The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

National Strategy--Past and Present

In April 1950, President Truman accepted a report known to history as NSC-68. The document, submitted in the name of the National Security Council (hence, “NSC”), had been developed and mostly authored by the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff under Paul Nitze.
The Cold War between the liberal democratic allies and the communist “second world” dominated by the Soviet Union began in earnest in 1947. Rising from the opportunities to expand and secure a Soviet sphere of occupation in eastern and central Europe out of the disorder and chaos caused by the Second World War, Soviet control of the region provided a buffer of comfort between Mother Russia and their enemies of a thousand years: The Germans. As the “democratic” empires of Great Britain and France entered into decline and retreat, Truman asked for a US long-term, visionary strategy of political, economic, military and cultural policies that would save the Free World from conquest by communist armies and subversive agents.
NSC-68 built on the anonymously published “X” article in a 1947 issue of the Establishment journal, Foreign Affairs. The true author, George Kennan, an American diplomat with vast experience in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, set forth the two basic ideas that governed American policy until the very end of the Soviet state on December 25, 1991. First, Kennan proposed as a “grand strategy,” a political policy of containment, meeting Soviet challenges and interventions anywhere in the world with a firm American resolve.
Accepting Soviet power where established, in the federated republics of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, containment as envisioned by Kennan would form informal coalitions–not treaty organizations like NATO–to draw the lines past which Soviet advances would be met by military force, including the use of nuclear weapons by the US.
The second part of containment held that if not allowed to grow, expand and absorb critical resources outside the zone of Soviet control, the lies of Marxist-Leninism would crumble the foundations upon which Soviet power stood. These lies would all be exposed over time–namely, oligarchy rule by the elite, a paranoid police state terrorizing its population to enforce consent (by coercion and murder, if necessary), and a social system that organized the Soviet economy for war. These modes of operating a society eliminated individual liberty and economic freedom in defense of “communist,” or rather Bolshevik revolution.
The Western examples of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the economic appeal of free enterprise would ultimately win over the enslaved communist populations, according to both Kennan and Nitze at the very beginning of the Cold War. And in the end, the enslaved masses of communism withdrew their legitimacy from their governments and ultimately forced the termination of the Soviet system.
Despite some glaring differences between Kennan’s theory of containment and Nitze’s actual blueprint implementing it (Kennan’s realpolitik emphasis on temporary coalitions and Nitze’s reliance on moralism, international law and alliances), both men believed in two absolute conditions holding up the entire US grand strategy at the level of national politics.
On the one hand, economic strength via market capitalism in the Free World provided the means to subvert Soviet power by forcing the communist to spend themselves into poverty. Their unworkable economy devoted to guns not butter and run by government committees would spur their people to resist their government. And just as important, and linked to economic strength, was preserving the individual liberties and (relative) economic freedoms of American citizens. For if it could successfully stop Soviet expansion, American values as enshrined in the Declaration and its natural rights were the ultimate weapon of victory. Overshadowing the world, if America failed to preserve liberty and prosperity, there would be war–nuclear war and annihilation most likely. In that case, no one would win, or the Cold War would continue with “sticks and stones” (from an Einstein quote).
It is important to review or learn this simple history of the last 60-odd years. In the 21st Century, many of the same problems. A world-wide conflict rages subtly between libertarian ideals and values of common people versus fascist-communist values held by public-private multi-national companies (MNCs) backed by religious fanaticisms. These do not threaten any one country, specifically, but threaten the “true” Free World of the minds and souls of common people. As the United States, backed by its own MNCs and religious fanatics, engages in a global war against the “wrong” fanaticism backed by the “other” MNCs (criminal syndicates to rising nations’ sovereign wealth funds, etc.), American soldiers are fighting and dying, or returning from dangerous duty maimed and with near mortal mind wounds with no long-term vision of victory.
No matter whether one supports the Establishment’s war against other establishments, or is opposed, the US as a nation has no stated or apparent “master theory or plan” to fight now or next year, let alone 40 or 50. No George Kennan gives a profound and broad theory for the solution. And no known Nitze in government has put it into concrete form, with the numbers to back it up (like NSC-68 actually did). If an “X” article appeared, would the policy makers heed it? If a 21st Century NSC-68 exists, what is it, or why do the American people NOT know about it?
Grand strategy, the political policy that mobilizes all forms of political, economic, social and cultural power, does not exist for America today. And without much doubt, the American people can only suspect that the political will, the economic strength, the social system, and the cultural values that wins wars are missing, too. If they did exist, would not the American people have faith in their leaders for eventual victory, as in World War II or the Cold War itself? Perhaps the people themselves need to take their own initiative and find it in them to seek new ways, new leaders, and new ideas to combat the bankruptcy of the present leadership; to seize the moment, and regain the people’s power, and future of liberty. If not, it would not matter which side of fanatics and corporations win, ours or theirs. It would all end by eliminating liberty and freedom in the name of an imperial peace through endless war and genocide.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Excepts from Critical Issues Forum


The Cepia Club’s Critical Community Issues Forum on April 2, 2008, examined “The Politics of Oil, Energy, & Conflict.” As the first of our month-long forum series devoted to “Earth Month,” the first-ever Club forum looked at the overall politics of war and peace as they relate to the oil reserves of the Persian Gulf, where the United States is currently at war in Iraq. We believe that alternative, sustainable and renewable energy will ultimately play a central part in the future of the world. But in the present day and the medium term future (a few months to 4 or 5 years), such “green energy and technology” take a second rank behind the importance of oil in today’s world as the source of economic growth and the reasons for present and new conflicts within the time-frame. However, explaining oil & energy politics, and the factors involved in war and peace, helps the transition toward a “green economy.”

. . .In short, going from the present “here” of an oil-derived economic engine to the “there” of an economy that conserves resources and the environment will be hard to achieve. It might involve power politics, war, suffering, and chaos in every part of our lives. The extent to which average people understand and ACT on their own to prevent such catastrophes depends on the available information available to WE THE PEOPLE to make our own personal choice–for liberty and truth or for dictatorship and lies.

. . .In the international and civil wars fought during the 74 year period 1917-1991 by the United States or by allies and “friendly dictators” of the US, these four strategic destinies determined success or failure. By the time of the crumbling of the Soviet structure and system of power, all of these destinies, despite some setbacks in places like Vietnam, had fallen to a decisive and overwhelming advantage of the US and its liberal democratic allies in Europe and Asia. Whether wars of necessity for mere survival of races or political systems based on natural rights of personal liberty, or wars of choice for a narrow, selective purpose for a “special interest,” America’s wars since its entry into World War I allowed it to accrue global power over any enemy or unfriendly nation. The US lost Vietnam in the end as part of its international alliance against communism.

. . .So, who benefits from a shortage of oil? Well, those who already control it. Who controls the oil? Those who rule the oil-rich countries and those who own the oil companies (large investment holders, mostly, who leverage the smaller ones).
Why is oil important? By an historical development in the early 20th Century, oil began to replace coal as the engine of industrial development, much as industry and coal replaced firewood and mercantile commerce as the engines of economic development–that is the generation of wealth growth for increasing living standards. For without wealth creation, the accumulation of the products necessary for both survival and enjoyment of a “better life” for a growing population would not be possible. With the advent of oil, in its versatile uses and efficient use, not only has wealth creation exploded in the last 100 years, but the oil-based economic system has allowed a near-four hundred percent increase in population.