Archive for July, 2010


July 10, 2010

At the Heritage Foundation of Washington D.C. on July 8, 2010, Dr. Roy Godson and Dr. Richard Shultz presented a new important report on how the United States should organize in the ongoing global civil war. The report, Adapting America’s Security Paradigm and Security Agenda, has been produced with participation of senior security practitioners from democracies around the world under the auspices of the National Strategy Information Center in the U.S. capital.

Security challenges, so Godson and Schultz, are part of a conflict environment in which a number of armed groups and other non-state actors, sometimes aided by authoritarian states, are part. Patterns can be seen that will influence the ongoing global conflict for at least the coming 25 years.

The event was hosted by Dr. Ariel Cohen, who is a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

The world has changed and there is a need for a new framework to defend against non-state actors. The number of states has grown and of the around 200 states of today only 50 are parliamentary democracies. Of the rest around 100 could be seen as more or less failing states.

Weak states are a growing threat to the West and the number of irregular actors will grow. What is needed today is a systematic development of American capabilities. International cooperation with other democracies is needed. There must be detailed local knowledge of the insurgencies and what is perhaps most important: the leaders of terror and insurgency groups must be identified.


July 6, 2010

The American geopolitician George Friedman in an interview with Kyiv Post recently suggested that it may be fully possible for Ukraine to “remain autonomous and have bilateral relations with both Russia and with other countries”:

Russia is looking closely at the region, particularly after the 2004 Orange Revolution. They are feeling very vulnerable. Russia had a very important reset – the reset of relations with Ukraine.

Friedman also believes that Ukraine may have been too optimistic in its expectation of American support after 2004. One reason could be that the United States is a geopolitically active global hegemon with much on its plate.

Friedman argues:

Ukrainians have to decide how many risks they are willing to take with the Russians, how much they want to resist getting closer to Moscow and what the risks are of the Russian response and possibility that Russians will temper their response to maintain good relations with the U.S. ..Decisions have to be made in Kyiv…when the U.S. is involved in the Mideast …it cannot afford confrontations with Russians…Ukrainians are always asking questions about American intentions and Russian intentions, but never about their own intentions. They are completely focused on what other players are doing.

Friedman believes that Ukraine is a major power, which is correct. Thus it would be natural if he would suggest a stronger Ukrainian military effort. But he does not. To play the role in the world Ukraine is entitled to it must strengthen its economy and military forces.

George Friedman is a prominent geopolitical observer based in the United States and CEO of the Stratfor Company. In 2010 the paperback edition of his The Next 100 Years – A Forecast for the 21st Century (London: Allison & Busby). It is fascinating reading but on Europe Dr. Friedman can be questioned. For analytical purposes he wants to divide Europe into Atlantic Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe (for some reason he does not include Ukraine) and Scandinavian Europe. On Scandinavia he does not include Denmark and Iceland. Norway should belong to Atlantic Europe as well as Denmark. This small but important country should not, as Friedman does, be included in a Central Europe with Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The reason: the historically many confrontations between Denmark and Prussia/Germany. Sweden and Finland are special cases in between Atlantic Europe and Russia.

Friedman suggests that Eastern Europe has “recent national identities”. Not so, as for instance both Ukraine and Poland have very old national identities.

Thus the views of Dr. Friedman, which are of great interest, must sometimes be taken with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to Europe.


July 5, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Ukrainians during the recent visit to Ukraine that the door to joining NATO remained open.

She urged President Viktor Yanukovich to stick to a democratic course and expressed concern over reports that media freedoms were being infringed. She said:

We would urge the Ukrainian government to safeguard these critical liberties

After meeting Yanukovich she was later scheduled to have a meeting with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, now in opposition.

Mrs. Clinton further stated:

NATO’S door remains open but it is up to Ukraine to decide whether or not you wish to pursue that or any other course for your own security interests,”

Ukraine seems to be willing to continue cooperating with the U.S.-led military alliance in the field of defense reform and peace-keeping.

U.S. Ambassador to Kiev John Tefft expressed concern that journalists are under pressure by the Yanukovich administration.

Clinton also said that Yanukovich and the government had made commitments to build democracy and democratic institutions in Ukraine. It remains to be seen if he will keep that promise.


July 3, 2010

Once there was a Soviet West Point of world revolution. It trained and turned out graduates for the whole world. At the end of the 1940s there were for instance 800 trainees in the United States. The European countries had their high officers of a secret army that was trained to overthrow governments and social orders.

The university was the International Lenin School (ILS) in Moscow. It was behind a stucco-covered brick wall on the left side of Vorovskaya Ulitza, a few blocks beyond Arbat Ploschad. In 1613 Arbat Ploschad was where Russian volunteers under Prince Pozharsky broke through the defenses and drove the Polish invaders from the Kremlin with the aid of a Swedish-Finnish army.

The ILS was a site for higher education in bank-robbery – called “revolutionary self-help”. To be able to hide it from prying eyes the Communist international placed the Lenin Institute, a school of ideology, close to the other school, so that ILS could not be easily identified.

The first director of ILS was Nikolai Bucharin. He did not survive the Stalin purges but the school grew. It has a permanent faculty and Stalin and other Soviet leaders lectured.

When they left students of the school adopted cover names. Every order had to be blindly obeyed and he or she could not disclose that they were communists. If detected they could not reveal anything about the party. When leaving for training at ILS the student went on pretext of sightseeing in Europe. The party paid the expenses for the trip.

The three year courses at ILS started with lectures on the theories of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Strikes were described as skirmishes that force the solidarity of the “proletariat”. In addition to the longer course there were shorter courses in labor activities, party organization, propaganda and revolutionary violence.

In a textbook on civil war the German communist Hans Kippenberger (alias Alfred Lange) wrote:

Too great humanity is a danger as it is interpreted as a sign of weakness. That is the great lesson from all revolutionary conflicts. Humanity should be extended only to those who may be won over to the cause. The procedure – the terror – should be applied most strictly to all adversaries.”

The basic rules for insurrection were:

preparation, timing, knowledge of tactics, and complete surprise.

Infiltration of labor unions, public offices, police force, and other sources of information was important. Vital spots such as power stations, radio stations, and airports must be mapped. Those were the instructions at ILS.

The school described above was only one of several. The Eastern University graduated nearly 10,000 students. They were sent to make trouble in Korea and China. Graduates of the Western University were active in Balkan and Scandinavian countries. Tiblisi in Georgia had a school for Communists from the Middle East. Another in Vladivostok was mainly for Koreans. At the Kirov Academy in then Leningrad the Soviet secret political police trained candidates.

There is not much new under the sun. ILS and the other schools should be kept in mind when allowing Communist parties to participate in the governing of countries which is the case in Sweden, where communists will be given ministerial posts if a leftist coalition takes power after the election in September 2010.

Also it has to be remembered that the strategies and tactics used by jihadists since 2001 is not so different from what was taught at ILS and other schools in the Soviet Union for training in the waging of civil war.