Pages

Monday, May 16, 2022

Marx: The Philosopher King

"It’s possible that I shall make an ass of myself. But in that case one can always get out of it with a little dialectic. I have, of course, so worded my proposition as to be right either way." ~ Karl Marx, in a letter to Friedrich Engels (1857)

In light of the history of the last 120 years, it is clear that Marx did not make an ass of himself. He became the most powerful philosopher of the modern age. In the twentieth century, his ideas have touched (for good or bad) the life of the vast majority of people in most major countries. In the twenty-first century, it does not seem that the age of Marxism is over. He continues to be relevant. Intellectuals are in awe of his world historical philosophy. His ideas drive the politics and culture of most major countries.

The doctrines that have emerged from Marx’s works—socialism, communism, liberalism, neoliberalism, environmentalism, Maoism, and capitalism—are the fulcrum on which world’s politics revolves. (I include capitalism among the Marxist doctrines because while critiquing capitalism, he gave shape to it.) If Marx had not created his philosophy, there would be no capitalism (or socialism and communism). Marx is the only modern philosopher who deserves the Platonic title: “Philosopher King.”

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Voltaire’s Prayer and My Prayer

“I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.” ~ Voltaire 

I made the same prayer to God, but he hasn’t granted it yet. My enemies continue to thrive; they rule nations, multinational companies, academic institutions, and media entities.

The Original Ancient Texts Versus The Interpretations

What is written in the ancient religious and philosophical texts is of no consequence. What matters is how these ancient texts are being interpreted by the intellectuals. Most people do not directly access ancient texts. They get their truth ready-made—through the interpretations done by the intellectuals. The interpretations have a far greater influence on contemporary culture and politics than the content of the ancient texts.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Reforms of Lenin and Deng Xiaoping

In November 1921, Lenin wrote an article for the Pravda (No. 251) to justify the New Economic Policy (NEP) of Russia’s communist government that included practices like selling gold at commercial prices. He wrote: 

"When we are victorious on a world scale I think we shall use gold for the purpose of building public lavatories in the streets of some of the largest cities of the world. This would be the most “just” and most educational way of utilizing gold…”

“Meanwhile, we must save the gold in the R.S.F.S.R., sell it at the highest price, buy goods with it at the lowest price. When you live among wolves, you must howl like a wolf…” 

Lenin’s exhortation that one must “howl like a wolf” reminds me of the famous statement that China’s Deng Xiaoping made in the 1980s: "It doesn't matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice?"

When Stalin took power in 1925, he overturned Lenin’s economic reforms, and adopted the policy of socialist industrialization. Russia’s economy has not recovered till this day. Deng’s reforms were not overturned, and China became a major economic power.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Polytheism Versus Monotheism

For much of history, religious tolerance has been the rule and religious intolerance the exception. Before the rise of monotheistic semitic religions in the last 2000 years, violence for religious reasons was largely unknown. People of the ancient age (the age before the last 2000 years) fought for all kinds of reasons but hardly ever in the name of their God. 

The monotheistic God is a jealous God, an exclusivist God, and an intolerant God. He is not the God for everyone, only for his chosen ones. He promises to deliver his flock of chosen ones to heaven and utterly destroy the unbelievers who refuse to worship only him. He seeks to create a world in which his chosen ones rule, and only he is worshipped. In the last 2000 years, the armies led by this God have swept the world to conquer and convert. 

The polytheistic God is syncretic, inclusive, and broadminded. He resides in everyone and everything. Anything—a rock, a tree, a figurine—can be the symbol of this God. Due to his syncretic and inclusive nature, the polytheistic God does not divide the world between the chosen ones and the unbelievers. He does not lead armies to conquer and convert because of the polytheistic belief that God is in everyone and everything. 

In the last 2000 years, the polytheistic God has faced a significant political disadvantage. The monotheistic cultures developed political unity under the banner of “One God.” With this unity they created powerful armies. The polytheistic societies remained without political unity, and they could not develop powerful armies. In most parts of the world, in the clashes between polytheistic societies and warlike monotheists, the former lost.

Mankind cannot live without God, so atheism is not an option. The choice is between the polytheistic God and the monotheistic God. Religious harmony is not possible until there is a return to polytheism—I don’t think such a return is possible, since the monotheistic movements are very powerful.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

On Afghanistan’s Buddhist Past

Buddhism arrived in Afghanistan in the third century BC, when Emperor Ashoka conquered the country and made it a part of the Maurya Empire. Within a century, Buddhism was flourishing in Afghanistan. Buddhist monasteries and large statues of Buddha came up in several parts of Afghanistan and in modern day Pakistan and Transoxania. 

When the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang visited Afghanistan in 610 AD, he found that the Theravada sect of Buddhism was dominant there. In his writings, he mentions that in the Balkh region (Afghanistan’s most prosperous region in that period) there were more than 100 viharas and 3000 monks. He talks about a number of Buddhist centers of learning and holy sites where monks practiced meditation and spirituality. He describes a 35-meter statue of Buddha—he calls this statue Sakyamuni. He describes a statue of Buddha that was 186-meters high—the Bamiyan Buddha. He mentions a third, even larger, statue of the reclining Buddha, located to the east of the monastery in Bamiyan. He notes that the Buddha statues were adorned with gold and fine jewels. 

In his 2011 book, History of Buddhism in Afghanistan, Professor C. S. Upasak has described Afghanistan’s Buddhist past and its conversion to Islam after the eleventh century. From his book it becomes clear that most people in the regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan did not convert to Islam directly from Hinduism. First they became Buddhists, which is an offshoot of Hinduism, and a few centuries later, their descendants accepted Islam. The Mongol conquest of the thirteenth century was an important factor in eliminating Buddhism from Afghanistan. The irony is that the Mongols themselves became Buddhist—Mongolia is today a Buddhist majority country.

One Nation’s Funeral, Another Nation’s Festival

The funeral of one nation is the festival for another nation. In the last 300 years, the Western nations have enjoyed the maximum number of festivals while granting a lot of funerals to other nations and communities. 

In the twenty-first century, the world has changed. It is no longer possible for the Western nations to enjoy festivals while creating funerals in other nations. Now most nations are being ruled by powerful nationalistic regimes. The people in these nations are no longer disunited—they have developed a strong sense of their own history and culture. Now it is impossible for the Western countries to outrightly conquer and colonize other nations and communities, or take control of their resources, capital, markets, and labor by orchestrating coups and imposing puppet regimes.

Can the global economy continue to function as before when every nation is demanding a fair price for its resources, is keen to safeguard its capital, and is fighting for access to the world's markets? I don’t think so. The Western nations constitute a big chunk of the global economy, and their markets cannot survive without access to cheap resources, labor, and capital from non-Western nations. The fall of the West is certain—as they go down they will drag several nations down with them. The end of the world order is near.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

On History and Culture

A nation’s culture is founded on its history. A history written by outsiders leads to the imposition of an alien culture.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Hinduism and Gnosticism

In 1945, an Arab peasant named Muhammed Ali and his brothers were digging near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi for soft soil that they used to fertilize their crops. While digging near a boulder, they found a one meter high earthenware jar which contained thirteen papyrus books. Some of these papyrus books were destroyed because Ali's mother used them in the oven for kindling the fire. After a long and complicated process, the rest of the papyrus books reached scholars who understood their importance. 

The Nag Hammadi texts were the coptic translations, made in the second and third centuries AD, of much more ancient manuscripts written in Greek. They contained gnostic writings which had been denounced as heresy in the beginning of the Christian age. When Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, the Christian bishops acquired the power to prosecute the heretics. The gnostic preachers were martyred and their books were burned. The destruction of gnosticism by the Christian theologians was so thorough that before the discovery of the Nag Hammadi papyrus almost everything known about the gnostics came through approved Christian sources. 

Historians believe that the earthen jar containing the gnostic papyrus books, which had been denounced as heresy, were buried by a gnostic monk in the region of Nag Hammadi. The jar remained buried for almost 1600 years, until it was found by Mohammad Ali. The papyrus books contained fifty-two texts—six of them were duplicates, so there were forty-six original texts, out of which forty-one were not previously extant. 

The story of the origin of mankind that these texts tell is different from the Christian theology. For instance, the Testimony of Truth, tells the story of Adam and Eve from the viewpoint of the serpent who is depicted as the principle of divine wisdom. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says: “If spirit came into being because of the body, it is a wonder of wonders, indeed, I am amazed at how this great wealth [the spirit] has made its home in this poverty [the body].” This is in line with the Eastern or Hindu teaching that the soul resides in the body. 

In her book on Nag Hammadi texts, The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, points out that the living Buddha could have said many of the lines that the Gospel of Thomas attributes to living Jesus. She asks the question: “Could Hindu or Buddhist tradition have influenced gnosticism?” In the Nag Hammadi texts, there are several passages which seem to be connected with the teachings of the Upanishads and other Hindu and Buddhist texts.

The gnostic thinkers were exposed to Hindu philosophy. One of the last gnostic philosophers, Bardaisan (11 July 154 – 222 AD), was in contact with Brahmin thinkers from India. In two of his texts, Porphyry talks about the meetings between Bardaisan and the Brahmin thinkers. In his book, Refutation of All Heresies, the Christian theologian Hippolytus of Rome includes Brahminism in the list of heresies which have inspired the gnostic movement. Here’s an excerpt from Refutation of All Heresies (passage 1.24): 

“There is… among the Indians a heresy of those who philosophize among the Brahmins, who live a self-sufficient life, abstaining from (eating) living creatures and all cooked food… They say that God is light, not like the light one sees, nor like the sun nor fire, but to them God is discourse, not that which finds expression in articulate sounds, but that of knowledge (gnosis) through which the secret mysteries of nature are perceived by the wise.” 

Another interesting question that Pagels asks in her book is: “Could the title of the Gospel of Thomas—named for the disciple who, tradition tells us, went to India—suggest the influence of Indian tradition?”

One Thing That An Empire Cannot Do

There is one thing that an empire cannot do—it cannot indulge in doubt and weakness, for these tendencies will be detected by its rivals in no time. An empire that projects doubt and weakness is a dying empire.

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Origin of the Doctrine of Holy Wars

The European Christians were the first to develop the doctrine that the entirety of mankind must believe in one God, their God, and be converted to one religion, their religion. They were the first to proclaim that all Gods, except their own, should not be worshipped because they were false. They were the first to send Jesuit priests to all parts of the world to preach their religion and inspire conversions. They were the first to use political and military power to make people give up their traditional religious beliefs and accept the Christian faith. 

Before the rise of Christianity in Europe (during the fourth century, the age of Constantine the Great), nations fought wars for all kinds of reasons: to capture slaves, conquer territory, plunder, to capture natural resources and critical trade routes. But they never fought in the name of their God. They never tried to impose their religion on people in the countries that they conquered.

For instance, when Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, he did not try to force the Persians to convert en masse into the Greek religion. He allowed them to carry on with their religious beliefs. In fact, to endear himself to the Persian community, Alexander and his generals themselves converted to the Persian religion. When Alexander went to Egypt, he proclaimed that he venerated the Egyptian Gods, and that he was himself an Egyptian pharaoh. The Egyptian nobles loved him when he appeared before them attired as a pharaoh. 

The Roman Empire followed the policy of never interfering with the religious beliefs of the people in the territories that they conquered in Europe and North Africa. In pre-modern India, the Hindu kings used to  follow a very tolerant religious policy. Buddhism, an offshoot of Hinduism, was born in India and through the work of Buddhist monks it became a major religion in several nations—Japan, China, Thailand, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Burma. The Mongol king Genghis Khan never imposed his religion on the masses in the territories that his Mongol army conquered.

Even the Islamic rulers did not follow the policy of converting their subjects in the territories that they conquered in Europe (Al-Andalus Empire). From 711 to 1492, Al-Andalus was under the rule of Islamic monarchs but there was hardly any conversion to Islam. In her book, The Ornament of the World, Professor Maria Rosa Menocal notes that Christians were the majority community in Al-Andalus; the financial system and International trade in Al-Andalus was dominated by the Jews who constituted 10 percent of the population. 

In 1095, when the crusades were announced by Pope Urban II to liberate the Holy Land, Christians were in a majority in the Middle East and North Africa, and the Byzantine Empire, which was more than 90 percent Christian, was the most powerful state in the region. The religious zeal and violence of the invading crusaders drove the masses in this region into the arms of the Islamic preachers and rulers. By the end of the thirteenth century, the crusaders were driven out of the Middle East, and in the fifteenth century, the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottoman Turks.

By the end of the nineteenth century, when one-third of humanity had been converted, Christianity’s hold on the West began to unravel. In the 1970s, historian Ram Swarup observed that, due to the rationalist review done by Europe’s thinkers, “Christianity had had its teeth knocked out in the modern West…” He believed that when the work of Europe’s thinkers reached India, Christianity would cease to appeal to the Indian masses. He saw Islam and communism as the twentieth century’s powerful proselytizing forces.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Importance of Contradictions

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald. I believe that Fitzgerald is correct. An intelligent mind is like an Aladdin’s lamp—every time you rub the lamp, new knowledge conjoined with new contradictions emerge.

Man & the Human Condition

“Every man has within himself the entire human condition.” ~ Michel de Montaigne 

I can empathize with Montaigne’s statement. When I write my articles on history, philosophy, and politics, I am, in my own way, thinking about all of humanity.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Proselytization is a Shotgun Wedding

The union between a nation and the four proselytizing religions (Islam, Christianity, Communism, and Capitalism) is a shotgun wedding. Without political violence, en masse proselytization cannot happen. This is what history tells us. 

The world’s first project for large-scale proselytization was launched in Europe, in the final decades of the Roman Empire. After that Europe went through more than 1400 years of uninterrupted prosecutions and violence (this includes the crusades, the reconquista, the reformation wars, and numerous bloody campaigns against pagan tribes and cults). By the end of the Middle Ages, most Europeans had given up their pagan religion and converted to Christianity. Once Europe was converted, the Europeans emerged from their continent to convert the rest of the world—in this they achieved great success. Today Christianity is the world’s biggest religion, followed by Islam, and then by the two modern European religions, Communism and Capitalism.

The violence caused by the four proselytizing religions in Asia, the Americas, and Africa is comparable to the violence that Europe went through.

Friday, May 6, 2022

The Hindus: The Last of the Ancients

Victory in wars does not imply cultural superiority. Economic success does not imply cultural superiority. Many nations in the earlier ages, and in the present, have won wars and attained economic success because their culture was brutal, corrupt, and violent; their culture encouraged them to invade other nations to plunder, enslave, and proselytize. But in nations which were vanquished in the global conflicts, a significant part of the population took their defeat as a sign that the religion and culture of the victors was superior, and they became an easy target for enslavement and proselytization. 

In the last 1000 years, the four proselytizing religions—Islam, Christianity, Communism, and Capitalism—have swept the world and conquered 75 percent of mankind. There is immense pressure on the remaining 25 percent to enter the global bandwagon by accepting some form of the four proselytizing religions. Of these 25 percent holdouts, the vast majority (more than 85 percent) are the Hindus of India. There are several reasons—which I can’t express in this short three-paragraph article—which enabled India’s Hindus to elude the powerful attraction of the four proselytizing religions. But while eluding the proselytizing religions, India’s Hindus have failed to fully participate in the advancements in politics, science, and technology that took place during the last 250 years—the consequence of this failure is that they could not develop their society.

The Hindus are the last massive and mostly monolithic group of people (their population is 1.2 billion) who follow ancient moral and cultural beliefs. By ancient beliefs, I mean the beliefs which are founded on theories and mythologies which originated more than 2500 years ago. If a significant part of India’s Hindu population accepts another faith or ideology, then their ancient beliefs will be lost, and their society will get bogged down in civil wars which will go on for decades. Economic development, which can come through political reforms, and the strengthening of military capabilities, will be the key to their survival.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

India: The World’s Only Unconquered Civilization

India is the world’s only ancient civilization with a massive population that has not been conquered by the four proselytizing religions of the last 1000 years: Islam, Christianity, Communism, and Capitalism. All four of these proselytizing religions made major incursions inside India during the last 1000 years, but the bulk of the country remained unconquered. Hinduism (sanatana dharma) continues to be the dominant religion of this country—85 precent of the population continues to cling to their Hindu faith. There are a few other nations which remain unconquered: for example, Japan and Sri Lanka. But their population is very small, and their culture is founded on Buddhism, which is an offshoot of Hinduism.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Dresden Codex and the Mysterious Origin of Venus

In his 1950 book, Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky posited that Venus was released as a comet or comet-like object by Jupiter in 1500 BC, and that it passed close to earth. The near encounter between Venus and earth caused a change in earth’s orbit and its axis of rotation. According to Velikovsky, this resulted in massive catastrophes on earth which have been chronicled in ancient mythologies from around the world. 

At the time of the publication of Velikovsky’s book, scientists knew very little about Venus. As late as 1959, scientists believed that the surface temperature of Venus was 17 degrees centigrade—three degrees above the mean annual temperature of the earth—and that the atmosphere in Venus was as clear as that on earth. But Velikovsky theorized that due to its stormy history, Venus must be very hot and it would be radiating massive amounts of heat. He posited that Venus must be enveloped by a thick cloud of hydrocarbon gases and dust. 

Velikovsky’s view of Venus was vindicated in 1961, when radio telescopes found that the ground temperature of Venus was between 315 degrees and 600 degrees centigrade. In December 1962, the Mariner II spacecraft passed Venus, and it detected surface temperatures as high as 800 degrees centigrade. On the basis of the data sent by Mariner II, NASA scientists announced in February 1963 that Venus was shrouded in a 15 mile thick cloud of hydrocarbon gases and dust, hovering 45 miles above the ground. 

Even though Velikovsky was right about some characteristics of Venus (and of Jupiter and earth), scientists have rejected his theory that Venus was a comet which caused catastrophes on earth when it became a planet, around 1500 BC. 

The Dresden Codex, one of the only four Maya codices which survived the book burnings orchestrated by the Spanish conquistadors and Jesuits in the Americas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, contains data related to Venus movements that some historians believe correlates with the idea of a close encounter between earth and Venus. The Dresden Codex was probably written in the 12th century AD. But archeologists believe that it was composed centuries before that, and it was copied for generations. 

The Maya were great astronomers—they developed some of the most accurate pre-telescope data on the movement of celestial bodies. Most of their recordings correlate with modern measurements. Their data of the sky in the period of 1500 BC, contained in the Dresden Codex, suggests a very anomalous behavior in the movement of Venus and earth.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The European Reaction to the Mayan Concept of Zero

In the sixteenth century, when Europe's first Jesuit priests made contact with the Maya in the Americas, and they examined the Mayan texts, they found that the Maya were using zero in their calculations. For the Jesuits, the use of zero was a heresy which had to be stamped out. To eradicate Maya religion, the Jesuits ordered the burning of every Mayan texts that they could lay their hands on. The biggest bonfire of Mayan texts was orchestrated on July 12, 1562, on the orders of Spanish Bishop Diego de Landa. In this bonfire, thousands of texts and images, some of them thousands of years old, were burned. Thus, much of Mayan history was wiped out. 

Since most Mayan texts were burned, it is not clear when and how the Maya discovered their concept of zero, and how they used zero in their philosophy and calculations. In Asia, the concept of zero was discovered more than 4000 years ago, by the Hindus of India and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia. In the ancient Hindu theory of creation, the universe began with nothingness, or sunyata (void). The Hindus theorized that God created the universe out of nothing, and that before the visible universe became extant there was sunyata. This kind of theory of creation made the Hindus comfortable with the concept of zero, and with the converse of zero, infinity. Ancient Hindu texts contain numerous references to the concepts of zero and infinity. The philosophy of sunyata has played a critical role in Hindu religious thought.

The Ancient Greek story of creation began with something—the realm of the Gods. The Greeks theorized that a void could not exist, since the realm of Gods was eternal. Such a story of creation made the Greeks uncomfortable with the concept of zero. For them zero was a heretical and alien concept. Christian Europe inherited the Greek view of zero. It was due to European discomfort with the concept of zero that the Roman Numeral System, which was used in Europe for more than 1800 years, did not have a symbol for zero. Right up to the sixteenth century, the Church decreed the use of zero as a heresy, and they kept this concept out of mainstream mathematics. The use of zero became acceptable to the Church in 1582, when the Gregorian calendar was authorized by Pope Gregory XIII.

Who Will Sacrifice the Lion?

“The Vedas had prescribed that a lion should be slaughtered in one of the sacrifices. But who would catch a lion? So the poor goat was substituted for it. Why? Simply because the goat was weak… It is indeed a sin and a crime to be weak. It is only the strong who can fight for dharma (righteousness) and practice kshama (forgiveness).” ~ Sita Ram Goel in his 1982 essay “From Gandhism to Communism.”

Monday, May 2, 2022

China and the Threat of American Sanctions

On April 22, Chinese regulators held an emergency meeting with foreign and domestic banks to develop strategies for protecting China’s overseas assets from American sanctions. The conference included bureaucrats from China’s central bank and finance ministry, as well as executives from several local and international lenders such as HSBC. 

China is worried that in the event of a conflict, or some other crisis, it might have to bear the brunt of American sanctions similar to those imposed on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. President Xi Jinping’s government has refused to cut ties with Russia. The Chinese banks are concerned that getting into large transactions with Russia might trigger America’s sanctions.

If China decides to provide military aid to Russia in the ongoing Ukraine war, or if it moves against Taiwan, it could face sanctions from America. China’s dollar-denominated assets include more than $1 trillion in US Treasury bonds and several high profile investments in America and Western Europe. For instance, China’s Dajia Insurance Group owns the Waldorf Astoria New York. 

Like China, most major non-Western countries are worried about the safety of their overseas assets and their ability to trade globally, in case they get into a conflict with America and its allies. Like China, these countries are now engaged in developing strategies for saving their overseas assets and global trade. Suspicion of America’s economic power is at an all time high. 

The dollar and the financial systems for conducting global trade are not conventional economic tools. These are the most deadly weapons in America’s arsenal. America has weaponized the dollar. It has weaponized its financial systems. 

The American government has the power to wreck the economy of its enemies by putting a freeze on their overseas assets, and by hindering them from accessing global trade. America has misused this power several times in the past. This country has a long history of imposing sanctions on other countries for its political and economic agenda. 

Since the Second World War, America has orchestrated more coups and wars than any other nation in history. It owns more puppet regimes and overseas military bases than any other nation in history. By using the threat of sanctions, America forces other countries to ignore or support its overseas misadventures.

The non-Western countries must develop their own globally acceptable currencies and financial systems for participating in global trade. A free and fair global market system cannot be created as long as the dollar is the global reserve currency and most of the global trading systems are under America’s control.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

On Churchill’s Unnecessary War

In the preface to the first volume of his six-volume history, The Second World War, Churchill wrote: “One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once ‘The Unnecessary War.’ There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle.” 

Churchill knew that the Europeans had blundered into one of the costliest and bloodiest wars of the modern age. But he had played a major role in making this blunder possible, since he was Europe's biggest warmonger and warlord. During his lifetime, there was never a war that he did not support, relish, and use to promote his political career. The distinctive feature of his political career, extending over more than five decades (1900 to 1955), can be summarized in a single sentence: During war times, his political fortune soared; in times of peace, it plummeted. The greater the war, the greater was the glory and power that he accumulated. 

Churchill's fanatical anti-German obsession made it impossible for him to look for a diplomatic solution to the European crisis of the 1920s and 1930s. His incessant beating of war drums played a critical role in ensuring that the Europeans blundered into the Second World War. Like the First World War, the Second World War was a European civil war. (Napoleon reportedly said in 1802 that all European wars are civil wars.)

On America’s Invasion of Grenada

In April 1975, the American military was defeated in Vietnam. On October  23, 1983, the U.S. Marines Corps barracks in Beirut suffered a devastating attack in which hundreds were killed—this was the bloodiest attack ever on an American military post. 

The American political establishment was now in a desperate need of flexing its muscles somewhere in the world to prove to their own population and to outsiders that they were still capable of fighting wars. So Ronald Reagan decided to invade the “tiny” state of Grenada which has a population of barely 100,000 people and an army consisting of less than 2000 lightly-armed and badly-trained soldiers. On October 25, just two days after the Beirut attack on Marines Corps barracks, the American military (about 7,600 soldiers equipped with high-tech weaponry and air support) invaded Grenada. 

There was no military reason for invading Grenada. The Reagan administration orchestrated the invasion for the sole purpose of proving that America was not a weak nation. In his speech, Reagan proclaimed: “Our days of weakness are over! Our military forces are back on their feet, and standing tall!” The world was not convinced by Reagan’s tough talk. Grenada, a tiny nation with barely any military, is not the place where you prove your strength. You prove your strength by fighting someone of your own size.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

On NATO’s Eastward Expansion

In 1990, during the negotiations for Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe, Gorbachev said that he wanted united Germany to become a nonaligned and nuclear-free state. Helmut Kohl gave the impression that he was warm to the idea of a united Germany getting out of NATO, being nonaligned, and being free of nuclear missiles. 

Kohl eventually decided to stay in NATO because of American pressure—the Americans did not want to lose their military foothold in Europe, so they insisted that Germany must remain in NATO. James Baker assured his counterparts in the Soviet Union that NATO would not expand eastward by an inch. But after the Soviet Union had withdrawn its troops from Eastern Europe, and Germany was unified, the American side reneged on their promise. NATO began to expand eastward. In 1996, Bill Clinton declared that eastward expansion of NATO was a crucial part of his presidency. 

Between 1999 and 2017, fourteen Eastern European countries became part of NATO: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia. 

At the June 2021 Brussels summit, NATO leaders declared that they had decided to make Ukraine part of NATO. This declaration was extreme provocation; it forced Putin’s hand—if he did not invade Ukraine, then NATO would have reached Russia’s border. It is America’s and NATO’s warlords, not Putin, who are responsible for the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Friday, April 29, 2022

The IMF Regards Inflation as an Unintended Consequence

The IMF now acknowledges that the central banks have printed too much money. In an event hosted by CNBC, on April 21, 2022, Kristalina Georgieva, chair and managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said:

“I think we are not paying sufficient attention to the law of unintended consequences. We take decisions with an objective in mind and rarely think through what may happen that is not our objective. And then we wrestle with the impact of it. Take any decision that is a massive decision, like the decision that we need to spend to support the economy. At that time, we did recognize that maybe too much money in circulation and too few goods, but didn’t really quite think through the consequences in a way that upfront would have informed better what we do.”

Why didn’t Georgieva know that injecting trillions of dollars into the world economy would cause inflation? This is basic economics. She knows basic economics but she is lying. The world is run by very smart people who are the experts in doing very stupid things.

I believe that inflation is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it performs the role of Thor’s thunderbolt which cleanses (or frees) the world by smashing into powerful tyrannical entities and tearing them into bits. The thunderbolt of contemporary inflation is currently smashing into the dollar’s paper empire. There is nothing that the IMF, and other “Made in America” financial institutions, can do to tackle inflation. Inflation will not go away till it has brought the dollar’s paper empire down.

Kissinger: The Arrogant German Wagnerian

Henry Kissinger believed that only the Western nations produce history and what happens in the rest of the world is of no consequence. He articulated this view in June 1969, when he got into a confrontation with Gabriel Valdes, the foreign minister in Chile's Christian Democratic government. The previous day, during a meeting in the White House, Valdes had said that it was difficult for the Latin American nations to deal with the United States. Nixon was irritated by Valdes's complaints. 

The next day, Kissinger confronted Valdes at a private lunch. 

Kissinger said: "Mr. Minister, you made a strange speech. You come here speaking of Latin America, but this is not important. Nothing important can come from the South. History has never been produced in the South. The axis of history starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses over to Washington, and then goes to Tokyo. What happens in the South is of no importance. You're wasting your time.” 

Valdes replied: "Mr. Kissinger, you know nothing of the South.” 

"No," Kissinger answered, "and I don't care." 

Valdes was shocked and insulted by Kissinger’s attitude. He told Kissinger: "You are a German Wagnerian. You are a very arrogant man.” 

In his book, The Price of Power, Seymour Hersh has described the tense exchange between Kissinger and Valdes.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

On China’s Foreign Policy: From Deng to Xi

When he retired from politics, Deng Xiaoping gave his last advice to his successor Jiang Zemin. Deng said, “You must assume a low profile in matters of foreign policy. Bide your time. Don’t get into conflicts by trying to take a lead in international matters.” Jiang followed Deng’s advice assiduously. He cooperated with America and other global powers to the maximum extent. Hu Jintao, who succeeded Jiang, too preferred to keep a low profile in matters of foreign policy. But things have changed with Xi Jinping taking over as the General Secretary of the CCP. Xi’s China is pursuing an aggressive foreign policy. Xi has opposed America on a number of international issues—the most recent being his refusal to abide by America’s sanctions against Russia.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

On the 1954 Coup in Guatemala

The story of the 1954 coup in Guatemala, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jacobo Árbenz, is a deeply disturbing, textbook example of multinational corporations misusing America’s power to subvert the politics and economy of developing countries. In the twentieth century, and perhaps in the twenty-first as well,  many of these multinationals were operating like the East India Company. 

The United Fruit Company, and two other multinationals—Electric Bond & Share and International Railways of Central America—had founded colonial empires in Guatemala and a few other Latin American states. In 1951, when Árbenz was elected as the president, and he announced his sweeping land reforms and industrial reforms to modernize Guatemala, the multinationals were worried. The executives of these companies lobbied with the American government and pleaded for the overthrow of Árbenz’s government. 

They found support from secretary of state John Foster Dulles, who had spent decades working for the world's most powerful corporations, including United Fruit. In 1953, Dulles ordered a coup in Iran to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Mosaddegh and save the profits of American oil companies. A year later, he ordered a coup in Guatemala. In both cases, Dulles used the bogey of communism—in 1953, Mosaddegh was accused of being a communist, and, in 1954, the same accusation was leveled against Árbenz.  

There was no evidence that Árbenz was leading Guatemala towards communism. Even if he was, Guatemalans had the right to choose any type of government. In the 1950s, Guatemala did not have any military and economic ties, or even diplomatic ties, with the Soviet Union. In fact, Árbenz  was aiming to bring capitalism to his country. In his inaugural address in 1951, he said that the fundamental objective of his government was to convert Guatemala “from a country bound by predominantly feudal economy into a modern capitalist state.”

In the spring of 1954, Dulles accepted that it was “impossible to produce evidence clearly tying the Guatemalan government to Moscow,” and he insisted that the American leaders were acting against the Guatemalan government “based on our deep conviction that such a tie must exist.” This is such an absurd argument from Dulles—it is shocking that a man who used to operate on things like “deep conviction” could become America’s secretary of state and wield the power to overthrow foreign governments. 

The only sin that Árbenz had committed was that he was trying to modernize Guatemala. Most of his policies were a continuation of the initiatives taken by his predecessor Juan José Arévalo, Guatemala’s first democratically elected president. Árbenz was trying to stop the multinationals from treating Guatemala as their colony. He said that the Guatemalan government, not the multinationals, should be in control of his country’s natural resources. He was demanding that the multinationals should fulfill their promise of investing in infrastructure projects.

In the end, the multinationals and the American political establishment had their way. They crushed the democratic movement that held great promise for South America. In June 1954, Árbenz’s government was overthrown and a rightist military regime (a puppet of the American multinationals) came into power.

Karl Marx’s Wife Owned Stocks

In January 1992, at a time when he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had lost partial control of his limbs, Deng Xiaoping went on his final mission to defend his policy of economic reforms. This was his five-week southern tour of China’s thriving coastal cities and special economic zones (SEZs). The purpose of his tour was to remind the Chinese masses that the country had benefited tremendously from his government’s economic reforms. He said that if the reforms were discontinued then China would face a Soviet-style meltdown. To counter the conservatives in the CCP, who were claiming that the reforms had led to the rise of stock exchanges which were like gambling dens, Deng said that trading in stocks was not antithetical to Marxism and Maoism. He said that even Karl Marx’s wife owned stocks—I don’t know if this is true.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Road to Tiananmen Square

“You are more likely to die by the treatments prescribed by your radical doctor than by your diseases.” ~ this saying became popular in China during the 1980s. 

In early 1980s, several communist party politicians and intellectuals were voicing doubts about Deng Xiaoping’s economic and political reforms. They argued that Deng was the radical doctor whose medicine for curing the disease of Maoism would kill the patient: China. They argued that if the pace of reforms was not brought down to manageable levels then China could be destroyed in a violent counterrevolution. Deng had to accept that the social edifice of urban areas was fracturing; that the new breed of intellectuals were being too irreverent to socialist ideology and to Mao himself; that capitalist problems like prostitution, drugs, consumerism, and crime were plaguing the urban areas; that the new breed of entrepreneurs were flaunting too much wealth and were provoking jealousy and frustration in the poorer sections of society; that rising income inequality was threatening to divide society into warring classes.

By 1984, Deng had considerably slowed the pace of reforms. But the genie of democracy and freedom was out of the bottle; the Chinese masses, especially the college educated anti-Mao young generation were not ready to go back to the old socialist way of life. A brutal display of state power was necessary to rein in the young generation and stabilize China—this came in 1989 in Tiananmen Square when, on the orders of Deng, thousands of pro-democracy agitators were massacred by PLA troops.

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Capitalist Virus & the Communist Cure

Capitalism is a virus which enfeebles a nation’s political brain and turns its economy into a colony of the Western oligarchic regimes; communism is the cure. This is the one line explanation for the phenomenal rise in the popularity of communism in the last 120 years.

Several nations in which the Western powers (chiefly America and Britain) have intervened in the last 120 years, the masses have united under the banner of communism. You see this trend in the Philippines, Russia, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Chile, Cambodia, Panama, Guatemala, Vietnam, North Korea, and several nations in Eastern Europe. In Iran, where the communists failed to throw out the West in the 1950s, politics took a theocratic turn. In the 1970s, the Iranians flocked around an Islamic movement which freed them from the West and brought to them the power to determine their own future. Like communism, the radical Islamic movements are a reaction to the West’s colonial mindset.

Russia is the only country in which communism has arrived through the work of communist intellectuals (Lenin, Trotsky). In other countries, communism was used as a mass mobilization strategy and a weapon. For instance, South America’s most celebrated communist leader, Castro, was not a communist while he was leading a rebellion against the America-backed Batista regime, and during the initial period of his rule. He used communist slogans to enthuse his followers but he was not an ideologue. Che Guevara has said that he hoped that one day Castro would become a communist. Castro became a communist and an ally of the Soviet Union, after successive American presidents made attempts to depose him.

The Fall of Lin Biao

Mao’s defense minister and the latest heir apparent, Lin Biao, paid with his life for Mao’s abrupt change of policy towards America in 1971. For three decades, Mao and Zhou Enlai had excoriated America with epithets like “the capitalist devil,” and “the evil imperialists.” The idea of making peace with the capitalist devil and evil imperialists raised numerous eyebrows in the CCP, including those of Lin who was a dogmatic communist. 

Lin had worked closely with Mao since the 1940s. He had made significant contributions in promoting Mao’s cult of personality. In April 1969, Mao had declared that Lin was his "closest comrade-in-arms and successor.” But when Mao proposed his radical policy of rapprochement with America, Lin lost faith in Maoism. He denounced Zhou Enlai’s meeting with Kissinger. He argued that America and the Soviet Union were colluding to contain China. He publicly stated that Mao should never agree to meet Nixon. 

In September 1971, the supporters of Mao revealed that Lin was killed in a plane crash, while he was trying to flee China. They alleged that Lin was plotting a coup against Mao. The coup plot was called Project 571, and it entailed the establishment of a military regime under Lin’s leadership after the assassination of Mao. When the coup was discovered and the plots to assassinate Mao were foiled, Lin tried to flee to the Soviet Union in a British made Trident aircraft which ran out of fuel over Mongolia and crashed, killing everyone aboard. 

Following his death, Lin was condemned as a traitor by the CCP. He was accused of being a pro-Soviet “revisionist and traitor,” “a capitalist roader,” “an enemy of the peasant class,” and “a swindler like Liu Shaoqi.” 

Lin’s son, a pilot in the Chinese air force, who had political ambitions, was accused of being part of the plot to kill Mao. He was arrested. During a search of Lin’s son’s property documents were found in which Mao was being contemptuously described as an “old B-52 that soars unseen in the sky and drops bombs on political rivals on the ground.” Mao was being compared to the B-52s that the Americans were using to bomb the communist strongholds in Vietnam.  

However, there are many holes in the official Chinese explanation for Lin’s death. The Soviet and Mongolian officials, who were the first to arrive at the scene where Lin’s aircraft had crashed, reported that there were bullet holes in the aircraft. Many of the charred bodies that they recovered, including Lin’s body, had bullets in them. There was probably a gunfight inside the aircraft and then the pilots lost control.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Kissinger’s Meeting With Zhou Enlai

In July 1971, Henry Kissinger was on a routine tour of Asia. While he was in Pakistan, he suffered from a heatstroke. He was taken to a resort, located somewhere in North Pakistan for rest and treatment. A secret mission was now in progress. A lookalike of Kissinger took his place in the resort, while the real Kissinger boarded a plane for Beijing where he met the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai.

Kissinger assured Zhou that America would not collude with the Soviet Union against China. Zhou insisted that a rapprochement was not possible until America accepted China’s ownership of Taiwan. Kissinger acknowledged that Taiwan would probably be under Beijing’s control if the Korean War had not happened. Kissinger promised Zhou that President Nixon was ready to allow China to have a seat at the UN, and in a moment of indiscretion, he said that Nixon intended to cut America’s losses in Vietnam and withdraw. 

Zhou listened to Kissinger impassively but he was definitely pleased by all that Kissinger was offering. He had cordial relations with Ho Chi Minh’s Vietcong, and it is likely that he passed to the Vietcong the information that America wanted to withdraw from Vietnam. This information must have emboldened the Vietcong to push harder for expediting America’s flight from Vietnam. 

Soon after the meeting between Kissinger and Zhou, the two sides released the joint statement that Zhou had invited Nixon to visit China, and Nixon had accepted.

In October 1971, when Albania presented in the General Assembly the resolution for allowing the People's Republic of China to join the UN as the sole legal representative of China, for the first time America and its allies did not oppose. The delegates from Taiwan, who had hitherto been the legal representative of China in the UN, realized that the direction of the political wind had changed in Washington. They departed from the General Assembly, paving the way for China to become a member.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

The Korean War of the 1950s

The Korean War was the first act of lunacy committed by the USA after the Second World War. If the USA had not got involved in the Korean Peninsula, China would not have intervened, and the two halves of the Korean peninsula would have settled their dispute on their own, resulting in Korea becoming a united country in the 1950s. A united Korea would not have remained communist for long. Like Vietnam, it would have within a decade or two developed into a free market society, a possible counterweight to China in South Asia. 

In the early 1950s, the North Korean leader Kim Il-sung met Stalin and asked his permission to unify the Korean Peninsula. At first, Stalin was not willing to grant his permission. When Kim insisted, Stalin told him that if he was starting a war, then he should keep in mind that when the Americans gave him a bloody nose, Russia would not come to his rescue. Kim insisted that he could unify Korea with his own troops. 

The North Korean offensive against South Korea, which was then being led by Syngman Rhee, began on 25 June 1950. The South Korean troops were on the verge of defeat, when the USA sent an army under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. The American troops managed to repel the North Korean attack. But MacArthur, an egoist five star general who harbored political ambitions, was not going to be satisfied by rescuing South Korea. He wanted to expand the area of the war and inflict a decisive blow on China.  

On 1 October 1950, MacArthur’s forces crossed the 38th parallel (the original boundary between North and South Korea) and moved towards China. Nineteen days later,  two hundred thousand Chinese troops poured into North Korea to stop the American troops. The first confrontation between the Chinese and American troops happened on 1 November 1950. In the series of confrontations that followed, both sides lost thousands of soldiers, and the American troops had to surrender the gains that they had made in North Korea. 

This setback made MacArthur consider the use of nuclear weapons in North Korea and China. Had he used nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula, it is certain that Stalin would have used such weapons in Europe. President Truman disagreed with MacArthur on the aims of the war. On April 11, 1951, Truman fired MacArthur for insubordination. 

With MacArthur gone, the Chinese side became ready to negotiate a ceasefire. But now Stalin was not ready to allow the North Korean and the Chinese sides to accept a ceasefire. He had realized that with hundreds of thousands of their troops bogged down in South Korea, the Americans were not in a position to counter the Soviet Union in Europe. Therefore, he was satisfied with letting the war drag on for another two years, with heavy casualties on both sides, and no advantage to be gained by either. 

The deadlock in the Korean Peninsula could be broken only after Stalin’s death in March 1953. In the new settlement, the ceasefire line was the 38th parallel, the original border between North and South Korea. In the three years of warfare, 40,000 American soldiers had died and 100,000 were injured, and, according American estimates, the Chinese and North Koreans had suffered 1.42 to 1.5 million casualties—all this for exactly nothing.

Mao’s Swim in the Yangtze River

In July 1966, China’s major newspaper, The People’s Daily, published on its front page a large photograph of Chairman Mao Zedong swimming in the Yangtze River. The press note that accompanied the photograph declared that Mao had managed to swim 15 kilometers in just 65 minutes. This is four times the current world record for this distance. 

Mao was then 73-years old and potbellied—yet he managed to swim faster than any Olympic swimmer. There was a political agenda behind Mao’s swim in the Yangtze. Having declared the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution on May 16, 1966, he wanted to show to the Chinese people that, despite his age, he was a powerful man, and that he was fit to rule China. He had employed the strategy of swimming in the Yangtze River several times in the past to prove his power.  

Years after Mao’s death, his personal physician Li Zhisui revealed that Mao did not swim in the Yangtze. There was so much gas in his potbelly that he did not sink when he lay down on the river’s water. He bobbed up and down downstream for a short distance.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling: The Couple Who Lost China

The Guomindang Party (GMD), led by China’s nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek, was the dominant political force in China till 1945. If Chiang had kept an eye on the political reality in China, if he had made an effort to listen to the concerns of the Chinese masses, and if he had not made the mistake of moving too close to America during the Second World War, he might have succeeded in wiping out Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Chiang’s glamorous wife, Soong Mei-ling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek), had started playing an outsized political role during the Second World War. She accompanied her husband to international meetings—since she was fluent in English, she served as Chiang’s interpreter at the November 1943 meeting with Roosevelt and Churchill in Tehran. She was often photographed with American politicians, film stars, and vapid celebrities. 

In October 1942, President Roosevelt dispatched Wendell Willkie, who had unsuccessfully run for presidency on a Republican ticket in 1940, on a goodwill mission to China. According to widely believed rumors, Willkie was seduced by Chiang’s wife. At a formal meeting, Soong told Wilkie that she found him to be a “very disturbing influence”—a comment that left him visibly delighted. 

During a reception that evening, Willkie and Soong disappeared. According to one eyewitness, who was a part of the American contingent, Wilkie appeared at 4 AM, looking “very buoyant... cocky as a young college student after a successful night with a girl.” Two months later, Soong flew to the USA on a goodwill mission to raise economic and military support for China’s nationalists. 

While she was in America, she met the American president and other politicians. She hobnobbed with celebrities, and she addressed gatherings of up to 30,000. To tearful American audiences, she described how the Chinese had suffered during the Nanjing Massacre orchestrated by the Japanese. She was on the Time magazine cover in the March 1, 1943 edition—before this she had been featured twice on Time cover along with her husband, on October 26, 1931 and January 3, 1937.

The Americans were fascinated by Soong and they were behind Chiang's nationalist government. But a large section of China’s population had now come to despise Chiang and Soong. They saw Mao as their leader. By 1945, the CCP’s membership had swelled to 1.2 million and the PLA (which was then the military wing of the CCP) had more than 900,000 troops. Now Mao was in a position to mount a serious challenge against the nationalists.

The GMD still enjoyed a two to one superiority over the PLA, and they were armed with advanced American weapons and had access to America's diplomatic and intelligence support. But Mao had the backing of the Chinese masses and he was using revolutionary people’s war tactics which enabled his lightly armed communist forces to surround the cities from the outside and inflict catastrophic damage on the nationalist strongholds. 

By 1948, the tide of the political battle had turned. Large number of nationalist troops started to defect to the communist side. Chiang and Soong were totally discredited in China—they were being seen as the agents of American capitalism. One by one the Chinese cities fell to the communists and in 1949 Mao won the civil war. He established the PRC. Chiang and Soong fled to Taiwan along with several of their supporters.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Oncoming Dollar Apocalypse

All currencies have become extinct at some point of time. In the next five years, the American dollar will become extinct. 

Israel’s central bank has slashed the share of dollar and euro in its reserve holdings and added the Chinese yuan for the first time. The share of the dollar in Israel’s reserve will come down from 66.5 to 61 percent; that of the euro from 30 to 20 percent. 

Russia, China, India, Brazil, and the nations in the Middle East and Western Europe are taking steps to reduce their exposure to the dollar. For fifty years, Saudi Arabia sold its oil in dollars. Now they are negotiating with China to finalize a yuan-based oil deal. 

The writing is on the wall: America is a dying predator, and the dollar-apocalypse is on the verge of being unleashed. All nations (including America and its Western allies) have to prepare for the oncoming dollar-apocalypse. 

As the American economy continues to tumble, the movement away from the dollar will become a stampede. The central banks will flee from the dollar as the wildebeests, zebra, and deer in the African savanna flee from the lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, and hyenas. 

The extinction of the dollar will mark the end of the age of paper currency, which began in the 1970s when Nixon delinked the dollar from gold. To create alternatives to the dollar, many nations will peg their currency to gold—this is something to look forward to.

Himmler's Instruction to the Gestapo

In movies and books, Hitler’s secret police, the dreaded Gestapo, is often represented as a huge, monolithic, omnipresent force. But the reality is that till the outbreak of the war, the Gestapo had just 7000 officials, and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD: the internal security agency) had just 5000 officials. In contrast Britain had ten times more secret police officials for just London—in rest of Britain, the number of such officials was much higher. 

With their small employee strength, the Gestapo was not in a position to fully investigate even one percent of the reports that were brought before them. They relied on the testimony of their informants and the cooperation of the public. 

Himmler, the head of the SS and SD, who was in control of the Gestapo, had instructed his officials to conduct themselves in such a way that the Germans would trust them, even as they feared them. In this way, the public could be made to believe that the arrests were justified. He believed that the Germans should be left alone to self-police themselves. The brutality of the Gestapo was reserved for the minorities and foreigners.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Geopolitical Strategy of Mohammad Ali

“Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee.” ~ Mohammad Ali’s strategy for defeating a more powerful opponent in the boxing ring. 

Ali’s strategy can be used by weaker nations which want to destroy a powerful empire. If they got into a military confrontation with the empire, they would risk annihilation. So they should adopt the strategy of floating like a butterfly and pretending to be harmless. At the right moment, they should sting like a bee. If the empire is inflicted with a thousand bee-like stings, then it could fall and die. History tells us that most empires were brought down by rivals who used the strategy of floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. 

China can be held as the example of a nation that has used Mohammad Ali’s strategy to outfox its Western and Asian rivals. In its rivalry with America, China seems to float like a butterfly and, whenever it sees an opportunity, it stings America like a bee. Without getting into a single major military conflict since 1977 (this is China's unique achievement: it is the only nation in history that has risen so fast without fighting major wars), China has captured a slice of the American economy; it has surpassed America in manufacturing, and is now a much feared world power. 

In 1960, China’s economy was smaller than India’s economy, while the American economy was close to half of the world economy. Now America’s share in the world economy has declined by 80 percent, while the Chinese economy is second largest in the world. China could not have grown so fast if it was not more farther-seeing than America. 

America has never floated like a butterfly. It does not sting like a bee either. It follows the policy of regime change. In the 110 year period, between 1893, when the Hawaii monarchy was overthrown, and 2003, when Saddam Hussain’s government in Iraq was overthrown, America has been continuously engaged in toppling governments through wars and by orchestrating coups and insurgencies. From the vantage point of history, it is clear that these regime change operations have weakened the American economy and security.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Turkey Invades Iraq

In the last twenty-four hours, Russia has escalated its offensive in Ukraine, and Turkey has invaded Northern Iraq. If the Turks are invading Northern Iraq, then what stops the Iranians from moving into Eastern Iraq? 

America is responsible for weakening Iraq and making it an easy target for invaders. In March 2003, the Americans invaded Iraq and they overthrew the government of Saddam Hussain. The American government of that time had proclaimed that they aimed to bring democracy and peace to Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Instead of improving things, they made the situation in the region much worse than the period when Saddam was in power. Due to America’s naive policies, Iraq had to suffer years of instability and insurgency which resulted in a massive loss of lives. Now the country is being invaded by its neighbor. What is America going to do now? 

If America sanctions Turkey, at a time when Russia is already under sanctions (and Iran under partial sanctions), then oil could go beyond $300 a barrel. (Another news is that there were border clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last three days.)

Goebbels’s Invocation of the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg

Goebbels was thrilled when learned about Roosevelt’s death on 12 April 1945. He instantly telephoned Hitler, who was sunk in depression in the Reich Chancellery bunker. “My führer!” Goebbels said. “I congratulate you. Roosevelt is dead.” With the objective of raising Hitler’s spirits, he said, “It is written in the stars that the second half of April will be the turning point for us. This Friday 13 April is the turning point.” 

For many days Goebbels had been trying to pull Hitler out of gloom by reading to him from Carlyle’s book, History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great. He had also read to Hitler the passage where Frederick was contemplating suicide when he was at the lowest point of the Seven Years War. Frederick was stopped from taking his own life, when he suddenly received the news of the death of Russia’s Tsarina Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s nephew Peter III, who succeeded her on Russia's throne, was Frederick’s admirer. 

Goebbels said to Hitler: “The miracle of the House of Brandenburg has come to pass.”

Frederick had used the phrase “the miracle of the House of Brandenburg” to describe the failure of Russia and Austria to follow up their victory over him at the Battle of Kunersdorf in August 1759, during the Seven Years War. This phrase symbolizes Russia’s switching sides in the war in 1762, saving Prussia from a certain defeat. Goebbels was suggesting to Hitler that history might repeat itself in 1945: Russia could switch sides again.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Napoleon on China

Napoleon once said of china: “There lies a sleeping giant. Let it sleep, for when it wakes it will shake the world.” The sleeping giant that Napoleon saw is wide awake. It understands its potential. It is restless. It is ambitious. It wants to dominate the globe. It is deeply suspicious of the West. It wants to take all that the West has.

Hitler’s Nero Decree

During the last days of his reign, Hitler had decided that he would “take the whole world” with him when he died. On March 19, 1945, he passed the Nero decree which stipulated that all bridges, dams, factories, and utility complexes were to be destroyed as the German army retreated. The decree was named after the Roman Emperor Nero, who, according to an apocryphal account, had orchestrated the great fire of Rome in 64 AD. 

The responsibility for implementing the decree fell on Albert Speer, Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, who was appalled by the order and disobeyed it. In April 1945, days before Hitler’s suicide, Speer visited Hitler in his bunker. He confessed that the Nero decree was not implemented. Hitler was furious but he allowed Speer to leave the bunker. Speer was prosecuted at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20-years in prison.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Nazis Who Never Lost Their Faith

In December 1944, the 12th SS Hitlerjugend division, which consisted of soldiers who were fanatically devoted to the führer, was deployed against the American Army in the Ardennes offensive (the Battle of the Bulge). 

The officers in the division had warned their soldiers that if any SS soldier surrendered without suffering incapacitating injury, he would be treated as a traitor. When some soldiers were injured during the battle and were captured by the American troops, they rejected transfusion of foreign blood, which they saw as blood drawn from the body of racial inferiors. They preferred to die with German blood flowing in their veins.

As late as 1945, when most German cities and towns had suffered a series of devastating bombing raids and were reduced to rubble, and it was clear that Hitler had lost the war, the SS soldiers (Schutzstaffel) did not lose their faith in the führer and were ready to die for him. They remained loyal to the Nazi doctrine of German (Aryan) supremacy.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Devastating Air Raids of Arthur Harris

The paradox of the Second World War was that the British Air Force (RAF) was responsible for the deaths of many more civilians in Western Europe than Hitler’s Luftwaffe. The head of Bomber Command in the RAF, Arthur Harris (also known as Bomber Harris), used to measure the success of his bombing campaigns by the number of acres that were burnt down or reduced to rubble. He had vowed that no German city or town would be left standing by the time the war ended. 

In February 1942, the British cabinet passed the Area Bombing directive, which authorized the RAF Bomber Command to destroy the morale of the German population by orchestrating raids against the German industrial workforce and the civilian targets in German cities and towns.

At the start of his bombing campaign, Harris quoted the Old Testament: “The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.”

In March 1942, the RAF sent 235 bombers to target the Renault factory at the outskirts of Paris that was being used by the Nazis to manufacture vehicles for military use. While wiping out the factory, the RAF bombers killed hundreds of French civilians. On 28 March, the RAF targeted the north German port of Lübeck with a mixture of high-explosive bombs and incendiaries. They burned the old town down. 

When Hitler learned about the destruction of Lübeck, he was outraged. He said that the RAF was acting like terrorists. A Luftwaffe adjutant records Hitler as saying: “Now terror will be answered with terror.” He ordered the Luftwaffe to step up their campaigns against civilian targets in Britain. In April, the RAF carried out four devastating raids on Rostock causing massive civilian casualties. Goebbels described the campaigns of the RAF as “Terrorangriff” (terror raid).  

In May 1942, Harris orchestrated his first thousand bombers raid in the city of Cologne. The devastation was overwhelming. Thousands of civilians died. The British newspapers cheered Cologne’s destruction. The headline in a major British Newspaper was: “Vengeance Begins!”

In the same month, the RAF raided Wuppertal and created their first firestorm. After the pathfinders had dropped their marker flares, the wave of bombers dropped their incendiaries. When the town was ablaze, they dropped their high explosive bombs which blew the buildings. The fire sucked the air from all around, asphyxiating many people. The tarmac on the streets melted and those who were trying to flee found their shoes getting stuck. To escape the inferno, many desperate citizens plunged into the river and drowned. 

Before the D-Day invasion, the RAF conducted broad strategic bombing of several targets in France and Germany. In Western Europe, the most controversial raid of the war took place in February 1945: this was the bombing of Dresden, a joint operation of RAF and USAAF that created a massive firestorm in which more than 25,000 civilians perished. 

The RAF continued to raid Germany even after it became clear that the German regime was falling. They bombed Pforzheim in February 1945, killing 32 percent of the town’s population. In March 1945, the RAF dropped its highest monthly weight of ordinance in the Second World War.

The American Air Force (USAAF) was as brutal as the RAF—to reduce their own casualties, the Americans made excessive use of high explosives, which resulted in massive loss of civilian lives. Unlike the Luftwaffe, the USAAF and RAF were not handicapped by the scarcity of bombers, high explosive bombs, and incendiaries. This enabled the allied side to orchestrate indiscriminate bombing campaigns without bothering about civilian casualties. 

American Generals like Curtis LeMay were inspired by Arthur Harris’s strategy of using “terror bombing.”  While talking about America’s bombing raids on Japan, LeMay bragged: “We scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo that night of March 9–10 than went up in the vapor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.” The British and the Americans were not fighting for moral values. They were fighting like barbarians.

In 1992, when Queen Elizabeth was unveiling a statue of Arthur Harris in London, she was jeered by protestors. Many protesters shouted: “Harris was a war criminal.”

Friday, April 15, 2022

Churchill’s War to Save Britain’s Colonial Empire

With his romantic notions of the Raj and the empire, Churchill’s primary objective during the Second World War was to save Britain’s colonial empire, not to free Europe from Hitler’s Nazi regime. The first major military missions that the British conducted, during the Second World War, were devoted to safeguarding Britain’s assets in the Middle East and North Africa. Churchill believed that control of petroleum and the Suez Canal was a key to the British Empire’s survival. 

In 1941, the American military was planning to make a direct attack on the German heartland—the plan was to land allied troops in some part of Northern France or in the Balkans region. When Churchill learned of this plan, he made a visit to Washington in 1942 for a meeting with President Roosevelt and the senior commanders of the American military. Churchill insisted that the allied force should attack French North Africa. (He didn’t tell the Americans that this region was crucial for saving Britain's petroleum assets in the Middle East and the Suez Canal).

Churchill’s plan was fiercely opposed by General George Marshall who believed that attacking French North Africa was a waste of valuable time and military resources. Marshall believed that the USA should either follow a “Germany first” strategy in Europe or focus on the Pacific war with Japan. He suspected that Churchill was intent on using the allied military resources to save Britain’s colonial assets in the Middle East and North Africa. But Churchill managed to persuade Roosevelt to agree to the operation in French North Africa. 

Roosevelt ordered that the operations in North Africa, named Operation Torch, should have precedence over other operations—this was one of only two direct orders he gave to military commanders during the war. 

The diversion of resources for Operation Torch delayed the allied invasion of Europe by more than a year. This enabled Hitler’s regime to survive till the middle of 1945. The execution of Operation Torch gave an advantage to the Soviet Union—the Red Army had the opportunity to beat the Americans in the race to Berlin. The allied troops were lagging at the borders of Germany, when the Red Army smashed into Berlin. Due to his obsession with saving Britain’s assets in the Middle East and North Africa, Churchill lost Berlin and Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union.

The Double Agent: Kim Philby

Kim Philby, the MI6 spy who was revealed in 1963 to be a member of the Cambridge Five, a spy ring that was divulging British secrets to the Soviet Union since the time of the Second World War, was born in British India. His father, St John Philby, was a civil servant in India—he was an explorer, Arabic scholar, a convert to Islam (he was also known as Sheikh Abdullah), and a fanatic socialist. St John named his son after the hero in Kipling’s novel Kim. Kim was probably exposed to socialist ideas at his home. He became committed to communism while he was in Cambridge. 

John le Carré’s 1974 novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is about an investigation to discover the identity of a mole in the British secret service who was leaking British secrets and was responsible for the death of many British agents. The unheroic, washed up, and retired counterintelligence agent, George Smiley, is brought back into the service to ferret out the mole. The mole turns out to be a former colleague and friend of Smiley, a man who had an affair with Smiley’s wife years before. The name of the mole is Bill Haydon. The character of Haydon, according to most scholars, is based on Kim Philby.

A serial philanderer, Kim married four times. Some of his affairs were with the wives of his MI6 colleagues. Decades after Kim had fled to Moscow, to avoid arrest in Britain, he wrote a memoir, My Silent War. In his memoir, he talks about having made a “total commitment to the Soviet Union which I regarded then, as I do now, the inner fortress of the world movement.” He believed that communism was the answer to a “dying world.” Graham Greene, the British spy and spy novelist, compared the Cambridge Five to Jesuits, holding fast to their faith.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Hitler’s Social Darwinism

Hitler was a believer in the social-Darwinistic view of the survival (or triumph) of the fittest. He used to insist that might was always right and that the powerful were the drivers of history. The defeat of the German army in the Battle of Stalingrad came as a shock to him, and for the first time he started applying his theory of social Darwinism to the people in his own country. 

When the news came that the Russian Red Army was pouring into Eastern Europe, Goebbels recorded Hitler as saying: “Such a collapse could only be caused through the weakness of the people… If the German people turned out to be weak, they would deserve nothing else than to be extinguished by a stronger people; then one could have no sympathy for them.” But he insisted that the setback was temporary and that the collapse of the German Reich was out of the question. He seemed to suggest that the collapse of the German Reich would entail the end of his own life.

The notion that the weak, even if they were Germans, must perish, and that the mighty must triumph remained with Hitler till the end. He refused to negotiate, and surrender was out of the question. On 30 April 1945, when the Red Army was a block or two from the Reich Chancellery, and Hitler picked up a gun to shoot himself in the head, I wonder what his last thoughts were: Was he blaming the Germans for not being the mightiest?

From Civilization to Dungheap

If you want to grow flowers, create a dungheap. If you want to grow a civilization, create an army of monsters. If you want to have a heaven, create a hell first. The converse of this is also true: in the end, the flowers decay and turn into a dungheap, the civilization loses its strength and gets conquered by monsters, and the heaven loses its values and regresses into a hell. There is truth in the saying: the higher they rise, the harder they fall.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Literary Spy Called Ashenden

My favorite literary spy is Ashenden. He is the creation of W. Somerset Maugham who served as a British spy during the First World War. 

Since Maugham was not eligible to fight in the First World War, due to a physical deformity, his clubfoot, he joined the army ambulance corps. In 1915, he was recruited by the British secret service. Earlier that year, his first novel, Of Human Bondage, had been published, so he had the advantage of a good cover of a novelist. He was fluent in German and French, which made it easier for him to develop connections with informers across Europe. The British secret service sent Maugham on spying missions to Russia, Germany, France, and several other countries.

In 1927, Maugham published the book Ashenden: Or the British Agent, which contains a series of linked short stories based on his experiences as a spy. Ashenden is not glamorous and violent like James Bond; he is sensitive, thoughtful, and he often questions the moral aspects of espionage. But he manages to execute several missions. Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, and John le Carré have said that Ashenden was an influence on their work.

The Three Colonialists: Rhodes, Kipling, and Roosevelt

Rudyard Kipling was a close friend of Cecil Rhodes, the colonial empire-builder of South Africa. In 1898, when Kipling went to South Africa, he lived in a house that was given to him by Rhodes. Kipling wrote a poem on Rhodes, titled, “Cecil John Rhodes,” that was read on Rhodes’s funeral at Matobo National Park, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), in 1902. 

Kipling’s imperial views were inspired by Rhodes. Several scholars have suggested that Rhodes’s ideology of the British Empire was the inspiration behind Kipling’s infamous poem, “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands.” Kipling wrote this poem in February 1899 as an exhortation to the Americans to pick up the burden of the British Empire. He wanted the Americans to conquer all those regions of the world that Britain could not conquer. 

Theodore Roosevelt, who would soon become the vice president and president of the United States, was inspired by Kipling’s poem. He copied the poem and sent it to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, with a message that it made “good sense from the expansion point of view.” In Roosevelt’s time, America had completed its expansion across North America and now they were planning to expand across the world. 

One of Roosevelt’s most infamous statements is often summarized as: "The only good Indian Is a dead Indian.” His extremist views made him very popular with the American masses—he won the presidential election twice. He wanted the Native Indians to die, but what about the other races? What about the South Americans, the Asians? It was during his presidency that America began its incursions into South America and its blockade of Japan’s ships in the Pacific. 

The colonial attitude of dominating the whole world is part of the British and American political culture. These two countries are incapable of creating a free and fair world. I am not claiming that the Asian powers are humane—the Asian governments are as corrupt, violent, and tyrannical as Britain and America. The only alternative for mankind is to have a multipolar world, a world in which there are regional powers but no superpower.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Brutalization of Man

When civilization is seized by disaster—wars, civil wars, political and economic collapse—one of the casualties is human psychology. People become rapidly brutalized as a survival mechanism. Some sections of the population become totally dehumanized, and start taking sadistic pleasure in looting, torturing and killing their enemies and even strangers. 

Today you take civilization for granted because everything is flourishing, but on the day when everything collapses, you will find yourself trapped in a world full of monsters. The world seems overpopulated today, but when disasters strike and civilization collapses, the population could decline catastrophically within a period of two to five years.

The American Hand in Pakistani Politics

Hell hath no fury like a superpower scorned. America felt scorned when Imran Khan met Putin in Moscow on 24 February. Scorned America unleashed its fury, and on 10 April Imran’s government was gone. Imran is popular in the country, but the parliamentarians have voted him out of power. In his televised address on 7 April, he seemed to suggest that he suspected America’s hand in the “foreign conspiracy” to oust his government. 

Since the 1950s, Pakistan has been America’s most valued ally in South Asia. Probably because of Pakistan’s closeness to America, no Pakistani prime minister has completed a full term in office. The government of every Pakistani prime minister was overthrown by a military coup or through the loss of support in the National Assembly. America prefers to deal with military dictatorships, not democratic leaders. The democratic leaders tend to be populists, they get swayed by the demands of their voters, and are hard to control from Washington. The military dictators face no such problem—they will do whatever Washington tells them to do.

Since the 1960s, America has pursued a militaristic foreign policy that has weakened democracy in many developing countries. In the 1970s and 80s, the Americans used Pakistan to organize Islamic militant movements against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. But the Americans, and their Pakistani allies, could not control these movements which took a life of their own and began to execute violent missions all over the globe. Now it seems that the American Machiavellians are planning to become active in South Asia again—this is a nightmarish thought.