danish People’s Party spokesmen and supporters have now joined Front National, UKIP and the White Power part of Trump’s supporters.

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A later use of the same motive from a “Dansk Folkeparti” election poster, the populist Centre-Right Party that now have joined their fellows in “understanding” and support for Putin.

On other side we see the Left being incapable of seeing and treating Radical Immigrants as a problem and challenge to their future. Thereby they mirror the self-destructive naïvity of the former Popular Fronts.

The only positive sign is that some Social Democrats seem to realise once more that two evils have to be confronted at the same time. However, the Social Democratic movements are far less powerful than 80-90 years back, and the media’s Facebook-reinforced hunt for Red/Left-Blue/Right simplicity undermine the move towards what is now desperately needed.

The End of Our West and the American Democracy As We Know It

Our West lasted more than 77 years. It was quietly born when Roosevelt started to give support to France and the British Empire after the start of the Second World War.

It ended with the election of Donald Trump by the angry white masses outside post-modern, hip enclaves of the major American cities: all those who lost from liberalisation of capital movement and the free world market from the 1990s onwards.

Hillary was now harvesting the long-time effects of Bill Clinton’s naïve and ideology-driven policies in this field.

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Trump speaking in June 2016 (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Let me just start by underlining that:
1) When you have conducted a campaign as that of Trump, driven by lies and hatred, a campaign that nourished both the completely unrealistic expectations and the anger and willingness to use force among the supporters, you cannot get that evil spirit back into the bottle: No matter if you want to look open-minded and reasonable after the victory, the monster remains at loose.
2) When you have signalled a willingness for more than 15 years to make Russia happy by undermining both NATO as an alliance and the cooperation of your European allies of the EU and by formally accepting her aggressive behaviour within her former empire, that beast also remains out.

The frustrations and sick time spirit that brought Trump’s election were roughly similar to those that brought fascists, Nazis and petty dictators to power in the Interwar Period and that has infected most European countries now as recently demonstrated by Brexit. We saw and see a collective regression into the perception of a far better, simpler past, before the proud nation had been polluted by international commitments, liberal attitudes … and the U.S. by a black president.

This time the parliament building does not have to be burned as it was in Berlin. No matter what the composition of a Congress – and the next two years both Senate and House remain Republican dominated – the congressmen and -women can do little to block the President’s power. If necessary tacit and open pressure using the supporters of the Trump movement (likely to be formally organised now) can be used to discipline the Congress and encourage it to endorse the initiatives the new administration in the domestic and economic policy fields.

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Trump’s part of the deeply divided 2016 USA (New York Times, 16.11.2016)

The movement that has now taken over the Republican Party is fearful of the future and it not necessarily prepared hand power back again in a fair way after having seen the effects of a dirty campaign. It adopted the fundamental intolerance of the Tea Party supporters and the movement is now reinforced in its arrogance by representing the overwhelming majority of white voters, a majority that is bound to be undermined by demography in the future. Many persons considered for Trump cabinet posts have little experience with the flexibility, patience and tact required by the constitutional checks and balances of the American political system.

There will be a break with the free international trading system and a move towards semi-autarky. When this takes place, it is most likely to trigger a slide to a new phase of world-wide depression as the Chinese have warned after the elections.

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Clinton’s part of the deeply divided 2016 USA (New York Times, 16.11.2016)

The rising racial tension that we have seen during the last year is likely to be met by violent force by police … possibly supported by self-organising militias of movement members. It is likely to be ugly and will escalate because the Afro-American activists have lost patience and are becoming ever more willing to meet violence with violence.

In the foreign policy field we are told to expect a new form of nationalist isolationism where the U.S. will limit foreign military involvement to unilateral punishment operations. Here the use of force could take the classical form of what Russia is now doing in Syria, that means unlimited by international law concerns. The different forms of moral “high ground”-motivation for military action that has characterised both Democratic and Republican administrations’ policies in the era of Our West will be abandoned. A combination of an updated Monroe Doctrine and a Yalta 2.0 will be the logical frameworks of the developing Trump foreign action. Ukraine will be sold right away proving to Putin that aggression pays.

No wonder that the Balts are unhappy, at least until Trumps confirms that the deployment of U.S. Army units to Eastern Europe stands as decided. Whether China and Russia will test the borders of the new world order openly with military means now or a little later is an open question … as is American response to any such move.

The U.S. will leave any international agreements on climate management that limits its freedom of action. Members of the creative and liberal classes will migrate to Canada and Australia as Russian have been fleeing their motherland for the Baltics and Germany.

What first peaked with the Brexit vote and now culminated with Trump’s election will continue elsewhere in this cycle phase of marching lemmings.

Welcome to the New-Old World

Military Balance Guide for Dummies

To conclude on the basis of numbers only is easy, and the result is equally easy to present convincingly with the support of graphs. However, anybody who bothers to include just a fraction of the relevant strategic and military history soon realise that purely quantitative analysis is meaningless and dangerous as a basis for political decisions on security policy. In order to establish a more solid basis for policy and strategy, one has to use and apply the knowledge and insight of relevant professionals, even if this calls for both hard work learning new stuff and for rare humility.

The current West European view of present Russian revisionist military resurgence still has a relaxed and facile head-in-the-clouds-or-sand character. It is dangerously anachronistic in its views of Russian backwardness and remains based on the amateurish view that comparisons of official budget input and status in the form of basic bean counting of equipment numbers are both relevant and sufficient in the estimate of military power and related options. It seems to be considered an unchallengeable reality and is constantly promoted by shallow political scientists, busy journalists, empty heads on uniforms and parroting politicians.

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Their amateur comments and advice quickly worsen an already dangerous situation by reinforcing decision-maker and popular trust in what in reality is a Potemkin Village that is fully transparent to even semi-professional observers from the outside. They will be tempted to test what they rightly see as our intellectually unchallenged combination of self-delusion and bluff.

The guide is for those who are willing to face the complex and unpleasant reality. This small guide will not and cannot present any exact result. It can just offer an approach to gain the essential deeper insight.

The first step is to define the geographical focus (such as the Baltic-Nordic Region within the general European “theatre” of potential conflict) and to accept that military power unfortunately has very little to do with the amount of money spent.

Large amounts of money as well as sorely needed intellectual energy is wasted on:
1) running small and large base complexes for reasons rather unrelated to military power
2) paying salaries for a large number of officers without any relevant knowledge of or interest in their profession or even their branch speciality
3) paying salaries to a large number of other ranks as well as civilians with no operational or relevant operational support role, many too old to contribute anything, people with no wish to learn or subordinate themselves to the military profession
4) paying salaries to underemployed full-time personnel in positions where a contract or even drafted reservist would be the better choice
5) supporting education systems that actually undermine military professionalism
6) supporting expensive employment and working hour contract systems that are incompatible with maintaining effective forces
7) implementing New Public Management and similar civilian fads that undermine the essential clear link between authority and responsibility for advice and implementation
8) living up to the agreed environmental standards of the state that add nothing to military effectiveness
9) maintaining elements of force structures only or mainly relevant for national prestige, anti-terrorism, ceremony or peace time work (such as fishery inspection, gendarme work, etc.)
10) covering pensions for retired military personnel
11) covering the cost of the veteran support system
12) cost of outsourcing driven by liberal ideology that create dependence on support structures without any military potential
13) deliberate derailing of professional focus to chase such fringe mirages as application of “lawfare” to contain destruction and human suffering in remaining conflicts, gender framework for the application of fire and manoeuvre and the pursuit of “green warfare” … those responsible arrogantly assuming eternal peace from large scale war

There may be perfectly good political reasons for all these budgeting choices, but most are irrelevant in a military balance analysis and some even detract from the military effect of the money spent.

On the other side some states such as Russia and China fund large and capable para-military forces with war-time combat or security roles outside the defence budget.

Basically the budgets should be ignored in the analysis of relative power, because the total input necessary to produce the same military effect may be several times larger in one state than in another.

The second step is to accept that simple “bean counting” of the two sides’ number of combat aircraft, tanks, submarines, artillery weapons, etc. is nearly as irrelevant, because it ignores:
1) the availability (with fully trained operating crews, available and trained support crews, spare parts, ample stocks of key weapons such as precision munition, etc.)
2) whether fully modernised/updated (if not, it has very limited general use and cannot be counted in a comparison)

The third step is to understand whether all forces of a country would be available in the potential theatre of confrontation/war (U.S. forces meant for the Pacific and in East Asia cannot be counted as NATO forces for European operations)

Numbers are not irrelevant if all things are equal: the equipment similar, crew standards were comparable, leadership and doctrine at same quality level and the situation symmetrical, however that is hardly ever the case, especially before extended fighting enhances harmonisation.

The initial part of the fourth and decisive step is to identify the number and availability of the force elements that should be counted as the main building stones of military power:
1) On land the relevant output to be counted is the number of basic army formations (brigades)
2) At sea the relevant output is the exercised potential for creating mixed naval task groups that are clearly balanced in composition for the analysed deployment area (with robust command-and-control systems, long range surveillance and warning, mine counter-measures, anti-submarine, long range anti-ship as well as appropriate air and missile defence systems)
3) The relevant air power element to be counted is the number of fully capable composite air combat wings that can be organised from the national air forces (with command-and-control, long range air-to-air, effective electronic and other means for suppressing enemy air defences and a mix of precision and area weapons against ground targets)

Your have to accept that the key to any sound analysis is to concentrate on the comparison of output in the form of fundamentally similar force elements available in the relevant potential theatre of conflict.

However, such a counting and comparison of the number of such force packages is not sufficient. The follow-on analysis is at least as essential and includes e.g. answering the questions that requires the professional insight that is ignored for very good reasons by “experts” that can’t have it:
1) Is the force element well-balanced for the mission? Does it have the necessary combat elements, flexible and robust command and control elements, indirect, long range fire systems with integrated reconnaissance elements (if surface forces), robust area and point air defence systems, engineer support (if land or air units), full and flexible logistic systems, and with resilience and redundancy created by personnel and equipment replacement systems. If not balanced, the force is only a facade usable for bluff.
2) Has the command cadre and the full units been exposed to a realistic and demanding, free-play training and exercise regime and the cadre thereafter been trimmed deliberately on the basis of practical performance to enhance quality? This may be quantified by counting the frequency, length and peace-time limitations of exercises ranging from fully scripted, one type, generic scenario, command post, computer supported exercises at one end of the spectre to unscripted, free-play troop exercises within changing mission scenarios and with deliberate elements bringing disruption of plans to increase friction and realism. Only the latter type of exercises can add significantly to force combat readiness.
3) Does the command philosophy encourage flexibility in execution?
4) Are one side’s forces deliberately handicapped in relation to availability of means (such as cluster ammunition, anti-personnel mines, thermobaric weapons)?
5) Are one side’s forces handicapped in the level of integration and range of indirect fire weapons?
6) Are one side’s forces handicapped by inferiority in key technical fields such as cyber warfare or electronic warfare (e.g. in the air defence/offensive air operations field)?

Even forces such as mechanised brigades that are more or less similar in manning, equipment and technological level can be fundamentally different in de facto capabilities. If one brigade has been through a rigorous, realistic two-year exercise programme and have weeded out inefficient leaders and other cadre and the other brigade has just maintained a peace-time activity level, the second formation simply does not have a military capability. It is just another waste of state funds.

It is important to accept that some forces cannot be directly included in the force comparison for a specific part of the potential conflict theatre such as large oceanic surface and submarine naval warfare units in the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and East European operational context. The same applies to the general nuclear forces of Britain, France, Russia and the U.S.

In the force comparison it is essential to accept that multinational land forces with mix at brigade or lower levels are as militarily ineffective as they may be effective as a symbol of political solidarity. Due to language, equipment and training differences and diplomatic politeness they must be considered military Potemkin Villages if the bluff is called.

One final element: In relation to land forces it is essential to underline the fundamental operational handicap of the defender.

Normally we think that a defending unit can defeat an attacking force 2-3 times as large. This, however, assumes that the attacker must attack frontally, that no side has a clear artillery advantage, and that neighbouring units are in place to prevent the defender being bypassed. If the Russians had to assume that NATO would and could act offensively, they would have no advantage, but Western Alliance political cohesion requires a defensive posture.

Mobile (mechanised) land combat forces do not have the mobility of air and naval forces to concentrate and engage the enemy where and when he emerges. With a couple of thousand kilometres of threatened sectors on the European eastern border, the side with the freedom to choose the time and places of invasion needs far fewer forces than the defender that have to screen all possible sectors and therefore will have significant forces deployed in sectors that prove to be irrelevant. A brigade or battalion can only screen a limited sector of threatened border and defend even less.

A platoon to company detachment blocking a road will be destroyed by artillery in minutes and only the quality of any obstacles will create delay. A well-equipped and led battalion with engineer elements, robust air defence and long range artillery support can hold a frontage of around five kilometres with one major road for some hours. If no neighbours, it will thereafter be forced to withdraw or be bypassed and destroyed. A brigade can cover 2-3 times that frontage and two major roads.

Even a two to one superiority in land forces will not ensure success for the reactive side on the eastern border. When part of these forces can be freed and arrive at the actual invasion, the invader is most likely to have the tactical defence advantage, meaning that the late arriving force of the defender will need a three-to-one superiority to succeed.

Martin van Creveld: Pussycats. Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West—and What Can Be Done About It

Martin van Creveld is with good reasons deeply worried that the West has let its ability to defend itself against land aggression deteriorate into deep rot.

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In this new book he brings together arguments from his extended academic production. The main focus is on the U.S. armed forces and especially the U.S. Army. From the 1982 Fighting Power: German and US Army performance, 1939-1945’ observation that he the number of combat stress syndrome cases depends on both the organisational culture and training and personnel administration system of the service and the attitudes and norms of the surrounding society. He both repeats and add nuances to his 2001 conclusions in Men, Women, and War, that an uncritical, formalistic-fundamentalist and ideologically driven gender equality policy in the organisation and manning of land combat forces will undermine the units’ ability to fight. Creveld also describes the effects of modern Western societies’ pampering the youth and protecting them from gaining protecting young people from learning. The toughness and quality of military forces is undermined due to incomprehension and rejection of their special character, which will make them ever less attractive to the most suitable young men. Finally he notes that “European and American societies, each in its own way, have come to give rights near-absolute priority over duty”. The combined result of all these choices, trends and time spirit elements is to change what used to be teams of “Wildcats” into loose groups of “Pussycats” that were without claws because of lack of funds.

What worries the reviewer is that Creveld’s analysis matches and may reinforce that of the current Russian leadership that has deliberately taken steps to reverse any similar, liberal development in the Russian society and armed forces and the view that NATO’s forces are Potemkin Villages populated by undertrained Pussycats without claws creates a fundamentally unstable situation in Europe.

What Creveld describes was to be expected. It happens every time a country and its army can believe that it does not have to defend the existence of its state.

This may be the case when somebody else promises to do the job, as was the case during the first decades of the Cold War, when we were told that air power plus nuclear deterrence would do the job without armies having to fight seriously.

It may also be the case if the army is allowed to believe that it is obvious common sense that historical experience has become irrelevant because peace in our time has broken out in our part of the world. This has been the case since the 1990s and has created the freedom to let the rot spread freely.
We could not count on the professional leaders to contain the development. Human beings are opportunistic, arrogant, ambitions plus intellectually superficial and lazy. Organizations are self-serving and conservative by nature.

During the Cold War army leaders quickly learnt the lingo from McNamara’s Whizz-boys that enhanced promotion chances, and in Vietnam success was measured in bodies. In our time we learnt the New Management Newspeak and removed professional substance from business plans.

Never happy with their profession because it is so unimpressively practical with little predictive theory, army leaders quickly change to any new fashion of the Emperor. This happened repeated in the always engineer, scientific-minded U.S. Army.

We only had three short period of intellectual dynamism in that service. Firstly then 1950s when the airborne generals James Gavin and Maxwell Taylor developed the air mobility and limited war options to become relevant under existential threat from the USAF. Gavin’s option was later revived by Robert Scales and Eric Shinseki in the 1990s when the USAF arrogance in the post-Gulf War decade a similar existential threat situation. Secondly around 1976-82 in the post-Vietnam War Revival when the army had to prepare for large scale intensive, non-nuclear battle for the first time since the Korean War. Finally under the threat of a humiliating defeat in 2005 in Iraq another airborne general, David Petraeus, developed Taylor’s late 1950s option.

Otherwise the U.S. Army has been opportunistic appeasement to fashions and buzzword-shitting. As Creveld notes, the USMC is always better. It is always under siege from the army.

With no risk of real land warfare, the service leadership become totally opportunistic, adopt the lingo of the time and of civilian academics, develop privileges, and let the army swim opportunistically in the fast shifting the domestic political fashion swamp, no matter the consequences for combat readiness.
In spite of the short time available, something similar even happened to the great Interwar Period French Army, and in 1939 the French and British Armies only had a few months to prepare for continental war, with the predictable results.

Creveld and the reviewer are military historians and therefore irrelevant until too late. The Western armies and their political masters will only learn in serious defeat that the armies should not be a disciplined testbeds for gender development of society, for lawyer power seeking, management fads or for political-science nonsense.

We can only be happy that this does not stop Martin van Creveld’s politically incorrect provocations.