Monday, February 28, 2022

The Superpowers & Their Delusions

When a nation is a superpower, its every delusion is a fact. Till 1930, when the British Empire was at its zenith, their every delusion was a fact. They possessed the military and economic power to force their rivals to treat the British delusions as facts. 

After winning the Second World War, America became a superpower and it acquired the power to treat its delusions as the ultimate facts of the universe. The American delusions have led to series of rebellions, coups, and wars, which have devastated several countries—the American strategists have conceived a number of madcap economic, environmental, and healthcare doctrines which have wreaked havoc on global trade and made life difficult, particularly for the poor and the middle class. The American agenda of imposing its delusions on Eastern Europe is the primary cause of the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

The British, when they were a superpower, were content with being great. The Americans want to be good and great, and so are neither.

The Problem of NATO’s Expansion

If the Soviet Union was still in existence and Mexico and Canada wanted to join the Warsaw Pact, would America allow it? We know what America did to Nicaragua in the 1980s (and several times before that), and how they threatened Cuba with nuclear annihilation during the Cuban Missile crisis of the 1960s. No empire allows its neighboring countries to become powerful and enter into an alliance with its primary geopolitical rival. The British have plundered and starved Ireland for 400 years, since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, to stop the Irish from building close ties with the Catholic nations of mainland Europe. 

Russia is doing in Ukraine exactly what America has been doing in South America since the 1950s. The Russians are actually much less brutal than the British were with the Irish. America and Britain are the primary architects of the mess in Ukraine. They destabilized the region by encouraging several East European countries to join NATO. In 2004, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Estonia joined NATO. In 2009, Croatia and Albania joined; in 2017 Montenegro; and in 2020, Macedonia. If America and Britain want peace, then why are they expanding NATO, which is the world’s most heavily armed military alliance? In the post-Soviet world, what is the purpose of NATO? The Ukraine border is 500 kms from Moscow. Russia cannot allow Ukraine to become part of NATO.

The Russians have been extremely patient with America and Western Europe—they have allowed NATO to expand into their backyard. If so many countries from South America had joined a Russia led alliance, World War III might have already happened.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Ukraine and the Endgame for the West

What matters is not the weapon, but the will to wield the weapon. The Western nations have all sorts of high-tech weapons but they lack the will to wield the weapons, because they got corrupted by the 300 years of uninterrupted global power that they have enjoyed. After the 1960s, they became incapable of fighting pitched battles—the kind of pitched battles which consumed thousands of lives in the First and the Second World Wars, and the Korean and Vietnam wars. 

The Western military strategists have developed a peripheral war strategy, which allows them to maintain their global power through maritime and airborne military systems. The peripheral war strategy relies almost wholly on high-tech weapons—the idea of putting Western soldiers in the war zone is an anathema to this strategy. But without having men on the ground, foreign territory cannot be controlled. Due to their unwillingness to put the lives of their soldiers at risk by engaging the enemy in pitched battles on land, the West has failed to win any war after 1960. 

In the ongoing Ukraine war, the West is powerless to do anything except whining and complaining. This is a land war—in this war, the peripheral war strategy won’t work. If the Western powers were serious about stopping Russia, they would have sent thousands of their troops (at least 50,000) to engage the Russians in pitched battles. But they will not send their young men to fight in Ukraine. They won’t do anything except making statements on TV, threatening to impose economic sanctions on Russia, and getting a few UN resolutions passed.

In the twenty-first century, Western military power is a cliche and a myth. If the West cannot defend Ukraine, then it cannot defend its interests in other hotspots. If they cannot defend something, then why should they be allowed to keep it? The prize in the war that Russia has started is not Ukraine, it is the entire Western empire. Flashpoints will keep erupting in different parts of the globe, and at some point of time, the Western nations will be forced to fight pitched battles which will turn out to be their Waterloo.

The Next Twenty-five Years

The English faction of the Western civilization has peaked. The Germanic faction has also peaked. With further decline of America, Britain, and Germany, the world will become multipolar. In the next twenty-five years, France could take the center stage in the West. These nations will fall: America, Britain, Germany, Iran, and China. These nations might become global powers: Russia, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Japan. India might become a global power if it can survive the fallout of the collapse of America, Britain, China, and Iran. In subsequent articles, I will give details of the criteria that I am using to reach these conclusions.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Hitler and Churchill on Pearl Harbor

To Hitler, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on 7 December 1941, came as a bolt from the blue, since the Japanese had not informed Berlin of their plans to attack America. He greeted the news with intense joy. He was convinced that the Japanese would keep America occupied in the Pacific, and that would lead to a significant decline in the American supplies to the Soviet Union and Britain.

The Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan did not oblige Germany to aid Japan if it were the aggressor. At that time, the German troops were in retreat in Moscow, but Hitler was filled with hubristic pride. To the acclamations of “Sieg heil,”  he said to his party members, “A great power doesn’t let itself have war declared on it—it declares war itself,” and he went on to declare that Germany and Italy were at war with America, alongside Japan. On 11 December 1941, Ribbentrop summoned the American chargé d'affaires in Berlin and read out the text of Germany’s declaration of war on America.

When Churchill heard of the news from Pearl Harbor, he felt relieved. He said that, on the night of 7 December, he “went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.” Churchill knew that Britain did not stand a chance against Germany. He had one plan for defeating Germany: drag the Americans into the war. By attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had silenced America’s isolationist lobby and made it easy for Roosevelt to enter the war. Despite the bad news from Malaya and Hong Kong, Churchill now knew that Britain would not be defeated.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Two Lessons from Ukraine’s Fate

In 1994, Ukraine destroyed its nuclear weapons because America, Britain, and Russia guaranteed the integrity of its borders. The two morals of the tragic story of Ukraine are: First, never trust America, Britain, and Russia; second, never give up your nukes.

Churchill’s Pragmatism

On 22 June 1941, when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, Churchill was delighted. He immediately negotiated an alliance with Stalin's regime which he had always despised. In a speech delivered in the evening of 22 June, Churchill promised the Soviet Union, “any economic and technical assistance from Britain.” He told his private secretary John Colville, “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

Ukraine: The Battleground for a New World Order

I have never seen Putin wearing a mask. I have never seen Xi Jinping wearing a mask. I frequently see Biden wearing a mask even when he is in a video conference. I frequently see the heads of state in Western Europe wearing masks. 

What does this tell you about the character of the world leaders? Are Putin and Xi Jinping more confident, courageous, and aggressive than Biden and the leaders of Western Europe? Are Russia and China more powerful than America and Western Europe? Fighting a war is chiefly a matter of will—in the ongoing Ukraine war, it seems that the Russians are displaying a stronger will than the Americans. Pax Americana is finished.

I do not support Russia and China. But I have contempt for the hypocritical, corrupt, and deceitful political leadership in the Western countries. America does not deserve to be the master of the world. Putin might end up doing mankind a big favor if he manages to weaken America. I see the war in Ukraine as a war for building a new world order.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Axe and the Trees

Once upon a time, an axe arrived in a forest. The trees had never seen anything like the axe before. They could not decide if the axe was their friend or foe. They asked the rabbit who was the forest’s resident smart aleck. 

“You have nothing to worry about,” the rabbit said. “The axe is your friend.”

“How can you be sure?” asked the trees. 

“The axe is of your race,” the rabbit said. “Its handle is made of wood, just as your trunks and branches are. There is no chance of enmity between entities of the same race.”

The deer, who was known in the forest as a conspiracy nut, disagreed with the rabbit. He said, “The axe is a foe of the trees. On its wooden handle, a sharp iron head is attached. The iron head will chop down the trees.”

“You are a conspiracy nut,” screamed the rabbit. “Entities of the same race do not attack each other. The axe will not harm the trees because its handle is made of wood.”

The loud sound of “chop, chop, chop…” was heard. The axe had started doing its work. The trees screamed in terror. The rabbit fled from the forest, followed by the deer. 

Moral of the story: The notion that those of the same race are kind to each other is a myth.

The Tragic Character of Life

All events, good or bad, have unexpected consequences. Something positive is hidden in every negative, something negative in every positive. The world is a hard place and life is complicated and tragic—death is the ultimate fate of every human being, and decline and decay are the ultimate fate of all human endeavors, irrespective of how well-intentioned, well-planned, and well-executed these endeavors are. Only the men of wisdom, whose number is very small in any society, possess the ability to see the good and bad sides of any event; only they possess the ability to comprehend the tragic character of life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

On Rama’s Solar and Lunar Lineage

The word “Rama” means someone who is charming and delightful. The Ramayana is the story of Rama’s progress—“ayana” means progress. Rama was a scion of the Surya Vamsha (Solar Dynasty). Yet his full name is Rama Chandra—“Chandra” means moon. This indicates that Rama has a connection with the Chandra Vamsha (Lunar Dynasty). His father King Dashratha of Ayodhya was a Surya Vamshi, but his mother Queen Kaushalya, according to some traditional accounts, was the daughter of a Chandra Vamshi royal family. Thus, Rama represented the coming together of the two dynasties, Surya Vamsha and the Chandra Vamsha. Rama married Sita, a lady of Chandra Vamsha—Sita’s father, King Janaka of Videha, was a Chandra Vamshi. The name “Rama Chandra” means “charming face of the moon”—this name glorifies the sun, since the moon shines with the sun’s reflected light.

The Lesson & The Game

Socialism is a revolutionary lesson; capitalism is a bureaucratic game. From the study of the excesses of capitalist societies the lessons of socialism are developed; from the study of the failed public projects of socialist societies the rules of capitalist bureaucracy are conceived. Socialism and capitalism might seem like antagonistic doctrines but they are conjoined by the natural law—one cannot exist without the other.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Biden Versus Putin

If there was a wrestling match between Biden and Putin who would you root for? To me, it is a no-brainer. A wise man will root for Putin who seems like a reasonable and balanced leader (as compared to the super-belligerent American leaders). 

Every time Biden opens his mouth to talk about Ukraine, he seems pathetic, supercilious, and senile. There is nothing more disgusting and annoying than the leader of a violent superpower hiding his geopolitical agenda behind seemingly noble intentions of saving Ukraine. 

I would rather support Russia than America or China.  A wise man will have no preference for a bullet in the head over a bullet in the heart. America is like a bullet in the head; China is like a bullet in the heart. Both are equally lethal for mankind.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Waxing and Waning of the Feminine and Masculine Cycles

All major civilizations move cyclically through the phases of femininity and masculinity. 

When the feminine cycle is waxing, the civilization is inspired by liberty, beauty, individualism, and pursuit of pleasure—there is flowering of art, literature, music, philosophy, and multiculturalism. At the waning of the feminine cycle, the civilization is nihilist, hedonist, decadent, and irresponsible. When the masculine cycle is waxing, the civilization is warlike and aggressive—it is driven by the forces of racial unity, world conquests, and radical urbanization and industrialization. At the waning of the masculine cycle, the civilization is ossified, violent, corrupt, and tyrannical.

In the feminine cycle, the political battles are won through arguments and negotiations. In the masculine cycle, the political battles are won through coercion and warfare. The contest between the masculine and the feminine ways goes on for as long as the civilization lasts. There are phases in the civilization’s history when neither the feminine nor the masculine dominate, and society is a hotchpotch of the two ways.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Fabian Theory of Government

The purpose of the government is to protect the weak, the poor, and the unfortunate. Nature is not fair—it grants excessive abilities to a few men, and less to most men. If the few, who are blessed by nature, are allowed to accumulate too much wealth, then there will be social unrest. By taking wealth from the rich and distributing it to the poor, the government ensures that discontent does not spread in the masses. 

Can man transcend the laws of nature? Man is so small and nature is so big. The answer is: Yes, we can. We transcend the laws of nature by judging nature, just as we judge everything that is manmade. We judge nature and we try to cure its imbalances and unfairnesses. We make progress when we use the power of the government to free ourselves from nature’s tyranny. Nature has not created an equal planet but man will create an equal society. In a lawless jungle, unfairness and inequality abounds—the powerful creatures slaughter the weaker creatures. In a civilization, the government takes from the powerful and distributes it to the weaker sections.

This is the basic premise (a simplistic view) of the Fabian theory of government.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Key Versus The Sledgehammer

Don’t use a sledgehammer to break the door. Use the key. When a nation acquires economic and military power, its political elites become addicted to the sledgehammer (brute force) for opening every door in domestic politics and international geopolitics. They keep deploying the sledgehammer even though the sledgehammer-strategy worsens the old problems, and gives rise to new problems. If they deployed the key (the subtle methods of political persuasion and propaganda), they might have achieved better outcomes. It is hard for the elites in powerful nations to understand that the key is mightier than the sledgehammer.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Beria’s Contribution to the Soviet Nuclear Project

The forces of the Soviet Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov were the first smash into Berlin in April 1945, during the Second World War, but Lavrentiy Beria’s SMERSH agents were the first to capture all the Nazi institutions of strategic and propagandistic value, including Hitler’s headquarters, where they took control of the half-burned dead bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun, and the installations where nuclear research was being conducted. 

Within hours of the fall of Berlin, the SMERSH agents took control of Hitler’s military research programs, including his nuclear weapons program. Zhukov had no knowledge of the activities of the SMERSH agents, who were reporting directly to Beria, not to the military high command. The German physicists were a few years away from developing a nuclear reactor and a weapon. In the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, the SMERSH agents found a rich haul of metallic uranium, uranium oxide, and heavy water. They transported the nuclear material and all the German physicists that they could find to the USSR. 

In December 1944, Stalin had given the Soviet Union’s nuclear project to Beria, who had promised that he would conduct a nuclear test in five years. Beria kept his promise and on 29 August 1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first secret nuclear test. When he became the Soviet Premier, after the death of Stalin, Khrushchev buried Beria in history as a psychopath, serial-rapist, and a mass murderer. But it seems that Beria was an efficient and ruthless bureaucrat.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

On Rama’s Solar Dynasty

In the final section of the Uttara Kanda (Book 7 of the Ramayana), the fate of the offsprings of Rama and his three brothers—Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna—is described. Rama had two sons, Kusha and Lava. Kusha became the ruler of the kingdom of North Kosala, located in the north of the Vindhya mountains, and he ruled from a city called Kushavati. Lava became the ruler of South Kosala, and he ruled from a city called Shravati, also called Shravasti. It is believed that Lava founded a city called Lavapuri, today’s Lahore. 

Rama’s three bothers had two sons each. Lakshmana’s two sons were Angada and Chandraketu. Angada became the king of Karapatha, and he ruled from a city called Angadiya. Chandraketu became the king of Malla (a kingdom of wrestlers located between Kosala and Videha), and his capital city was Chandrakanta. Bharata’s two sons were Taksha and Pushkara. Taksha became the king of Takshashila, and Pushkara of Pushkaravata. Shatrughna’s two sons were Subahu and Shatrughati. Subahu became the king of Madhura and Shatrughati of Vaidisha. 

The Ramayana tells us that after Rama had ruled for 10,000 years, Time (attired as a sage) arrived at his court and informed him that it was now time for him to return to heaven. Rama agreed and on a designated day, along with his brothers, he entered the Vaishnava energy, and he took the form of Lord Vishnu. A large number of his followers, which included humans, apes, serpents, yakshas, and rishis, were allowed to enter the world known as Santanika, which possesses all the qualities of heaven and is only next to Brahma’s world. 

Rama’s wife Sita did not follow him into the Vaishnava energy. When she was performing the second Agni Pareeksha (trial by fire to prove feminine purity) that Rama had ordered, the earth opened and goddess earth appeared seated on a celestial throne. She made Sita sit on the throne beside her and they went underground. Thus, at the climax of their earthly lives, Rama and Sita travelled in opposite directions—he went towards heaven, which is the metaphorical north, while Sita went towards the center of the earth, which is the metaphorical south.

The Ramayana is the story of the Surya Vamsha (the Solar Dynasty), whose first proper king was Iksvaku. The Mahabharata is the story of the Chandra Vamsha (the Lunar Dynasty), whose first proper king was Ila. Krishna was born in the Yaduvansh branch of the Lunar dynasty. The story of the Yaduvansh branch is described in the Harivamsa (also known as the Harivamsa Purana). The Ramayana takes place in the Treta Yuga; the Mahabharata in the Dvapara Yuga.

On America’s Orwellian Policy of Warfare

Since the Second World War, America has not made a formal declaration of war against any country—despite the fact that this country has been waging wars continuously since the Second World War, and the number of overseas bases where American troops are permanently deployed varies between 600 to 800. The American constitution says that only the Congress has the power to make a formal declaration of war. While the Congress has funded all the wars, it has never made a formal declaration of war.

The policy of waging wars without declaring a war is clearly Orwellian. In his book 1984, Orwell wrote the phrase: “War is peace.” This phrase applies to America, a country that likes to pretend that it is perpetually peaceful despite the fact that it is perpetually at war. The President is not the only Orwellian Big Brother who has the power to bypass the Congress and start a new war. The American intelligence agencies are Big Brothers in their own right. They have been accused of organizing coups, counterrevolutions, and insurgencies (without taking permission from the Congress) in several countries—in Europe, the Middle East, South America, North Africa, and South Asia. 

Due to the excessive projection of American military power, many nations (including those in Europe) could not build their own military might—they became dependent on America and could not develop a regional balance of power. As the American economy and culture continue to decline (a process that I believe is irreversible), America will be forced to cut down its military expenses. The disappearance of American military power will create in several parts of the world a geopolitical vacuum, which other powers will rush in to fill. This could lead to a series of new conflicts which could go on for decades.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Screw Your Courage

“Screw your courage to the sticking place.” ~ Lady Macbeth

In an online discussion, I had to remind someone that this line from Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 7) does not mean what people who are habituated to today’s epithet-rich language are likely to think that it means. 

Lady Macbeth’s words have to be taken literally. When the screw is tightened to the last ring, it is at its sticking place—that is when the metaphorical crossbow is ready to fire. She is exhorting Macbeth to give up his doubts, muster his courage, and carry out his plan to assassinate King Duncan and seize the throne of Scotland. 

She is not ranting or bitching; she and Macbeth are serious players in Scotland’s politics; she is egging him to be firm, ruthless, and decisive in his pursuit of kingship.

The Unique Mind

“I have never seen a more lucid, more lonely, better balanced mad mind than mine.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov in his 1973 book Strong Opinions. I can empathize with Nabokov’s view of himself—a mind that is lucid, lonely, and balanced will be such a unique entity that most people, including the man who owns the unique mind, will regard it as mad.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

On the American Policy of Weakening Europe

If Europe finds itself incapable of defending Ukraine from Russia, then they should blame their ally, America, for their weakness. After the Second World War, one of the goals of American foreign policy was to weaken Europe and make it dependent on American military support. The Americans discouraged the Europeans from expanding their military and getting involved in regions of strategic importance, especially the Middle East. 

In his 1973 “Year of Europe” speech, Henry Kissinger warned about the danger of the Europeans hobnobbing with the Middle Eastern and North African nations and negotiating trade deals which were not monitored by the USA. He said that the mission of his diplomacy was to ensure that the Europeans and the Japanese did not become unilaterally active in diplomacy. He believed that the Europeans and the Japanese should talk to the world after taking America into confidence. The American policy of keeping Europe weak and dependent precedes Kissinger; it goes back to President Truman. 

In 1947, Truman said that control of Greece was critical for safeguarding America’s Middle Eastern interests. He was opposed to any Euro-Arab dialogue. One of the consequences of the America-backed 1953 coup in Iran that brought the Shah to power was the transfer of 40 percent interest in Iranian oil from British to American hands. In my opinion, the EU project has failed because the machiavellians of Washington have sabotaged it.

Monday, February 14, 2022

A Revisionist View of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a concrete symbol of the fight against Nazism and a metaphorical symbol of the clash between the two dominant factions of modern Western culture, communism and capitalism. The fall of the Berlin Wall (starting November 9, 1989), led to the decimation of the metaphorical barrier between Western communism and Western capitalism.

The Berlin Wall stood for a mere 10,316 days—due to the short duration of its existence, it could have no civilizational value, or at the most very little; it might have some emotional and propaganda value. The British and the Americans are good at propaganda. They have been using the Berlin Wall for propaganda purposes since 1961, when the wall’s construction began. 

Germany was the biggest beneficiary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—the two halves of the nation came together and the German civilization became whole again. A time will certainly come when the Germans will once again try to assert themselves in Europe.

The fall of the Berlin Wall did not weaken Russia. I have no doubt that Russia will eventually take over Ukraine. There is nothing that the West can do to stop Russia. The Germans will blame the Anglo-American mafia (America and Britain) for failing to arm Ukraine and they will decide that America is a toothless tiger. They might take the defense of Europe into their own hands.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Serious Leftist; the Unserious Capitalist

The leftist is a more serious character than the capitalist. He is focused on acquiring power—which is a trait that makes him a natural ruler. He controls a large section of the society through ideological persuasion, and he puts down by force all those who won’t be persuaded by his arguments. 

The capitalist does not understand power. He is distracted by frivolous things. He hankers for possessions. He thinks that his wealth will make him free, but he is a mental and financial slave of the left. The leftist can easily control the capitalist by persuasion, by bribing him with taxpayer’s money, and by using force. 

Capitalist power is a myth; leftist power is no myth.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Ramayana: On Compassion for the Wicked

Once upon a time a hunter was being pursued by a tiger. The hunter clambered up a tree. On reaching the top of the tree, he found that a bear was perched on one of the branches. Both realized that the tiger was more powerful than them and they entered into a pact that they would not push each other down. When the tiger arrived, he asked the bear to push the hunter down. The bear refused. Then the tiger asked the hunter to push the bear down. The hunter tried, but he failed to dislodge the bear. 

The tiger addressed the bear for the second time, “O bear, your pact with the hunter is broken, since he violated his pledge and tried to push you down. You must punish him by pushing him down.” The bear refused and chanted a hymn which is translated as: “The wicked acts committed by others are evil committed by others. They do not touch you. A pledge must be honored. For virtuous people, good conduct constitutes ornaments.”  

This story of hunter, bear, and the tiger was told by Sita to Hanuman in the Ramayana (in the section called Yuddha Kanda (the Book of War)). After Rama had killed the demon king of Lanka, Ravana, and won the war, he asked Hanuman to go to Sita, who was being held as a prisoner in Lanka, and inform her of his victory. When Hanuman met Sita, he first gave her Rama’s message and then asked her permission to kill the demon women who were guarding her and had oppressed her during the period of her captivity in Lanka.  

Sita told Hanuman that the wicked should not be killed. She narrated the story of the hunter, bear, and tiger. She insisted that it was virtuous to show compassion to the wicked. Hanuman accepted Sita’s teaching and spared the life of the demon women.

Military Strength is the Ultimate Arbiter

Warships, tanks, fighter planes, and missiles were the ultimate arbiters of moral and political values in the twentieth century. The notion that man became civilized in the twentieth century is a myth—military power continues to be the ultimate arbiter of moral and political values.

Friday, February 11, 2022

The Leftist Legacy of Churchill

On 18 May 1940, eight days after becoming the prime minister of Britain, Churchill met his son Randolph Churchill. At that time Hitler’s forces were threatening the British Expeditionary Force in northern France. Churchill told his son, “I think I see my way through.” 

Randolph asked, “Do you mean that we can defeat?… or beat the bastards?” 

“Of course. I mean we can beat them,” said Churchill.  

“Well, I’m for it, but I don’t see how you can do it.” 

“I shall drag the United States in,” Churchill replied intensely.  

Churchill’s only strategy for winning the Second World War was to drag the Americans in. He had an instinct for war and aggression but he was not a military strategist. In the First World War, he was one of the prime architects of the military disaster at Dardanelles (the Gallipoli Campaign: from 17 February 1915 to 9 January 1916), where the British side lost 250,000 soldiers and was beaten by the Ottoman Empire. The failure of the Gallipoli Campaign led to the rise of Turkey, and the destruction of the last outposts of Orthodox and Greek culture in the Middle East. 

On 10 May 1940, when Chamberlain resigned from the post of Prime Minister, for most conservatives Lord Edward Halifax was the natural choice. The conservatives did not trust Churchill who occasionally showed liberal sympathies and was viewed as a class warrior and a gadfly. But Halifax rejected the premiership. King George VI was depressed that his friend Halifax had refused the post, and he had no alternative except calling Churchill. The two prominent Labor Party leaders Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood were Churchill’s staunch supporters in the war cabinet.

In the evening of 18 July 1945, when Churchill and Stalin were dining at the Ludendorff Villa, Stalin predicted that Churchill would win the election by eighty seats. When the votes were counted, Churchill, who was Stalin’s favorite capitalist-warlord, had lost to Attlee by 145 seats. It is believed that Churchill was a staunch opponent of socialism and the Soviet Union—but the irony is that he was very close to the Labor Party politicians in Britain and he enjoyed Stalin’s trust.

The Walking Dead Who Make History

“In the world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.” ~ from the back cover of The Walking Dead comic book. When people finally realize that they are being ruled by the dead and they are forced to finally start living, there is finally a paradigm shift in history.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The P’s, C’s, and N’s of Capitalism

Politics in the capitalist democracies is controlled by the three P’s: politicians, pimps, and prostitutes. Economy in the capitalist democracies is controlled by the three C’s: cronies, charlatans, and celebrities. Culture in the capitalist democracies is controlled by the three N’s: nihilists, neurotics, and nitpickers. 

I am an anti-capitalist, but that should not make me a communist. Capitalism and communism are not the only two choices—we have to learn to think of a new way by which a reasonably free and moral society can be created. Both capitalism and communism are untrue and harmful. Capitalism is foolish and exploitative; communism is utopian and undemocratic.

The only thing that will redeem mankind is freedom from both capitalism and communism.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Quixote Quest for Reason

“There are two excesses: to exclude reason, and to admit reason only.” ~ Blaise Pascal

Pascal is right. To exclude reason and to admit reason only are equally harmful for mankind. If you exclude reason, you are trapped in a cycle of mysticism, traditionalism, and rationalism; if you depend on only reason, then you are trapped in a cycle of nihilism, rationalism, and utopianism.

It is natural for people to look for self-esteem. For the modern man, the simplest way of having self-esteem is to develop the notion that he represents the side of reason or science. But his belief in the capabilities of reason makes him dogmatic, delusional, and even tyrannical. 

The world is not going to be saved by the men of reason—being a man of reason is just a vain and delusional Quixote quest.

The Stone Age Man Versus The Capitalist

We are informed that mankind has developed gradually from the primitive Stone Age man to the modern capitalist man, and that this development is unquestionably a great advancement. The problem is that it is the capitalist, not the Stone Age man, who is the source of this information. How do we know that the capitalist is not lying or creating propaganda to promote himself? Let the capitalist prove that he is happier than the Stone Age man.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

In Defense of Mixed Economy

Socialism is compassionate and wise; capitalism is ruthless and foolish—there can be some truth in this notion, if we choose to regard truth as a matter of majority opinion in all cases where moral, artistic, and political values are being judged, but it is also true that the majority is easily brainwashed, easily misled, and often wrong. 

Most people are not critical thinkers; they are incapable of logical thinking; to make sense of the world, they try to reduce everything to a system of simplistic binaries—they accept one pole of the binary as the good and the other pole as the evil. For a socialist, capitalism is evil; for a capitalist, socialism is evil. But this is not how the world works. There exists an infinite number of possibilities between the two poles of socialism and capitalism. 

Mankind is incapable of creating a “pure” society—one that is purely socialist or purely capitalist. Every society is a mixed economy, in which there is a continuous contest between the forces of socialism and capitalism. In the Soviet Union, which was a socialist utopia, there were private ventures, and in the USA, which is a capitalist utopia, a massive bureaucracy regulates the private sector and runs the public sector enterprises. 

The utopian philosophers and the dogmatic revolutionaries who try to create a purely socialist or purely capitalist society always fail. A society with a mixed economy is the only option. Pure socialism and pure capitalism are abstract ideals which will never be realized. The model of mixed economy is the reality in which we live.

Monday, February 7, 2022

The Spiritualism of Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes was a critical thinker. He did not rationalize; he did not fantasize; he did not accept anything on faith; he did not accept anyone’s claims or testimony without cross-checking. He derived his conclusions through analysis of empirical evidence and application of sound logic. The paradox is that the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was not a critical thinker. Doyle was a rationalizer, a man of faith and spiritualism, who believed in psychic phenomena and claimed that the dead could talk through mediums and automatic writing. 

Doyle’s spiritualism caused a fracture in his friendship with Harry Houdini. On June 17, 1922, Houdini attended a private seance in a hotel room at Atlantic City with Doyle and Doyle’s wife, Jean Doyle, who used to serve as a medium for contacting the dead. Jean tried to contact Houdini’s deceased mother. Apparently a connection with the world of the dead was established and Houdini’s mother talked through automatic writing, executed by the pen in Jean’s hand. The automatic writing produced fifteen pages of text in grammatically perfect English. 

When Houdini read the text, he said that his mother could not have dictated it since her English was terrible and she had no sense of grammar. He suspected that Doyle and his wife had composed the text by themselves. After this incident Houdini became a critic of Doyle and the mediums which claimed that they could communicate with the dead through automatic writing. 

In 1917, two cousins, Elsie Wright (16 years old) and Frances Griffiths (9 years old), claimed that they were being visited by fairies. Five pictures in which the two girls could be seen playing with one-foot-tall fairies became public. Doyle was impressed by the pictures, which he interpreted in his article, “Fairies Photographed,” published in the 1920 edition of The Strand Magazine, as the visible evidence of psychic phenomena. The one-foot-tall fairies were just cardboard cutouts, but Doyle was convinced that the fairies were real. 

He ended his article, “Fairies Photographed,” with these lines: 

“The recognition of their existence will jolt the material twentieth-century mind out of its heavy ruts in the mud, and will make it admit that there is a glamour and mystery to life. Having discovered this, the world will not find it so difficult to accept that spiritual message supported by physical facts which have already been put before it.”

Hopelessness of Modern Civilization

Modern civilization seems to me on the whole a rather hopeless enterprise, whenever I read the newspapers and watch the news shows on TV. Humanity is doomed because all our thoughts are of things which we devour or which we may devour us.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Kings With A Large Jaw; The Queens With A Plain Face

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” 

It seems to me that with this opening sentence in A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens is describing the world of the twenty-first century. This sentence is as relevant today as it might have been in the 1850s when Dickens wrote his novel. Though there is a crucial difference: Dickens is talking about a two countries, Britain and France—the two cities in his novel are London and Paris before and during the French Revolution—but in the twenty-first century, the world is globalized, and the thinking people in most countries are sensing that they are living not in their country or city but on a planet that is going through an intense “revolutionary" phase of the best of times, and the worst of times, that this is the age of wisdom, and the age of foolishness… 

The second sentence in Dickens’s novel is: “There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France.” Since I am examining this sentence from the twenty-first century’s vantage point, I will consider the two big powers of our time, China and America—the first king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face will be Mr. and Mrs. Xi Jinping, and the second king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face will be Mr. and Mrs. Joe Biden. China and America are rivals but they are conjoined twins—when one dies, the other will be doomed.

Nabokov's Assessment of Himself

Vladimir Nabokov’s pithy statement on why he does not like giving interviews: “I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.” (From Nabokov’s Introduction to his 1973 book Strong Opinions)

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Don Juan Versus the Devil: In Shaw’s Man and Superman

Don Juan’s response to the Devil in the third act of George Bernard Shaw’s 1903 play Man and Superman

“Pooh! Why should I be civil to them or to you? In this Palace of Lies a truth or two will not hurt you. Your friends are all the dullest dogs I know. They are not beautiful: they are only decorated. They are not clean: they are only shaved and starched. They are not dignified: they are only fashionably dressed. They are not educated: they are only college passmen. They are not religious: they are only pewrenters. They are not moral: they are only conventional. They are not virtuous: they are only cowardly. They are not even vicious: they are only "frail." They are not artistic: they are only lascivious. They are not prosperous: they are only rich. They are not loyal, they are only servile; not dutiful, only sheepish; not public spirited, only patriotic; not courageous, only quarrelsome; not determined, only obstinate; not masterful, only domineering; not self-controlled, only obtuse; not self-respecting, only vain; not kind, only sentimental; not social, only gregarious; not considerate, only polite; not intelligent, only opinionated; not progressive, only factious; not imaginative, only superstitious; not just, only vindictive; not generous, only propitiatory; not disciplined, only cowed; and not truthful at all—liars every one of them, to the very backbone of their souls.”

Hell is not a bad place. It is the place of philosophy and pleasure, of love and emotions, of music and whiskey. The best intellectuals and artists are in hell—including Nietzsche, Wagner, and Mozart. The Devil looks like a brigand but he is a philosopher who allows hell’s residents the freedom to pursue happiness in their own way. He holds an unflattering view of manmade civilization and God-made heaven. Before arriving in hell, he was in heaven, where he got bored. In the play, he explains the gulf between heaven and hell—heaven is coldly intellectual whereas hell is devoted to the pursuit of happiness and the cultivation of tender emotions. 

I am talking about the third and the fourth acts in Shaw’s play. These two acts are a debate between Don Juan, who represents the best of humanity; Dona Ana, who represents the Wagnerian life-force that would give birth to the race of supermen; the Commander, a living statue who stands for earthly pleasures and outmoded honor and has come to hell because he found heaven boring; and the Devil. There are a number of memorable lines in the third and the fourth acts. Don Juan says, “music is the brandy of the damned.” The Commander says: “cowardice… [is] as universal as sea sickness, and matters just as little.” Dona Ana reacts to Don Juan’s irreverence toward religion with the admonition: “Aristophanes was a heathen; and you, Juan… are very little better.”

Don Juan is disgusted by the Devil’s religion of love, beauty, and happiness. He says that hell is the place of romantic illusions, while earth is the place of reality. He believes that the earth can become a better place if a race of supermen is born. The Devil argues that man is a destructive creature who will never become better. Dona Ana is convinced by Don Juan’s arguments. When the new day dawns, Dona Ana discovers that she is Ann Whitefield, and she persuades Don Juan, who is John Tanner, the firebrand anarchist and socialist, to marry her. 

Shaw was a fabian socialist, but there was nothing fabian about the admiration that he would develop, after 1930, for Stalin’s Soviet Union, and there was nothing socialist about his elitist ideas of evolution, eugenics, and superman, the ideas which were understood by Hitler and his Nazis in a different way and lead to unfortunate consequences for Europe’s minorities. I don’t like Shaw’s plays—the first two acts of Man and Superman are tedious—though I like some of the lines that Shaw has put into the mouth of Don Juan and the Devil in the third and fourth acts. Don Juan’s response to the Devil (in the passage that I have quoted in the beginning of this article) can be taken as a critique of bourgeois consumerist society.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Stalin, Beria, and Khrushchev

Stalin lost his favorite pipe. Beria arrived at Stalin’s dacha a few days later. He asked Stalin: “Did you find your pipe?” “Yes,” Stalin replied, “it was under the sofa.” Beria said, “Oops! Three people have already confessed to the crime. They have been executed.” 

After Stalin and Beria were dead, Khrushchev started narrating such stories about them. Stalin used to call Khrushchev “the round-headed fool.” One day he tapped his pipe on Khrushchev’s head and said, “It is hollow.” During the Second World War, when Stalin learned that the German forces had broken through the Russian defenses and were about to storm Stalingrad, he poured the ash from his pipe on Khrushchev’s head, and said, “This is the Roman tradition. When a Roman commander lost a battle, ash was poured over his head… this was the biggest act of humiliation that a commander could be made to endure.” 

In 1958, Khrushchev arrived in Hollywood, where he met John Wayne. He told Wayne that Stalin was annoyed by his anti-communism and he had given the order for the Duke’s assassination. There is no evidence that the Soviet assassins were trying to kill Wayne. Khrushchev claimed that when he became the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, he annulled Stalin’s assassination order. But in his memoirs, Khrushchev has not mentioned any plot to kill Wayne.

Khrushchev clumsily joined hands with the Western propaganda machine to tar Stalin with the image of a sadistic monster who purged and killed millions and followed an insane foreign policy, but the irony is that in Stalin’s time, the world didn’t come to the brink of a nuclear war—that happened in 1962, when the bumbling, brash, and impulsive Khrushchev was the Soviet General Secretary, and the debauched drug-addict and serial-womanizer, who was connected to organized crime, John F. Kennedy, was the American president; they blundered into the Cuban Missile Crisis, which could have escalated into a nuclear conflict.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Stalin and the Soviet Control of East Germany

The outcome of the Second World War can be analyzed in two ways: first, Stalin was the great victor of the war, because his army was the first to invade Berlin, a military achievement which proved the might of communism and ensured that Eastern Europe, including the eastern half of Germany, became a part of the Soviet Union; second, Stalin was inflicted by terrible hubris when he became convinced that all of Eastern Europe, a region that was home to a very warlike and rebellious population, could be ruled by the Soviet Union, an entity which came into being just 28 years ago, in the 1917 revolution, and was yet to achieve economic and political stability, was yet to develop military and civilian bureaucracy necessary for subduing the conquered regions, was yet to build diplomatic connections with other powers, and was yet to formulate a viable strategy for getting the American military to leave Europe.  

I take the second view. I believe that by deciding to impose the “iron curtain” across all of Eastern Europe, Stalin doomed the Soviet Union. He overestimated the economic and military power of the Soviet state. He failed to see that by his military occupation of East Germany, he would give the Americans an excuse for maintaining a military presence in West Germany and other areas, and that would push the Soviet Union into an unending arms race. The Soviet Union could not afford the arms race but the Americans could, since their country was older, having became independent in 1776 (but was founded before that in 1620 when the colonization of North America began), and after fighting several wars, including the bloody civil war of the 1860s, America had entered the twentieth century as the world’s most prosperous and powerful state. It was disastrous for the Soviet Union to get into a protracted Cold War with America. 

After the Second World War, Beria, Molotov, and other magnates in Stalin’s government were of the view that the Soviet forces should withdraw from Germany and Western Poland, after ensuring the withdrawal of the American forces from Europe. They thought that the Soviet Union had the capacity to hold territory till Eastern Poland. But Stalin was adamant about holding East Germany. Stalin’s foolish geopolitical ambitions made the Soviet Union economically unviable and ensured its fall in 1991. If the Soviet Union had withdrawn to Eastern Poland, then Germany would have remained united. A united Germany would not have surrendered its foreign policy to America. The Germans would have asserted their independence from America (and the British), and it was possible that they might have voluntarily joined the Soviet bloc. A “voluntary” pact between Germany and the Soviet Union could have radically transformed the world. 

After 1945, there were several occasions when Stalin came close to purging Beria and Molotov, because he took their opposition to the Soviet control of East Germany as a sign of their treachery. In 1948, Molotov’s wife was accused of treachery and arrested but she survived. When Stalin died in 1953, Beria was elated. While Stalin’s dead body still lay in his house, Beria announced that he would liberalize the Soviet Union and order the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from East Germany. Molotov was circumspect in expressing his opinions. By revealing his agenda, Beria gave his opponents the opportunity to destroy him. Khrushchev convinced the Soviet politburo that Beria would destroy Stalin’s legacy and weaken the Soviet Union by giving East Germany to the Americans. When the politburo tilted towards Khrushchev, Molotov ditched Beria and voted for Khrushchev. Beria was stripped of his powers and executed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

A Revised View of Europe’s Two World Wars & Cold War

When did the First World War end? When did the Second World War begin? The violent history of Europe in the twentieth century cannot be understood if we see the two wars, which consumed the lives of more than 100 million people, as separate events.

The European cataclysm began in 1914 with the First World War, whose most important political consequence was the overthrow of the Russian monarchy in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, an event that led to the slaughter of the Russian royal family in 1918 and made the West European political establishments, which in that period were deeply imperialist and monarchist, aware of the appeal that communism had for the oppressed middle and poor classes; to counter the threat of a spate of communist revolutions erupting in several Western European states, they encouraged the rise of violent right-wing groups which were supposed to destroy the political base of the communist revolutionaries, but the communists fought back, dividing European society on class lines and precipitating a civil war between the right-wing (monarchists, fascists, and nazis) and the far left (socialists, Fabians, and communists), which in turn led to the decline of the moderate centrist parties in several European countries, including Germany, where political power was captured by Hitler’s Nazis, whose racial fury and geopolitical ambitions led to a vast escalation in the cycle of European violence, ongoing since 1914, into a full-fledged World War, beginning in 1939 and ending in 1945.

It is clear from the sentence above that the European war raged for a duration of three decades, beginning in 1914 and ending in 1945, with the fall of Hitler’s nazi regime. It can be argued that the European war did not end in 1945 either, it went on in the form of a savage nuclear standoff, known as the Cold War, between the two suicidally aggressive superpowers, the Soviet Union and the USA, which between them possessed enough nukes to fry all of mankind. Peace came to Europe only in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell, leaving the USA as the sole superpower.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Rambo and the Conservatives

“His name was Rambo, and he was just some nothing kid for all anybody knew, standing by the pump of a gas station at the outskirts of Madison, Kentucky. He had a long heavy beard, and his hair was hanging down over his ears to his neck, and he had his hand out trying to thumb a ride from a car that was stopped at the pump.” ~ the opening lines in David Morrell’s novel First Blood.

Rambo was a tough-guy. He was macho. He had deadly fighting skills. But mentally, he was feeble. He lacked the ability to overcome the deceptions of his mind and examine the issues critically. His world was in black and white—his side was good, the other side was evil. It never occurred to him that there could be shades of grey between the black and white, and that the character of his own side might not be white but grayish. He never thought of asking himself what made the other side evil. He believed that they were evil and they deserved to die. 

Much of what Rambo remembered and believed was flawed or simply wrong, but he was not aware of this. He saw those who questioned him or interfered as an enemy. Wherever he went, he found enemies and he got into battles. If he had the power to think critically, he could have realized that his greatest weakness was his susceptibility to delusion, the tendency to hold false beliefs without any evidence. He had no way of knowing that he was not fighting for some kind of principles but for a delusional black and white view of the world. 

This article is not about Rambo. I talk about him because he is an apt analogy for the conservatives. Most conservatives cannot go beyond Ramboesque thinking. They see the world in black and white: our side is good, the other side is bad; if the other side interferes, then our side will go to war and we kill them, in the Rambo style. Their worldview is a hotchpotch of false dichotomies: individualism versus collectivism, socialism versus capitalism, traditional morality versus nihilism, my culture versus other cultures, my religion versus other religions. 

The conservative mind is linear and binary, since it moves in a straight line, on two parallel tracks, one side of the track (the conservative side) is good and the other side is evil. Incapable of thinking critically, the conservatives fail to realize that human beings do not live in a linear and binary world, that there are infinite number of tracks in which the human mind can move, that there are infinite number of ways by which the notions of individualism, collectivism, socialism, capitalism, morality, culture, and religion can be unpacked, analyzed, and repackaged. 

Does individualism imply an independent mind, whatever that might mean? Does capitalism lead to free markets, liberty, and rule of law? Are the laws of morality subjective or objective? Who creates culture and how is a culture transformed? What is the relationship between religion, culture, and politics? The conservatives think that they have the right answer to all these questions but they don’t. No one does.  

The conservatives think that the definitions of the social concepts with which they express their political opinions are unchanging like the formulae of mathematics, like the laws of physics. “Delusional” is the right word for this kind of thinking. Nothing is fixed in the political space. The values like individualism, collectivism, socialism, capitalism, morality, culture, and religion are constantly under attack by politicians, activists, and intellectuals. Their meaning is constantly being transformed, with the deletion of old agendas and the addition of new ones.

The leftist critical thinkers have always been in control of the areas in which the conservatives like to operate—individualism, capitalism, morality, culture, and religion. But the conservatives do not know this. They do not know that when they fight for their pet values, they are fighting futilely, like Rambo, who believes that he is fighting for principles even though his principles are not real, they are the outgrowths of his delusional worldview. The conservatives, or the Rambos, might win a few electoral battles but they cannot win the political battle for the nation’s soul.

The political battles are won by those who can think critically and do not get trapped in linear and binary thinking, who do not view the world in black and white, who can introspect and ferret out the false delusions from their mind, who can read the mind of their rivals to understand their concerns, and who know that human life has always been demanding, it has always been tragic, it always ends in decline and death.