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.

Bornholm kan desværre ikke forsvares af luftværnsmissiler fra fregatterne

Liselotte Odgaard, Ph.D. er en med rette internationalt anerkendt Kinaspecialist med statskundskabsbaggrund. Hun er ansat på Forsvarsakademiet af den grund. Hun deltog i Folkemødet som privatperson, men hun udtalte sig her om Bornholms situation og forsvar som beskrevet i blogartikeltitlen.

Hun konstaterede muligvis i en uudsagt accept af den øgede trussel mod øen?, at skibsbaseret luftværn er mere “fleksibelt” end landbaseret og derfor en bedre løsning af øens forsvarsproblem. Hun synes ikke at forstå, at dette kun gælder indtil skibet er sænket af en torpedo, mine eller en byge sømålsmissiler. Det er alle umiddelbare muligheder ved en konfliktstart i farvandet ved Bornholm.

Odgaard har imidlertid aldrig beskæftiget sig med det her relevante taktisk-operativ-strategiske problemer. Det kræver dels kræver ajourført viden om våbenteknologi og hvordan kamp gennemføres, dels rutine i analyse af konkrete militære spørgsmål. Hun er som en dygtig skomager, der ikke er blevet ved sin læst. OK som borger i en ramme som Folkemødet, men ikke, hvis man udtaler sig som ekspert.

De fremragende danske fregatter, der desværre mangler penge til den nødvendige bevæbning. Skibe, der dog selv derefter ikke kan sikre Bornholm op til og under en åben konflikt om Baltikum.

Fregatterne diskuteres indgående i NATOs missilforsvar som en del af radardækningen. Det var, hvad der fik den russiske ambassadør til at true Danmark med kernevåben.

NATOs missilforsvar er designet mod iranske missiler, ikke mod russiske. Det er ikke muligt at forsvare Europa eller Danmark mod russiske ballistiske missiler, og det har aldrig været dette forsvars opgave.

Fregatterne kan og bør selvfølgelig udrustes med moderne luftværnsmissiler. Det er meningsløs at have store kostbare enheder, der både mangler besætninger og de nødvendige våben.

Problemet i forhold til Bornholms forsvar er imidlertidig, at heller ikke danske fregatter eller andre NATO-flådefartøjer nu kan gives effektive modmidler mod de supersoniske antiskibsmissiler, som russerne har udviklet og nu har placeret både på skibe, undervandsbåde og på landjorden i Kaliningrad. Og skibe kan let ses og derefter sænkes, hvis de ikke har meget effektive selvforsvarsvåben.

Og da disse våben dels er lettere at skjule end våbenplatforme på havet og dels er forsvaret af mobile både langt og kortrækkede nye luftværnsmissiler, som NATO ikke har modmidler mod, er det ikke holdbart at bygge Bornholms luftforsvar på skibe.

Måder for landbasering af de russiske sømålsmissiler, som Vesten efter oplysninger fra den amerikanske flåde ikke har modmidler mod.

Dette betyder, at heller ikke fregatterne vil kunne overleve øst for Bornholm. Et skib kan sænkes, det kan Bornholm ikke. De eneste flådefartøjer, der kunne bidrage til Bornholms forsvar, er undervandsbåde.

Allerede Søværnets første chef, den dybt respekterede viceadmiral Aage Vedel, konstaterede i sin Flaadeplan fra 1953, at kun undervandsbåde kunne overleve fremskudt i Østersøen. Men denne skibstype findes ikke længere i dansk forsvar, og selv om de skulle blive genindført, er kuptruslen mod Bornholm også helikopterbåren, og dem kan undervandsbåde ikke gøre noget ved.

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FE, der åbenbart fortsat rådgiver om forhold, som i 25 år gradvis er fravalgt som tjenestens kernekompentence. Det gør indtil korrektioner tjenesten ret irrelevant i forhold til den militære trussel og analysen hos vore naboer.

Det er også væsentligt for situationen – med bedømmelsen af at heller ikke Bornholm er truet – at forstå, at Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste ikke længere har den kombination af Ruslandsekspertise, militære analyseevne og varslingsfokus, som man havde under Den Kolde Krig.

De nye opgaver, som man har bemandet og organiseret tjenesten til at løse, er primært knyttet til eksterne terrortrusler mod Danmark og mod danske soldater på internationale operationer.

Det vil tage mange år at genetablere den tidligere kapacitet, og nok også nødvendigt igen lade en officer overtage chefsstillingen for at sikre en konsolidering af fokus.

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Den argumentation mod en genskabelse af et forsvar af Bornholm er stærkt præget af den overfladiske og ukritiske argumentationsform, der præger diskussionen af militære spørgsmål. Det er sket efter, at amatører har overtaget tomrummet efter de bedste af de 150-200 danske officerer, jeg har givet videregående professionsuddannelse. De har åbenbart ikke gidet at holde sig ajour og udfylde den rolle, de blev forberedt til.

For det første ignorer amatører, der kalder sig militære eksperter, at det, den ene part i en konfrontation gør, vil blive forsøgt imødegået af modparten. Man kan ikke stille modparten skakmat ved et smart træk. Man må åbent og selvkritisk tænke og “spille” alle de mulige forløb igennem ud fra en viden om alle parter. Fokus skal herunder samtidig spænde helt fra deres strategiske, dvs. politisk-militære beslutningsproces, til, ned til, hvad enhederne og deres våbensystemer kan og ikke kan.

For det andet overser amatører, at man i sine beslutninger må regne med fysiske og andre angreb på den valgte løsning både efter fjendtlighederne er indledt og før dette. Jo mere åbent, synligt og derfor fristende sårbart, man optræder, desto større er risikoen for ødelæggende tab, efter det tidspunkt, hvor den aktive side i konfrontationen har valgt at tage risikoen for en åben konflikt.

For det tredje anvender amatører positivt lydende ord som “fleksibilitet” i forventning om, at det fortryller og lammer kritisk tænkning hos lyttere og læsere på samme måde, som det åbenbart har ramt dem selv. Her betyder ordet “fleksibilitet”, at luftværnsmissilerne på skibe kan sejle rundt i verden og ikke er henvist til at stå i Danmark helt unyttige, når angrebet sandsynligvis ikke kommer. Lyder godt, hvis man ignorerer, at den kedelige placering i en del af Danmark netop har til formål at forebygge, at det bliver nødvendigt at anvende systemerne.

Kritisk tænkning kan betyde, at man forstår, at nogle af disse missiler må forventes at være på værft, andre måske hæmmet af havari på anden del af skibet, andre igen langt fra Bornholm på det tidspunkt, hvor de skal anvendes her, da netop “fleksibiliteten” også gør det attraktivt at anvende fregatterne langt væk fra Østersøen, også i roller, hvor luftværnsmissilerne er irrelevante.

Også mobile luftværnssystemer på land er sådan set fleksible, da de ikke er placeret i beton, og når radaren ikke er aktiv er de langt mindre synlige og sårbare samt mindre komplekse og udgiftskrævende end skibene.

Luftværnssystemer på land er fleksible i den strategisk-operative forstand, at man eksempelvis kan placere et andet batteri fra luftværnsafdelingen end det på Bornholm placerede fremskudt i en truet del af Baltikum til beskyttelse af danske og andre allierede styrker.

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.

Søgning af materiale om den spiondømte Harry Lembourn fra hans efterkommere

Billedet viser kaptajn Harry Lembourn (som premierløjtnant). Han blev i eftersommeren 1928 blev arresteret lige syd for landegrænsen og derefter straffet med fængsel for at være fransk spion. Det skete sandsynligvis, fordi de tyske myndigheder samme sommer af en (ukorrekt) agentrapport var blevet overbevist om, at Danmark var ved at indgå en aftale med Frankrig og Polen om militært og efterretningssamarbejde, og Berlin ønskede at sende en advarsel til København.

Det, som Lembourn blev dømt for, var at undersøge tyske brud på Versailles-fredstraktatens bestemmelser mod tysk genoprustning. I København så man meget alvorligt på den handling, som kaptajnen blev dømt for, og hvor man derfor ikke gennemførte en selvstændig analyse af sagen. Man så sagen som et pinligt ansigtstab over for den store nabo, der var ved at genopbygge sin militære magt, og hvor grupper nu anfægtede 1920-grænsen.

Danmark hævnede sig på Lembourn ved ikke alene at afskedige ham, men også ved at fratage ham hans pension ved lov. Det skete på trods af den ledende juridiske rådgiver, Generalauditør Victor Pürschels, påpegning af, at Lembourns ret til pension var blevet stadfæstet ved Højesteret i en tilsvarende sag omkring 40 år tidligere.

Gang på gang efter sin frigivelse skrev Lembourn til de danske myndigheder om at få ændret beslutningen, herunder til danske statsministre, men selv efter Befrielsen var det forgæves, indtil statsminister H.C. Hansen personligt intervenerede i slutningen af 1950’erne. Lembourn nåede at få omkring ét års pension, før han døde.

Jeg er nu gået i gang med et bogprojekt om den tragiske sag på grundlag af det omfattende materiale fra offentlige arkiver, herunder de mere end 800 sider i Krigsministeriets personsager. Men da det ikke mindst var familien, der reddede Lembourn igennem resten af hans liv, søger jeg efterkommere, der måtte ligge inde med billeder, breve, dagbøger o.a.

Hans fars registerkort.

Hele forløbet viser, hvordan et godt, velbegavet, idealistisk, retlinet – men politisk naivt – menneske bliver ofret i det lille Danmarks skift fra en de facto fransk-engelsk-allieret sikkerheds- og forsvarspolitik til en politik, hvor man efter ganske få år proaktivt vender tilbage til en principløs tilpasningspolitik over for Tyskland.

Da situationen med Tysklands nederlag i 1945 ændres, betyder dette dog ikke, at bureakratiet ændrer opfattelse; for embedsmænd tager ikke fejl og lader jo aldrig deres beslutninger bestemme af politisk opportunisme. Derfor er der ikke behov for at lave beslutninger om.

Næstældste klasse på Hærens Officersskole 1911-13, dvs. uddannelsen til linjeofficer. Her er Lembourn markeret. Han bestod som holdets nummer to. Herudover er markeret den narcissistiske og uduelige Alex Thaarup, der var en af hovedpersonerne i min og Bernadette Preben-Hansens Bondefanget til Borgerkrigen. Det danske korstog til ærkeenglen Michaels by.

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.

With the Leukemia of Lies in the Blood

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We are being exposed to classical campaign of misinformation and deliberate lies meant to undermine both national political effectiveness by radicalisation and the ability to cooperate in Europe and with the Americans. Classical in the sense that it mirrors what the Bolsheviks did in the 1920s, the Nazists did in the 1930s, the North Vietnamese did from the later 1960s and what Islamists have done to our Muslim minorities the last quarter century.

Accelerating with Russia’s Crimea coup invasion and her creation of a Ukrainian bleeding ulcer in the Donbass, the West and especially Europe became exposed to a both massive and flexible campaign that uses both the traditional media and the opportunities created by the internet and social media.

The campaign is both supplemented and supported by direct political and when possible economic support to radical nationalists and brother semi-Fascists such France’s Marine le Pen, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Greece’s “Golden Dawn“, opportunistic power-seekers as Donald Trump, normal separatists such as the Scottish National Party and anti-American old-leftists as Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn.

The point here is to argue why the campaign is so effective.

The first reason that the Post-Modern part of our academic elite that grew out of the radical left-wing intellectual movement of the 1970s rejected and successfully abolished the national and common Western narratives of The Second World War and the Cold War. The narratives had nourished the development of the EU and kept the Western Alliance together during the extreme stress of the early 1980s. What followed was a loss of a common moral history and an open-minded emphasis that all views and narratives had equal and legitimate value. There were no real fact, positions were academic constructions. There no longer existed a common framework of reference. Putin and Lavrov were probably as right as everybody else, and it is legitimate to agree with them without any seeking an irrelevant and elusive “truth“.

The second reason is derived from the first. History is no longer a warning of what might happen if we act stupidly. Global Warning is seen as certain if we do not act now, but progress and common sense is considered to mean that we have learnt that international war between will never happen again, at least not in Europe. Not only will war not happen, but our leaders agree the only problems we may meet are those of recent years: a temporary collapse of economic growth due to unrestricted greed, some terror that is not likely to hit you personally and masses of migrants. With the loss of history comes the loss of ability and will see and address awkward painful “hypothetical” developments such as the likelihood that the egoistic departure from cooperation in the EU would lead to the erosion of the the obvious benefits all have enjoyed.

As all will be OK no matter how stupidly and uninformed we act, there is no real reason not to keep our open-minded and liberal attitude to lies and misinformation. Aren’t lies and misinformation just words?

Even if the EU erodes, benefits must remain. Surely?

Even if Great Britain exits with Putin’s support, Scotland will remain to enjoy the more free rule from London. Right?

Even if Scotland leaves with Russian encouragement, Rump Britain will somehow remain as a military power, at least until Old Labour takes over with Russian blessing. Certainly?

By a miracle NATO must survive and Russia be prevented from exploiting the regression into the situation of the late 19th Century?

And there can be no regression into something as anachronistic as international war. Definitely?

My only problem is that logics and sense of history makes me unable to see how. So maybe its a good idea to return to a less relativistic concept of truth.

ostrich