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 But after the Soviet Union had withdrawn its troops from Eastern Europe, and Germany was unified, the American side reneged on their promise.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.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Is Trouble Brewing in India’s Neighborhood?

On 24 February, Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan met Russia’s president Putin in Moscow. This was the first time in 23-years that a Pakistani leader had visited Moscow—their preferred foreign destination is mostly Washington. On 10 April, after a day of high drama, Imran’s government lost the majority in the Pakistani National Assembly. 

Is there a connection between Imran’s meeting Putin and the overthrow of his government? Is it possible that the Machiavellians in Washington did not like Imran’s attempt to cozy up to Putin and so they had him thrown out of power? Whenever a government prematurely falls in any developing country, the Americans are the usual suspects, because they have a long track record of orchestrating the overthrow of democratically elected governments. 

Shehbaz Sharif, who has replaced Imran as Pakistan’s prime minister, is a hardliner. America could use him to destabilize the region and put pressure on India to change its foreign policy and end its economic relationship with Russia.

Sarat Bose: “I Warned My Countrymen”

In a speech that he gave on 13 April 1948, the occasion of the launch of a Hindi newspaper called Netaji, Sarat Chandra Bose (the politician who was the elder brother of Subhas Chandra Bose) called Nehru a “fashionable internationalist.” Sarat’s speech has been published under the title, “I warned my countrymen,” and is included as a chapter in a book published under the same title that contains several of his essays. 

In his speech, Sarat said: “we do not want “fashionable" internationalists but “real" internationalists—internationalists who really know the international situation, who can follow it and judge it from day to day and give us correct advice and guidance. We do not want mere talkers; we want men of action.”  [I Warned My Countrymen; Page 233] He was suspicious of the United Nations, which he felt was a lackey of the American and the Soviet powers. He lambasted Nehru for the decision to refer Indian political issues to the UNO. 

Since the early 1940s, Sarat had been arguing that independent India must keep out of the British led association of countries, the Commonwealth. He believed that a relationship with the Commonwealth would drag India into a de facto relationship with the Anglo-American powers and prevent it from developing a truly independent foreign policy.

He was an early advocate of Asian unity to counter the military power of the Anglo-American sphere. He made the case that instead of joining the Commonwealth, India should campaign for the formation of a UNA type of association (United Nations of Asia). He was much bolder than Nehru in arguing for an Asia that was capable of resisting the Anglo-American powers. But Nehru said that it was not in India’s interest to antagonize the British. He made India a part of the Commonwealth.

On Churchill’s Operation Boot

While the Americans had given the name “Ajax” to their 1953 coup to overthrow the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, their British collaborators had their own name for the coup. The British called it: Operation Boot. 

It is a cardinal rule in spycraft that one should not use a name which might reveal the character of the mission. The British were filled with such contempt and hatred for Mosaddegh, because he was demanding a fair price for Iranian oil, that they violated this rule. After the coup was successful, some British officials and oil company executives used to joke in Tehran that their mission to remove Mosaddegh was called “Operation Boot.” When the Iranians learned about the British name for the coup they were filled with great anger against the West. 

Winston Churchill was the prime minister of Britain when the Operation Boot/Ajax was orchestrated in Iran. He had the habit of using very bad language to describe the people and politicians in non-Western countries. (Look at the kind of ridiculous language that he has used to describe the Indians masses and politicians.) He belonged to an aristocratic family but his language was vulgar and frivolous. So it is not at all surprising that a coup orchestrated by his government should be called “Operation Boot.” This is typical Churchillian language. 

Mosaddegh was a decent and soft-spoken man. He would not use the kind of language for the British that politicians like Churchill were using for the Iranians. But in the 1960s, the Iranians flocked around a leader who was as ruthless, determined, and verbose as the Churchills of Britain: Ayatollah Khomeini. In his speeches Khomeini made a big issue of the fact that the British had given the name “Operation Boot” to their 1953 coup. He started exhorting the Iranians to boot the West out of Iran. The Iranians loved his message.

When you read Khomeini’s speeches, you find that his language was much more colorful than Churchill’s language. In 1979, he called America the Great Satan.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

The Rush to De-Dollarise and Bring Gold Standard

Russia has pegged its currency to gold. It has announced a fixed price for purchasing gold with rubles—RUB5,000 for a gram of gold. The value of the ruble, vis-à-vis the dollar, was rising since Russia passed a decree requiring buyers of its gas to pay in rubles. Now that the ruble is linked to gold, its credibility has further improved. 

Following Russia’s example, Iran is planning to announce that it will sell its gas in local currency, not in American dollars. They are planning to link their currency to gold, at an attractive rate. China too is planning to impose the condition on its buyers that they should pay in local currency. They are close to linking their currency to gold. China is the world’s largest gold producer, and its undeclared gold reserves might surpass that of the USA. 

When Russia, Iran, and China are de-dollarising and linking their currency to gold, how can the rest of Asia avoid this path? People in most Asian countries want to ditch the dollar. Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries could de-dollarise and link their currency to gold in the next five years. De-dollarisation could soon become the new reality of the Asian economies.

Now take a guess, which country is dead set against linking currency to gold. That would be the so-called bastion of capitalism: America. The American policy makers want their fiat currency, the dollar, to be the global reserve currency because this system brings huge financial benefits to them. Since the world’s major financial systems are based on the dollar, America has a stranglehold on the economy of almost every country. 

One reason for which America invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussain’s government was because he had dumped the dollar, which he called “the currency of the enemy,” in favor of a more fair currency, the Euro. In October 2000, he passed a decree requiring the buyers of Iraqi petroleum to pay in Euros. The fate of Saddam Hussain proves that America is ready to use its military power to defend the dollar.

The dollar is not a fair currency. It is a tool of American (Western) imperialism. America would not be the world’s largest economy if the dollar was not the global reserve currency. It is a good thing that now the Asian countries are trying to de-dollarise their economy. Africa and South America should join Asia in giving the dollar a boot. Unless the hegemony of the American dollar is broken, a fair global economic system cannot be developed.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Doubt Versus Certainty

“The best lack all conviction; while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.” ~ Yeats in his poem, “The Second Coming.” 

Yeats is right. The best people are often filled with doubts; they realize that even those decisions which are made on the basis of the best possible information can turn out to be disastrously wrong. But the scoundrels, buffoons, and the tyrants have total certainty; they are convinced that they, and only they, possess the ultimate truth. 

I am not saying that conviction and intensity are bad traits. The best too can be full of conviction and intensity but they are not dogmatic and authoritarian. They do not believe that only they have the ultimate truth and everyone else is always wrong.

Friday, April 8, 2022

The Consequences of the 1953 Coup

The CIA orchestrated 1953 coup in Iran confirmed the widespread notion in the Middle East and North Africa that America had replaced Britain as the main imperialist power. The people in these regions were convinced that while their oil industry was in the hands of Western private companies, their nation would be treated as a Western colony. 

Radical states like Libya, Iraq, and Algeria, and theocratic monarchies such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, nationalized their oil industry in quick succession. Having learned from the 1953 coup in Iran, these nations took precautions to make sure that their government was not overthrown by the American and British spy organizations. The irony is that while Iran was the first Middle Eastern nation to try to nationalize its oil industry, it was last to complete the process—its oil industry was nationalized after the 1979 revolution. 

Before the 1953 coup, the opposition that the Western powers faced in Iran was secular—consisting of democratic movements such as those led by Prime Minister Mosaddegh, and communist movements such as the Tudeh Party. By orchestrating the coup, the Americans had inadvertently awakened a sleeping giant: Radical Islam. During the Middle Ages, the Western crusaders were trounced by radical Islam. In the twentieth century, history repeated itself: once again radical Islam had driven the West out of the Middle East. 

After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the contest between the West (led by America) and Islam was not limited to the control of the Middle Eastern oil industry. It had moved beyond the confines of the Middle East and taken a global dimension. The two sides were now contesting for power all over the world, including the heartlands of the Western civilization: Western Europe and North America.

The Camel’s Wisdom

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for truth to be represented in the front page of newspapers and in the prime time news TV shows.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

America’s Six Reasons for the 1953 Coup in Iran

Donald Newton Wilber was the CIA operative in charge of “Operation Ajax,” which in 1953 led to the overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. To explain his role in Operation Ajax, he wrote a book titled Regime Change in Iran: Overthrow of Premier Mosaddegh of Iran. He begins his narrative from November 1952, and leaves out the details of the process by which the American and the British policy makers came to the conclusion that to get rid of Mosaddegh, a military coup was their sole option.  

In this book, Wilber provides six reasons for which America (and Britain) had to overthrow the Iranian government :

1. Mosaddegh refused to abide by the 1933 Anglo-Persian oil agreement. [The 1933 agreement was immensely unpopular in Iran; Mosaddegh had won the election on the plank of repealing this agreement and freeing Iran’s oil industry from British control.]

2. To finance the operation of his government Mosaddegh was resorting to deficit financing. [All countries do deficit spending; the USA has the world’s largest deficit.]

3. Mosaddegh’s politics was emotional, he coveted political power, and he had a “totally destructive and reckless attitude.” [As if the American and British politicians are not emotional; as if they do not covet power; as if they are not destructive and reckless.]

4. Mosaddegh reformed the 1906 Iranian constitution to extend his tenure. [Why should the Americans care about Iran’s constitution?]

5. Mosaddegh tried to undermine the Shah and the armed forces. [Why should the Americans care about the Shah and the Iranian armed forces?]

6. Mosaddegh was collaborating with the Tudeh Party (the Iranian communist party), and was recruiting its members into the government. [There is no evidence that Mosaddegh was a communist; the Tudeh Party was just a bogeyman invented by the British and the Americans.]

According to Wilber, during the November 1952 meeting of the American State Department and the British Foreign Office, the CIA and MI6 were asked to prepare a joint plan to overthrow Mosaddegh. The coup plot was drafted in Washington and finalized in London. On July 1, the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister had put their signatures on the plan. The plan was cleared by President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill on July 11. The operation was scheduled for the middle of August. 

The success of Operation Ajax convinced the American policy makers that they could overthrow democratic governments in any part of the world. In the years to come, the Americans orchestrated coups in Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile, and few other places. Some of these coups led to large scale prosecutions and massacres. America was no longer seen as a champion of liberal democracy but as the orchestrator of coups and the creator of military regimes.

Politics is a Tragic Drama

Politics is a tragic drama in which the protagonist (the government) is cognizant of the dangers that loom ahead—the government knows how to avoid them, but it cannot do so because of forces beyond its control.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

George Curzon: Imperialism is Divine

George Curzon was the British Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905. While he was serving as the foreign minister (from 1919 to 1924), he played a pivotal role in coercing the Persian Prime Minister Vossug ed Dowleh to sign the notorious Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919, which turned Iran (Persia at that time) into a British vassal state, and made the Persians believe that the West was plundering their country’s natural resources—so the Persians turned against the West. 

Harold Nicholson, who was serving in the British Legation in Tehran in the period when the Anglo-Persian Agreement was signed, wrote a book called Curzon: The Last Phase, 1919-1925: A Study in Post-War Diplomacy. In this book, he wrote that Curzon believed that God had created British imperialism and that the British upper class was an instrument of God’s “Divine Will.” He points out that Curzon was passionately devoted to the project of creating a “chain of vassal states from the Mediterranean all the way to India.”

In his book, Persia in the Great Game, Antony Wynn wrote that Cruzon “seems to be under the impression that he discovered Persia and that, having discovered it, in some mysterious way, he owns it.” Curzon used to proclaim that he was the great friend of Persians. But the problem was that the Persians thought that he was their enemy and oppressor.

The Spy Called R65

How is R65 doing these days. Is he still flying in the Middle East? Is he still a Mossad spy?

In January 2011, R65 made headlines in the newspapers. His story became viral on the Internet. He was captured in the hinterlands of Saudi Arabia and was suspected of being a Mossad spy. At the time of his capture, R65 was armed with sharp claws, sharp beak, beady eyes, feathers, and a GPS tracker of Tel Aviv University. R65 was a Griffon vulture. 

The Israeli authorities said that the bird was not a spy—it was part of their multiyear study of the migratory pattern of vultures. The newspapers and the websites were not convinced. For days they talked about the Israeli use of a vulture to spy on Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Nothing Exists If You Don’t

You cannot conceive a world without yourself. Your view of the past, your experience of the present, and your expectation of a future—all these are the creations of your mind. At the level of the mind, very little contribution is made by the “we” kind of associations. “I” is the fulcrum around which the world—the world that your mind has created—revolves. The world exists because you exist.

Waiting for the Barbarians

“Where civilization entailed the corruption of barbarian virtues and the creation of dependent people, I decided, I was opposed to civilization.” ~ J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

In Coetzee’s novel, the barbarians are the good guys and the men of the Empire, who presume that they are civilized, are the bad guys. The Empire’s propaganda says that the barbarians are planning to invade. The people living in the Empire’s frontier are full of fear as they await the barbarian invasion, but the barbarians have no will to invade. They never arrive. It is the Empire’s soldiers who frequently invade the barbarian lands.

The Empire is cunning, ruthless, and violent because it wants to impose its way of life on everyone. It is doomed because it is convinced that it will never die. It creates history while conspiring against history, because it sees itself as the end of history. The moral of the novel is that the Empire is the great corruptor. It teaches falsehoods and unteaches barbarian virtues. The Empire must be opposed.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Nothing Can Exceed Our Imagination

Nothing is better than what we can imagine, and nothing is worse. Our imagination is the fountainhead of our happiness and fears, of our dreams of heaven and nightmares of hell.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

A Brief Account of the Iranian Revolution

In late December 1977, President Carter travelled to Tehran to strengthen US‐Iranian relations. On New Year’s Eve, he made a speech in Tehran’s Niavaran Complex, during which he said that "Iran is an island of stability in one of the most troubled areas of the world.” He called Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (the Shah of Iran) a staunch ally of the USA and “a popular king of the Iranians.” Within days of Carter’s visit millions of Iranians poured into the streets to protest against the Shah and the Western powers. The Iranian revolution was now underway. On 11 February 1979, the Shah regime was overthrown.

Through their hold on the Shah regime and Iran’s petroleum industry, the Americans had a bird’s eye view of Iran but they didn’t have the worm’s eye view—they didn’t have an insider’s perspective. They had no knowledge of the contempt and anger that the Iranian masses felt for their government and the West (America and Britain). The Iranian revolution did not arise out of thin air in the aftermath of Carter’s visit. The idea of overthrowing the Shah regime, and driving the West out of Iran, had been shimmering beneath the surface of the Iranian society for decades, waiting for the opportune moment to get unleashed in the form of a revolution.

In the beginning of the twentieth century, the British company Anglo‐Persian Oil (AIOC—which later became British Petroleum, BP) managed to coerce the Iranian government to give it the exclusive right to Iran’s oil. By the 1950s, the strategists of the British government were regarding Iranian oil as a property of Britain, not of the Iranians. In their documents, the British foreign office was declaring that Iranian oil was “the major asset which Britain holds in the field of raw materials.” Iran received less in royalty for its oil than the AIOC paid as taxes to Britain.

In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh, a nationalist leader who was the descendent of the former Persian monarchy, became Iran’s prime minister. In May 1951, he nationalized Iran’s oil. He wanted a better deal for Iran’s oil. He was right in demanding a better deal, because at that time Venezuela was having a 50-50 deal, and Mexico had nationalized its oil industry. The British responded by blockading Iran, making it impossible for the country to export its oil. This led to a financial crisis in Iran. But Mosaddegh managed to stay in power. 

In 1953, the Americans (with British help) decided to orchestrate a coup to overthrow his government. The American intelligence operative in Iran at that time was Kermit Roosevelt Jr. (the grandson of the former American president Teddy Roosevelt). He played a key role in the coup which was codenamed Operation Ajax. In 2000, The New York Times published some excerpts from a leaked CIA document titled “Clandestine Service History – Overthrow of Premier Mosaddegh of Iran – November 1952 – August 1953.” 

The NYT story shows that Kermit Roosevelt Jr. had informed Washington that under Mosaddegh a communist takeover of Iran was imminent. Though he did not provide any proof of a communist takeover, Operation Ajax was put into play. Mosaddegh was arrested in August 1953, and placed under house arrest. Many of Mosaddegh’s supporters were tortured and executed. The Shah was brought back and installed in power. 

The machinations of the American intelligence operatives in the 1953 coup embittered most Iranians—they became convinced that there would be no peace in their country till the West was driven out. In 1962, when Ayatollah Khomeini began to speak against the West and the Shah regime, the Iranians flocked to listen to him. When Khomeini was arrested on the Shah’s orders in 1963, there were protests all over Iran. Due to the intensity of the protests, the Shah was forced to release Khomeini. 

In 1964, the Shah passed a law which infuriated the Iranians: this law gave the American military advisors immunity from Iranian law. Khomeini decried the Shah’s policy. In a famous speech, he said that, under the Shah’s rule, the Iranians had a status lower than that of an American dog. The Iranian government exiled Khomeini in November 1964. They were hoping that while he was out of the country, his popularity would wane. But Khomeini started communicating with his followers through recorded speeches. The audio cassettes of his speeches became very popular.

By the 1970s, Khomeini had gained enough influence to thwart the Shah. His supporters routinely disobeyed curfew orders and participated in demonstrations. When Khomeini arrived in Tehran in February 1979, millions of Iranians were out in the streets to welcome him. His arrival in Tehran marked the end of not only the Shah regime but also of the Western influence in Iran’s affairs. In a speech on 5 November, 1979, Khomeini described the USA as the “Great Satan” and the root of all evil—the break between Iran and the West was now total.

Friday, April 1, 2022

The Importance of Formidable Enemies

“To be successful you need friends and to be very successful you need enemies.” ~ Sidney Sheldon, The Other Side of Midnight. Sheldon’s line is relevant for nations too: To be successful a nation needs friends and to be very successful it needs enemies. 

The existence of a formidable enemy serves as a constant reminder to the nation’s political leadership and its population of the fact that there exists an entity that is powerful and dangerous, and if they let their guard down, this entity could devour their nation. Their competition with the formidable enemy fuels their work ethic and geopolitical strategy. They relentlessly strive to strengthen their economy, their political institutions, and their military to match the strength of their enemy and, if possible, surpass it. 

If a formidable enemy does not exist, then a nation must invent it.

The Soviet Heart and the anti-Soviet Brain

“Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.” ~ President of Russia Vladimir Putin, The New York Times, February 2000

I agree with Putin. From the vantage point of the twenty-first century, the Soviet Union seems like a sort of mythological project for creating a utopia for all of mankind. The utopia transmogrified into a hell which, in 1991, collapsed under its own weight. The failure was so calamitous that no political movement will dare to implement this kind of a project in the foreseeable future. 

There are two aspects of the Soviet Union—first, the noble intentions (which appeal to the heart); second, the disastrous aftermath (which the brain must examine to learn the right lessons). The heart is with the Soviet Union but the brain rebels against it.