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.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cepia Club Invites Community Calendar Postings

Cepia Club Invites Community Calendar Postings

As part of promoting community-centered action for positive change, invites artists, bands, poets & authors, dancers, and community non-profit groups to submit dates, times, locations and other pertinent information for posting on Cepia Club's calendar, depending on availability.

As an integrated feature within the so-called “CepiaNet,” the calendar connects to services owned by Cepia Club, including,, Facebook at “Cepia Bazaar,” Twitter at “cepiaclub,” and, among other sites and services. The Club's free on-line calendar posting offer does not, however, include any further promotional or other services.

“Cepia Club wants to assist people in the community to do things that. . .well, do fun and positive stuff,” said the Cepia Club director, Tim Krenz. “The arts, readings, concerts, exhibits—all happen on their own. The good and great things in life, the fun and positive things just happen. We can help get the word out to others. The calendar postings might help people enjoy getting to know their community and their neighbors and friends better.” accepts calendar submissions on either its My Space or Facebook applications, or by email at Calendar postings are reviewed to ensure that the nature of the events do not violate Cepia Club protocol or standards (for example, no political or commercial submissions for the free service, please). Cepia Club reserves the right to refuse or to delete the event from its calendar for any reason without penalty or explanation and holds no responsibility for the events themselves.

Iran's “Mini-Invasion” of Iraq

December 20, 2009, Sunday, 5:15 PM

Iran's “Mini-Invasion” of Iraq

On the Strategic Forecasting service (STRATFOR) Friday, it was reported that Iran entered Iraqi territory and occupied an oil well (No. 4) at Faqua, in the extreme east of Iraq. Looking at the OPERATION ARTAGENES game study set-up map, it is quite striking geography that lends itself to several advantages for an Iranian incursion. The mini-invasion itself, of as an yet undetermined nature in terms of political policy, took place on the northern extremes of the great marshland in southern Iraq, around which the cities of Basra and al-Faw are the main cities, at the southern edge of the largely Shi'a-inhabited southern region of Iraq. To the front of Iran's incursion sits the Tigris river which flows from the northwest to southeast, forming the eastern edge of the Mesopotamian corridor running through the length of Iraq (the Euphrates River forms the western corridor of the fertile Mesopotamia).

As an isolated, safe, area in which to send a political message through military means and, in terms of what this Iranian incursion really is/was, i.e. an invasion, even if temporary, the Iranians choose the terrain well in which to make the statement. The swampland on the Iranian right and rear protects the left flank, and secures an easier avenue of withdrawal. Of course, the river in the front, if necessary, forms a defensible barrier against Iraq or US-Multi-National Coalition(I) counter-attack. This area under question, while providing broader geographic implications for both political policy and military strategy, was the scene of eight years of stalemated trench and chemical warfare during the Iran-Iraq war from late 1980 until 1988.

As of today, December 20th, there is some discrepancy as to whether the Iranians have withdrawn completely (hence the “is/was/”an invasion). I don't think most of the public in the US have heard of this incident, as a sampling the last three days has shown that the public is unaware. Either way, this is not a very pleasant situation and it possesses extreme danger for the US policy in the Greater Persian Gulf, as it complicates the position of a post-occupation Iraq; the Iranian action, not as irrational as may seem, also complicates the 5+1 talks two days from this writing on Iran's nuclear program, intended to define further action or sanction. Furthermore, STRATFOR today believes the incursion also meant to send a message to Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to not form a separate political coalition for the March 2010 elections that separates itself from the coalition led by the Iranian-supported Islamic Supreme Council for Iraq (ISCI), a pan-Shi'a Muslim organization.

Cepia Club's first opinion on December 18th, (Friday, which was two days ago) hypothesized that the incursion might have been committed by a rogue commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). If the incursion into Faqua was directed by Iran's central authorities (either the theocratic-political Shi'a revolutionary council, which holds power over the domestic AND foreign and security policies of the country OR its civilian president, Ahmadinejad), Iran would not necessarily disavow the move. It does send an undeniable message of toughness and some certain unpredictable recklessness to the United States Government as the pronounced deadline approaches for Iran to begin dismantling its nuclear program or face further penalties.

If it was a rogue military action, Iran would most likely decline to admit it for two reasons: It would signify a lack of control over its military and, second, that its Islamic radical IRGC was forcing the government and theocracy toward confrontation in the interest of the IRGC.

The move by Iran in Faqua shows some interesting military advantages, which were partially revealed by Cepia Club's Project 6 game study (January to April 2008) called OPERATION SCIMITAR. In the SCIMITAR model simulation game (MSG), Iran launched an invasion into the same area, but as a flank protection on the swamp, around which an armored army group pivoted from the northeast (due east of Baghdad) southwest and then south, originating from the from the foothills of mountains abutting the Iran-Iraq border. In SCIMITAR, the Iranians fought a holding action to stave off an US Marine/US Army attack into the area in Iran east of Basra, through the Abadan oil production region. Iran's most critical developed oil fields are located in the Abadan region. The Iranian armored army group in the game had launched a preemptive invasion of Iraq in response to a US & British effort to gain Abadan as leverage for a cease-fire. At the same time, the US/MNC(I) attacked with air bombardment and light infantry/SOF air assault against nuclear facilities in the Zagros Mountains that run from the northwest and southeast of Tehran.

In the SCIMITAR study game, several things were clear on any preemptive Iranian invasion of Iraq as a response to a US or-other-powers' attempt to disarm Iran. First, the deployment of light infantry and IRGC special operating forces (SOF) units in the Abadan region, on the southern portion of Iran's western border with Iraq, would be sound as a means of a fighting retreat throughout the marshland area; the deployments would also facilitate and directly support a guerrilla or unconventional insurgency in Iraq's Shi'a-dominated marshland region north of Kuwait, around Basra and up into the southern portions of the Mesopotamian corridor. Such means of fighting by Iran's regular military and Iraqi Shi'a militia would threaten US & Multi-National Coalition (Iraq) lines of communication, requiring substantial rear-guard protection for US and other allied front-line operations. The dissipation of force removes the concentration for an in-depth, long-distance counter-offensive into Iran following any preemptive invasion of Iraq by Iran.

Second, with Iran's armored forces concentrated in the Zagros Mountain range southwest of Tehran, close to the Iraq border and on an axis due east of Baghdad, the armored concentration could, theoretically, withstand air attack in prepared, protective lagers long enough in the difficult terrain along the road networks of the mountains to be a factor in any political-military confrontation. It would be subject to travel interdiction by cluster-dropped mines or other obstacles, however the invasion of Iraq by the armored group was nearly useless in the game due to US air-bombardment in the plain northeast of the Tigris boundary. But the armored concentration was determined to be more useful under the following conditions, which is under testing in the OPERATION ARTAGNES game study underway now. A) If nothing else, it threatened to either be directed west toward Baghdad (“a threat-in-being” which would not have to be used). B) Toward the south to take an invasion of Iran's Abadan oil region in the flank. C) To the southeast from its position in the Zagros to protect nuclear facilities (able to use the mountains to screen movement from air interdiction and bombardment attrition). D) To turn north to repel an invasion by the Russians from Azerbaijan. E) To screen and escort a friendly Russian military intervention on behalf of defending Iran into the parts west and south of Tehran. F) Or to turn and move east to Tehran to support the theocracy against a coup, or to remove by coup, any Iranian government.

Again, relevant to the incursion of Iran into Iraq at Faqua, which is where the armored army group invaded Iraq in SCIMITAR, the game study showed it would be easier for Iran to await an invasion from the US-MNC(I) into the area north of the marshland—trading space for power; which would be necessary (to some degree) for the support of an American flank to the north of an invasion of Abadan from the axis of Basra. Presumably, a US Marine air-sea maneuver would also be involved as a southern flank protection of such an invasion from the coastal area north of Busher. Incidentally, Busher is also the located of a major Iranian nuclear research reactor built on contract by Russia. Holding Abadan and its oil production and shipment capability is still, according to Project 6 findings, the only feasible way to force Iran to give up any real desire to acquire nuclear weapons. The financial-societal squeeze of holding Abadan could overwhelm Iran's resistance to demands for decommissioning its nuclear program.

In this entire line of thinking, even if Iran has actually withdrawn or will withdraw from Faqua, –and regardless of any political message Tehran is trying to send to Washington, Tel Aviv or Baghdad itself—Iran's occupation of Faqua would work quite well as a trap. Iran has come across the border. If Iraq or US-MNC(I) retaliates or launches a preventive war to stop Iran's nuclear program, Faqua would be a very teasing bait to draw in the head of any invading force, to be scythed off. Beware misreading Faqua.

US Responses to the Iranian Incursion

On Saturday, December 19th, there has been, as mentioned, little media or public mention or reaction about Iran's mini-invasion into Iraq and occupation of Oil Well No. 4 in the vicinity of Faqua, Iraq. It was reported by STRATFOR (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.) that Iraq had deployed a unit to the area of Faqua but was holding back on further action. There were also contradicting reports on whether or not Iran had withdrawn back behind its border. Despite the fog-cloud of information on Iran's withdrawal, one of the most notable pieces of news on Saturday was the complete lack of reaction to be found emanating from Washington, D.C., or any other US official except for the commanding general of US-MNC(I), Gen. Ray Odierno. The statements made by the US general leave open a wide gap between Iranian actions and US policy toward Iran on any other issue.

Gen. Odierno said that Iran's incursion into Iraq was an issue between Iran and Iraq, and that the US would remain uninvolved. On the other hand, Gen. Odierno made explicit in the statement reported that Iran continued to provide arms, infiltration routes, money and personnel for terror units inside Iraq fighting the occupation. The general made only partially implicit in the tone of the report that such activity might correlate with the increased terror acts against occupation forces in Iraq following the end-game of the US “surge” strategy and the redeployment of the US military to locations outside Iraq's urban centers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cepia Club--2009--Holding Fast and Melding Fortune's Future

From The Cepia Club LLC

2009—Holding Fast and Melding Fortune's Future
December 15, 2009

As a report year-in-review for The Cepia Club LLC, we title part of this article—or rather articles of faith, fidelity, friendship and fellowship—“holding fast;” because the prime element that makes the Club alive and everything that it is and can become indeed held fast in the turmoil of private lives and and global business upheaval. That irreplaceable and gratefully recognized gravity of our inner-universe, for CepiaClub's success past, present and future, is the living, breathful, vibrant and vocal help of people who worked hard for so much idealism to become realized. There is more for which CepiaClub can be grateful beyond those specific individuals who performed service, or who dedicated means by which our achievements reached the better possible outcomes. The underlined strength of CepiaClub—as both a “new model” business for liberty, prosperity, and justice—rests on the solid foundation THOSE who believe in CepiaClub.

Not only tacit words of encouragement or the implicit acts of service by many brought us to a verging year of 2010 success. For every CepiaClub participant or Cepiaglobal Associate, a band of others stands behind each one of them. And it surfaces more apparent from the dark, stormy sea line, that a future ship of civilization can be righted and set on more pacific course if all citizens in all countries stand to be recognized and counted among the humanity crying “peace and prosperity for all.” We as a species can end the insanity and bring a better world if, and only if, we all live by the principles which make for right, good, honest and fair living. Pursuing the goals of awareness and activism for such inner, self-evident goals for happiness; in freedom from fear and want; via freedom for conscience and speech; all of it in a simple sum comprise the intent and work of CepiaClub, for the short-time and the long-term.

The achievements of CepiaClub as a business in 2009 were multiple in number, diverse in character, positive in approach and productive in purpose.

First, after last winter, a desk office space was rented from Cepia Trade Bazaar located inside the Planet Supply of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. The Cepia Trade Bazaar is a mobile kiosk and a separate, but kindred, entity from The Cepia Club LLC. The trade bazaar has a month-by-month rent contract for its space in the Planet Supply, but as far as connecting within the Planet Supply mini-community and the larger and vibrant City of St. Croix Falls, the arrangement works profoundly well for all concerned. The display space for Cepia Trade Bazaar and the The Cepia Club LLC's desk within the space solved several daunting problems learned in the first year of CepiaClub's company-under-management as an LLC from 2008. Also, as part of the traveling Cepia Trade Bazaar display space at other locations, CepiaClub benefits from the greater promotion and presence under the desk-rental contract. As both workspace and meet-up space, the location within Planet Supply was a great boon since April 2009 and will continue as of this writing indefinitely, into 2010.

In late May, as our second event of note in 2009, CepiaClub took a 9-day road tour of Wisconsin, to the central and southeast parts. Not extensive in itself but covering 700 miles by car with film gear and the cameras rolling, CepiaClub asked friends and associates to ask into the camera a question they wanted answered, about life, the world, or the nature of things in general. The film, Underground Freeway, may never be edited and completed, but the trip-log, “Notes from the Underground,” written during and following the tour, can be read in the May and June 2009 portions of the CepiaClub's social-cultural blog at .

In July, after six months of preparation and work, CepiaClub's production and management of the music concert at Centuria's Memory Days festival was our third significant accomplishment of 2009. Sandy Bishop and her son, Henry Bishop, played an afternoon children's variety theater. The Juggernauts of Planet Supply and Polk County, Wisconsin, fame, played the mid-afternoon show. Polk County's funk-punk favorites, Squib, graced the festival that early Saturday evening with their last concert to date to a crowd that exceeded 125. And finally for the main concert, to the wild and welcome reception and fun of 400-plus concert-goers (counted at 10 PM, with scores more coming and going until the concert ended at 1:30 AM), Club-friend and favorite, Javier Trejo and his band, The Javier Trejo Trio, gave Centuria a profoundly entertaining and fun show.

CepiaClub's fourth favored success of 2009 arrived in two parts in one weekend. The combined parts were the Friday, September 25th CepiaClub Annual Dinner (our second) and the following day's St. Croix Falls Autumn Festival. The dinner on the Friday evening rebounded with great food prepared jointly by Mrs. Krenz and CepiaClub's own certified executive chef, Mr. Ross G., assisted by his able wife, Mrs. Kellie G.. The meal was Italian fare, and up to the standard of unabashed excellence on the part of the entire cooking team. All twenty-one guests voiced extreme pleasure in the great food and fellowship, the content of discourse and friendly chatter, and the open-minded, sober exchange of ideas. The event was non-business as it was just a plain old dinner party, but a dinner party that can hardly be equaled.

The Autumn Fest the next day, on the morning and afternoon of a glorious and sunny Saturday, was a dual affair for CepiaClub for the second year continuing. CepiaClub, while not involved in the event promotions, ran our own section of the Cepia Trade Bazaar kiosk in the #1 preferred vending tent. In addition, CepiaClub also had been responsible beforehand and on the day of the festival for the coordination of the live music and dance entertainment. Overall, CepiaClub's outreach at the Autumn Festival brought great dividends to us in several ways in the months since. The dividends will hopefully rebound to us in 2010 as well.

These four notable achievements in the narrow respects of The Cepia Club LLC's business accomplished several important needs for us. Among the needs fulfilled, the most important took the form of those pricey assets we gained at a remarkable low- and efficient-cost: We promoted our image and our professional competencies by performing our business and our friendship principles and commitments. Everyone involved at every step, with special commendation for Charles M. Barnard and Pwajdeur Stage, proved the entire club's competence to plan and execute difficult event and promotional services. CepiaClub, furthermore, improved our internal efficiency and cost-control procedures and management policies. We as CepiaClub profited more in goodwill than we earned in revenue, but all of these peculiar commodities and trade-offs netted our business organization out-sized gains to expenses in labor, thought, and moral capital. We evened out on our capital capacity, and now we can set better heights to soar toward goals in 2010 for growth in numbers and image, and especially for revenue.

Most critical of all the above mentioned, and to the intent and design of CepiaClub, the people involved in CepiaClub, whether volunteers, collaborators, contractors or Participants and Associates, everyone we can reach with our messages built on the themes of liberty, freedom, justice and community, all understand the underside of the ideal, the deep foundation upon which CepiaClub stands. WE associate together for the common purpose, the human need for some fulfillment, to work toward finding in ourselves the reasons to be useful to ourselves, useful for one another, to be useful to the world. Most important of all, we build from within the efforts, whatever character or function they exist, the friendships and tolerance between us; to learn and teach each other the lessons and wisdoms endowed through hard experience or by the Nature of goodness that rests inside each and every person, if all and everyone looked inside and released that goodness for others.

In other aspects of business, CepiaClub held fast on the core enterprises of public media operations. CepiaClub's friends and personnel kept that vital center alive in our broadcasting and production efforts, in our publishing enterprise, and within and without concerning the Cepiaglobal Associated Membership Program (CAMP).

This year, the PiK. Media enterprise of The Cepia Club LLC, with the able cinematography help of Mr. Erik Barstow, filmed two episodes of our flagship tv-web show, Freedom Affairs. The first guest, Ms. Mandy Hathaway told her story of her 2008 photo-journalism contract job in which she toured Tajikistan, which lies along the northern border of Afghanistan. The tv show has so far proved one of the best film projects CepiaClub has ever done, in terms of its content and skilled professionalism. The episode's theme of “Awareness Beyond Media” exemplified how people's perspectives of war and peace can change when we look into even the photographed faces and eyes of people anywhere living normal life. In the normal chores of hero-ship, Ms. Hathaway's photos of baking and breaking bread with the people of Central Asia tell a lot of how our perceptions—even CepiaClub's—can shift; one looks at different peoples in different parts of the earth not as something to be feared, but something within all of us with which we can identify in others.

(The second Freedom Affairs episode filmed this summer shall remain un-described for this article. We hope not to implode anticipation).

Also, on the PiK. Media projects, progress has gone far on the Pikzl Vision, web-casting TV home page, located at . All of our own shows, and other individual movie projects by CepiaClub throughout the past 8 years, either are already posted or will be posted in time, including some commercial advertisements we have made. Pikzl Vision contains a rather diverse mix of entertaining, informative, commercialized, and community content.

One of CepiaClub's new show launches in 2009 is the series St. Croix Valley Liberty Beacons. These feature projects provide less editorial comment and more unrevised, and raw, formats of ideas. The three SCVL Beacons completed so far since June 2009 highlight speakers appearing at the April 2009 Libertarian Party of Wisconsin's annual convention. Speaker and former Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate Mr. Richard V. Campagna discusses his philosophies of libertarianism, existentialism, and judicial realism. LP Congressional candidate Mr. Timothy Nerenz gives a solid introduction to his 2010 campaign. On another track, green-activist Ben Manski talks with much knowledge about the “Bring the Guard Home” effort, an attempt to limit future militarization of US foreign policy and an accompanying plan for civilian-based, active but non-provocative, defense. In the final show completed 2009 (Nerenz and Manski appeared in the same episode, Volume 2), Mr. Gary F. Storck reports on the need for and potential legalization of medical marijuana. The final show of the SCVL Beacons from the 2009 Libertarian Party convention, to be released shortly, stars speaker Mr. John Witte as he explains the status and the great potential for alternative education as a way to rectify a growing crisis in education in the United States. Watch all of these shows and more on .

On the last of the film news announcements for the 2009 year-in-review, PiK. Media in this coming Winter of 2010 plans to debut its Cepia Local News casting, formatted to show the way to a stronger community through local-based broadcast media efforts. The first newscast is slated to show some of the highlights of this 2009 report.

Last in terms of the overall PiK. Media enterprise, but on the Radio Mira web-radio pod-cast service, the expansion of the global-local entertainment and ideas by CepiaClub continue slow but steady. Already, radio links to both the BBC and NPR radio services exist on Radio Mira. But Radio Mira is also expanding its pod-cast barter and exchange with local bands, and other audio-artists, to get better exposure and more profit for all involved. For CepiaClub, yes, and the artists in particular. Not to overlook it, the CepiaClub Diablog will continue into 2010 with special readings and discussions. Stay tuned on the Radio Mira web page at to see its present status and future progress. Finally in regards to Radio Mira, CepiaClub still works toward the eventual goal for an open-air, licensed, low-powered radio station to cover some small part of western Wisconsin. This may be an ambitious goal, but fortune's fate will make it happen if it is meant to happen. We will keep our progress posted to all.

The other area where CepiaClub held fast and advanced in a tough economic year took place in the publishing enterprise. As seen in the pages of recent issues of Feedom-Zine America (the original publication format for this 2009 report), much has developed and improved for the zine itself, with narrower and focused content, a different presentation, a new and expanding marketing policy (for emailed, print and library copies). We hope some editorial decisions that we have taken will allow CepiaClub to promote and expand even more the Freedom-Zine America. Inside the pages of the zine, we shall make every attempt to produce the most active and widest base for “community ending public ignorance and apathy.” These are goals and CepiaClub accompanies them with a promise: To continue to do our best to serve peace and prosperity with positive ideas for productive solutions.

A premium subscription-only news and views service, Cepiaglobal (and the Cepiaglobal Associated Membership Program—CAMP) and its very own newsletter, Cepiaglobal Futures Report (CgFR), is available by invite or petition to join. As a publication centered for exclusive subscribers, Cepiaglobal published three of the futures reports in 2009, which was our target goal. Relating to current events and proprietary information on The Cepia Club LLC, CgFReports publishes important information on geo-politics and economics and assessments of the events relating to these topics. To provide the newsletter with some some solutions for subscribers, the summary of the reports always at least tries to relate the trends and forecasting of major events to the societal and cultural impacts they will have. Informed is empowered for activism. As much of what CepiaClub provides for thoughts and leadership in community efforts for peace and prosperity is generally free and available to the public, customers and clients, Cepiaglobal Futures Reports is reserved for those accepted into the associated membership program. (For details on Cepiaglobal and Cepiaglobal Futures Reports, visit and the Cepiaglobal web-page, or inquire at .

To CepiaClub's only chagrin for 2009, we delayed the re-introduction of our flagship policy journal, The Cepia Club Strategy Review. The last issue was in Winter 2008. As a policy journal for the general interest of humanity's peace and prosperity, it still retains a place in our publishing enterprise. CepiaClub already works on a planned reintroduction of Strategy Review (which, it might be recalled, was formerly Strategy Gazette). If CepiaClub is the average person's think-tank and meant to challenge the pre-conceived notions of foreign, defense, security and internal policy proffered by more elite institutions, Strategy Review will continue to be available on-line, in limited print copies and in any school or public library that accepts the service of copy donations offered.

As this report article on The Cepia Club LLC, and all that relates to it, comes to the conclusion, the year of 2009 really proved one of holding fast. But we do not doubt that our “fortune's fate,” moral and not necessarily financial fortune, will help us transform a little club into a mighty and powerful local resource for peace on earth and goodwill for all. Thank you, friends, or your support.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Review of NSC-68 and the Retrospective Anniversary Edition

Review of: NSC-68: Forging the Strategy of Containment, with Analyses by Paul H. Nitze. S. Nelson Drew, ed. Washington D.C., Fort Lesley J. McNair: National Defense University, 1994.
By Tim Krenz

This 45th anniversary edition of one of the most significant national policy statements in the history of America contains many of the relevant documents to the larger story behind it—Presidential directives ordering the study, source materials tracking the drafting and revisions, and some 1994, post-Cold War analyses by the paper's primary author, Paul H. Nitze. National Security Council [paper]--68, NSC-68 as it is known, defined in broad strokes the course of an unified American political, economic, foreign and defense “national grand strategy” in the Cold War from Truman's approval of the study in 1950 until the whimpering last breathless gasp of the Soviet Union in December 1991.
In historical context, the need for NSC-68 arose from the disordered hodgepodge of speeches, programs, legislation, reports, summaries, and memorandums within the US Government from the period 1943-50 forming American policies in the immediate post-World War II decade. The logic behind US policies in that short period recognized an existential threat to the US, both at home and abroad. The threat arose from the policies of repression, murder, consolidation and expansionism of the Soviet Union under their Communist-Bolshevik leader, Josef Stalin. The many documents contributing to US policies ranged from George Kennan's “Sources of Soviet Conduct;” the Acheson-Lilienthal report; President Truman's “doctrine” speech to a joint session of Congress; the Clark-Elsey Report (which disappeared); George C. Marshall's speech at Harvard announcing the plan that bore his name; and even (most interestingly) in the paranoid scribblings of Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal's diaries.
Soviet foreign policy in last two years of its war-time alliance with the United States and Great Britain, and in the five years after the defeat of Nazi Germany to the approval of NSC-68, combined military threats short of war, disinformation and propaganda offensives, occupied Eastern European countries under satellite governments, and subversive affiliate clients around the globe. The disconnected attempts by the US Government to state a clear and single strategy to address the exceptional threat posed by the Soviet Union lacked focus that would apply US advantages and compensate for American weaknesses, in all the relevant fields of national policy—political, economic, societal, and cultural.
In the late 1940s, a clear division appeared within US policy-making circles. First, one school believed the Soviets posed a traditional Great Power conflict of interest in tangible national interest (territory, natural resources, population, and sovereignty). This approach to understanding international politics is called “realism,” and Kennan was the godfather of it in the late 1940s.
On the other hand, a “theological-cult” [my term] believed the conflict was an ideological struggle that pitted one philosophical interpretation of life against the other, “unholy,” way of life: that of a socialist workers utopia run by an elite and privileged dictatorship ruling via fraud and force.
In the words of Nitze, the State Department Policy Planning Staff, who wrote the actual document, needed to draft a “gospel which lends itself to preaching” (quoted by Drew, ed., p. 4). America needed a summons to willful power “so that an intelligent popular opinion may be formed” [my italics]. In a national effort of unknown length and expense, consensus was required. A “national grand strategy” defines the political necessity of a policy and the expression of the objectives to be attained. Pursuing any grand strategy takes national political unity and the commitment of resources required required to act out and fulfill any policy. To quote NSC-68 itself, “Out of this common view will develop a determination of the national will and a solid, resolute expression of that will” (NSC-68, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, v. 1, p. 254).
The difference between the pragmatic “realists”of the Kennan-type and the “theological-cult” doctrine led by Nitze possesses more than a subtle difference. Kennan, who invented the approach he called “containment,” believed that a traditional balance of power strategy aptly applied only where the Soviet Union directly threatened American national interest, as in Europe, (but without any peace-time military alliances like NATO), would be able to conserve strength, provide for low-defense budgets, increase the Western standards of living, and press back Soviet aggression by applying firm resistance ONLY in critical areas. Eventually, the Soviet system of power would crumble of its own weight and its internal contradictions of some people more equal than others. Those captive masses in the Soviet system would reject poverty, slavery and lies in favor of Western-style values and prosperity, and thus withdraw willing and willful legitimacy and support from Communist governments.
The described “theologians” did indeed emphasize the values of America's way of life in the struggle but in unlimited ways against any and all communism—anywhere; this took out of the Cold War policy prudence to go to war only when necessary, and not go where defeat or even costly victory was irrelevant, like Southeast Asia. NSC-68 also called for strong, state-manipulation of the US and global economy to pay for massive conventional armaments, improved strategic nuclear forces, and interventionist policies and military assistance to any willing allies. In the end, NSC-68 was accepted by President Truman as he simultaneously declared a National Emergency on December 16, 1950. On that date, during the beginning of the Chinese intervention in the Korean War, Truman ordered the start of what would be the most expensive four-decade-long military program in peacetime in history, as requested in NSC-68. The militarization of American policy, encouraged and protected by a military-industrial-legislative complex, had begun. Outgoing President (and five-star general and hero) Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the US about such a dangerous combination of business, votes, and a large peacetime military before leaving his own two terms in office almost exactly ten years later.
As Nitze concluded in the NSC-68 anniversary retrospective, was the Cold War about traditional strategic concerns of national independence, economic resources, societal consent, and protection of the population? Or was it necessary to build such an awesome tool of material military power to protect the intangible “American way of life?” As rising conflicts in the Indian Ocean Area (Persian Gulf and Central Asia) emerge, similar questions arise today. Would the Cold War have been over sooner through traditional pragmatic national strategies without a large peacetime military, and by using a careful, concise power of choice ONLY when and where national destiny met the need for decisive action? These are always hard questions in history and the world awaits answers.