Tag Archives: war

East Europe: Why Historical Fears of War are Well Founded

I received an email full of anti-Obama sentiment the other day. It was an indirect re-hashing of a commonly echoed sentiment most concisely summed up as

The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

The above sentiment has been variously attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Fraser Tyler, Alexis de Toqueville and P.J. O’Rourke. I have no clue which one is correct, but that each has fascinating and well thought out things to say is evident if you read some of the things on each of their quote pages.

That the message (pasted below) came from a Czech says a lot.

Czech, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, the Baltics…, East Europe that lies on the line between the North Sea and the Black Sea — these are the places that always see the worst of trans-European war. This is such a significant and well defined trend in history that there is a name for the place: The Intermarum.

A few years ago Czech, Hungary and Poland broke with European defense policy (a worthless concept unless an American general or President is doing the talking) and formed their own for-real military alliance called the Visegard Group. While European NATO members argue about who is going to pay for what during a projected training exercise the East Europeans are sending their tiny military forces out to the training range on their own. So the Intermarum has now organized itself into a tiny military alliance that isn’t about building bigger and nicer offices for itself in Belgium every year on American tax money. Compared to the last seven decades of abject military complacency and external domination this is quite a break from the status quo.

When France or Germany invades Russia or Russia invades anywhere in Europe, they march through Poland and Czech and have to deploy mountain troops to Slovakia, Czech and Hungary and at least fight a blocking action in Romania. These countries have no direct input on the reasons France or Germany and Russia might be at war, but they are the battlegrounds where the blood is actually spilt and fighting is heaviest. This is, of course, devastating since the combined might of two modern armies always clashes right there in Eastern Europe. The speedbumps always see the worst wear.

Americans forget this because we think of WWII as a fight that happened in France, Italy and Germany because that’s the part we took part in for less than a year. This generation of Americans is only aware of WWII as far as it has watched Saving Private RyanInglorious Bastards, and  Band of Brothers. Ask a random person to show you on a map where Normandy is or what “the Ardennes” means and you’ll see how far from reality most people’s cinema-driven imaginings are from reality. Asking them “why did America invade Europe in WWII” is even more comical/sad.

East Europe was pulverized in 1938 and remained a impact zone (literally — as in bullets, shells and bombs impacting it) for seven more years until 1945, at which point the Russian reaction to German invasion was a counter-invasion of Germany, which meant invading back across East Europe on its way to Germany. East Europe got screwed.  Twice. The place was completely devastated and much of it actually flattened.

After all that East Europe didn’t get straightened out for 60 more years because the Soviets needed East Europe as a buffer zone against the American military in Europe. They didn’t have any need to improve the area, of course, they just needed to hold it for use as a surrogate battlefield in the event of WWIII, because battlegrounds are horrible places and they would much prefer the horrors occur there than in Russia itself.

Considering how geography forces those historical realities on the Intermarum countries it is easy to see why the Euroskeptic, anti-collectivist, pro-American Constitutionalism part of Europe happens to be East Europe. They are very worried about an EU collapse and fragmentation which becomes more likely every day. This isn’t because they care whether the EU member states continue to tell sweet lies of hope and harmony to each other or not, but because European socialism has at this point so rotted out the EU financial position that its has had concrete effects on what is available in the market. That means the market across all of Europe is so unhealthy that it has started to affect things we normally don’t think as being part of economics.

There is a fuzzy line between a need for a market correction and a need for a war to (re)establish natural property assertion by violence (land, commodities, rights, people) to recover from an imbalanced market that has severed itself from reality through rhetoric — a trend which has its roots in government interference in the market to begin with. Violence is the only way to settle property and control issues between parties once financial devices and/or the assent of parties to accept what another party asserts is true have failed. It doesn’t matter whether “party” refers to a person, a clan, an organization or a state; when the market is interfered with it gets sick, eventually that disease infects the state and law fails, and then the only law is what is enforceable through direct action. That is a part of what has driven war from time immemorial.

There really isn’t any separation between politics, economics and war from a geopolitical perspective and the East Europeans are worried that the American system, which has enabled the European system to exist for the last two generations, is on its way toward a type of dysfunction which will require the Americans to withdraw their concrete forms of attention from European affairs due to lack of resources and/or political bandwidth. We would withhold our attention and resources the same way the vascular system withholds blood from the extremities when threatened or ill.

An American decline, the definite separation of French and German interest from the made-up concept of “the European interest” and the resurgence of Russia is alarming to the Czechs and especially the Poles for reasons that people not familiar with history, geopolitics and the logistics of war do not understand.

The original message (unattributed other than “from someone in the Czech Republic”):

The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.

Politics, Media, Synthetic Experiences

I mentioned earlier that this would be good news for the Democrats and the media types who have staked their careers on a failure in Iraq, and in fact, they are playing it up. Weirdly there’s not a lot of space to expand this story to sound worse than it is because its a fairly unambiguous event and it happened too close to Syria to be completely blamed on a “failing policy in Iraq” or on Bush himself.

The bombing news will likely fade away soon since it involves Kurds and ethnic cleansing, and people do not like to talk about that right now, as it might indicate that we’re doing the right thing by being there. This leaves the anti-Warrists with a choice between two unpleasant alternatives in media focus: they can focus on the bombing event which looks bad on first look, but upon deeper inspection reveals some serious and strong motives for actually being in Iraq as opposed to abandoning it to mass slaughter; or they can focus on the troop reduction plan Petraeus is working on now.

Which type of media event an anti-Warrist will focus on reveals which type of anti-Warrist he is. There are those who genuinely do not accept war as a policy (which in practice every society accepts war, or they soon cease to exist and are quickly stricken from the record of human history), and there are those who wish to be seen as original and free thinkers who are bravely rebellious antiestablishmentarians.

The vast majority of anti-Warrists are of the latter category. It will be easier for them to focus on the bomb news but not deeply explore the issues that go with it than to focus on the troop reduction plan. This type of political thinker will recognize that without a war to stand resolutely against they will be out of a job and require a new thing to stand resolutely against in order to maintain their perceived relevance. The focus on the scary aspects of the bombing and ignorance of the underlying issues it raises that are potentially pro-War is made easier by the contemporary media consumer’s lack of interest in complete stories. Very few make it to the end of a serious in-depth piece even on TV today. There are so many other things to do now that are more entertaining than understanding the real world. WoW, pr0nz, drinking, pr0nz, football, pr0nz… man, the day just fills up with synthetic experiences so fast.

The political media today is usually little more than entertainment anyway — just another synthetic experience. My words here are written just for me, read for the reader and in any event have no impact on what happens in Iraq or anywhere else. It is completely plausible for me to enrage a reader and start an online posting war back and forth over issues that are completely removed from us in space and time but we both simply feel very strongly about. Our realities are defined by our perceptions, and with that in mind, I restate that the news media is largely about entertainment value and not the faithful relay of current human events.