Archive for June, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: ‘WHAT GOOD IS GRAND STRATEGY’ (2014) BY HAL BRANDS – A FASCINATING ANALYSIS OF PRESIDENTIAL STRATEGY

June 29, 2014

Washington Free Beacon on June 28, 2014, published a review of a fascinating new book on US grand strategy by Hal Brands. “Reduced to its essence, grand strategy is the intellectual architecture that lends structure to foreign policy; it is the logic that helps states navigate a complex and dangerous world.” Excerpts below:

With President Obama’s foreign policy in disarray, Hal Brands’ study of strategy is well timed. Considering the experiences of four presidents—Truman, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush—Brands seeks to “offer some tentative thoughts on the utility of grand strategy for American officials.”

The author’s intention is clear. There’s a scholar’s passion to this writing—a belief in history’s ability to illuminate the complexities of the present. But, if Brands has written an intellectually invigorating work, his accounting of four presidents also testifies to the hard choices of American policy.

Brands starts with Truman, explaining how his grappling with rising Soviet power was restricted by the fact that “grand strategy requires unity of effort and long-range planning, but neither of these virtues was in abundance.”

Still, Truman engaged his officials in a strategy to restrain Soviet encroachment. At the heart of this agenda was a prioritization of interests. Truman was keenly aware that America’s limited resources meant that tough choices were inevitable. And here, Truman recognized that Western Europe was “the decisive theatre.” He feared that were the Soviet Union to seize this locale, it might become “almost impregnable.”

Truman was therefore determined to “derive maximum utility from finite resources.” For Brands, Truman’s success was a function of his flexibility. Truman came to recognize that the ‘Marshall Plan’ to aid Europe could not co-exist without security and created NATO to provide this anchor.

We see Truman’s willingness to draw (and hold) red lines at critical junctures—most notably, in confronting North Korea’s invasion of South Korea. The author quotes Truman’s adviser Charles Bohlen, who said, “All Europeans to say nothing of the Asiatics are watching to see what the United States will do.” Ultimately, Brands concludes that Truman’s grand strategy worked because of its responsiveness to rapidly changing events. As he puts it: “Containment … did not spring forth fully formed from the mind of George Keenan; it was an idea whose practical implications had to be worked out—and reworded out—amid the myriad crises and shocks of the day.”

Outlining Reagan’s evolution from a hardline stance to a more calculating one, Brands relates how Reagan won Gorbachev’s respect. On human rights, for example, we witness Reagan’s behind-the-scenes persuasion of Gorbachev to liberalize Soviet society. Brands records how Soviet exit visas increased from 1,000 to 80,000 between 1986 and 1988.

Recognizing the Soviet Union’s economic disrepair and growing liberation movements in Eastern Europe, Reagan offered Gorbachev a choice. On one hand, continued military expenditures would bankrupt the Soviet Union. On the other hand, rapprochement might save the Soviet Union, while balancing international security more firmly under American authority.

Gorbachev’s realism played an important role. However, Reagan’s purposeful vision was critical. Brands is cautious to avoid a biased appraisal of America’s 40th president. He records the deficits that accompanied Reagan’s defense expenditures. He says that Reagan’s single-minded focus on communism may have led him to neglect other American interests such as the rise of Islamist extremism in Pakistan. The author’s implicit warning is clear: Presidents must look beyond the immediate challenge.

Finally, Brands offers his thoughts on George W. Bush’s grand strategy. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, caused Bush to fundamentally reassess his vision of American power and foreign threats. Bush became fixed on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s possession of WMDs. Brands is fair in his understanding of this concern, but criticizes Bush for failing to assert sufficient control over his administration’s policy during the occupation of Iraq. In his discussion of Paul Bremer’s de-Ba’athification process, which helped spur the insurgency, Brands takes up one of the contradictions of grand strategy: A president must implement his policy, but also ensure that his subordinates carry out his policies effectively. However, Brands also praises Bush for his decision to launch the surge in Iraq. Here, we see another requirement of grand strategy: the necessity of bold leadership.

The conclusion of What Good is Grand Strategy? is particularly special. It encapsulates its author’s passion for his subject. Suggesting 10 ideas to guide future grand strategy, Brands ties together the various strands of his comprehensive work. For me, his fourth proposal is the most valuable: “Think of grand strategy as a process, not as a blueprint.”

This is a lesson to which presidents, including the incumbent, would do well to pay heed.

CHENEY: OBAMA HASN’T DECIMATED AL QAEDA, HE’S DECIMATED U.S. DEFENSE

June 27, 2014

Washington Free Beacon on June 24, 2014, reported that Former Vice President Dick Cheney continued his criticism of the Obama administration’s foreign policy on Hannity,…Excerpts below:

Cheney cited the RAND Corporation’s study revealing a “58-percent increase in the number of jihadist groups, a doubling of jihadist fighters and a tripling of attacks by al Qaeda affiliate” since 2010.

“Partly, I think it’s important to understand this isn’t just about Iraq,” Cheney said. “It’s part of a much larger problem … It’s not just about Iraq. It’s the fact that now Iraq and Syria are both potential trouble spots, and as we see this proliferation of terrorists, we’ve also at the same time had an administration that didn’t want to recognize there was a problem. They like to say, ‘We got bin Laden, problem solved,’ or ‘We decimated al Qaeda.’ What they’ve decimated is the U.S. Defense Department.”

SPACEX FOUNDER MUSK: COULD LAND HUMANS ON MARS IN 10 TO 12 YEARS

June 26, 2014

FoxNews on June 19, 2014, reported that SpaceX founder Elon Musk thinks his private spaceflight company will have the capability to land humans on Mars within 12 years, assuming the availability of funding for the historic mission. Also, once SpaceX starts making steps toward this goal, the company could be floated on the stock market to boost investment for the red planet adventure. Excerpts below:

Musk, who also founded the electric car manufacturer Tesla, has always made his interplanetary intentions known, but this recent announcement is a reminder about how far the company has come and how far it is looking into the future.

During the CNBC interview, Musk said: “I’m hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it’s certainly possible for that to occur. But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary.”

Musk also highlighted NASA’s role in SpaceX’s success, pointing out that without the US space agency’s pioneering work that SpaceX wouldn’t be where it is today.

SpaceX is now competing for the next round of NASA contracts that will be awarded to a private US spaceflight company for commercial crew launches to the space station. Musk unveiled the crewed version of the Dragon capsule — dubbed the Dragon “V2″ (version 2) — at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorn, Calif., last month.

The Dragon V2 will be considered in a 3-way competition to acquire NASA contracts to fly astronauts to the space station (and beyond), ending the US dependence on the Russian Soyuz launch vehicle to get astronauts into space after the Space Shuttle fleet was retired in 2011.

Should SpaceX not win the commercial crew contract, however, Musk is still confident that his ultimate Mars dream can be fulfilled.

SpaceX is hoping to see the maiden flight of the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket within the next year, a booster that could launch heavy components for a Mars mission into space.

A potential route to funding a Mars mission could come if SpaceX went public and floated on the stock market.

“We need to get where things a steady and predictable,” Musk said. “Maybe we’re close to developing the Mars vehicle, or ideally we’ve flown it a few times, then I think going public would make more sense.”

While commenting on Tesla’s pioneering work into driving down the cost of electric cars, Musk joked that a mission to Mars may be an easier task than driving down the cost of electric car batteries to less than $5000.

U.S. OPPOSES NEW DRAFT THREATY FROM CHINA AND RUSSIA BANNING SPACE WEAPONS

June 21, 2014

Washington Free Beacon on June 19, 2014, reported that the United States is opposing a new draft treaty submitted to the United Nations last week by China and Russia that seeks legally binding curbs on weapons in space amid concerns that both states are secretly building space arms. Excerpts below:

The draft treaty—updated from a 2008 version—cannot be verified, according to Frank A. Rose, deputy assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification, and compliance.

“The United States believes that arms control proposals and concepts should only be considered by the international community if they are equitable, effectively verifiable, and enhance the security of all,” Rose told a June 10 session in Geneva of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament.

The Chinese-Russian draft treaty “does not meet the necessary criteria,” Rose said, adding that the U.S. opposition is based on a preliminary assessment that the new draft fails to address “significant flaws” in the 2008 draft.

Rose instead said the United States favors a less formal “code of conduct” for space being promoted by the European Union. The code has come under fire from the Pentagon’s Joint Staff that stated in a 2012 assessment that the code would harm U.S. military space activities.

China is engaged in a major space weapons development program that includes ground-based anti-satellite missiles, lasers and electronic jammers, and small maneuvering satellites that can attack orbiting satellites.

Russia also is developing space warfare weapons.

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic analyst, said the administration’s opposition to the new space weapons treaty is one of the few times he has agreed with the administration on an arms control issue.

“All U.S. administrations have rejected space control because there are serious definitional problems, such as what is a space weapon,” Schneider said. “And there are serious verification problems associated with it.

Additionally, “Russia is certain to cheat on any space treaty,” Schneider said. “They have announced that they are developing ASAT weapons. Moreover, they may be developing space offensive weapons.”

The Soviet Union in the 1960s deployed a nuclear space weapon system called the fractional orbital bombardment system. It used an orbiting strategic missile in low earth orbit that was designed to de-orbit and attack the United States by transiting southward from the South Pole to avoid radar detection.

Russian military writings have indicated recently that Moscow may revive the orbiting southern polar missile attack system. Analysts have said that in addition to providing Moscow with a first-strike space nuclear weapon, the system could also be used in a devastating electro-magnetic pulse attack over U.S. territory that would destroy all electronics over a large area.



Former State Department China specialist John Tkacik said the draft treaty appears to be a ploy by Beijing and Moscow.

“The Chinese and Russians have no interest in actually abiding by any international treaty that limits the militarization of space, but they are keen to get the United States to tie itself in knots over one,” Tkacik said.

The Obama administration’s critiera for a space treaty—that it be verifiable and contain precise definitions—is also faulty, Tkacik said.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that countries with a tradition of respect for the rule of law abide by such treaties, while countries with no respect for law—like Russia and China, to name but a few—see treaties as subterfuges with which to confound the gullible,” he said.

The draft treaty is formally called the Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects. It was presented to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament on June 10.

Observers say the Russian and Chinese push for a legally binding space arms treaty are part of unconventional legal warfare, or lawfare, efforts designed to achieve the objective of limiting their adversaries military capabilities covertly.

A Pentagon-sponsored report on China’s use of lawfare predicted China’s use of the UN conference to limit U.S. military space capabilities.

“In the future, Chinese legal warfare could provide advantages in areas such as treaties regulating or abolishing the emplacement of weapons in space, or the fielding of anti-satellite systems,” according to the May 2013 report “China: The Three Warfares.”

The report said the current 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits only the placing of weapons of mass destruction in space, with limits against harmful contamination of space.

The Obama administration’s 2010 National Space Policy does not rule out the use of space weapons in support of U.S. defense and national security objectives.

“The United States will employ a variety of measures to help assure the use of space for all responsible parties, and, consistent with the inherent right of self-defense, deter others from interference and attack, defend our space systems and contribute to the defense of allied space systems, and, if deterrence fails, defeat efforts to attack them,” the policy, dated June 28, 2010, states.

A year later the Pentagon and Office of the Director of National Intelligence published the National Security Space Strategy that calls for promoting the peaceful use of space, but retaining the right to defeat space threats—an indication that space weapons could be developed and fielded in the future.

DRONE DELIVERIES, VERTICAL FLIGHT PLANES HIGHLIGHT THE FUTURE OF US WARFARE

June 20, 2014

FoxNews on May 21, 2014, reported on technological solutions of the US military in combat zones. Excerpts below:

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are piloted remotely by trained personnel. These robotic flying machines are already widely used across all branches of the military, but some of the most cutting-edge applications are still in the works.

Here are some of the most intriguing drone projects that are taking off.

The U.S. Army is overhauling its famed Black Hawk helicopter, making it capable of flying without a human on board. The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator successfully finished its first test flight March 11. The pilotless helicopter was able to hover by itself…

“The autonomous Black Hawk helicopter provides the commander with the flexibility to determine crewed or uncrewed operations, increasing sorties while maintaining crew rest requirements,” Mark Miller, vice president of research and engineering at defense contractor Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., said in a statement.

If a wounded soldier needs a lift to the hospital, a new, unmanned helicopter-truck hybrid from Advanced Tactics, Inc. may be able to do that autonomously. The Black Knight Transformer, a so-called “multicopter,” is designed to land near combat zones (but away from heavy fighting) and then drive toward the injured soldier for others to load him or her into the vehicle.

The vehicle’s rugged construction would also allow it to deliver cargo to remote areas, even in spots that are hard for conventional cars and trucks to reach, company officials said.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also interested in developing vehicles that can take off and land vertically, as part of its VTOL X-Plane project. If it performs up to expectations, the VTOL X-Plane would approximately double the current top speed of helicopters, at between 172 to 196 miles per hour.

“Faster VTOL aircraft could shorten mission times and increase the potential for successful operations, while reducing vulnerability to enemy attack,” DARPA officials said in a statement.

Funding for the first phase of the VTOL X-Plane project was awarded in March to Aurora Flight Sciences Co., The Boeing Co., Karem Aircraft Inc. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Preliminary vehicle designs are due in 2015, with initial testing set to begin in 2017 or 2018, according to DARPA.

Access to quick transportation is essential at military bases, but there are rarely enough helicopters on hand to meet the needs of troops in the field, military officials have said. DARPA’s Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) could help the military to get around that problem.

The ARES project is being led by Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Corp.’s advanced research program based in California. The vehicle is designed to land in a spot half the size of what a helicopter usually needs, making it easier to touch down on rugged terrain or on carrier ships. Tilting duct fans on the aircraft will enable it to easily switch between hovering to high-speed cruising, and the body of the aircraft will have the capacity to carry cargo and supplies, company officials said.

‘TAKING A NAP’, ‘IRAQ IS COLLAPSING’: OBAMA TEAM ACCUSED OF UNDERESTIMATING IRAQ UNREST

June 13, 2014

FoxNews on June 12, 2014, reported that the Obama administration’s apparent miscalculation of the threat posed by Al Qaeda-aligned militants in Iraq drew severe criticism from top Republican lawmakers, who accused President Obama and his national security team of “taking a nap,” warning “the next 9/11 is in the making.”

Amid criticism from lawmakers, the White House appeared to open the door to the possibility of U.S. airstrikes, but stressed that sending American ground troops is not an option.

The administration once again appears to have been caught off guard by an explosion of violence in a country U.S. forces helped liberate from a dictator. Al Qaeda-aligned Sunni militants were advancing south and threatening to move on Baghdad after overrunning the northern Iraq cities of Mosul and Tikrit — with Iraqi government forces in rapid retreat.

GOP lawmakers vented that advances made by the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are confirming their “worst fears” about what would happen in the wake of the Obama-ordered U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011.

“What’s the president doing? Taking a nap,” House Speaker John Boehner snapped, before abruptly ending his weekly press conference.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Iraq is “collapsing,” calling it another potential Benghazi and urging the president to address the American people.

“The next 9/11 is in the making,” Graham said.

White House and State Department officials earlier said the administration is considering sending additional aid, but have not specified what that might be. The Iraqi government reportedly is seeking U.S. airstrikes. Republican lawmakers and military analysts are urging the administration to quickly piece together a gameplan.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that the current national security team is a “failure,” urging Obama to get a “new team.” He also took a shot at Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying: “We need a new chairman.”

The escalating violence follows repeated assurances by the Obama administration that Al Qaeda is “on the run” and that its offshoots are not the threat they’re made out to be.

Yet in Iraq, militants with ISIS have made considerable gains since January. (They were listed in 2004 by the State Department as a terrorist organization under their old name, Al Qaeda in Iraq, shortly after the group formed.)

Gen. Jack Keane, former Army vice chief of staff and Fox News military analyst, said the administration has not put enough effort into forming a “comprehensive strategy” to partner with governments in the region to share intelligence and battle Al Qaeda affiliates.

“This caliphate exists, and it will be the most menacing thing in the Middle East if unattended,” Keane said.

He acknowledged that the administration has “decimated” the Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan to a degree. But he said: “The fact of the matter is the Al Qaeda and its affiliates … is on the rise in the Middle East and in Africa.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that, privately, administration officials acknowledge they were caught off guard by the sudden developments in northern Iraq, where security forces abandoned their posts and militants overran key locations.

Military leaders reportedly said they thought Iraq’s forces could hold off ISIS — they were wrong.

Amid the deliberations, congressional Republicans continue to fume over the administration’s response to the terror attack in Benghazi in 2012, for which nobody has yet been brought to justice, and have launched a formal select committee investigation.

The developments also follow President Obama foreign policy speech last month at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he backed a policy of restraint abroad and called for a wind-down of U.S. “military adventures.”

Few expect that U.S. ground troops would be dispatched to Iraq, no matter how dire the situation becomes.

At issue now, among other things, is whether to provide more military aid and approve airstrikes. Maliki reportedly has sought U.S. airstrikes, but so far has been turned down.

To date, the U.S. has provided considerable military assistance. The State Department said Wednesday that that has included: 300 Hellfire missiles, millions of rounds of small arms ammunition, machine guns, grenades, rifles and more. Officials say the U.S. also supplied Bell IA-407 helicopters and is set to send over F-16 fighter jets.

A statement from Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.,; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., blamed the current situation on the U.S. decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq.

“We call on the president to explain to Congress and the American people how he plans to address the growing threat to our homeland and our national security interests posed by the rapidly expanding Al-Qaeda safe haven in Iraq and Syria,” they said.

EUROPEAN TENSIONS: TWO U.S. STEALTH BOMBERS HEAD TO EUROPE

June 12, 2014

Washington Times on June 10, 2014, reported that two U.S. B-2 Spirit stealth bombers are being deployed to Europe for the first time. The deployment of theadvanced aircraft will be used for “short term deployment” at Fairford, a Royal Air Force base in England — just three hours from Russia. Excerpts below:

“This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners,” said Adm. CecilHaney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command.
“The training and integration of strategic forces demonstrates to our nation’s leaders and our allies that we have the right mix of aircraft and expertise to respond to a variety of potential threats and situations,” he continued.

The radar-evading B-2 bombers are likely being used as a show of force to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine after the Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.

The stealth bombers, which can carry up to 50,000 pounds of bombs, assisted Europe and NATO allies in 1999 with targeting bombing runs in Serbia, but they were operating at the time out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, the International Business Times reported on June 10. The round-trip missions lasted 30 hours.

FIDEL CASTROS SPION I KÖPENHAMN MED MERA

June 10, 2014

Lena Breitner rapporterade den 9 juni 2014 på sin blogg om kubanskt spioneri i Skandinavien. Den 1 april 1977 blev mexikanaren Jaime Okusono Martinez gripen i Köpenhamn. Dansk säkerhetspolis PET misstänkte att han spionerade för Fidel Castros Kuba. Utdrag nedan:

PET, dansk polis och den danska regeringen var övertygade om att Jaime Okusono Martinez var utsänd av Fidel Castro för att skapa ett terror- och spionnätverk som skulle hjälpa europeiska terrorister att underminera de västliga demokratierna. De västliga säkerhets- och underrättelsetjänsterna var klara över den kubanska underrättelse- och säkerhetstjänsten DGI hade KGB bakom sig.

Vänsterfalangens ”nyttiga idioter” samlade å andra sidan in namnunderskrifter och skrev protestsånger.

Dåvarande journalisten vid tidningen Informations Peter Wivel ska enligt Bent Blüdnikow, som precis kommit ut med en ebok om Martinez-ärendet, ha skrivit kampanjartade artiklar för att visa att Okusono Martinez var oskyldig.

Den svenska Kröcheraffären var absolut inte ren tysk affär. En som utvisades hette Alan Hunter och var brittisk medborgare. En annan utvisad var mexikanaren Armando Gonzalez-Carillo. Sexton svenska medborgare ska ha åtalats i härvan.

Den i Sverige gripne och utvisade ”Carillo havde foruden træning i spionage på Cuba også været på et længere træningsophold i Nordkorea”, läser jag i det utdrag ur boken som publicerats på Berlingske och som inte heller detta låter som ”tysk terrorism” utan snarare som en internationell terrorkoncern som är i gång.

Säpos operation kring gripandet av Kröcherbanden koordineras med dansk Säkerhetspolis, PET, som alltså parallellt medgripandet av Kröcher grep den man som Blüdnikows ebok handlar om: Jaime Okusono Martinez. Jamies bror Tomas Okusono Martinez, bosatt i Stockholm och gift med en svensk journalist, greps av Säpo och utvisades han också.

Vi får också veta att norsk, svensk och dansk säkerhetspolis samarbetade tätt kring övervakning av bröderna Martinez och kretsen kring Kröcher.

”Vi var klar over, at terroren havde nået Skandinavien for alvor”, säger Bro till Blüdnikow i utdraget till boken.
Jag har sedan länge haft uppfattningen att vi måste vända oss till våra grannländers bok- och tidningsproduktion för att få veta mer om vår egen svenska nära underrättelse- och säkerhetshistoria. Här har vi tyvärr fått ytterligare ett bevis.

RISING RED TIDE: CHINA’S NAVY, AIR FORCE RAPIDLY EXPANDING – NEW PENTAGON REPORT

June 8, 2014

The Washington Times on June 5, 2014, reported that away from the Chinese military’s expanding capabilities in cyberspace and electronic warfare, Beijing is growing the size and reach of its naval fleet, advancing its air force and testing a host of new missiles, the Pentagon said. Excerpts below:

An annual report to Congress on China’s evolving military capability concluded that the modernization was being driven in part by growing territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, as well as by Beijing’s desire to expand its presence and influence abroad.

But the main motivation remains Beijing’s concern over the possibility of hostilities in the Taiwan Strait, according to the report, which downplayed the notion that a recent thaw in relations between China and Taiwan has done anything to seriously mitigate the threat of a military conflict between the two countries.

“Despite positive public statements about cross-Strait dynamics from top leaders in China following the re-election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in 2012, there have been no signs that China’s military disposition opposite Taiwan has changed significantly,” the Pentagon report said.

The report’s release on June 5 coincided with a visit to The Washington Times by Taiwanese diplomats, who said they want to renew their request to obtain some of the Pentagon’s coveted F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or, perhaps, its F-22 Raptor fighter jets.

The island country recognizes that it has an increasingly important role to play in the Obama administration’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. And since Taiwan is an important ally of the United States, “it is important for the U.S. to think of a way to show its substantial support for Taiwan,” said Kwei-Bo Huang, Taiwan’s secretary general of the association of foreign relations.

A Defense Department official told reporters that the Pentagon remains vigilant about tracking the Chinese military progress toward modernizing its weapons and acquiring new ones.

In a long-standing U.S. criticism of China’s military expansion over the past two decades, the Pentagon criticized China’s lack of openness about its strategy, which it said has caused concerns in Asia.

“Absent greater transparency from China and a change in its behavior, these concerns will likely intensify as the PLA’s military modernization program progresses,” the report said.

China’s government in March announced a 12.2 percent increase in military spending to $132 billion.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

NY BOK AV BERTIL HÄGGMAN HANDLAR OM SVENSK-UKRAINSKA FÖRBINDELSER

June 7, 2014

7 juni 2014

I samband med Kristianstads 400-årsjubileum utkom den 28 maj 2014 Bertil Häggmans bok Hetman Filip Orlik – en ukrainsk frihetskämpe i Sverige 1715 – 1720. Orlik bodde med familj 1716 – 1719 i Kristianstad.

Den ukrainske statschefens äldsta dotter, Anastasia, gifte sig med den svenske generalen Johan Stenflycht, som ligger begraven i Vederslövs gamla kyrka i Kronobergs län. De hade två söner.

På svenskt territorium hann Orlik också bo i Ystad och på herrgården Grahlhof i Alte Fähre på ön Rügen i Svenska Pommern, Tyskland.

Både under 1600-talet och 1700-talet hade Sverige omfattande förbindelser med Ukraina, som blev självständigt 1648. Alliansen mellan Sverige och Ukraina under det stora nordiska kriget 1708 resulterade i att landets statschef (hetman) med familj kom att bo i Kristianstad från 1716 – 1719. De medlemmar av generalkosackrådet (Ukrainas regering) som följde Orlik i exil vistades i Stockholm. Under åren 1715 till 1720 fortsatte hetmanen kampen för ukrainsk självständighet och frihet, en kamp som fortsatte även sedan han lämnat Sverige.

Den nya boken handlar om Filip Orlik, hans barn och den ukrainska exilregeringen men också den svenske svärsonen, generalen Johan Stenflycht och barnbarnen.

Sedan november 2013 har Ukraina varit i världsmedias fokus på grund av att folkmajoriteten önskat att Ukraina närmar sig EU. Det har inte kunnat accepteras av grannlandet Ryssland, som olagligt ockuperat den ukrainska Krimhalvön och nu försöker destabilisera landet.

Under samarbetet mellan Sverige och Ukraina på 1700-talet utarbetade Orlik och hans medarbetare i turkisk exil den första ukrainska författningen år 1710, Europas första moderna författning som tillämpade maktfördelning. Den godkändes av Karl XII, som då var Ukrainas skyddsherre.

Publiceringen av boken skedde efter det att staden Kristianstad den 22 maj fått besök av Kungen och Drottningen med anledning av stadsjubileet. Den 25 maj hölls presidentval i Ukraina. Det blev en stor seger för de partier i landet som förordar ett närmande till EU. Den nye presidenten, Petro Porosjenko, är starkt EU-vänlig.

I år är det dessutom 25 år sedan Berlinmuren föll. Då öppnades vägen för Ukrainas självständighet, som blev verklighet år 1991.

Boken kan köpas på Regionmuseet i Kristianstad och i bokhandeln i nordöstra Skåne.

Bertil Häggman är jur.kand. och författare. Sedan pensioneringen 2001 har han på heltid arbetat med sitt författarskap. Han har deltagit i idé- och utrikesdebatten både i Sverige och utomlands och har publicerat över 150 böcker och tidskriftsartiklar på olika språk. Under senare år har han bland annat medverkat i Nationalencyklopedin och i flera amerikanska och engelska uppslagsverk. Han har forskat om Filip Orlik sedan början av 1990-talet. Boken utges med stöd av Kungl. Patriotiska Sällskapet.

I år är det 25 år sedan Berlinmuren föll. Då öppnades vägen för Ukrainas självständighet år 1991. Det finns anledning högtidlighålla inte bara den ukrainska befrielsen från sovjetiskt förtryck utan även att minnas alla de östeuropeiska nationernas frigörelse.