“One of the most delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.” Zhou Enlai
`In the autumn of 1862, the governments of France and Great Britain proposed to Russia, in a formal but not in an official way, the joint recognition by European powers of the independence of the Confederate States of America. My immediate answer was: `I will not cooperate in such action; and I will not acquiesce. On the contrary, I shall accept the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States by France and Great Britain as a casus belli for Russia. And in order that the governments of France and Great Britain may understand that this is no idle threat; I will send a Pacific fleet to San Francisco and an Atlantic fleet to New York. Sealed orders to both Admirals were given. My fleets arrived at the American ports, there was no recognition of the Confederate States by Great Britain and France. The American rebellion was put down, and the great American Republic continues. All this I did because of love for my own dear Russia, rather than for love of the American Republic. I acted thus because I understood that Russia would have a more serious task to perform if the American Republic, with advanced industrial development were broken up and Great Britain should be left in control of most branches of modern industrial development.’‘ Czar Alexander II
Americans are exact replicas of Stoner Jeff Spicoli, a character played by Sean Penn in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
The new “hot” war novel 2034 co-authored by Admiral James Stavridis (USN, Ret.) and Elliot Ackerman (US combat veteran) depicts a future war between the US and China. 2034 the movie cannot be far behind or perhaps the rights to convert the novel into film has already been transacted between the two august military veterans and Hollywood agents. My bet is that this will be cameo filled movie with all the big-name stars of the day, sort of like The Longest Day, a movie depicting the D-Day invasion during WWII.
A similar themed World War III novel was written by Sir John Hackett in 1985 during the height of first Cold War pitting the United States against the former Soviet Union. There are scores of novels on the subject, many of which can be found here at Goodreads. What is the point of these tomes? What are the Las Vegas gambling odds on WWIII taking place? There are, indeed, gambling sites like Sportsbettingdime.com and @Everythingodds that will at least entertain the probability of WWIII and when it might happen.
What a coincidence that 2034 has been released just as President Joe Biden and other US government officials are is ramping up the political and economic pressure on China and Russia through sanctions and incendiary verbiage. Pentagon war planners likely consult these works to see if there is any useful information that can be included in the “real” WWIII plans. Who is the target audience for these doomsday works? The World Socialist Website, in a scathing review, makes a case that the preferred readership is policymakers in Washington, DC, defense contractors, think tanks and the US military writ large. They also point out that there are no works of art–books or films—recently produced that hardily critique any presidential administration about the folly of nuclear war with China or Russia. Everyone loses in that scenario.
“A normal person, that is, one for whom moral derangement is not a professional requirement, would read Stavridis’ book with horror and do everything to avoid the massive level of death it depicts. But the fact is that, for its intended audience within the Beltway and the Pentagon, the tactical nuclear exchanges depicted in the book, constitute, in the words of Dr. Strangelove’s Gen. Buck Turgidson, “getting our hair mussed”—an entirely acceptable consequence of the use of nuclear weapons. Stanley Kubrick’s masterful Dr. Strangelove, Sidney Lumet’s Fail Safe, and, more obliquely, John Frankenheimer’s Seven Days in May (all released in 1964) were scathing critiques of the military and of nuclear war. No such critical works are being written and produced today, and ground has been ceded to Stavridis’ sanitized depiction of nuclear war from the standpoint of a practitioner.”
One of the best techniques to prepare for war is to turn an enemy into some sort of sinister fungus and through the use of government propaganda planted in the mainstream media, prepare the dismally educated public for war. Or gin up stories of Russia and China’s meddling in US elections (enough already!). US propaganda must avoid any reference to past friendly or helpful interest-based relations, or conflicts, between the three nations. In this case, Americans are not to be informed that China, Russia, and the United States have very similar economic and human interests. What good would a nuclear—or conventional war–do any of the three powers?
What do US policymakers and military leaders fear? The United States has a string of global military bases and intelligence outposts to which China and Russia have no real answer for, save for maybe nuclear weapons and espionage-cyber-information operations (the US has 17 well funded intelligence agencies to work the latter problem). Plus, the world knows that the US National Security Agency has unmatched signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability to eavesdrop on just about any international communications. Moreover, the US has air, space, sea (an undersea) assets that neither China nor Russia can match without the use of suicidal tactical nuclear weapons. Land forces are a different story: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia; and, going way back, Vietnam have shown that it is capable to bog down US Army forces in irregular warfare. The US spends nearly $1.2 trillion per year on all its military, intelligence, and homeland security needs. At this moment it is modernizing all its strategic nuclear forces and adding intermediate range nuke missiles to the mix. All of this is ostensibly aimed at “Great Powers” Russia and China. It’s as if the Pentagon brass wants to fight “real” opponents with air-combat, amphibious landings and tanks battles.
Any avid readers in the US taking a look at the New York Times or Washington Post (two mouthpieces for the US government) might think that the US is already at war, at least economically and via espionage, with China and Russia. But it would probably come as a surprise to most Americans that, in the midst of a new Cold War, Russia ranked third in oil exports to the US in 2020.
According to Bloomberg, “Even as Washington champions energy independence and warns European allies against becoming too dependent on Moscow, American refineries are buying more of the country’s oil than ever before…Deprived of access to Venezuelan crude by U.S. sanctions on the regime of Nicolás Maduro, and facing reduced shipments from OPEC nations since the cartel cut output, US refiners turned to Russian oil in 2020 to fill the gap. The buying spree, combined with sharply lower Saudi shipments, catapulted Russia into the position of third-largest oil supplier to the US last year.”
Russia was also vital to the Union cause during the US civil war. There is a tendency to think that the US civil war was fought in isolation without any concern of the powers of the day in Europe or Russia(1860-1865). In the geopolitical drama of those years, Britain and France were maneuvering to take advantage of the worst-case scenario of the American Civil War: a victory by the slave-based economy of the Confederacy. They intended to recognize the Confederacy as a distinct country. The perception that Czar Alexander II might come to the aid of the Abraham Lincoln and the Union was disconcerting to Great Britain and France. While the Russian fleet docked in the San Francisco and New York harbors at the time might not have been formidable foes to the surface fleets of Great Britain and France, that and other maneuvers by US diplomat Cassius Clay (appointed by Abraham Lincoln as ambassador to Russia) significantly aided the cause of the Union forces.
Vinegar and Global Corporations in China
China is home to a museum that pays tribute to WWII General “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell. Fluent in Chinese he was loosely in charge of all allied forces in the Burma-China-India theater of operations during WWII. Those allies included British and Chinese soldiers. Mao Tse Tung and Zhou Enlai would ultimately put their Red Army under his command. According to Smithsonian Magazine, “…The Stilwell Museum in Chongqing, China, where the general lived while liaising with Chiang Kai-Shek, then fighting both the Japanese and a Communist insurgency that would spiral into China’s long and brutal Civil War, ending in the establishment of the Peoples Republic. While Stilwell was there he grew increasingly disenchanted with corruption and subterfuge in Chiang‘s Nationalist government, ultimately opening communication with the Red Army under Mao Zedong, earning him hero status in contemporary China.”
What do these global corporations have in common? Boeing, Walmart, Apple, McDonalds, National Basketball Association, Ford, and Koch Industries are just seven members of the US-China Business Council which lists scores of other American organizations to include law firms, pharmaceutical companies, financial houses, and consultancies that operate in China. Fly on a commercial aircraft lately? Components of the airplane are likely made in China. Likewise, there is the US-Russia Business Council with big names sponsoring the group like Caterpillar, Citi, Microsoft, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, and General Electric.
Does the US want to nuke its own corporations?
Finally, US soldiers met Chinese ground troops in 1950 during the bloody and oft forgotten Korean War. That conflict has still not been settled by peace treaty and resulted in a stalemate. Thinking about waging a successful conventional land war with China is the province of lunatics.
Historical Lesson from 1918-1919
But let’s return to the US Army’s experience fighting the forces of a Leon Trotsky-led Red Army in 1918-1919. That return reminds of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. US soldiers fought with bravery but they were given no specific guidance from Woodrow Wilson in Washington, DC. The US warfighters were caught in a quagmire: the Russian Civil War was afoot and the end of WWI changed the political landscape of Europe and Russia. Troops had no idea what they were doing in Russia. According to Smithsonian Magazine:
“‘Events moved so fast in 1918, they made the mission moot,’ says James Nelson, author of The Polar Bear Expedition. They kept these guys in isolated, naked positions well into 1919. The biggest complaint you heard from the soldiers was, ‘No one can tell us why we’re here,’ especially after the Armistice. Historians tend to see Wilson’s decision to send troops to Russia as one of his worst wartime decisions, and a foreshadowing of other poorly planned American interventions in foreign countries in the century since…’It didn’t really achieve anything—it was ill-conceived,’ says Nelson. The lessons were there that could’ve been applied in Vietnam and could’ve been applied in Iraq. Jonathan Casey, director of archives at the World War I Museum, agrees. ‘We didn’t have clear goals in mind politically or militarily,’ he says. ‘We think we have an interest to protect, but it’s not really our interest to protect, or at least to make a huge effort at it. Maybe there are lessons we should’ve learned.’”
John Stanton is Virginia based writer. He is at jstantonarchangel.com