Category Archives: History

Stuff you should know about Ukraine

Setting the record straight

On February 16, 2022, a full week before Putin sent combat troops into Ukraine, the Ukrainian Army began the heavy bombardment of the area (in east Ukraine) occupied by mainly ethnic Russians. Officials from the Observer Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were located in the vicinity at the time and kept a record of the shelling as it took place. What the OSCE discovered was that the bombardment dramatically intensified as the week went on until it reached a peak on February 19, when a total of 2,026 artillery strikes were recorded. Keep in mind, the Ukrainian Army was, in fact, shelling civilian areas along the Line of Contact that were occupied by other Ukrainians.

We want to emphasize that the officials from the OSCE were operating in their professional capacity gathering first-hand evidence of shelling in the area. What their data shows is that Ukrainian Forces were bombing and killing their own people. This has all been documented and has not been challenged.

So, the question we must all ask ourselves is this: Is the bombardment and slaughter of one’s own people an ‘act of war’?

Continue reading here.

Creating Man in Our Own Image

Bionic Mosquito writes about a book titled “Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution”, by Carl R. Trueman.

Excerpts:

Modern culture sees the world as raw material to be shaped by human will.  Trueman sees technology as having played the biggest part in this change.  As noted earlier, is technology to be considered just another necessary but insufficient precondition, or was it the sufficient condition that enabled the ideas of the aforementioned thinkers to be put into effect?

Technology reinforces the idea of “individual.”  In almost every way today we can individualize our experiences – music, news, videos, recreation.  Again, the individual is placed at the center of his reality.  The world is seen simply as “stuff,” to be molded and shaped according to the will of the creator – the modern individual.

We are the ones with power, and we are the ones who give the world significance.

Technology is the addition, the rise of something that gives the individual power and authority.  On the other side is the collapse of traditional external sources of authority and identity.  Trueman offers three examples to demonstrate this reality.

First, the Reformation which fractured the Church in the West.  Institutional unity was lost, and with it the Church’s claims to authority.  Nations could choose the direction of their faith.  Eventually, the choice would be individual – completely upending who had power in the relationship: the priest or the parishioner.

[…]

Religion, family, nation.  Once, the answer to the question “Whom am I?” would have been “I am Carl Trueman, a Christian and the son of John, English by birth.  Today, almost every one of these traditional identity markers is subject of ridicule and derision.

Without these external markers of identity, we turn inward; as Trueman puts it, institutions are no longer authoritative places of formation, but of performance.

Trueman then goes to the loss of sacred order.  Cultures have traditionally justified their moral orders by appealing to traditions rooted in sacred order.  Moral codes have authority because they are grounded in something outside of, or beyond, this immediate world.  God, for example, or natural law, or the Tao, or created order, or the Oracle at Delphi.  You get the idea.

[…]

Arguments based on the authority of God’s law or the idea that human beings are made in the image of God no longer carry any significant weight in a world devoid of the sacred.

Instead we have arguments based on the authority of the inner self – creating myself in my own image.  Using my self as the yardstick by which I measure…myself.

Why has this played out so explosively in the realm of sex?

Once the authorizing of the inner psychological space happened, it was perhaps inevitable that sex would become more and more significant.  Sexual desires are among the most powerful inner feelings that most human beings experience.

The deepest of the inner self, the most powerful feelings of the inner self.  Hence, the most important manner by which one can express his inner self.  Historically it has been moral codes regarding sex that have been the primary focus across most societies.  Therefore, such codes are also the most important codes to kill.

The constitutional condition of England

A traditionalist laments

In his recent article, “Shakespeare and the Redundancy of Conservatism“, Alan Bickley laments the downfall of a country that once could rightly be proud of itself.

Excerpts:

I spent the 1980s and 1990s predicting and lamenting the death of our Ancient Constitution. This was not the provisional work of more or less stupid intellectuals. The English Constitution was part of the organic unity of our nation. It was one with our language and our history and our general beliefs about ourselves. It needed no justifications, no hierarchy of laws, no entrenchment, no supervisory panel of judges. We had trial by jury not because some piece of paper required it, but because we had agreed, since before the Norman Conquest, that a man should suffer punishment only after the lawful judgement of his peers. We had a privilege against double jeopardy because we agreed it was fair that a man should be troubled only once by the authorities with an accusation of some specific wrongdoing. We had freedom of speech because it was our birthright. We knew who we were. We looked down on foreigners, and we took it for granted that they should look up to us.

The last two sentences may be indicative of what went wrong: Pride cometh before the fall. (In fact, Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) says: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”) That is not to say that England didn’t have something others could rightly look up to. But it did invite the wrong kind of pride.

I have given up on lamentations during the present century. I have given up on them because my predictions turned out to be broadly correct. The English Constitution is something nowadays to be discussed in various past tenses. In 1997, I looked forward with particular horror at what was now certain to come. I was like a man in fine clothes who found himself compelled to cross a sea of pig filth. I fussed and tutted over every speck on the national shoes. A quarter of a century later, we are spattered up to our waists, and it hardly seems much if we trip and land on our faces. The forms of our Constitution have been changed in random though generally malevolent ways. Even those forms that remain have been drained of their ancient substance and filled with something new and wholly malevolent.

Bickley is a traditionalist, but despairs of the current Monarchy:

The Conservative Party has not only failed us. It has betrayed us. It has conserved nothing. It has joined in the work of destruction. We now face the prospect of another Labour Government. This will almost certainly complete the draining of substance and the changing of forms. But I no longer greatly care. The Monarchy is much in the news at present. A few months ago, the Queen died. We have a coronation approaching. More importantly in the past few weeks, the younger son of the King’s first wife has published an extended ghost-written whine of self-pity. The response of the fake conservatives who are allowed into the media is to complain that he is bringing the monarchy into disrepute, and even endangering its existence. So far as they believe what they are saying, they deserve the comment that Tom Paine made on Edmund Burke – that he “pities the plumage, but forgets the dying bird.” What has the Monarchy done in living memory to uphold the Ancient Constitution? The answer is less than nothing. The late Queen was a woman of notable uselessness. Of all the documents put before her to sign, she seems to have queried only personal cheques. The new King is stupid or evil, or possibly both. What I have read of his coronation plans involves a repeat of the woke pantomime that opened the London Olympics. His son appears to be no better.

Bickley is particularly scathing about the Church of England:

I could continue. I could say the Church has been colonised by probable atheists, there for salaries that, if not generous in themselves, are higher than their personal market worth, or for easy access to under-age boys. The Bench is a committee of authoritarian leftists. The chartered institutions are the same. The whole administration is a mass of incompetence and petty corruption. The Ministers no longer try to hide that they are taking bribes. Corruption beams from their horrid faces. The classics are rewritten to be goodthinkful, and hardly anyone complains. We have indeed dropped into the filth, and those dragging us through it make a point of kicking anyone who declines to wallow in it with the approved show of enthusiasm.

But I will not continue. I have said enough. We have fallen, and, looking at those countries with a less fortunate history than our own, there are lower depths yet awaiting us. Should I care? Should I not give up altogether on writing and focus what time I have left on securing the least uncomfortable life possible for me and mine? Though always desirable, national improvement is possible only when there is a nation still fit to be improved. I am no longer as sure as I was about England. Before the spring of 2020, I could tell myself that the people had always voted for improvement when given the chance. The English had voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union. They had pinched their noses and voted in a team of corrupt mediocrities when these turned out to be the only group in politics who seemed willing to go through with the Referendum result. Surely, though oppressed, the nation was still sound?

I am no longer so sure. I live in a middle class area. Every Thursday during the Lockdown, I was troubled by the sound, from every front door in my street, of people banging their pots and pans in required solidarity against a virus that plainly showed itself from the start to be no worse than a mild seasonal flu. I then saw the hundred-yard queues of people waiting patiently to be injected with an untested vaccine they had already been warned was at least dangerous. More recently, doubts regarding the wisdom of our war with Russia have been routinely treated in private conversation as equal in their morality to defences of pederasty. Everyone in England but the rich is cold. Everyone but the rich may soon be hungry. There are no demonstrations in Trafalgar Square. When the Ministers tell us we are all in the same boat, there is no replying shout that they are in first class and we in steerage. If every nation gets the government it deserves – government, that is, in the wider sense – the English have no right to complain; and they do not complain. Richard Lynn once assured me that IQ in England had been falling by one point every decade since 1901. 1901 was many decades ago. Whether IQ means as much as people tell me I will leave aside. There seems little doubt that the English who once defended their ways and liberty with fists and more deadly weapons, who began the scientific and industrial revolutions, and who planted their flag in every corner of the world, are as extinct a people as the Athenians of the age of Pericles were when Hadrian visited the city.

So, what is to be done?

There is, however, no doubt that the days of lamenting the death of the Ancient Constitution are past. It has gone beyond recall. Any restoration now must be much more of a new beginning. There is a case for reconnecting the most vital threads from our past to a future settlement. But I do not believe these threads involve a privileged role for the family of Alfred the Great, or any of the outward forms of the Ancient Constitution. We have been notorious, since the eighteenth century, for our indifference to questions of political legitimacy and national identity that consumed other peoples. Now that the mostly unspoken consensus has passed that allowed us the luxury of smiling at the antics of foreigners, we must begin to think about first principles. This will often be painful. It may lead us in directions that we once thought undesirable. Even so, we are left with no alternative if we are not to continue our slide towards, and perhaps below, the level of other nations. And, if I cannot be bothered to explain myself more clearly than I have, a period of Labour government may not be quite so regrettable as I regarded the advent of Tony Blair in 1997.

Paul Johnson, 1928 – 2023

The journalist and 'amateur' historian was a 'true giant', writes Tom Woods

Only a couple of weeks ago I finished reading Paul Johnson‘s monumental book “Modern Times“, on the history of post-WW1 20th century. A true eye-opener. Tom Woods recommended it to his readers about two years ago. Gary North does the same at the end of his last book, “Biblical Historiography”. Johnson died yesterday.

Writes Tom Woods:

What an odd and most unfortunate coincidence.

Just yesterday I wrote to you about the academic snobs who look down on amateur historians who dare to write works of history without being “trained.”

And trust me, as someone who would know: the difference in “training” between a university-educated historian and you is precisely zero. You are capable of reading, and being discriminating with sources, just as much as any of them are, and there are no secret “techniques” they teach us that separate us from you.

But on to the coincidence: today we lost a great historian, Paul Johnson, whose books taught me so much, and who, while not always right, understood the central drama of the age.

Johnson, who was 94, would be considered an “amateur” historian.

But unlike so many of our official historians, Johnson challenged sacred cows, was enormously prolific, and wrote in a way that kept you engaged rather than putting you to sleep.

In the 1970s Johnson had an ideological conversion away from the left, and he stayed converted for the rest of his life.

My favorite of his many published works is Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Eighties (since expanded into a larger edition that includes the nineties, but in that section you have to endure Johnson’s disappointing and misplaced foreign-policy views).

I’ve told the story before, but I found out about this book as a college freshman, when a fellow student, sensing a kindred spirit, urged me to read it. I would discover, he said, that the historians’ heroes were generally creeps. I was not disappointed.

Another great one, and a book hated by all the right people, is Intellectuals. There Johnson examined some of the key thinkers of our time, who had a habit of devising, from their armchairs, grandiose plans for the human race that could be implemented only by violence. (Not to mention, most of these people turn out to have been scumbags in their personal lives, as Johnson amply documents.)

Johnson was also an artist and art aficionado, and his Art: A New History is a massive volume filled with the kind of surprising and controversial judgments we find in the rest of his works.

Any of these three books will fascinate you. They’re brimming with anecdotes and quotations you’ve never heard, idiosyncratic tangents you’ll consistently enjoy, and fearless dissent from the standard narrative.

Paul Johnson, requiescat in pace.

A German prophet

Heinrich Heine's vision of the 20th century conflagration was written in 1834

In his book “Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland” (“On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany) the poet Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856), a German secular Jew who in his 30s turned to Protestantism, wrote in 1834 (see English translation below):

Das Christentum – und das ist sein schönstes Verdienst – hat jene brutale germanische Kampflust einigermaßen besänftigt, konnte sie jedoch nicht zerstören, und wenn einst der zähmende Talisman, das Kreuz, zerbricht, dann rasselt wieder empor die Wildheit der alten Kämpfer, die unsinnige Berserkerwut, wovon die nordischen Dichter so viel singen und sagen. jener Talisman ist morsch, und kommen wird der Tag, wo er kläglich zusammenbricht; die alten steinernen Götter erheben sich dann aus dem verschollenen Schutt, und reiben sich den tausendjährigen Staub aus den Augen, und Thor mit dem Riesenhammer springt endlich empor und zerschlägt die gotischen Dome. Wenn Ihr dann das Gepolter und Geklirre hört, hütet Euch, Ihr Nachbarskinder, Ihr Franzosen, und mischt Euch nicht in die Geschäfte, die wir zu Hause in Deutschland vollbringen. Es könnte Euch schlecht bekommen. Hütet Euch das Feuer anzufachen, hütet Euch es zu löschen; Ihr könntet Euch leicht an den Flammen die Finger verbrennen. Lächelt nicht über meinen Rat, über den Rat eines Träumers, der Euch vor Kantianern, Fichteanern und Naturphilosophen warnt. Lächelt nicht über den Phantasten, der im Reiche der Erscheinungen dieselbe Revolution erwartet, die im Gebiete des Geistes stattgefunden. Der Gedanke geht der Tat voraus, wie der Blitz dem Donner. Der deutsche Donner ist freilich auch ein Deutscher und ist nicht sehr gelenkig und kommt etwas langsam herangerollt; aber kommen wird er, und wenn Ihr es einst krachen hört, wie es noch niemals in der Weltgeschichte gekracht hat, so wißt, der deutsche Donner hat endlich sein Ziel erreicht. Bei diesem Geräusche werden die Adler aus der Luft tot niederfallen, und die Löwen in der fernsten Wüste Afrikas werden die Schwänze einkneifen und sich in ihren königlichen Höhlen verkriechen. Es wird ein Stück aufgeführt werden in Deutschland, wogegen die französische Revolution nur wie eine harmlose Idylle erscheinen möchte. jetzt ist es freilich ziemlich still; und gebärdet sich auch dort der eine oder der andre etwas lebhaft, so glaubt nur nicht, diese würden einst als wirkliche Akteure auftreten. Es sind nur die kleinen Hunde, die in der leeren Arena herumlaufen und einander anbellen und beißen, ehe die Stunde erscheint, wo dort die Schar der Gladiatoren anlangt, die auf Tod und Leben kämpfen sollen.

English:

Christianity – and this is its most beautiful merit – has to some extent calmed that brutal Germanic pugnacity, but it could not destroy it, and when once the taming talisman, the cross, breaks, then the savagery of the old fighters, the senseless berserker rage, of which the Nordic poets sing and say so much, will rattle up again. That talisman is rotten, and the day will come when it collapses miserably; the old stone gods will then rise from the lost rubble, and rub the thousand-year-old dust from their eyes, and Thor with the giant hammer will finally leap up and smash the Gothic cathedrals. When you then hear the rumbling and clattering, beware, you neighbouring children, you French, and do not interfere with the business we are doing at home in Germany. It could go badly with you. Beware of starting the fire, beware of putting it out; you could easily burn your fingers on the flames. Do not smile at my advice, at the advice of a dreamer who warns you against Kantians, Fichteans and natural philosophers. Do not smile at the fantasist who expects in the realm of appearances the same revolution that took place in the realm of the spirit. The thought precedes the deed, like the lightning the thunder. The German thunder is admittedly also a German and is not very agile and comes rolling in somewhat slowly; but it will come, and when you one day hear it crack as it has never cracked before in the history of the world, then know that the German thunder has finally reached its goal. At this sound the eagles will fall down dead from the air, and the lions in the farthest desert of Africa will pinch their tails and cower in their royal dens. A play will be performed in Germany, against which the French Revolution would only seem like a harmless idyll. Now, of course, it is quite quiet; and if one or the other is acting somewhat lively there, just don’t think that they will become the real actors one day. They are only the little dogs that run around in the empty arena and bark and bite at each other before the hour appears when the throng of gladiators arrives there to fight to the death.

Western Civilisation under attack

Nothing new, just gathering the evidence

Taki writes an article titled “Woke Joke“. Excerpts:

One year later I still don’t know what was worse, a blatant lie over WASP tennis clubs forcing Jewish competitors to take short showers, or calling Lee a traitor. I suppose it has to do with a meticulously prepared campaign by the media and the Washington swamp to vilify and destroy this country’s past and its admirers. Mind you, it is undeniable that certain country clubs back then excluded Jews, as did and still do many Jewish clubs today that exclude Christians. But the idea that USLTA-sponsored tournaments would force invited Jewish players to cut short their showers is so incredible and so outrageous, I should have thrown the bum out of the car for such a gross lie. A year later, I now clearly see what the couple was up to: nothing in particular, but just being woke and with-it.

This disinformation campaign about America’s past is no accident. It is a well-thought-out plan to disunite Americans and keep in power those who already wield it: corporate leaders, left-wing politicians, entertainment tycoons, media hustlers, and college czars eager to brainwash our youth. Another ploy is to put Christianity on the back burner, where it belongs, according to the entrenched ones. Once you get religion out of the way, the West becomes a formless entity, with materialism and globalism replacing Christianity.

In disuniting America, those profiting by it are helped by mass immigration of different colors and creeds, not to mention cultures. The archvillains disuniting Americans are the media, starting with The New York Times and The Washington Post, both owned by billionaires eager to keep their billions by pretending to be for the common man. Purporting to care about progressive values is simply virtue-signaling while distracting from the true motive of financial gain.

Unfortunately, many well-meaning people have been fooled by the anti-American rhetoric of Hollywood, the media, and the universities. The unimaginable abuses perpetrated by African regimes against their own people, not to mention the corruption, are never mentioned, and if they are it’s considered racist. And corporate leaders know how to protect their monopolies. When Facebook and Twitter banned the Donald, he had around 88 million glued to their screens. Trump’s new site has, at best, 4 million today. See what I mean about corporate do-gooders? Politically biased journalists spread the fiction that the Zuckerbergs and Dorseys of this world are godlike figures, and the public eats it up. I don’t know what’s worse, the above-mentioned nerds or those know-nothing student enforcers of PC who use their phones in the manner the Gestapo used their clubs while denouncing anyone for using the gendered “guys.”

Let’s face the facts. America is split in half, with the left bringing in nonstop support from Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, which is not exactly cricket, as they say over on the other side. Racism is now a capital offense and considered the most abhorrent of sins. Western culture and civilization is under attack, and teaching it is on a par with using the N-word. Take it from someone who knows all about discrimination. When I played all those tennis tournaments long ago, I was made to shower for two minutes only because I was Greek. And if you believe that, you believe in woke.

Despite everything, Ira Katz gives us a ray of hope:

My dear western civilization seems to be going down the tubes. Now the Western values are primarily hypocrisy and cynicism such that we would destroy Ukraine just to harm Russia. Western civilization has been captured by evil forces that would be better to be defeated today. However, there was a bright spot to the evening that is for me a tiny ray of hope. Estonia, like the other Balitic countries, has been exuberant in their hate for Russians and everything Russian. The orchestra that evening was the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. And yet they played Tchaikovsky!

Lost Histories of the Great War

Missed opportunities to make peace in 1916 cost Europe dearly

Article by Ron Unz.

Excerpts:

The Germans had recently [in 1916] won several huge victories, inflicting enormous losses on the Allies in the Battle of the Somme and also completely knocking Rumania out of the war. So riding high on their military success, they emphasized that they were seeking peace on the basis of their strength rather than from any weakness. Unfortunately, the Allies flatly rejected this peace overture, declaring that that the offer proved Germany was close to defeat, so they were determined to hold out for complete victory with major territorial gains.

[…]

If a negotiated peace had ended the wartime slaughter after just a couple of years, the impact upon the history of the world would obviously have been enormous, and not merely because more than half of the many millions of wartime deaths would have been avoided. All the European countries had originally marched off to battle in early August 1914 confident that the conflict would be a short one, probably ending in victory for one side or the other “before the leaves fell.” Instead, the accumulated changes in military technology and the evenly-balanced strength of the two rival alliances soon produced a gridlock of trench-warfare, especially in the West, with millions dying while almost no ground was gained or lost. If the fighting had stopped in 1916 without a victory by either side, such heavy losses in a totally pointless conflict surely would have sobered the postwar political leadership of all the major European states, greatly discouraging the brinksmanship that had originally led to the calamity let alone allowing any repeat. Many have pointed to 1914 as the optimistic high-water mark of Western Civilization, and with the sobering impact of two disastrous years of warfare and millions of unnecessary deaths, that peak might have been sustained indefinitely.

[…]

The extent to which the seemingly undeniable facts of the 1916 peace proposal have disappeared from public discussion is really quite remarkable, and I gradually discovered that Hochschild was far from alone in providing no hint of the story.

[…]

Obviously an early end to the Great War would have been an event of tremendous importance and the 1916 German efforts to secure peace were certainly treated as such in the news reports of the day. But Germany ultimately lost the war and the resulting official narrative blamed Europe’s catastrophe upon relentless German militarism, so that German peace proposal became a discordant element, raising troubling questions about the overall storyline. As a consequence, those facts were eventually flushed down the memory-hole for most of the next one hundred years, and if I hadn’t glanced at those original 1916 headlines, I certainly never would have discovered them.

[…]

To my considerable surprise, I discovered that just last year an entire book had been published on the lost chances for peace in 1916, apparently the first and only English-language work ever devoted to that seemingly important topic. Moreover, the author of The Road Less Traveled was Philip Zelikow, best known for having served as executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and therefore someone entirely in the good graces of the mainstream establishment. Near the end of his Introduction, he explained that he had been working on the project off and on for more than a dozen years.

[…]

So although the German government responded favorably to his offer of a peace conference in August 1916, Wilson failed to grasp the urgency of their request, and decided to take no action until after the November election. Meanwhile, within Germany, the military advocates of an unrestricted U-boat campaign against the American ships carrying Allied supplies were pressing very hard for their alternate strategy, which was sure to lead to a break in American relations.

[…]

Despite the shifting positions of the British, Wilson returned to his peace efforts after his November 7th reelection, only to encounter strong opposition from House, his key advisor. Although Britain was already locked in a desperate struggle with Germany and totally dependent upon American supplies, House somehow became convinced that if America pressed too hard for peace, the British would declare war against our own country. Incredible as it might sound to us, House repeatedly argued to Wilson and others that a British army could sweep down from Canada while the Royal Navy would land hundreds of thousands of troops from their Japanese ally on our coasts, together seeking to conquer the United States. Although these bizarre concerns were rejected, they assisted the overwhelmingly pro-British State Department officials in delaying Wilson’s plans to launch his peace proposal.

[…]

Growing desperate at the president’s endless delays, Germany and its allies eventually issued their own unconditional call for peace talks on December 12th, hoping that step would finally prompt Wilson to act by inviting participants to a peace conference at the Hague and offering himself up as the mediator. The German announcement captured the attention of the world and forced Wilson to respond lest he be eclipsed, and a week later he finally circulated his own peacemaking note, but as Zelikow explains, it constituted a “misfire,” lacking as it did any specifics let alone an invitation for the warring parties to attend an actual peace conference. So the Allies firmly rejected the German offer as a “trick” and were able to ignore Wilson’s statement since it required them to do nothing. Over the next few weeks, the opportunity for peace faded away, and in late January the Germans announced they would return to unrestrained submarine warfare, leading Wilson to break off relations and move towards war with Germany.

Although influential elements within the American government had sought this result from the beginning, Zelikow persuasively argues that the mistakes, errors, and misunderstandings by Wilson and the others also seeking a negotiated peace were probably more responsible for this outcome than the efforts by the individuals who actually intended it. His harsh historical verdict on the former hardly seems unfair:

In the failure to make peace at the most opportune moment, no one failed, and failed the world, more than President Wilson. His was the most consequential diplomatic failure in the history of the United States.

[…]

Stoddard’s book [Present-Day Europe, 1917] had gone to press just weeks after the final rejection of the German peace offer, and he hardly let a failed diplomatic project well-known to all of his readers dominate his narrative. But although the author was unaware of the extensive backstory, he gave the peace efforts reasonable treatment in the chapters on Britain and Germany, adding interesting details missed by both Zelikow and Hochschild. For example, as early as June 1916 several prominent British political figures of very mainstream views had publicly called for peace negotiations, including in the pages of the Economist, and their declaration had been emphatically endorsed by the editor of that influential publication. But this high-profile ideological rebellion in the elite media was swiftly crushed, with the editor losing his job as a consequence. Stoddard later explained that the uncompromising Allied rejection of all German peace offers had by early 1917 “spurred the entire German people to desperate wrath.”

[…]

So to a considerable extent, Germany and its allies were actually the “status quo powers,” reasonably satisfied with the existing arrangement of borders, a situation totally different from that of their Allied opponents. When one side in a conflict is determined to dismember and destroy the other, an early peace is difficult to arrange. Moreover, the German alliance faced an opposing coalition that was far superior in manpower, economic strength, and potential military resources, so it was fighting what it reasonably regarded as a purely defensive war. This clear situation at the time is exactly contrary to what has been implied or even explicitly stated in our basic History 101 textbooks for the last one hundred years.

[…]

Although in today’s world, such a description [Unseen Empire, 1912] might seem insane or at least incendiary, Jordan presented it rather matter-of-factly without rancor, and indeed that particular claim didn’t even constitute the main theme of his analysis. The Stanford University President firmly regarded modern warfare as disastrous for a society, but also argued that wars had become so ruinously expensive that they could not last for long. Moreover, since the true financial owners of Europe believed that they were bad for business, no major wars would be permitted to break out.

[…]

See how quickly propaganda worked even back then:

One of the worst horrors that the colonial Belgians had inflicted upon the Congolese was chopping off the hands of those Africans who failed to meet their work-quotas or otherwise disobeyed, and photographs of the atrocity victims had triggered outrage across the globe. But in August 1914, the German army invaded Belgium, and the Belgians were suddenly transformed from monsters to martyrs, with British propagandists soon falsely claiming that the Germans were chopping off the hands of disobedient Belgians. For many years, the story of the millions of Africans who died in the horrors of the Belgian Congo had been the world’s leading humanitarian issue, but Hochschild plausibly argues that the sudden wartime propaganda-elevation of Belgians to unrivaled global victimhood status probably explains why that earlier story so quickly faded from public awareness until being eventually revived a half-century later.

[…]

A comment under the article by “Karl1906” quotes H.L. Mencken at length, from the Baltimore Evening Sun, Nov. 11, 1931, “A Bad Guess”:

“Most of England’s appalling troubles today are due to a bad guess: she went into the war on the wrong side in 1914. The theory of her statesmen, in those days, was that, by joining France and Russia, she would give a death-blow to a dangerous rival, Germany, and so be free to run the world. But the scheme failed to work; moreover, it had unexpected and almost fatal results. Not only did Germany come out of the mess a dangerous rival still; France also became a rival, and a very formidable one. Worse, the United States was pumped up to immense proportions, and began to challenge England’s control of the world’s markets. The results are now visible: England has three competitors instead of one, and is steadily going downhill. If she had gone into the war on the German side she’d be in a much better situation today. The Germans would be grateful for the help and willing to pay for it (while the French are not); the French would be down and out, and hence unable to menace the peace of Europe; Germany would have Russia in Europe and there would be no Bolshevik [communist] nuisance; England would have all of Siberia and Central Asia, and there would be no Japanese threat and no Indian revolt; and the United States would still be a docile British colony, as it was in 1914. . . .
The United States made a similar mistake in 1917. Our real interests at the time were on the side of the Germans, whose general attitude of mind is far more American than that of any other people. If we had gone in on their side, England would be moribund today, and the dreadful job of pulling her down, which will now take us forty or filthy years, would be over. We’d have a free hand in the Pacific, and Germany would be running the whole [European] Continent like a house of correction. In return for our connivance there she’d be glad to give us whatever we wanted elsewhere. There would be no Bolshevism [communism] in Russia and no Fascism in Italy. Our debtors would all be able to pay us. The Japs would be docile, and we’d be reorganizing Canada and probably also Australia. But we succumbed to a college professor [Wilson] who read Matthew Arnold, just as the English succumbed to a gay old dog who couldn’t bear to think of Prussian MP’s shutting down the Paris night-clubs.
As for the mistake the Russians made, I leave it to history.”

Electric War

Some anti-propaganda on the mess in and around Ukraine

Article by Pepe Escobar.

Excerpts:

Spare a thought to the Polish farmer snapping pics of a missile wreckage – later indicated to belong to a Ukrainian S-300. So a Polish farmer, his footfalls echoing in our collective memory, may have saved the world from WWIII – unleashed via a tawdry plot concocted by Anglo-American “intelligence”.

[…]

That brings us to the key issue of reach and depth of Electric War, in terms of setting up what would be a DMZ – complete with no man’s land – west of the Dnieper to protect Russian areas from NATO artillery, HIMARS and missile attacks.

How deep? 100 km? Not enough. Rather 300 km – as Kiev has already requested artillery with that kind of range.

[…]

The Straussians/neo-cons and neoliberal-cons permeating the Anglo-American intel/security apparatus – de facto weaponized viruses – won’t relent. They simply cannot afford losing yet another NATO war – and on top of it against “existential threat” Russia.

As the news from the Ukraine battlefields promise to be even grimmer under General Winter, solace at least may be found in the cultural sphere. The Green transition racket, seasoned in a toxic mixed salad with the eugenist Silicon Valley ethos, continues to be a side dish offered with the main course: the Davos “Great Narrative”, former Great Reset, which reared its ugly head, once again, at the G20 in Bali.

That translates as everything going swell as far as the Destruction of Europe project is concerned. De-industrialize and be happy; rainbow-dance to every woke tune on the market; and freeze and burn wood while blessing “renewables” in the altar of European values.

A quick flashback to contextualize where we are is always helpful.

Ukraine was part of Russia for nearly four centuries. The very idea of its independence was invented in Austria during WWI for the purpose of undermining the Russian Army – and that certainly happened. The present “independence” was set up so local Trotskyite oligarchs could loot the nation as a Russia-aligned government was about to move against those oligarchs.

The 2014 Kiev coup was essentially set up by Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski to draw Russia into a new partisan war – as in Afghanistan – and was followed by orders to the Gulf oil haciendas to crash the oil price. Moscow had to protect Russophones in Crimea and Donbass – and that led to more Western sanctions. All of it was a setup.

For 8 years, Moscow refused to send its armies even to Donbass east of the Dnieper (historically part of Mother Russia). The reason: not to be bogged down in another partisan war. The rest of Ukraine, meanwhile, was being looted by oligarchs supported by the West, and plunged into a financial black hole.

The collective West deliberately chose not to finance the black hole. Most of the IMF injections were simply stolen by the oligarchs, and the loot transferred out of the country. These oligarchic looters were of course “protected” by the usual suspects.

It’s always crucial to remember that between 1991 and 1999 the equivalent of the present entire household wealth of Russia was stolen and transferred overseas, mostly to London. Now the same usual suspects are trying to ruin Russia with sanctions, as “new Hitler” Putin stopped the looting.

The difference is that the plan of using Ukraine as just a pawn in their game is not working.

On the ground, what has been going on so far are mostly skirmishes, and a few real battles. But with Moscow massing fresh troops for a winter offensive, the Ukrainian Army may end up completely routed.

Russia didn’t look so bad – considering the effectiveness of its mincing machine artillery strikes against Ukrainian fortified positions, and recent planned retreats or positional warfare, keeping casualties down while smashing Ukrainian withering firepower.

The collective West believes it holds the Ukraine proxy war card. Russia bets on reality, where economic cards are food, energy, resources, resource security and a stable economy.

Meanwhile, as if the energy-suicide EU did not have to face a pyramid of ordeals, they can surely expect to have knocking on their door at least 15 million desperate Ukrainians escaping from villages and cities with zero electrical power.

The railway station in – temporarily occupied – Kherson is a graphic example: people show up constantly to warm up and charge their smartphones. The city has no electricity, no heat, and no water.

Current Russian tactics are the absolute opposite of the military theory of concentrated force developed by Napoleon. That’s why Russia is accumulating serious advantages while “disturbing the dust in a bowl of rose-leaves”.

And of course, “we haven’t even started yet.”