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Weekly Column - 11.27.2006

 A NEW METHODOLOGY FOR WET AFFAIRS
by J. R. Nyquist

Last week the father of KGB/FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko told reporters that his son’s death was “excruciating.” It was not a case of thallium poisoning as originally supposed. Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium-210, a rare radioactive element. “He was killed by a little tiny nuclear bomb. It was so small you could not see it,” said the elder Litvinenko. “The people who killed him make big nuclear bombs and they should not be trusted.” 

Litvinenko died on Thursday. Two days earlier he thanked the hospital staff. He thanked the British public. He spoke of his love for his wife who had stood by him. “But,” he said, “I can distinctly hear the beating wings of the angel of death.” He then addressed the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin: “You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed. You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized values. You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women. You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.”

It is widely believed that the Kremlin has been assassinating its critics. Litvinenko’s death is only the most dramatic and publicized instance. Discussing the recent murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the Romanian intelligence defector Ion Pacepa told Frontpagemag’s Jamie Glazov: “assassinating political opponents has been a trademark of Russia’s leaders.” He then mentioned Nikita Khrushchev’s “new methodology for wet affairs” in which “any evidence pointing to the KGB should be dismissed out of hand as ridiculous.” Khruchchev also directed the KGB to plant “evidence” that the CIA or other enemies were responsible for KGB killings. As fate would have it, a Moscow newspaper (Moskovsky Komsomolets) has already suggested the CIA poisoned Litvinenko; and on Nov. 15, in step with Khrushchev’s directive, the FSB (KGB) issued a report stating that Litvinenko was poisoned by “CIA agent Mario Scaramella.” Furthermore, the Kremlin’s official spokesman has argued that any suggestion of KGB/FSB involvement in Litvinenko’s murder is ridiculous and unworthy of comment.

Those who are wise, who understand Russia’s political system, know what has happened. In a Nov. 25 column for The New Statesman, Russian music critic Artemy Troitsky explained that the assassinations in Russia had effectively negated freedom of the press. In fact, he admitted, “I stopped posting difficult items on my website.” Wondering if feared for his own life, Troitsky wrote, “I am not sure. What I do know is this: it is demoralizing to write the same things over and again, to no effect. It is demoralizing to realize that among Russia’s silent majority Putin is genuinely popular and there seems no way of waking these people up. Most depressing, however, is that the so-called democracies of the west are turning a blind eye. One day, messrs Blair and Bush, the Germans and Italians, will regret that.”

It is demoralizing, indeed, to “write the same things over and again, to no effect.” Litvinenko himself made something of a joke when referring to his own death. “This is what it takes to prove one has been telling the truth,” he quipped. I am sad to say, however, that the death of Alexander Litvinenko demonstrates, from first to last, that the KGB has already defeated the West through psychological warfare. The West is helpless, and Western pundits will feel this helplessness as they begin to open their eyes.

But is such an opening even possible?

The American left will never open its eyes with regard to Russia. As for the so-called neo-conservatives and traditional conservatives (plus the attending libertarians), to the extent that it's worth noting at all, neither side knows its country's real enemy. All are addicted to their respective "conservative" ideologies, considering only those facts that support their own preconceptions. What follows is a conscious decision to put any facts about Russia aside. For the neo-cons it's simply too much to realize that we are at war with a combination of countries that can turn America into a heap of rubble overnight. The only reason the neo-cons propose such bold projects in Iraq and now Iran has to do with their belief that America is the unchallengeable superpower, that Russia is no longer a factor, that American military superiority is axiomatic. If they recognized the actual situation, given Russia and China's actual military buildup, they would be screaming for 30 Army divisions and a draft. But the neo-cons live in a sheltered reality, worried about the advance of al Qaeda when a larger enemy is at work. The adventure in Iraq shows that they do not know how to make basic measurements. Their fantasies dovetail with their ambitions, simultaneously blotting out any realistic analysis of the actual situation.

On their side of the Republican split, the traditional conservatives who mock the democratizing sentiments of the neo-cons, and who correctly see that the neo-cons are rootless utopians, are also utopian in their wish to return to more innocent times. For Patrick Buchanan and his anti-war associates the Israelis are the problem in the Middle East and not the Arabs, and American support for Israel is the reason for 9/11. "The nation of Israel is a 'thunderously failed reality' that 'rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice,'" wrote Patrick Buchanan in Where the Right Went Wrong. He was quoting Avraham Burg, a disgruntled Israeli politician. His purpose in so quoting was to impress his readers with the wickedness of the Israeli cause (i.e., survival) and the propriety of hastily giving in to demands for a Palestinian state. That such a state would be a terrorist enclave for further attacks on Israel is not even debatable. That such a creation would be an act of appeasement toward an Arab world that seeks Israel's extermination is also true. The traditional conservatives do not recognize the problem of Islamic enmity because they do not see a fundamental conflict of civilizations taking place in an age of mass destruction weapons. The admission is simply too damaging to their utopian project for a return to the 19th century. They imagine that the United States can survive by abandoning its international position, by withdrawing from its military and economic commitments. This is tempting to be sure, and a withdrawal would bring many near-term benefits to the United States, but in the long run the Russians and Chinese (together with their Muslim allies) would develop satellites and satrapies on four continents, and the United States would find itself isolated, infiltrated, and under attack without recourse to advanced bases, strategic depth or collective security agreements. The enemy would dominate Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Many American allies would be cut off and forced to join the Russians and Chinese or remain neutral.

It seems that the problem of our politics amounts to a problem with our ideological settings, and a basic incompatibility between those settings and strategic reality. America lacks serious strategists who are prepared to see things as they are, instead of insisting that every fact fit their preconceived notions. That which is most basic, most essential in the Great Game are the facts relating to the heavily armed countries (those countries that would, in the absence of the United States, dominate or invade their weaker neighbors and move from there to further conquests). In our time, the main nuclear powers and superstates like Russia and China are primary. They are the players that matter. Do not take your eyes off these players, and do not deceive yourself about their nature. In relation to these countries we cannot afford to make fundamental errors of judgment. But this is what we have done. We have ignored the facts and refused to see where the facts lead. And the facts are these: (1) the changes that took place in the Soviet Bloc between 1989 and 1991 were prepared in advance and carried out by the Communist Party and the secret police; (2) The changes were initiated for strategic and economic reasons, not because of a genuine turn toward liberal democratic values; (3) The changes were therefore deceptive, seeking to disarm the United States and weaken the U.S. alliance system by opening NATO to KGB-dominated East European states, by raising the possibility of disputes between Western powers, and by encouraging the West to live for the pleasure of today without regard to long-term security (i.e., the "peace dividend"); (4) Russia is the motherland of terrorism and defector testimony definitely hints at some kind of plan involving false flag terrorist operations against the U.S. and Europe; (5) According to defector information, Russia long ago planned to unite with China during the "Final Phase" of its long range strategy, isolating the United States from its allies and delivering a devastating economic blow to the American economy.

What we see today is the result of strategic blindness, an unwillingness to admit problems within the liberal security system due, in part, to the primacy of economics in U.S. political thinking. "It's the economy, stupid" has a certain ring to it, but the reality of the situation better fits another saying, "It's global war, stupid." Only today's enemies of the West, understanding their economic and technological inferiority aren't like the blundering Nazis whose open blitzkrieg brought the world down upon their heads. Today's totalitarian power advances by stealth, using organized crime, terrorism and diplomacy. Today's totalitarian bloc favors low intensity warfare to open blitzkrieg. It favors false flag terrorist operations against the American heartland. Holding his cards close, the totalitarian ruler hides his enmity behind fang-baring states like North Korea and Iran, taking the small risk of killing individual obstacles like inconvenient journalists and talkative defectors. The new totalitarian builds up Iran's nuclear power and protects North Korea from a preemptive strike. The writing is on the wall, and the cult of appeasement is on the throne. Today one man dies of radiation poisoning. Tomorrow, a hundred million will die of it.

© 2006 Jeffrey R. Nyquist
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