American Students Are Rarely Taught How Much American Imperialism To The South Through The 1860s Was About Expanding Slavery, Or How Much It Was Impeded By Racism.

The Monroe Doctrine was first discussed under that name as justification for the United States war on Mexico that moved its western border south, swallowing up the present-day states of California, Nevada, and Utah, most of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming. By no means was that as far south as some would have liked to move the border.

The catastrophic war on the Philippines also grew out of a Monroe-Doctrine-justified war against Spain (and Cuba and Puerto Rico) in the Caribbean. And global imperialism was a smooth expansion of the Monroe Doctrine.

But it is in reference to Latin America that the Monroe Doctrine is usually cited today, and the Monroe Doctrine has been central to a United States assault on its southern neighbors for 200 years. During these centuries, groups and individuals, including Latin American intellectuals, have both opposed the Monroe Doctrine’s justification of imperialism and sought to argue that the Monroe Doctrine should be interpreted as promoting isolationism and multilateralism. Both approaches have had limited success. United States interventions have ebbed and flowed but never halted.

The popularity of the Monroe Doctrine as a reference point in United States discourse, which rose to amazing heights during the 19th century, practically achieving the status of the Declaration of Independence or Constitution, may in part be thanks to its lack of clarity and to its avoidance of committing the government to anything in particular, while sounding quite macho. As various United States eras added their “corollaries” and interpretations, commentators could defend their preferred version against others. But the dominant theme, both before and even more so after Theodore Roosevelt, has always been exceptionalist imperialism.

Many a filibustering fiasco in Cuba long preceded the Bay of Pigs SNAFU. But when it comes to the escapades of arrogant gringos, no sampling of tales would be complete without the somewhat unique but revealing story of William Walker, a filibusterer who made himself president of Nicaragua, carrying south the expansion that predecessors like Daniel Boone had carried west. Walker is not secret CIA history. The CIA had yet to exist. During the 1850s Walker may have received more attention in American newspapers than any president. On four different days, the New York Times devoted its entire front page to his antics. That most people in Central America know his name and virtually nobody in the United States does is a choice made by the respective educational systems.

Nobody in the United States having any idea who William Walker was is not the equivalent of nobody in the United States knowing there was a coup in Ukraine in 2014. Nor is it like 20 years from now everybody having failed to learn that Russiagate was a scam. We would equate it more closely to 20 years from now nobody knowing that there was a 2003 war on Iraq that George W. Bush told any lies about. Walker was big news subsequently erased.

Walker got himself the command of a North American force supposedly aiding one of two warring parties in Nicaragua, but actually doing what Walker chose, which included capturing the city of Granada, effectively taking charge of the country, and eventually holding a phony election of himself. Walker got to work transferring land ownership to gringos, instituting slavery, and making English an official language. Newspapers in the southern United States wrote about Nicaragua as a future American state. But Walker managed to make an enemy of Vanderbilt, and to unite Central America as never before, across political divisions and national borders, against him. Only the American government professed “neutrality.” Defeated, Walker was welcomed back to the United States as a conquering hero. He tried again in Honduras in 1860 and ended up captured by the British, turned over to Honduras, and shot by a firing squad. His soldiers were sent back to the United States where they mostly joined the Confederate Army.

Walker had preached the gospel of war. “They are but drivellers,” he said, “who speak of establishing fixed relations between the pure white American race, as it exists in the United States, and the mixed, Hispano-Indian race, as it exists in Mexico and Central America, without the employment of force.” Walker’s vision was adored and celebrated by American media, not to mention a Broadway show.

American students are rarely taught how much American imperialism to the South up through the 1860s was about expanding slavery, or how much it was impeded by the racism that did not want non-“white,” non-English-speaking people joining the United States.

José Martí wrote in a Buenos Aires newspaper denouncing the Monroe Doctrine as hypocrisy and accusing the United States of invoking “freedom . . . for purposes of depriving other nations of it.”

While it’s important not to believe that American imperialism began in 1898, how people in the United States thought of imperialism did change in 1898 and the years following. There were now greater bodies of water between the mainland and its colonies and possessions. There were greater numbers of people not deemed “white” living below American flags. And there was apparently no longer a need to respect the rest of the hemisphere by understanding the name “America” to apply to more than one nation. Up until this time, the United States of America was usually referred to as the United States or the Union. Now it became America. So, if you thought your little country was in America, you’d better watch out!


Cleveland Kept This Country At Peace And Opposed Unjust Land Grabs, And Should Be Remembered As One Of The Few American Presidents With A Successful Foreign Policy.

Grover Cleveland was one of the more remarkable presidents in American history, but today he is scarcely remembered, despite being one of a few men to win the popular vote three times. In a new biography, author Troy Senik seeks to remind Americans of his life and work and to explain why Cleveland has largely vanished from the memory of the nation he served.

Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland is sympathetic and admiring, but it is far from uncritical. It tells the story of a genuinely honest and principled man whose sense of justice was so strong that he would frequently put himself at a disadvantage by taking unpopular and losing stands. In a sharp contrast to the pandering and opportunism that we normally expect from politicians, Cleveland was almost always fixed in his positions and immoveable no matter how much resistance he encountered.

As a result, he was arguably one of the most admirable and upstanding presidents we have ever had, but because of his inflexibility he was usually unsuccessful in achieving the ends he had in mind.

To the extent that he has been forgotten, one reason is that his conception of the presidency was such a modest and limited one that he did not set much store by trying to do big things to create a legacy for himself. Cleveland believed in the fair and impartial administration of government in the public interest, and this repeatedly made him a poor fit for the roles of factional leader and partisan fighter.

His strict constitutionalism meant that he refused to play the activist role that so many historians want presidents to embrace. His interest in fairness was rooted both in the religious upbringing he had as the son of a Presbyterian minister, and his study of the law, and his legal career instilled in him a lifelong preference to settle disputes through arbitration.

As Senik emphasizes, Cleveland was never a great orator, but in his plain speaking and desire for justice he could inspire tremendous enthusiasm and admiration. But because he was the last president coming from an older breed of conservative Democrat, Cleveland had few political heirs that would celebrate him in posterity.

As the last truly anti-imperialist president on the eve of the American overseas empire, Cleveland was on the right but losing side of the great foreign policy debate of his day. Like almost all of his 19th Century predecessors, Cleveland’s two terms as president were mostly defined by domestic concerns and crises, but it is in his forays in foreign policy that we may get the clearest picture of the man and his convictions.

An old-line Jeffersonian, Cleveland was firmly committed to keeping Americ free from foreign entanglements, and as a result he took a jaundiced view of the enthusiasm for overseas expansion that was already building up during his tenure.

Cleveland’s sense of justice also caused him to take an interest in foreign affairs in some unexpected places. Alarmed by the possibility that Samoa would be swallowed up by Germany, he sought to protect Samoan independence without taking on a new protectorate. He withdrew the treaty of annexation for Hawaii when he returned to the presidency in his second term, and he attempted to repair the damage done by American officials’ support for the Hawaiian coup under the previous administration.

Persuaded that Britain was seeking to grab Venezuelan territory as part of an ongoing boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana, Cleveland pressed for arbitration in such strong terms that America and Britain briefly seemed to be on a collision course. When he saw what he considered abuse by a stronger party against a weaker one, he saw an opening to find a fair resolution through diplomatic mediation. Unlike many of his successors, he took an interest in a neighboring Latin American country not to invade it or exploit it but to stand up for its rights against a major power.

Cleveland’s opposition to the annexation of Hawaii as president was one of the best things he did in office, but it was soon overwhelmed by the expansionist frenzy unleashed by the war with Spain under his successor. His leadership in fighting against the annexation of the Philippines after he left office was further proof that his rejection of imperialism was rooted in deep principle. Unfortunately, like most of his previous fights, opposition to annexing the Philippines also ended in failure, albeit by a very narrow margin.

Senik covers Cleveland’s anti-imperialist record in one chapter, but curiously he omits his later role in the Anti-Imperialist League, and gives only passing references to the former president’s opposition to the Spanish and Philippine Wars and the treaty of annexation. This is an important oversight in an otherwise well-done account of Cleveland’s life. The annexation of Hawaii and the Spanish War moved Cleveland to speak out against what he called “schemes of imperialism” that were leading the United States into “dangerous perversions of our national mission.”

As Stephen Kinzer noted in his excellent history of the League and the debate over annexation, The True Flag, “Cleveland’s outspoken statements gave anti-imperialists new reason for hope. They had believed from the beginning that justice was on their side….Now they were attracting first-rank leaders.” The fight against annexation was an important episode in Cleveland’s post-presidential life, and it should be included in an assessment of his career.

While the League ultimately failed to stop annexation, it was the first significant antiwar organization of its kind. It represented a broad cross-section of American opinion in opposition to the acquisition of overseas colonies. Cleveland’s membership in the League was a major early boost to its fortunes, and it brought him into common cause with both Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie. Senik quotes Twain’s high praise for Cleveland as “a very great president,” but he curiously doesn’t mention that Twain and Cleveland were allies in the great fight against empire.

In his conclusion, Senik observes that Cleveland might have done things to secure his presidential legacy by being the one to annex Hawaii or intervene in Cuba. “Grover Cleveland didn’t miss those opportunities because he was an inept president, however; he refused them because he thought they were wrong.” Cleveland always emphasized doing right in the conduct of the nation’s business, and his devotion to this principle was unflinching. This caused him great disillusionment and disappointment as many of his countrymen chose the dishonorable course of stealing the lands of other peoples.

Cleveland’s rejection of the course that America would take in the world over the following decades is undoubtedly one reason why he has been so often forgotten. In the twentieth century, both parties embraced the expansionist and interventionist policies that Cleveland abhorred.

Modern historians tend to valorize activist presidents that sought global “leadership,” and Cleveland was the opposite of that. A president that kept his country at peace and opposed unjust land grabs should be remembered as a successful foreign policy president, and that is how Cleveland should be viewed.

We need another president like him – but where would he be found in America’s current political system?


The Great Division After The Modern World Will Be Between Historical And Ahistorical Regimes.

Who is the Tolstoy of the Ukrainians? Don’t you dare say Tolstoy.

Lest anyone think that America’s race radicals have a monopoly on historical erasure, the liberal elite of Ukraine have taken up their own campaign of posthumous cancellation. Leo Tolstoy, the great 19th-century writer, tops the list.

Born to a family of old nobility in Western Russia in 1828, Tolstoy is universally renowned for monumental works like War and Peace and Anna Karenina. He is also the namesake of a city square and subway station in Kiev, Ukraine—though maybe not for long. The capital’s city council is mulling the idea of renaming the landmarks after Vasyl Stus, a dissident Ukrainian poet of the Soviet era whose stature is a tiny fraction of the Russian’s.

The move is part of a broader effort to “decolonize” Ukrainian public culture, purging all potential links to the young Slavic country’s much larger neighbor. Professedly a rejection of Russian imperialism, the push is both foolish and doomed to fail. The choice of Tolstoy as a target illustrates one major reason why.

In his early twenties, Tolstoy served as an artillery officer in the Imperial Russian Army during the Crimean War of 1853-56, in which Ukraine was merely a battleground between Russia and an alliance of Western powers (and the Ottomans). In his relatively brief service, Tolstoy endured the long siege of Sevastopol and took part in some of the campaign’s bloodiest battles. The bloodshed he experienced in Crimea made Tolstoy a devoted enemy of violence, inspiring the Christian anarchist thought that earned him suspicion from spiritual and temporal authorities in Moscow. In his later years, Tolstoy spent time peacefully on the Black Sea in Gaspra, a town in Crimean territory now claimed by Ukraine. If this is really about outrage at wartime brutality against the people of that region, then few better figureheads could be found for the cause than the pacifist Leo Tolstoy.

Other targets suggest more mundane problems with Ukraine’s “de-Russification.” Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the great patriotic Russian composer, was born in Votkinsk on the Russian side of the modern Ukrainian border. But his great-grandfather was a Cossack warrior who distinguished himself in combat against the Swedes at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, and his family’s roots in present-day Ukraine were deep and noteworthy. Kiev’s conservatory is named in his honor—though that, along with a number of streets and other honorifics, is being reconsidered. Leading figures in the Ukrainian musical scene are even insistent that the works of Tchaikovsky and other Russian artists must not be performed in the country going forward.

Mikhail Bulgakov may not have quite been Tolstoy, but The Master and Margarita is one of the great works of 20th century literature. Bulgakov was born in Kiev in 1891 to a family teeming with Orthodox clergymen. He was educated there all the way through medical school, his first long-term departure from the city being a front-line deployment as a medic in the First World War. He crossed back and forth over present-day borders a bit, eventually settling in Moscow at the age of thirty. Having done some work as a journalist already, Bulgakov became a writer and satirist of some note, and a number of his works were banned by Joseph Stalin.

Was Tchaikovsky Ukrainian? Was Bulgakov Russian? We would answer yes to both, though we would say the same to the inverse just as quickly. History is not black and white, and a dark line cannot be drawn between two nations whose connections are so close and so longstanding.

Vladimir Putin certainly knows this. But his interpretation of the fact is colored by a fanatical nationalism and panic at the encroachment of hostile foreign powers. Yes, Ukraine is a fake country. There are maybe half a dozen on the face of the planet that aren’t. But the complexities of history, civilization, and empire cannot be treated as absolutes in the face of modern nationalism, nation-states, and warfare.

Ukrainian and Western authorities do a great disservice when they answer Putin’s twisted truth with out-and-out fabrication. Early on in the present conflict, the American embassy in Kiev tweeted an embarrassing meme that somebody must have thought undermined Putin’s imperial claims:

This feeds directly into Putin’s point, of course. The history of Kiev going back more than a millennium is the history of Russia, just as much as it is the history of Ukraine. The actual political conclusions to be drawn from that can be debated, but the fact itself cannot simply be denied. In attempting to cleave the one culture and history from the other, these people only manage to illustrate that it cannot and should not be done.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the great division after the modern world will be between historical and ahistorical regimes: those that recognize the power of history and the reality of the incarnate order, and those that admit only to abstractions detached from the men and centuries that laid down their foundations.

Ukraine, as it attempts to blend hypernationalism with a new liberal identity, finds itself torn between the two. It is a familiar dilemma for many in the West—as existential for the people of Ukraine as it is for each of us.


From The Battle Of Slavyansk To The Minsk Accords, As Told By Alexander Zhuchkovsky And “Strelkov.”

April 12, 2014, started out as just another typical day for the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk. At 9 a.m., a dark green truck surrounded by several dozen fighters wearing masks drove up to the local police station. The armed strangers took a rope that was attached to the truck and tied it to a metal grid covering one of the police station’s windows. Within seconds, the truck drove off at full speed, ripping the grid completely off.

Having eliminated this obstacle, the fighters smashed in the window with their rifles and began entering the building one by one. Shots were heard from inside. At the same time, several fighters climbed onto a canopy above the police station’s entrance. Seizing a Ukrainian flag that was hoisted there, they threw it to the ground and triumphantly raised a Russian tricolor in its place.

Thus began the Battle for Slavyansk, the opening shot in the Donbas War that has resulted in over 14,000 dead and many more displaced since 2014. The conflict entered a new, deadlier phase on February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would launch a so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine under the pretext of defending the Russian-speaking population of the Donbas. Although the final outcome has yet to be determined, the past month of heavy fighting in Ukraine has already caused destruction on a scale not seen in Europe since the end of World War II.

Surprisingly, very little has been written about the Battle of Slavyansk in English despite its historical significance. In Russia, however, a number of books about the clash have been published in recent years. Perhaps the most prominent of them is 85 Days in Slavyansk by Alexander Zhuchkovsky, a volunteer from St. Petersburg who fought in the battle alongside the pro-Russian rebels. Relying on his personal experiences and interviews with other direct participants, Zhuchkovsky provides a rare insider’s look at how the battle unfolded, who exactly were the pro-Russians rebels, and their complicated relationship with Moscow.

The story of the Battle of Slavyansk begins with Igor Girkin, better known by his nom de guerre “Strelkov,” a former colonel in Russia’s military and Federal Security Service (FSB). Born in Moscow in December 1970 and initially trained as a historian, Strelkov gained his first battlefield experience as a volunteer in Transnistria and Bosnia in 1992–93. He later fought in both the First and Second Chechen Wars. Strelkov retired from the FSB in 2013, but claims to have played an active role during Russia’s annexation of Crimea the following year.

Although Strelkov only became a household name in Russia following Slavyansk, he was already well known within a narrow circle of veterans and journalists. During his spare time, Strelkov often penned articles for nationalist newspapers and helped organize reenactments of famous battles from Russian history. Ideologically, Strelkov was an avid monarchist who called for a new union between Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

In early April 2014, while Strelkov was still in Crimea, a wave of pro-Russian demonstrations swept over eastern Ukraine. Inspired by Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and hoping to capitalize on its momentum, a group of local activists reached out to Strelkov for help in transforming the protest movement into an armed uprising. As Zhuchkovsky explains, the plan for Strelkov and his associates was to occupy government buildings, unite local residents around them, and prepare the ground for the arrival of Russian troops—in other words, the Crimean scenario.

Every uprising needs a flashpoint and Slavyansk was soon chosen as the ideal choice for this particular one. Like in much of the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, the population of Slavyansk exhibited strong pro-Russian sympathies. The city was small enough to be quickly taken by several dozen fighters, but also large enough to serve as a key transportation hub. Finally, Slavyansk was geographically well positioned to serve as a “shield” for the major industrial cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, which in the long run would become the political centers of the Donbas rebellion.

One obvious question emerges: Who was behind Strelkov’s expedition to Slavyansk? Zhuchkovsky admits that he does not have a definitive answer and reveals that Strelkov was, unsurprisingly, reluctant to elaborate on the issue during their interview. Zhuchkovsy proposes the following explanation: In the absence of a definitive decision by the Kremlin on what to do next with Ukraine, some elements of Russia’s elite were willing to help Strelkov test the waters in the Donbas.

On the night of April 12, Strelkov and 52 volunteers that he had recruited in Crimea arrived in Russia’s Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine. After leaving their documents behind on the Russian side of the border, the fighters crossed into the Donbas on foot, where they met up with local activists who had prepared transportation for them. By morning, they had arrived in Slavyansk. As Strelkov had anticipated, local police surrendered after a brief exchange of gunfire.

During the first two weeks after the capture of Slavyansk, very little actual fighting took place. Zhuchkovsky writes that when the Ukrainian government sent its 25th Airborne Brigade to the city, the rebels were able to disarm the unit without firing a shot. For their part, the rebels avoided attacking Ukrainian military checkpoints.

This relative lull came to an end on May 2, when the Ukrainian military attempted a frontal assault on Slavyansk with the help of hundreds of soldiers and dozens of armored vehicles and combat aviation. Although the Ukrainians succeeded in seizing a strategic height near Slavyansk, the rebels managed to repel the offensive on the city itself.

Zhuchkvosky argues that a major reason why this initial assault failed was because Ukrainian troops showed excessive caution, fearing that the positions in Slavyansk were being manned by elite, undercover Russian Spetsnaz units. “In fact, at each of these positions, there were between three and ten poorly armed militiamen who would have been easily dispersed in a real attempt to break through with armored vehicles,” he writes.

According to Zhuchkovsky, the Slavyansk militia consisted predominantly of Donbas locals, with a significant number of Russian volunteers as well (the ratio moved from 90:10 to 70:30 as the battle went on). At its peak, the Slavyansk garrison numbered around 2,500 fighters. Ideologically, they were all over the map. Whereas the Russian volunteers tended to be Orthodox Christian monarchists like Strelkov, most of the Donbas locals harbored nostalgia for Soviet-era socialism.

A significant number of the Slavyansk militiamen are men of age,” Zhuchkovsky writes, quoting a Donbas pro-Russian activist. “They wanted revenge for the treason of 1991, for the robbery of the 90s, for the elections of no choice, for the government dancing to the American tune, for the years of Ukrainization. For them, it was probably their last attempt, their last opportunity to fight for the country they lost in 1991.”

Despite their early successes on the battlefield, Strelkov’s forces lacked the necessary manpower and weaponry to conduct any serious offensive operations beyond the occasional ambush or counterattack. This problem was compounded by the absence of a central command among the rebels. Zhuchkovsky explained that although a significant number of Russian volunteers and weapons crossed into the Donbas during the late spring and early summer of 2014, only a small percentage made their way to Slavyansk since they were quickly scooped up by other local commanders. Strelkov’s forces also lacked proper communications equipment, forcing them to rely on short-range radio devices and even mobile phones.

However, their main predicament was that contrary to Strelkov’s expectations, Russian military help did not appear to be on the way. At first, there were some signs that the situation in the Donbas would evolve along the Crimean scenario. On April 24, Russia kicked off large-scale exercises near the Ukrainian border, sparking hopes among the rebels that Moscow was preparing to intervene. Less than a month later, however, the drills came to a close and Russian troops returned to their barracks.

At the same time, Putin publicly urged the rebels to postpone a referendum scheduled for May 11 that would decide whether the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts would secede from Ukraine. Despite this request, the rebels went ahead with the referendum as planned and declared independence. The following day, Strelkov, in his new capacity as “defense minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, issued a formal appeal to Moscow for Russian military help. That request went unanswered.

Following Ukraine’s election on May 25, Russia recognized Petro Poroshenko as the new president of Ukraine, a decision that Zhuchkovsky says many rebels regarded as a “heavy psychological blow.” Exactly one month later, the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, canceled a resolution that it had adopted prior to Crimea authorizing Putin to use Russian military force on the territory of Ukraine.

While the Kremlin signaled that it had no plans of sending troops to the Donbas, the Ukrainian military switched its strategy from attempting to storm Slavyansk to besieging it. Over the course of May and June, Ukrainian forces captured the settlements surrounding Slavyansk one by one from the vastly outnumbered rebels. At the same time, Ukrainian artillery bombarded the city, cutting off its water, food, and electricity supplies. By the time July rolled around, Slavyansk was almost completely surrounded.

The militiamen often won local victories and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, with many still hoping for Russian support,” Zhuchkhovsky writes. “But the mood was already fatal. The fighters lived each day waiting for the enemy’s attack, waiting for the opportunity to give a final and decisive battle, in which the entire garrison could heroically die defending Slavyansk.”

That anticipated final showdown never came. Although Strelkov had vowed for months to hold onto Slavyansk till the very end, he suddenly reversed course on July 4, ordering his fighters to prepare for an imminent withdrawal from the city. Around midnight the following day, Strelkov and his troops abandoned Slavyansk under the cover of darkness and headed towards Donetsk. The Battle of Slavyansk had finally ended after nearly three months of grueling fighting.

In the weeks after the fall of Slavyansk, Strelkov was removed from his command position among the rebels and forced to return to Moscow. Between September 2014 and February 2015, Germany and France helped broker two peace deals known as the Minsk accords, which sought to reincorporate the Donbas into Ukraine as an autonomous region. The Kremlin eagerly backed the initiative, seeing it as a way of preventing Ukraine from joining NATO in the long run.

Although the Minsk accords helped reduce the scale of the fighting, disputes over their implementation derailed efforts to end the war. Over the subsequent seven years, the Donbas remained a frozen war zone in which both sides frequently exchanged gunfire and artillery salvos, but made little territorial gains. This fragile stalemate finally broke down on February 24, when Russia launched a full-scale military offensive into Ukraine.

Moscow soon discovered that much has changed since the Slavyansk days. Back in 2014, Ukraine’s military heavily relied on Soviet-era weaponry and counted only 140,000 troops, just 6,000 of which were combat ready. Since then, Ukraine increased the size of its armed forces to 255,000 active duty personnel and 900,000 reservists, received billions of dollars in Western arms and equipment, began training with NATO militaries, and erected a dense network of fortifications along the frontline in the Donbas. No less significantly, the pro-Russian political forces in eastern Ukraine that seemed poised for a breakthrough in 2014 had almost completely disappeared by 2022.

One of the voices that predicted that Russia would face a tough fight in Ukraine was none other than Strelkov. In various interviews and public appearances, he warned that the Ukrainian military would put up stiff resistance and that Russia needed to be prepared for a major shift in public opinion that had taken place in Ukraine since 2014. At the same time, Strelkov argued that Russia needed to do everything possible to secure a swift victory, since a prolonged conflict increased the likelihood that NATO countries would provide substantial military support to Ukraine.

Six weeks into its campaign, Russia was forced to withdraw its troops from northern Ukraine, instead redeploying them for a renewed offensive in the eastern part of the country. With Russian and Ukrainian forces preparing for a major showdown that will determine the fate of the Donbas, a new battle for Slavyansk is on the horizon. Only this time Ukrainian soldiers will be the ones on the defensive, fighting to prevent the city from being encircled by a larger Russian force. If 2014 is any indicator of what to expect, then the battle will likely be long and grueling.

One can only feel sympathy for the people of Slavyansk. For the second time in eight years, war has come knocking on their door.


The Ukraine War Is Rife With Information Warfare From Both Sides, Rising To A Ubiquity And Sophistication Perhaps Never Seen Before.

The first thing to keep in mind is that information warfare is war. War by other means, but war nonetheless. The object is to win. To defeat your opponent. Information Warfare, as it is now called but known as propaganda earlier, has been around in rudimentary form from the beginning of humanity, evolving over millennia largely by the advancement of technology, political systems and the education of populations.

In pre-history, we can see a kind of information warfare in the culture of war, sending a message both to the domestic group and to the enemy. This took the form of beating drums, for instance, which remains with us today in the expression of “beating the drums of war.” But also in dance, and chant, and decoration of the warrior. All this prepared the people for war and was intended to instill fear in the enemy.

With settlement in cities, and the development of writing – the start of so-called civilization – new technologies were used in what we call today information warfare. Architecture played an important role to inspire awe in both the ruler’s subjects and in his enemies. The lions on the gates of Babylon, the pyramids at Zoser and Giza and the triumphal arches of Rome sent messages of grandeur and power to friend and foe alike.

During the European medieval crusades against Islam, Christian ideology and iconography, as well as anti-Muslim propaganda preached from the pulpit, played a major role in mobilizing the masses to support the wars of conquest in what would later be called the Middle East.


Modern information warfare in Europe began with the development of the printing press and increased literacy. Rulers no longer had to rely only on visual arts or public speeches to prepare populations for war and to send messages to the enemy. They would soon have pamphlets and then daily newspapers to shape information in a time of war.

This is still made possible by newspaper proprietors’ closeness to governing circles with whom they shared common interests, commercial or political. Central to the history of war and information from the 19th century until today is how governments have used the supposedly independent press to conduct information warfare against foreign enemies and reluctant populations at home.

The press played a critical role building support at home for European colonialism abroad, in both glorifying empire and dehumanizing its victims. It still performs this function as the voices of victims of American targeting, such as Iraqis, Iranians and Palestinians, are rarely heard in American media. It makes it easier to go to war against a people whom Americans know next to nothing about.

Deception is an essential part of information war, mostly of the enemy, but also of the domestic populations if the motives for war are hidden; for instance America’s claims that it goes to war to spread democracy rather than for economic and political dominance.

By the end of the 18th Century and in the 19th, intelligence gathering closer to the battlefield and its dissemination by governments through the media became an increasingly sophisticated part of information warfare. The Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz warned that “many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain […] the reports turn out to be lies, exaggerations, errors, and so on. In short, most intelligence is false, and the effect of fear is to multiply lies and inaccuracies.”

And yet these lies and exaggerations made their way into the newspapers and later radio, television and today on social media.


A major breakthrough in information war technology was the wireless radio, which could broadcast the voice of human speakers over vast distances, way beyond outdoor gatherings in city squares to hear a ruler speak from a balcony. Nazi Germany made tremendous use of the radio in its information war to rally its own people and to demonize the Allies. It made English language propaganda broadcasts just as the Japanese did.

The Nazis and the Americans made the cinema a major part of their information war efforts as well, with the propaganda films of Leni Riefensthal in Germany, and with Hollywood, which produced particularly racist films that depicted the Japanese as subhuman, much as the Nazis in their films had portrayed Jews. Newsreels in cinemas spread each side’s narrative of the war to their domestic audiences.


Post-war conflicts, such as in Vietnam, made use of the more powerful tool of transmitting images through television in information war, though critical war reporting bringing the violence into American homes helped turn the American population against the conflict. This was remedied, from American rulers’ perspectives, by the embedding of the media into the military in the 1991 invasion of Iraq.

Presentation of the bombing of Baghdad, particularly on CNN, and televised briefings by Pentagon officials about the course of the war (including some of the earliest cockpit videos of bombs striking buildings) became a vital weapon in the information war against Iraq.

This was repeated with more sophistication in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, in which the American media was used to whip the American population into a frenzy of war enthusiasm, surpassed only by the current mania over the war in Ukraine, fueled in large part now by social media.


The Ukraine war is rife with information warfare from both sides, rising to a ubiquity and sophistication perhaps never seen before. Once again, technology plays a leading role. Beyond the powerful tool of television in information warfare, the internet, and particularly social media, has changed the game, though newspapers and TV still play their part.

In fact, the conflict in Ukraine may be said to be the first major war in the social media era. It has opened new opportunities to steer the public’s perception of a war. Social media has introduced new forms of information warfare: bots, trolls and troll farms. Social media has allowed citizens to enter the fray, many of whom have been turned into individual propagandists regurgitating official deceptions from either side of a war. Social media helps propaganda spread faster than radio, television or newspapers ever could.

The technology of facial recognition has teamed up with social media to form what The Washington Post reports as “classic psychological warfare” in Ukraine. The newspaper said: “Ukrainian officials have run more than 8,600 facial recognition searches on dead or captured Russian soldiers in the 50 days since Moscow’s invasion began, using the scans to identify bodies and contact hundreds of their families in what may be one of the most gruesome applications of the technology to date.” The aim is to stir dissent against the war in Russia, the Post reported.

While the internet and social media began with great promise for the democratization of information, it has become an arena of government-by-proxy control, with the enforcement in the West of a single narrative of the Ukraine war. Twitter users who challenge the Western government and media telling of this war are being increasingly kicked off the service, while pro-Western messaging is amplified.

Total control of the narrative is being sought and the word “total” is in totalitarian.

Remember information warfare is war. It is about winning. It is not about being truthful or even factual. It is about convincing your domestic populations and damaging your enemy.


There is fertile ground to wage information warfare in America on Ukraine. In all of America’s wars, ignorance of foreign affairs plays a big role. Americans’ lack of knowledge of other countries is compounded by the fact that America has never been invaded, except briefly by the British in 1812, and that America itself began as an invasion by Europeans in which they wiped out the indigenous population, and then later invaded Mexico and then Spanish possessions and frankly, have never stopped invading other nations.

The lack of knowledge of this history makes Americans vulnerable to propaganda cloaking American expansionism. In the context of the Ukraine war this ignorance plays an important part in the susceptibility of the American public to war propaganda.

Americans generally don’t understand the psyche of Russia, which was invaded numerous times, particularly by the biggest European powers in the 19th and 20th centuries. They generally do not know, because they are never told, that the Soviet Union destroyed 80 percent of the Wehrmacht in WWII. They do not know what a revival of Nazism means to the Russian people or even that there is a revival of Nazism in Ukraine because it is whitewashed out of the corporate media story.

Under the guise of respectability and objectivity, the news media of America and Europe, which is closely aligned with their governments, has played an important role in the information war by deliberately omitting three crucial facts from their Ukraine war narrative, which completely changes the picture.

Media is leaving out the role of America in the 2014 coup in Kiev; that an 8-year civil war has been fought in the eastern Donbass region against Russian-speaking Ukrainians who resisted the coup (Russia’s help at the time was falsely portrayed as an invasion); and that Neo-Nazi fighters, now incorporated into the Ukrainian state military, played a big role in the coup, in the civil war and in the current fighting in the Russian invasion.

There is abundant evidence that America was behind the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically-elected president in 2014, especially a leaked phone conversation between a high-ranking State Dept. official and the American ambassador in Kiev discussing weeks before the coup who would make up the new government. There is more than abundant evidence about the influence of neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

There was also little emphasis in the media’s information war on diplomatic moves that could have prevented the Russian invasion: namely the seven-year-old Minsk accords that could have ended the civil war if America, Germany and France pressured Kiev to implement it.

Also deemphasized were the draft treaty proposals Russia presented to America and NATO last December that would have rolled back NATO troops from Eastern Europe (where NATO broke its promise not to expand) and removed missiles from there to create a new arrangement in Europe taking Russia’s security interests into account. Russia threatened a “technical/military” response if the treaties were rejected. They were and Russia invaded.

By ignoring diplomacy, America appears to have wanted the invasion in order to unleash their information and economic war against Russia, with the aim of overthrowing Vladimir Putin, which Joe Biden admitted to. By leaving all this out of the Ukraine story, the West has portrayed Putin as simply a cartoon character madman.

Another term in vogue for information war is psychological operations, or psy-ops, such as the Ukrainian facial recognition offensive. The American government through its compliant private media can be said to have performed a psy-op on the American people. The same can be said for Europe. Virtually none of the context for this war has been explained to them. How can it be with former intelligence and defense officials now working as TV analysts?

It has been the role of independent media that have tried to fill the gaps.

This is where we are in the information landscape of the Ukrainian conflict.

Since the beginning of time victims of war are not only those who are killed but those who are lied to.

It’s an old saying but it’s still true: the first casualty of information warfare is the truth.


Its Involvement In The War Between Ukraine And Russia Makes That Perfectly Clear.

During Washington’s presidency, conflict in Europe broke out following the French Revolution, which eventually led to a war between France and Great Britain.

Many Americans, including Washington’s own cabinet, were divided over whether they should side with France or England. He ultimately chose a foreign policy that avoided siding with either country, developing a list of neutrality rules to avoid getting dragged into a fight that had nothing to do with America or its interests. That approach was successful.

In his farewell address, Washington explained that it was in the best interest of the fledgling United States to avoid entangling alliances with other nations.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience proved, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. That is where we must stop.

Like so many other Founders, Washington’s cautionary advice has proven eerily accurate.

Currently, the United States government is involved in a conflict with Russia. It has levied economic sanctions and banned imports, and some have even suggested a no-fly zone in Ukraine. Its elected officials have openly called for the assassination of its leader, Vladimir Putin, and the overthrow of the Russian government. There is was even some talk about whether nuclear war is “worth it.”

All of this is in defense of a country that isn’t even a member of NATO.

In other words, the United States is facing possible nuclear war with Russia over a country that isn’t even a member of its “entangling alliances,” and there is no obligation whatsoever on its part.

This is what happens when a government foolishly engages in favoritism among foreign nations and commits to permanent alliances, a situation that directly led to World War I. Bit by bit, the country is pulled into matters that have nothing whatsoever to do with its sovereignty or defense of its people, and before it’s over millions are dead and nobody can explain why.

It’s now more than a century after the “war to end all wars,” and millions of people could also potentially die if a nuclear exchange occurs. What exactly is so important to Americans in Ukraine as to warrant that possibility? What rights or liberties of Americans are in danger over the invasion of Ukraine? What rights are being violated by Russia that have not already been violated by the federal government here at home?

And worse, those who seek de-escalation to prevent a possible nuclear holocaust are branded as traitors and have their loyalty challenged. The risks have gone well beyond “suspected and odious.”

It’s ironic that warmongers accuse others of being “un-American” for opposing the current sanctions against Russia. The true American stance is free trade, diplomacy, and neutrality in affairs that do not concern us.

This situation didn’t happen overnight. Particularly since World War II, America has maintained permanent alliances via NATO, in which America is obligated to militarily defend any of its members under all circumstances and irrespective of the interests of the American people.

This is what happens when a free people aren’t constantly awake. They fall asleep, and wake up to find themselves facing Armageddon over a country most can’t locate on a map thanks to a central government that has violated more of their freedoms than any foreign power has ever done, or even threatens to do.

The Founders had their flaws, and Washington wasn’t a perfect president by any means. But whatever their imperfections, they pale in comparison to how their genuine wisdom has been flagrantly ignored today.


What Are The Implications? It Would Do Us Well To Take Putin’s Words With Full Seriousness And Avoid Staining Human History With Another World War.

Faced with increasing pressure to dissolve the five member UN Security Council, President Putin warned on October 21:

If we remove the veto right of the permanent members, the UN would die the very same day – it would turn into the League of Nations. It would simply become a discussion platform”.

As walls separating east and west along Manichean Cold War lines of “democratic/free” vs “authoritarian/enslaved” are quickly being erected before our eyes, it is worth pondering not only the deeper implication of the Russian president’s message but also those healthier pathways out of the coming storm before it is too late.


Created in 1919 by forces centered in London and the racist Anglo-American establishment of America, the League of Nations was sold to a beaten-down world as the last and greatest hope for peace.

The groups then centered around Round Table leader Lord Alfred Milner, who had taken control of the British Government in a form of soft coup in 1916 in order to shape the terms of the post-war order.

It was a major gamble of course since there were no guarantees that those imperial plotters who kicked over the world chessboard in 1914 would necessarily come out victorious.

From 1902 onward, Lord Milner, King Edward VII and his coterie of imperial co-thinkers across the Anglo-American deep state had invested significantly into lighting the world on fire via color revolutions, a plethora of assassinations and of course a long-planned global war that turned the world inside out.

In opposition to standard theory narratives taught in sundry history departments, WWI was a war with one aim: Destroy the spread of a community of cooperating sovereign nation states which had been forming in the last decades of the 19th century. Internationally, statesmen of 1870-1900 were applying Lincoln’s system of protectionism, national credit, industrial growth and win-win cooperation under the banner of “American System” champions Friedrich List and Henry C Carey. By 1890, such policies were championed by Sergei Witte of Russia, Otto von Bismarck of Germany, President Carnot of France, and many Lincoln republicans in America.

Despite the fact that Russia was a member of the British-led Entente Cordiale, both Germany and Russia who had historically tended to industrial cooperation along Witte-Bismarck strategic lines were the primary targets for destruction.

This was a fact better understood at the time, with The Daily Mail of December 14, 1909 even publishing an editorial reading: “the king [Edward VII] and his councillors have strained every nerve to establish Ententes with Russia and with Italy; and have formed an Entente with France, and as well with Japan. Why? To isolate Germany.”

It is without a doubt that many Anglo-American grand strategists expected a cooperative United States to be drawn into “the war that was to end all wars” much earlier on. With nationalist President McKinley’s 1901 murder, anglophile traitors quickly swept into power under Teddy Roosevelt who was seduced into King Edward VII’s plans for an Anglo-American special relationship as the basis for a new Anglo-Saxon world order.

Woodrow Wilson’s accession to the presidency from 1912-1920, and the establishment of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 only re-enforced the belief that America was sufficiently under the control of a supranational financier elite which had never quite forgiven the belligerent colony for winning independence in 1783.

When Germany found herself the last nation to be prepared for a war that had been set into motion by the architects of the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale (later joined by a bewildered Russia), America was expected to jump in immediately.

Military pacts well known to all geopoliticians of 1914 ensured Russian intervention on Serbia’s side if the latter got in a fight. Similarly, Germany had guaranteed its support for Austria in any fight it found itself enmeshed in.

When an anarchist terror cell from Serbia known as ‘the Black Hand’ was deployed to kill Archduke Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914, a chain of events was put into motion that led a sleep walking world into the slaughterhouse.

Finally realizing what had happened, Kaiser Wilhelm wrote despairingly in August 1914:

England, Russia, and France have agreed among themselves… to take the Austro-Serbian conflict for an excuse for waging a war of extermination against us… That is the real naked situation slowly and cleverly set going by Edward VII and… finally brought to a conclusion by George V… So the famous encirclement of Germany has finally become a fact, despite every effort of our politicians and diplomats to prevent it. The net has been suddenly thrown over our head, and England sneeringly reaps the most brilliant success of her persistently prosecuted purely anti-German world policy against which we have proved ourselves helpless, while she twists the noose of our political and economic destruction out of our fidelity to Austria, as we squirm isolated in the net. A great achievement, which arouses the admiration even of him who is to be destroyed as its result! Edward VII is stronger after his death than am I who am still alive!”


When nationalist forces in the United States saw the fires start across the ocean, it wasn’t interventionist neoconservative Pax Americana instincts that dictated a leap into the mire (as those would only be cultivated by a cult of neo-Trotskyists many decades later).

The America of 1914 was still very much influenced by the non-interventionist spirit of George Washington and John Quincy Adams.

It was George Washington who warned Americans never to allow themselves to be entangled into European oligarchical intrigue, while Adams re-affirmed this belief in the form of his Monroe Doctrine warning that America must never “go about searching for monsters to destroy”.

Although not attaining a victory on the federal level until the 1921 inauguration of President Warren Harding, these nationalists (sometimes dubbed “The American System Caucus”) fought valiantly to keep the USA neutral. In 1915, an inside job arranged by Anglo-American (mostly Anglo) forces drove the sinking of the Lusitania carrying 1700 people (and 173 tons of explosives) from the USA to Europe. Although it took two years of relentless propaganda, this event was decisive in fueling anti-German sentiment and winning over American support to the war. With America’s 1917 entry, the scales were sufficiently tipped in favor of the “allies” and the Austro-Hungarian empire was soon put down.

Among other things, the Ottoman Empire- then allied to Germany was also dissolved with victor nations gobbling up her territories, while imperialists drooled over the potential carving up of the Russian empire after the destruction of the Romanov Dynasty in 1917. Lastly Sykes Pekoe’s carving up of the Middle East (also arranged years before the end of WWI) set into motion the divide-to-conquer strategy of Anglo-intrigue in Southwest Asia that has plagued the world until our present day.


Anyone going into the opening January 10, 1920 conference of the League of Nations that emerged out of the Versailles Treaty of 1919, would not have had most of this intrigue in mind.

The world was told that cause of the war was German imperial ambition and the nation state system itself that made expansionism possible. Discussing truth was not deemed appropriate amidst this frenzy of looting as everything that Germany possessed including vital agriculture, mines, rail, industry and colonies went up for grabs. Debts were thrust upon the beaten German state as North Silesia, Ruhr, and Alsace-Loraine were confiscated along with the means of paying their reparations (2).

The acolytes managing the League of Nations demanded that the world finally learn that if nation states were permitted to exist, then such wars would plague humanity forever. The solution was the dissolution of sovereign nation states. No longer would selfish nation states be free to decide for themselves when to war and when to declare peace. Articles 10 and 16 of the League’s Covenant (pre-cursor to the latter Article 5 collective security pact of NATO) would ensure this.


Fortunately, a return to sanity under the short-lived Presidency of Warren Harding (1921-23) brought America into a hostile relationship with the League and its Round Table affiliates within the CFR and Wall Street. Harding ensured a healthy belligerence to the League’s anti-national mandate and worked hard to initiate bilateral agreements with Austria, Germany, Hungary, Russia and China outside of the League’s authority.

During the 1920s, many other nations shared this deep mistrust of the new supranational organization and saw it clearly as the cover for a new British Empire. With this awareness, the League was never permitted to take on the teeth which one world government fanatics so deeply desired. From 1921-1932, the increasingly impotent body fell into disarray and saw its last serious battle against nationalism die in June 1933 when American President Franklin Roosevelt torpedoed the League’s London Conference on finance and trade.

This little known conference brought together 62 nations and was co-controlled by the Bank of England, the Bank of International Settlements (aka: the Central Bank of Central banks) and aimed at imposing a central bankers dictatorship onto the world. This was a process not that dissimilar from the COP26 Summit, and Great Reset Agenda in motion today.

While the success of the League’s London Conference might have made WWII unnecessary (3), the goal of a Malthusian/eugenics-driven “scientifically managed” priesthood as outlined by the likes of John Maynard Keynes would have been just as deadly.


Despite the sad fact that neither Harding, nor FDR were able to fully see through their ambitious goals, the possibility of reviving the spirit and intent of the United Nations charter under a paradigm of win-win cooperation would not be possible without their intervention into history.

FDR’s early death resulted in his enemies taking control of Washington and converting his dream into a Cold War nightmare. Bretton Woods institutions like the World Bank and IMF were turned into instruments for usurious re-colonialization instead of long-term productive credit generators under an international New Deal. Throughout the Cold War, the United Nations became increasingly an impotent servant of empire without any means of giving a voice to the majority of her 193 member nations.

The UN Security Council was among the few important institutions within the new organization that gave an equal voice to leading members on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Over the years, especially since 2011, this veto power has been vital in blocking unilateral acts of imperialism since any official military act of intervention required unanimity of all five members.


The League of Nations was formally dissolved just as the UN was coming online.

The timing of these two events has been used to induce credulous people to believe that the UN is simply a continuity of the League. That is a provably false assertion.

Where the League of Nations demanded an abolition of national sovereignty, the United Nations made the defense of national sovereignty and non-interventionism guiding principles of its founding charter.

Unlike the technocratic/management-fixated League of Nations Covenant, the UN Charter is guided explicitly by a mandate to enhance large scale economic development, win-win cooperation and the universal needs of all humanity (4). And unlike the League, the UN featured no collective security pact which would make initiating WWIII much easier for a supranational oligarchy. The burning desire for “collective security pacts” was the driving force of NATO’s creation (led as one might expect by the hand of Rhodes Scholars like Escott Reid).

Today, the UN is largely a toothless body whose 52 attempts to criticize Israel since 1973 have been blocked by the USA. But despite this, the security council’s existence has unarguably saved the lives of millions by blocking the countless attempts to destroy Syria and continues to serve as a game changing wedge against the will of unipolar Dr. Strangeloves with delusions of global supremacy.

Modern representatives of the Anglo-American elite that took control of the USA over the dead bodies of Harding, FDR and JFK have clamored for a new post-nation state security doctrine. This doctrine was officially known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and was launched by Soros-affiliated operatives like Lord Mark Malloch Brown, Strobe Talbott and Tony Blair in 1999. Malloch Brown integrated this doctrine into the United Nations while acting as Undersecretary General of the organization and has spent the last years giving speeches calling for the dissolution of the UN Security Council in order to remove “authoritarian nations” like Russia and China from any role in global war-making decisions.

So, when Putin or Xi call for defending the UN Charter, or warn against a new League of Nations, it would do us well to take their words with full seriousness and avoid staining human history with another world war.


The American Statesman Famous For Bringing About ‘Containment’ Sought To View The World Through Moscow’s Eyes.

George F. Kennan has contradictory claims to historical fame. Lauded in the 1940s as the architect of the policy to contain Soviet expansionism by the adroit deployment of countervailing power, in the 1950s he became the foremost advocate of détente with Russia. Then, after the USSR’s collapse in 1991, Kennan became a persistent critic of NATO expansion to Russia’s borders, calling it the “the greatest mistake of the entire post-Cold War period.”

Scholars have long been intrigued by Kennan’s about-face and the story of his journey from Cold War hawk to dovish peacemaker may provide lessons for contemporary American-Russian relations. Kennan was a Russophile who hated Soviet communism and his relatively benign view of the Kremlin’s foreign policy was counter-balanced by a highly negative view of its domestic regime.

The clue to Kennan’s radical policy shift was hidden in plain sight in his famous 1947 “X” article on “The Sources of Soviet Conduct.” In that then-anonymously published piece in Foreign Affairs, Kennan, who had recently served in the American Embassy in Moscow, warned that strategic containment had “nothing to do with outward histrionics, with threats or blustering or superficial gestures towards toughness.”

The Soviet Union was an ideological state committed to spreading communism, Kennan noted, but it was also a great power with its own interests and sensibilities. Soviet leaders were not beyond considerations of prestige and, as with leaders of other great nations, they should be allowed to save face.

Kennan was irked by the militarization of his concept of containment through the formation of NATO in 1949 and the rearming of West Germany in the 1950s. Western leaders didn’t seem to be able to grasp how their actions impacted on Soviet behavior or respect that Soviet leaders, too, had their own fears and threat perceptions.

Appointed Ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1952, Kennan cabled the State Department from Moscow that “if one were able to strip away…propagandistic distortion and maligning of foreign intentions, one would find that there remained a certain hard core of genuine belief in the sinisterness of western intentions.”

During the earlier post-war years, Kennan had advocated dividing Germany as part of a broader division of Europe into Soviet and Western spheres of influence. This was commensurate with the X article’s view that in dealings with the Soviets the logic of force should prevail over the logic of reason.

But by the late 1940s Kennan had changed his mind. He then favored a deal with the Soviets that would lead to the reunification of Germany on the basis of its unarmed neutrality. Kennan had come to fear that a divided Germany would harden the division of Europe and thereby solidify the communist grip on Eastern Europe. Rather, mutual withdrawal from Germany could lead to further Soviet military and political disengagement from East-Central Europe. The logic underlying Kennan’s new position was that of reason — the Soviets could be rationally induced into changing their behavior by making them feel more secure.

We now know from Soviet archives that the Kremlin’s priorities were broadly the same as Kennan’s — to stop the militarization of the Cold War by preventing the division of Germany and Western Germany’s rearmament and integration into the American-led western bloc. To achieve these goals, the Soviets were prepared to pay a high price, including military and political withdrawal from East Germany.

Kennan’s reaction to the Soviet diplomatic notes of 1952 proposing German reunification in return for the country’s permanent neutrality was very different from that of most western politicians and diplomats. As he recounted in his diary, he had hoped the Soviet initiative would lead to a softening of the west’s hardline posture but his colleagues remained adamantly opposed to any such deal.

A perplexed Kennan observed that he wasn’t sure what would worry him most — the fact that both sides believed their own propaganda, or the fact that they didn’t.

After leaving the State Department in 1953, Kennan opposed the so-called liberation strategy of President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, arguing instead that the communist bloc would only change as a result of internal processes, not through the force of external threats or intrigues. Liberationist rhetoric would merely serve to entrench Soviet hardliners. “We must be gardeners and not mechanics in our approach to world affairs,” urged Kennan in his lectures on “The Realities of American Foreign Policy” at Princeton in 1954.

In his 1957 Reith Lectures for the BBC, Kennan revived the idea of an agreed settlement of the German question and pushed back against those who argued the Soviets had no real interest in Germany’s reunification. That might be true, he told his British audience, but “until we stop pushing the Kremlin against a closed door, we shall never learn whether it would be prepared to go through an open one.”

Both Kennan and his critics had a point. The Soviets had campaigned hard and authentically for pan-European collective security and a German peace treaty in 1954-1955 but then abandoned that policy in the face of western intransigence. By 1957 the Kremlin’s priority was holding on to the communist position in Eastern Germany as a counter to West Germany’s admission to NATO.

Kennan was disappointed by the negative American reaction to his Reith lectures, gloomily noting in his diary: “The die is now cast. There will be no European settlement. The arms race will go uncontrollably ahead. These people will have their war…What will remain of our world when it is all over is beyond human reckoning.”

Earlier, in March 1950, Kennan had published an article in Reader’s Digest entitled “Is War with Russia Inevitable?” Russia did not want war, wrote Kennan, because Soviet leaders believed capitalism would collapse of its own internal contradictions. In other words, the Soviets believed in promoting communism, not imposing it by force of arms.

Kennan was very disturbed by the McCarthyite purges of the early 1950s and expressed his concerns in a number of articles, letters, speeches, and commencement addresses, emphasizing that the fanatical modes of argument and sweeping hostile actions of the anti-communist crusade were precisely the ones that allowed the Soviet Union its wish to discredit the American political system.

Initially, Kennan resisted the idea that Stalin’s death in 1953 augured fundamental change in the Soviet Union. In a July 1953 review of Isaac Deutscher’s book “Russia: What Next?” he challenged Deutscher’s argument that Soviet leaders were post-Stalin reformers. Rather, they were zealots, said Kennan, beholden to the state power they had seized in 1917. It was the compulsion to hold on to power that explained the repression and terror of the communist system.

In the Reith Lectures the jury was still out for Kennan on the post-Stalin transition in the Soviet Union. “The Soviet leaders stand here at a parting of the ways,” said Kennan, “either they keep up with the times and change the system or they relapse into the rigidities of Stalinism.” He later came to appreciate that Soviet domestic actions were shaped by their reactions to the external, international environment as well as by the internal dynamics of the communist system.

A realist as well as an idealist, Kennan was fond of quoting John Quincy Adams’s aphorism that America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.” It was through example that America should lead the world, argued Kennan on innumerable occasions. He believed the United States would win the Cold War simply by being true to its liberal, democratic self. Attempts to forcibly refashion the world in its own image only served to undermine America’s fundamental values and beliefs.

Kennan’s Russian policy odyssey showed how even the sharpest-beaked hawks could become dove-like peacemakers if they took the trouble, as he did, to recognize how different the world looks through the eyes of their rivals and adversaries.


The Americans, Like The British And The Soviets Before Them, Dug Their Own Graveyard In Afghanistan.

The Carthaginian general Hannibal, who came close to defeating the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War, committed suicide in 181 BC in exile as Roman soldiers closed in on his residence in the Bithynian village of Libyssa, now modern-day Turkey. It had been more than thirty years since he led his army across the alps and annihilated Roman legions at the Battle of Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae, considered one of the most brilliant tactical victories in warfare which centuries later inspired the plans of the German Army Command in World War I when they invaded Belgium and France. Rome was only able to finally save itself from defeat by replicating Hannibal’s military tactics.

It did not matter in 181 BC that there had been over 20 Roman consuls (with quasi-imperial power) since Hannibal’s invasion. It did not matter that Hannibal had been hunted for decades and forced to perpetually flee, always just beyond the reach of Roman authorities. He had humiliated Rome. He had punctured its myth of omnipotence. And he would pay. With his life. Years after Hannibal was gone, the Romans were still not satisfied. They finished their work of apocalyptic vengeance in 146 BC by razing Carthage to the ground and selling its remaining population into slavery. Cato the Censor summed up the sentiments of empire: Carthāgō dēlenda est (Carthage must be destroyed). Nothing about empire, from then until now, has changed.

Imperial powers do not forgive those who expose their weaknesses or make public the sordid and immoral inner workings of empire. Empires are fragile constructions. Their power is as much one of perception as of military strength. The virtues they claim to uphold and defend, usually in the name of their superior civilization, are a mask for pillage, the exploitation of cheap labor, indiscriminate violence, and state terror.

The current American empire, damaged and humiliated by the troves of internal documents published by WikiLeaks, will, for this reason, persecute Julian Assange for the rest of his life. It does not matter who is president or which political party is in power. Imperialists speak with one voice. The killing of thirteen American troops by a suicide bomber at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday evoked from Joe Biden the full-throated cry of all imperialists: “To those who carried out this attack … we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.” This was swiftly followed by two drone strikes in Kabul against suspected members of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), which took credit for the suicide bombing that left some 170 dead, including 28 members of the Taliban.

The Taliban, which defeated America and coalition forces in a 20-year war, is about to be confronted with the wrath of a wounded empire. The Cuban, Vietnamese, Iranian, Venezuelan and Haitian governments know what comes next. The ghosts of Toussaint Louverture, Emilio Aguinaldo, Mohammad Mossadegh, Jacobo Arbenz, Omar Torrijos, Gamal Abdul Nasser, Juan Velasco, Salvador Allende, Andreas Papandreou, Juan Bosh, Patrice Lumumba, and Hugo Chavez know what comes next. It isn’t pretty. It will be paid for by the poorest and most vulnerable Afghans.

The faux pity for the Afghan people, which has defined the coverage of the desperate collaborators with America and coalition occupying forces and educated elites fleeing to the Kabul airport, begins and ends with the plight of the evacuees. There were few tears shed for the families routinely terrorized by coalition forces or the some 70,000 civilians who were obliterated by American air strikes, drone attacks, missiles, and artillery, or gunned down by nervous occupying forces who saw every Afghan, with some justification, as the enemy during the war. And there will be few tears for the humanitarian catastrophe the empire is orchestrating on the 38 million Afghans, who live in one of the poorest and most aid-dependent countries in the world.

Since the 2001 invasion the United States deployed about 775,000 military personnel to subdue Afghanistan and poured $143 billion into the country, with 60 percent of the money going to prop up the corrupt Afghan military and the rest devoted to funding economic development projects, aid programs and anti-drug initiatives, with the bulk of those funds being siphoned off by foreign aid groups, private contractors, and outside consultants.

Grants from the United States and other countries accounted for 75 percent of the Afghan government budget. That assistance has evaporated. Afghanistan’s reserves and other financial accounts have been frozen, meaning the new government cannot access some $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank. Shipments of cash to Afghanistan have been stopped. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that Afghanistan will no longer be able to access the lender’s resources.

Things are already dire. There are some 14 million Afghans, one in three, who lack sufficient food. There are two million Afghan children who are malnourished. There are 3.5 million people in Afghanistan who have been displaced from their homes. The war has wrecked infrastructure. A drought destroyed 40 percent of the nation’s crops last year. The assault on the Afghan economy is already seeing food prices skyrocket. The sanctions and severance of aid will force civil servants to go without salaries and the health service, already chronically short of medicine and equipment, will collapse. The suffering orchestrated by the empire will be of Biblical proportions. And this is what the empire wants.

UNICEF estimates that 500,000 children were killed as a direct result of sanctions on Iraq. Expect child deaths in Afghanistan to soar above that horrifying figure. And expect the same imperial heartlessness Madeline Albright, then the America Ambassador to the United Nations, exhibited when she told “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children because of the sanctions was “worth it.” Or the heartlessness of Hillary Clinton who joked “We came, we saw, he died,” when informed of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s brutal death. Or the demand by Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georgia who after the attacks of 9/11 declared, “I say, bomb the hell out of them. If there’s collateral damage, so be it.” No matter that the empire has since turned Libya along with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen into cauldrons of violence, chaos, and misery. The power to destroy is an intoxicating drug that is its own justification.

Like Cato the Censor, the American military and intelligence agencies are, if history is any guide, at this moment planning to destabilize Afghanistan by funding, arming, and backing any militia, warlord or terrorist organization willing to strike at the Taliban. The CIA, which should exclusively gather intelligence, is a rogue paramilitary organization that oversees secret kidnappings, interrogation at black sites, torture, manhunts, and targeted assassinations across the globe. It carried out commando raids in Afghanistan that killed a large number of Afghan civilians, which repeatedly sent enraged family members and villagers into the arms of the Taliban. It is, one should expect, reaching out to Amrullah Saleh, who was Ashraf Ghani’s vice president and who has declared himself “the legitimate caretaker president” of Afghanistan. Saleh is holed up in the Panjashir Valley. He, along with warlords Afgand Massoud, Mohammad Atta Noor and Abdul Rashid Dostum, are clamoring to be armed and supported to perpetuate conflict in Afghanistan.

I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban,” Ahmad Massoud wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post. “The United States and its allies have left the battlefield, but America can still be a ‘great arsenal of democracy,’ as Franklin D. Roosevelt said when coming to the aid of the beleaguered British before the U.S. entry into World War II,” he went on, adding that he and his fighters need “more weapons, more ammunition and more supplies.”

These warlords have done the bidding of the Americans before. They will do the bidding of the Americans again. And since the hubris of empire is unaffected by reality, the empire will continue to sow dragon’s teeth in Afghanistan as it has since it spent $9 billion—some estimates double that figure—to back the mujahedeen that fought the Soviets, leading to a bloody civil war between rival warlords once the Soviets withdrew in 1989 and the ascendancy in 1996 of the Taliban.

The cynicism of arming and funding the mujahedeen against the Soviets exposes the lie of America’s humanitarian concerns in Afghanistan. One million Afghan civilians were killed in the nine-year conflict with the Soviets, along with 90,000 mujahedeen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. But these deaths, along with the destruction of Afghanistan, were “worth it” to cripple the Soviets.

Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, along with the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, oversaw the arming of the most radical Islamic mujaheddin groups fighting the Soviet occupation forces, leading to the extinguishing of the secular, democratic Afghan opposition. Brzezinski detailed the strategy, designed as he said to give the Soviet Union its Vietnam, taken by the Carter administration following the 1979 Soviet invasion to prop up the Marxist regime of Hafizullah Amin in Kabul:

We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union, and both the State Department and the National Security Agency prepared long lists of sanctions to be adopted, of steps to be taken to increase the international costs to the Soviet Union of their actions. And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again — for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujahedeen from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.

The clandestine campaign to destabilize the Soviet Union by making it “bleed for as much and as long as is possible” was carried out, like the arming of the contra forces in Nicaragua, largely off the books. It did not, as far as official Washington was concerned, exist, a way to avoid the unwelcome scrutiny of covert operations carried out by the Church Committee hearings in the 1970s that made public the three decades of CIA-backed coups, assassinations, blackmail, intimidation, dark propaganda, and torture. The Saudi government agreed to match the American funding for the Afghan insurgents. The Saudi involvement gave rise to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, which fought with the mujahedeen. The rogue operation, led by Brzezinski, organized secret units of assassination teams and paramilitary squads that carried out lethal attacks on perceived enemies around the globe. It trained Afghan mujahedeen in Pakistan and China’s Xinjiang province. It shifted the heroin trade, used to fund the insurgency, from southeast Asia to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This pattern of behavior, which destabilized Afghanistan and the region, is reflexive in the military and the intelligence community. It will, without doubt, be repeated now in Afghanistan, with the same catastrophic results. The chaos these intelligence agencies create becomes the chaos that justifies their existence and the chaos that sees them demand more resources and ever greater levels of violence.

All empires die. The end is usually unpleasant. The American empire, humiliated in Afghanistan, as it was in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, as it was at the Bay of Pigs and in Vietnam, is blind to its own declining strength, ineptitude, and savagery. Its entire economy, a “military Keynesianism,” revolves around the war industry. Military spending and war are the engine behind the nation’s economic survival and identity. It does not matter that with each new debacle the United States turns larger and larger parts of the globe against it and all it claims to represent. It has no mechanism to stop itself, despite its numerous defeats, fiascos, blunders and diminishing power, from striking out irrationally like a wounded animal. The mandarins who oversee our collective suicide, despite repeated failure, doggedly insist we can reshape the world in our own image. This myopia creates the very conditions that accelerate the empire’s demise.

The Soviet Union collapsed, like all empires, because of its ossified, out-of-touch rulers, its imperial overreach, and its inability to critique and reform itself. We are not immune from these fatal diseases. We silence our most prescient critics of empire, such as Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Andrew Bacevich, Alfred McCoy, and Ralph Nader, and persecute those who expose the truths about empire, including Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Daniel Hale, and John Kiriakou. At the same time a bankrupt media, whether on MSNBC, CNN or FOX, lionizes and amplifies the voices of the inept and corrupt political, military and intelligence class including John Bolton, Leon Panetta, Karl Rove, H.R. McMaster and David Petraeus, which blindly drives the nation into the morass.

Chalmers Johnson in his trilogy on the fall of the American empire – “Blowback,” “The Sorrows of Empire” and “Nemesis” – reminds readers that the Greek goddess Nemesis is “the spirit of retribution, a corrective to the greed and stupidity that sometimes governs relations among people.” She stands for “righteous anger,” a deity who “punishes human transgression of the natural, right order of things and the arrogance that causes it.” He warns that if we continue to cling to our empire, as the Roman Republic did, “we will certainly lose our democracy and grimly await the eventual blowback that imperialism generates.”

I believe that to maintain our empire abroad requires resources and commitments that will inevitably undercut our domestic democracy and, in the end, produce a military dictatorship or its civilian equivalent,” Johnson writes. “The founders of our nation understood this well and tried to create a form of government – a republic – that would prevent this from occurring. But the combination of huge standing armies, almost continuous wars, military Keynesianism, and ruinous military expenses have destroyed our republican structure in favor of an imperial presidency. We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation is started down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play – isolation, overstretch, the uniting of forces opposed to imperialism, and bankruptcy. Nemesis stalks our life as a free nation.”

If the empire was capable of introspection and forgiveness, it could free itself from its death spiral. If the empire disbanded, much as the British empire did, and retreated to focus on the ills that beset the United States it could free itself from its death spiral. But those who manipulate the levers of empire are unaccountable. They are hidden from public view and beyond public scrutiny. They are determined to keep playing the great game, rolling the dice with lives and national treasure. They will, we expect, preside gleefully over the deaths of even more Afghans, assuring themselves it is worth it, without realizing that the gallows they erect are for themselves.


While He Warned About The Military Industrial Complex, He Was Less Restrained When It Came To Covert Interventions, Some Which Reverberate Today.

On January 17, 1961, at the end of his second term in office, President Dwight Eisenhower tried to pull back the reins on military intervention in other countries with his warning about the military industrial complex. But he did not apply that same restraint to covert CIA interventions in other countries — covert interventions that he worked very hard to protect and keep secret from Congress and the public.

In 1956, when Senator Mike Mansfield proposed that the CIA should keep Congress informed of its activities, Eisenhower knew that the CIA would be in big trouble if Congress learned its deepest secrets. So, he decreed that Mansfield’s “bill would be passed over my dead body.” According to journalist and CIA expert Stephen Kinzer, Eisenhower then “pressed Senate leaders to do whatever necessary to ensure that it did not pass.” It didn’t.

During the initial stages of the Cold War, the Western nations—those aligned with the United States — confronted the Eastern bloc —those aligned with the USSR. The mostly non-aligned nations of what came to be known as the Third World were left pretty much alone as long as they kept the Communists sufficiently in check: a tolerance that was known as the “Jakarta Axiom” after its Indonesian paradigm.

In 1953, that policy changed. Washington decided that merely keeping Communism in check was no longer a credential for tolerance. Third World countries had to specifically align with the United States. In The Jakarta Method, Vincent Blevins explains that “the new rule…was that neutral governments were potential enemies, and Washington could decide if and when an independent Third World nation was insufficiently anticommunist.” With that, the age of the CIA coup began. It was Eisenhower who made that decision.

The first country to be tried and condemned under the Eisenhower doctrine was Iran: a decision whose reverberations are still being felt today. But Iran’s first democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, didn’t fall because he was Communist. While British and American officials publicly played up the Communist threat, according to Ervand Abrahamian, a leading expert on the 1953 coup d’etat, privately, they knew better. The American State Department and the British Foreign Office agreed that there was “no element of Russian incitation” and that Iran should “not be seen primarily as part of the immediate short-term ‘cold war’ problem.” The CIA assessed that Mosaddeq’s government “has the capability to take effective repressive action to check … Tudeh [the Communist Party] agitations….The Tudeh will not be able to gain control of the government.”

The problem in Iran was not communism, but neutralism and nationalism. In 1951, Mosaddeq was carried into power on a wave of nationalism that had made up its mind to rescue Iran’s oil from Britain so that the people of Iran, and not the stockholders of the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, could benefit from its profits. Mosaddeq immediately moved to nationalize Iran’s oil, and, in April 1951, the Iranian parliament approved the nationalization bill. Mosaddeq was elected prime minister and signed the bill into law the following month.

That was too much for the British. They clamped a crushing embargo on Iran and sent warships to enforce it. Not enough to pressure the people of Iran to overthrow the popular Mosaddeq — the State Department placed his support at 95-98 percent — the British tried instead. But they failed. And when Mosaddeq responded by shuttering the British embassy in Tehran and expelling its diplomats, Britain’s spies were flushed out with them. England had no one left in Iran to overthrow Mosaddeq.

So, they looked to America. Though President Truman had considered ousting Mosaddeq, according to Abrahamian, it didn’t ultimately happen until the Eisenhower administration.

On July 11, 1953, Eisenhower gave presidential approval for Operation Ajax, the very first CIA coup, and Mosaddeq was removed from power. That coup would start a historical tidal wave that led to the suffering of the people of Iran under the dictatorship of the Shah, the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the American Embassy hostage-taking before crashing on the shores of today and the current standoff over the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement.

Not only across the sea, but in America’s backyard, some of today’s troubles trace back to Eisenhower. As Eisenhower delivered the first CIA coup in Iran, so he delivered the first CIA coups in Latin America. And as seen in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Haiti and other Latin American and Caribbean Basin countries, the effects of that foreign policy orientation are still being felt today.

Like Mosaddeq in Iran, Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala wanted his own people to benefit from their own country’s wealth. He took on United Fruit, which owned about 20 percent of the land in his country and redistributed it. He also regulated major American companies in Guatemala. In 1954, Eisenhower ordered the CIA to overthrow Arbenz, and, in late June that year, it succeeded.

The Latin American or Caribbean country most in the news today is Cuba. Hostile American policy toward Cuba is usually traced back to the Kennedy administration. But in all of the three most important ways, those policies were born during the Eisenhower years.

The embargo on Cuba went into full lockdown by order of Kennedy in February 1962. But the doors began to close already in September 1960 when Eisenhower banned all exports to Cuba except food and medicine. So, the embargo, the lingering heart of the bad relationship, traces back to Eisenhower.

So does the Bay of Pigs. Though, again, usually attributed to Kennedy, it was in May 1960 that Eisenhower approved a covert action on Castro. By October 1959, Eisenhower had “approved measures,” according to CIA expert John Prados, that led to “a secret war.” It was Eisenhower, and not Kennedy, who authorized the plan for the invasion of Cuba that would mature into The Bay of Pigs. “There can be no doubt the revised CIA plan amounted to an invasion,” according to Prados. “Dwight D. Eisenhower, not John F. Kennedy, holds the responsibility there.” The CIA plan to invade Cuba is dated December 6, 1960. Kennedy would be inaugurated forty-five days later.

Like the embargo and the Bay of Pigs, the original signature on the plan to assassinate Castro is, not Kennedy’s, but Eisenhower’s. In the summer of 1959, William LeoGrande and Peter Kornblum explain in their book, Back Channel to Cuba, “key officials in the Eisenhower administration reached….a clear determination to bring about Castro’s demise.” The decision was cast for regime change in Cuba before Eisenhower left office. By October, secret, but official, American policy was to overthrow Castro by the end of 1960. On November 5, according to LeoGrande and Kornblum, that plan was approved by Eisenhower. On December 11, 1959, according to CIA expert Tim Weiner, Allen Dulles, Eisenhower’s CIA director, gave the go-ahead for Castro’s “elimination.” Dulles changed “elimination” to “removal from Cuba.” Stephen Kinzer reports that on May 13, 1960, after being briefed by Dulles, Eisenhower ordered Castro “sawed off.”

These actions of Eisenhower sowed the seeds for the embargo and regime change policies that still bedevil American relations with Cuba today.

While Eisenhower did pull in the reigns on American military intervention in other countries, he also built up and gave free rein to covert CIA operations — there would be 170 of them during his two terms — that intervened in other countries and that resonate 61 years after he delivered his famous farewell address and his warning about the potential excesses of the military industrial complex.