Interview by Yvonne Lorenzo for The Saker Blog
I started to write these words on “Veteran’s Day” 2019, and find myself in agreement with a post on the American Conservative by Major Danny Sjurson entitled “Why We Must Reclaim ‘Armistice Day’” in which he wrote in this excerpt:
Europeans dubbed it the Great War. Americans today remember it as World War One, and recall it as little more than a precursor of an even more violent Second World War. In reality, Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s justification for entering the war as a freedom crusade, as a “war to end all wars,” was, ultimately, little more than rhetorical cover for what amounted to a war in support of one group of empires, the British and French, against another, German and Austrian.
Indeed, in a certain sense, it was a bankers’ war. While the ostensibly “neutral” United States acceded to the British Navy’s starvation blockade of Germany, Washington simultaneously traded war materials with its Anglo brothers and floated London vital loans numbering in the billions of dollars. Clearly, by 1917, after three years of macabre massacre, Washington had a pecuniary interest in British victory.
That may not be the version of First World War history that most Americans learned in elementary or high school. Even less well known is the cynicism and civil liberties suppression of the “Progressive”-in-chief, President Wilson. His strongman tactics: imprisonment of peaceful antiwar activists under the Sedition Act, detainment of pacifists in prison camps, and prosecution of critical journalists under the (still statute law) Espionage Act, are abhorrent enough. Worse still, however, was the reflexive manner in which the progressive “left” quickly fell in line with their president. The left eats its own; maybe it always has. Immense majorities of “progressive s,”just like their socialist brethren in Europe, supported Wilson and the war in spite of past records of more dovish positions. They then proceeded to attack, suppress, and often professionally ruin, or imprison, their former compatriots —relabeled as “radicals”—such as Randolph Bourne and Eugene Debs.
Nonetheless, for all of World War I’s horror, futility, absurdity even, the veterans of the war collectively emerged from the sodden trenches imbued with a vocal philosophy of never again. Indeed, they celebrated the moment the guns finally fell silent, the 11th minute, or the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, 1918, as Armistice Day. It was, romantic as it now seems, widely believed that theirs would be the last war. In fact, millions of lucky survivors left the war deeply dedicated to ensuring that be the case. Much of the finest Western literature of the 20th century, unsurprisingly, generated from the pens of disgruntled, damaged veterans—Hemingway, Graves, Fitzgerald, Sassoon, and many more—forever changed by the experience of needless war.
It was only 20 paltry years later and another world war that the celebration of Armistice Day—inherently imbued with hopes for a more peaceful future—had to be lifelessly renamed (in America, at least) Veterans’ Day. The “beauty” of today’s November 11 celebration is its very anodyne nature. There are no hopes, no dreams, no politics even, associated with a day that’s come to symbolize and mandate little more than a brief pause to vapidly “thank” the nearest veteran for his or her “service.”
And no, I hadn’t thanked on “Veteran’s Day” any living veterans for their service; I agree with the sentiments expressed by frequent Unz.com contributor, The Saker, in his article “Thanking Vets for Their ‘Service’ – Why?” given that the wars of the Washington Empire are wars of aggression and not self-defense, no matter how they’re spun. All the so-called experts and “talking heads” promiscuously use the term “National Security” but as with most who claim expertise in their given disciplines, they fail at definitions. I would like to define American National Security as the protection of the lives and liberty of American citizens, yet no doubt the rulers of the West—many now identified by investigative journalists—wouldn’t agree, since to them their definition is expanding a bullying and ever belligerent and destructive and I would add paranoid empire.
Although I assume some would characterize me as a “Russian bot,” I personally do not promote either “Team America” or “Team Russia” but think the current tension between the two nations should be a cause of great concern to all Americans for its implications, not merely in the potential of military conflict between the two nations, but the fact that America’s actions may have lost the friendship of a great nation and her people for generations to come, a friendship that would have resulted in mutual benefit. Professor Stephen F. Cohen has discussed the implications eloquently and his work can be found here.
I myself became interested in the new Cold War and its inherent dangers by following events after Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia, not of course via the legacy media but through the alternative Internet media, which results in a constant process of discovery; as to that war itself, which—as usual—was reported differently by the legacy media newspapers, television, and websites from the alternative press coverage, in one of those alternative sites I first discovered the authoritative interviews, writings and observations of Professor Stephen F. Cohen. His book, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War documents how the American initiated plunder of Russia in the Yeltsin era resulted in as many fatalities as a war. I don’t recall how I discovered years ago The Saker, first blogging on Blogspot.com, but from him and Unz.com I also discovered the work of retired naval officer, Russian historian and military analyst Andrei Martyanov.
In this environment where during the Trump Impeachment hearings the Azov Battalion, as discussed on The Saker’s site in this article, “The Terrorists Among US11 Azov Battalion and American Congressional Support” can be referred to by George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs who was a key witness in the recent impeachment inquiry as “…the 21st century version of our own minutemen,” and also he described them as helping fight off recent “Russian aggression and advancements on Ukrainian soil,” while there was in fact nothing of the kind.
In fact, in his opening statement, Kent said, “For the past five years, we have focused our united efforts across the Atlantic to support Ukraine in its fight for the cause of freedom and the rebirth of a country free from Russian dominion and the warped legacy of Soviet institutions and post-Soviet behavior.” I don’t think it’s hyperbole on my part to assume that the murder of innocents, perhaps quintessentially resulting in the creation of the Novorussia Madonna is something that Kent would cheer. The facts are (and do facts matter in America any longer?) that on July 27th, 2014, when the East of Ukraine was already at war, a young woman and her little daughter—Kristina and Kira—were murdered from the shelling of Ukrainian forces. The mother then was named the “Gorlovka Madonna.”
Of course, how many Americans are aware of such an event and have viewed the pictures of the victims? Would they still gloat and cry, “USA, USA, USA”? I suspect, sadly, many will. The Wikileaks revelations of war crimes by the American military certainly hasn’t had any effect to change the vast majority of American public opinion against “forever war.”
We certainly are living in dangerous times; I suspect it’s even dangerous to me to discuss the writings on his blog and his two recent books with Andrei Martyanov in an environment of omnipresent electronic monitoring and profiling of every individual American citizen, especially those who question the warfare state and challenge its goals, if only out of sense of morality and a perception—at least on my part—that the policies pursued will be destructive to America, which unfortunately seems hellbent on a path of no return. Andrei has consented to answer my questions which focus on Russia and on his work.
Martyanov blogs about the political class, including Donald Trump, on his blog Reminiscence of the Future…. But I gave him, if you pardon the expression, a homework assignment, a recent piece by Whitney Webb describing the powers behind Washington’s politicians, be they “Democrats” or “Republicans.” It’s hard to determine where the real power in Washington and the City of London lies, that is to say who the actual rulers are, but the greater power is evidently held by the central bankers and billionaires, operating in a mob like fashion as Ms. Webb described, in fact actually working with mobsters. I don’t understand why if using central banks fiat money can be created out of thin air, and let’s say for sake of argument the wars starting since the early 1990s attack on Iraq collectively cost ten trillion dollars at least, that money might have been put to better and more peaceful use. That amount would buy a lot of oil but that’s not the issue. America could certainly have used the created money as China does, in furtherance of manufacturing, construction, infrastructure and trade and raising the standard of living of its people. Bruce Fein has written a thoughtful, scholarly book titled American Empire: Before the Fall, and diagnoses all the issues facing America today due to the fact that she has become an empire and no longer a republic—a dysfunctional and delusional empire, but an empire all the same. Yet Alexander the Great, for instance, after his conquests kept the vassals of the Persians in place and wanted to ally (think the intermarriages) with the Persian aristocracy, not subdue and annihilate it.
In contrast, the “American” empire acts like Genghis Khan on steroids without his military genius: it appears to me Washington is intent on the wholesale obliteration of countries, their infrastructure, murdering the civilian populations by the millions, and so on. Moreover, perhaps in the most memorable quote of Hillary Clinton in calling some Americans “deplorables,” it seems the entire class of rulers of America views its citizens as dispensable commodities and ill disguised contempt. A recent article posted on ZeroHedge.com explains the predicament America is in, titled “Now That We’ve Incentivized Sociopaths…Guess What Happens Next.” We see it most recently in the political train wreck culminating in the impeachment hearings (although again, I refer the reader to Ms. Webb’s pieces to see that politicians are merely lackeys following orders and perhaps playing to a script). My conversation with Andrei covers numerous topics, including his books.
Yvonne Lorenzo: Andrei, can you comment on my key points that I made in the introduction? And does Russia’s diplomatic and political class, although highly restrained towards America, view her now as a fascist power? I was surprised Putin in his interview with Oliver Stone never made any statements on the war crimes and loss of life in Eastern Ukraine and the fact of the West using openly fascist murderers (as detailed by Robert Parry in Consortium News) after Russia herself lost tens of millions to fascists is not only beneath contempt but a huge insult to Russia. If I have no tolerance for fascists, my mother survived in an occupied country controlled by Nazi Germany with great suffering of the population and almost lost her life. Consider as well America’s “elites” working with and helping Nazis, for example with Operation Paper Clip. See also The CIA and Nazi War Criminals and even The Daily Beast’s article What Cold War CIA Interrogators Learned from the Nazis which states without shame, considering the massive loss in human life the Soviets experienced at the hands of the Nazis:
It was 1946 and World War II had ended less than one year before. In Top Secret memos being circulated in the elite ‘E’ ring of the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing for ‘total war’ with the Soviets—to include atomic, chemical, and biological warfare. They even set an estimated start date of 1952. The Joint Chiefs believed that the U.S. could win this future war, but not for reasons that the general public knew about. Since war’s end, across the ruins of the Third Reich, U.S. military officers had been capturing and then hiring Hitler’s weapons makers, in a Top Secret program that would become known as Operation Paperclip. Soon, more than 1,600 of these men and their families would be living the American dream, right here in the United States. From these Nazi scientists, U.S. military and intelligence organizations culled knowledge of Hitler’s most menacing weapons including sarin gas and weaponized bubonic plague.
As the Cold War progressed, the program expanded and got stranger still. In 1948, Operation Paperclip’s Brigadier General Charles E. Loucks, Chief of U.S. Chemical Warfare Plans in Europe, was working with Hitler’s former chemists when one of the scientists, Nobel Prize winner Richard Kuhn, shared with General Loucks information about a drug with military potential being developed by Swiss chemists. This drug, a hallucinogen, had astounding potential properties if successfully weaponized. In documents recently discovered at the U.S. Army Heritage Center in Pennsylvania, Loucks quickly became enamored with the idea that this drug could be used on the battlefield to “incapacitate not kill.” The drug was Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD.
It did not take long for the CIA to become interested and involved. Perhaps LSD could also be used for off-the-battlefield purposes, a means through which human behavior could be manipulated and controlled. In an offshoot of Operation Paperclip, the CIA teamed up with Army, Air Force and Naval Intelligence to run one of the most nefarious, classified, enhanced interrogation programs of the Cold War. The work took place inside a clandestine facility in the American zone of occupied Germany, called Camp King. The facility’s chief medical doctor was Operation Paperclip’s Dr. Walter Schreiber, the former Surgeon General of the Third Reich. When Dr. Schreiber was secretly brought to America—to work for the U.S. Air Force in Texas—his position was filled with another Paperclip asset, Dr. Kurt Blome, the former Deputy Surgeon General of the Third Reich and the man in charge of the Nazi’s program to weaponize bubonic plague. The activities that went on at Camp King between 1946 and the late 1950s have never been fully accounted for by either the Department of Defense or the CIA.
In fact, this article, Profits über Alles! American Corporations and Hitler, has a good overview of American corporate interests in Nazi Germany, and includes the following information (and it has extensive references that confirm the author’s conclusions):
In the 1920s many big American corporations enjoyed sizable investments in Germany. IBM established a German subsidiary, Dehomag, before World War I; in the 1920s General Motors took over Germany’s largest car manufacturer, Adam Opel AG; and Ford founded a branch plant, later known as the Ford-Werke, in Cologne. Other US firms contracted strategic partnerships with German companies. Standard Oil of New Jersey — today’s Exxon — developed intimate links with the German trust IG Farben. By the early 1930s, an élite of about twenty of the largest American corporations had a German connection including Du Pont, Union Carbide, Westinghouse, General Electric, Gillette, Goodrich, Singer, Eastman Kodak, Coca-Cola, IBM, and ITT. Finally, many American law firms, investment companies, and banks were deeply involved in America’s investment offensive in Germany, among them the renowned Wall Street law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, and the banks J. P. Morgan and Dillon, Read and Company, as well as the Union Bank of New York, owned by Brown Brothers & Harriman.
The Union Bank was intimately linked with the financial and industrial empire of German steel magnate Thyssen, whose financial support enabled Hitler to come to power. This bank was managed by Prescott Bush, grandfather of George W. Bush. Prescott Bush was allegedly also an eager supporter of Hitler, funneled money to him via Thyssen, and in return made considerable profits by doing business with Nazi Germany; with the profits he launched his son, the later president, in the oil business. 6 American overseas ventures fared poorly in the early 1930s, as the Great Depression hit Germany particularly hard. Production and profits dropped precipitously, the political situation was extremely unstable, there were constant strikes and street battles between Nazis and Communists, and many feared that the country was ripe for a “red” revolution like the one that had brought the Bolsheviks to power in Russia in 1917.
However, backed by the power and money of German industrialists and bankers such as Thyssen, Krupp, and Rorschach, Hitler came to power in January 1933, and not only the political but also the sociology-economic situation changed drastically.
Soon the German subsidiaries of American corporations were profitable again. Why? After Hitler came to power American business leaders with assets in Germany found to their immense satisfaction that his so-called revolution respected the sociology-economic status quo.
The Fuhrer’s Teutonic brand of fascism, like every other variety of fascism, was reactionary in nature, and extremely useful for capitalists’ purposes. Brought to power by Germany’s leading businessmen and bankers, Hitler served the interests of his “enablers.” His first major initiative was to dissolve the labor unions and to throw the Communists, and many militant Socialists, into prisons and the first concentration camps, which were specifically set up to accommodate the overabundance of left-wing political prisoners.
This ruthless measure not only removed the threat of revolutionary change — embodied by Germany’s Communists — but also emasculated the German working class and transformed it into a powerless “mass of followers” (Gentlefolks), to use Nazi terminology, which was unconditionally put at the disposal of their employers, the Thyself and Krupp. Most, if not all firms in Germany, including American branch plants, eagerly took advantage of this situation and cut labor costs drastically. The Ford-Werke, for example, reduced labor costs from fifteen per cent of business volume in 1933 to only eleven per cent in 1938. (Research Findings, 135–6)
This long article on American corporate support for the Nazis is worth reading in its entirety since it details the (mostly Gentile controlled) corporations selling the weaponry used to attack the Soviet Union—engines, trucks, hardware, IBM technology and the like—even after America’s involvement in the war. In addition, I suspect that Kosovo is the model of what the current Western Empire wants to achieve throughout the world, including America itself, as this article “Kosovo’s PM Accused of Arms, Drugs and Human Organs Trafficking” discusses and is a topic that has been frequently reported on The Saker’s site.
Angelo Codevilla wrote in America’s Ruling Class:
Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters—speaking the “in” language—serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government…
Much less does membership in the ruling class depend on high academic achievement. To see something closer to an academic meritocracy consider France, where elected officials have little power, a vast bureaucracy explicitly controls details from how babies are raised to how to make cheese, and people get into and advance in that bureaucracy strictly by competitive exams. Hence for good or ill, France’s ruling class are bright people—certifiably. Not ours. But didn’t ours go to Harvard and Princeton and Stanford? Didn’t most of them get good grades? Yes. But while getting into the Ecole Nationale d’Administration or the Ecole Polytechnique or the dozens of other entry points to France’s ruling class requires outperforming others in blindly graded exams, and graduating from such places requires passing exams that many fail, getting into America’s “top schools” is less a matter of passing exams than of showing up with acceptable grades and an attractive social profile. American secondary schools are generous with their As. Since the 1970s, it has been virtually impossible to flunk out of American colleges. And it is an open secret that “the best” colleges require the least work and give out the highest grade point averages. No, our ruling class recruits and renews itself not through meritocracy but rather by taking into itself people whose most prominent feature is their commitment to fit in. The most successful neither write books and papers that stand up to criticism nor release their academic records. Thus does our ruling class stunt itself through negative selection. But the more it has dumbed itself down, the more it has defined itself by the presumption of intellectual superiority.
What are your thoughts, as a historian and naval officer, and what do Russians in positions of power, and perhaps if you have contact with the Russian governing class and intelligentsia, think about such things as I have described above and have been documented? In your opinion is Washington becoming or is already a fascist power? Ron Unz has also written recently in his American Pravda series about the origins of World War II. Consequently, do the powers behind the curtain desire “hot war” with Russia, since they are ignorant of the military technology available that I hope we shall discuss later on? I’ll be asking about the quality of the “Four Star” and related generals later.
Andrei Martyanov: Yvonne, I don’t think many in Russia view the United States as a “fascist” power per se—it is indeed difficult to do so for a country so ethnically and culturally diverse as the United States. This diversity precludes the United States to define itself completely as a nation in an ethno-cultural sense, nor does the political system of the United States allow for the emergence of a dictator, a key element of the fascist state. For all his bluster today and accusations in being a sort of a dictator, President Trump is an extremely weak president, as is generally the office of POTUS. The United States is a classic oligarchy wrapped in a vast state bureaucracy a/k/a the Deep State which is increasingly dysfunctional. If it is a fascist state in any sense, it is a very sad in a comical sort of way fascist state, as the three-years long Russia and Ukrainegate “investigations” demonstrated. Russians, however do use widely the term of “liberal fascism” to underscore the totalitarian nature of the so called “liberal” ideology of which the United States, together with subservient Europe, are the main drivers.
As I repeat ad nauseam for years now, the Western in general and American in particular so-called elites are incompetent. I observed a precipitous decline in the professional, the intellectual and the ethical levels of these elites for over twenty years. Now it has reached truly grotesque forms from pedophilia inside the ruling class, to the media being utterly corrupt and incompetent. I can only repeat my point about the US having no mechanisms anymore for producing real statesmen. Russians know this, they observe this everyday and in my fifty-seven years of life on many continents I cannot recall a time period when Russians had such contempt for and rejection of the so called “democratic values.” This is simply unprecedented in Russian history.
One doesn’t have to have any contact with the Russian governing class or so-called “intelligentsia,” a term closely associated now with profanity in Russia, to have a good grasp of how Russians in general, and the Russian political top in particular, view events unfolding inside the combined West. The Russian governing class is keenly aware of Russia being a mortal enemy of the United States and, yes, there are serious forces in the US ranging from the financial oligarchy to many in the US political class who would love to physically annihilate Russia, but unless we are talking about complete mental cases, most of them would love to destroy Russia via proxy means, such as was the idea behind the instigation of the violent coup in Ukraine, and not to fight Russia directly.
Even the American political class, which is utterly ignorant in issues of actual war and is completely uneducated in matters of military history, still understands the consequences of such a war. Sadly, I cannot share Ron Unz’ views on the nature of the reasons leading to WW II, but that is precisely my point—it is impossible to breach the one-dimensional and largely Manichean view of history which dominates the American mind to discuss the issues of and the reasons for war and peace not just as a—however plausible—conspiracy of some limited group of people (bankers, capitalists, communists, Zionists, space aliens—what have you) but as a very complex multi-dimensional combination of objective and subjective factors which influence and determine human history. Russians in the power block do know this; however in the United States—I don’t think so. But then again, this is my long-held academic and human position: Russia is aware of the United States on an order of magnitude better than the other way around.
Yvonne Lorenzo: Let me follow-up: would you say that the “West” has always been overtly hostile to Russia no matter the cause?
Andrei Martyanov: Yes, it has. Russia was invaded so many times by Western powers, starting from the Teutonic Knights in 1242, by the Poles in the 17th Century, by Napoleon’s European armies in 1812, by Anglo-French forces during the Crimean War of 1854-56, by Nazi Germany which was, rephrasing Tolstoy from War and Peace, yet another force of a dozen languages, from Italian Fascists to Spanish and Scandinavian SS Divisions to even French and Dutch units, to name a few. So, the record is out there, as are numerous Western schools (lack) of thought who continuously rationalize Western invasions as “preventive” and blame Russia for being invaded. But the combined West finally did it, largely thanks to modern communications technologies, and committed cultural suicide when in 2014 it unleashed the coup in Ukraine. As we all know, Russia was blamed for “invading” Ukraine and meddling in her internal affairs. As I said elsewhere in this interview, I never saw so much contempt and rejection of the West in Russia—ever. Not even during the Cold War. Another Russian, very popular saying: “Everything communist told us about socialism was a lie, everything they told us about West (or capitalism in another version) was the absolute truth.”
That pretty much sums it up.
Yvonne Lorenzo: I want to discuss this piece by Paul Craig Roberts recently posted on Unz.com, “Germany Did Not Start World War II” in which he states:
Viktor Suvorov has produced documented books that Hitler had no choice but to invade Russia as Stalin had assembled on Germany’s border the largest and most formidable invasion force in history. Hitler struck first before the Soviet invasion force was prepared. Consequently, the enormous early victories of German arms were a product of Soviet bases being overrun with enormous losses in men and equipment. John Wear’s findings support Suvorov’s conclusion.
The war forced on Germany was too much for Germany. Faced with having to occupy defeated Europe, with the threat of an American invasion, faced with a Russian front, and faced with having to rescue Italy in Greece and North Africa, German resources, despite the magnificence of the German Army, were too thin to prevail. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, each for his own reasons, had forced Germany into a war that Hitler did not want.My own knowledge is that the Soviet Union lacked the resources and capabilities to attack Nazi Germany and had no such intention. With your knowledge of history and as a former Soviet Officer, I’d appreciate your thoughts.
Andrei Martyanov: Victor Rezun (aka Suvorov) cannot be taken seriously as either a military historian or a thinker of any noticeable scale. He and his theories have been debunked on so many occasions by so many top-notch historians ranging from Russian to American ones, that it is still surprising that his utterly incompetent (from a military point of view) concoctions written for purely propaganda reasons, are still being discussed in some, mostly alt-right, circles as having any relation to a complex reality. The explanation for this is extremely simple: the so called alt-right sphere, whose pivot of history rests on a foundation of theory that the Jews control everything in the world, would believe anything, such as Rezun’s fantasies and down-right fabrications, to tie in the Russian October Revolution with purely Jewish efforts and as such portray Hitler’s war on USSR as a preemptive war against a Jewish “Bolshevik” conspiracy to absorb Europe and install communist governments. This is a view reserved for people who, basically, have zero understanding (or knowledge) of the European policies in the inter-war period nor have even a basic grasp of how modern industrial wars, such as WW II, were prosecuted. I don’t have to dwell on this for too long, especially since David Glantz and Jonathan House, both internationally recognized military historians of repute and former cadre seniors officers of the US Army, made a superb case against Rezun’s falsifications in both editions, especially the second 2015 one, of their seminal When Titans Clashed: How The Red Army Stopped Hitler. I am not in the position to change people’s beliefs—some believe in Santa Claus, others believe in Rezun and Solzhenitsyn.
Yvonne Lorenzo: Let me ask a question of you not as a scholar, historian and a naval officer, but as a human being. Would you tell me of some of your background, your own experience of warfare, and how you came to America? Your perspective on America and the current suffering of her people (your recent blog post on drug overdose deaths) contrasts with your views on the ruling class.
Andrei Martyanov: I graduated from the Caspian Higher Naval Red Banner Academy, named after Sergei Kirov in Baku, and studied from 1980 through 1985, Navigation Faculty. I have a graduate degree of Specialist in Gyro-Inertial Navigational Complexes of Naval Strategic Missile Systems, focus on SSBN of pr. 667B-BD (NATO Delta I and II class). The so called VUS (military-registration specialty) is called Specialty Naval Navigation. Soviet naval academies provided graduate degree in engineering and undergraduate in military sciences. Every graduate was also prepared for tactical command of naval infantry (marines). Very few took this career path or, for that matter, in Naval Missile-Carrying Aviation (MRA). Most of us ended either on submarines or surface navy combatants, or, in case of my academy, up to a third of graduates ended up on the ships of what then was called Naval Units of Border Guards of KGB USSR, today known as a Coast Guard of FSB. In Soviet times it was much more militarized due to Soviet Coast Guard getting many ships in naval configuration with all that this entailed—from sensor suites to weapon systems. I chose Coast Guard path. I served through 1990 on both ships and staff position in the separate brigade which was based in Baku, on Caspian Sea. It was this location which became a violent place from 1988 to 1990 which helped in precipitating the collapse of the Soviet Union. Those were dramatic and violent events which require a separate discussion. I finished my service by 1990 due to health problems and in 1991 was left not only without any pension, for which I didn’t have enough service census, but without a country when the USSR collapsed. I, as many millions of my peers, both military professionals and civilians, became aliens in what used to be the Soviet Union, which now was split into fifteen different countries. It was a life altering experience in every sense, including seeing what Russia (we couldn’t stay in Baku anymore) was turning into in 1990s, when undergoing wholesale robbery and criminal revolution. I, being a decent English speaker, opened a commodities business with the US and eventually started to visit the United States for business reasons. After observing live on CNN how Yeltsin blew up in 1993 [the Russian] White House and had drowned the uprising in blood it became patently clear that for me and my family there was no place anymore [for us] in that Russia. By then we all had enough. The 1990s did become a catastrophe for Russia and Russia still lives and overcomes the consequences of that disaster.
Yvonne Lorenzo: I’d like to discuss the central thesis of your first book, Losing Military Supremacy. Aside from a civil war in the late 1800s, the United States has never experienced the effects of a devastating war fought on its own soil by foreign nation and believes it is invulnerable and won’t be attacked. To the contrary, Russians to this day know the price of war. If you would be so kind to summarize, if possible, the key points you wished to make known about Russia.
Andrei Martyanov: In a sense, my new book, The Real Revolution in Military Affairs, is a continuation of my first one—Losing Military Supremacy. The difference is that I get more in depth into the tactical, operational and technological issues—to a degree that is possible in what amounts to a geopolitical study—to demonstrate and drive my point home that the current American political elites are utterly delusional on the nature of modern warfare, especially in a peer-to-peer scenario of which the United States never faced after WW II.
My point is very simple—the ignorance of the American ruling class of modern warfare is such that it has become a clear and present danger for the world since, while improbable at this stage, it is totally plausible to see at some point of time someone in the US political top losing it and unleashing a confrontation with Russia, or China, being fully convinced, mostly by Hollywood or [Tom] Clancy-esque pseudo military fiction, that the Unites States and NATO can attack Russia and survive. That’s the danger, especially in a country whose elites completely lost their mind and are delusional, or reside in what I define as a Perpetual Chalabi Moment.
The US did lose the arms race. The arms race was not lost in 2018 or even 2015, however; it was lost much earlier and it was mostly due to the [machinations of the] US media-propaganda machine which kept it secret from the US public. It still continues to do so but it is increasingly difficult to keep it under wraps when information, including imagery of what Russia does in this field becomes increasingly available. But that is just part of the issue: I write about predictors—the real economy, scientific development, education, etc.—for war’s outcomes [are] non-stop.
In the end, when I state that the US elites have no clue about the size and complexity of Russia’s economy, it is one thing, but when I state that they basically have no clue about their own economy, not Wall Street’s cooking of books, I can rely on some serious American professionals in the field. After all, it was Trump’s White House which initiated Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States. The report was prepared by an Inter-agency Task Force in September 2018 and reads as an epitaph to the US machine-building complex and the issue is not just massive de-industrialization or the lack of a labor force which can fill in for departing old-timers, with many in the new generation of Americans being mostly interested in pot and drugs or in avoiding any productive labor, nor money alone can solve the problem of America’s declining military strength, which was always overstated to start with.
It is the culture, an institutional one, which is responsible for this decline. The United States is very good at building extremely expensive and dubiously effective—against a competent enemy—power projection forces, which by definition are offensive and aggressive.
Once one gets into the issues of actual defense, the picture changes dramatically for the United States. It is enough to mention the whole non-stop hysteria about Turkey buying and activating the S-400 complex, with India already having a 5 billion dollar contract signed with Russia, and many Arab states lining up for Russian-made air and anti-missile systems, not to mention combat aircraft, such as a contact for SU-35s between Egypt and Russia signed, following next.
All of it creates an extremely emotional reaction in the United States, but the fact that Russian military technology is in some key defense fields better than anything out there was never in doubt. It is enough to recall Vietnam, but in the time of radio and printed media it was easier to control narratives. Today it is extremely difficult. Russia always built weapons to effectively kill the enemy—such is Russia’s experience with warfare, much of which being invasions of foreign powers. The United States has zero historic experience with defending the US proper against powerful and brutal enemies. It is a cultural difference, a profound one and it manifests itself across the whole spectrum of activities, not just the respective military-industrial complexes. In other words, Russians MUST build top of the line weaponry, because the safety of Russia depends on it.
Yvonne Lorenzo: I just saw this report on Vesti YouTube’s channel on the Jubilee celebration of a composer, whose work (of course since my being an American) I was unfamiliar with: Alexandra Pakhmutova, who just turned ninety. I think musically this depicts the difference between a nation that recalls recent defensive martial glories and sorrows and the loss of life numbering in the tens of millions, as opposed the American military that Fred Reed expounds about below.
Here’s the video.
Putin Personally Congratulates Legendary Composer Pakhmutova With Order of Saint Andrew!
And here’s a piece she composed and performed that night, the title translated (English subtitles are in the video) “Let’s Bow to the Great Years.”
I don’t recall any such musical celebrations or expect any on the 75th anniversary of the victory against Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers, what we call in the USA World War II and Russians know as The Great Patriotic War; I don’t know if Generations X, Y or Z even give a damn or have any idea about this history; I recall reading in a survey that the majority of British students thought Hitler was Prime Minister of the U.K. Would you elaborate and also discuss your own feelings about this remarkable woman and these differences between the West and Russia? And please explain this statement you made in your book, which was posted on your blog when you discussed “Slogans masquerading as ideas,” a statement Paul Craig Roberts made
Soviet poet Alexandr Trvardovsky left a Great Patriotic War literary masterpiece for the Soviet people—the epic Vasily Tyorkin, large and written in many self-contained parts, because many Red Army soldiers could never expect to read the entirety because of the possibility of being killed at the front. It was a poem about life and the combat of a simple Russian soldier, Vasily Tyorkin, which later transcended its literary origin and lived on in Russian folklore and culture. One of the most powerful episodes in Tvardovsky’s masterpiece about River-Crossing under enemy’s fire, encapsulates the meaning of the titanic struggle against Nazi evil:
Бой идет святой и правый.
Смертный бой не ради славы,
Ради жизни на земле.
The battle goes on, holy and righteous
A deadly battle not for glory
For life on Earth
This is what at the stake for humanity today. No less than that. Maybe, more.
Andrei Martyanov: Alexandra Pakhmutova and her husband Nikolai Dobronravov are Soviet and Russia’s cultural icons who throughout decades literally nurtured several generations with their songs which long ago stopped being just songs and crossed into the realm of people’s culture the same way as Pushkin or Esenin’s poetry and Russian folklore songs. The scale of Pakhmutova and Dobronravov’s art becomes evident with each year and it only grows. Remarkably, it was the great Muslim, Magomaev, a Bakunian, same as I and my family, who became Pakhmutova songs’ premier performer and is still loved and listened to all over former Soviet Union. It is absolutely heartwarming to recognize that Pakhmutova is being recognized at the highest state level for her wonderful art. All this is part and parcel of the steady re-appropriation of the best in Soviet history and of the return of Russian people to what was and is truly dear to them. A lot of that is marked by the highest quality art. It is also a structural element of Russians re-asserting their historic role, which in the last century is closely tied to the defeat of Nazism. Moreover, it is what could be defined as an element in patriotic upbringing of Russia’s youth.
As I write in my first book, in 2015, at the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the defeat of Nazism in Moscow, the main event wasn’t Red Square parade, it was the march of Immortal Regiment and evening, absolutely stunning, concert The Roads of Great Victory at the Red Square. I cannot emphasize enough how much more important than the parade these two events were. The 75th Anniversary is coming on May 9th, 2020—I am sure there will be a magnificent parade and there will be many luminaries from all over the world present on the Red Square, but it will be, most likely, again the Immortal Regiment march and a concert which will be the main event, which will be able to give an insight into the Russian view of the world and view of on history. Obviously, songs by Pakhmutova and Dobronravov will be sang everywhere in Russia this day.
Yvonne Lorenzo: I have to add that I’ve listened to her compositions through the albums and videos of Hvorsostovky but I didn’t make the connection, since I honestly didn’t pay any attention to the names of the songs’ composers. Here is a video of him working with her recording “Tenderness.”
The entire Grand Anniversary concert is here, with millions of views:
Grand anniversary concert of Alexandra Pakhmutova
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOKYx9ee_oU (video cannot be embedded, VS)
And this is the most recent video of her receiving the Order of Saint Andrew of Award:
Bolshoi Theater Gets Special Visit By Putin, Renowned Composer Given Order of St. Andrew Award!
Yvonne Lorenzo: You’ve written about what I’d call the “Tom Clancy Delusion” on your blog. This recent article, “The CIA’s Jack Ryan Series Is ‘Regime-Change’ Propaganda Aimed At Venezuela” noted:
Dr. Matthew Alford of the University of Bath, author of National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood, told MintPress that the new Amazon product is a “disgrace of a series,” unfairly demonizing a nation at a time when the United States has its boot on the throat of Venezuelan society.
“The new Jack Ryan series comes in the context of four movies stretching back decades that have all had Department of Defense and/or CIA support at the scriptwriting phrase,” he noted, labeling Jack Ryan as a classic “national security entertainment product”.
The character of Jack Ryan first appeared in Cold War era Clancy stories such as The Hunt for Red October and The Cardinal of the Kremlin, where the heroic Ryan battles the dark forces of the Soviet Union. The series was put on hiatus but has recently returned, bringing with it much of the same Cold War mentality and rhetoric. Ryan has been previously played on screen by Hollywood stars such as Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck.
Alford’s book, which he co-wrote with Tom Secker, describes the enormous influence that the national security state has on popular culture. Based on Freedom of Information requested documents, the two calculated that between 2004 and 2016, the Department of Defense was directly involved in the production of 977 Hollywood movies or television shows, many of which were carefully scripted, edited and curated by government agents in order to present a certain viewpoint of the world to the public. For example, the writers of Homeland were revealed to have private meetings with ex-CIA officials before each season.
From big budget movies like Ironman and Transformers to surprisingly banal television productions like The Biggest Loser, Mythbusters or American Idol, virtually every movie or television show featuring the military or intelligence figures has been edited, scripted or funded by the Department of Defense in order to cast the government in the best possible light. Those that do not comply with the Department of Defense’s requests are not given privileged access to, or use of, military resources and may be attacked by the state as being unpatriotic or deceptive.
The constant flow of pro-security state messages has an effect on the public. Researchers found that respondents who were shown torture scenes from the television series 24 were more likely to subsequently support the government’s policies of torture in sites like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. This held even for liberal college students.
Andrei Martyanov: The first person of repute who challenged Tom Clancy’s fantasies was professor Roger Thompson in his seminal 2006 book Lessons Not Learned, in which he correctly asked a question how an insurance agent who never served a day in uniform and had undergraduate degree in English can write competently on any issue related to modern combat and technology. In Clancy’s case it was clear that he was promoted, he openly writes about it in his book, by former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, for purely propaganda reasons. Most of what Clancy wrote was cringe-worthy pop-literature, which could be described as incompetent military-intelligence porn. Clancy never made it a secret that his Jack Ryan character was written from…Tom Clancy himself. A good testimony about late Clancy himself. Why Jack Ryan was written as a spy as opposed to as insurance agent remains a complete mystery to me, but, I guess, whatever sells books for the late Tom Clancy. In Soviet/Russian military environment Clancy’s “literature” overwhelmingly was treated with ironic smile at best, and with Homeric laughter at worst. But that pretty much describes the “level” of American “knowledge” and awareness of Russia in general and her military in particular—a caricature. It is, however, one thing to promote caricatures in pop-art, totally another when a caricature becomes a working model for decision making at the top political level. That is dangerous. As General Latiff of DARPA correctly noted—most of what the US public and political class know about war is from entertainment, from Hollywood to the literature of such “professionals” like the late Clancy.
Yvonne Lorenzo: I quoted (retired) Major Danny Sjursen earlier. He wrote a piece title, “The Generals Won’t Save Us From The Next War” for the American Conservative. I want to reproduce an excerpt and then ask you to comment. Your disdain for the political class is well known but what about the generals in power? How capable and knowledgeable are they? How competent?
Why should any sentient citizen believe that these commanders’ former subordinates—a new crop of ambitious generals—will step forward now and oppose a disastrous future war with the Islamic Republic? Don’t believe it! Senior military leaders will salute, about-face, and execute unethical and unnecessary combat with Iran or whomever else (think Venezuela) Trump’s war hawks, such as John Bolton, decide needs a little regime changing.
Need proof that even the most highly lauded generals will sheepishly obey the next absurd march to war? Join me in a brief trip down an ever so depressing memory lane. Let us begin with my distinguished West Point graduation speaker, Air Force General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers. He goes down in history as as a Donald Rumsfeld lackey because it turns out he knew full well that there were “holes” in the Bush team’s inaccurate intelligence used to justify the disastrous Iraq war. Yet we heard not a peep from Myers, who kept his mouth shut and retired with full four-star honors.
Then, when Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki accurately (and somewhat courageously) predicted in 2003 that an occupation of Iraq would require up to half a million U.S. troops, he was quietly retired. Rummy passed over a whole generation of active officers to pull a known sycophant, General Peter Schoomaker, out of retirement to do Bush the Younger’s bidding. It worked too. Schoomaker, despite his highly touted special forces experience, never threw his stars on the table and called BS on a losing strategy even as it killed his soldiers by the hundreds and then the thousands. Having heard him (unimpressively) speak at West Point in 2005, I still can’t decide whether he lacked the intellect to do so or the conscience. Maybe both.
After Bush landed a fighter plane on a carrier and triumphantly announced “mission accomplished” in Iraq, poor Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the newest three-star in the Army, took over the hard part of conquest: bringing the “natives” to heel. He utterly failed, being too reliant on what he knew—Cold War armored combat—and too ambitious to yell “stop!” Soon after, it came to light that Sanchez had bungled the investigation—or cover-up (take your pick)—of the massive abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison.
General John Abizaid was one of the most disappointing in a long line of subservient generals. It seems Abizaid knew better: he knew the Iraq war couldn’t be won, that it was best to hand over control to the Iraqis posthaste, that General David Petraeus’s magical “surge” snake oil wouldn’t work. Still, Abizaid didn’t quit and retired quietly. He’s now Trump’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, which is far from comforting.
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster was heralded as an outside-the-box thinker. And indeed, he was a Gulf War I hero, earned a Ph.D., taught history at West Point, and wrote a (mostly) well-received book on Vietnam. Yet when Trump appointed him national security advisor, he brought only in-the-box military beliefs with him into the White House. He then helped author a fanciful National Defense Strategy that argued the U.S. military must be ready at a moment’s notice to fight Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and “terror.” Perhaps at the same time! No nuance, no diplomatic alternatives, no cost-benefit analysis, just standard militarism. These days, McMaster is running around decrying what he calls a “defeatist narrative” and arguing for indefinite war in the Middle East.
Then there was the other Washington insider and “liberal” favorite, one of a trio of “adults in the room,” General Jim Mattis. Though sold to the public as a “warrior monk,” Mattis offered no alternative to America’s failing forever wars. In fact, when he decided his conscience no longer allowed him to stay in the Trump administration, his reason for leaving was that the president had called for a reduction of troops in Afghanistan after 18 senseless years. U.S.-supported Saudi terror bombings that killed tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians? A U.S.-backed Saudi blockade that starved at least 85,000 Yemeni children to death? Yeah, he was fine with that. But a modest troop withdrawal from a losing 18-year-old war in landlocked Central Asia, that he couldn’t countenance.
Then there’s the propensity for politics and pageantry among senior military officers. This was embarrassingly and unconscionably on display in the tragic cases of Private First Class Jessica Lynch and Corporal Pat Tillman. When, during the initial invasion of Iraq, the young Lynch’s maintenance convoy got lost, she was captured and briefly detained by Saddam’s army. Knowing a good public relations opportunity when they saw it, Bush’s staff and the generals concocted a slew of comforting lies: Lynch was a hero who had fought to her last bullet (she’d never fired her rifle), she’d been tortured (she hadn’t), her combat-camera equipped commando rescue had come just in the nick of time (she was hardly guarded and in a hospital). Who cares if it was all lies, if this young woman’s terrifying experience was co-opted and embellished? The Lynch story was media fodder.
More tragic was the Pat Tillman escapade. Tillman was an admirable outlier, the only professional athlete to give up a million dollar contract to enlist in the military soon after 9/11. Tillman and his brother went all in, too, choosing the elite Army Rangers. It was quite the story. Rumsfeld even wrote the new private a congratulatory letter. Then reality got in the way. Tillman was killed in Afghanistan during a friendly fire incident that can only be described as gross incompetence. Almost immediately, President Bush’s staff and much of the Army’s top brass went to work crafting the big lie: a heroic narrative of Tillman’s demise, replete with dozens of marauding Taliban fighters and a one-man charge befitting the hard-hitting former NFL defensive back. Promoted to corporal posthumously, he was awarded the Silver Star. Some of his fellow Rangers were instructed to lie to the Tillman family at the memorial service regarding the manner of Pat’s death.
Only Bush’s neophytes and the Army’s complicit generals didn’t count on the tenacity of Tillman’s parents. They waged something nearing war with the U.S. military for several years until they found out the truth, unearthing a cover-up that implicated Bush’s civilians and many of the military’s four-star generals (including Stanley McChrystal, John Abizaid, and Richard Myers). The Tillman family got their congressional hearing, but the sycophantic representatives on the Hill refused to seriously criticize the top brass and no one was seriously punished.
Andrei Martyanov: I don’t know the exact answer to this question. I am positive that there are many highly educated and competent people in US Armed Forces but there is no denial of the fact that some segments of the US top brass are more politicians than military leaders. It is not unique to the United States Armed Forces, but the record of failures is in the open and everyone can make their own conclusions.
Yvonne Lorenzo: Your latest book, The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs provides further detail on Russia’s technological advancements. A layman, I see America as principally using bombing as artillery and proxy fighters (see Syria) on the ground—not too competent. I’ve read enough to be dangerous—having no military background—but wars can’t be won by bombing campaigns alone, even against a mediocre target (I think you called Iraq’s army third-rate). Fighting Russia, which appears to be the goal of the political class, is not what they will expect, even if the confrontation doesn’t rise to a nuclear exchange.
I’d appreciate your summarizing some of the key points of this book but I have to ask, having read some of The Saker’s writings, can Russia be overwhelmed by thousands upon thousands of slow missiles, like the TLAMs or will Russia use their “800 Pound Gorilla” in your parlance, that is, does Russia have enough weapons, from cruise missiles, to defensive, to hypersonic, not to be overwhelmed and are American generals aware of the risk if it does should they engage in hostilities? I noted your comments on Professor Cohen’s latest on Ukraine posted to Unz.com on November 14th but his most recent video in PushBack from The Grayzone he said that in all the years he studied Russia and America he’d never thought the two nations would go to war. Yet now he fears this possibility. I’d appreciate your thoughts.
Willy Wimmer discussed on RT ‘We are on a path of war again’: 30 years after the Berlin Wall fell, Europe betrays its own hopes (By Willy Wimmer). He said:
It is a kind of Anglo-Saxon policy not to have cooperation on the European continent – mainly between the Russians, the French, the Poles and the Germans. They want to have a line of confrontation in this area and therefore are against all promises. [As a result] NATO was extended to the East.
I was responsible for the organization of the German Armed Forces on the German territory following reunification. We did not want foreign troops in former East Germany. We did not want to have British or French troops there; we wanted to have only German ones. We wanted to explain to the world that there was no desire to enlarge NATO up to the new borders with Russia that were created in 1992.
It was against all the ideas we had after reunification. What is happening now is some kind of Anglo-Saxon policy that was created even before WWI. We are on the path of war again. That is so much against the will of our people.
This is also against the will of the Dutch, the French, the Spanish and the Italians. We see it as a disaster that a US president that is willing to cooperate with the Russian President Vladimir Putin – President [Donald] Trump – has to face such a disastrous policy organized by the US deep state, which is against our national interests and the national interests of all other western Europeans…
But, when you now come to Rostock, Dresden or Leipzig they are learning Russian again, they go to theaters to watch Russian performances and listen to Russian music. They have re-established their links with Russia, and if they could do what they want to do, they would be the big economic partners of Russia these days.
Things have really changed for the Russian Federation and with regard to Russia. People in Dresden, Saxony’s capital, are absolutely proud that Russian President Vladimir Putin once served there. That is the reality these days, despite what the mainstream media say.Would Russia engage in tank battles and soldier-to-soldier combat if NATO attacked, or would they use stand-off weapons that you discuss just to obliterate command and control centers, the sources of munitions, etc.? Mr. Wimmer clearly sees that some Germans, as opposed to the “vassal” government, want better relations with Russia as opposed to war, including cold war.
Andrei Martyanov: The issue of TLAMs: in a conventional configuration, I don’t think that they can do much damage to Russia, especially considering Russia’s unique anti-air and anti-missile defense. A few possible leakers in conventional configuration will not do much damage; a few leakers in a nuclear configuration, however, is a completely different game. Hence Russia’s worry about Aegis Ashore installations in Romania and Poland. That’s the main worry.
In a conventional scenario, Russia will not be overwhelmed and even conventional response-head on (otvetno-vstrechnyi) strike will be extremely damaging to NATO and the US.
Valeri Gerasimov was explicit couple of years ago in his interview about Russia having enough stand-off weapons at every strategic direction to provide a reliable deterrence. Even in conventional exchange Russia can launch weapons at the US proper with Russian bombers not leaving Russia’s aerospace. The X-101 cruise missile has a range in excess of 5,500 kilometers. Russia continues to increase her deterrence with 3M22 Zircon getting ready to be tested from Admiral Gorshkov frigate very soon, with Kazan SSGN of project 885 planned to launch the hyper-sonic Zircon from underwater early next year.
All this changes deterrence dynamics completely because the United States cannot defend her coasts and in depth against such systems. Russia can intercept the bulk of US and NATO cruise missiles; the US cannot do so against Russia.
Yvonne Lorenzo: As I write this on December 3rd, 2019, Vesti News posted this video on the Zircon:
Putin Unveils Zircon Hypersonic Missiles! Stresses Importance of Beefing Up Russia’s Navy!
Yvonne Lorenzo: Let me ask you about Colonel Douglas Macgregor. A recent piece for Strategic-Culture, Douglas Macgregor: America’s De Gaulle, Unheeded Prophet of Houthi Victory and Saudi Fall described him thus:
The brilliant Houthi military victory over the Saudis fulfilled the predictions in military doctrine made by America’s own De Gaulle, a retired US Army Colonel, Douglas Macgregor with an outstanding combat and command record who has been treated over the past 20 years by most of his own country’s four star generals and civilian theorists with contempt: Just as the French Army ignored DeGaulle’s armored warfare doctrines 90 years, when they were being read and applied passionately by the generals of Germany.
Macgregor observed after the Houthi victory in September that that there was no reason for surprise. Sure enough, two and a half years earlier, in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on March 7, 2017, he stated:
“The skies over the battlefield will be crowded with loitering munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones). These agile cruise missiles are designed to engage beyond line-of-sight ground targets. With proximity-fused, high-explosive warheads, these systems will remain airborne for hours, day or night. Equipped with high resolution electro-optical and infrared cameras, enemy operators will locate, surveil, and guide the drones to targets on the ground… When these loitering missiles are integrated into the enemy’s Strike Formations armed with precision guided rocket artillery that fires high explosive, incendiary, thermobaric, warheads including sub-munitions with self-targeting anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions warfare as we know it changes.”
Macgregor was even more prescient in predicting the previous Houthi precision missile strikes that wiped out half the production capacity of Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries earlier in September. Those attacks humiliatingly exposed the ultra-expensive, endlessly praised US missile defense systems sold to Riyadh as worthless dinosaurs.
Yet, writing in his book “Transformation Under Fire” published back in 2003, Macgregor had said: “The idea is to link maneuver and strike assets through a flatter operational architecture empowered by new terrestrial and space-based communications throughout the formation… Long-range, joint precision fires and C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] offer the possibility to reach over enemy armies to directly strike at what they hope to defend or preserve. Precision strategic strikes closely coordinated and timed with converging Army combat forces would present a defending enemy with an insoluble dilemma.”As you see, he’s retired and never became a general. At least he appears to oppose war with Russia and Iran and China, from his appearances on Tucker Carlson that I’ve seen. Can you comment on the above piece and how Russia might respond if America used such techniques? It seems to me Russia would also be able to implement such techniques.
Andrei Martyanov: Douglas Macgregor is a brilliant man but his testimony is about fighting an enemy which does not posses C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] capabilities comparable to that of the United States.
Russia does and we have to be very clear on that distinction. Fighting a modern combined arms war against such opponents as North Korea or even Iran the United States will have massive leverage, at least initially, before boots get on the ground, in terms of stand-off operations. Once boots hit the ground, well, then it will change. But fighting peers, such as China, let alone Russia—I simply cannot see how the United States will stay away from escalation to a nuclear threshold, because the scale of losses will be catastrophic both in men and materiel.
In the end, Macgregor is on the record:
In 110 days of fighting the German army in France during 1918, the U.S. Army Expeditionary Force sustained 318,000 casualties, including 110,000 killed in action. That’s the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a future war with real armies, air forces, air defenses and naval power.
Ignoring this reality is the road to future defeats and American decline. It’s time to look beyond the stirring images of infantrymen storming machine-gun nests created by Hollywood and to see war for what it is and will be in the future: the ruthless extermination of the enemy with accurate, devastating firepower from the sea, from the air, from space and from mobile, armored firepower on land.
The United Sates is not in a position to take this scale of losses, not to mention having its rear, from staffs to munition depots and airfields being under relentless and devastating fire impact from operational to a strategic depth—a condition the US Army simple has no experience with. As even RAND people admitted:
“We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,” RAND analyst David Ochmanek told a security conference on Thursday. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it.”
I’ve been writing about this for years. It’s good that some people are beginning to get it. I hope—although I don’t hold my breath—their opinions will be heard at the political top.
Yvonne Lorenzo: Recent articles have posted on cooperation between Russia and China, not just the well know business deals but cultural and Chinese students coming to Russia. See these articles, “Top Russian nuclear university eyes future cooperation with China” and “Film about WWII sniper ‘Lady Death’ kicks off ‘2019 Russian Film Exhibition’ in Beijing” posted on China’s Global Times.
I’d appreciate your thoughts about the Russian-Chinese relationship/partnership.
Andrei Martyanov: The answer is extremely simple—Russian-Chinese cooperation is not only natural, but it was inevitable, considering the state of the combined West and, especially so, of the United States.
Yvonne Lorenzo: This recent article, Climate Change Could Make Russia Great Again, appeared on Russia’s role in the Arctic region; and you blogged about Russia defending China in that sphere. I’d appreciate your thoughts. From the article:
Russia, with the North Pole in its backyard, is working to realize such a global trade scenario alongside the Chinese and in some cases in cooperation with them. In 2017, for the first time, a Russian tanker passed through the Arctic Ocean without a need for icebreakers. Russia has already beefed up its civilian presence in the region, and its military presence has reached a level not seen since the Cold War. Army bases abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union have been renovated and restaffed; according to Russia’s Defense Ministry, 475 new military facilities have been built in the area since 2012. Recently a new polar brigade was established, and last April the newspaper Izvestia reported that by the end of 2020, Russia’s most advanced air-defense system, the S-400 missile system, will be deployed both along the shores of the Arctic Ocean and on a number of islands in the region.
In April, a month before the Arctic Council convened, the International Arctic Forum – a Russian-dominated body comprised of representatives of various governments, scientists, business figures and international groups – met in St. Petersburg, with the prime ministers of Sweden and Norway and the presidents of Finland and Iceland in attendance. At the event, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new strategy for developing the region. Already this year, he announced the deployment of three nuclear-powered icebreakers there. According to official sources in Moscow, tax breaks will be offered to those who invest in the area, a new port will be built near the natural gas terminal at Sabetta, on the Russian shore of the Arctic Ocean, and a railway line will connect that port to the interior.
All this is part of a larger Russian scheme designed to challenge the global trade map as it is being drawn via policy decisions by the West, spearheaded by the United States. Putin doesn’t have the quantity of resources possessed by his superpower neighbor to the east, but the rabbit in his hat is global warming itself. Beyond the new trade routes that could open up, Russia will also profit in another way from the planet’s warming: accessibility to land for agricultural production
Andrei Martyanov: The phrase about “resources” is absolutely funny and could be responded to in a simple way—Russian ice-breaker building program is simply without equals in the world and these are precisely China and the US who have neither resources nor know-how to be competitive here. And this is just a single, out of many, sector in Arctic exploration program.
Yvonne Lorenzo: Andrei, you posted this on your blog on November 26th, 2019, “New S-400 Contract For Turkey?” which I want to discuss not only because of your observations, but because in the past (and I’m not picking on him) Paul Craig Roberts wrote in effect that Russia must be more aggressive with America to avoid a shooting war, quoting him, “The Russian government’s failure to stand up to Washington’s bullying guarantees more bullying. Sooner or later the bullying will cross a line, and Russia will have to fight.”
However, in this post of yours I cited above you commented:
So, [the] Turks are already running, it seems, detection routines with F-16 and F-4 as targets. Turks will, already do, want more. The Turks know what comes next, and it is S-500—they want it. The reason is simple: look at [a] map of Turkey and see how much [of the] Eastern Mediterranean she will be able to cover—pretty much all of it. Just in case. And it is not just for reasons of Greece and gas fields, but for reasons of Israel. The Turkish path towards a leadership in [the] Islamic world lies through the fate of Palestine.
So, a lot of thing are riding on those systems for Turkey and, just a hunch, SU-35s will follow.I’m surprised the Turks haven’t start testing against any F-35s, unless Turkey had to return them to America; I’d love to see the reaction if they did, which so far has included this: “‘Erdogan thumbs his nose at Trump’: US senator says Turkey crossed ‘another red line’ with S-400 test, calls for new sanctions.”
As you also wrote recently: “How about State Department creating a new Office of S-400 Weekly Complaints and Threats Towards Turkey (OSWCTTT). Should be a pretty nice sinecure for some bureaucrat. Should pay well too—rent and real estate prices inside the Beltway are atrocious. Foggy Bottom especially.”
And I see in the way they’ve turned Turkey away from American dominance, or Western dominance, that Russia’s diplomatic team, of course under the leadership of President Putin, have performed a Jujitsu move against the West more effective than using force. Of course, the Turks are no angels as this article, “ISIS Captives Offer a Convenient Pawn in Turkey’s Syria Chess Game” by the respected Vanessa Beeley notes although I suspect they won’t turn on Russia.
What are your thoughts?
Andrei Martyanov: As a Russian proverb says: “Diplomacy is the art to say to your counterpart that he is an idiot in the politest manner.”
In reality, the Russian version is very profane, so I softened it a bit. Russians do not operate on the so called “values-based,” ideological that is, principle in foreign policy. Russians actually DO consider the other side’s interests and concerns and that is what makes Russian diplomacy so effective. This, plus, of course, military power. As another Russian saying goes: “If you do not want to talk to Lavrov, you will talk to Shoigu.”
With Turkey Russia does accommodate many Turkish interests; the Turks feel that. This is as much as I can respond to, because I am not in the position to pass deep and knowledgeable judgment on Turkey’s policies since I do not know the region that well. I am sure, however, that Turks have a very good idea about what Russia offers technologically and economically. The Turkish officer crews for S-400 underwent an extensive training in Russia so they do not need any additional argumentation in favor of the system they were trained on. The F-35 is irrelevant here, apart from the fact that Turks cannot use, I believe, from the top of my head, those two aircraft which they had and which will be returned to the US.
Yvonne Lorenzo: In this interview with John Pilger, “American Exceptionalism Driving World to War – John Pilger,” he discusses the risk of “hot war” instigated by America against Russia. Here’s an excerpt:
Question: You have worked for over five decades as a war reporter and documentary film-maker in Vietnam, elsewhere in Asia, Africa and Latin America. How do you see current international tensions between the US, China and Russia? Do you think the danger of war is greater now than in previous times?
John Pilger: In 1962, we all may have been saved by the refusal of a Soviet naval officer, Vasili Arkhipov, to fire a nuclear torpedo at US ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Are we in greater danger today? During the Cold War, there were lines that the other side dared not cross. There are few if any lines now; the US surrounds China with 400 military bases and sails its low-draught ships into Chinese waters and flies its drones in Chinese airspace. American-led NATO forces mass on the same Russian frontier the Nazis crossed; the Russian president is insulted as a matter of routine. There is no restraint and none of the diplomacy that kept the old Cold War cold. In the West, we have acquiesced as bystanders in our own countries, preferring to look away (or at our smart phones) rather than break free of the post-modernism entrapping us with its specious “identity” distractions.
Question: You traveled extensively in the US during the Cold War years. You witnessed the assassination of presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968. It seems the American Cold War obsession with “communism as an evil” has been replaced by an equally intense Russophobia towards modern-day Russia. Do you see a continuation in the phobia from the Cold War years to today? What accounts for that mindset?
John Pilger: The Russians refuse to bow down to America, and that is intolerable. They play an independent, mostly positive role in the Middle East, the antithesis of America’s violent subversions, and that is unbearable. Like the Chinese, they have forged peaceful and fruitful alliances with people all over the world, and that is unacceptable to the US Godfather. The constant defamation of all things Russian is a symptom of decline and panic, as if the United States has departed the 21st century for the 19th century, obsessed with a proprietorial view of the world. In the circumstances, the phobia you describe is hardly surprising.
Andrei Martyanov: As in any event, war between Russia and the US is possible, but how probable it is, is a completely different matter. Some probability of Russia and the United States actually fighting each other certainly exists. It is not very high, I think, but it does exist.
We all have to do our utmost to prevent this scenario becoming a reality. Paradoxically, Russia’s very real military strength today is a guarantor or, at least, a robust deterrent against such a nightmarish scenario. As I said, the US military does understand the implications, even when American politicians don’t. I always repeat that I feel much better when Gerasimov and Milley talk to each other than when Lavrov is forced to explain basic things to Pompeo.
Yvonne Lorenzo: Hypersonic weapons, impressive as they are, rely on Newtonian physics. There was—to me—a term that you would call “Runglish”, Russian-English, discussing “New physical principles” which I finally understood to mean “new principles of physics” relating to the new Peresvet laser, which I think you’ve speculated on its purpose but is highly secret. However, all this technology is used for military purposes; what I find it sad about deteriorating relations with Russia because the best of the West and Russia could accomplish a great deal sharing and developing non-military technology.
I’m reminded of this wonderful video of a Russia cosmonaut’s interactions with an American astronaut and seeing the world below they have disdain for politicians.
I Need More Space: Russian Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin’s long road to the stars
What are your thoughts and how can Russians and American in this environment of “Russophobia” which is a polite, diplomatic word for hatred of Russians, cooperate as we two are doing now for peaceful and good purposes? I worry both your doors and mine, for simply communicating with one another, will be kicked in one day by someone from the government, as happened with Max Blumenthal. Can we both pessimistic and hopeful?
Andrei Martyanov: As I stated repeatedly, the combined West committed cultural suicide in Russia. Yes, Russians are open to mutually beneficial cooperation, with space being one of those exhibit A cases where international cooperation manifests itself in the most profound and positive way.
Sadly, with the current US political “elites” who are Russophobic in the extreme, any prospects of serious Russian-American cooperation look very grim. The world is in the process of unprecedented geopolitical realignment which increasingly degrades the position of the United States and Russia is at the center of this process. The Obama Administration destroyed Russian-American relations totally and I don’t see any improvement, bar some symbolic gestures, such as, I hope, President Trump visiting Moscow on May 9th next year, because the American political class’s Russophobia is systemic and was nurtured for generations.
Plus, the United States is not an agreement-capable entity because it is ungovernable, as the last three years so dramatically demonstrated. Russia is aware of that—no agreement signed with the United States is worth the paper it is written on. We can only hope that things will change for the better in the future but this change may come only through the United States reassessing its role in history and the world—a process which may take decades, serious tribulations and, hopefully, emergence of new American elites that would be able to formulate real American national interests.
After I asked Andrei my last question, this Russian video posted on YouTube: so much for future cooperation between America and Russia in space, because of sanctions Americans cannot be carried to the space station by Russians any longer:
US Will Be Stranded On Earth! Baikonur Cosmodrome Sends Very Last American Into Space!
I’d like to thank Andrei for his kind answers to my questions and highly recommend his books and his writings on his blog and on Unz.com for those who wish to escape the Matrix and find a knowledgeable Russian perspective on events and military matters; Martyanov is the antidote to Tom Clancy disease.
I want to close by noting Andrei Martynov’s recent blog post “Ishenko Delivers” that referenced an article by Rostislav Ishenko entitled “In Bulgaria, a Russian Soldier” the title itself a reference to the song “Alyosha,” which I am familiar with from the album Wait for Me by the late exceptional baritone Dimitri Hvorsostovky. The below passage Ishenko wrote is moving, as is the song.
It was 1970. I was five years old. I came to visit my grandmother. To the White Church. Near Kiev. My grandmother is from the Urals. My grandfather (on my father’s side) started the war near Stalingrad, and ended on the Dnieper (six wounds, four of them heavy, two shell shocks, medals “For Military Merit” and “For Courage,” the Order of the “Red Star” and “World War II” degrees). The commander of a machine gun company. He fought for an incomplete year. From October 1943 he was no longer sent to the front (and his division arrived near Stalingrad in November 1942). He died (in 1956) at 36 years old, from the consequences of a concussion (as a young major, in a colonel’s position).
In 1970, I was five years old (to be exact, then four and a half). Grandmother was a teacher of French. At the same time and a class teacher. I came to visit her. Contrary to usual, I didn’t go straight home, but (for some reason unknown to me) I went to the school where she taught. I think that she needed to complete the work with the class, and the school was five to seven minutes’ walk from home. Here I am, as a future student, and they brought me to see how the children learn.
For about fifteen minutes I studied desks in an empty classroom (which at that time did not differ from the gymnasium at the beginning of the century) and read what was written on the board. And then she went with her grandmother to the porch of the school, where her class (and other classes) performed. Now I don’t remember what the holiday was, but I suspect it is May 9th. Because I went out onto the porch (they rather took me out, I was too small to go out myself), just as the girls from my grandmother’s class (8–10, already without pioneer ties and, as for me, adult aunts) sang “Alyosha.” I haven’t heard the song so often since then, but I remember it well, because, in the words, “He doesn’t give flowers to girls, they give him flowers,” the entire female team of the school, which was standing next to me, wept.
It was the 70th year. My grandmother was 48 years old. Exactly at that age (in 2014) I left Kiev. The city where four generations of my ancestors lived, in which my mother survived the occupation (and met the Red Army at the age of three), became not just a stranger, but a hostile one. I can be forced to return there, but I cannot be persuaded or persuaded to do so voluntarily. It’s like in a war. All who survived and won are proud of the Victory, and while their fellow soldiers were alive, they met and remembered the days of old. But they themselves did not dream of returning to the dugout under shelling, nor did they want to experience the “pleasure” of the attack (to their full height on the prepared defense) for their children.
Russians have in their collective memory the trauma of a war that killed millions, a subject Martyanov has discussed in depth especially in his first book; in that respect, they are different from Americans and I question the sanity of the rulers—especially the feckless political class—of the West who make the Russians foes. Perhaps only the people of the two nations—if they are enough in number in America—can prevent war from coming, because I am uncertain if the American military can reign in the powers that control them. Or perhaps it is the fate for Russia to humble America, the way she did Nazi Germany, not necessarily by military might—at least I pray. I suspect the process has started already.
Sadly, we know which side is most at fault for this deterioration of relations between our nations.
(Music: E. Kolmanovsky; Lyrics: E. Vashenkin)
Whether first snows cover the field,
Or rains are loudly drumming,
Alyosha will stand on the mountain
Alyosha: a Russian Soldier of Bulgaria.
The heart feels bitterness
That after a terrible snowstorm
His uniform shirt is made of rock
And so are his boots.
There are many nameless men
Lying there under the mountain
But this one—Alyosha—
Is known to all of Bulgaria.
He will never step down
From the heights into the peaceful valley
He will never give flowers to the girls—
They will bring flowers to him.
As familiar as the sun or the wind—
Like a star in the night sky—
He will rise and stand over this city
As he has always stood.
Familiar—like the sun, like the wind.
Whether first snows cover the field
Or rains are loudly drumming,
Alyohsa will stand on the mountain
Alyosha: A Russian soldier of Bulgaria
Yvonne Lorenzo [her contact email is ylorenzo[at]use.startmail.com] makes her home in New England in a house full to bursting with books, including works on classical Greece and Russian history and literature. Her interests include gardening, mythology, ancient history, The Electric Universe, and classical music, especially the compositions of Handel, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Wagner and the Bel Canto repertoire. She is the author of The Spear of Odin Trilogy: Son of Thunder, The Cloak of Freya and the just published The Well of Mimir.