Tag Archives: World War II

The Great Switch: The Geo-Politics of Looming Recession, by Alastair Crooke

The US is switching roles from the world’s policeman towards unilaterally pursuing its own interests. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Is the prospect of looming global recession merely an economic matter, to be discussed within the framework of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 – which is to say, whether or not, the Central Bankers have wasted their available tools to manage it? Or, is there a wider pattern of geo-political markers that may be deduced ahead of its arrival?

Fortunately, we have some help. Adam Tooze is a prize-winning British historian, now at Columbia University, whose histories of WWII (The Wages of Destruction) – and of WWI (The Deluge) tell a story of 100 years of spiraling; ‘pass-the-parcel’ global debt; of recession (some ideologically impregnated) , and of export trade models, all of which have shaped our geo-politics. These are the same variables, of course, which happen to be very much in play today.

Tooze’s books describe the primary pattern of linked and repeating events over the two wars – yet there are other insights to be found within the primary pattern: How modes of politics were affected; how the idea of ‘empire’ metamorphosed; and how debt accumulations triggered profound shifts.

But first, as Tooze notes, the ‘pattern’ starts with Woodrow Wilson’s observation in 1916, that “Britain has the earth, and Germany wants it”. Well, actually it was also about British élite fear of rivals (i.e. Germany arising), and the fear of Britain’s élites of appearing weak. Today, it is about the American élite fearing similarly, about China, and fearing a putative Eurasian ‘empire’.

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Discomforting Facts about World War II, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The history of World War II, the “Good War” and the last war the US won, has been stretched and distorted. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

Given the predictable accolades regarding the 75th anniversary of D-Day in World War II — it’s important for Americans to keep in mind some discomforting facts about the so-called good war:

  1. Prior to U.S. entry into World War II, the American people were overwhelmingly opposed to entering the conflict. That’s because of two things: (1) the non-interventionist foreign policy that was the founding policy of the United States and that had remained the foreign policy of the United States for more than 100 years; and (2) the horrible waste of men and money that had been expended on America’s intervention into World War I, not to mention the massive destruction of liberty that came with that war.
  2. It was only because President Franklin Roosevelt intentionally provoked and maneuvered the Japanese into attacking at Pearl Harbor, where U.S. battleships were conveniently based (FDR had wisely removed the carriers), that the U.S. ended up entering the conflict. Even many Roosevelt apologists now acknowledge what he did but defend it by arguing that his actions were for the greater good, i.e., preventing the Nazis from supposedly conquering the world. But what does it say about a democratic society in which people are overwhelmingly opposed to entering a particular war and in which their president circumvents that will by provoking and maneuvering a foreign regime into attacking the United States?
  3. Hitler never had the ability to conquer the United States, much less the world. After all, his forces proved unable to cross the English Channel to conquer England. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it would have been militarily impossible for Hitler’s forces to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and successfully invade and conquer the United States.
  4. Mainstream historians and newspapers have long pointed out that defeating Germany saved Europe from Nazi control. But it was always clear from the beginning that Hitler was moving east, not west — toward the Soviet Union, whose communist regime he considered the real enemy of Germany (just as the U.S. would consider the Soviet Union to be the real enemy of the United States after the war was over). It was England and France that declared war on Germany, not the other way around. If England and France had not declared war on Germany, it is a virtual certainty that the war would have been between Germany and the Soviet Union — i.e., Nazism versus communism, while the Western powers stood aside and let them fight it out among themselves.
  5. The reason that England declared war on Germany was to honor the guarantee that England had given to Poland. But it was an empty guarantee because England knew that it lacked the military capability to free the Poles from German control. At the end of the war and ever since, mainstream historians and newspapers have waxed eloquent about how “we” defeated the Nazis. The operative word, however, is “we” because “we” included the Soviet Union, which was ruled by one of the most brutal communist regimes in the world. It was the Soviet Union that ended up controlling Poland … and Czechoslovakia … and all of Eastern Europe … and also the eastern half of Germany. So, yes, the Poles were freed from Nazi tyranny at the end of the war, only to be made to suffer for the next 45 years under communist tyranny. U.S. officials and mainstream historians and commentators have always called that a “victory” for freedom. The Poles and Eastern Europeans have always felt differently about such a “victory.”
  6. Virtually no Jews were saved by the war. By the time the war was over, almost all of them were dead. Of course, it should be kept in mind that when Hitler offered to let German Jews leave Germany in the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration, like all other nations around the world, said that they could not come to the United States. The reason? Anti-Semitism, the same anti-Semitism that afflicted Nazi Germany. Google “Voyage of the Damned” for more information.
  7. After the war was over, U.S. officials immediately converted Hitler’s enemy (and America’s wartime partner), the Soviet Union, into America’s new official enemy, which, Americans were told, was an even bigger threat to the U.S. than Hitler had been. The fierce anti-communist mindset that had driven Hitler was now adopted by U.S. officials. Their Cold War against their wartime partner and ally was used to convert the federal government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, a type of totalitarian structure that brought coups, assassinations, regime-change operations, alliances with dictatorial regimes, installation of dictatorial regimes, and ever-increasing budgets and power to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. In fact, the national-security branch of the federal government ultimately became the most powerful branch. Additionally, there was the entire anti-communist crusade engaged in by U.S. officials and the mainstream press against anyone who had socialist, communist, or even leftist leanings. (“Have you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”)
  8. The Cold War brought U.S. interventions in North Korea and Vietnam, which cost the lives of more than 100,000 American men as well as countless injuries, not to mention the massive death and destruction that U.S. forces wreaked on the people of North Korea and North Vietnam. U.S. officials claimed that absent intervention, the dominoes would fall to the Reds, with the final domino being the United States. Despite the stalemate in Korea and the total defeat of U.S. forces in Vietnam at the hands of the communists, the dominoes never fell and the United States is still standing.
  9. Mainstream historians and newspapers claim that Hitler would have ultimately conquered the United States and the world had he not been stopped. Of course, that’s impossible to say but it’s a problematic assertion given that Germany would have been just as weak and devastated as the Soviet Union was by the end of the war. War makes a nation weaker, not stronger. What we do know is that after the war, U.S. officials said that the Soviet Union, Hitler’s enemy and America’s wartime partner, was hell-bent on conquering the United States and the world. They never succeeded or even came close. If the United States could survive the communist Soviet Union, there is no reason to conclude that it couldn’t have survived a Nazi Germany.

A U.S. president surreptitiously embroils the country in a war that the American citizenry overwhelming opposed, a war that left Eastern Europe and half of Germany under communist control for 45 years and that also gave us the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War as well as the conversion of our government to a totalitarian-like national-security state, along with the anti-communist crusade, assassination, coups, regime-change operations, and alliances with dictatorial regimes. That’s quite a “victory.”

For more discomforting facts about World War I, World War II, and America’s other foreign wars, read FFF’s book The Failure of America’s Foreign Wars, edited by Richard Ebeling and Jacob Hornberger.

Christmas 2018: Not the Worst of Times, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Christmas 2018 is hardly the most dire Christmas America has faced. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly,” goes the old Christmas carol. “‘Tis the season to be jolly.” Yet if there were a couplet less befitting the mood of this capital city, I am unaware of it.

“The wheels are coming off,” was a common commentary on the Trump presidency on Sunday’s talk shows. And the ostensible causes of what is looking like a panic in the political establishment?

The December crash of the stock and bond markets, the worst since the Great Recession. The shutdown of a fourth of the U.S. government over the Trump border wall. The president’s decision to pull 2,200 troops out of Syria. Resignation, in protest of Donald Trump’s treatment of U.S. allies, by Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

But there has to be more to it than this. For America has endured, in the lifetime of its older generations, far worse Christmases than this.

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The Broken Clocks’ Minute, by Robert Gore

Sometimes the reasons you’re wrong turn out to be the reasons you’re right.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Old Wall Street adage

Anyone who has consistently sounded cautionary or outright bearish notes during the last nine years of relentlessly rising equity markets has been cast aside. Wall Street is bipolar. You’re either right or wrong, and wrong doesn’t buy mansions and Maseratis. Like that broken clock, the so-called permabears have had a couple of minutes when they were right, far outweighed by those 1438 minutes when they were wrong.

Or maybe it’s all a matter of perspective, and it’s the last nine years that amounts to two minutes. In geologic time nine years isn’t even a nanosecond. Perhaps even on time periods scaled to human lifetimes and history, the last nine years will come to be seen as an evanescent flash that came and ignominiously went.

Markets don’t listen to reasons. They’re exercises in crowd psychology and crowds are emotional and capricious. That doesn’t mean that reason is a useless virtue in market analysis, quite the opposite. It’s reason that allows the few who are consistently successful to separate themselves from the crowd and capitalize on its emotion and caprice.

Reason identifies rising stock markets as one symptom of a sugar high global economy. Since 2009, staring into the abyss of debt implosion, central banks acting in concert have promoted furious debt expansion as the finger-in-the-dike remedy. Governments expanded their fiat (aka out of thin air) debt, and central banks monetized that debt with their own fiat debt. Not only did that create loanable reserves within the banking system—private debt fodder—it drove interest rates so low that yield-deprived investors were herded into the stock market. Borrowers won, savers lost.

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Model Soldiers, by Joel Bowman

Model soldiers, faithfully following orders, kill many people, including civilians, and many die themselves. From Joel Bowman at internationalman.com:

When Napoleon crossed the Niemen, at the outset of the 1812 French invasion of Russia, he had under his command 422,000 men, give or take a few proudly beating hearts. When he approached those same waters the following year, this time from the east, in sluggish, worn down retreat after defeats in Moscow, Borodino, Smolensk…his ranks had been cut to barely 10,000.

A few enfeebled diehards were all that remained of the Grande Armée.

[Pictured: Charles Joseph Minard’s famous graph shows the decreasing size of the Grande Armée. The brown line (followed from left to right) shows Napoleon’s march to Russia. The black line (followed from right to left) depicts his retreat. The size of the army is shown equal to the width of the lines.]

Like politicians and their voting public, military strategists too are slow to learn and quick to forget. Napoleon wasn’t the only fool to covet the vast plains of the east. One hundred and thirty years later, with “Lebensraum” (living space) firmly in his sights, Adolf Hitler embarked on Operation Barbarossa. It would be the largest military operation in human history, both in terms of manpower… and casualties.

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On Veterans’ Day, Remember the Lies That Filled Military Cemeteries, by James Bovard

Watch what politicians do to veterans, not what they say to “honor” their service. From James Bovard at mises.org:

Politicians will be heartily applauded for saluting American’s soldiers today. But if citizens had better memories, elected officials would instead be fleeing tar and feathers. Politicians have a long record of betraying the veterans they valorize.

Veterans Day 2018 has been dominated by the confab of political leaders in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. American media coverage fixated on President Trump’s cancellation of one of his two visits to U.S. military cemeteries. In his speech yesterday at a U.S. military cemetery in France, Trump declared that it is “our duty … to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.” But that peace was sabotaged long before the soldiers’ corpses had turned to dust. Though the American media exalted French President Emmanuel Macron’s denunciation of nationalism at the armistice anniversary, it was conniving by French leader George Clemenceau at the Versailles Peace Treaty that helped assure that U.S. sacrifices in 1917 and 1918 were for naught.

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Great Nations Are Destroyed by Being Pulled into Wars to Defend Tiny Ones, by Martin Sieff

It happened in both World War I and World War II. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:

Great Nations Are Destroyed by Being Pulled into Wars to Defend Tiny Ones

NATO’s obsession with pulling in as many small, unstable and potentially extremist countries in Eastern Europe as possible makes a world war inevitable rather than deterring one.

The reason for this could not be more simple or clear: Small countries start world wars and destroy the empires and great nations that go to war to defend them.

Belgium doomed England and Serbia doomed Russia in 1914.

The Russian Empire, the largest nation in the world in terms of area and the third largest after the British Empire and China in terms of population at the time, went to war to defend Serbia from invasion by Austria-Hungary.

This was a spectacularly unnecessary and catastrophic decision: Count Witte, the great elder statesman of the czarist aristocracy was completely against it. So was the notorious, but ultimately well-meaning mystic and self-proclaimed holy man Gregory Rasputin., He frantically cabled Czar Nikolai II to not take the fateful decision.

Russia in truth owed Serbia nothing beyond a general feeling of solidarity for a fellow Slav nation. The Serbian government’s attitude towards Russia was far different. They were determined to pull Russia into a full-scale war with Austria-Hungary to destroy that empire. There is no sign that anyone in the Serbian government expressed any concern or regret then or ever afterwards for the 3.4 million Russian deaths in the war, not to mention the many millions who were killed in the Russian civil war, British, Japanese and French military interventions and the terrible typhus epidemic of 1920 that followed.

Indeed, Serbia, in modern terms, was a terrorist state in 1914. Serbian Military intelligence financed, organized and armed the Black Hand terrorist group that gunned down the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Habsburg throne in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austro-Hungarian intelligence was so incompetent they were never able to prove the connection at the time.

Britain’s descent into the chaos of World War I was even more unnecessary than Russia’s. Britain had no treaty commitment to go to the aid of France but it did have a treaty guaranteeing the security of tiny Belgium. However, that 1839 Treaty of London was 75 years old – even older than the NATO alliance is today and the British were free to ignore it.

Instead, the British therefore went to war in 1914, amid an orgy of public sentiment to defend “gallant, little Belgium.”

To continue reading: Great Nations Are Destroyed by Being Pulled into Wars to Defend Tiny Ones