Toward a National Strategy to Cope With a New World: Part 2

News Abroad

William R. Polk was a professor of history at the University of Chicago. During the Kennedy and part of the Johnson administrations, he was the member of the Policy Planning Council responsible for North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Among his books is "Understanding Iraq," "Violent Politics" and "Understanding Iran." This is the second of a two-part series. Click here for Part 1.

The USS America Amphibious assault ship, launched in 2012.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have proclaimed that humankind faces the ultimate fate of either eternal torment in Hell or everlasting bliss in Heaven, but they differ both in their descriptions of bliss and torment and on the reasons why individuals go to one or the other.  So it has been also with philosophers pondering our Earthy lives.  Like theologians, statesmen, strategists and philosophers have pondered and argued about the actions that impel us toward war or peace.  Also, like theologians, they have differed from the earliest times on the routes leading to each.

I won’t recapitulate those arguments.[1]   Rather, I will focus on how we can begin to think through the elements that must define a strategy to deal with the most dangerous and pressing issues of our times. 

Most of the contemporary writings on strategy I have read resemble doctors’ prescriptions – take this pill, do that action, and if it does not work try another or the same again.  Reading such often unproductive advise, I have been reminded of a parable attributed to our wise old philosopher Benjamin Franklin.  It goes like this:

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,

For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,

For the want of a horse the rider was lost,

For the want of a rider the battle was lost,

For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,

And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.

On policy, Franklin’s “horseshoe-nail” is “understanding.”  Without careful thought, leading to understanding, we leap from one fire into the next, and as we get burned, we retreat only to try the same prescription when we rush into the next crisis.

So I stress that rather than just advocating one or another action on a particular crisis, we need first to go back to basics.  We need to reexamine who we are, what we can do and what we cannot do, what we really need and how much we are willing to do to achieve our objectives, what the dangers are in not achieving them and what the dangers are in pressing too hard to achieve them.  Then I will outline the elements of a strategy to move toward peace and security.  I begin with some observations on the parameters of our nature, our skills and our culture.  The question underlying everything we do or seek to do in foreign affairs is:  who or what are “we”?

1:  Fundamental Human Traits

History – and indeed what we know of prehistory all the way back to our animal background – shows us that getting along even with close kindred has always been a temporary arrangement.  Groups of social animals and primitive mankind were always small.  Societies were partially defined by the resources they could access with their technology; when they grew too numerous or developed hostilities toward one another, they split into separate bands and moved apart.  Then, they soon came to regard one another as alien. In this way our planet was settled. 

When we begin to have rudimentary records, as in Archaic Greece around 1000 BC, we can document this process.  The Greek cities spawned colonies throughout the Mediterranean.  That process was already common in Africa and Asia far earlier.  Linguistically and genetically, we can track the vast spread of Dravidian, Indo-European, Semitic and Turkic peoples from thousands of years before. 

The process of continuous alienation has shaped the world in which today we must live:  clans gave rise to tribes; then to cultural and ethnic groups that coalesced into town and cities and in recent centuries merged into nations, of which in our times many have been hammered into states.    

However much we try, as indeed we must if we are to survive, to assert our common humanity, we find that it is a far more abstract concept than difference and the stimulus to achieve consensus in the human race is weaker than our determination to protect our individual group.  Depending on circumstances, this determination manifests itself in fleeing or fighting.  Underlying both is the sense of difference. Becoming alien is the underlying theme of our experience.  To deny this is unrealistic; to succumb to it may be fatal.  So how can we begin to think through this paradox?  I argue that we must begin by understanding what motivates us.

History teaches us that there are several traits or propensities that, under different labels, can be found in all societies, cultures and regimes, everywhere and in all eras.  Formed over millions of years, they are what distinguish us as human beings.  Jung called them our “collective unconscious.”  That is, they are virtually “hard wired” into our brains and are largely impervious to our conscious thought.  We neglect them at our peril.

The first trait or propensity is the imperative  to struggle against the perception of attacks on what Freud called our Ego.  By Ego he meant the core of the person’s psychological existence.  Protecting it is the ultimate form of self-defense.  

Long before Freud gave it a name, the British had found a way to use Ego in one of the few successful programs of counterinsurgency ever put into effect.  Having finally defeated the Scots at the Battle of Colloden in 1745 and the first of the Indian states in the Battle of Plassey in 1773, the British catered to and even enhanced the sense of dignity of the defeated.  They invented a tradition, manifested in the Scottish tartans and the uniforms they gave to the Indian “martial races,” converting them from defeated enemies into proud upholders of their empire.[2]  They later dressed the bedouins of the Syrian desert in a distinctive uniform and sharpening their sense of pride.  Instead of defeated enemies, they became Britain’s Desert Legion.

What the British hit upon was the insight that unless they are totally crushed --  and so depersonalized -- people are prepared to die resisting rather than to surrender their intrinsic being, their pride as human beings.  Defeated people have often accepted the theft of their physical assets, even their food and their shelter, but attacks on their “persona” or sense of dignity have nearly always provoked deep and abiding anger.  Indeed, even crushed, they or their progeny return to the struggle as the history of guerrilla wars amplifies.[3]

If this is so, how is it that so many peoples have so often submitted to tyranny?  Approached with this question in mind, history offers an answer.  While there is considerable variation both in the forms despotism takes and in the willingness of people to tolerate it, I see a pattern: when the difference in wealth, power and status between the weak and the strong appears to be narrow, resistance is often intense and continuous.  When the difference appears to be wide, resistance is usually only sporadic and mild.  Thus, the son can accept the authority of the father with less damage to his ego than the dominance of the brother.  So in the ancient world rulers referred to their overlords, the “kings of kings,” as fathers but to one another as brothers.  Serfs bowed to lords.  Weaker or more primitive ethnic groups or races accepted the rule of the better organized and more militant.  The poor served the rich.

It follows, I suggest, that because the gap between power and powerlessness has narrowed in our times, those peoples who have become relatively less weak have come to feel more acutely insults to their views of themselves.  Thus, actions that were once tolerated more often lead to conflict.  We can see this clearly in the process of decolonization and the end of imperialism in Africa and Asia.  People whose fathers and grandfathers submitted to foreign domination began to assert themselves in ways their ancestors rarely attempted.   Even where foreign rulers have replaced themselves with native “proxies,” the proxies are often hated and sometimes resisted.  Today, formerly subject peoples are in turmoil almost everywhere.

Despite lesson after lesson in Vietnam, Algeria, the Congo, South Africa, and many other conflicts, the strong have a harder time understanding this transformation than the weak.   A part of our troubles today is that we have not grasped this fundamental understanding.  Instead, we have become so addicted to the  elaborate pseudo-scientific politico-military studies poured out by our “think tanks” that we cannot see Franklin’s “horseshoe-nail.”

A second trait we can identify is mutability.  From the beginnings of our species, humans were experimenters.  They had to be.  Those who did not adapt did not survive.  Many of our “cousins” -- not just the Neanderthals --  hit dead ends.. Fortunately for us, our ancestors, the homo sapiens,  “evolved.”  Their adaptations – not all of which represented “progress” -- took place over tens of thousands of years.  Evolving became a trait of our species.  In our times, the pace of change has speeded astonishingly.  What was a dream – or a nightmare – barely a generation ago is today the norm.

Ability to change is of enormous importance to the way we relate to other societies and cultures: given time and opportunity, they (and we) can adjust.  In adjusting we tend to grow more alike.  “Convergence” was a “politically incorrect” term when broached in the 1950s and 1960s, but can anyone today avoid admitting its reality after visiting China, Vietnam or even Cambodia?

Clearly, however, convergence, evolution or adaptation do not happen in all circumstances. The retrograde and inward-seeking actions in the more extreme of the salafiyah[4] movements among Muslims show its limits.

Actions of the more extreme Muslims today are shocking, but what we are seeing is just the latest stage in a long sequence. Think of today’s Muslims in terms of our own history:  in Sixteenth century Europe, Catholics and Protestants regarded one another as agents of the Devil, rebelling against God.  As they fought one another, leaderships of each faction went to the most violent who led their adherents into genocidal wars abroad and domestically into vicious persecution of heretics.  Their actions were as brutal as anything we see today.  Yet, over time, and as wars became less continuous, people began to return to the chores of “daily life.”  They did not necessarily come to love one another, but they became less inclined to torture and kill one another.

How does this relate to our time?  What we see is that societies that believe themselves to be the most embattled are the less willing or able to change.  The more they feel themselves under attack, the more they turn inward and revert to what may be not an actual but an imagined past, in which they believe they were more secure.  Where our policy is to change them, we often fail.   Our failures have been spectacularly costly. 

But we have seen some “evolutionary successes.”  How can we explain what caused successes and failures?

The great simplifier  and story teller, Æsop,  offered an explanation.  In his fable of the argument between Sun and Storm over their relative power,  he tells us that they agreed on a contest:  which could force a man to change at least his clothing.   Storm came first.  He hurled gales against the man.  But the harder the wind raged, the tighter the man wrapped himself in his cloak.   Storm  failed.  Then, when Sun took over, he warmed the man.  Quickly, the man decided that in his own interest, he should take off the wrapper  that protected but also inhibited him.   The moral of the story is that the harder outsiders attack, the more the natives wrap themselves in their “cloaks.”  One of the Taliban leaders unknowingly translated Æsop for me when I asked him about the unattractive Afghan practice of segregation of women, saying "how can you expect us to reconsider our customs when we are under attack?"   Evolution can be delayed or stopped by threat or violence, but experience shows us that it happens naturally when not attacked by “Storm.”

Another common characteristic is intimacy in our attitude toward suffering and death.   Having been conditioned by the legacy of living generation after generation for millions of years in small communities of kinsmen, human beings even today relate intensely to a misfortune in the family, somewhat less intensely to the suffering or death of neighbors and hardly at all to mass exterminations of distant peoples.   

This is of evident importance in evaluating counterinsurgency.  A recently released CIA paper[5] evaluated “targeting operations.” For those who don’t read governmentalese,  “targeting operations” are what the Mafia calls “hits.” While asserting that assassinations may result in “eroding insurgent effectiveness,” the CIA admits that they may also result in “strengthening of an armed group’s bond with the population.”   

The CIA evaluation did not address the issue of “collateral damage,” but observers have often done so.  It appears that when families suffer the death of members, they are less likely to forgive and forget than to hate and retaliate on the attacker.   In the previous essay, I have cited evidence that drone attacks and Special Forces “targeting operations” in Afghanistan and Pakistan have resulted in an increase in attacks on American troops.  The “pacification” that counterinsurgency advocates claim is precisely what did not happen; rather anger intensified and desire for revenge grew.   Such activities are  not only self-defeating but also are self-propagating: strikes breed revenge which justify further strikes.  War becomes unending.

There is a separate aspect of intimacy in the attitude toward causing harm or death to others that affects the doer.  This is the ultimate “collateral damage” of warfare.  It endangers the whole society of the warring state.  While not often discussed, it is of literally vital importance to America, which today has nearly 22 million veterans.[6]  It must be understood.

The closer the victim and the perpetrator are, the more intense is the experience.   A pilot who can drop a napalm bomb on a village with little or no remorse would be appalled if he were ordered to pour napalm or phosphorous onto the body of  a nearby person.   So to avoid or lessen the psychological cost to soldiers, we attempt to increase the distance between them and those they maim or kill.  Among the methods are euphemisms (like “surgical strike”) and various mechanisms (notably the drone).  But these evasions do not protect the vast majority of combatants.  Mental health statistics among returning veterans indicate that subterfuges have not worked.   Even against armed and determined enemies, soldiers are often overwhelmed by remorse for their actions.  Against the defenseless, the damage is greater.  Their actions have corroded their sense of themselves as decent human beings.   In 2011, more than 1.3 million returning soldiers were receiving mental health treatment.[7]

The cost of this “ “collateral damage” has yet to be fully realized, but the increase in depression, anomie, inability to readjust, violence and suicide warn that it will be significant and long-lasting.  From the campaigns in Iraq, and just counting only those veterans who sought help from the Veterans Administration, nearly 1 in 6 had “affective psychosis;” 1 in 4, “depressive disorders;”  1 in 3, “post traumatic  stress disorder;” and  their suicide rate was double the national average  They total over one million.[8]

Separate from consideration of what soldiers are ordered or allowed to do in combat, the violation of the inhibition to harm or kill another person,  face-to-face,  is what makes torture so repugnant and, ultimately, so destructive of human values.

2:  Self Images and Images of the Other

In traditional societies, it does not appear that much attention was paid to the elaboration of a self-image.  Custom was assumed to be normal, right and proper.  This attitude is summed up in the Arabic expression, ma’ruf,  “that which is known.” What is done or thought is what should be done or thought.   This is an attitude almost everyone has now largely lost.  In our age of rapid change, people everywhere have become less sure about what is normal, right and proper.  Anxiety has made whole societies compensate by becoming more protective.  Our self-image becomes a shield to protect our Persona. We are often baffled – and indeed angered -- when we perceive that other people do not credit our self-image.

Look first at the image we Americans see in our mirror.  Our mirror, like the one in the fairy tale of Snow White, shows us “who is the fairest of all.”  We see ourselves.  We seek peace and well-being for all peoples; we help them with generous aid to uplift them from poverty; we rush to assuage their pains after wars and natural catastrophes, we “build” nations, topple tyrannies, spread democracy and uphold the rule of law.[9] 

If others do not see these virtues, they must be myopic, jealous or simply hateful.  To us, it is increasingly disturbing that numbers of other peoples apparently do not see the image we see in our mirror. 

Worse, we are aware that their numbers are increasing.  As I have pointed out elsewhere, when as a young man I traveled throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia, I was everywhere warmly welcomed.  Today I would risk being shot – or perhaps have my head chopped off -- in many of the same places.  This is distressing for me personally and should be alarming for our nation. Ultimately, it may “blowback” against our national security.  We need realistically to examine it rather than pretending that it is simply wrong.  So what has happened?

Look back at earlier times.  We know that generous aid was given by Americans to peoples all over the world in the Nineteenth century.  Most of it came through Church groups, most successfully by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which founded schools and hospitals over much of Africa and Asia. The Commissioners hoped that what they did would cause the recipients to convert to Christianity.  Their activities were supplemented during the First World War by the government-funded but privately-administered Near East Relief Society.  Other non-governmental organizations followed and spread across Asia and Africa.  Notable among them was the Rockefeller Foundation in China.  

The aim of these groups, both religious and secular, was to share America’s good fortune; inevitably, however, their activities created what amounted to love for America and gratitude toward Americans. 

The effect on the American image abroad and on American foreign relations was dramatic:  when President Woodrow Wilson set about his “crusade” for a new world, he was greeted not as the head of a state but as a figure unknown in international affairs, a messiah.  People everywhere virtually worshipped him, but Americans themselves did not support what he was trying to achieve.  They withdrew into their domestic pursuits, first into the fun and frenzy of “Roaring Twenties” and then into the misery and anger of the Depression of the 1930s.  American concern for the world bottomed out.

The Second World War changed all that.  Americans realized that they could not withdraw from the world.  So, in one aspect of their new concern, Americans did what no other victor had ever done:  in the generous and far-sighted Marshall Plan they helped the defeated to rebuild.  

Of course, like the programs of the early missionaries, this action had an ulterior motive.  It aimed to save the Europeans, including defeated Germany, from Russian dominance and Communism.  Subsequent aid programs were sold to the American public by specifically proclaiming these aims.   In practical terms, each administration  including the two I served, realized that they could not get Congressional funding unless the funds were justified as part of our military security program.    Since the recipients understood our objectives, they took the aid we gave but were less grateful for it than their fathers and grandfathers had been for private aid.  Our self-image and other peoples’ perception of us began to diverge.

At least in part, the transformation of America’s image abroad was not unhealthy:  the idea that America was not a state but a humanitarian organization had created expectations that no government could fulfill.[10]  We like to emphasize the continuation of the positive role of non-governmental America but there was also a dark heritage: It was most obvious where America’s involvement abroad was governmental.  

We have tended to see our overseas ventures still as “the fairest of all.” But,  as they became more militaristic, the image became more blurred.  There were many small actions, particularly in Latin America, but consider here the first major overseas war, our 1899-1902 conquest of the Philippines.  What did we see in our “mirror?” What should we have seen?   What did others see?  What really happened?  It is worth pondering these questions because what happened in the Philippines was echoed in other wars down to the present day.  Consider these points:  

The Philippine campaign was America’s first large-scale imperialistic war, but, as we saw it, America started out to liberate the Philippines from the brutal, exploitive tyranny of the previous colonial power, Spain, against which the Filipinos had been struggling for independence.  We disavowed any selfish interest.  President William McKinley announced that American policy was Philippine independence and publicly proclaimed that “forcible annexation [like other imperialist nations were doing elsewhere would be] criminal aggression.” The Filipino insurgents were delighted and grateful.   So, when the American fleet defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila bay in 1898, they proclaimed a republic and  welcomed the incoming American troops as “redeemers.”

It was not long, however, before relations soured.  American officials on the spot regarded the Filipinos, as Rudyard Kipling memorably put it in explaining the “White Man’s Burden,” to be “Half-devil and half-child.” Did they deserve to be free?  Could they manage freedom? And, more concretely, who  was entitled to the fruits of victory?  Keeping the Philippines was tempting but was it “right?” 

McKinley sought guidance.  As he wrote, he  “went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance.”  God replied, he said, “…take them all.”  So he dropped America’s Filipino would-be friends and allies and worked out a deal with Spain.  He “bought” the Philippines for $20 million.

The provisional government was, of course, furious. The commander of the American troops warned that the majority of the people “will regard us with intense hatred…” He was right.  “Blowback” came when an American soldier killed a Filipino soldier.  That was the beginning of the Philippine “insurrection.” “Incident” followed terrorist attack following massacre.

How to “pacify” the country was the urgent question.  An answer had already been offered just before the war by one of the most influential advocates of what came to be called counterinsurgency, the English officer Charles E. Callwell.[11]  He recommended the use of “flying columns” (the ancestors of Special Forces)  “to strike at once on sign of trouble…[forcing] the enemy to fight…by depriving [the supporters of the insurgents] of their belongings and burning their dwellings.”  The American troops  soon implemented  his advice by destroying dozens of villages. 

The American soldiers, most of whom were Middle Western farmers who had joined the National Guard, knew nothing of the country.  A contemporary humorist scoffed that the average American had not known “whether the Philippines were islands or canned goods…” They just wanted to go home.  So, when attacked by people they did not understand, they became fearful and angry.  They quickly adopted Callwell’s advice, burning villages and torturing captives[12] and insulted the Filipinos, calling them “niggers” or “gubus.”  On their side, not having modern weapons or military training, they fell back on “the weapons of the weak,” terrorism and guerrilla warfare. By 1900 America had 150,000 soldiers in the Philippines.  In the next two years they suffered 6,000 casualties.  Americans killed tens of thousands of Filipinos.  Fighting between the American army and the insurgents was as bitter as the wars of extermination against the Native Americans.

We have never been prepared to accept the harsh reality of intervention and counterinsurgency.  We were sure that we went into the Philippines with the very best of intentions – to bring democracy and modern habits to a backward people.  In other wars, as in Vietnam, we proclaimed that we intervened legally at the request of a constituted government to protect it against foreign subversion or invasion.  Where we did not have an invitation, as in Iraq, we invaded to destroy an ugly tyranny.  In our eyes, these ventures, however we justified them and however much they destroyed, were a necessary component of America’s role in bettering the world.         

In the eyes of many non-Americans, to the contrary, our actions were neither necessary nor welcome.  Constantly repeated surveys of opinion show that many peoples have come to regard us as brutal, avaricious and destructive. Public opinion rating, the index so beloved by politicians, plummeted.

But, one is entitled to ask, whether or not this change of attitude is documented, is it justified?  After all, America is a great power and most of us believe that we should be judged in that scale.  What we have done was done by other imperial powers from the earliest days of recorded history. What we have done is simply what great powers do.  Is realpolitik  not justification enough? 

Despite what “realists,” neoconservatives and undisguised imperialists[13] say, the answer is “no.”

It is “no” because acting with such disregard of our principles violates our sense of who and what we are.  Also, as we have seen in our application of it, it is self-defeating.  And even in selfish terms, the costs of war prevent us from doing what we could do to make our own lives more secure and bountiful.   True, we have often not been guided by consideration of our own ideals or even of our own best interests, but they are the best markers toward  a livable future we have.  Consider our heritage:

From the earliest days of colonial settlement we proudly proclaimed that we were different.  John Winthrop told our ancestors that we were a “city upon a hill” not only announcing but even illustrating a new way of life for all mankind.  In today’s phrase, he claimed we were  “exceptional.”  We were not like other people and did not practice their sins. Thus, we set for ourselves and for everyone a new standard.  This line of thought deeply affected the men who wrote the American Constitution and underlay President Wilson’s great crusade. 

However, also from the earliest days, we often fell short of our proclaimed self-image. Governor Winthrop ordered the enslavement or slaughter of the neighboring native Americans; our Founding Fathers, both southerners and northerners, practiced slavery and, while proclaiming a new world of liberty, President Wilson tyrannized Mexico.    In short, we proved to be much like the Old World while thinking of ourselves as guides to the New World.  But, imperfect has our record been, the loss of aspiration would endanger our own freedom and for world security that might be catastrophic.

We see the dilemmas posed by the contrast between ideal and reality in the way we have dealt with what has been often set out as a basic American belief -- what has been called “the ancient right to be left alone.”            

Throughout history, the right to be left alone has been far more often proclaimed than observed.[14]   In the Twentieth century, the list of violations is long and ranges from Russia and all the European states to China and all the Asian states. Among the invaders have been England, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and the United States.  Britain holds the lead in the “Third World” and Germany is outstanding in Europe.  Many Americans are surprised to learn how often the United States has invaded other countries.  As I pointed out in the previous essay, Americans have carried out hundreds of military actions in other countries over the course of our history and in just the last 25 years have engaged in an average of six a year.[15]

To Americans, such statistics mean something different from what they mean to others.  Leave aside such issues as legality, nationalism and purpose and consider only war itself.  The last time Americans personally suffered its reality – the destruction, the hunger, the draining fear – was the Civil War in the 1860s.     So when we read that we were complicit in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan in the deaths of hundreds of thousands,  uncounted injured and the “stunting” of a whole generation of children, they are just statistics.  We cannot emotionally relate to them.  Many other peoples, of course, do relate to them. For some, the memories are fresh, intimate and painful.   

Others have “deep memories”[16] we do not share: so, for example, an aspect of the Russian attitude toward American involvement in the Ukraine evokes for them memories of the German invasions while the Chinese attitude toward the rearming of Japan conjures the Japanese “rape of Nanking.”  These episodes, like Jewish memories of the Holocaust, remain vivid and personal and are constantly reinforced.

Realpolitik, unrestrained by aspiration toward ideals, fostered these tragic events.  Would aspirations toward law, morality and humanism have prevented them?  We cannot be sure, but it seems likely that they would have mitigated the damage.  I argue that the chances would have been better with a deeper understanding.  Regard the nature of recent “wars of national liberation.”

While “wars of national liberation” against colonialism and/or imperialism — particularly in IndoChina/Vietnam and Algeria –-have become parts of the self-images of these peoples., we have tended to regard them as aspects of the Cold War.

Our fixation on the Cold War has also skewed our view of political events in Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Greece, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Indonesia and elsewhere. Instead of trying to achieve an understanding of domestically inspired reform movements, we have often allowed ourselves to be led by slogans, catchwords and superficial analogies.  One of these, the so-called Domino Theory, has been particularly pernicious.  We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars and have engaged in dangerous ventures because of its vogue among statesmen and strategists.  The Domino Theory predicted the collapse of state after state as a result of  the “push” of Soviet power.  In Europe, Greece, Italy and France would tumble and in Asia, Burma, Thailand and even India would be knocked down.  Of course, none of these things happened or were ever likely to happen, but the clever image set the parameters of much of our policy for the last half-century.  However farfetched, events have shown the domino image and other substitutes for thought and understanding to be they are still partly guiding us.

Guiding us, moreover, often into activities that have cost not only the lives of tens of thousands of young Americans and trillions of dollars but also what has been perhaps our greatest national asset, the respect in which others have held us.

Central is the ultimate violation of the “ancient right to be left alone,” which the Founding Fathers so valued,  in the practices of espionage, assassination and torture. 

Despite scattered use of “dirty tricks,” America has no deep tradition of espionage.  It is one of the legacies of the Second World War.  We became enthralled by what we thought the British were successfully doing outsides the bounds of diplomacy and war.  Actually, we now know that what they were doing was of little benefit to their policies and sometimes produced disasters.[17]   But, it then seemed to us enormously exciting, and our newly formed CIA avidly followed the trail of their British instructors.[18]

So, when the British government sent one of their senior “espionagists” to Washington in 1952, he had no trouble in convincing Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his bother Allen, then head of the CIA, to undertake an operation to overthrow the elected government of Iran.[19]   To us, at the time, the coup we organized appeared a great success – the pro-American government of the Shah was restored and a new deal securing the flow of  oil to the West was worked out -- but to the Iranians the overthrow of their first elected government was the cause of great and lasting bitterness.  Indeed, we may take the coup as the beginning of the process that lies at the heart of the Middle Eastern crisis today.  The price of this piece of espionage is still being paid --  and being paid for by damage to American interests not only in the Middle East. 

The short-term success of the CIA coup convinced the American government to engage in many other escapades throughout the world.[20]   Some of these also appeared to be successes, but a close examination reveals almost uniform losses over the span of several years to America and disasters for targeted peoples.  

When such covert actions resulted in the overthrow of leaders, they often left behind a sullen bitterness[21] even among those who hated the former regime; when they resulted in the imposition of a client regime they merely attenuated the issue they were said to have solved;[22] and, when applied in conjunction with military force,[23] they resulted in the destruction of the state institutions.  Then they led to chaos and frequently to civil war. Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya spring to mind.

More bitter and uglier are the results of engagement in assassination as acts of state.[24]  In the Vietnamese war, the CIA carried out a program known as “Phoenix” under which American intelligence agents and assigned soldiers killed at least 20,000 civilians who were suspected of being agents or sympathizers of the Viet Minh.  The first head of the program, Robert Komer, set a quota of 3,000 a month.  Taking the quota as an opportunity, Vietnamese informants settled old scores by denouncing or “selling” their rivals and enemies and enriched themselves by demanding bribes to protect others.[25]

Similar programs under different names have been employed by America in later wars.  At the present time, the “Special Forces” known as SEALs (an acronym for Sea, Air and Land forces) and CIA contingents are carrying out a clone of  Phoenix  now called the Omega Program.  According to detailed research by reporters from The New York Times,[26] the main operative group, known as Seal Team 6 has become a “global manhunting machine” composed of about 300 assault troops and 1,500 intelligence, aircraft, weapons procurement and other support forces. Segregated from the regular army, forming indeed a secret army within the regular army,  SEALs operate outside the chain of command and virtually beyond supervision or control.  Indeed, according to The New York Times when their commander, a Navy admiral, attempted to control their activities, they rebelled and drove him out of his command.  According to the US Special Operations Command, SEALs “have been involved in tens of thousands of missions and operations in multiple geographic theaters..”    Their most highly publicized mission was the assassination of Osama bin Laden.[27]

Notably even Afghan former President Hamid Karzai “became a bitter critic of the United states Special Operations troops, complaining that they routinely killed civilians in their raids.  He viewed the activities of Team 6 and other units as a boon for Taliban recruiting and eventually tried to block night raids…” In these raids, according to the report, the team members made “life-or-death decisions in dark rooms with few witnesses…[using] weapons with suppressors to quietly kill enemies as they slept…”              

The cost to America of the activities of clandestine killers is hard to judge.  One cost was identified by President Karzai -- alienation of the people we claimed to protect by murdering their relatives.   Another has been the effect on some of our allies who believe we are acting outside constraints of law and in violation of civilized morals.  Our British allies in Afghanistan frequently spoke of their aversion of our activities.  Then there are dangers like the one mentioned when the SEALs drove out their commanding officer.  To me, that raised memories of the French Secret Army Organization, the “Praetorians,” who attempted to kill President Charles de Gaulle, threatened to bomb Paris and nearly overthrew the French government.  Paratroopers, they too were the elite of an army.  Even short of attempting such violent acts against the state, what will be the legacy men who routinely murder others?  What will they bring back home?  In some recent events, we have seen warning signs.

Frankly,  to me the question of whether or not assassination “works” is nearly irrelevant.[28]  No matter how it is calculated, the cost to us – in terms of human lives, money, law, civilized living and political morality -- is simply too high.  However, because some argue that it is useful, please judge the results under these five headings:

As I have noted, on-the-ground studies (which would normally be called “after combat reports”) show that assassinations by drone and midnight raids by SEAL Team 6 and other groups increase rather than lower hostilities. Since their aim is “pacification,” their action is obviously self-defeating.  That is the first point. 

The second reason why assassination is self-defeating is harder to document but is, I believe, evident and logical:  our drones and hit squads aim to kill identified insurgent leaders.  They, by definition, are the more senior and experienced people.  Since we know that killing them does not stop insurgency, we are faced with the fact that they are replaced.  And those who replace them, also by definition, are less experienced and presumably younger.   By the logic of politics within any movement, the younger, newer leaders will be driven to prove their right to leadership by taking initiatives that are even bolder than those of their predecessors.  Thus, the result of killing the older leaders, the so-called “kingpin” tactic,[29] is likely to increase rather than dampen violence.    There is growing evidence that this is what happened. 

The third reason why assassination is self-defeating is that since, ultimately, peace must be made with insurgents, experienced leaders are, ironically, “assets.”   We can see this in two examples.  In Kenya, the British hanged over a thousand Kikuyu tribesmen (the main supporters of the Mau Mau insurgents) and in Algeria the French executed at least half that many, but both colonial governments were smart enough to keep alive the men who alone could end the insurgency, the leaders, Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya and Ahmad ben Bella in Algeria. 

The fourth reason why assassination is self-defeating is that when central leadership is shattered, insurgency metastasizes.  Since the splinter groups will be motivated by the same issues that caused the original group to be formed, they are unlikely to wither and die; more likely is that they will continue under local leaders and attract new adherents by their espousal of local issues.  The Russians saw this in Afghanistan.  So did we.  We are seeing it now in Syria, Yemen and Libya.[30]  Al-Qaida, as one of the senior American officers in the Middle East commented, “is now everywhere.”

There is a fifth reason that seems almost trivial in comparison to the others:  it is that murdering foreign leaders and insurgent commanders is difficult to do.   We tried for years to kill Fidel Castro.  Despite dedicating much of the work of our 17 intelligence agencies to the pursuit and killing of Osama bin Laden,  at the cost of billions of dollars, it was really only by luck – not by sophisticated intelligence -- that they succeeded. [31]               

Having discussed espionage and assassination, I will here only briefly mention torture as the third aspect of violation of the “right to be left alone.”   Torture as a French commentator wrote about the French practice of it in the Algerian war is  “the cancer of the nation.”   Use of it there caused the government to violate the “social contract” that formed the French republic.  Tactically for the short term and in the military aspects of the war, torture was initially judged to be successful; strategically and in the political aspects of the war, it was a disaster.  Use of it disgusted the French public, tore the army apart and almost caused a civil war,  Incidentally, it led to  the permanent loss of Algeria to France which, after all, was the French objective.[32] 

Revulsion against torture has come more slowly in America.   Public outrage is both limited in numbers and less effective in action. It has not moved either the Bush or the Obama administrations.  Despite repeated statements to the contrary by President Obama, his  administration has continued many of the practices of the Bush administration.[33]  And to judge by statements, neither an incoming Democratic nor a Republican administration would be unlikely to change course.

3:  Ideological and Religious Conflict

The history of religious wars in Europe, Africa and Asia demonstrate that they are vicious and long-lasting.  Both sides tend to believe that they have a “mandate” from God.   The great Nineteenth century French student of war Antoine-Henri Jomini wrote,[34] that what he called “wars of opinion” “enlist the worst passions [and] become vindictive, cruel and terrible…since the invading force not only is met by the armies of the enemy, but is exposed to the attacks of an exasperated people…” Attacks and reprisal without restraint are inevitable.  

 “Crusade” was the word adopted by President Bush to explain American action in Iraq.  The Crusades. were not, of course, American wars; nor, except for the Philippines were the later European imperial and colonial wars.  But, in the eyes of the victims, we have been guilty by association.  Our image in the “brown skin world” is affected by the activities of white Europeans.  During the Vietnam conflict,  studies made by the Defense Department  showed that the natives regarded Americans as just another species of the French imperialists and, as I have mentioned, the Filipinos thought of our soldiers as another variety of Spanish conquistadores.

Because European and American actions affect almost all colonial peoples and are often vividly remembered, they shape part of matrix in which we must operate in our foreign policy in the “Third World.”  Even if we did not otherwise know this, we could see by events today that these actions have particularly affected Muslims.

In campaign after campaign, European Christians fought Spanish, North African, Middle Eastern, Balkan and Central Asian Muslims.[35]  The campaigns of what we think of as the Crusadeslasted 176 years -- from 1096 to 1272 -- but, in reality, wars between Christians and Muslims began hundreds of years earlier in 636 AD and have continued intermittently to the present day.

To create their empire in Asia, Russian Tsars since Ivan the Terrible crushed kingdom after Muslim kingdom; meanwhile in India, Britain destroyed the great Mughal Empire. The British war against the Sudanese Mahdiyah in the last part of the Nineteenth century  and the Italian war against the Libyan Sanusiah from 1911 to the Second World War were combinations of religious, nationalist, colonial and imperialist ventures.[36]  Britain fought Muslims along the “Northwest Frontier” for generations, and when faced with war in its newly proclaimed Mandate of Iraq in the 1920s, bombarded Muslim tribesmen with poison gas.  The Dutch fought war after war with the peoples of Indonesia in the four centuries of their dominance. The French conquered North, West and Central Africa, killing millions of Muslims and destroying their societies.  Meanwhile, the Belgians killed between 10 and 15 million people – about twice the number of Jews killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust -- engaged in systematic rape, cut off the hands or feet of unproductive natives and stripped the country of its raw materials.[37]

While largely unnoticed for centuries, the American role in the slave trade that bought millions of Africans to America is now being rediscovered.  No one knows much about the enslaved peoples, but certainly a large portion of them were Muslims.

In short, Muslim experience mainly with Europeans but also to a lesser extent with Americans has been a key element in their attitude toward the  white, Christian “North.”  Memory of it is a cause in the growth of Muslim hostility today in such movements as the Taliban, al-Qaida, various movements of Salafiyah and more recently, the Islamic State.  I believe that Muslim memory will play an important role in international affairs far into the future.[38]

                  The most painful and destructive aspect of the North-South, partly Christian-Muslim and partly imperial-colonial hostility has been and continues to be guerrilla warfare and the attempt to suppress it with counterinsurgency.[39]  The essence of this struggle was captured in a Kenyan parable about the war of the flea and the lion.[40]  It goes like this:

The flea bites.

The lion swats.

He kills one or two.

The rest run away

And with their cousins.

Come back to bite another day.

Lions don’t defeat fleas.  Despite their power, armies don’t defeat guerrillas.[41] But, the difference between “lions” and “fleas” goes far to explain the tactics and bitterness of counterinsurgency: since the “lion” can swat; the “flea” must become a guerrilla.  As such, he  is not treated as a “soldier” under the more or less established laws of war.[42]  He knows that if he is captured, he is likely to be tortured (for information) or simply shot.  He does not wear a uniform.  He hides among his people.  Usually outnumbered and ill equipped, he fights “to the knife.”

Engaging him on his home ground is costly.  Usually it is not popular with the counterinsurgents’ countrymen.  They do not care enough about the issues involved to tolerate casualties, so counterinsurgency often depends on mercenaries.  No one much cares if they are wounded or killed.  As the Greco-Roman writer Plutarch commented, when a mercenary died, “the loss was borne by other nations;” so, throughout history, states found them cheap and useful.  In the Seventeenth century religious wars in Europe about one in four soldiers was a mercenary.  In Afghanistan in 2013 the 108,000 “private contractors” America employed were almost double the number of regular soldiers. Even American generals and the Afghan president were guarded by mercenaries.  Supplying them became a $100 billion/yearly business.[43] 

And even when mercenaries were not involved, nations have often employed more expendable, politically less sensitive people:  in Afghanistan the Soviet Union used more or its Central Asian (Muslim)  citizens than Russians; in both Afghanistan and Iraq a large portion of the American troops were poor whites, Blacks or foreigners who were enlisted with the offer of bounties or citizenship.   In these various ways, unpopular wars were denationalized among the invaders while they were hyper-nationalized among the insurgents.

In addition to the destruction of the physical infrastructure of a country, which is common in all wars, is the destruction of intangible social and governmental institutions in what is euphemistically called “regime change.”

During “regime change,” institutions that took decades or even generations to build collapse.  As schools and hospitals cease to operate, police abandon their posts, electrical power and clean water are no longer provided, courts close, jail warders run for their lives and the population flees.

In Europe in 1943-1945, over half a million displaced persons (“DPs”) flooded out of combat zones while from 1947 about 800,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and in British India during “Partition,” millions of Muslims and Hindus fled. As long as there is war, there will be refugees. There is no light at the end of this tunnel.[44]

Since guerrilla wars are fought without “fronts” and spill over into hamlets, villages, towns and cities, chaos is inevitable.  In the Middle East today, particularly in Libya which is an accepted route to Europe, hundreds of thousands of refugees are desperately trying to reach safety. Following the destruction of Muammar Qaddafi's regime (and his murder) in 2011 warring militias have torn the country apart, murdered countless Libyans and created a virtual “no man’s land.”  There, what amounts to a slave trade in refugees flourishes.  More than 170,000 people in 2013 and, almost 200,000 in 2014 made their ways in appalling conditions through Libya toward Europe. Thousands did not make it.   Now European countries are trying to stem the tide of those who survive.[45]  From Italy,  the “choke point” of the refugee flow into Europe, the exasperated Prime Minister “made it clear that the fault [for the human tragedy] lies with the foreign powers, including the U.S., that had helped overthrow Gaddafi. He said that ‘If you…remove a dictator – you must think about…what institutional structures will remain.’”[46]  No one thought and no institutional structures remained.

In recent years, the United States has intervened militarily and often tried to “regime change” such countries as Guatemala (1954, 1966 and 1972); Lebanon (1958); South Vietnam (the 1960s); Republic of the Congo (1967); Nicaragua (1978 and 1982); Grenada (1983); Panama (1989); Iraq (1991 and 2003-present); Bosnia (1992-1995); Somalia (1993); Afghanistan (2001-present) and 20 other countries.[47]  However much these conflicts have differed, they uniformly point to the simple fact that we live in a multicultural world. Violating their “persona,” national awareness or self-image often leads to perpetual warfare.

Perpetual warfare is also encouraged by the “sale” (which usually amounts to a free gift) of military equipment.  This policy is favored not only by America but by the governments of Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Israel[48] to win influence.

Provision of arms has two particularly pernicious effects: first, it encourages international conflict[49] and, second, it upsets the balance between civic institutions and security forces in both the recipient and the provider countries.  In America, it has created what President Eisenhower warned against – the military-industrial complex – and the tendency toward militarism that our Founding Fathers struggled so hard to protect America from.  To promote their interests, weapons manufacturing companies lobby and fund election campaigns of members of the Legislature.[50]  As President Eisenhower warned, the military-industrial complex represents a significant danger to our democracy.  It creates a conflict of interest among the men we entrust to protect our national interests.  It encourages corruption – the virtual selling of votes in the Congress, improper dealings by military and civilian officers in the Defense Department and even disloyalty among our officials.[51]  In sum, it amounts to an infection of our body politic.

Provision of arms to shaky governments often equips the insurgents.  In Vietnam, for example, the village defense militias sold both arms and ammunition to the Viet Cong[52] and in Syria, Iraq and Yemen today, arms we and others have supplied to the governments have often been seized by the insurgents.   So what is given to “A” ends up in the hands of the whole “alphabet.”  Even children sport the AK-47 or the M-16.  It is our bombs and shells that are turned into “improvised explosive devices” and our tanks and artillery that besiege the cities and government posts in Iraq today.

Not only does the supply of arms endanger peace and civil government abroad and endanger democracy domestically, but the huge costs involved have often led to our putting aside what our own people need. As I have quoted in the previous essay, in his Farewell Address President Eisenhower pointed to the costs of military ventures in terms of schools, hospitals and even paved roads. 

Just to take one war, Afghanistan, on which we have spent $1 trillion,  the “real” costs are to be measured, among other things, in not repairing the thousands of dilapidated bridges over our rivers, in not replacing aging hospitals and in not providing public educational facilities.[53]

Arms manufacturing and sales also have created President Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex, pushing our economy further along the path of militarization.  This has ripple effects:  giant arms industries fund lobbies to further their interests; congressmen and senators in the unending race to acquire the massive funding required to win elections are virtually compelled to support them regardless of the interests of the nation; and even labor representatives find it almost impossible to question the creation of "quality" jobs in a shrinking market.   All of these impulses come into focus today on the F-35 fighter.  To remain a viable product, that is to overcome the huge overruns of cost, it will need major new markets abroad; if it is cut back, not only the industry but also labor and Congressmen will suffer.  For them, the question is not the lack of performance of the airplane -- although all neutral commentators have described it as a failure -- but survival of the whole of what has become the American military-industrial-congressional-labor complex.

As I have pointed out above, giving aid to those who need it has been one of the most attractive activities of Americans.  But non-military, governmental  aid programs have seldom met expectations. The Marshall Plan was a major exception.  It both helped to rebuild Europe and also met American Cold War objectives.  In the latter activity, it set a precedent for many subsequent programs of which many were admittedly undertaken to “rent” military or intelligence facilities or to win adherents to our anti-Soviet activities.  But even those aimed at “uplifting” “underdeveloped” economies often failed. Afghanistan development aid illustrates one cause:  there, although we spent more than on the Marshall Plan (adjusted for inflation), much of it was wasted or siphoned off by corrupt officials.[54]   Additionally, both there and elsewhere, our efforts were often hampered our failure to understand the aims and capacities of the recipients.  Finally, even where help was needed and when what we offered was sensible and well-planned, our aid was viewed both by the recipients and by us as an adjunct to our own program in great power rivalry.  That is, it was seen as not aid but rent.

4:  Relations with Great Powers

I have dealt at length with America’s relationship with “Lesser” or  “Third World”  powers because that is where we have been most active since the Second World War. I now turn to America’s postwar rivalry with the other “Great” power, the Soviet Union,  and offer some thoughts on our growing relationship with China.

For about half a century, we and the Soviet Union were locked in the Cold War.  During that time we were often on the brink of Hot War.  We organized ourselves to fight it if necessary but we also created political alliances, economies and politico-military structures with the announced aim of avoiding war.  Thus we built such organizations as NATO, CENTO and SEATO, stationed much of our army abroad and manned thousands of bases around the world.  We also recast much of our economy into the “military-industrial complex” to supply our overseas ventures. 

Inevitably our efforts in foreign affairs upset traditional balances within our society. It is beyond my purpose here to describe the growth of “the National Security State” since the 1947 acts that established the governmental organs and profoundly altered universities, businesses and civic groups.   Here I focus on the strategy that grew out of the Cold War and which is now returning to dominate our thought and action on China and shaping our action on the emerging alliance of China and Russia.

With shows of military force adjacent to major Russian bases, we have returned to the confrontation that marked the most dangerous Cold War episodes.[55]

The Cold War divided as much of the world as either the US or USSR could control into what Nineteenth century statesmen called “spheres of influence.” Both great powers used their military, financial, commercial, diplomatic and ideological power to dominate their “blocks.”  Since neither side could establish precise and stable frontiers, each power built real or notional “walls” around its sphere, each probed into the sphere of the other and both competed for the favor of the uncommitted.

Spheres of influence, as earlier statesmen had discovered, require careful maintenance, are unstable and do not preclude hostilities.  They are not a substitute for peace or security, but sometimes they have seemed to statesmen the most advantageous ways to manage foreign relations. It was the attempt to make the Soviet-American “frontier” more stable and lessen the chance of war that was the contribution of the preëminent  American strategist,  George Kennan.

George Kennan personified the hedgehog in an ancient Greek poem on the difference between the wise hedgehog and the cunning fox.[56]   Like the hedgehog, Kennan had one big idea – “containment,” the strategy of the Cold War -- while all around him the “foxes”  were chasing and arguing over tactics.  Kennan’s idea was that the Soviet drive for aggrandizement could be contained long enough that the state could evolve. Most of the foxes thought that the USSR should be “rolled back” and devised military means to do it.  Some of them were prepared to go to nuclear war to accomplish that objective.  These were obviously major differences, but what is less obvious is that both Kennan and his critics thought of what they were doing as war:  Kennan wanted it to be “colder” than the foxes, but he was prepared to engage in (and indeed personally designed and helped to implement) a variety of espionage “dirty tricks”  that pushed relations between the US and USSR close to “hot”  war.  Both he and the foxes aimed at American dominance.  

When Kennan elaborated his ideas on containment rather than military conflict first in his 1946 Secret “Long Telegram” from Moscow and then anonymously in  “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs, they were considered heresy.  The then “dean” of Washington columnists,  Walter Lippmann, wrote a series of articles attacking them..[57] Lippmann and the growing number of “big bomb” enthusiasts  in government-funded “think tanks,” thought Kennan failed to understand the fundamental evil of the Soviet system and so was gambling with American security.[58] The only answer, they felt, was military superiority.

Military superiority was the central idea in what became a long series of US national policy statements.[59]  The first, and most influential, statement of it was “NSC 68” which  was written by Kennan’s successor as director of the Policy Planning Staff (as it was then known), Paul Nitze  and adopted by President Truman as official policy.  It called for a massive build-up of both conventional and nuclear arms  Nitze castigated Kennan. As he wrote, “Without superior aggregate military strength, in being and readily mobilizable, a policy of ‘containment’ – which is in effect a policy of calculated and gradual coercion  -- is  no more than a policy of bluff.”[60] McGeorge Bundy later  commented,[61]  “NSC 68 took the gloomiest possible view of the prospect of any agreed and verifiable bilateral limitation” on weapons.  It also “explicitly considered and rejected the proposal that George Kennan had put forward…for a policy [of] no first use of nuclear weapons.”[62]  

It provoked a massive Soviet  nuclear weapons development.[63]

It also set off a limited (but then muted) debate within the American government. Willard Thorp, a noted government economist who had helped draft the Marshall Plan, pointed out that as measured by such criteria as the production of steel the total strength of the US was about four times that of the USSR and that the current “gap is widening in our favor.”[64]  In effect, he was saying the Cold War was mostly hype.

More wide ranging was the critique of William Schaub, a senior official in the Bureau of the Budget.   In a memorandum to the NSC, dated May 8, 1950,[65] he pointed out that the almost exclusive military emphasis of NSC 68 would “be tantamount to notifying Russia that we intended to press war in the near future.”  Moreover, he wrote, the policy “vastly underplays the role of economic and social change as a factor in the ‘the underlying conflict.”  And, as a result of our focus on the Soviet threat, “We are  being increasingly forced into associations [with Third World regimes] which are exceedingly strange for a people of our heritage and ideals.” 

So it was that  Kennan, Lippmann, Nitze, Thorp and Schaub opened the door on the issue that would engage policy makers for the next half century.   And dozens of would-be strategists rushed to enter.    But, before NSC 68 could be seriously discussed, on June 25, 1950, North Korean military forces crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea.  As Secretary of State Dean Acheson later remarked, Korea preëmpted discussion on American strategy.[66]

Discussion on American strategy, actually, had already been preëmpted.  America had the bomb and most of the “Wise Men”[67] in the upper reaches of government thought that threat of its use was the bedrock of American security because, as the American army faded away in 1945, it was evident that the Russians had overwhelming power in conventional forces.[68]  In military terms, the Cold War was already staked out.

The Cold War created a “need” for intelligence.  From 1946, the US Air Force was monitoring the borders of the USSR and its satellites.[69]   At first the Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed mounting probes, and the Soviet Union protested them.  A compromise was reached with an implicit US-USSR “gentleman’s agreement” that restricted flights to no closer than 40 miles from borders.[70]  Then in 1949 the Soviet Union exploded its first nuclear device and in November 1950 Chinese forces entered Korea.  On December 16, 1950, President Truman declared a state of National Emergency.  Suddenly, gathering intelligence on Soviet capabilities, particularly on the presumed ability of the Soviet air force to attack the United States across Alaska,  became insistent.   Truman immediately approved aerial penetrations of Siberia.  The US had just acquired a new relatively fast, high-flying bomber, the B-47, that could be modified for the task.[71]  That was the first step in a lengthy game in which both Russian and American fighter planes intercepted, followed, photographed but usually did not attempt to shoot down each other’s reconnaissance aircraft.[72]

Usually, but not always. 

The first armed clash came, apparently, in 1949.  In the following eleven years a dozen or more US aircraft were shot down or crashed in or near the USSR.   Neither side admitted their existence. Keen on “deniability,” and so to avoid serious conflict, President Eisenhower asked the British to perform the mission. But finally, the CIA ordered a new aircraft, the Lockheed jet-powered glider, the U-2,  and had it flown by CIA pilots.  It was the CIA contract pilot Gary Powers who flew the U-2 that was brought down over the USSR on May 1, 1960.[73]  

At the time, Cold War strategy  came into focus at the junction of Russian mass and American technology.  Each side feared what the other side had and sought to counter it:   the Russians pushed their powerful land forces up to the line in Europe while the Americans built sophisticated weapons like the ICBM and multiple warheads. 

Few then believed that a balance could be reached short of the capacity to obliterate the world.  All eyes were on military issues.  And, at least on the American side, the aim was to achieve security by military superiority.  That was the strategic advice of such cold warriors” as Thomas Schelling, Henry Kissinger, Albert Wohlstetter and Herman Kahn.[74]  It took the Cuban Missile Crisis and the analyses of it that followed within the US government to challenge the strategy of the Cold War.  The crisis made clear  that the quest for military superiority had reached a dead end.  Pressing ahead with actions to overawe the Soviet Union were likely to destroy the entire world.[75]

The Missile Crisis solidified my disagreements on strategy with both Kennan and Nitze.  From my participation in the crisis,[76]  I became convinced that the “option” of military confrontation in the age of nuclear weapons and ICBMs was not realistic.  Armed confrontation was suicide.  And, the “strategy of conflict,” as laid out by Schelling, Kissinger, Wohlstetter and Kahn,  was likely to cause it. That was the first conclusion.  My  second conclusion was that both the “hedgehog” and the “foxes”  -- that is both Kennan and the military oriented strategists led by Nitze – had misunderstood what caused war to actually break out.  Because this  may be absolutely crucial to avoiding stumbling into war, let me explain.

Basic to the American cold war strategy was the belief that, regardless of the intelligence, politics or desire of whatever government it then had,  in armed conflict America would be forced to fire its nuclear weapons because it did not have conventional forces adequate to stop an invading Russian army. Knowing this, sensible Soviet leaders would “back off” from determined American challenges because they would realize that, as Schelling put it, “the option of nonfulfillment no longer exists.”  Moreover, Schelling and the Cold Warriors believed that  because the Russians knew that even a limited retaliation would lead to their destruction,  America could engage in “limited” nuclear strikes.  In the war game Schelling designed , this was the assumption.

In Schelling’s war game[77] that was played out with access to all information the US government had and involved only senior American officers, I was the political member of “Red Team.”  The game was played in the Pentagon and was classified Top Secret.  It was taken very seriously, as it should have been, by our senior officials.

 In Schelling’s scenario, in a hypothecated crisis (following a coup in Iran) “Blue Team” obliterated Baku, killing about 200,000 people.  How would Red Team respond? The chairman of our team, the then Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Anderson, playing Chairman Khrushchev,  asked me to recommend our response. 

I replied that I saw three options:   first, play tit-for-tat, destroying, say, Dallas.  Limited nuclear war enthusiasts would presumably then expect the American president to go on television and say, “Fellow Americans, I am sorry to have to report to you that if you had relatives in Dallas... they are gone. The Russians retaliated because we incinerated one of their cities. So now we're even. Now we'll just go back to the normal Cold War.'"   

The team agreed that this was ridiculous.   America would “re-retaliate;”  the USSR would re-re-retaliate also and war would quickly become general.  There was no stopping in a “limited war.”

The second option was to do nothing.  Was this feasible?  We agreed that it would certainly have led to a military coup d’état in which the Soviet leadership would have been shot as traitors.  Knowing this, they would have been unlikely to adopt that move.  Even if they did, and were overthrown, that would not stop retaliation: the coup leaders would strike back. 

So there remained only one option:  general war.  And only one feasible move: striking first with everything we had in the hope that we could disable our opponent.  We signaled that  we “fired” as many of Red Team’s notional 27,000 nuclear weapons as we could deliver.

Schelling was shocked.  He stopped the game and scheduled a post-mortem to discuss how we had “misplayed.”  The issue was serious, he said: if we were correct, he would have to give up the theory of deterrence, the very bedrock of the strategy of the Cold War.  Why had we made such a foolish move?

In our meeting, I repeated our team’s analysis: I emphasized that the fault in his (and America’s) limited war strategy was that it failed to differentiate “interest of state” from “interest of government.”   Schelling and American military planners assumed that they were the same. They were not   It was obviously better for the Soviet Union not to engage in a nuclear exchange, but to appear to knuckle under to an American threat would be  suicide for the leaders. The reverse would also be true for our leaders.[78]

My conclusion was that the idea of limited nuclear war was a recipe for general war; that the quest for supremacy was likely to lead to war; and, therefore, that the policy underlying the Cold War was unrealistic.

Obviously, those in a position to make the decisions did not agree.  While limited and sporadic moves were made to ameliorate the US-USSR relationship, particularly in the area of nuclear weapons,[79]   we continued to seek weapons superiority and  political dominance. President Ronald Reagan escalated American weapons production with the aim of  bankrupting the Soviet Union.[80] Initially, the policy seemed to work.  When, the Soviet Union “imploded,” Reagan was given the credit.  His policy  seemed to vindicate the hardline policy proposed 40 years earlier by Paul Nitze in NSC 68. We now know that the Soviet collapse was caused mainly by its “Vietnam,”  its disastrous nine year war in Afghanistan[81]  that coincided with the Reagan administration.  That cause was largely overlooked.  So the wrong lesson was taken into the administration of Reagan’s successor, President George H.W. Bush.  His advisers concluded that since the quest for military superiority worked, an even greater emphasis on it could be expected to work even better.  That assumption led to  a far more radical approach to American foreign policy than had ever been contemplated.  It was the program set out under the auspices of Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.[82]

The “Wolfowitz Doctrine,” slightly toned down by Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, set the tone for American policy for the next twenty years.

Taking advantage of Russian weakness, the Wolfowitz Doctrine sought “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival” and “to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests” and to “discourage them [our European allies] from challenging our leadership...”  If any of these challenges arose, the United States would preëmpt the challenge. It would intervene whenever and wherever it thought necessary. It particularly threatened the Russian government if it attempted to reintegrate such newly independent republics as the Ukraine. 

The Wolfowitz doctrine, repackaged as the “National Security Strategy of the United States” was published on September 20, 2002.  It justified President George W. Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan (for harboring Osama bin Laden) and Iraq (for allegedly building nuclear weapons).  And, although it was not, of course, cited by the Obama administration, it laid the foundation for its  policy toward Russia in the Ukraine[83] and explains some of the emerging policy of the American government toward  China.

The attempt to use China against Russia. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s ploy,  seemed to work, for a while, but has faded because both Russia and China realized that their immediate challenge came not from one another but from America.  

Despite accommodations (as in Hong Kong)  China is determined to realize at sea (in the southwest Pacific)[84] and in international finance (with its establishment of a rival to the America-dominated World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank)[85]  its historic self-image as a major – or even the central (Mandarin: Zhongguo) – world power.  The Chinese policy confronts America with two choices: recognize and gradually accommodate the Chinese thrust into what it regards as its sphere of influence or try to thwart it.  Early moves suggest that America will try, even militarily, to continue its established policy of blocking Chinese outward moves. In short, it seems that we are at the beginning of a replay of the Soviet-American Cold War.[86]  But since history never exactly repeats, I will briefly consider the changes that are taking us into this new world.

5:  The Arena of World Affairs

The modern and future arena of international affairs is the whole world; so the template of international affairs is and will be composed of and interplay of geography, climate, resources, technology  and population.  Changes in each are unprecedented.  Today, we are at the onset of a new revolution.  The revolution is already creating a new world in which older concepts of strategy are becoming irrelevant.[87]

While we are still powered by coal and oil, we are in a race before we do irreparable damage to the planet to make the transition to wind and solar power.[88]  Many scientists believe we may be too late and that we will suffer catastrophic changes in our climate. Avoiding that fate has not yet led to effective international cooperation,  but as rising seas and deteriorating climate become increasingly severe, and prevent us from producing food readily and economically, states will be forced to cooperate. 

Population is also being altered in size and in kind.  People today are more politicized than ever before but are also more susceptible to manipulation by the increasingly controlled and concentrated media;[89] populations of the advanced industrial states are aging while those of poorer areas are multiplying.  Migrations of people from poorer areas are inevitable but are increasingly bitterly opposed in America and elsewhere.

Spread of disease by movement of peoples have been predicted to lead to pandemics.  So far, advances in medicine and availability health care facilities have avoided the worst, but several diseases, including malaria, are still major killers in poorer areas and, in mutated form, could spread  even to the rich North. 

Our most critical resource, fresh water, is increasingly deficient.  Drought already affects America, and attempts to overcome water shortage are flash points in relationships among countries in Africa and Asia.  Damming rivers in Central Asia as China is doing and in Kashmir as India is doing could be flashpoints for international conflict while buying relatively well-watered lands in Africa, often corruptly, and evicting the inhabitants,  as China and other countries are doing are likely to lead to popular resistance or guerrilla warfare.

What television began a generation ago has been multiplied by new forms of distribution of information.  Even relatively poor people in remote areas have access beyond the imagination of even the rich and powerful a generation ago.  Retrieval of information also allows far greater intrusion into the privacy of citizens and potentially control of  them by governments.  Cyberwar, a concept that hardly existed a few years ago, is a new arena of conflict among nations.[90] 

Projection of power is taking new forms.  Armies are changing shape:  large formations are passé and are being replaced by elite squads or special forces.  Indeed, soldiers are being replaced by robots.  Nuclear weapons, once an American monopoly, seem likely to spread in the coming decade beyond the nine states known to have them to the “nth country.”  As the war game I described above showed, any temptation to use them in “limited war” would be devastating for the whole world.  Particularly between Pakistan and India this is a clear and present danger.  Elsewhere, particularly in eastern Europe the chances of accidents or “miscalculations” are ever present and perhaps rising.[91]

International trade will continue to grow but is likely to be increasingly controlled by governments; particularly in foodgrains, which are becoming harder to grow, governments cannot afford to allow market forces to control their ability to feed their citizens.  Monetary policy appears to be moving in the opposite direction.  As the American economy is increasingly removed from supervision, concentration of wealth will continue and both the middle class and the poor will suffer.  Cutbacks in social services and public works will increase the danger of a major turndown or even a depression.  This could also affect foreign policy: it was, after all, the shift to a war economy that ended the Great Depression.

Under these pressures and trends, it seems to me likely that the need for more intelligent formulation of policy and more modest relations among peoples will become more urgent.  The world of the future will arrive faster than we expect.   Change is inevitable but a wise policy will seek to make it as smooth as possible.

So, in this perhaps not so brave new world, what do we really want?

6:  Fundamental Objectives of American Foreign Policy

The fundamental objective of American policy was clearly set out in the Foreword to the Constitution:                “…Establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure The Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”   Put in less elegant terms, I suggest that the foreign affairs component of this fundamental objective is to achieve affordable world security in which we can pursue the good life and the “Blessings of Liberty.”

When our Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, they were motivated and guided by fears of anarchy and tyranny.  They sought a path between them in the Constitution they wrote: the Federal Government was to be strong enough to hold the Union together, but not so strong as to tyrannize the states that composed it. They regarded the United States as an experiment to find whether or not we could remain free and responsible participants in the management of our lives. 

Since they assumed and hoped that we would live in a republic where the opinion of citizens has some ability to control government decision making,[92] they believed, that to have a chance to combine liberty and responsibility, citizens needed to be educated.  Enhancing the intellectual quality of our citizenry thus became essential in securing of “The Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Impressively well read in history, the authors of the Constitution saw militarism as the mother of tyranny.  Their discussions make clear their fear of the ambition of leaders and manipulation of public sentiment. They wanted, above all, to prevent American government  from copying European despots in the game of war.  Thus, they specified that only in an actual attack on the United States was the president allowed to act independently.  Otherwise, the legislature, speaking with multiple voices and representing diverse local issues, had to be convinced of the need for military action.

The delegates recognized that foreign military adventures were the biggest threats to the republic they were founding.  This was because war will create such insecurity at home as will undermine our way of life, diminish our sense of trust in one another, denigrate our civil liberties,  undercut our respect for our social contract, the Constitution, and divert the fruit of our labor from “the general Welfare.”

7:  Operational Steps Toward Achieving American Objectives.

Experience has shown that the Founding Fathers were right:  it is in our foreign relations where the greatest danger to our overall objectives lies.  So it in foreign affairs where the need for a well-informed citizenry is greatest.   But, experience also shows that the public is subject to surges of emotion or “war fever” in which reason is overwhelmed.  Faulty perception of danger has triggered moves that have threatened our “Domestic Tranquility.”  So, a fundamental challenge is posed for us:  how can we, the citizens, acquire sufficient reliable information, trustworthy analysis and objective opinion on which to form our judgment of government decisions.

Citizens need help in addressing such fundamental questions as 1) is there a sufficiently serious threat to American security that requires American response?  2)  what are the kinds of response (diplomatic, military, legal, economic) that could be implemented?  3) how likely to be effective are the various possible responses?  4)  how costly would each of those responses be?  5)  are there alternative, non-American, means of solving the problem we identify?  6) does whatever seems  to be the correct answer move toward a more secure, peaceful and productive world environment in which America participates?

For most citizens such questions are inscrutable.  Not only do they  lack knowledge and experience but they are not able to devote sufficient time to finding answers.  Consequently, they are apt to answer with incomplete or biased information or by emotion.  In his farewell address, George Washington pointed to this danger.  As he wrote, by allowing passion rather than knowledge or logic to set policy, “The peace often, sometimes perhaps the Liberty, of Nations has been the victim.”

But, we have both personal and political experience in finding sensible answers. Whenever we face difficult problems, most of us seek advice.  In matters of health and finance, for example, we seek the opinions of specialists who have the training and experience, and we try to guard against their having conflicts of interest. Here I suggest a way to apply our daily experience to public policy.  It is to create a sort of foreign affairs ombudsman – a council to provide information and advice for the public.

There is precedent for this suggestion.  Much of what I propose already exists:

Existing governmental information and analytical resources in foreign affairs are extensive.  For over a century (since 1914), the American Congress has been advised by the Congressional Research Service.  The CRS is an independent organization situated in the Library of Congress and is staffed by approximately 600 scholars who are recognized as expert in their various fields.  During 2014, it supplied non-partisan answers to approximately half a million Congressional queries and published analyses and information on the whole range of American overseas actions.  The organization is funded by approximately $100 million annually.[93]  The President is advised on economic matters by the Council of Economic Advisers and on sundry other matters by the Office of Management and Budget whose predecessor organization was formed in 1921.  It has a staff today of about 550  and operates on a budget of approximately $93 million. The Secretary of State is advised by the Department’s small but highly regarded Bureau of Intelligence and Research.  Finally, the director of Central Intelligence is provided with an analysis of the “product” or “take” of the 17 American intelligence agencies by the National Intelligence Council which grew out of the Office of National Estimates that was founded in 1950.[94]

What I propose is the creation of an independent institution, a National Commission,  composed of a council of perhaps a dozen senior officers and an staff of perhaps fifty men and women who are expert in the various fields related to foreign affairs.   Both groups would be chosen by carefully crafted criteria after a “peer review” and on the basis of their credentials.  They would be obligated by contract not to go to or return to business, law or professions related to foreign affairs but would be given some form of tenure and generous retirement and other benefits.  The aim would be to assure their lack of any conflict of interest.  Their task would be to study and report in the public domain upon the fundamental questions on which citizens should be informed. So they would be empowered to demand information without delay or hindrance from all government sources,  authorized to hold symposia, conferences and seminars and to commission outside studies and reports. They would also be afforded adequate means of reaching the public through, for example, National Public Radio, press releases, magazine articles, pamphlets and books.

Of course, it is probable that much of the public will not read their materials.  That is the worst case; the more likely result would be that they would set a standard which the Executive Branch, the Congress and the media would feel obliged to emulate; and the best case would be that the public education program would raise the level of citizen participation in matters of national importance. 

Such an institution is not likely to be warmly welcomed by government officers, some of whom will see it as an intrusion on their “turf.”  Congressmen, however, will at least verbally approve it since many of their constituents will welcome its reports.  And the media or at least working journalists will find it a source to be tapped and so a welcome aid to their work.  The experience of the Congressional Research Service and the Bureau of Management and Budget suggest that in proper political circumstances creation of such an organization is not impossible.

In addition to the National Commission, we should resurrect a modern version of the educational programs that were begun just after the Second World War.  Undertaking them was spurred by a recognition that we needed both to know more about the world outside our frontiers and before our lifetimes.  Programs in General Education  were organized at Harvard (under James Conant) and Chicago (under Robert Hutchins),  gave birth to publications (inspired by Sumner Wells)[95] and funded by the major foundations.  They were partly followed by subsidies given to universities for teaching exotic languages.  Some of these efforts need to be revived and better focused on national needs.

I turn now briefly to a few major points on what we should not do:

We should not attempt to force other societies or nations to transform themselves into our image of ourselves; we should not impose upon other nations puppet regimes.  While we have a legitimate need for intelligence, we should ban espionage which has proven to be so detrimental to our national image and purpose.  That is, we should not engage in “regime change” or “nation building” as is currently practiced.  

And, we should not sell arms abroad.     While we cannot suddenly abolish the military industrial complex, we can and should redirect the activities of our industry toward such domestic activities as fixing the thousands of dangerous and dilapidated bridges spanning our rivers,  cleaning up our cities, engaging in massive reforestation,  repairing or building schools, hospitals and other public facilities, repairing our roads and recreating a national high-speed rail network.  There is much to be done and we have the skills required to do it.

Lastly, I suggest a few points on what we should do:

It is both in our long-term interests and in accord with our heritage to join and support the international legal system;  we should financially support but generally not engage our troops in peace seeking operations; we should continue our efforts to cut back, bilaterally, with Russia, nuclear weapons development and deployment and encourage other nations to move toward denuclearization; and we should support both American private and UN aid programs in the Third World. 

In conclusion, we must come to terms with the reality that we live in a multicultural, multinational world.  Our assertion of uniqueness, of unipower domination and of military power has been enormously expensive and has created a world reaction against us; in the period ahead it will become unsustainable and is likely to lead precisely to what we should not want to happen -- armed conflict.  Moderation, peace-seeking and open-mindedness  need to become our national mottos.

[I am grateful to Ambassadors Jack Matlock and Thomas Pickering for their critique of this paper. WRP]


[1]                 My purpose here is not to recount the contributions of the thinkers nor to analyze the institutions they created or dealt with.  I have written extensively on both in my Neighbors and Strangers: The Fundamentals of Foreign Affairs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).  The thesis of that book was that the tensions created by societies having to live adjacent to others that they regarded as foreign forced them over the course of the human experience to invent the whole variety of ways of dealing with one another -- from war to peace, from trade to slavery, from armies to walls, from spies to diplomats and from coexistence to eviction.  Here I want to Pthink toward the challenges we face in the coming years.

[2]                 These events are described in articles by Hugh Trevor-Roper, Eric Hobshawm and Bernard Cohn in Eric Hobshawm (ed.) The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

[3]                 I have documented this in a study of more than a dozen such struggles in Violent Politics (New York: HarperCollins, 2007, 2008).

[4]                 I have analyzed the complex nature of Salafiyah in “Sayyid Qutub’s Fundamentalism and Abu Bakr Naji’s Jihadism” in a December 2013 essay available on my website.

[5]                 Office of Transnational Issues, “Best Practices in Counterinsurgency,”  originally classified SECRET/NFORN,  of July 7, 2009, which was acquired and published by Wikileaks on December 14, 2014. .

[6]                 Press release, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, May 29, 2015.

[7]                 Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, n.d. 2015?   Also see Erin Bagalman, “Mental Disorders Among OEF/OIF Veterans…”  Congressional Research Service Washington D.C., February 4, 2013.  The Department of Veterans Affairs “stopped releasing the number of non-fatal casualties [sic] of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, thus concealing what the paper [the International Business Times] called ‘a grim milestone’ of 1 million injuries.” Forbes/com,  May 11, 2015, Rebecca Ruiz, “Report: A Million Veterans injured in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars.”

[8]                 The literature on this issue is already vast and is growing.  See: American Psychiatric Association: “Military,”,  2015.

[9]                 Some aspects of these policies, particularly foreign aid, are recounted in Walter McDougall, “Eight Traditions of American Statecraft,” Foreign Affairs, March/April, 1997.

[10]               One of the major programs is Mercy Corps which distributes aid furnished by the government mainly in Africa.  The (American) Red Cross raised nearly 500 million dollars for aid to Haitian victims of a terrible earthquake.  Unfortunately, after a massive public relations campaign, it utterly failed to deliver on its promises and so itself contributed to disappointment in the “image” of America.  See Justin Elliott and Laura Sullivan, “How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti and Built [only] Six Houses, ProPublica and National Public Radio, June 6, 2015.

[11]               Small Wars  (London, 1896).

[12]               One common form of torture was forcing water down the throat of the captive – a primitive form of waterboarding.

[13]               Such advisers and actors as Samuel B. Grifith , Edward Lansdale, David Galula, Max Boot and David Petraeus, to name a few.

[14]               Consider John Stewart Mill: The only justification for interference in the affairs of others “is self-protection.... His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” On Liberty, Chapter 1;  in the Constitutional Convention , the consensus was that the Executive should have [unilaterally only] “the power to repel sudden attacks” on the United States but that the power to declare war should be vested in the Legislature.  As George Mason put his position, “He was for clogging rather than facilitating war,” and it was on his motion that the Legislature was given the power to “declare” rather than in an earlier draft, to “make” war.  James Madison, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, session of Friday, August 17.

[15]               Barbara Salazar Torreon, “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014”  (Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 7-5700 R42738 Washington D.C., 2015.).

[16]               See my essay, “Shaping the Deep Memories of the Russians and Ukrainians.”   It is available on my website,

[17]               Espionage is, of course, different from intelligence.  What the British, with the help of the  Polls and the Frenc FFPoles and the French were doing in code breaking was enormously important and perhaps was the single most important effort of the war.

Poles and the French, did in breaking German codes was a major factor in the Allied victory.

[18]               About 75% of the CIA budget was allocated to operations.  Covert operations were authorized by NSC 4-A of December 4, 1947 as amended by NSC 10/2 of June 18, 1948, “…including sabotage, demolition and…subversion against hostile states…”  Documents on a number of operations have been published by the National Security Archive at the American University in Washington.  Included among them are Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuban Bay of Pigs, Syria and Iran.

[19]               William R. Polk, Understanding Iran  (New York: PalgraveMacmillan, 2009), 179 ff.  While the emissary, Colonel Montgomery Woodhouse, told the Americans that Iran was a “domino” about to fall to the Soviet Union, which exactly fit Dulles’ view of current events, the real British aim was to recover its nationalized oil company.  As Woodhouse later wrote, “Not wishing to be accused of trying to use the Americans to pull British chestnuts out of the fire, I decided to emphasize the Communist threat to Iran rather than the need to recover control of the oil industry.”  He was more successful with the Americans than with the Iranians.

[20]               The earlier covert actions were the subject of the 1975 US Senate “Church Committee” report on one aspect of covert operations, assassination.  See “Alleged Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, an Interim Report” (Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1975)  Motivations are discussed by a practitioner in Miles Copeland, The Game of Nations (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969).  More recent are Jane Mayer, The Dark Side (New York: Doubleday, 2008) and Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars (New York: Nation Books, 2013).

[21]               As George Kennan commented in hearings before Senator Fulbright’s Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1966 and 1967 (quoted in Costigliola op cit.), “it is very, very difficult for outsiders to come into [any foreign situation] and to do good…by our interference…we raise questions of prestige which need not have been raised.”

[22]               In retrospect, this was the conclusion even of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  The Times, June 6, 2015, Melanie Phillips, “Rumsfeld: Bush was wrong on Iraq.”

[23]               One that shocked Americans was the massacre of the village of Mai Lai.  Kept under a cloud of secrecy, it was reported by Seymour Hersh who has recently revisited “The Scene of the Crime” in an article in the March 20, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.

[24]               Being uncomfortable with the word “murder,” we usually employ the word “assassination.”  CIA Director Richard Bissell used the word “eliminate.”  Even this proved distasteful.  In Vietnam, the word “neutralize” and the phrases “wasted” or  “terminate with extreme prejudice” came into vogue; American spokesmen for the Pentagon now talk about “high-value targeting;” and Israelis refer to their policy of “focused prevention.”   The Mafia uses the word “hit.”

[25]               Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie (New York: Random House, 1988), 732-733.  Komer was previously a colleague of mine in Washington, he on the NSC and I on the Policy Planning Council. 

[26]               June 7, 2015,  Mark Mazzetti et al , “An elite Navy unit’s blurred lines.”

[27]               Brilliantly investigated by Seymour Hersh in “The Killing of Osama bin Laden,” in The London Review of Books,  May 21, 2015.

[28]               Daniel Byman, “Do Targeted Killings Work?”  Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006.

[29]               The origin of the tactic in the 1990s drug wars in Latin America is discussed by Andrew Cockburn in the April 28, 2015 issue of, a project of the Nation Institute.

[30]               The Washington Post, June 4, 2015, Hugh Naylor, “Quietly, al-Qaeda offshoots expand in Yemen and Syria.”

[31]               This is the most important finding in the article by Seymour Hersh (footnote 27 above),

[32]               The law against torture is the UN “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” that came into effect on June 26, 1987 in accordance with Article 27 of the Charter of the United Nations. The issue of American use and justification of torture is the subject of David Cole’s The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable (New York: The New Press, 2009) and his February 21-22, 2015 article “How the torture report got it wrong,” in The International New York Times.  The US Senate Committee on Intelligence issued a 3,000 page report on December 9, 2014 that, while incomplete in many respects and partly still classified and so undisclosed, showed that American use of torture was both more brutal than was previously known and less effective and that the CIA had repeatedly lied to the Congress about its actions.  The report was criticized by Professor Marjorie Cohn in “Giving the Torturers a Pass,” in Truthout, December 14, 2014 and in her book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press,2015).   Also see  Oliver Laughland, “How the CIA tortured its detainees,”  The Guardian, May 20, 2015 and the conservative English newspaper The Telegraph, June 2, 2015, Peter Foster, “The CIA’s use of torture was far more brutal and sadistic than was discussed…”

[33]               Politico,  September 7, 2011,   Tim Mak, ”Rumsfeld: Obama Has Accepted Bush Doctrine."

[34]               The Art of War  (Précis de l’art de la guerre), first published in English in 1862, was used as a textbook at West Point.  A very good study of his thought is Crane Brinton et al, “Jomini” in Edward Mead Earle (ed.), Makers of Modern Strategy (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1943)

[35]               Among the victims were both European Jewish communities (the First Crusade started with an attack on them) and resident Christians in Palestine (who were burned to death in their Jerusalem church by the Crusaders when they finally reached Jerusalem). 

[36]               Further information on the Sudan and Libya is offered in my book, The Arab World Today (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), Chapter 11  and in my book, Humpty Dumpty: The Fate of Regime Change (Washington D.C.: Panda Press, 2013) ,  Chapter 14.

[37]               While these horrible crimes were not attributable to Americans, natives both there and throughout the colonial world tended to group Americans with Europeans as “whites” so we have been dammed by association.  On the Congo see Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).   A summary was published by Andrew Osborn,  “Belgium confronts its colonial demons,” The Guardian, July 18, 2002.  Osborn points out that the scale of massacre was almost double that of the Holocaust yet Belgium has made neither apology nor restitution. 

[38]               As Graham Fuller points out (February 22, 2015 “there are a dozen good reasons why there is bad blood between the West and the Middle East today, without any reference to Islam or to religion.”

[39]               Insurgency carried out by mountain peoples who were probably ancestors to the Kurds destroyed the Ancient Assyrian empire. In his time, Julius Caesar took no chances:  his counterinsurgency policy toward the  ancient Gauls and tribes in Switzerland and Germany was simply genocide.

[40]               The parable inspired the title of the excellent book on guerrilla warfare by Robert Taber, War of the Flea  (reprinted from the 1965 edition.  Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, 2002).

[41]               On insurgency see David Petraeus, James Amos and John Nagl, The U.S. Army –Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, 3-24, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007); David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare (Denver: Praeger, 1984); Roger Trinquier, Modern Warfare  (New York: Praeger, 1964); David Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); Mark Mazzetti, The Way of the Knife (New York: Penguin, 2013); Gian Gentile, Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency (New York: The New Press, 2013); and Ivan Eland, The Failure of Counterinsurgency (Santa Barbara: Praeger,  2013).

[42]               Neither are journalists accompanying enemy troops, according to a manual revising the laws of war just published by the Department of Defense.  See June 24, 2015.

[43]               Congressional Research Service, Report  R40764, “Private Security Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan: Legal Issues.”.  Also see The New York Times, April 16, 2015, James Risen and Matthew Rosenberg, “Despite Blackwater’s Iraq convictions, private security industry thrives” and   The Guardian, January 23, 2013, Arjun Sethi, “Military contracting: our new era of corporate mercenaries,”                

[44]               Editorial Board,  The New York Times, “Lost Voices of the World’s Refugees” June 13, 2015.

[45]               April 29, 2015, David Kirkpatrick, “Navigating a lawless Libya.” The Italian Journalist Stefano Liberi reported in “Whose Europe” in the December 8, 2014 Le Monde Diplomatique that during that year, 130 000 were rescued.  The International New York Times. May 11, 2015 Somini Sengupta, “Rescuing migrants as crackdown looms,” and James Kanter, “E.U. nations urged to back migrant quotas.”.

[46]               Salon, April 24, 2015, Allan C. Brownfeld,  “Refugee Crisis Shows Unintended Consequences of Poorly Planned Military Interventions.”

[47]               Congressional Research Service see note #15 above.

[48]               Yearly sales by countries are documented by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

[49]               The International New York Times, April 20, 2015Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper, "Sales of American weapons fuel the wars of Arab states."

[50]               William D. Hartung, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (New York: Nation Books, 2011).  Also see Ben Cohen and Winslow Wheeler, “The Triumph of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex,

[51]               A personal example:  when I was a member of the Policy Planning Council, I was attempting to get the Shah of Iran to stop huge, wasteful and dangerous purchases of arms.    That was American policy.  But the American military attaché, a major general, was  urging the Shah to buy more. His aim was either or both to get himself promoted for running a major program and/or to prepare a post-military career for himself in the arms industry as many of his military colleagues were doing. 

[52]               Neil Sheehan: Op cit. ,372-374.  About 200,000 American weapons passed into the hands of the Viet Cong.  Strategic Hamlet Militias and Civil Guards were virtual shopping centers for the insurgents.

[53]               A minor item in the litany of waste is the marble palace being built to house the Afghan Ministry of Defense, headquarters of a ministry without a minister for an army that hardly exists.  The cost, $190 million plus overruns (Military Times  June 12, 2015)  is the equivalent of 4 or 5 fully equipped new secondary schools for 1,600 students each in the US. (National Clearing House for Educational Facilities, June 15, 2015).

[54]               The Special Inspector General John Sopko reported to Congress that in just the one category, reconstruction projects, “’billions of dollars’ of those funds had been wasted or stolen on projects that often made little sense for the conditions in Afghanistan.”  (as quoted by Geoff Dyer and Chloe Sorvino in the December 14, 2014 Financial Times.)  Dyer and Sorvino  quoted a US official as saying “The dirty secret about this war is that the Pentagon or anyone else in the government cannot tell you how much it has actually cost us.”   Reports on waste, corruption, poor planning and theft are spelled out in detail in reports of the office of the Special Inspector General (SIGAR) are posted on the website of the public affairs officer Alexander Bronstein-Moffly.

[55]               The United States is “flexing its muscles” along the Russian frontier now, as it did in the flap over the Ukraine, and Russia is reacting angrily.  The New York Times, June 13, 2015, Eric Schmitt & Steven Myers, “U.S. Is Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in Eastern Europe.”  The Guardian, June 17, 2015, Ewen MacAskill, “Nato shows its teeth to Russia with elaborate Baltic training exercise.”  As MacAskill wrote, “The mock landing at Ustka, Poland, on Wednesday was the climax of a two-week Nato exercise called Baltops. Forty-nine naval vessels from 17 countries and 5,900 personnel were involved in this major show of strength. It was a dangerous game. One of Russia’s most important naval bases, Kaliningrad, is just over 100 miles to the east, and the Kremlin may view such exercises as a provocation at a time of heightened tension over the Ukraine crisis.”

[56]               Quoted and used as the title of one of his books by Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1953).

[57]               Originally in New York Herald Tribune, his articles then appeared in book form as The Cold War: A Study in U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Harper, 1947). 

[58]               There is much irony and pathos in Kennan’s life and career.  Although his basic idea shaped American foreign policy for a generation, he was dismissed by most of the foreign affairs professionals both in government and in think tanks and universities as a “soft” and abstract thinker without practical sense.  Although he was the author of perhaps the most successful foreign affairs venture of the century, the Marshall Plan, he was shunted aside in the Eisenhower administration and treated as irrelevant in the Kennedy administration.  His concept of containment was perverted to justify programs of which he completely disapproved.   He personally liked the Russians (whose literature and art he relished)  although because of Cold War restrictions he met few. He disdained Americans.  And, although he reached the highest rank in the American Foreign Service, he was not supported by his colleagues; when he was fired by Secretary of State Dulles, not one of them even came to say goodbye to him.   The major account of his life is John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan: An American Life  (New York: Penguin, 2011) which should be read in conjunction with the corrective review by Frank Costigliola, “Is This George Kennan?” in the December 8, 2011 New York Review of Books.  A different perspective is provided by Louis Menand in “Getting Real: George F. Kennan’s Cold War” in the November 11, 2011 New Yorker.

[59]               The latest is the February 2015 “National Security Strategy” of President Obama.

[60]               “NSC 68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” was commissioned by Truman on January 31, 1950 and presented by Nitze on April 7.  It was classified Top Secret.  When  declassified it was published in the Naval War College Review, vol. XXVII (May-June, 1975) and in the Department of State Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, Volume I.

[61]               Danger and Survival, 229-231I worked very closely with Bundy during and after his time at the National Security Council, and while I sometimes disagreed with him, I found him usually to be the smartest man in any meeting.  I acted as his policy adviser during the 1967 Middle Eastern war.

[62]               On Kennan’s and Nitze’s complex relationship – reminiscent of that of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton -- see Nicholas Thompson’s The Hawk and the Dove (New York: Holt,  2009).   Despite Thompson’s designation of Kennan as “the Dove,” he was a strong advocate of covert actions to undermine the Soviet Union.  On this see CIA Historical Document, May 29, 2007, where his work in setting up the National Committee for Free Europe is described..   When its cover was “blown” by Senator Clifford Case (R-NJ), the Committee was disbanded,  but much of its work was carried on by other CIA front organizations including The Congress for Cultural Freedom, publisher of the magazine Encounter.

[63]               In the Spring 1987 issue of Foreign Affairs along with reprints of Kennan’s and Lippmann’s articles, Walt Rostow reconsiders “Containment: 40 Years Later.”

[64]               Memorandum to the Secretary of State: “Draft Report to the President,” April 5, 1950.  Willard Thorp was Assistant  Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.   He pointed out that the US produced then 4 times the amount of steel, 5 times the amount of aluminum, 6 times the kwh of power and 8 times the amount of oil of the USSR.  Reproduced in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, Volume I page 218.

[65]               Reproduced in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, Volume I pages 298-306.

[66]               The argument over containment and superiority never ceased.  One interesting example of it was the argument between the prominent neo-conservative Professor Richard Pipes of Harvard and Raymond L. Garthoff, former US ambassador to Bulgaria, CIA Soviet analyst and author of The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War.  Their exchange was in the May/June 1995 issue of Foreign Affairs.

[67]               A term coined by McGeorge Bundy for the Cold War foreign policy “Establishment.”

[68]               The leading scientific adviser to the government, Vannevar Bush, urged a major buildup to match Russian conventional forces and “vigorous action [to] place Europe in the position where it, alone, could hold off the Russian hordes until we could arrive in force.”  That was the line of argument that demanded the rebuilding of Germany.

[69]               Voice of America , no date and no writer indicated, Millitary [sic] reconnaissance missions over [the] Soviet Union, article was apparently written by National Reconnaissance Office Historian Cargill Hall.

[70]               Something like that “gentleman’s agreement” survived.   In 1962, in Turkey I watched on radar as an RAF squadron based in Turkey buzzed the Crimean coast.  As long as they stayed off-shore, the Russians did not respond; when they went close to shore, the Russians scrambled their interceptors.

[71]               The B-47 was the first postwar bomber:  it was capable of being refueled in the air and so could be sent from Alaska with full tanks and already at great altitude.  It could reach over 40,000 feet and so was thought to be above the capacity of Soviet rockets and fighter aircraft to intercept it and it could reach a top speed of over 500 mph. 

[72]               Over mainland Russia, as we now know, the US had for years intruded with modified bombers (often B-47s).  We even built a special aircraft (the B-58) that could fly higher than Soviet defenses could reach, but the Russians soon countered, building a special missile (the SA-2) that could reach it.  The USAF and the CIA were cautious with the new B-58, but not with the  relatively slow B-47s.  The Russians shot down a number of them and captured some of the crews. (Department of the Air Force, fact sheet, undated,  “RB-47H shot down.” And Air Force Magazine June 2001, Walter J. Boyne, “The Early overflights.” )  But the US Government treated those events as among its most closely guarded secrets.  Within the senior ranks of the American government, the very few officials  who had a “need to know” were given special clearances that allowed them to learn  what every senior Russian official had known for years.

[73]               It was because of the U-2 and related communications intelligence that the United States developed its close relationships with Turkey and Pakistan.  The relationship with Pakistan set the conditions for American aid and incidentally  determined the relationship with India.  Without Congressional authorization, the CIA had entered into a deal with the government of Pakistan to create a base for the U-2 to overfly the USSR.  The National Security Archive,  August 15, 2013, Jeffrey T. Richelson (ed.), “The Secret History of the U-2 – and Area 51.” Also see CIA:  “CIA publication 'The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance; The U-2 And Oxcart Programs, 1954-1974', declassified 25 June 2013.

[74]               For their writings at the center of the Cold War period, see Thomas C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960), Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960), Henry Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (New York: Council on Foreign Relations and WW. Norton, 1969), Albert Wohlstetter, “The Delicate Balance of Terror,” Foreign Affairs 37, January 1959, Bernard Brodie, Strategy in the Missile Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950.

[75]               I have spelled out elsewhere the consequences of conflict, but since this is so important in any attempt to understand a conceivable American strategy and is, I fear, receding in memory. I will just mention here just the key points: 

                  Even the great advocate of thermonuclear weapons, Edward Teller,  admitted that their use would "endanger the survival of man[kind]."  The Russian nuclear scientist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Andrei Sakharov,  laid out a view of the consequences in the Summer 1983 issue of Foreign Affairs as"a calamity of indescribable proportions."  More detail was assembled by a scientific study group convened by Carl Sagan and reviewed by 100 scientists.  A graphic summary of their findings was published in the Winter 1983 issue of Foreign Affairs.  Sagan pointed out that since both major nuclear powers had targeted cities, casualties could reasonably  be estimated at between "several hundred million to 1.1 billion people" with an additional 1.1 billion people seriously injured.  Those figures related to the 1980s.  Today, the cities have grown so the numbers would be far larger.  Massive fires set off by the bombs would carry soot into the atmosphere,  causing temperatures to fall to a level that would freeze ground to a depth of about 3 feet.  Planting crops would be impossible and such food as was stored would probably be contaminated so the few survivors would starve.  The hundreds of millions of bodies of the dead could not be buried and would spread contagion.  As the soot settled and the sun again became again visible, the destruction of the ozone layer would remove the protection from ultraviolet rays and so promote the mutation of  pyrotoxins.  Diseases against which there were no immunities would spread.  These would overwhelm not only the human survivors but, in the opinion of the expert panel of 40 distinguished biologists, would cause "species extinction" among both plants and animals.  Indeed, there was a distinct possibility that "there might be no human survivors in the Northern Hemisphere...and the possibility of the extinction of Homo sapiens..."

[76]               Robert Komer, deputy director of the National Security Council, William Bundy, assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and I were designated as the three members of the Crisis Management Committee.  Along with only about two dozen other officials, we were informed of ever move made by the United States and the USSR.  Before the crisis began, I had been endeavoring to get the military to withdraw the “Jupiter” liquid-fired missiles then stationed in Turkey which played a major role in precipitating the crisis and were crucial to ending it.   After the crisis ended, I participated in a war game at the Pentagon in which we pressed the issues that had arisen in the crisis and shortly thereafter I wrote the paper for a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations, presided over by Under Secretary of State George Ball of all the senior American participants.

[77]               It was to test what he had written in The Strategy of Conflict, op. cit., 193 ff on limited war and reprisal.

[78]               Nikita Khrushchev’s backing down in the Missile Crisis was a rare and nearly fatal act of statesmanship.  He could afford it for two key reasons:  first, no missiles or other air strikes happened so that no Russians had to be avenged and, second, the Soviet civilian and military leaders all agreed (as they later confirmed to me when I lectured at the Institute of World Economy and International Affairs of the Soviet Academy ) that they accepted the geostrategic reality:  Cuba was in the American “zone.”  They had gone too far.  Still they did not forgive Khrushchev.  His body was not buried in the Kremlin Wall as was done for other leaders.

[79]               A series of endeavors followed the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1953.  Five years later, the USSR called for a moratorium on testing.  In 1963 a US-USSR-UK treaty limited testing.  Then, after years of negotiation, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was signed in 1968.  It aimed at restricting nuclear weapons to the US, USSR, UK, France and China.  In 1972 Nixon and Brezhnev signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).  In 1979,  SALT II aimed to cut back on nuclear weapons production.  The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was agreed in 1982.   While aimed at reducing ICBMs, the treaty left untouched intermediate range missiles which the US began positioning in Europe in range of the Soviet Union.  This pushed Russia to produce more of the shorter range missiles so the treaty ironically increased armaments.  The next year, President Reagan further increased Russian anxieties with the announcement of his “ Star Wars Program.”  After Gorbachev became Soviet chief of state in March 1985, he and Reagan met at Reykjavik where they agreed in principle to abolish offensive nuclear weapons within ten years.  Agreement broke down, but two years later they agreed to abolish intermediate-range missiles (the Pershing II and SS-20) .  In 1991, the Strategic Arms Reduction  Treaty (START I)  was signed by George H.W. Bush and Gorbachev reducing nuclear warheads to 6,000 and delivery vehicles to 1,600 during a period of 18 years.  Also in that year, the Senate passed the Nunn-Lugar bill to subsidize the denuclearization of the constituent republics of the former Soviet Union.  In 1993 START II was agreed but not implemented.  It aimed to reduce nuclear warheads to 3,400 each. In 2002, President George W. Bush withdraws from the ABM treaty but signs a new treaty known as the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty to eliminate most of the nuclear warheads of both states over a decade.  In 2009, President Obama and President Medvedev agree to reduce strategic warheads from 2,000 to 1,675 and rockets to 1,100.  In 2010, Obama and Medvedev signed the replacement for the 1991 START I treaty and specifying a 30% reduction in warheads.  See Jack Mendelsohn (ed.), “Arms Control Chronology,”  (Washington D.C.: Center for Defense Information, 2002) and Council on Foreign Relations, U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Control, 1949-Present [2014].

[80]               Reacting to an earlier version of this paper, Jack F. Matlock, Jr. who was US ambassador to the USSR from 1987 to 1991 disagreed with my interpretation.  As he wrote to me, “It is wrong. By 1983, Reagan was not thinking of "bankrupting the Soviet Union" but of using his military build-up to induce the radical reduction of arms. Before he met Gorbachev the first time, in November 1985, he told us that he wanted to convince Gorbachev that we did not want an arms race, but if Gorbachev insisted on one, he would make sure they lost it. Even before that, he instructed me to make clear to the bureaucracy that we were not seeking military superiority, only parity. By February, 1987, Gorbachev was telling the Politburo that the Western military-industrial complex was trying to trap the Soviet Union in a arms race it would lose and that therefore they had to make radical and unilateral reductions in their military. He got Reagan's message and we started getting unprecedented agreements.

                  “The point is that we negotiated an end to the Cold War by taking the threat of using arms off the table. Reagan and Gorbachev agreed in their first meeting that a nuclear war could not be won and must never be fought, and that this meant that there could be no war between the US and the USSR. Shultz then used this to argue that both the U.S. and USSR were robbing their people by building arms that could not be used and would never be used. (I don't know whether Reagan or Shultz knew about your war game, but they were certainly convinced that the conclusion you drew was the obvious one.)

“The argument that the U.S. defeated communism by bankrupting it is not only baseless, but is the precise opposite of the truth. We negotiated an end of the Cold War to the benefit of both sides. There were no victors and no defeated. Gorbachev took the CPSU out of control of the USSR when the military pressure from the outside ceased, and without the internal controls used by Gorbachev's predecessors, the country came apart (exploded is perhaps a more apt verb than imploded) as a result of internal, not external pressure.

“I discuss these points at great length in my "Reagan and Gorbachev" and "Superpower Illusions." I think it is fair to say that, in ending the Cold War by negotiation, and subsequently by assuring Gorbachev that we would not "take advantage" of the Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe (Bush-Gorbachev, Malta, December,1989), we helped create the possibility of a "Europe whole and free" for the first time in history. Unfortunately, a subsequent administration, misled by the triumphalist misrepresentation of how we ended the Cold War, reverted to the geopolitical games that contributed to the original Cold War and have resulted in the feckless confrontation over Ukraine today.”

[81]               This was the conclusion of British Ambassador to Russia Sir Rodric Braithwaite in Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-1989 (London: Profile Books, 2010).

[82]               While it became known as the “Wolfowitz Doctrine,” the “Defense Planning Guidance of 1992” was written by Wolfowitz’s fellow neoconservative, the Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad,  with the help of neoconservatives Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, Richard Perle and Albert Wohlstetter.

[83]               See Graham Alison & Dimitri K. Simes, “Russia and America: Stumbling to War” May-June 2015, The National Interest; The Guardian, March 4, 2015, Seumas Milne, “The demonization of Russia is  paving the way for war;”  Foreign Affairs, September/October 2014, John J. Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault” and The Guardian, November 10, 2014, Ewen MacAskill, “Close military encounters between Russia and he west ‘a cold war levels.’”  On the Russian fears of invasion through the Ukraine, see my essay “Shaping the Deep Memories of  Russians and Ukrainians,”  December 15, 2014 on my website.  For a possible Russian response see August 22, 2014, Dmitri Trenin, “Russia’s New National Strategy.”

[84]               South China Morning Post,  June 2, 2015, Lanxin Xiang, “Crossed Wires Between China and The US Raise Risk of War;” Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2015, “Q&A: China’s Ambassador to the U.S. on the South China Sea, Trade and Security.”  Reuters (Council on Foreign Relations) June 10, 2015, William Johnson, ”Everything you need to know about  the South China Sea conflict.” Council on Foreign Relations, April 2012, Bonnie S. Glasser, CSIS, “Contingency Planning memorandum No,. 14, “Armed Clash in the South China Sea.” And Foreign Policy, January 30, 2013, Kevin Rudd, “A Maritime Balkans of the 21st Century?”

[85]               The Economist,  November 11, 2014, “Why China is creating a new ‘World Bank’ for Asia and The Guardian, April 14, 2015, Joseph Stiglitz, “In defence of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.”

[86]               The Financial Times, April 30, 2015, Philip Stephens, “A frosty peace beckons for the US and China;” The Economist, May 30, 2015, “As China asserts itself as a naval and air power, and as America responds, the risks of confrontation are growing;”  The Diplomat, May 25, 2015, Amitai Etzioni, “South China Sea:  The One-Move Chess Player;”  Global Think Tank, the Carnegie Endowment, June 2, 2015, Michael D. Swaine, “Averting a Deepening U.S.-China Rift Over the South China Sea.”              

[87]               Over the last century, we have undergone two revolutions in what composes our arena.  To consider all of them would require too much space so consider just our ability to mobilize force: up to the Second World War,  American soldiers, like the Romans, were expected to walk into battle. But military strategists were thinking ahead of technology: Alfred Mahan had already written the new doctrine on the navy and the oceans, B.H. Liddell Hart, and J.F.C. Fuller announced a new era in mobile land warfare and Giulio Douhet and William Mitchell taught us about aerial bombardment.  Their ideas laid the basis for strategy through the Second World War: armies numbering in the millions were moved across continents, whole armies of tanks determined battles and mass flights of bombers played out the strategic roles Douhet and Mitchell had forecast.

[88]               Lester R. Brown et al, The Great Transition (New York: Norton, 2015).  He points out that solar and wind power costs are falling rapidly so that they are becoming competitive with coal and that, among other costs of fossil fuels, the rise of sea levels already has dramatic effects on agriculture in Asia. 

[89]               In America, not only is the media increasingly concentrated under a few major corporations whose profits depend on advertising – with the exception of National Public Radio – but there is increasing evidence of self- and outside censorship.  For one instance, see The Nation, June 8, 2015, James Carden, “The crusade to ban Russia policy critics.”

[90]               The Moscow Times, February 17, 2015, “Russia’s Kaspersky Lab Exposes  U.S. Cyber Espionage Program;” The International New York Times, April 23, 2015, David E Sanger, “Pentagon Announces New Strategy for Cyberwarfare;” The Guardian, June 7, 2015, Martin Pengelly, “China likely behind hack of US data, says House homeland security chair; and The Wall Street Journal,  May 31, 2011, Siobhan Gorman and Julian E. Barnes, “Cyber Combat: Act of War.”

[91]               The Guardian, June 24, 2015, Ewen MacAskill, “Nato to review nuclear weapon policy as attitude to Russia hardens.”

[92]               By way of contrast, in Britain, the ignorance of the public made little difference since the aristocracy and the monarch made the decisions; in dictatorships like the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, the public had even less influence.  The danger in a democracy is manipulation of the public through control of the media, unlimited financial intervention in politics and the belief that it has lost control.   Despite bouts of  public “activism,” this sense is growing.

[93]          Library of Congress Magazine, May-June 2014, Cory V. Langley “CRS at 100: Informing the Legislative Debate Since 1914.”       

[94]               Its origin and early work is described by Sherman Kent ,”The First Year of the Office of National Estimates”  It was written in 1970 and classified Secret; it was published by the CIA on June 24, 2015.  Also see Nicholas Dujmovic, “Fifty Years of Studies in Intelligence.”  Both are publications of the CIA Library.

[95]               Wells wrote An Intelligent American’s Guide to the Peace and created The American Foreign Policy Library that included books entitled The United States and______.  Volumes by John King Fairbank (on China), Edwin Reischauer (Japan) and my book on the Arab World were adopted by universities, colleges, military service training programs all over America and by UN organizations.  Other efforts included the Ford Foundation-funded Intercultural Publications series called Perspective of ____ that reached millions of secondary and college students.

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