Bill Lind on Syria Reply

I concur.

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

The latest cruise missile caracole aimed at Syria was militarily meaningless.  A few empty buildings were destroyed, residents of Damascus and Homs lost a couple hours of sleep and honor was satisfied.  The only thing missing was Handel’s Musick for the Royal Fireworks

What was not trivial was that America once again fell into its besetting policy of sacrificing the strategic level to the tactical.  Strategically, we need an alliance with Russia and we need to restore the state in Syria.  When someone, probably not the Syrian government, launched a minor tactical attack that may or may not have used chemical weapons we immediately forgot our strategic goals and interests and fired off some missiles.  This is the response of a spoiled child, not a serious nation.

As I have pointed out before, a rule of war is that a higher level trumps a lower.  No matter how brilliant your tactical performance, if you lose operationally, you lose.  You can win repeatedly at the tactical and operational levels, as Germany did in both World Wars, but if you lose strategically, you lose.  It follows that one of the most elementary errors in statecraft is sacrificing a higher level to a lower.  And the U.S. does it time and time again.

In this case, part of the reason for the idiocy was the dreaded words, “chemical weapons!”  Chemical weapons, which used to be called poison gas, are now considered a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” like nuclear weapons.  This is historical nonsense.

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The World’s Five Military Empires Reply

Really just the USA, with the UK, France, Russia and China as minor leaguers.

By Frank Jacobs

BigThink.Com

Despite talk of American decline, the U.S. still is the world’s only superpower – if by that you mean: the country with by far the biggest military footprint throughout the world.

These maps, produced at the end of last year by the Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research (SIPER), show the geographic distribution of foreign military bases for five countries with some of the largest defence budgets (1) in the world.

The United States spent $611 billion on its defence in 2016. According to this map, that kind of money buys you a military presence on every inhabited continent of the world. According to SIPER, the U.S. has 587 bases in a total of 42 other countries, in addition to 4,154 bases on its own territory, plus 114 bases in U.S. overseas territories.

In the Americas, it’s easier to list the countries where the U.S. military is not present: Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica in Central America; Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay in South America; and Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic (and, to be fair, most of the region’s island nations) in the Caribbean. And yes, despite the decades of hostility with Cuba, the U.S. does maintain a base there: Guantanamo.

Same thing for Europe: listing the countries without an American military presence is easier – and more instructive: Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Finland: all neutral countries, outside NATO. Serbia and Montenegro: the former enemy from the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. And of course Russia, and its satellite Belarus. A few decades ago this would have sounded surreal, but there are now American troops in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Albania.

In Africa, the American military has a presence across the entire north, from Morocco to Egypt (and including Libya); in a few west African nations, including Burkina Faso and Niger; and in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Remarkable: the cluster of countries in the Horn of Africa with U.S. military presence, from former no-go area Somalia all the way to war-torn South Sudan. Noticeable absence: central Africa.

Also: pretty much the entire Middle East, except Syria and Lebanon. And Iran, if you include that country in the region. But again in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. If you were China, would that not feel like a link in the chain of U.S. military encirclement? That chain also includes Australia, South East Asia – from Indonesia all the way up to Vietnam and Laos – the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.

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71% of young Americans don’t quality for military because they’re fat and unhealthy: report Reply

Good. Maybe this will be a deterrent to more stupid wars.

American Military News

According to a recent report by the Heritage Foundation, nearly three-quarters of young Americans are ineligible to serve in the United State military.

Factors affecting eligibility include health problems, criminal records or poor education, and the lack of potential enlistments may hinder any plans in beefing up America’s armed forces.

Citing Pentagon data, Americans who are ages 17 to 24 who do not qualify for the military pose an “alarming” threat to national security and risk derailing President Donald Trump’s plan to strengthen a depleted military.

More…

Rebel Yell Interviews Martin Van Creveld 1

 Listen here. This is a good score. Hats off to the guys at Rebel Yell.

Rebel Yell 20180224 307: Martin van Creveld, As He Pleases

This is Rebel Yell – a Southern Nationalist podcast of the Alt-Right. I’m your host Musonius Rufus. Joining me are my cohosts Mencken’s Ghost and Ryan McMahon. For our 88th episode of Rebel Yell, Mencken and I speak to Dr. Martin van Creveld, the famous military theorist. Here is his blog.

Image result for martin van creveld

Image result for martin van creveld

Trump’s National Defense Strategy Has the Pentagon Popping Champagne Reply

Once again, the way the system actually works is demonstrated. All major policy decisions involving international relations and economics are based on the general consensus of the dominant factions of the power elite. This consensus reflects the prevailing views of the power elite concerning the assessment of their own interests.  Individual presidents are merely administrators whose role is to implement policies that are largely predetermined. The Trump administration is the Obama administration is the Bush administration.

By Andrew Bacevich

The American Conservative

Here’s what we can say about the Trump administration’s just-released National Defense Strategy: it’s not a strategy and its subject is not defense.

Bearing the imprimatur of Pentagon chief James Mattis, the NDSat least the unclassified summary that we citizens are permitted to see—is in essence a brief for increasing the size of the U.S. military budget. Implicit in the document is this proposition: more spending will make the armed forces of the United States “stronger” and the United States “safer.” Simply put, the NDS is all about funneling more bucks to the Pentagon.

Remarkably, the NDS advances this argument while resolutely avoiding any discussion of what Americans have gotten in return for the $11 trillion (give or take) expended pursuant to the past 16-plus years of continuous war—as if past performance should have no bearing on the future allocation of resources.

Try this thought experiment. The hapless Cleveland Browns went winless this year. How might Browns fans react if the team’s management were to propose hiking ticket prices next season? Think they might raise a ruckus?

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A New Poll Shows the Public Is Overwhelmingly Opposed to Endless US Military Interventions Reply

This is great news in that it really does place the general public at odds with the ruling class. One of the most important and successful political movements in US history was the anti-Vietnam War/anti-draft movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The long range effect of the movement was to delegitimize both imperialist war and the draft to the degree that there is no real popular support for either. The draft is not politically viable, and the state has been forced to fight imperialist war with professional soldiers, proxy forces, mercenaries, and technology. The US public will not accept war if it requires any sacrifices on their side such as high casualties, conscription, war taxes, rationing, etc. Even after the Pearl Harbor-level massacre on September 11, 2001 war fever soon died as casualties on the US side reached the low thousands.

Additionally, the imperialist forces now have what amounts to an 0-6 record over the past 50 years in terms of losses in fourth generation warfare (Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria). The US has now largely retreated from Latin America with democratization, liberalization and economic development now emerging in Latin America now that the US is no longer propping up right-wing military dictatorships. Hopefully, the same process will begin in the Middle East eventually, particularly with the rise of regional counterpower in the form of Russia, China, and the Shia block. The Russians saved Syria from ISIS, and the Chinese have helped to develop Africa economically to the point where the average income in some African regions has increased nearly 20 times in the past 20 years. Hopefully, a similar developmental process will emerge in the Middle East as well.

By James Carden

The Nation

Recent Troops in Afghanistan

Last week, the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy—a bipartisan advocacy group calling for congressional oversight of America’s lengthy list of military interventions abroad—released the results of a survey that show broad public support for Congress to reclaim its constitutional prerogatives in the exercise of foreign policy (see Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution) and for fewer US military interventions generally. Undertaken last November by J. Wallin Opinion Research, the new survey revealed “a national voter population that is largely skeptical of the practicality or benefits of military intervention overseas, including both the physical involvement of the US military and also extending to military aid in the form of funds or equipment as well.”

Bill Dolbow, the spokesman for the Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy, said, “We started this initiative to give a voice to the people and the people have spoken—Congress needs to enact more oversight before intervening in conflict abroad.”

The headline findings show, among other things, that 86.4 percent of those surveyed feel the American military should be used only as a last resort, while 57 percent feel that US military aid to foreign countries is counterproductive. The latter sentiment “increases significantly” when involving countries like Saudi Arabia, with 63.9 percent saying military aid—including money and weapons—should not be provided to such countries.

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Getting Grand Strategy Wrong Reply

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

One of the iron laws of warfare is that a higher level dominates a lower. You can be brilliant tactically, but if you are defeated operationally, you lose. You can win tactically and operationally, but if you get beaten strategically, you lose. And if you get your grand strategy wrong, you lose no matter how well you did at the lower three levels. The German Army was the best in the world for almost eighty years, but Germany lost both World Wars because its grand strategy was terrible.

Having failed to copy tactical and operational excellence, we now appear instead to be imitating Berlin when it comes to grand strategy. The new national security strategy published by the White House on December 18 is a disaster. The strategy it recommends was obsolete before the ink was dry.

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Can A Libertarian Society Provide National Defense? Reply

A former military officer weighs in.

By Zack Sorenson

Libertarian Institute

A recent Tom Woods podcast featured a debate about whether the free market can provide for national defense.

Arguing that libertarian society can offer defense “services”, Bob Murphy relies on the idea of insurance paying the costs of defense.

Arguing that a monopoly state should offer these services, Todd Lewis points out numerous historical examples in which government organized national defense is seemingly necessary.

I dislike this kind of discussion in general.  My feeling is that there shouldn’t be such a thing as any kind of organized, politically driven, violence.  The idea of private armies is as horrifying as the idea of a giant state army.  However, this issue is obviously relevant, and worth addressing.  I’m just going to address different issues in no particular order.

First, Todd Lewis mentions the Sengoku Jidai (“feudal” Japan), and also the Roman civil war between Marius and Sulla.  He argues that these are examples of “private” defense, where mercenaries for hire end up fighting brutal wars that devastated each country.  I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about.

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Murphy 1, Shoguns 0 Reply

A specialist on Japanese military history weighs in on the Lewis-Murphy debate on private defense services.

Regarding my recent debate on the Tom Woods Show with Todd Lewis–regarding private defense–I got the following email (permission to reprint):

Dr. Murphy,

Following your recent debate with Todd Lewis I felt motivated to write the following based on my experience of living in Japan and studying its martial history for over 24 years.

Best regards,


Tim Haffner

==============================​​

Why Japan’s Sengoku period does not support monopoly security provision and actually makes the case for the private production of defense:

1. Feudal Japan was a peasant-based agrarian economy overseen by samurai landlords enforcing law and securing territory, ostensibly at least, on behalf of the emperor. Controlling land and the agriculture products yielded from the peasant farmers was essential to power. Taxation and trade were denominated in units of rice bushels. Modes of production, means of commerce, and centers of power have changed significantly since that time. One must be careful and selective when comparing pre-industrial revolution societies with modern theories of political-economy.

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China and Russia Train for War with U.S. if Trump Invades North Korea 1

The withering away of the antiwar movement during the Obama era, and the failure of the Left to oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to strengthen the position of the Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabi axis (or to even take notice) indicates that US imperialism will have to be defeated externally rather than internally. This will be achieved by a combination of ongoing military defeats by fourth generation warfare forces, and the rise of counter power on a geopolitical level. On the former point, the US is now 0-5 in the 4GW conflicts that have been fought over the last quarter century (Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria). Meanwhile, the “triangular resistance” of the BRICS, Shia-led Resistance Block, and the Global South is rising to create a multipolar rather than unipolar world. The US has largely retreated from Latin America, and will gradually do the same in Asia and Africa in the future.

By Tom O’Connor

Newsweek

China and Russia may be devising a plan to attack U.S. forces in the event of an imminent war breaking out on the neighboring Korean Peninsula, according to two former military officials.

Lieutenant General Wang Hongguang, the former deputy commander of the western Nanjing Military Region, warned “the war on the Korean Peninsula might break out anytime between now and March next year”; his comments came during a conference hosted Saturday by ruling Communist Party newspaper The Global Times. The following day, the nationalist outlet expanded on the retired general’s remarks with insight from Chinese military expert, commentator and author Song Zhongping, who said China could potentially engage U.S. forces if they posed a threat.

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Debate: Can the Free Market Provide National Defense? 5

This is a great discussion between Todd Lewis and Bob Murphy about the viability of non-state/private “national defense” services. I have an old essay about this topic here.


Economist Bob Murphy (Ph.D., NYU) and podcaster Todd Lewis square off in the central debate of anarcho-capitalism: is government truly necessary for national defense, or could the free market provide this service?

Neocons Seek War with Iran, Ethic Cleansing of Palestinians Reply

As a I have long suspected.

William S. Lind

Traditional Right

Those of us who supported President Trump in last year’s election because he promised a less interventionist foreign policy need to be aware of a rising danger.  Neo-con influence in the Trump administration seems to be on the increase.  Rumored high-level personnel changes could put neo-cons into key foreign policy positions.  Just as their neo-con predecessors led President George W. Bush into the disastrous Iraq war, a gift that keeps on giving, so today’s neo-cons want a war with Iran.

The obvious question is, how could anyone be so stupid?  War with Iran is a lose-lose proposition.  If the Iranians defeat us, we lose.  If we defeat them, we also lose because there is a high probability the Iranian state would disintegrate and Iran would become another stateless region.  That would be a huge victory for our real enemies, Islamic non-state entities such as Al Qaeda and ISIS that wage Fourth Generation war. 

The neo-cons refuse to see this because they are playing another game, a game driven by the misconceived interests of a foreign power.  To put it bluntly, many influential neo-cons are part and parcel of Israel’s Likud party.  Years ago, around the beginning of the George W. Bush administration, they helped Likud devise a strategy for Israel.  That strategy called for the United States to destroy every Middle Eastern state that could be a threat to Israel.  That was why the neo-cons pushed the Bush administration into war with Iraq.

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A Future Global War between States and Non-State Actors? 1

Bill Lind’s analysis of the emerging world order is absolutely correct. If I were a statist, I would be taking the exact same position as Bill Lind, i.e. that the main threat that states now face is not each other but the rise of  non-state actors and fourth generation warfare forces. The difference is that Bill, being a Hobbesian conservative, is rooting for the statists while I, as an anarchist, am rooting for “the other side.” It is easy enough to envision a future, more radical version of the Non-Aligned Movement of the kind proposed by the International Secessionary Movement, representing a global alliance of startup societies, waging a common insurgency against the emerging global imperial system.

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

As President Trump knows well, he has not been very successful in getting the measures he wants through Congress.  One way to improve his chances of doing so is to change the context.

Relations with Russia provide an example.  The president knows our hostility towards Russia makes no sense.  Communism has fallen, we have no interests that should lead us to oppose Russia and Russia is resuming her 19th century role as the most conservative of the great powers.  Russia should be our ally, not our enemy. 

The Washington establishment wants a hostile relationship with Russia because it is still thinking in the context of a world of states in conflict.  Any other powerful state (including China) that does not bow to American hegemony must be seen as an enemy.  The purpose of all the clucking and squawking about the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia is to scare the administration away from improving relations with Moscow.  Unfortunately, that trick seems to be working. 

But what if the administration responded by changing the context?  President Trump could easily explain to the American people that the real threat we face is not any other state (except perhaps North Korea) but “terrorism” (really 4GW) from non-state entities, of which ISIS is only one.  To beat the terrorists, we need an alliance with Russia and China, because they are the other two great powers.  In fact, that alliance would only be the beginning.  We should work with Moscow and Beijing to create an alliance of all states against violent non-state entities.  If we want a relatively peaceful, ordered, and safe 21st century, that is what we have to do.    

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No Foreign Policy is Good Foreign Policy 3

Anarcho-Dictator

Instead of a Blog

Positing for a moment the existence of a national state after the American revolutionary war, what should its attitude toward foreign lands be? I believe the answer is “none.”

Jefferson had no business conducting operations against the British in the War of 1812, nor against the Barbary Pirates. Though it may have escaped the notice of the Empire of Liberty’s spiritual architect, neither the Atlantic Ocean nor the shores of Tripoli are within the boundaries of the 13 colonies. What happens to people abroad – even Americans – is no business of the Feds. When Americans go abroad to do business, to fight revolutions, or to plunder natives the burden is upon themselves and the national governments of those regions to protect them. The American tax-payer or soldier has no obligation to defend the adventures of some bootlegger, nor does the American Federal Government have jurisdiction over them.

The national state should have no attitude toward the legitimacy of foreign states – it should neither recognize nor criticize them. In their public life, the duty of politicians is to sit down and shut the fuck up. Their opinions are not sought, nor relevant. They are to behave, in every way possible, as soulless automatons who are only due to come online when the specifically granted constitutional powers are invoked. When it is unclear, the bias should be toward inactivity.

Commerce with foreign nations – including the sale of heavy munitions – should be entirely within the sphere of private citizens. Likewise, the importation of arms in the United States – arms of any sort whatsoever – are no business of the Federal government. If US citizens wish to travel abroad as pirates, mercenaries, and revolutionaries the Federal government shall take no notice of this – nor shall they be responsible to extradite him for any crimes allegedly committed outside of its jurisdiction.

The sole, proper use of the money and military forces at the disposal of the Federal government (in this hypothetical scenario) would be to prevent the physical invasion by foreign armies against the constituent states. Beyond that, they have no ambit of operation, and can not draw upon one penny of the public funds either to support or undermine any foreign regime.

The Hezbollah Model Wins Reply

The model that all anarchists and anti-statists need to be studying. One of our objectives should be to develop non-state political and militia confederations that will usurp many of the functions currently provided by states, with the goal of eventually superseding states.

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

When we think of ISIS’s enemies, we usually list religions other than Islam, Islamics who reject Sunni puritanism, local states, Western states and so on.  But from the perspective of Fourth Generation war theory, ISIS’s most important competition may be with Hezbollah.  These two Islamic Fourth Generation entities represent two different models of 4GW.  Hezbollah’s model hollows out the state where it is based but leaves it standing.  The ISIS model does away with the state and creates a replacement in the form of a caliphate, which is a pre-state type of government.  (Ironically, the ultra-puritan ISIS proclaimed a caliphate that, under Islamic law, is illegitimate, because the legitimate caliph is still the head of the house of Osman; the Ottoman sultan was also a caliph). 

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The Largest Military Machine in History Reply

Last night, the Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual increase in military spending. Trump had asked for just $48 billion.

That $80 billion increase in military spending is enough to have satisfied Bernie Sanders’s campaign promise to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. (You may recall that when Bernie announced his proposal critics from both parties said the idea would bankrupt the country.)

If the Senate’s military package becomes law, U.S. spending on the military would exceed the total spending of America’s next 10 rivals put together.

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No, It’s Not the Troops Fault 1

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It is politically inappropriate and strategically counter productive to merely denounce rank and file members of the military as hired goons for the state. One of the most important political occurrences that happened in US history was the success of the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the consequent delegitimization of imperialist wars and military conscription. This success has reduced the US state, the most powerful state in history, to having to fight imperialist wars with armies of indentured servants, mercenaries, and proxy forces. The indentured servants that comprise the state’s official armed forces are largely generated by the economic draft which results from the ongoing impoverishment of poor and working class communities. That’s the reason why the US armed forces are both disproportionately minorities and disproportionately from white working class strongholds like the Rust Belt. The bottom line is that we need our vets for the revolution.