The Price to Be Paid

Ours is the age of equality between men and women, or so they say. Not a day passes without the media announcing some great achievement by women who have done this or that, conquered this or that field of previously male activity. Today it pleases me to focus on the price women have paid for succumbing to penis envy.

Follow a few highlights:

* Many women now work as hard as men. Fifty years ago, the time when the shift that made it normal and acceptable for married women to obtain paid jobs got under way, many of them started by working part time. Since then, however, the difference in the percentage of men and women working full time has been shrinking. Do you want to see the result? Just look at the bookstores. In them, one volume after another dealing with how to balance work, household and family is becoming a best-seller. As if wishful thinking could lead to a day of twenty-six hours.

* The rising cost of living. Most working women incur expenses non-working ones do not have; such as clothing, transport, help in running the household, and child care. In particular, the last two have led to the rise of entire industries that are worth billions and billions a year. Women who work and pay others to work for them also have the privilege of paying all kinds of taxes (income tax, VAT, social security, employers’ taxes), which otherwise would not have been the case. All this explains why, whereas fifty years ago most middle-class families could live on one salary, today such a blessing has become rare.

* Exposure to sexual harassment. Women who work outside the home are more exposed to sexual harassment than those who do not. Period.

* Difficulty in conceiving. Paid work often means preparing for it by undertaking some kind of academic study, and the years spent on academic study are one reason why the age at which people get married for the first time has been rising until it is currently the highest in history. The outcome: more and more women who live with a partner cannot have children and are forced to turn to artificial insemination labs or adoption agencies instead.

* Estrangement from children who suffer. Historically the fact that women spent far more time with little children in particular meant that mothers were considerably closer to their offspring than fathers were. That, however, is no longer the case; today’s newborn are likely to be handed to the care of strangers within months, or even weeks, of entering this world. At least some studies have concluded that mothers’ employment is “associated with negative child outcomes when families [are] not at risk financially (i.e., when families [are] middle or upper-middle class).” A fortiori, of course, for poor and/or single working mothers.

* Payment of child support and palimony. Half a century ago, for women to pay child support, let alone palimony, was almost unheard of. Such demands indeed, tended to be laughed out of court. No longer. The courts’ bias in favor of women, as well as the fact that most men still make more than most women, means that, even today, far fewer women than men are ordered to make these payments. However, the gap is shrinking.

* Crime and punishment. Starting at the time when Medea, in a fit of jealousy, killed her children to spite her philandering husband Jason but was never put on trial, women have always suffered much lighter punishments for the crimes they committed then men did. To a large extent, that is still the case. A man who killed his children is certain to be denounced as a monster and subjected to the heaviest possible punishment; a woman can expect much lighter punishment as well as sympathy and psychological help. Still, over the last thirty years or so the gap has been shrinking. As is shown, inter alia, by the fact that women’s incarceration rate has increased nearly twice as fast as that of men.

* Military service. Throughout history, in one form or another men have often been conscripted to fight and die for their dear countries whereas women were not. To-date, the only country that made women wear uniform even against their will is Israel. This, however, seems to be changing. At least one country, Norway, now has some form of conscription for women, albeit that it has so many loopholes as to ensure that no woman (or man) should serve against their will. In other countries the possibility of registering women for conscription, though not conscription itself, has become the topic of public debate.

* Declining life expectancy. As far back into history as we can look, men have always outlived women. That was as true in Neolithic times as it was in eighteenth-century Europe. Only after 1800 or so did the situation begin to change; first in Europe and the US, then gradually in other places as well. By 1975-80, in developed countries, women had come to outlive men by 6-8 years. In marches feminism and the idea that women have to work, and endure stress, and smoke, and join the military, just as men do. The outcome? In just forty years, in some of the countries in question, the gap in life expectancy between men and women has been halved.

Has it been worth it? Let women judge.

“We Shall Win This War, and Then We Shall Get Out.”

No, this is not Vladimir Putin speaking. This is Winston Churchill, not long after returning to power in 1951. The context? The conflict in Malaysia, which at the time had been ongoing for three years with no end in sight. The immediate outcome? The war came to an end and the Brits left. The ultimate outcome? To this day, whenever anyone suggests that brushfire war, alias guerrilla, alias people’s war, alias low intensity war, alias nontrinitarian war, alias fourth-generation war (currently, thanks to my friend Bill Lind, the most popular term of all) is beyond the ability of modern state-owned armed forces to handle, someone else is bound to ask: but how about the British in Malaysia?

In response, let me suggest that, had Israel agreed to get out of the territories (I wish!) it could have “won” the struggle against Palestinian terrorism in twenty-four hours. But this is not what it pleases me to discuss today. It is, rather the situation in Putin’s own stamping ground, i.e. Syria.

The following is the story of the war, as far as I can make it out. It all started in May 2011 when terrorism against Assad dictatorial regime got under way. At first it was local, sporadic and uncoordinated. Later the opposition coalesced and assumed a more organized character; even so, by last count there are, or have been at one time or another, about ninety different groups fighting the regime. And even this mind-boggling number includes neither Hezbollah, nor Daesh, nor the various Kurdish militias, nor the so-called Baby Al Qaedas.

As in many similar wars (the one in the former Yugoslavia is a good example), some of the militias form coalitions, whereas others spend most of their time and energy combating each other. Some see the whole of Syria as their battlefield, others are local gangs out to keep certain regions or cities in their own power. Some are quite large (though none seems to have more than a few thousand fighters), others very small. Some are secular, others religiously-motivated.

What keeps the militias going are Saudi and Qatari money and weapons. Both the money and the weapons reach them mainly by way of Iraq a country which thanks to the U.S has ceased to be a country at all and is unable to control much of its territory. Earlier in the conflict Jordan too acted as a conduit. Later, though, the Jordanian Government, determined to look after itself first and stay out of the conflict as much as it could, all but closed this route. Bravo, King Abdullah. Well done.

In this war, as in so many other nontrinitarian ones, the largest formation on either side seems to be the reinforced brigade. Most, however, are much smaller. There is some use of tanks and much of artillery; however, on both sides most of the damage is done by lighter weapons. Including light quick-firing artillery (the kind that fires 20-30 millimeter rounds), mortars, machine guns of all calibers, antitank rockets and missiles, grenade launchers, assault rifles, and car bombs.

Most of Syria being an empty desert, most of the fighting takes place in and around the towns. Airpower, which the militias do not have, is used only by the Syrians and their Russian supporters. The Syrians in particular have specialized in helicopters which they use to drop explosive-filled barrels. As in so other nontrinitarian wars, often little if any distinction is made between combatants and noncombatants. That is why the number of dead is as large as it is: half a million, and counting.

In his famous work on “Protracted War” (not, as Western translations often call it, “guerrilla war”) Mao Zedong, writing from the point of view of the insurgents, divides this kind of struggle into three stages. First comes what we would call terrorism, individual attacks whose main purpose is to destabilize the government and show that it is not in control. Of necessity, such warfare does without any firm territorial base; it is at this stage, above all, that the guerrillas must be like fish swimming in the sea. The second stage is to consolidate some kind of base, usually in remote, difficult terrain that the government forces find it hard to penetrate, where the guerrillas can find refuge, train, and in general consolidate their power. The third stage is the switch to full-scale conventional war, waged against a demoralized opponents and at least partly with the aid of captured weapons and supplies.

In all this, the really critical step is finding the right moment to make the shift from the second stage to the third. Wait too long, and watch your forces becoming demoralized and perhaps disintegrating. Move too early, and you put everything you have achieved at risk. This, for example, was the error General Giap committed back in 1972. Switching from guerrilla to conventional warfare, twice he tried to launch a massive invasion of the south. On both occasions doing so left his forces exposed to US airpower which pulverized them.

Back to Syria. Until the spring of 2015 the various militias did very well. Encouraged by their success, they got to the point where they made the transition, assuming control over much of Syria in the process. By doing so, however, they changed their character and became more and more like their regular opponents. Becoming like their regular opponents, they exposed themselves to those opponents’ firepower, now directed at them not only from the ground (by the Syrian Army) but also from the air (by the Russians). Subjected to a combined conventional offensive, as at Aleppo, the various militias fought but, in the end, lost.

The recent ill-observed cease fire notwithstanding, that does not mean the struggle is over. Too many different parties are involved, of which many have not yet achieved their objectives and remain full of fight. With Assad’s forces on the upswing at the moment, fhe most likely outcome is a regression from Mao’s stage 3 back to stage 2, perhaps even stage 1. Precisely the kind of war which, in both Afghanistan and Iraq, gave the Americans as much trouble as it did.

And Putin? He seems be following Churchill, first proclaiming victory and then getting out. In other words, he knows where to stop. Isn’t that more than the Americans can say?

Guest Article: China and Iran

by William S Lind*

President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for cabinet positions have reassured his supporters that change will be real. However, for his presidency to begin successfully, there are two countries where change is needed in his approach. Those two countries are China and Iran.

As always, to see how we should relate to any state we must begin with our own grand strategic goals. The most important of those goals should be forming an alliance of all states to confront the threat Fourth Generation war presents to the state system itself. Obviously, we want that alliance to include China and Iran; all states means precisely that. China is one of three genuine Great Powers (Britain and France have that title by courtesy). An alliance of all states is possible only if it begins with an alliance of the Great Powers. Otherwise, Great Power rivalry will undermine it from the outset. Iran is an important regional power whose cooperation against 4GW elements in the Mideast is important. At present, Iran is playing a central role in upholding the state in Syria.

This grand strategy reminds us that in any situation, the worst possible outcome for our interests is the disintegration of another state and its replacement by a stateless nursery for more 4GW elements. The U.S. foreign policy Establishment has given us that outcome in Iraq, in Libya, and, in part, in Syria. A Trump administration should do its utmost not to add to that list of failures.

In this context, Mr. Trump’s initial actions vis-a-vis China, including receiving a congratulatory phone call from the leader of Taiwan, do serve to strengthen his bargaining position with Beijing. But it is important he accept the “one China” policy, with which both the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang agree. Taiwan is an existential issue for China because of China’s history of centrifugal movements. If one province can become independent, so can others, and China would be heading back to a situation of “warring states”. That is the nightmare of every Chinese.

Because any movement of Taiwan toward independence has this implication for China, Taiwan has the highest potential for bringing about a war between China and the U.S. Such a conflict would be a disaster for both parties. But from the United States’ standpoint, it would be a lose-lose scenario. In the unlikely event the U.S. lost the war, our Great Power status would be called into question. If China lost, the result could be even worse. A defeat might destroy the legitimacy of the current Beijing government and with it the Chinese state. China could disintegrate into warring states in a huge victory for 4GW elements. We need China to be a center and source of order in the world. A defeat followed by disintegration would turn China into a vast source of disorder.

As China resumes her historical Great Power status, we should not merely allow but encourage her to take over the job of preserving peace, order, and commerce in a growing portion of the world. China must agree that is her role, but Chinese culture puts high value on order and harmony so that should not be too difficult. In that context, if China wishes to take over the job of protecting freedom of the seas in the South China Sea and is able to do so, we should welcome it. We should have no desire to be the world’s policeman. China, like Russia and the U.S., should have her sphere of influence, again and always in the context of upholding order and the state system.

Much the same is true of Iran on a regional basis. If the U.S. and Iran were to go to war–and Mr. Trump was elected in part because he opposed avoidable wars in the Middle East–an Iranian defeat might lead to the break-up of Iran, where the Persians are not a majority of the population. As has been the case in Iraq and Libya (thank you, Hillary), a disintegration of Iran into stateless disorder would be far worse for our interests than is the present Iranian state.

From this perspective, we should accept the Iran deal negotiated by the Obama administration. It may not be ideal in its terms, but if we tear it up, we will be on course either to accept a nuclear Iran in the near future or go to war with Iran, with all the dangers therein described above. Of these three alternatives, the present deal is clearly the least bad.

The foreign policy opposite of the neo-con/Jacobin “idealism” of Hillary and President Obama is realism. It is reasonable for those of us who supported Mr. Trump to expect realism will be the basis of his foreign policy. Realism often means accepting arrangements that are less than ideal. Realists do accept them because the other plausible alternatives are worse.

In the 21st century, the worst outcome of all will be destroying another state. Whenever and wherever the question of war against a state comes up, our thinking must begin with the realization that “victory” may, indeed is likely to, yield that outcome. We, and China and Russia and Iran and all other states face real enemies in the form of non-state opponents. Let us join together in confronting those enemies rather than pursue obsolete conflicts with each other.

 

* William (“Bill”) Lind is author of the Fourth Generation Warfare Handbook. This article has been previously posted on his website, The View from Olympus.

Not a Bad Year

News, they say, is almost always bad news. The worse the news, the more important it is. So I decided to take a look at some of the most headline-making events of 2016 in order to see how bad a year it has really been. In doing so, I did not rely on my memory but used a website that specialized in tracing events month by month.

January. The U.S and Europe lift the sanctions on Iran. The longstanding sanctions, both financial and oil, are lifted after inspections prove that Iran has complied with the conditions specified in the nuclear deal. Around $100 billion of Iran’s assets are also released. The U.S and Iran each release some prisoners belonging to the other country they had been holding. Except for Netanyahu, everyone appears to be happy.

February: President Obama announces “historic” visit to Cuba. High time, too! It is another major step in renewed relations between Cuba and the United States since the last and only president to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But a “historic” turning point? For the citizens of Cuba, perhaps; for the rest of the world, including 99 percent of US citizens, hardly.

March: The UN Security Council unanimously imposed another round of sanctions on North Korea after the country launched a rocket that put a satellite into orbit in February and conducted a nuclear test in January. The new sanctions call for inspections of all cargo entering and leaving the country, a ban on the import of luxury watches, snowmobiles and Jet Skis, A strange list, one would say; but supposedly justified by the “fact” that Kim Jong-un and his cronies like the items in question.

April: the world first heard a new term, “Panama Papers,” referring to millions of confidential documents that were leaked from a Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The Panama Papers reveal details of how some of the globe’s richest people funnel their assets into secretive shell companies set up in lightly regulated jurisdictions. As of the time of writing, though, it is not clear how many miscreants have been prosecuted as a result of the revelations. Nor how much, if any, money the tax authorities around the world have been able to recover.

May: Nothing. Oh, yes: for those of you who did not know, including myself, a place named Fort McMurray really exists. It is located in Alberta, Canada, and has 88,000 inhabitants who make their living by pumping oil out of the ground. In May a major fire burnt down parts of the town and it was claimed that evacuation routes were closed, leaving those trying to flee stranded. In the end, however, no one was killed.

June: Elements within the Turkish Army launch a coup attempt (many throughout the world are convinced it was staged by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself). Following its failure, a wave of dismissals, investigations and arrests sweeps the country, which now seems to be well on its way to a dictatorship. One positive result of all this: talks about Turkey joining the EU are definitely put on hold.

July: On Bastille Day, France’s most important holiday, tragedy strikes. A large truck is driven through a crowd in the southern city of Nice. The truck barrels through the crowds, fatally crushing 84 people and injuring more than 200, children included. The driver is a Frenchman (really?) of Tunisian origin, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who is shot and killed by police officers responding to the attack. In case anyone still had doubts, terrorism is in Europe to stay—and will almost certainly never go away.

August: Contrary to the expectations of many the Olympic Games, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, go without a hitch. True, they cause attention to be focused on a disease named Zika, of which few people had heard before; in the end, though, almost nothing happens.

September: Nothing. True, the first and only president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, died from a stroke after no fewer than 25 years in power. Putin published his condolences; but I suppose I will not go very wrong if I say that few people outside his own country ever knew he had existed.

October: In Colombia, a peace deal between the government and the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is submitted to a referendum. The intention was to end the 52-year civil war. The question read, “Do you support the final agreement to end the conflict and construct a stable and enduring peace?” An easy to answer question, one would have thought; yet the voters say no. Fortunately President Juan Manuel Santos announces that the armistice then in force with FARC will be honored. A golden ray of common sense shines onto a war-torn country.

November: Much to the surprise of many pollsters, and to the fury of Democrats, Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States. What this means for the future remains to be seen. Not least because of the man’s own tweets, which so far have doing little except sow confusion.

December: Following a months-long battle, the Syrian city of Aleppo fell to Assad, Hezbollah, and the Russians. It makes no difference since the war, resuming its original terrorist/guerrilla character, goes on. And on. And on.

Summary: A large meteorite has not hit the earth. No city has been flooded by rising ocean water. There has been no natural disaster comparable to, say, the 2004 Tsunami which killed an estimated 250,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and eleven other countries. A nuclear war has not broken out. Peace among the most important powers has been maintained, more or less. The world financial system has not undergone a meltdown. Zika has gone, or is going, the way of SARS and swine flu and Bug 2000 (in case anyone remembers it). And Hillary will not be president of the U.S.

All in all, taking a global perspective, not a bad year.

Blaming Obama

As Aleppo has finally fallen and a new Republican administration, supported by a Republican Congress, is about to take over, everyone is pointing fingers at outgoing President Barak Obama. He left America’s allies in the lurch. He did not stand up to Assad, Hezbollah, Khameini, Putin, and other wicked people. He should have done this and he should have done that. He was hesitant and he was inactive and he was ineffective. He has left the US weaker than it was when he entered office. He was a second Carter (the worst thing, in this view, anyone can be).

The charges are baseless. What they overlook is the fact that, at the time the Syrian civil war broke out in May 2011, the U.S was just emerging from its involvement in two disastrous wars. One in Afghanistan, the other in Iraq. Between them these two wars cost the U.S tens of thousands of casualties, including thousands of dead. They also cost fortunes so large as to be almost incalculable. Yet neither of them has achieved anything except increase the mayhem in Central Asia and the Middle East respectively.

The man who created the situation that led to this mess was not President Obama. It was his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush. Bush, it seems, entered office without any particular agenda. That may have been why, once 9/11 had taken place and almost three thousand Americans had died, he reacted instinctively and ferociously by sending his troops into that graveyard of empires, Afghanistan. Initially almost no one could quarrel with his decision and almost no one did. With good reason, it should be added; a Superpower, if it wants to remain a Superpower, cannot afford to take a spectacular act of war such as 9/11 lying down without mounting an equally spectacular one in response.

What spoilt the party was the fact that, during the first weeks and months, the campaign seemed to go better than anyone had expected. Encouraging Bush and his evil geniuses, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, to extend what had started as a punitive expedition into a sustained effort to create a more or less stable, more or less democratic, Afghanistan—an unattainable objective if ever one there was. By early 2003 it ought to have been clear, as in fact it was to a growing number of people, that Afghanistan was not a minor wound in America’s side. Instead it was a rapidly growing, extremely malignant, cancer that was frustrating the efforts of Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney to deal with it.

However, the evil trio refused to look reality in the face. Drunk with hubris, they decided to take on Iraq as well as Afghanistan. First they invented, and forced their intelligence services to “discover,” non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” to justify their decision. Next they launched a massive invasion much larger than the one in Afghanistan. Again the opening moves went well, encouraging the evil trio and providing them with all the back wind they could have wanted. Again, though, within a matter of months things started going sour.

When Obama entered office early in 2009 he did so with an explicit mandate to end the agony. Two years later it was these facts, and not any weakness on Obama’s part, which prevented him from doing more to help the Syrian militias topple Assad. Had he tried to do so, neither Congress nor public opinion, let alone those weathervanes, the media, would have supported him. Had he used his position as commander in chief to overrule them, and had the bodybags started coming in, they would almost literally have crucified him. So he did the maximum he could, which was to send in weapons—by way of the Saudis, who provided the financial muscle—as well as drones.

Drones, no doubt, are useful machines. Particularly because, being unmanned, they save casualties. Like the manned aircraft which they are increasingly replacing, though, on their own they do not win wars and will not win wars and cannot win wars. The more so when the armed forces that use them are increasingly made up of feminized, traumatized, politically-correct, pussycats; and the more so when those forces are backed up, if that is the term, by a country rightly tired of pouring out troops and treasure in useless wars that result in nothing but casualties.

And so the seeds of the present mess were sown. Perhaps I should add that all this did not take place against a domestic background of economic prosperity, as had been the case during World War II. Rather, even as the U.S vainly struggled with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq it was hit by the worst economic crisis in seventy years. The causes of the crisis do not concern us here. It is, however, worth pointing out that, entering the White House at a supremely difficult juncture, in economic matters as well as foreign-political/military ones Obama did the best he could. Not entirely without success, as the decrease of U.S military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq on one hand and the recent raising of interest rates on the other show.

Let the Republicans go on sticking pins into Obama’s effigy. Now that he is leaving the White House and Trump is coming in, all one can hope for is that the new president will do no worse than the old one did.

Where It May Lead

Israel, for those of you who do not know, has gone bonkers. Batty, crazy, soft in the head. Not a day passes without presidents, ministers, MKs, top civil servants, officers, policemen, professors, rabbis, physicians, psychotherapists, teachers, coaches and actors being charged with all kinds of alleged sexual offenses that reach from paying a woman a compliment all the way to sodomy and rape. Charges having been pressed, plea bargaining—a method, incidentally, often used by the Inquisition too—enters the picture. Essentially it consists of inventing hard to prove, but very serious, crimes so as to blackmail defendants into admitting to lighter ones. As a result, acquittals are practically unknown; even the few who do escape “justice” are often branded for life. No wonder that Israel’s prison population includes a higher percentage of “sex offenders” than that of any other country.

Does all this ring a bell? Good. Or else I would scarcely have used my own country of eight million to make my point. An enormous body of research notwithstanding, the causes of the great feminist revolt, of which the above situation is very much an outcome, remain somewhat mysterious. Betty Friedan, whose 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, played a key role in starting it all, attributed it to growing sub-urbanization which left middle-class non-working women stranded in green deserts. Other factors included the desertion of the home in favor of paid work, which brought countless women into close contact with strange men against whom, they keep claiming, they have no defense; a sharp decline in fertility, which seems to have left many of them slightly wrong in the head; the requisitioning of childhood by the state, which emptied the home and left mothers with too little to do; and a long list of others. Including, not least, the near disappearance from Western life of war, meaning that women have less need of men to defend them; a sort of dialectical reaction to the Sexual Revolution, which made women feel they had given their consent too easily; and a resurgence of that age-old phenomenon, penis-envy. See, on the last of these points, my post of 16.6.2016.

The relative importance of these and other factors, as well as the way they interact with each other, could be discussed forever. In this post, however, what interests me are not the causes of the phenomenon but its possible outcomes. So here are a few, listed in no particular order.

  1. Feminism may collapse under its own absurdities. For both men and women, this seems to be the most desirable outcome. However, at the moment it appears remote. Judging by the example of women’s parking places, discussed in my post of 10.8.2016, feminists’ ability to invent new absurdities is far from exhausted. Particularly because their demand for better defenses against men is combined with shrill shrieks requiring equality with them; making certain they will never make much headway in either direction.
  2. The barriers between the sexes may start rising again. Historically, one characteristic of Western society has long been the relative ease with which men and women were allowed to interact in public. Some observers even believe that, vis a vis non-Western one, this was their greatest advantage. True or not, feminists’ endless complaints about sexual harassment in all its varied forms seem about to change this situation. In many places separate schools, separate buses, separate taxis, separate railway-carriages, separate hotel floors, separate sport facilities and even separate police forces are multiplying.
  3. Feminism may continue to drive more Western women to work and fewer of them to have children. The long-term outcome will be smaller populations and demographic decline; resulting in the rise of societies that have resisted the disease. To put it in a different way, feminist societies will be forced to make way in front of non-feminist ones. As the fact that one in four people world-wide is now a Muslim, as against just one in six back in 1950, trend upwards, shows, this is already happening.
  4. Gaps between the life expectancy of men and women, which over the last two centuries have been steadily growing in favor of the latter, will close again. In other words, women will lose their advantage in this respect, as indeed they began doing in the mid-1970s when large numbers of them, misled by the feminist siren-song, first started taking up paid work. The situation whereby, in Western populations, women usually outnumber men 50.5 to 49.5 will be reversed and the historical one in which men outnumber women restored.
  5. More men may renounce study, work, marriage and family life. For anyone who follows the literature, the fact that there exist a growing number of men who refuse to have anything to do with women except, perhaps, have sex with them on a more or less temporary basis is obvious. These men feel that recent social and legal changes have created a situation in which they are discriminated against in every possible way; as one British man put it, he and his mates have been turned into dispensable sperm donors and ambulant ATMs. So they refuse to play ball and drop out instead, leaving legions of frustrated women in their wake.
  6. A counter-revolution and the end of democracy. As the constant feminist demand for protection against big, bad men shows, the only reason why feminism has enjoyed any successes at all is because men have failed to resist it as strongly as, perhaps, they should have. However, as more and more men feel pressed to the wall—see Article 5 above—they may reach the conclusion that things cannot go on as they do and that some kind of fundamental change is necessary. Some people see the recent victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton as the herald of just such a change.
    But that is only the beginning. Women now form a majority in all Western populations. Hence more fundamental change will hardly be possible without first restricting and then doing away with women’s right to vote. A change which, in turn, will almost certainly be possible only if it is accompanied by the abolition of democracy and the establishment of some form of government based on different principles.

Obviously all these scenarios are interrelated in any number of complicated ways. Being seventy years old, chances are that I will not live to see any of the last-named five changes fully implemented. But my three sons and two daughters, I am very much afraid, almost certainly will.

 

PS I just read the Trump Administration is going to include several key figures who have been accused of assaulting women. As, of course, he himself has been. A sign that change is finally under way, perhaps?

Welcome, Mr. Secretary

At one point during his election campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump promised to spend the first hundred days on the job restoring the U.S military. And following the endless unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, restoring it certainly needs. Now he has come up with the man who is supposed to do the restoring: four-star Marine Corps General (ret.) James Mattis.

To imitate the language of the Old Testament, I shall not list “the rest of the General’s acts, and all his might, and all that he did.” They can easily be found on the Net. A few points, however, are worth taking note of. First, he is immensely experienced, having made his way up by participating in practically every war the U.S has fought from 1972 on. Second, as a high-ranking Marine he is intimately familiar with operations “in the air, on land and sea” (the Marine Corps anthem) and not just with one of the three as so many army, navy and air force generals are. Third, along with general David Petraeus he was responsible for America’s counterinsurgency doctrine. Precisely that which, in this day and age of what I once called “non-trinitarian warfare,” is the most important and the most necessary of all. Fourth, he cares for his troops. Fifth, he is a man of considerable learning such as is rarely found among his fellow officers (having lived with them, I should know). Last not least, he has no fear of speaking his mind. A quality which, in today’s politically-correct world, is as hard to find as diamonds.

Entering office, the General will have his work cut out for him. Two issues on which he has expressed himself in the past are Iran and “the Middle East” (meaning, of course, Israel and the Palestinians). So let me start by venturing to provide him with some cautious advice on both of those. Re. Iran, I think that the present agreement with that country is as good as can be had. It is good for Iran, good, for the Middle East, good for the U.S, and good for world peace. Why re-open a (nuclear) nest of hornets when, judging by everything that has happened since Tehran re-started its nuclear program back in the early 1990s there is no need? The more so because, by doing so, the US will be widely seen as untrustworthy, a problem which will surely complicate efforts to deal with similar issues such as, for example, North Korea. And the more so because it will be pushing Iran into Putin’s welcoming arms.

As to my own country, I agree with outgoing President Barak Obama that fifty years of occupation are enough and more than enough. The present situation is untenable for the world, for the US, and, not least, Israel itself. Surprising as it may sound to outsiders, many, perhaps even most, Israelis are aware of this fact. However, they are prevented from doing what has to be done—in one way or another, get the devil out of the Territories—by the country’s complicated internal political divisions. As they say, four Jews, five opinions! So I strongly suggest that the new Secretary of Defense should put his weight behind the attempts to impose some kind of enforced solution. One which, while not perfect, will at least extinguish many flames and dispose of many sparks (as our mutual acquaintance Clausewitz puts it in On War.)

Important as these issues are, they only comprise the beginning. As readers of the present blog as well as my book Pussycats will know, I see the military crisis the U.S (and other Western countries, including, in many ways, my own) is undergoing primarily as a spiritual one. Not, in other words, one that is occasioned by lack of money. And not as one caused by defective organization, inappropriate doctrine, insufficient equipment, inadequate training, and so on. To repeat, it is the spirit, eroded partly by a whole series of unsuccessful wars and partly by domestic factors, which has been lacking and which must be restored.

Here I want to quote some little-known words General Mattis uttered two years ago (according to the Washington Times, 25.5.2014). The text of his remarks goes as follows:

I would just say there is one misperception of our veterans and that is they are somehow damaged goods. I don’t buy it.

If we tell our veterans enough that this is what is wrong with them they may actually start believing it.

While victimhood in America is exalted I don’t think our veterans should join those ranks.

There is also something called post traumatic growth where you come out of a situation like that and you actually feel kinder toward your fellow man and fellow woman.

We are going to have to have young people in our country who are willing to go toe to toe with this because two irreconcilable wills exist.

There is no room for military people, including our veterans, to see themselves as victims even if so many of our countrymen are prone to relish that role.

Coming on top of some other courageous words General Mattis has spoken over the years, it is probable that, in the entire U.S military there is no one more suitable to carry out the necessary repairs than he is. Repairs, let me repeat, whose nature is predominantly spiritual, not material.

And so I wish him good luck in what is surely going to be a very difficult task.

A Reminder of Vietnam

Charles Krohn, The Lost Battalion of Tet: Breakout of the 2/12 Cavalry at Hue, Baltimore, Md, Naval Institute Press, 2008.

I read this book, a revised edition of the 1993 original, on two levels. As a description of the operations of 2/12th cavalry battalion during the battle of Hue (February 1968) it is superb. The initial feeling of superiority—at this time, almost all US troops still believed in the war and looked down on their enemies whom they called “gooks.” The arrival of the battalion, minus its artillery support and the men’s packs, which HQ had ordered them to leave behind, at TFP (This F— Place) north of Hue. From there they were supposed to attack south so as to help relieve the city’s defenders. The order to attack an entrenched and well prepared enemy without previous artillery preparation. The attack itself, and its costly failure. What it was like, being counterattacked by the NVA, surrounded, and threatened with total destruction. The decision of the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Sweet, to break out and its successful implementation. The heavy casualties—between dead and injured, almost two third of initial strength. The falsification of the number of enemy soldiers killed. It is all there, as detailed and as realistic as one would expect from the author who was acting as the battalion intelligence officer and a participant in the battle, from beginning to end. And who, as a professor of journalism, knows how to write.

On another level, though, the book leaves more questions than answers. From beginning to end the Americans in Vietnam had every advantage on their side. Though Krohn does not say so, along with the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) they outnumbered their enemies by about three to one. Initially, troop morale was very high. They were well organized, well trained and better equipped than any other armed forces in history up to that time. Supported by a superb communication-network, they had heavy B-52 bombers on call. They had fighter-bombers on call. They had gunships on call. They had helicopters on call. Piloted by incredibly brave men, throughout the battle of Hue the helicopters brought in supplies and evacuated many wounded.

Above all, as Krohn says several times, they had a magnificent logistic system that stretched back across the Pacific all the way to America’s west coast. On one occasion it enabled the battalion to use three air strikes, helicopter rocket runs, and more than one thousand artillery rounds to dislodge a single sniper. A single sniper! A hero, if ever one there was. And the NVA? Their supplies, says Krohn, had to be brought from North Vietnam to Que San by way of Laos. On foot.

So taking a look around, how did the US, as the most powerful country in history, lose the war? To be sure, this is not Krohn’s topic. Nevertheless, towards the end of his book he provides a few hints. First, if the NVA succeeded in fortifying TFP as well as they did, it was due partly to the fact that they used the American’s own building materials which had been left behind. Second, a captured NVA document revealed that, in the authors’ estimation, fewer than one third of the US troops around Hue were combat. Third, compared with World War II American readiness to take casualties was minimal.

As we now know, it was not the last time the US lost a war.

Military Women Are Not the Cure, They Are the Disease

For about twenty years now, I have been warning whoever would and would not listen about the dangers of feminizing the military. Now, in my own country, the chicks—no pun intended—are coming home to roost. As readers will know, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are the only ones in history to have made women wear uniform even against their will. However, from the end of the War of Independence (1948) to the late 1970s they only did so in a variety of auxiliary Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) that had little impact on the fighting “teeth.” At that point a shortage of manpower generated by the forces’ expansion following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War on one hand and feminist pressures on the other caused the situation to change. Female officers and enlisted personnel increased in both numbers and importance until the IDF was blessed with three small “combat” battalions made up mostly of women. Albeit that they are deployed along the borders with Egypt and Jordan, where hardly a shot has been fired for decades past.

Fast-move forward. For about a month now I have noticed, in Israel’s most important paper Yediot Ahronot, a series of articles about various combat IDF units. How little the public knew about them. How wonderful they were. How important the missions they carried out, and how daring their feats. Which towns provided them with proportionally the largest number of recruits. And so on. Briefly. the kind of stuff you would expect from a military that has difficulties attracting manpower.

Last week, the reasons behind the various publications came out of the bag. What I had suspected all along has now been announced with great fanfare. Year by year, fewer recruits are interested in joining the combat arms. From 2015 to 2016 alone, the figure went down by two percentage points, from 71.91 to 69.8. The decline is less pronounced among women, more among men. Coming on top of the fact that more and more men do not serve in the first place, the IDF has good reason to worry about its ability to fill combat slots as they should be.

Throwing in money apart, several solutions have been proposed. One is to cut down on the training of cadets and fresh recruits so as to free them for tasks such as holding down the Occupied Territories. Another is to dramatically lower physical standards. Should this come to pass, then soldiers previously classified as fit only for desk-bound tasks and disaster relief either in the Territories or in Israel itself will be able to serve in “combat” MOS. For example, by controlling passports and looking for contraband at the various checkpoints leading from Israel to the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Jordan.

The most radical idea of all is to have women serve in the armored corps. But don’t let the slim figure, narrow shoulders, slender arms, and manicured nails of the good-looking girl in the picture mislead you. Over half of a tank’s weight consist of armor, and each of the road wheels shown weighs about as much as she does. As you would expect from such a machine, operating and maintaining it—as by loading ammunition, or swabbing the barrel of the gun, or changing a link in the tracks—is very heavy, and often very dirty, work only a handful of women can do. Should a woman be included in a tank crew, then the outcome will be to increase the burden on her male comrades. Perhaps even more problematic, in the confined space of an armored vehicle privacy is not minimal—it simply does not exist.

Such a system, in other words, can only lead to one of two things or, perhaps, to both. First, there will be another increase in the number of injured, in some cases even crippled, women hobbling about. And of course in claims for compensation of the kind which, even now, amounts to fully four percent of Israel’s entire defense budget. Second, there is going to be a big rise in “sexual harassment” claims; a problem which, as I pointed out in my recent book Pussycats, is currently wrecking not only Israel’s armed forces but those of all other Western ones as well.

More women in the forces are not the cure. They are the disease, or at least part of it. Feminization will inevitably lead, by all signs has already led, to the creation of a vicious cycle. By definition, the more women enter any professional field, institution, or branch of service the fewer men will remain in it. The fewer men remain, the more its prestige and the economic rewards it can command will be compromised. The more its prestige and economic rewards it can command are compromised, the fewer men it will be attract.

This process has been documented many, many times. Often by female researchers who worry, with good reason, about the impact their own growing presence may have on the rewards they can expect in their chosen fields. The best-known cases are those of secretaries (once upon a time, practically all secretaries were male), bank-tellers, pharmacists, book-editors, bakers, psychologists, and “wealth managers.” The ongoing decline in the ability of the humanities to attract students also seems to be linked with the fact that the percentage of female faculty members is them is exceptionally high.

And which IDF combat units do not suffer from a shortage of men? You guessed it: The two elite, entirely male, infantry brigades, Golani and the paratroopers.

At War for Aleppo

For those of you who have forgotten, Syria’s civil war, which broke out in May 2011, reached Aleppo in July 2012. That was when the rebels, comprising a loose coalition of militias (at last count there were several dozens of them, some religious, others secular) entered Syria’s largest the city, estimated population three million, from the northeast. This caused it to be divided into two: an eastern part under rebel control and a western one held by government troops. That is how things remain down to the present, albeit that the militias have lost some ground and the government has gained some.

In the autumn of 2015 Russia, which up until then had been providing the Syrian Army with weapons and logistic support, joined in the fighting. Since then its combat aircraft and cruise missiles, including some of the world’s most sophisticated, have been hitting Aleppo (and other targets, but those do not concern us here) almost non-stop. In doing so they were joined by Syrian helicopters dropping their notorious barrel bombs. The total number of strikes of both kinds has been in the many hundreds, perhaps in the thousands.

helicopter-carrying-barrel-bombsThroughout the period in question, and indeed right from the beginning of the conflict, the rebels on their part did not possess a single weapon or weapon system capable of contesting their enemies’ near total command of the air. Even their anti-aircraft defenses, the kind that back in Afghanistan during the 1980s were said to have played a critical role in forcing the Soviets to concede defeat, were practically non-existent. Or else surely Assad would have had to withdraw his helicopters, which as weapons go are in many ways exceptionally vulnerable, months it not years ago. Just look at the above image!

Not only were the rebels almost totally exposed to air attack, but at no time during the five-plus years that the conflict has lasted were they united under a single command capable of formulating a coherent strategy and carrying it out. Indeed one reason why the government has been able to survive at all is because, in addition to periodically butchering each other, they also had ISIS, coming at them from across the Iraqi border, to cope with. Not to mention Syria’s Kurds many of whom saw the war as an opportunity to rid the provinces in which they live from Damascus’ rule and set up their own militias. Facing the government forces and their Russian allies, basically all the rebels in Aleppo can do is take cover and hold out.

Whenever Western armed forces lose a war in the “developing” world, as they have regularly done for the last six decades or so, there is no lack of excuses and explanations. Here I want to focus on the kind of excuse that attributes the defeats to “Western values,” or “humanitarianism,” or “democracy,” or the “media.” Briefly the factors that allegedly made the troops fight “with one (or two) hands tied behind their back” and prevented them from “kicking ass.” See the American wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Vietnam. And see so many others, specifically including the Israeli ones in Lebanon in 1982 and, to a lesser extent in 2006, as to make one lose count.

Yet none of these factors apply in Syria. Neither President Assad nor his patron Putin are Western, humanitarian, or democratic. Neither allows the media to operate freely in their respective countries so as to influence public opinion against the war, let alone interfere with military operations. Neither gives a hoot about the death and destruction their forces are inflicting on civilians; which is one reason why the latest estimates speak of half a million dead, more or less.

So why are Putin and Assad unable to recapture Aleppo, let alone the rest of the country, and how were the militias able to hold on? To use the terminology I first developed in The Transformation of War (1991), the war in Syria is a classical “nontrinitarian” one. That means that, on one side (the rebels) “government,” armed forces are not separate but thoroughly mixed so that distinguishing between them is often all but impossible. In this respect it resembles plenty of others. One characteristic that all these wars, without a single exception, had in common was that the “forces of order,” or “counterinsurgents,” or whatever they were called, had control of the air. Albeit that it was not always as absolute as it seems to be in Syria. Yet in not one of these wars did airpower on its own decide the issue, and in many cases it was unable to prevent dire defeat.

Bombing defenseless civilians in Aleppo is easy. But hitting the fighters who conceal themselves among them is very hard. To repeat, the Russian Air Force in Syria is using some of its most advanced weapons, specifically including the latest “precision-guided” munitions in its arsenal. Yet in the end those weapons too are unable to distinguish between civilians and the combatants with whom they share the same neighborhoods, the same streets, and often, the same buildings. That explains why, by some estimates, out of every hundred people killed by Russian and Syrian government forces in Aleppo only one is a militiaman.

Nor will even more bombing necessarily do the trick. As experience from Stalingrad, Monte Casino, and many other places proves, cities and buildings provide those who know how to fight in them with the best cover imaginable. Should they, the cities and the buildings, be thoroughly destroyed, then the only result will be to make them provide better cover still.

And when will America’s campaign in Afghanistan, started fourteen years ago and now conducted almost exclusively from the air against an enemy who is all but defenseless in that medium, finally end in victory?