Archive for January, 2019

EU PLANS TO BYPASS US IRAN SANCTIONS

January 31, 2019

The European Union is considering according to Euronews in January 2019 how it could step up plans to circumvent President Trump’s Iran sanctions. Excerpts below:

The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) met in Brussels to examine options around what is known as a Special Purpose Vehicle [SPV]. This arrangement would function as a workaround to help European companies continue to do business with Tehran.

President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew the US from an international 2015 deal to control Iran’s nuclear ambitions, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The Trump administration warned that the deal did not prevent Iran from finding ways to develop nuclear weapons.

Comment: If the EU goes forward and decides to bypass the American sanctions against Iran it would endanger Western unity in face of Iran support of terrorism. Such a decision would also increase the threat to Israel.

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DMYTRO DONTSOV AND SWEDEN

January 25, 2019

Dmytro Dontsov, philosopher, author, and politician played an important role in the Ukrainian independence movement in the beginning of the twentieth century. It was when he lived in Berlin for several years during the First World War he turned to history to seek ideas for his writings. In 1916 he published a book on the Swedish-Ukrainian alliance against Moscow in the Great Northern War (1700-1721). He concentrated on the strategic and geopolitical lessons of the Swedish-Ukrainan struggle against Muscovy. Dontsov called for a reevaluation of the campaign of King Charles XII of Sweden (1682-1718) and Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa (1639-1709). He regarded the enterprise as a geopolitically necessary act of self-defense against Muscovite barbarism. In the case of Sweden it was certainly self-defense as it had in 1700 been attacked by an alliance of states including Russia. In the case of Ukraine it was not only a defensive war, it was also a liberation war.

In the spring of 1916 the German Foreign Office, on suggestion of with the the military leadershi (then headed by General Erich Ludendorff), approved the idea of the “League of Russia’s Foreign Peoples” (die Liga der Fremdvölker Russlands, LFR), which sought representation of the Lithuanians, Belorussians, Poles, Finns, Ukrainians, Georgians, Muslims, and Jews of Russia.

In one of the sources of this short article is claimed that Dontsov during 1916 visited Sweden. If he did visit it might have been to meet Rudolf Kjellén, Swedish geopolitician and political science professor in Uppsala. Kjellén was widely read in Germany and most of his books had been translated into German. The Swedish founder of the science of geopolitics was a critic of tsarist Russia and later of the Bolshevik regime of Lenin.

The league was coordinated from Berlin. An important center for its activities was the German embassy in Bern, Switzerland. The apartment of Dr. Hermann Gummerus (a prominent Finnish freedom fighter) was used as headquarters. Bern in Switzerland was chosen because it was a rather secure place for anti-Russian activities. Bolshevik subversives, of which Vladimir I. Lenin was the most prominent, also chose neutral Switzerland as home base för their activities.

The LFR’s first move was to issue an appeal to American President Woodrow Wilson. He was described as an ardent defender of humanity and justice.the most ardent defender of humanity and justice by the League.

For more information on the League see Seppo Zetterberg, ”Die Liga der Fremdvölker Russlands, 1916-1918: Ein beitrag zu Deutschlands antirussischen Propagandakrieg unter den Fremdvölkern im Ersten Weltkrieg, Helsinki: Finska Historiska Samfundet,1978.

After Berlin Dontsov moved to Kyiv. The Ukrainan State of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky was formed on April 29, 1918. During the summer and fall of 1918, the hetman and the Germans placed Dontsov in charge of the Ukrainization efforts. Although he later decried Soviet Ukrainization as a cynical ploy, Dontsov worked intensely to promote Ukrainian national consciousness through schools, newspapers, and government under the Hetmanate.

On May 24 Dontsov was appointed director of the Ukrainian State’s Ukrainian Telegraph Agency (UTA) and press bureau. In reality UTA and the press bureau was overseeing the information activities of the Ukrainian State. Skoropadsky regularly consulted with Dontsov concerning policy. The hetman wanted efforts to rally the peasants for the state, and Dontsov was put in charge. Hoping to reach the latter, the Hetman ordered Dontsov to develop a publication to rally the peasantry around the Ukrainian Stae. The result was Selianske slovo (The Village Word) which spread the information of the government in the countryside. The goal was to build a broad coalition of conservative farmers, landowners, and intellectuals.

In October 1918 the Government of the Ukrainian State wanted to establish permanent diplomatic relations between of Sweden and the Ukrainian State. The purpose was to establish friendly connections and mutual understanding between the two nations. A diplomatic mission was sent to Scandinavia headed by Borys Bazhenov.

Bazhenov settled down in the “The Grand Hotel” at Södra Blasieholmshamnen, 8. Later the Mission was located in the Hotel Regina on Drottninggatan 42-44 in Stockholm.

In January 1919 Kostyantyn Losskyi was appointed head of the Mission. When he arrived in Stockholm the Mission relocated to Drottninggatan 83 and the head of the Mission lived in an apartment on Karlbergsvägen 43B. From October 1, 1919 to February 1920, this was also the office of the Mission.

Further reading

Trevor Erlacher,“The Götterdämmerung of Ukraїnophilia: Ukrainian Nationalism and the Entangled Eastern Front, 1914-1921,” Carolina Seminar sponsored by the University of North Carolina Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, Chapel Hill, NC, December 8, 2016.

“The Furies of Nationalism: Dmytro Dontsov, the Ukrainian Idea, and Europe’s Twentieth Century” (forthcoming). Looking at the biography of Dmytro Dontsov (1883-1973), Trevor Erlacher explores the global and transnational dimensions, ideological development and cultural expression of Ukrainian integral nationalism from its origins to post-Communist Ukraine.

GLOBALIST PROGRESSIVISM’S FOREIGN POLICY DELUSION

January 13, 2019

The American Conservative on September 24, 2018 reviewed John Mearsheimer’s latest book ”The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities”, John J. Mearsheimer, Yale University Press, 328 pages. For excerpts see below:

John J. Mearsheimer, the prominent exponent of foreign policy realism, is no stranger to controversy. The University of Chicago professor seems to home in on it like a heat-seeking missile.

His latest book, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities, is a dagger pointed at the heart of America’s governing philosophy, progressive liberalism. His central thesis is that this philosophy has distorted U.S. foreign policy since America’s post-Cold War emergence as the world’s only superpower. The core of the problem, writes Mearsheimer, was America’s post-Cold War resolve to remake the world in its own image. The predictable result has been chaos, bloodshed, an intractable refugee crisis besetting the Middle East and Europe, and increased tensions among major powers…

The [United States] today enjoys the luxury of not having a single adversary capable of challenging its existence or global standing.

[Mearsheimer’s offensive realist theory] consists of: First, the world is “anarchic,” meaning there is no central authority or night watchman to step in when a nation is threatened. Therefore, nations must rely upon themselves for protection from any hazard, immediate or prospective. Given that they can’t know precisely the plans and ambitions of real or potential adversaries—he calls this “the uncertainty of intentions”—the imperatives of survival dictate that they do whatever they can to maximize their power based on what they can discern—namely, the military capabilities of potential rivals.

In other words, it’s…about the hierarchy of power among nations. Stability comes through an equilibrium of power, and great nations should foster diplomatic actions designed to maintain a power balance in key strategic locations.

…while progressive liberalism dominates American politics, including the country’s foreign policy, realism and nationalism ultimately are more powerful ideas. Mearsheimer notes, for example, that while liberalism and nationalism can coexist in any polity, “when they clash, nationalism almost always wins.” He adds that “liberalism is also no match for realism.”

Progressive liberals, [dominating thinking in the field of foreign policy] by contrast, have great faith in governmental activism that not only promotes individual rights but also pursues expansive social engineering programs.

…progressive liberals are the political heirs of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay, and, more recently, of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

There is no doubt, says Mearsheimer, that progressive liberalism has triumphed…when it dominates a nation’s international relations, he emphasizes, it inevitably breeds disaster.

[Mearsheimer] makes clear he doesn’t believe progressive liberalism accords with human nature much at all.

Mearsheimer posits what he calls “two simple assumptions” about human nature. The first is that man’s ability to reason is limited, particularly when it comes to mastering the fundamental questions of existence.

The second assumption, related to the first, is that “we are social animals at our core.” Given that there can be no reasoning to core principles, there will always be disagreements on these fundamental and often emotional matters. That inevitably raises prospects for violence. For protection, mankind must divide itself into a great number of social groups, and the most fundamental of all human groups is the nation. “With the possible exception of the family,” writes Mearsheimer, “allegiance to the nation usually overrides all other forms of an individual’s identity.”

And this leads to Mearsheimer’s view of the essence of social groups—and, most particularly, of nations. He identifies six fundamental features of nationhood:

1) a powerful sense of oneness and solidarity

2) a distinct culture, including such things as language, rituals, codes, music, as well as religion, basic political and social values, and a distinct understanding of history

3) a sense of superiority leading to national pride

4) a deep sense of its own history, which often leads to myths that supersede historical fact

5) sacred territory and a perceived imperative to protect lands believed to be a hallowed homeland

6) and a deep sense of sovereignty and a resolve to protect national decision-making from outside forces

[The] universalist ideology has always been there, lurking in the liberal consciousness. Until recently it was seen most starkly in the humanitarian interventionism of Woodrow Wilson—hence the universally understood term “Wilsonism.”

This Wilsonian impulse was kept in check through most of the 20th century by the imperatives of realism and the ideological force of nationalism. That ended with the conclusion of the Cold War, when America emerged as the unchallenged global hegemon. The inevitable result was the rise of liberal hegemony. What’s interesting is how explosively it arrived on the scene, almost immediately gaining dominance over American foreign policy and positioning itself to stamp out any troublesome counterarguments. The universalist ideology presents a powerful allure, often leading to feelings among foreign policy liberals, per Wilson, that they are engaging in a monumental struggle of good and evil.

The result is that America has waged seven wars since the Cold War ended and has been at war continuously since the month after 9/11.

Bill Clinton embraced liberal hegemony from the beginning of his presidency in 1993, and it led him to military actions in Bosnia and Serbia, motivated largely by the humanitarian impulse. George W. Bush took it to new levels after 9/11 with his invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and his rhetoric that “the freedom we prize…is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind.” Barack Obama suggested as he was leaving office that he understood that the “Washington playbook” was “deeply flawed,” as Mearsheimer puts it, but he couldn’t seem to break away from it. “He was ultimately no match for the foreign policy establishment,” writes Mearsheimer.

[President Trump has] challenged almost every aspect of liberal interventionism, particularly the goal of spreading democracy around the world. But he predicts that the “foreign policy elites will tame him just as they tamed his predecessor.”

…consider Mearsheimer’s emphasis on “a sacred territory.” Today’s progressive liberals, particularly among the elites, don’t care a whit about the country’s borders, as Mearsheimer notes. “In the liberal story,” he writes, “state borders are soft and permeable, because rights transcend those boundaries.” Then there’s sovereignty. Mearsheimer writes that “liberalism undermines sovereignty.”

These and other related issues are tearing America apart, and they have been introduced into the political cauldron by the same progressive liberals who have been pushing America’s drive to spread liberal hegemony across the globe. Indeed, it is almost incontestable that these domestic and foreign policy issues, along with the progressive liberal push for free trade and supranational institutions that undermine American sovereignty, contributed significantly to Trump’s presidential election.

Although Mearsheimer doesn’t discuss the American elites in detail, he sprinkles into his argument several references to elite and establishment thinking as often being distinct from broader public impulses and sensibilities. “[I]t is important to note,” he writes, “that liberal hegemony is largely an elite-driven policy.” In another passage he notes that America’s foreign policy elites tend to be “cosmopolitan,” which isn’t to say, he adds, that most of them are like Samuel Huntington’s caricature of those Davos people “who have little need for national loyalty” and see “national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing.” But, adds Mearsheimer, “some are not far off.”

Yes, it’s the progressive liberal elites who are driving America’s push for humanitarian hegemony, and Mearsheimer’s book calls them out brilliantly. But those same elites are also driving wedges through the American polity on powerful domestic issues, thus poisoning our politics and fostering an ongoing crisis on the definition and meaning of America. Mearsheimer’s pungent critique of the elite’s foreign policy recklessness could provide a sound foundation for a broader critique of its destructive folly in a host of other civic areas as well.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C. journalist and publishing executive, is a writer-at-large for The American Conservative. His latest book is ”President McKinley: Architect of the American Century”.

ENFORCING THE MONROE DOCTRINE

January 12, 2019

Ted G. Carpenter in The National Interest on January 7, 2019, called for the Trump administration to adopt a firmer policy toward Moscow’s intrusions into Latin America.
Excerpts below:

The latest incident is Moscow’s decision to send two nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela to show support for Nicolas Maduro’s leftist regime. Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said during a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Vladimir Padrino Lopez that Russia would continue to send military aircraft and warships meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Vladimir Padrino Lopez that Russia would continue to send military aircraft and warships to visit Venezuela as part of continuing bilateral military cooperation.

Russia’s cooperation with Venezuela has grown markedly since tensions between Moscow and Washington flared in 2008 over Russia’s war with Georgia. A Russian general even spoke of the possibility of his country acquiring a military base in Venezuela. While civilian leaders in both Caracas and Moscow disavowed such intentions, Russian naval forces soon conducted joint maneuvers with Venezuelan units, and there was a proliferation of arms sales. In 2012, the Venezuelan government announced a $4 billion “loan” from Russia to purchase tanks, air-defense missiles, and other hardware. The bilateral political and security relationship has grown steadily closer since then.

Washington’s failure to enforce the Monroe Doctrine during the Cold War when the Soviet Union made Cuba into a client state and military outpost has not encouraged respect for that doctrine in the post-Cold War era. The Trump administration needs to adopt a firmer policy toward Moscow’s intrusions into Latin America.

A new policy is imperative. Washington DC must recognize that the United States and other major powers historically have insisted on a sphere of influence, indeed a sphere of preeminence, in regions adjacent to their homelands.

The geographic limits of such zones are frequently a matter of contention…

That is dangerously unrealistic thinking. Washington…needs to establish clear rules of the road regarding conduct in Latin America and Eastern Europe. U.S. leaders should stress to Moscow that establishing or maintaining military ties with unfriendly regimes like those in Venezuela and Cuba creates unacceptable…for the United States.

…United States [hopefully]intends to remain preeminent in the Western Hemisphere…

Ted Galen Carpenter is a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute. He is the author of 12 books and more than 750 articles on international affairs.

Comment: In 2023 the United States will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine. There might be reason to extend the use of the doctrine to cover also such empires in Eurasia as China and Iran.

ANTICOMMUNIST ARCHITECTURE IN SOUTH KOREA

January 3, 2019

During the 1960s and 1970s anticommunism was reflected in architecture and urban planning in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The Federation of Artistic and Cultural Organizations of Korea (FACOK) was founded with the Korean Institute of Architects as a member of FACOK.

The Freedom Center is one example of the buildings constructed in the 1960s. Other examples are statues of national war heroes (Yi Sun Sin), and the War Memorial. There were plans to fortify Seoul and coastal development plans for the Han River and south of the river.

Yi Sun Sin (1545 – 1598) was a naval commander during the Japanese invasions of Joseon (Korea) that lasted from 1592 to 1598. The invasion is also known as the Seven Year War, or the Imjin War. The official name of Yi’s title was “naval commander of the three provinces” as he was in charge of navies of Chungcheong, Jeolla, and Gyeongsang provinces. He is known for his exceptional leadership and naval strategies which resulted in victories in all his twenty three battles. Although he was arrested and relegated for a while, he was soon restored to lead Joseon’s navy till the last battle.

The War Memorial of Korea, located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, exhibits and preserve materials related to the Korean War and serves as a national moral educational venue. It was established to commemorate the noble sacrifice of patriotic martyrs by the War Memorial Service Korea Society on June 10, 1994. The museum houses approximately 33,000 artifacts with about 10,000 on display at an indoor and outside exhibition halls.

There are six separate indoor halls, including Expeditionary Forces Room, Patriotic Memorial Room, War History Room, 6•25 Korean War Room, Development Hall and Large Machinery Room. The outdoor exhibition hall showcases large-sized weapons. Visitors of all ages from children to adults can also participate in 20 various educational programs and diverse cultural events such as military music and honor guard events, drawing contest, cultural event and more. The character of War Memorial of Korea is ‘Mudori’ featuring a helmet symbolizing the protection of the nation and a bay leaf meaning peace.

The total area of the War Memorial is 116,793m² with the exhibition halls 20,360m² .

In the Memorial Hall there is an exhibition hall dedicated to the memory of patriots involved in past war efforts. The place presents sculptures, reliefs, and wall paintings under the theme of overcoming hardship, and working towards the unity, prosperity and eternity of the nation.

There is also a war history from prehistoric era to the Japanese colonial period. Military remains, relics, and documents are on display as well. Among them are war & victory records, ammunition, the Turtle Ship (and other military vessels from the Joseon Dynasty), fortress models, and more.

The background of the Korean War is presented with the progression of the war and how a truce was eventually established. Exhibits also display ammunition used by hostile and friendly forces, information and artifacts from people displaced by the war, and information on major battles.

The role of the expeditionary forces was important. Information in this exhibit describes the Vietnam War and the implication of Korean troops dispatched in Vietnam. Other information explains the activities Korean troops were mainly engaged in during the Vietnam War, and the tactics of the Viet Cong.

The ROK Armed Forces part presents the progression of the Korean Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps from the time of their inception till today.

The South Korean defense industry is presented with replicas of state-of-the-art weapons that are produced by domestic companies. Items include fighters, submarines, destroyers, and communication apparatuses.

Around 110 pieces of large military equipments/symbols are on display. They include Korean War sculptures, the Statue of Brethren, the Statue of King Gwanggaeto, AH-2, T-34 of the North, US B-52 and others.