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Friday, June 03, 2016

Book of the Week

I am very pleased to announce that Equality: The Impossible Quest, by Martin van Creveld, is now available in case bound hardcover for $24.99 on Amazon. Along with his friend William S. Lind, Martin is Castalia's most important non-fiction author and he is one of the foremost military minds living today. Jerry Pournelle himself has observed that van Creveld is a necessary addendum to Clausewitz; one simply cannot hope to begin understanding modern war without becoming familiar with his distinction between trinitarian and nontrinitarian warfare.

Equality is Martin's attempt to examine and understand the ill-defined and nebulous idea that has somehow become the ruling political metric of our times. From the reviews:
  • A work of amazing breadth, Martin van Creveld also explores the depth of the history of equality, while striking a healthy tone between conversational and scholarly. Reading through the book ends up being rather easy, as the writing is engaging, yet a plethora of footnotes intersperse the text for those who wish to either fact-check or read further. 
  • I've not read van Creveld's work before, though I am familiar with his reputation and his theories in a secondhand way, but this book has definitely sold me on reading the rest of his work.
  • A must-have for every student of Western philosophy. 
  • If there was more justice in the world, this would be assigned to young students as a primer -- or rather, as an inoculation against -- this seductive political idea which has become so debased over the last 200 years. 
This is a hardcover for which I have personally been eagerly awaiting. Castalia will be releasing more print books, in paperback and hardcover, in the near future. The next three will be 4GW Handbook (paperback), Cuckservative, (paperback), and Brings the Lightning, (hardcover, paperback).

And speaking of Martin van Creveld, if you haven't been periodically checking out his blog, you really should. He doesn't post often, nor does he usually post original work, but he always selects very interesting and informative guest articles. (I have myself once had the honor of having one of my posts selected for a guest article, a distinction I would not trade for a dozen Hugos.) The latest, "Sarejevo on the Baltic?" by Karsten Riise, merits a read simply on the off-chance that it might correctly read the possibility that Russia's unexpectedly successful Syrian adventure was a practice run for Ukraine and the Baltics.
Baltic Membership in NATO is Destabilizing

When both sides have good reason to feel insecure, the relationship between them becomes unstable and something dramatic may well happen. This is currently the case in the Baltic where Russia may feel an understandable need to take action to remove the future military threat from the three Baltic countries before proceeding to liquidate its unfinished business in the Ukraine.

Any Russian operation in the Baltic will have to take place before NATO’s growing presence there makes it too dangerous. By NATO Treaty, such an operation will be considered an attack on all NATO countries, the US included. But honestly: In such a case, will the US and Europe risk a nuclear war? Probably not. Thus Russia may bet on a limited conventional war; one which would lead to the end of NATO.

On 17 May 2016 one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, Berlingske Tidende, published an article by a retired NATO brigadier general. The article was written with some typical NATO rhetoric. But under the rhetoric the Danish brigadier general seemed to be genuinely scared. He fears that something violent may take place in connection with NATO’s maneuver, BALTOPS 2016, schedules to take place in the Baltic Sea from 3- to 19 June, as Russia’s window for action in that region may become smaller in the future. As I just explained, his worries are in line with own my analysis.

Russian Interest in (Temporary) Stabilization in Syria

The Russian operations in Syria bear strong similarities to those of the German “Legion Condor” during the 1930s Spanish Civil War. They enabled the Kremlin to test and train its most advanced weapons—and watch them working perfectly well. The lesson to NATO? Beware!

For a conflict in the Baltic, Russia will prefer to have all of its air force back after its success in Syria. Land operations in the Ukraine are better undertaken in the summer time, and a Baltic operation will have to take place before NATO builds up too many forces in the Baltic. Therefore Russia has an interest in reaching a settlement (at least temporary) with the West on Syria; one that may allow it to bring the rest of its military aircraft home. As NATO’s build up in the Baltic accelerates, Russia may only have short time left to act

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33 Comments:

Blogger Phillip George June 03, 2016 5:44 AM  

a very under reported item but in the news is that Israel were conducting exercises where Air Egypt 804 went down without being able to put out a Mayday call. And fishing body bits out of the ocean is very inconsistent with normal recovery operations.

June 12 and 19 are both candidates for "counting the Omer" Pentecost depending on when you count from.

Renee Moses has done the work on "delayed" and "no more delay", and others are posting on "times up".
Don't mess with Bear Cubs in summer. Oooooops, too late.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr June 03, 2016 6:20 AM  

I've thought for 20 years that the Baltic states were a ticking time bomb. Their treatment by Stalin and his successors certainly justifies defending their independence, but the Russian desire for the territory is both strong and ancient.

The nasty part being that the Baltic States are NATO members...which puts the USA on the hook to help out. Worse, about the only part of NATO really worth helping out these days are the former Warsaw Pact....Western Europe could not fight its way out of a paper bag.

Anonymous Discard June 03, 2016 6:30 AM  

The Baltic states and the former Warsaw Pact countries ought have their own alliance. Keep the Bear at bay without provoking it. I guess that Uncle Sam's titties looked too good to pass up.

Blogger Lazarus June 03, 2016 6:48 AM  

But under the rhetoric the Danish brigadier general seemed to be genuinely scared. He fears that something violent may take place in connection with NATO’s maneuver, BALTOPS 2016, schedules to take place in the Baltic Sea from 3- to 19 June, as Russia’s window for action in that region may become smaller in the future. As I just explained, his worries are in line with own my analysis.

The Danish B.G. has good reason to worry.

A Russian Warning

Thus, if tomorrow a war were to break out between the US and Russia, it is guaranteed that the US would be obliterated. At a minimum, there would no longer be an electric grid, no Internet, no oil and gas pipelines, no interstate highway system, no air transportation or GPS-based navigation. Financial centers would lie in ruins. Government at every level would cease to function. US armed forces, stationed all around the globe, would no longer be resupplied. At a maximum, the entire landmass of the US would be covered by a layer of radioactive ash. We tell you this not to be alarmist, but because, based on everything we know, we are ourselves alarmed. If attacked, Russia will not back down; she will retaliate, and she will utterly annihilate the United States.

The US leadership has done everything it could to push the situation to the brink of disaster. First, its anti-Russian policies have convinced the Russian leadership that making concessions or negotiating with the West is futile. It has become apparent that the West will always support any individual, movement or government that is anti-Russian, be it tax-cheating Russian oligarchs, convicted Ukrainian war criminals, Saudi-supported Wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya or cathedral-desecrating punks in Moscow. Now that NATO, in violation of its previous promises, has expanded right up to the Russian border, with US forces deployed in the Baltic states, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, the Russians have nowhere left to retreat. They will not attack; nor will they back down or surrender. The Russian leadership enjoys over 80% of popular support; the remaining 20% seems to feel that it is being too soft in opposing Western encroachment. But Russia will retaliate, and a provocation or a simple mistake could trigger a sequence of events that will end with millions of Americans dead and the US in ruins.

Blogger Ahazuerus June 03, 2016 7:40 AM  

A small point, but when Russia obliterated 40,000 men, women, and children in Chechnya, Clinton congratulated them on a job well done.
It was later, during Bush the Lesser's term, that the war hawks subverted what had been a relatively mutual indifference, to an active hostility that Obama has doubled down on at every occasion...

Doesn't change the conclusion today; merely a point of historical accuracy. Ironically perhay, it was Slick Willy's mercenary character that made him a tolerably neutral party to the Kremlin.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker June 03, 2016 7:47 AM  

Make no mistake about Putin, he is out to up-end the post-Cold War order in Europe.

The next most likely Russian military action? My guess: A swift attack in Ukraine to complete the land bridge from Russia to Crimea. A risky move to be sure, but attacking the Baltics would be a much riskier proposition given their membership in NATO.

Indeed, attacking the Baltics would be far more likely to reunite NATO in a common anti-Russian purpose than further Russian attacks in Ukraine. It would also dramatically increase the chances of direct U.S.-Russian military conflict, meaning nukes.

The Russians may be aggrieved, but they are not stupid. Of course, there's always the cyber realm, which is terra incognita as far as great power conflicts go. So who knows? The Russians may perceive an overwhelming cyber advantage in their favor, but do they really have a strong chance to take down the U.S. economy/society?

BTW, van Creveld's The Transformation of War is an awesome work on the nature of armed conflict.

Blogger Lazarus June 03, 2016 8:39 AM  

Longtime Lurker wrote:Indeed, attacking the Baltics would be far more likely to reunite NATO in a common anti-Russian purpose than further Russian attacks in Ukraine. It would also dramatically increase the chances of direct U.S.-Russian military conflict, meaning nukes.

Therefore, one should expect Nato to manufacture a crisis in the Baltics like they have done every where else.

Also from the "Russian Warning" link above:

Washington is dead set on being the “world leader” and the “indispensable nation,” even as its influence steadily dwindles in the wake of a string of foreign policy and military disasters such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. Continued American global leadership is something that neither Russia, nor China, nor most of the other countries are willing to accept. This gradual but apparent loss of power and influence has caused the US leadership to become hysterical; and it is but a small step from hysterical to suicidal.

Blogger Salt June 03, 2016 9:27 AM  

There is one thing that I keep at the back of my mind. What the US now is, the old Soviet regime helped to make. For Russia, the chickens are coming home to roost.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlpODYhnPEo

Blogger Markku June 03, 2016 9:30 AM  

Yeah, what it is is internally unraveling. And therefore weak. Which is exactly what those old Commies would have wanted. They would probably spend the rest of the day dancing Snoopy Happy Dance if they heard.

Anonymous Quartermaster June 03, 2016 9:37 AM  

@4 @7
Saker is not a reliable source of prediction on much of anything. This is a man who does not live in his native country because his life is in danger there. Add in his lack of any real expertise in military affairs and he's simply not worth much attention.

I don't blame the Dane for being concerned. Looking around him at his country and the major NATO members Germany and France, and seeing the softness, both moral and military, would cause anyone to worry.

Syria may be a run up for Putin looking to widen his war on Ukraine, but I have seen nothing that reminds me of the Condor Legion. The piece by Riise is OK as a “think piece,” but not much else. It's amusing that he thinks NATO is somehow interested in threatening Minsk when Lukashenko is making overtures to the west in response to Putin's actions in Crimea and the Donbas. If that doesn't rattle Putin's cage, the man is an idiotic meglomaniac.

What is closing the window for Russia is Putin's economic stupidity. Stealing Crimea and invading Donbas saddled him with a ton of liabilities with few advantages. Crimea especially is a weight to Russia and it is slowly depopulating with expulsions of Tatars and people that have little to do with support of the military base that Putin is making of the Crimea. Putin's actions are those of man with an inferiority complex and not of strength.

Russia is on the same road that Stalin placed the Soviet Union on. The contradictions built to a point the Soviet Union could no longer be sustained. Nostalgia is a nice thing, if you are simply wanting to recall something, but what Putin is doing is not a result of nostalgia. It's simply a destructive pipe dream. China has embarked on a similar course.

Saker's prediction of a US lying in ruins may come to pass, however. Ezekial chapters 38 and 39 appear to predict the use of nukes associated with the King of North's try at Israel.

Anonymous 5343 June 03, 2016 9:50 AM  

Bought this morning. $39 in Canada, with no free shipping. Painful, but worth it.

Blogger VD June 03, 2016 9:52 AM  

What is closing the window for Russia is Putin's economic stupidity. Stealing Crimea and invading Donbas saddled him with a ton of liabilities with few advantages. Crimea especially is a weight to Russia and it is slowly depopulating with expulsions of Tatars and people that have little to do with support of the military base that Putin is making of the Crimea. Putin's actions are those of man with an inferiority complex and not of strength.

You sound like a neocon with all the irrelevant pejoratives that highlight the falsity of your words. Putin is observably smarter than you are. His actions are not those of a man with an inferiority complex, but rather, a man who correctly understands his position is weaker than his opponent's.

You sound like a girl trying to make a man feel bad for not being attracted to her.

Blogger Mark Citadel June 03, 2016 9:58 AM  

His analysis of the Baltic situation is sound, and the threat to Russia's security posed by increased US activity in the Baltic Sea has already been met with gentle pushback (the continual buzzing of US ships). Ukraine's annexation would be best left until the Poroshenko government collapses, which is inevitable in light of the economic situation in Ukraine and the increasing frustration of zealous Banderists, who now openly state they plan a second Maidan to remove Poroshenko and his cronies. This would provide cover for Russian absorption of at least the eastern portion of the country, and perhaps the souther regions as well, cutting off what remains from the sea. This also provides very useful staging area for the procurement of Transdnistria from the artificial nation of Moldova.

By the time this occurs, I would expect the position of NATO may be further weakened by the breakup of the EU.

Blogger Mark Citadel June 03, 2016 10:03 AM  

There is also the prospect of Russia sensibly coordinating with China to time their expansions with each other, in order that the US is unable to respond adequately to either. The end goal for both would be the secession of US hegemony from East Asia and Eastern Europe entirely, thus bringing an end to the unipolar monopoly that has arisen in the post-Cold War space. It would also be the beginning of the end for Liberal colonialism. Personally, I look forward to seeing Serbs retake Kosovo. That one has been a long time coming.

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar June 03, 2016 10:13 AM  

Thank you for the print editions. I hope to see more. I never did jump on the Kindle train. My collection of books will be an heirloom.

Blogger Gaiseric June 03, 2016 10:15 AM  

Putin can wait it out. Trump has already thrown out the gauntlet and found that it was met with more acclaim by most than he may have thought: the US doesn't have any use for NATO anymore. With a Trump presidency, Putin doesn't have to worry about the US driving NATO aggression, even if Trump backs out from leaving NATO altogether, he's clearly not going to go to war on behalf of some Eastern European ethnic rump state. Given the chaos that Europe is in and the crisis of loss of confidence that its citizenry have with their own governments right now, Putin has nothing to lose and everything to gain by just waiting out the West a little longer before doing anything at all.

Blogger Lazarus June 03, 2016 10:33 AM  

Quartermaster wrote:What is closing the window for Russia is Putin's economic stupidity.

I don't know, this does not sound stupid at all:

Sanctions against Russia have failed: Western sanctions attempting to control Russian “behavior” have had the opposite impact. Step-by-step – without fanfare – Russia has retired 30% of its external debt in only two years. Import substitution has continued apace, leaving a number of European markets stagnate with relief nowhere in sight. Sanctions against the banking sector certainly have been not without pain. Though there is an upside: Russian businesses are in the process of withdrawing from the west’s toxic financial sectors. When the next bubble bursts, Russia will avoid much of the damage the U.S. will export to the global financial system.

Anonymous Gen. Kong June 03, 2016 10:34 AM  

As bad as the Baltics were treated by Stalin, he at least wasn't planning on genociding them by reducing them to a minority population in a sea of negroes and Musloids, which is clearly the objective of the oligarchs in charge of the Rotten Banana Empire, their satraps in the EUSSR and their uniformed lickspittles and step-n-fetchits in NATO. They were all part of the Russian empire centuries before the brief independence of 1918-1940. They need to choose their poison. EUSSR and NATO mean total extermination. NATO is merely the increasingly blood-soaked jackboot of the mandarins in Brussels who run the EUSSR at the behest of their masters operating from the banking cartels of New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Milan.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 03, 2016 11:32 AM  

He fears that something violent may take place in connection with NATO’s maneuver, BALTOPS 2016, schedules to take place in the Baltic Sea from 3- to 19 June...

Oh, great. I'll be in the region then. If something blows up there next week and you don't hear from me again, carry on!

As far as Quartermaster's analysis, has he ever seen the ocean? Ever seen a cargo ship. Ever heard of something called a 'port'?

Anonymous redsash June 03, 2016 11:52 AM  

Who is outwardly the most Christian world leader? Which country is outwardly the most Christian? Hint, it is not any country celebrating homosexual marriage. IT IS PUTIN. IT IS RUSSIA. They are destined to be God's instrument of judgement.

In my nothing state of Tennessee let me tell you a few targets: Millington/Memphis naval air station, Ft. Campbell, Nashville, UT space institute at Tullahoma (it will also get Jack Daniels and George Dickel), Oak Ridge (God only knows what that strike will release), Irwin (processes uranium). Nearby lets not forget Paducah Ky (uranium), Richmond Ky (nerve gas depot), Pine Bluff Ar (nerve gas depot), Huntsville (space flight).

Talk Florida? From Pensacola to Jacksonville to Miami, the whole damn state will glow.

Putting 5000 NATO troops into Estonia and Latvia is deliberately provoking the Russians, an act of war. In fact we are already at war, but are too stupid to realize it. People the Nazis have invaded Poland and despite the quiet of 1939 London, Nazi bombers are fueling up - so to speak.

Russia has already survived the destruction of their former government. They have been purified by God to serve God's purpose. Christians in America realize in their heart of hearts just what that purpose is, to punish a very arrogant hedonistic ungodly nation(s).

Hopefully, God's judgement can be carried out with the loss of only D.C. and N.Y. and not the destruction wrought by 50 or more nukes.

My bet is on 145 million Russians spread over 11 time zones who still fear God.

Blogger Gaiseric June 03, 2016 12:43 PM  

@20: Lip service to Christianity doesn't make one a Christian. Throughout the Bible, God's instrument of judgement were completely pagan kings; like those of Assyria, Babylon, Persia and Rome.

Anonymous aviendha June 03, 2016 12:46 PM  

So glad to see more hardbound. Awesome! Ordered

Anonymous redsash June 03, 2016 1:08 PM  

@21: Lip service? LIP SERVICE? By their fruits you shall know them, and America's fruits are self evidently anti Christian while Putin is protecting Western and Christian values on an hourly basis.

And, God's judgement can also be carried out by God's servants who happen to live in God's will. Just ask the Canaanites.

Anonymous Bo sears June 03, 2016 2:13 PM  

I don't think Russia as an independent country seeks violence or military take-over of the Baltic states. A much more reasonable understanding of Russia's intent would be to remove those nations from NATO, and engage in making them more like Finland in the Russian orbit. That could be done through trade without violence. It is the US-Israel alliance we should fear...NATO is nothing but the glove on the fist of the US-Israel alliance.

Anonymous Takin' a Look June 03, 2016 2:38 PM  

I don't get the neocons on this thread. Russians have underground shelters for 70% of their population. Grain and water stores. Hardened buildings for livestock.

All this is ready to be implemented at a moment's notice. I would expect 50% of Russia to survive. Us? Maybe .01%
Russia has enough nukes to simply "grid" us.

We have NOTHING in terms of national defense and hardened systems that the Russians do. We, in our incredible arrogance, abandoned these systems which the russians kept in place.

Anonymous Leox June 03, 2016 2:53 PM  

redsash wrote:Who is outwardly the most Christian world leader?

Gotta be the pope, right? Oh wait. Sigh. (And I'm Catholic.)

Blogger SirHamster June 03, 2016 3:04 PM  

Gaiseric wrote:@20: Lip service to Christianity doesn't make one a Christian. Throughout the Bible, God's instrument of judgement were completely pagan kings; like those of Assyria, Babylon, Persia and Rome.

Pagan nations were used to punish God's elect nation when she had turned away from Him.

This should not be confused with God only ever using pagan nations. All nations are subject to being used for God's purposes.

redsash gave a good counter-example of Israel and the Canaanites.

Blogger Gaiseric June 03, 2016 3:38 PM  

@23: Yes, lip service. Or did you think that murdering Galina Starovoitova, Igor Domnikov, Sergey Novikov, Iskandar Khatloni, Sergey Ivanov, Adam Tepsurgayev, Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Nikolai Girenko, and Paul Klebnikov—to say nothing of the dozens jailed on trumped up charges in Soviet style show trials, was the Christian thing to do?

Look, I appreciate the value to us of having someone like Putin in charge of Russia. But I don't mistake him for a defender of the faith any moreso than I would the worst excesses of the Knights of the Teutonic Order during the Baltic Crusades.

Blogger dc.sunsets June 03, 2016 4:10 PM  

Are the USA neocons SJWS and Russia reading SJWAL, metaphorically realizing that appeasement & apology only leads to the next insult?

Blogger GFR June 03, 2016 6:36 PM  

You guys are overthinking this. Russia is NOT going to get into a nuclear exchange with the US over the Baltic States. Why would they? - the US and Europe are busy doing themselves in with uncontrolled immigration. If I had to guess WHY Putin is doing these things it would be to increase his favorability ratings with the Russian people. China is doing the same thing in the South China Sea.
.
And Israel is NOT orchestrating the whole thing. Those people are genuinely scared to death that they are going to be nuked by Iran - with good reason. Please explain how the fiendishly devious jews advance their agenda by allowing HALF their global population to be annihilated? Remember Theodore Hertzl's FIRST choice for the new jewish homeland was Madagascar. A location conveniently bereft of violent and populous neighbours. He decided on Palestine after realizing that it would be impossible to get the jews to GO to Madagascar.

Anonymous redsash June 03, 2016 8:51 PM  

@28 I have seen Putin celebrating Christmas at the small church where he was baptized and his parents are buried. I have seen him celebrating Easter, and creating a holiday on the day that Christianity came to Russia over a thousand years ago. He created another holiday, family day, where Russians are urged to be fruitful and multiply. I have seen him protect the sanctity of the Church from sluts and whores. He protects children from gay pride parades and the lgbt deviants; BUT, you have seen him pull a trigger or heard him order a hit. Please deal with facts in a rational manner and not like you have seen one too many Murder She Wrotes.

Blogger GFR June 03, 2016 10:55 PM  

@31 I'm glad that Putin supports Christianity but it's important to remember that he was a colonel in the KGB where he worked for 16 years and his Father fought in the NKVD "Destruction" battalions during WW2 (don't ask). This guy is a thug from way back. I applaud his patriotism but I'm not going to fool myself into believing that he works by the same set of rules that a western man would. That's neither good or bad - it just IS.

Blogger Yvonne Lorenzo June 04, 2016 1:00 PM  

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov has made clear in this translated response that there won't be any world war; the are aware of what the American actions are but they won't take military action. It's worth reading in full because the Russian journalist really asks him tough questions; they didn't take military action then and I don't believe they will now. They'll continue to take a defensive posture.

https://southfront.org/lavrov-ukraine-usa-qa/

# # #

Lavrov: There will not be any world war. This was stated by President Putin in the movie of Vladimir Soloviov. And I am convinced that the responsible politicians will not allow this to happen, even from the side of the West. Because everyone still remembers the horrors of the First and Second World Wars. Russia suffered the greatest losses during the war in Europe. China, by the way, suffered the greatest losses during the war in the Pacific Ocean against the Japanese militarism. And the politicians, I repeat, can not allow this to happen. Of course, we can rely on others, but above all, we have to think about our readiness to prevent the fueling of a new war.

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