Category Archives: Posts in English

On the accelerated Russian Military Build-up: the strategy history perspective

It happens in all fields:
* In the modernisation of large stocks of good late Cold War equipment to make them better than the majority of Western systems and less vulnerable to these.
* In massive exercises such as the current Zapad 2017.
* In the creation of new forward deployment bases.
* In the consolidation of ever more effective bastions in places such as Kaliningrad Oblast and Crimea.
* In the effective and self-critical lessons-learning from the Syrian experience.
* In the comprehensive testing of both strategic cyber warfare and tactical reconnaissance-strike systems in the Ukraine.
* In the creation of new large formation and the re-focusing of the conscript based reserve element to make the forces robust.
* In the creation of large heavy lift tank transporter units to make fast and flexible forward deployment possible.

The dynamic military reformer Nikolai Ogarkov, who tried to adjust to the Western Surge and his current successor Valery Gerasimov, who can benefit from a Russian military military reboot that has still not inspired the West to take the challenge seriously.

What Valery Gerasimov is doing now is similar to what Nikolai Ogarkov did during his years as General Staff Chief from 1977 to 1984 with his Operational Manoeuvre Group and enhanced readiness package: Not preparing for an inevitable war, but for a “Victory in Europe”-chance if war becomes inevitable or necessary for the state.

This is the key duty of any serious armed forces’ leader … in case the reader has forgotten.

The accelerated Gerasimov effort requires “full spectrum” preparations in all fields – geo-strategic, information, cyber warfare, conventional operational and logistic, etc. – as always built on the Military Doctrine’s scientific analysis of enemy’s and own developing strengths and weaknesses in all fields.

The correlation of forces is presently in Russia’s favour and shifting even further in that direction:

1) Compared to 35 years back, the U.S. armed forces are unable to maintain the number of units. The costs of replacing existing platforms and systems – especially but not only in the USN – have become prohibitively high. No matter what Trump does to change the trends by am increased Pentagon budget, he cannot find funds for approaching what Reagan and his Naval Secretary did then. The life extension potential for many platforms is limited, and the sums required for just maintaining all systems and reach what Russia has achieved since 2008 are staggering. Western catching-up with what has been lost in the last twenty years in the electronic warfare field and in high intensity warfare professionalism in officer command cadres may take a full decade (if we started, now which we don’t).

Unfortunately Gerasimov will not allow his navy to build a “luxury fleet” such as Gorshkov’s that might have triggered a bout of USN creativeness to maintain quantity at a “good enough” platform level rather than insisting on the prohibitively costly sublime.

2) The U.S. can no longer pull forces from the Pacific. It cannot concentrate to Europe and the Atlantic in the way in did after the Vietnam War. Now China is likely to take advantage of any concentration towards the east of the far more limited forces. The American situation is that of 1941-42.

3) Then the U.S. had far more militarily robust allies in Europe. It was before the German Armed Forces were reduced to under-trained remnants counting working hours waiting for weapon systems in various private workshops to prove willingness to out-sourcing/before the conventional British Forces dropped all focus and capabilities for conventional deterrence and fighting/before the French conventional Armed Forces lost the remaining ability beyond internal security at home and in the former colonies. Even smaller NATO member states had meaningful forces in the 1980s. That is no longer the case.

So where Ogarkov’s task was tough, Gerasimov’s is less so. However, both were limited by the lack of economic sustainability of his Military Doctrine. Ogarkov’s window of opportunity was closed in autumn 1983 and he was moved by Andropov’s frightened successor early the next year. If or when Gerasimov’s window is closing is an open question.

Putin’s physical and political health seems to be a good deal more robust than his predecessor Andropov’s was in autumn 1983.

So far NATO members have tried optimistically with some flimsy window dressing. Cannot do much more with the resources available.

A Simple Model for National Strategy Discourse

Just for information my latest fully “Clausewizian” version of a total strategy model … as a framework for understanding what has been missing in Western strategy making in a quarter century.

The original – more naïve – version below was used in my strategy and military doctrine development lecturing for many years. It had been developed three decades back from Général André Beaufre’s classical total strategy model.

Churchill as Leader of the Armed Forces in Peace and War

Sent to the Canadian friend and colleague, Professor Christopher M. Bell of Dalhousie University in Halifax, one of the current foremost scholars on Churchill (see his “Churchill & Sea Power” and his new “Churchill and the Dardanelles”):

I think I should send you this analysis summary because of our common fascination and attachment to the man. For me also because he had a key part in making sure that my country was liberated before I became 6 months old.

My reading of Churchill is influenced by my own background as light cavalry (hussar) officer, by my “conversion” to Clausewitzian due to my involvement as control reader and biographer in the translation of “On War” to Danish 32 years ago and by my personal involvement in political-military work both as official and as teacher at staff and war college levels, so I have a fair idea of how the political-professional “bridge” should work.

I have not made a general study of his work as leader. My work has be concentrated on:
• The first period as First Lord of the Admiralty until mid-autumn 1914 (an in-depth historical analysis). Have not studied the Dardanelles closely as you do in your new book because my focus has been on the alternative Baltic option.
• The period of Russian Interventions as Secretary of War and Air in 1919.
• The second period as First Lord with a focus on Scandinavia.
• His period as “Generalissimo” 1940-42 (as part of my teaching work using Churchill as an illustration of the Clausewitzian insight that a division between the political and military strategic fields is basically false and potentially dangerous rubbish (using Eliot A. Cohen’s book “Supreme Command” to provoke discussion).

My findings:
That Churchill kept being influenced by the profile, temper and understanding of a young cavalry officer: impatient, willing to take risks, admiration of impulsively aggressive rather than deliberate leaders (such as Keyes, Beatty, Bayly in my in-depth studied period).

The practical service limitation with no administrative and logistic staff experience reinforced his lack of understanding of and patience with the time and resource requirements of large operations. He found it hard to accept the limitations of insufficiently trained and led forces (Antwerp and Norway). He was temperamentally unsuited for deliberate strategies such as the late autumn 1912 Royal Navy War Plan.

However, when forced to learn from a tough reality, such as during his time at a Western Front battalion Commanding Officer, he proved both un-dogmatic pragmatism and leadership.

In the ability to work hard, to understand the political pressures on his office and to grasp “maybe potential” strategic opportunities, Churchill was unique, however his lack of patience with and understanding of the difficulty and complexity of deliberate implementation made him totally dependent on a robust and well led staff. So did his American-like continual search for technological silver bullets. This openness to new technical tools was an important strength, but it had to be staffed and harnessed to be an asset.

During the first period as First Lord he did not accept the need and only wanted to use the War Staff for the implementation of his orders. He saw little need for brilliant independent minds such as Ballard and (the arrogant) Richmond of the War Staff Operations Division and the level headed Chief of Staff Jackson and replaced them with more mediocre implementers such as their successors, Leveson and Sturdee.

After having purged the most capable and independently thinking staff officers, the self-confident and arrogant young politician had actually planned to be hailed and more or less approved as the de facto “Admiralissimo” at the late July Spithead Conference than had been moved from the Home Fleets’ Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Callagher’s flagship to the Admiralty Yacht, but the crisis led to the cancellation of the meeting. At the next chance in September, the newly appointed, robust Jellicoe could not be moved to offensive adventure beyond sending submarines on time-limited patrols to the Baltic Sea.

This is an area where Churchill clearly matured between the wars, even if the Norwegian Campaign could have benefited from better and more realistic joint staffing. Maybe he also accepted the limitations because Dudley Pound and he knew each other.

As “Generalissimo” he benefited from the robust interaction from a highly capable staff, which he normally accepted.

One very impressive and attractive element was Churchill’s full acceptance of the limitation of his power in the British parliamentary system. This, however, did not prevent him from making independent strategy when the Prime Minister left the field open (as Asquith in 1915) or was tired and defeatist (as Lloyd George in most of 1919).

Churchill was never a very good judge of character, probably because of his admiration for heroic types and because of the snobbery for royalty of his time, but in an extended direct interaction, he learned and made up his mind if he needed that specific officer as advisor (Ballard: No, Alanbrooke: Yes).

Churchill saw and used the need to be seen by the men of the various units, but he did not seem to have the knack for smelling the weakness and strength of the visited units and formation that comes with an extended professional military career. Therefore he failed to understand the fundamental problem of the 1940 French Army and his own British Army (that David French has underlined so clearly in “Raising Churchill’s Army”).

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 (, 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 (

And others suggested this conversation had been between two “friends” rather than just chiefs of state ( 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 ( and

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


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


The forward basing of symbolic NATO forces in the Baltics and elsewhere as agreed in Warsaw last summer 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 his 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.

(Finnish soldiers)

If we understood and accepted this and gathered the will to act accordingly, 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 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.


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.


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

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.

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.

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.