Tagged: War

From Kennan to Trotsky in The American Conservative

Russia and China today both enjoy the same grand-strategic advantage against the United States that the United States enjoyed through the 44 years of the Cold War.

The Soviet Union was then the superpower of the left, as the left had been globally understood since the French Revolution. It was the state committed to the promotion of revolutionary change across the world.

The United States, by contrast, was the superpower of the right. It was committed to the maintenance of stability and continuity in government systems around the world.

The United States won the Cold War. The craving for stability, peace, and continuity among governments and populations alike proved infinitely stronger than the fleeting flashes of revolutionary fervor. The Soviet Union eventually became physically exhausted and globally isolated by its ideological commitment to revolutionary change.

Today, however, the roles of the two great powers have been reversed. Since the advent of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state in 1997, the United States has become increasingly ideologically committed to the spreading of “instant powdered democracy” in every nation of the world, as defined and approved by the United States. Russia and China have become the main “conservative” or “right-wing” powers committed to preserving the status quo.

Ironically, the U.S. commitment to continual revolution around the world is a revival of the discredited concepts of Leon Trotsky. Josef Stalin abandoned Trotsky’s ideas in the 1920s when he took power in the Soviet Union. This gave him the ideological flexibility to create the Grand Alliance with the United States and the British Empire that won World War II—the Great Patriotic War.

But Nikita Khrushchev revived Trotsky’s disastrous concept: he and his successor, Leonid Brezhnev, drained their superpower dry by pouring resources into promoting revolution throughout the developing world, from 1954 in Egypt to Afghanistan in 1979-87. This led to the collapse of the Soviet system. It also prompted governments around the world to seek protection from efforts to fan the flames of revolution within them by turning to the United States for security on U.S. terms.

Today, it is the United States under presidents of both parties that has embraced the Trotskyite delusion. The bipartisan policy of the United States has become Permanent Revolution until Total and Perfect Democracy is finally achieved. This can only end the way it ended for Maximilien Robespierre in the French Revolution and for Trotsky in the Bolshevik one.

It is fitting that so many of the older generation of American neoconservatives started life as communist enthusiasts in the 1930s and ’40s. For today’s neocons are really neo-Trotskyites promoting the old, doomed enthusiasms under a new label.

By contrast, Russia and China are led by pragmatic governments guided by the concepts of profit and self-interest. They support and want to do business with existing governments and governing systems around the world. This has made them the 21st century’s major global powers of the right.

This is the strategic and psychological force behind China’s immense success in displacing the United States and the European Union in Africa. Chinese investment and aid comes free from the destabilizing, potentially revolutionary ideological strings that undermine existing systems of government throughout the region.

The governments of China and Russia hate and fear revolution and see the endless ideological promotion of democracy American-style in small countries around them and in their own homelands as planting the seeds of chaos and disintegration.

Democracy works admirably in societies where it is allowed to develop organically. But when other governments try to accelerate its growth artificially or hasten its triumph from outside, especially when they resort to military force to do so, the result is almost always a fierce reaction against the forces of democracy. This reaction often generates extreme fascist, repressive, and intolerant forces. And these forces usually win and take power. Then they impose themselves on the societies in question, delaying any real democratic development for decades or generations.

The efforts of the French Revolutionaries and Napoleon to export liberty, equality, and brotherhood across Europe by fire and sword instead ensured the survival of the old traditional empires for another 120 years. The efforts of Lenin and Trotsky to export socialism and communism by similar means were even more catastrophic. The backlash against them in Germany propelled Adolf Hitler to power.

It is not in America’s interests to follow in those footsteps—to put it mildly.” 




Kony 2012

As pretty much everyone reading this is already aware of, in the last few days the internet, specifically social networking sites, has been quickly overrun by a new movement called “Kony 2012”. They have done a pretty good job of getting the word out there,  it seems that everywhere you look there is a Kony 2012 picture as an avatar, or a status by some new celebrity in support of the movement. I want to discuss 3 things, 1. What is this movement, 2. What’s good about it? and 3. Whats bad about it?

1. What is this movement?

Joseph Kony is the leader of a group called “The Lord’s Resistance Army” that operates in Uganda. The group is essentially a militant extremist terrorist organization, and Mr. Kony is pretty much insane. The LRA and Kony have perpetuated all kinds of massacres all across Uganda. They have burn villages, killed families and raped women.  They have participated in an armed conflict across Uganda that has resulted in many deaths. In response to this, a group called “Invisible Children Inc”  has produced a 30 minute video (called Kony 2012) released on the Internet a few days ago that is aimed at both raising awareness of Mr.Kony for his crimes and bringing him to Justice, and also to lobby for an increased military presence for American’s in Uganda. This has caused a massive outpouring of  support all over the internet.

2. What’s good about it?

It’s good to see people concerned about injustice. Mr. Kony is a sick man that everyone should want to see brought to justice. It’s good when Americans look beyond themselves and see that people in other nations like Uganda need there help. The concern for Justice is very honorable. Even better is the desire on the part of some to actually go to Uganda and help the needy people that live there.

3.  Whats bad about it?

A whole lot.  There are a lot of articles out there detailing this stuff, like this one: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/07/guest_post_joseph_kony_is_not_in_uganda_and_other_complicated_things

It’s kind of all around the internet at once, but I will try and summarize briefly some of the concerns with this movement and then leave it up to you to research it more.

1. One of the main purposes of the group is to pour millions of American dollars into Uganda to fund the Ugandan government and it’s military. Aside from the fact that we do not have the money, America sending more war to Uganda is the last thing that place needs. America does not need another Iraq, war does not solve these problems.

2. The group is funded by the Ugandan government, which is notoriously corrupt and has committed many atrocities itself.

3.  The LRA has almost totally died down in Uganda. Joseph Kony hasn’t even been there in years and there are only a few hundred troops of the LRA even left. So why do we need to send so much money and weaponry?

4.  The documentary provides a massive over simplification of a complex issue. Most of the people are not even aware where Uganda is on a map and are now trying to involve themselves in a very complex situation.

5. Recently, they just discovered oil in Uganda. Considering all the crazy horrible things going on in the world, it’s very ironic America is focused here, where the Oil is.

6. It is not going to be easy to catch him if we send ton of troops. It took us 10 years to catch Osama Bin Laden.

It’s great to see people get involved, but this organization is very shady and has really simplified and exaggerated the facts. Uganda needs a lot of humanitarian help, mostly because these Child soldiers have grown up now. What it does not need is an American Military presence. Unfortunately, this has marshaled a large group of uninformed people advocating direct military intervention. This is looking very suspicious, its looking like this is another excuse to involve Americans in a needless military conflict. Oil was very recently discovered in Uganda, Oil China wants. This is a very easy excuse for us to go in and secure that Oil. People need to research organizations and find out where the money leads. American Military intervention in Uganda will have bad results.  And this really just seems like a front for it. People have jumped on this bandwagon far to easy, with a naive American idealism that we can solve any problem just by getting involved in it.


I am hope I am wrong, but it really seems like this well meaning but mostly uninformed movement may cause a military build up in Uganda that will really hurt that nation, bringing more conflict and less peace.