GEOPOLITICS, ESPIONAGE & WAR
Nations do not have friends; they have interests.
Predictably, the West has lulled itself into a stupor of excessive debt, military weakness (ex the United States) and feckless economic policies in addition to gradual depopulation. Green shoots of reality are setting in (as of 2022) but as this is written so many do not realize the fragility of our supply chains.
Naivete is expensive.
Bismarck pieced together a country and the beginnings of an Empire only to be tossed over the side by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1898. On his way out Bismarck said the Kaiser would destroy everything in twenty years. Great call. Dr. Henry Kissinger lays it out in tow worthwhile books while Mark Kurlansky writes a nice little book about a profound year globally that may have lessons and messages for today.
Bismarck (1970) Frederic B.M. Hollyday (Editor)
Diplomacy (1994) Henry Kissinger
World Order (2015) Henry Kissinger
1968: The Year That Rocked the World (2005) Mark Kurlansky
HOW CHINA WAS LOST TO COMMUNISM
Reading these three well researched books dramatically deepened my understanding in some respects and shocked me in others. Much of this material has been memory-holed by the globalist political and business establishment to cover their own asses, including State and Treasury Department personnel who were starving the National Chinese government of funds in defiance of President Roosevelt’s wishes. Had the U.S. played its cards better, the Pacific War would have ended in 1944 without dropping two nukes (which was opposed by U.S. navy leadership), the Soviet Union would not have been allowed to enter the war against Japan and China would not have suffered 40,000,000+ dead thanks to Mao and communism.
Patrick J. Hurley (1956) Don Lohbeck
Roosevelt’s special envoy. Fought state dept. commies. Though a lifelong Republican FDR asked him if he wanted to be Vice President. He declined. An incredible life story. Born to poor Irish immigrants he mined coal and became an avid reader as a young boy in the living room of the Choctaw Indian chief from whom his parents rented land to farm. Taught to be a cowboy by none other than Will Rogers. Instrumental in fighting communists and appeasers in the State and Treasury departments who were undermining Chinese Nationalist government (which was weak and corrupt) in favor of the communists. Whitewashed from “known” history for wrong think except for a biased wikipedia bio that does not do him justice.
How the Far East Was Lost: American Policy and the Creation of Communist China (1963) Anthony Kubek
Well researched analysis of China’s loss to Stalin and State/Treasury/Media malfeasance. The footnotes alone make it worth reading. Led me to read, as well, the Forrestal Diaries and numerous other sources. Outstanding, intellectually honest research and analysis out of the University of Dallas.
Wedemeyer Reports! (1958) Albert C. Wedemeyer
Opposed State Dept. Commies in China. Viewed Churchill and Roosevelt as poor strategists. George C. Marshall’s right hand on the War Planning Board, architect of the “Victory Program” making defeat of Germany in Europe the prime U.S. war aim. Having attended the Kriegsakademie from 1936-38 as an exchange student he was thus considered a foremost expert on German military strategy. Later served as Chief of Staff to Lord Mountbatten (Southeast Asia Command) and later Chiang Kai-Shek. Had Truman listened to him and not the State Department “experts” history since 1949 would be far, far different. (No CCP, no Korean War…). He had his flaws (intellectual humility was not his strength and he was clearly, in my opinion, anti-semitic) but the world has paid a heavy price for his advice being ignored in favor of collectivist / marxist influence.
WINS, LOSSES & STUPID DECISIONS
Ken Burns documentaries may be a cut above network television but they miss the hideously bad (READ: Arrogant) decision-making in Washington D.C. between 1957-1963 that blew up the progress being made in building a democracy. What is done is done, but there are lessons to be learned…and remembered…which sadly has not occurred.
How you defeat communism without a full scale war:
In the Midst of Wars (1972) Edward G. Lansdale
Lansdale is the CIA operative who helped Malaya and the Philippines defeat a communist insurrection and win hearts and minds, then went to Vietnam in the early 1950’s and was making great headway mentoring Diem until sent home in the late 1950’s thanks to idiots; a general who disliked him and Robert McNamara (may he burn in Hell). Lansdale was the real deal. Under his tutelage Diem was growing as a leader and connecting with people despite the narrow-mindedness of his brother and his wife and despite elements of the remaining French Army after 1954 that were trying to get him assassinated. Reads better than most novels.
Prelude to Tragedy: Vietnam 1960-65 (2001) Harvey Neese, John O’Donnell
Five American and thee Vietnamese participants in the early days of U.S. involvement lay out a compelling argument that failure was not inevitable. But Washington wouldn’t listen. Despite progress in counterinsurgency programs the U.S., led by a feckless Joint Chiefs of Staff, decided not only to militarize but to build the South Vietnamese Army along U.S. Army lines rather than as a counter-guerilla force.
Dereliction of Duty (1997) H.R. McMaster
Decorated combat veteran, former National Security Advisor and now Senior Fellow H.R. McMaster’s fine work is based upon his doctoral thesis that nobody surrounding President Lyndon B. Johnson had the integrity and courage to stand up to his idea that he could fight a war overseas without anybody in the U.S. noticing. Troop deployment decisions, funding and tactics were driven by his domestic goal of launch the (also disastrous) Great Society in 1965. McNamara, General Maxwell Taylor, all the joint chiefs failed their duty, though ultimate responsibility rests with LBJ.
The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy (1998) Kai Bird
Born into the east coast lucky sperm club, the Bundy family was close to Henry Stimson and the Boston Brahmin set. The path was clear; private school at Groton, Yale, Skull & Bones. Both men were highly intelligent and capable. Of the two, McGeorge had the higher profile culminating in his role as National Security Advisor to Kennedy. It was also his great failure. Bill Bundy had the lower profile, serving as an analyst with the CIA and later as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs under Johnson. After leaving government he taught until his death in 2000. Insightful, well written book.
Lessons not learned:
Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia (2009) Ahmed Rashid
Recommended to me personally years ago by a former U.S. ambassador to a middle eastern country, this book will lay out how not to do it.
The Ugly American (1958) William J. Lederer, Eugene Burdick
How to do it, and how NOT to do it, when you go overseas with the State Department. Good read!
ESPIONAGE & STRATEGY
The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service (2012) Henry A. Crumpton
The Broken Seal (1971) Ladislas Farago
A Man Called Intrepid (1976) William Stevenson
Secret Missions: The Story of an Intelligence Officer (1946) Ellis M. Zacharias, RADM, USN (Ret.)
Recounts the author’s career as a seagoing naval officer but also considered by some the foremost naval authority on Japanese espionage, strategy and psychology. Matching wits with the Japanese Secret Service for twenty-five years he also designed a master stroke of psychological warfare that broke Japanese will to resist before Hiroshima (aside from the fanatics, and this is corroborated by other sources).
The Art of War — Sun Tzu