March 24, 2014

Righteous and Unrighteous Power

Commentary for 24 March 2014

India in 1962 offers a distant mirror of the present time. Think of Crimea today as if it were Tibet in 1959. A conflict arises after the invasion and annexation of territory. The aggressor’s position is subjected to active subversion, yet the aggressor’s ongoing military buildup is not taken seriously. His aggression is not matched with equal force. A military clash follows in which the aggressor defeats and punishes the interference of democracy.    

The recently revealed “TOP SECRET” Indian Defense Review of the 1962 Chinese military attack on India begins, appropriately, with a quote from Sun Tzu about knowing yourself and knowing your enemy. The review describes preliminary signs of a Chinese push towards India in terms of “aggressive Chinese action at LONGJU in NEFA in August, 1959, and at KONGKALA in LADAKH in October, 1959.” The Indian generals recognized that “these two incidents vividly heralded that the might of CHINA had arrived in TIBET….” Truth be told, India was giving aid and comfort to the oppressed Tibetan people. China could not tolerate this situation for long, and was determined to teach India a lesson. 

At first the Indian generals imagined they were threatened by a mere Chinese regiment near LADAKH.  Later the threat at LADAKH “was estimated to be over a division including armor….” The Indian Defense Review stated, “… the Chinese buildup … [was] three times … what it was in 1959, [while] ours was negligible due to shortage of logistics support.” Indian intelligence reports showed that Chinese strength was continually increasing from 1959 – 1962. The Indian side failed to ready itself, despite visible Chinese preparations. On 2 November 1961, less than a year before the Chinese launched their attack, the Indian Prime Minister’s office scheduled a meeting to discuss the situation. Present at this meeting were the Defense Minister, Foreign Secretary, and Chief of the Army Staff, and the Director of Intelligence Bureau [DIB]. According to the review, “It appears that the DIB was of the opinion that ‘the Chinese would not react to our establishing new posts and that they were NOT LIKELY TO USE FORCE AGAINST ANY OF OUR POSTS EVEN IF THEY WERE IN A POSITION TO DO SO.’ (in capitals for emphasis).”

The assessment of India’s Director of Intelligence Bureau was “contrary to the military intelligence appreciation, as brought out in the CONCLUSION of Army headquarters Annual Intelligence Review – China-Tibet, 1959-1960 (Annexure 9); which clearly indicated that the Chinese would resist by force any attempts to take back territory held by them.” The Indians were determined to shore up their border and prevent a further Chinese land-grab. They even envisioned a gradual pushback against the Chinese outposts. In the words of the report, “The [Indian] policy virtually intended the establishing of posts to dominate the Chinese positions in occupied areas of LADAKH. Thus, in effect, it could mean our eventual domination of the AKSAI CHIN Highway. In fact, Army Headquarters did reflect this in a letter in which it was stated ‘In pursuance of recent orders from Government, it was proposed to establish certain posts in AKSAI CHIN and in other parts of LADAKH….”

As it happened, Prime Minister Nehru of India had been warned of the danger of a military clash but refused to increase military spending and did not see any reason to prepare for war. The Chinese, on their side, were contemptuous of Indian weakness. How did the Indians dare to send agents into Tibet for purposes of subverting Communist rule? Did they imagine their own border was secure from China? Nehru believed that China wouldn’t risk an attack. Besides, a border clash might lead to assistance from the Americans or the Russians. Surely the Chinese didn’t want Nehru aligning himself with Moscow! (Or did they?) The poor Indian Prime Minister did not understand the Chinese, and he certainly did not understand the Russians. It is unsurprising, therefore, that in October 1962 the Indian Army suffered defeat at the hands of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. 

In those days the Chinese government was led by a psychopath named Mao Zedong. He is famous for causing more political murders than anyone in history. 

However we might applaud India’s pro-active approach to Chinese aggression against Tibet, we cannot applaud the assumption that righteousness is all-in-all sufficient. One might wish that India had prevailed over China in the region. But ask yourself: What is righteous indignation worth at the end of the day? In fact, you cannot stop an army without an opposing army. And all things being equal, the larger and better-equipped army wins the day. In 1939 and 1940 the world was given a demonstration of this principle; namely, that righteous weakness is worse than stupidity. Giving ultimatums to a dictator without sufficient military strength is criminally irresponsible in its own right. What does the statesman imagine? The wages of military weakness are well known. And so are the wages of economic vulnerability, energy dependence, and financial indebtedness. 

I am very sorry to deny the existence of a political Santa Claus, or a non-aggression Easter Bunny, but the Allies only won World War II because they finally created superior military forces with which to stop the Germans and Japanese. The United States and NATO, after decades of weakening, are acting toward Russia today as the Indians acted in Tibet. They are pushing on Russia, subverting Russia’s position in Ukraine, without giving sufficient weight to the fact that Russia has the most modern nuclear forces on the planet and Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas. That is to say, we are threatening Russia with an unloaded gun; and that is dangerous, because Russia’s gun is loaded. As the example of India in 1962 shows, those who play at war without serious preparations are headed for defeat. In practical terms, we should have bombers in the air as Russia does. We should be matching them division for division. But we cannot do this because we believed in the “peace dividend” which we have spent. And we had conservative politicians like Newt Gingrich, who famously said, “I am a hawk. But I am a cheap hawk.”  

Take the concerns over Pentagon weakness expressed by South Korea as a case in point (see the 21 March Washington Times headline, S. Korea worries over Pentagon’s budget woes.) If the new Air Force tanker program is $1 billion over budget, where will the money come from when every penny is going to Obamacare? Meanwhile the U.S. Army is slated to become smaller than at any time since before World War II. Is this the vibrant U.S. military that Europe is depending on during a crisis? Is this the Air Force that will allow Japan to prevail over China?

The Ukraine situation is noteworthy for one reason: First and foremost, Russia is mobilizing for war in plain view. Russia has loaded bombers with nukes and is keeping bombers on patrol over the Arctic. Several weeks ago the Russians turned on their phased array radars (See The Russian Woodpecker Returns). Both of these moves are pre-war WW3 moves. At the same time Moscow is positioning troops on its western frontiers. So far NATO has sent a token number of aircraft and troops forward, but America has not put bombers on alert or nukes into the air. No equivalent of the Russian Woodpecker has been activated on the American side.

We should consider that in a mobilization of this kind (taking place in Russia) the Russians are looking to see if we are willing to match their deployments. So far our reaction is weak and therefore an encouragement to aggression. The top Russian generals will be very happy, saying to President Putin, “The Americans are asleep. We can do anything and they will do nothing.” Next Russia will send forces to the Caribbean (as announced). They will take every pre-war advantage they can without penalty. This process might go on for months, even years. Only when we move to bring the process to a halt, like the Indian government did in 1962 with China, will Russia be forced to attack. In that event, they will say we were the aggressors – mobilizing against them (as they were already mobilized "peacefully").  

We do not know ourselves, truly, and we do not know our enemy. Nothing is better testimony to that fact than the refusal of the Establishment to take notice of Robert Buchar’s documentary The Collapse of Communism: The Untold Story. Our experts never understood the Soviet Union or Red China. They do not understand the Russian Federation today. You cannot oppose the Russian leaders with mere righteous indignation. People whose ideology consists in a belief in their own righteousness do not know themselves and cannot know others. Sadly, military brinksmanship is a dangerous business for those who lack such knowledge.

In unpublished notes related to my book, Origins of the Fourth World War, I wrote an imaginary dialogue between a future military dictator of America (no longer the U.S.A.) and an unnamed journalistic “interlocutor.” At one point the journalist is shocked to discover that the dictator doesn’t believe in “human rights.” The dictator replies, “You speak as though a right existed, like a yappy little dog. If I violate your yappy little dog he may howl. But I don’t think he’ll bite. His claim of entitlement is only good as his teeth are sharp, but I think he has no teeth at all.”

Our belief in entitlement has corrupted us. We now assume the victory of freedom is automatic. We assume that dictators and “bad guys” always lose. Democracy is entitled to win. But the yappy, toothless, little dogs are not entitled to freedom because they lack nature’s prerequisite. And this is not some fault in nature, but is the way God made the world. If anyone should think this perverse, they should imagine a world in which the yappy dog has sway over everything – of a world in which the weak rule over the strong, and entitlement serves as a blank check upon ability; a world, in short, where the lamb eats the lion, where everything is decided by sheep in sheep’s clothing, and the more despicably weak and contemptible you are, the more honored you shall be.

Dear reader, I beg your pardon. You must forgive me, for I have forgotten that under the current ruling ideology we are assumed to be living in exactly such a world. It is a world of envy in which an empty narcissist is elevated on the basis of an absurd slogan so that we might say of him, as Nietzsche said of Wagner: “He is not a great man. He is an actor.” Here is the imposter phenomenon that so accurately characterizes our leadership class. Here is the real collapse of the West – the root cause of our financial, educational, political and moral woes. 

Stupidity is now sublime, wisdom vilified, and the future simply does not exist at all. As Soren Kierkegaard predicted almost two centuries ago, “No single individual … will be able to arrest the abstract power of levelling, for it is negatively something higher, and the age of chivalry is gone. No society or association can arrest that abstract power, simply because an association is itself in the service of the levelling process. Not even the individuality of the different nationalities can arrest it, for on a higher plane the abstract process is a negative representation of humanity pure and unalloyed.” [The Present Age, Harper Torchbooks, p. 55]

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