I would say another ten days it should be completely over.Col. Douglas Macgregor,
on day 9 of the war in Ukraine [i]
The term defeatism is commonly used in politics as a descriptor for an ideological stance that considers co-operation with the opposition party. In the military context, in wartime, and especially at the front, defeatism is synonymous with treason.Wikipedia
When a strategist can manipulate both sides in a conflict, where each side represents one blade of a scissors, he can use the slicing of the blades to cut his way through anything. The conflict then becomes a controlled experiment in which the contenders, as thesis and antithesis, are used to establish a new thing (i.e., synthesis). In the present case, Russia and China (using their Western agent networks and “useful idiots”) are playing out this strategy. They are attempting to destabilize Europe and America to remake the world. An essential ingredient in this strategy is defeatism.
Four overlapping “scissors strategies” are playing out, along existing fractures: (1) the Biden regime vs. MAGA; (2) Russia vs. Ukraine; (3) China vs. Taiwan; (4) Western elites vs. the exploited masses (of the collapsing Western economies). Behind these scissors strategies there is a convergence strategy, and all these strategies make use of anti-NATO and anti-capitalist defeatism.
To understand defeatism, it is useful to reflect on Lenin’s defeatism during the First World War. Russia was then fighting against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. As a defeatist, Lenin wanted Russia to lose the war. In that event, he envisioned coming to power in a revolution. As events played out, the war brought Russia to the brink of economic collapse in early 1917. After the abdication of the Tsar in the February Revolution, Lenin’s defeatism led him to collaborate with the German government. The Kaiser, who was desperate to get himself out of a two-front war, provided Lenin with money (sent into Russia through the Bank of Siberia) so that Lenin could overthrow the Provisional Government and give Germany peace on favorable terms. After Lenin overthrew the Provisional Government in the October Revolution, he agreed to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. That treaty broke up the Russian Empire and ended Russia’s participation in World War I. This is how communism was established in Russia, with Defeatism as the key.
An important marker in all this was Lenin’s opposition to “the omnipotence of ‘wealth.’” Lenin was an enemy of the Establishment. He said that capitalism exploited the workers, pauperized them, and even slaughtered them in “imperialist wars.” We notice, today, similar rhetoric coming from mixed groups of right-wing defeatists. We may aptly call this defeatism “right-wing Leninism” because its modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to Lenin’s defeatism. But that is not all. The American right is more and more identified with the working class, and Lenin was a champion of the working class; so the case is more and more curious, involving what the Marxists call “contradictions.” In this context, former Trump advisor Steve Bannon reportedly told Ron Radosh: “I’m a Leninist.” Radosh asked what he meant, and Bannon said, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s Establishment.” [ii]
Bringing down the United States Government, of course, would present a golden opportunity to Russia and China. The U.S. nuclear arsenal defends the free world (to whatever extent it is still free). If the United States collapsed in the wake a right-wing revolution to “destroy all of today’s Establishment,” and if the U.S. nuclear arsenal was compromised, who is to say the free world would survive? Given all this, a person like Bannon might be described as a Leninist in more than one sense, or perhaps as a tool of Leninism. On the one hand Bannon sees himself as a defender of the working class. On the other hand, his revolutionary trajectory might secure a victory for Leninism globally.
Setting aside, for a moment, the opportunity that “bringing down the [American] state” represents for Russia and China, it must be admitted that our erstwhile Establishment despises the country’s white working-class. Here we find the blades of one of our scissors – i.e., the Western elites vs. the exploited masses. It is a bizarre irony that the Marxist left, having emerged from its university hatcheries into government, has deployed Critical Race Theory and feminism to suppress what turns out to be the last instinctively American class; that is, the American proletariat. In a comical inversion of political reality, the right picks up the working class as the left picks up the elite. And so, the elitist thing is to be a Marxist of a new type – promoting feminism, open borders, and genderism. The lowbrow thing is to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. It is, in fact, the unwashed masses – Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” – who want to bring manufacturing back to the United States, who want a border wall, and who instinctively distrust the Establishment. Therefore, Bannon is a “Leninist” in the sense that he wants a revolution from below.
One must admit, since 1991, all our political terms have become inverted and confused. Yet there is method in the madness of this confusion. The idea that Bannon might call himself a Leninist goes hand-in-hand with Putin identifying himself as a Christian. As Iago said in Shakespeare’s Othello, “I am not what I am.”[iii] Bannon is not really a Leninist and Putin is not really a Christian. But a game is afoot in which, dialectically, the players become interchangeable so that the black and white pieces on the chess board can switch sides, change sides, or converge. As a strategist, I do not think all this is an accident.
The defeatism that is emerging on the right, having made revolutionary noises, shares Lenin’s hatred of bankers and high finance. And here, we are not talking about Bannon specifically. We are talking about the conspiratorial right. Precision is difficult here; but of all the conspiracy theories infecting the right, most believe that the malefactors of great wealth are the true enemies of mankind. Overthrow the banking cabal and all will be well. And so, the real right-wing Leninists – who make up an ill-defined grouping – have revolutionary aspirations at a deeper level than anybody has yet understood. Whereas conservatism hitherto deferred to Edmund Burke in his opposition to violent revolution, the right-wing Leninists have no such inhibition. Like the dialectical materialists of the communist movement, the right-wing revolutionaries have no transcendental calculus. They are not backworldsmen (in Nietzsche’s sneering coinage); and so, like the communists, they are after power – and they do not care how they come by it. Like Lenin, they believe that wars derive from capitalist conspiracies. This can be seen in the Truther Movement, which Moscow patronizes. It should not be overlooked that this growing preoccupation with conspiracy theory reveals a shift towards Machiavellianism (another Leninist trait). Ironically, conspiracy is the true faith of the conspiracy theorist; for he believes that history can be controlled by money and by cunning. His native envy must conclude, consciously or unconsciously, that history could be his to control. And so, stripping Marxism-Leninism of its outward paraphernalia, the conspiracy theorist has made for himself a simplified revolutionary theory – cutting directly to the chase.
Lenin wrote, “A democratic republic is the best possible political shell of capitalism, and therefore, once capital has got control of this excellent shell … it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of individuals, of institutions or of parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake this power.”[iv] Similar statements may be found on any number of right-wing websites, and could form the basis for Moscow’s late-game strategy of convergence. The far right and the far left could join forces. After all, they seem to share the same enemy.
It is mind-boggling, indeed, to think that the right and left could combine, that they could agree on a revolution to overthrow capitalism. Of course, overthrowing Wall Street and the banks might destroy the West economically. In practical terms, what could be better for Moscow and Beijing? After the West collapses, the right and left – having defeated the evil “banksters” – could be comfortably merged. If anything should go wrong (and it probably will), the hard reset of a nuclear world war could be used to force the desperate survivors into a socialist survivalism. Should reactionaries and anti-socialists attempt to resist, something akin to the Russian Civil War would play out globally, by bullet and bayonet, enabling the have-nots to overthrow the haves.
Either way, the World Revolution wins.
The World Revolution: An Overview
We may visualize World Revolution as follows: (1) Begin a war in Ukraine that results in a global economic dislocation, either through a Russian victory or stalemate (since Western economic sanctions will apply either way, triggering the collapse of the West’s financial house of cards); (2) extend the economic mayhem by disrupting the West’s vital supply chains as China squeezes Taiwan and mobilizes for war in the Far East; (3) have a Democrat President denounce his Republican opposition as traitors (opening the way to civil war in the U.S., marking the end of U.S. global hegemony); (4) expose the bankrupt and predatory policies of the Western capitalist elite, turning the Western masses against their economic system and governments; (5) break up NATO; (6) bring about the “one Common European Home” advocated by Gorbachev and Yeltsin; (7) make the Pacific Ocean into a Chinese lake; (8) finish off the United States, occupy North America, and rule the world as a socialist commonwealth led by Moscow and Beijing.
This grandiose scheme, in its first iteration, originated with Lenin in Russia. As with all such schemes, it appears outlandish on its face. But all grandiose schemes of conquest appear outlandish at first blush. Think back to the Persian kings, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Caesar, etc. History shows us many outlandish schemes, and quite a few were successfully carried out. The Romans, according to Polybius, conquered through the patience of their far-sighted policy. The British used sea power to successfully maintain an Empire where Athens, in the ancient world, had failed. It is worth noting that the successful empires of the past were conservative, preserving the intellectual and spiritual heritage of their time. The grandiose scheme of Lenin, however, proposes to establish a world-wide socialist imperium leading to communism. What has taken modernity by surprise, in this matter, is the wantonly destructive nature of socialism. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia established a regime rooted in the insistent belief that mankind can only be transformed by violence. The idea of transforming mankind in this way, of annihilating man’s instinctive acquisitiveness, is not merely utopian; it is a rationale for creating a totalitarian state predicated on an unprecedented concentration of power. In doing this the Marxists have ignored Lord Acton’s admonition: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”[v]
The lust for power, with humanitarian window-dressing, must always produce a humanitarian catastrophe. When the socialists got power in Russia, forming the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), they directly preceded to mass killing and thievery. It is no accident that corruption hobbled the Soviet system, from top to bottom. Corruption is also a disease that afflicts Red China. It afflicts all the totalitarian socialist countries. Those who complain that the West is the most corrupt and decadent society of all, have no idea what they are talking about. They have not properly studied the socialist system of the former Soviet Union. Absolute power, does indeed, corrupt absolutely.
Therefore, it should not be a controversial proposition that all revolutionary socialist governments are predicated on gangsterism; that is, on lying, thieving, and murdering. We see this from Stalin’s terror famine in Ukraine to Pol Pot’s killing fields and Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Red Terror of 1980s Ethiopia. In their grandiosity they must kill enormous numbers of people because human nature will resist socialism’s insane policies. They must level civilization because civilized values are incompatible with their methods.
Unfortunately, we have not learned from the history of totalitarian socialism. Even as the “motherland” of socialism pretended to give up its objectives and adopt capitalism in 1991, even as Red China has played the capitalist game, the old objectives and methods remained in place. The long-range plan of Russia and China for remaking the world requires violence and robbery on an unprecedented scale. This has not changed. Look at what is happening in Ukraine. Look at China’s behavior toward Taiwan. Ask yourself why? The driving ambition of Moscow and Beijing is to annihilate. The most dangerous thing we have done, during the last 35 years, is to say to ourselves, “Yes, we can safely do business with Moscow and Beijing. They will not reign destruction on our heads.” Notice, then, how the missiles and nuclear warheads have been prepared in Russia and China. Notice, also, how the world’s food supply is being constricted. Does anyone remember that control over food always has been the communist path to consolidating power? The fact is, we cannot safely do business with Moscow and Beijing. The GRU defector, Colonel Stanislav Lunev, once described the leaders of the Russian Federation in the following way: “These are not human beings. These are crazy persons.” Commenting on the outlandish program of totalitarians, Hannah Arendt noted, “Until now the totalitarian belief that everything is possible seems to have proved only that everything can be destroyed.”[vi]
A Stratagem is Engendered
Moscow’s strategists have always considered energy to be the Achilles heel of Europe. The decisive energy inputs for a prosperous modern economy are principally oil and natural gas. If the West’s supply of oil and natural gas could be limited or cut off, an economic crisis could be triggered. In this context, the 1979 Islamic Revolution in oil-rich Iran was of enormous importance for Russia. The anti-American nature of the regime, and the liberationist features of Revolutionary Islam, made Moscow and Tehran natural allies. At the same time, Iran could be militarily built into a nuclear power that might easily close off the Persian Gulf oil during a future crisis. Of almost equal importance was the socialist takeover of oil-rich Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. If the United States was supine enough to tolerate the fall of South America’s oil hub, then Russia’s energy war was on its way to success. The icing on the cake, however, would be radical environmentalism.
In recent years geologists have found vast oil deposits in unexpected places. The doom and gloom predictions about peak oil did not come true. There exists, under the earth, large gas and oil deposits. All the West had to do was develop the technology to find these deposits and drill deeper – or fall back on unconventional oil extraction technologies. Here is where the environmentalists have played a significant role for Russia. In recent years radical environmentalism – in Europe and North America – has gone mainstream. With newfound political strength the environmentalists have opposed drilling, fracking, and more. From the outset, Moscow needed to interdict new sources of cheap energy. As luck would have it, the environmentalists did this for them.
It is easy to see who benefits most from radical environmentalism. Without question, Russia and China benefit. Chiefly, because of environmental concerns about nuclear power and coal in Germany, Russia was able to claim Europe as a market for its gas exports. Meanwhile, China secured its manufacturing base as Western manufacturing was moved to China. This owed much to the prohibitive costs associated with U.S. and European environmental regulations.[vii]
For obvious reasons the Soviet strategists became interested in an obscure scientific hypothesis: anthropogenic global warming. Here was a “scientific” theory with strategic utility for the socialist bloc. And then, on 23 June 1988, during a Washington, D.C. heat wave, James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies told a committee of the U.S. Senate that, “The earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements….” He said there was “only a 1 percent chance of an accidental warming of this magnitude…. The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”[viii]
Hansen’s statement, on its face, was ridiculous. There is no such thing as “accidental global warming.” Such, however, was the straw man Hansen presented as the sole alternative to the greenhouse gas theory. Scientists have long known that the Earth passes through cycles of warmer and cooler temperatures. In fact, it was warmer in the early Middle Ages than it is now. The Vikings were growing crops in Greenland, which is not possible with today’s cooler climate. Yet anthropogenic global warming has been accepted as true. To this end, facts have been systematically falsified by agents of influence in the scientific community. Careers have been ruined.
To make environmental alarmism credible, nobody was supposed to question the anthropogenic global warming theory. Those who did question the theory were labeled “science deniers,” or they were accused of being paid agents of Big Oil. Yet science is about asking questions. When all this nonsense began, scientists did not even fully understand the mechanisms responsible for global temperatures. Given their ignorance about climate, how could scientists honestly say anthropogenic global warming was scientifically proven? Of course, everyone knows – or ought to know – the sun is a major factor in heating the Earth; but in 1988 nobody realized the role played by cosmic radiation and the sun’s electromagnetic field. In this regard, the work of Henrik Svensmark[ix] has proved embarrassing to global warming advocates. Ironically, Svensmark’s work suggests that the world may not be warming. Instead, we may be headed for serious cooling – with dire consequences to global food production.
Despite the future discoveries of real scientists, James Hansen’s 1988 statements before the U.S. Senate lent credibility to what followed. The New York Times’s declared that Hansen had sounded an alarm “with such authority and force that the issue of an overheating world has suddenly moved to the forefront of public concern.”
As noted earlier, the greenhouse gas theory of global warming has been around for many decades. It was one of many theories presented in academic papers. The originators of the theory were not Soviet agents. It was the political deployment of the theory that made it part of somebody’s strategy. Certainly, if we ask the question of cui bono, we cannot help looking in the direction of Moscow. Yet there is more: In 1982 the Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Ivan T. Frolov, wrote a book titled Global Problems and the Future of Mankind. In this book he hinted that environmentalism was the key to Moscow’s future victory. According to Frolov, who later became a member of the USSR’s ruling Politburo, “pollution of the environment, the destruction of ecosystems, the destruction of many species … have now reached threatening proportions.” These “dangerous disharmonies in man’s interactions with nature are associated with … the capitalist socio-economic formation….” Therefore, he explained, these disharmonies require a “fundamental social transformation.” Comrade Frolov then played his trump card, the one that probably earned him his seat on the Politburo: “As a result of the formation of a layer of carbon dioxide around the Earth which encloses it like a glass cover,” wrote Frolov, “the threat of unfavorable changes in climate has arisen that may transform our blue planet into an enormous greenhouse … with possible catastrophic effects.”[x]
There it is, mapped out by a Soviet science propagandist in 1982. The Soviet Union picked up this idea, put their agent networks behind it, and built it into an “established science.” With government officials and the media trumpeting it, who could resist? The greenhouse gas-mongers could destroy anyone who questioned them. Here was a political instrument for sabotaging the West’s energy independence.
Four years after Hansen’s senate spectacular, in 1992, Senator Al Gore, Jr., wrote Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. Echoing Ivan T. Frolov, Gore proposed a fundamental social transformation to fight pollution and climate change. Gore, like Senator Joseph Biden, had been promoted into the United States Senate by Armand Hammer (identified by British and U.S. intelligence as a long-time Russian asset).[xi] As a strategist, I do not think all this is an accident.
Today nearly everyone in the West believes in the greenhouse gas theory of anthropogenic global warming. One might say, with some truth, that we “are all useful idiots now.” The bogus nature of anthropogenic global warming propaganda should be obvious to anyone who understands science. It should also be obvious to anyone who understands Soviet strategy, the communist movement, and the history of communist “active measures.”
Germany is, in all probability, the country most damaged by the anthropogenic global warming religion. Under its Climate Action Program 2030, and the new Climate Action Act, the Germans have been closing nuclear and coal power plants. This has led to greater dependence on Russian natural gas. As Patrick Wintour explained in the Guardian, Germany’s “rejection of nuclear power and its transition away from coal meant that Germany had very few alternatives to Russian gas.”[xii] The Russians, in fact, were preparing to cut off Germany’s gas supply months ago. According to Robert Habeck, Russian-owned gas storage facilities in Germany “had been ’systematically emptied’ over the winter, to drive up prices and exert political pressure. It was a staggering admission of Russia’s power to disrupt energy supplies.”[xiii] American leaders have warned Germany about its growing dependence on Russia for many years, but the Germans would not listen.
And now, thanks to the opportunity presented by the war in Ukraine, and thanks to Russia’s ability to cut off Germany’s gas supply, the Kremlin can play out its scissor’s strategy in Europe. Without enough electricity or heat, revolutionary conditions will obtain in Germany. Businesses will not be able to function. Workers will lose their jobs. The German government will be blamed. People have already taken to the streets. Revolutionary defeatism is on its way.
Douglas Macgregor: A Case Study in Pro-Moscow Defeatism
Voices exist, and will continue to appear, preaching the inevitability of Western decline. They will preach Russia’s rise, and China’s rise, and even socialism’s rise, etc. Listen carefully to these voices. Ask who they are. Ask why they are speaking out. In recent years, on the right, there are defeatists who preach the abandonment of America’s allies in Asia and Europe. One such person is retired U.S. Colonel Douglas Macgregor. And he is a classic “blame America firster.”
A defeatist will tell you that America is to blame for all the bad things that are happening. During the Cold War the left promoted defeatism. Yet the left, contrary to its past behavior, is currently holding the line against Russia and China. All the better, then, that they might pull the rug out from under the West’s defensive preparations. Inconsistent characters that they are, they can always double back. And this has already begun to happen. In April Biden canceled two nuclear warhead programs,[xiv] and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was hard-pressed trying to explain why Germany has sent less military aid to Ukraine than Norway. These leftists cannot be trusted to defend the West. And yet, they are holding the banner high – for the moment. What is most worrisome, that this juncture, is that the loudest voices of defeatism are on the right. For the sake of credibility, the ideal defeatist would be someone with military credentials. Figures like General Michael Flynn come to mind, and he certainly has been serviceable. Better than Flynn, however, is Colonel Douglas Macgregor, a self-described military strategist favored by Fox News broadcaster Tucker Carlson.
Colonel Macgregor has been a military consultant and TV commentator since his retirement from the U.S. Army in 2004. Macgregor was appointed by President Trump to replace Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany in 2020. However, Macgregor’s nomination was blocked by the U.S. Senate because of “controversial statements.” What hurt him most was Macgregor’s notion that Germany’s struggle to overcome its Nazi past partook of a “sick mentality.” He was subsequently labeled an antisemite by American Jewish groups, though he was defended by three Israelis in a Jerusalem Post opinion piece.[xv] Macgregor’s antics are reminiscent of General George S. Patton, a famously opinionated U.S. general who fought in World War II. But then, Macgregor is no Patton.
In an appearance on the Laura Ingraham Show three weeks before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Macgregor said, “NATO, under the pressure of a potential conflict, appears to be crumbling. It has virtually no cohesion.” Macgregor then sarcastically mocked NATO’s preparations in advance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He also blamed the United States for helping to create the crisis.
To be effective, defeatism does not have to be consistent or coherent. A week ago, Wednesday Macgregor published an article in the notorious pro-Kremlin publication, Veterans Today. He argued that Biden’s support for Ukraine, as meager as it is overblown, is the equivalent of FDR’s policy of “unconditional surrender” during World War II. Macgregor then compared Biden’s policy of sending aid to Ukraine with Lyndon Johnson’s intervention in the Vietnam War: “LBJ found out the hard way that the North Vietnamese were far more committed to ‘victory at any cost’ than were the American people.” It is surprising indeed, that Macgregor shamelessly echoes the defeatist rhetoric of the pro-Marxist left of the 1960s. In this context, someone should remind him that American soldiers are not fighting in Ukraine. It is a totally different situation than Vietnam.
While Macgregor attacks those who sympathize with Ukraine as “gratuitously self-righteous,” he indulges his own self-righteousness by blaming the United States for the war. In one interview he said, “Moscow will never again allow Washington and its allies to transform eastern Ukraine into a launching pad for offensive military operations against Russia proper.”[xvi] A lie of this kind is inexcusable coming from a military man. NATO never turned Eastern Ukraine into a launchpad for offensive operations against Russia. Nobody in NATO would dare attack Russia. But notice the shocking contradiction in Macgregor’s two statements. Suddenly, the weak NATO alliance he mocked in January is transformed by his rhetoric into a threat effective enough to require a Russian preemptive strike into Ukraine!
As an interesting segue into the scissor’s strategy, Macgregor has criticized German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock as “a crusader of the type you see in Washington.” It is funny that he zeroed in on the leading German Green Party politician. The Greens have made their own special contribution to NATO’s future defeatism. As one blade of the scissors to another, Macgregor blasted Baerbock for wanting to “reshape the world to conform to some sort of ideologically pure and good and morally upright picture that always fails in the end….”
Mocking Baerbock’s environmentalism has its place; but is she a princess of darkness or a misguided idealist? Of course, Macgregor is grinning ear-to-ear at Baerbock’s good intentions. He thinks good intentions are foolish. (One wonders, in truth, what his intentions are.) Speaking in English during a recent meeting in Prague, Baerbock said Ukrainians were fighting “for the right … to define their own future by themselves. So [the defense of Ukraine] is not up to Germany….” She affirmed that Ukraine wants to be free and peaceful, and Ukraine has the right. The German foreign minister will not be blackmailed by Russia, saying, “we stand with Ukraine as long as they need us.”
Let us compare these remarks of Foreign Minister Baerbock with statements made by Macgregor’s diplomatic hero, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. On 20 July 2022 Lavrov said that Russia did not intend to occupy or “impose anything on anyone by force” in Ukraine. Directly contradicting himself, Lavrov explained that “peace talks make no sense at the moment” adding that Russian territory ambitions may “extend further West” as the war continues. Incredibly, Macgregor calls Lavrov “one of the most exceptionally talented and intelligent men I’ve ever met. And he is very much in the traditional mold of a great European statesman.”
Can the lackey of a murderous dictator be “a great European statesmen”? Or is he a hack whose flights of genius are circumscribed by the knuckle-dragging instincts of the thug he serves? Macgregor may insist on Lavrov’s greatness, but what is he going to propose next? A reassessment of Joachim von Ribbentrop? A gooey kiss for Talleyrand?
Whatever criticisms can be made of Foreign Minister Baerbock, she appears to be the opposite of Macgregor’s hero. “If I give the promise as a politician,” said Baerbock to a recent meeting of European politicians in Prague, “there could be the chance that people disagree with me and they say in four years, well, you didn’t tell us the truth; but if I give the promise to people in Ukraine, ‘We stand with you as long as you need us,’ then I want to deliver, no matter what my German voters think …. And this is why, for me, it is important … to always be very frank and clear; and this means, [with] every measure I am taking, I have to be clear that this holds as long as Ukraine needs me. And this is why it is so important we have to be frank. Yes, everyone wishes … that tomorrow the war stops. But in case … it wouldn’t stop … we are facing now wintertime where we will be challenged as democratic politicians. People will go on the street and say, ‘We cannot pay our energy prices,’ and I will say, ‘Yes I know, so we help you with social measures.’ But I don’t want to say, ‘Then we stop the sanctions against Russia.’ We will stand with Ukraine and this means the sanctions will stay all through winter time, even if it gets really tough for politicians.[xvii] And we have to find good solutions all over Europe to balance the social effects…. This is a hybrid war [in which] the second strategy [of Russia] is to split our democracies, saying, ‘Now the poor people are being left behind, and we have to give the answers.’ No, we stand in solidarity with everybody in our country as we stand with everybody in Ukraine.”[xviii]
However strenuously I disagree with Baerbock’s views on climate change, she talks more like a statesman than Lavrov. In this matter, she is not deceiving her public. She is ready to fall on her sword. On the other side, Lavrov tells blatant lies. Yet Lavrov is Macgregor’s ideal. It is no surprise that Macgregor showed similar statesmanship when he justified Russia’s invasion during an interview with Tucker Carlson. According to Macgregor, NATO was planning to deploy missiles and troops on Ukrainian territory. Not long thereafter, in another interview, Macgregor compared the Ukraine War to the Cuban missile crisis. There is one problem with this comparison, however: there really were Russian nuclear weapons and missiles in Cuba in October 1962, along with Russian troops; but NATO has never placed nuclear weapons, missiles, or troops in Ukraine. Macgregor also forgot to mention that despite the placing of Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba, the United States did not invade Cuba in 1962 or any time thereafter. So how can he justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with an analogy that is not analogous?
With love for Sergei Lavrov and inept reasoning, Macgregor keeps saying that Ukraine has lost the war. His defeatism is indefatigable. Not only does he say Ukraine has lost, but any effort to help Ukraine is “reinforcing defeat.” In an article he wrote for the 23 August edition of The American Conservative, Macgregor argued that “new weapon systems won’t change the strategic outcome in Ukraine. Even if NATO’s European members, together with Washington, D.C., provided Ukrainian troops with a new avalanche of weapons, and it arrived at the front instead of disappearing into the black hole of Ukrainian corruption, the training and tactical leadership required to conduct complex offensive operations does not exist inside Ukraine’s 700,000-man army.”[xix]
After appearing on Fox News’s Life, Liberty and Levin,at the outset of the Ukraine War, Macgregor was chastised by Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin, who felt compelled to “correct some of the things that Col. Doug Macgregor just said … because there were so many distortions.” Macgregor, said Griffin, had just vilified the West, sounding like an apologist for Putin. She slammed Macgregor for “appeasement talk” from someone “who should know better because … he was the one who was advising President Trump to pull all U.S. troops out of Germany….” It was, she said, “that kind of projection of withdrawal and weakness … [that] made Putin think that he could actually move into a sovereign country like Ukraine.” Griffin wanted to warn the television audience: “I’ve known and seen Vladimir Putin operate since 1999 when I was based in Moscow for Fox. It is where I started my career with Fox, and Vladimir Putin is a former KGB [officer, and] he has been laying the groundwork for this….”[xx]
On this same broadcast former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy said, “I did not understand Col. Macgregor’s analysis that they [the Russians] don’t want weapons on their border. If they keep taking countries, they are going to have weapons on their border.” Exactly right!
This is what Macgregor has missed. If NATO was the party of bad faith, engaged in treacherous actions, why didn’t Sweden and Finland align with Russia instead of joining NATO (as they have done)? The answer is obvious. Russia is the aggressor. Yet Macgregor will not admit this simple fact. He also cannot admit any of Russia’s battlefield defeats. When the Ukrainians took back a critical airfield west of Kiev in the first days of the war, Macgregor mocked the idea. “The Ukrainians haven’t taken back anything,” he said. Yet the Ukrainians did retake the airfield and the Russian encirclement of Kiev failed.
Macgregor has said that the Ukrainian cause is hopeless, that Ukraine’s president is a “puppet.” They should surrender and save themselves, he has said. Ukraine, says Macgregor, “is an artificial construct – a third of that country is not Ukrainian. It never has been.” – So how does Macgregor account for the Euromaidan Revolution? How does he account for Ukraine’s splendid will to resist the Russian invasion? The Ukrainian Army has killed nearly 50,000 invading Russian soldiers. They have destroyed nearly 2,000 Russian tanks. How is that for a country that “never has been”? [xxi]
At the same time, Macgregor says the Russian military is competent and successful. He sees no humiliating setbacks or defeats. The Russians, he claims, were trying to spare civilian lives by taking the slow approach at the outset of their invasion. During a 23 March 22 interview on Fox News, McGregor said, “What’s happened now is, the battle in eastern Ukraine is almost over.” The Ukrainians should give up, he suggested. Russia has won the war. “We should stop shipping weapons,” he added, because Ukraine’s cause is “a hopeless endeavor.” Oh yes, Macgregor’s counsel is always surrender. Quit the war. Let Russia take Ukraine. Give up.
Here are excerpts from Macgregor’s Interview with Stuart Varney at Fox Business Fox on day 9 of the war: [xxii]
FOX ANCHOR: Is Putin going to flatten Ukraine?
MACGREGOR: No. Absolutely not. In fact, he worked hard to capture most of it intact with surprisingly little damage, frankly. Much less damage than we inflicted on Iraq when we went into it. They are surrounding the Ukrainian forces and annihilating them. Zelenskiy is waiting for Biden to rescue him, and that is not going to happen.
ANCHOR: Do you think the end is in sight.
MACGREGOR: Oh yeah. The end of this phase is still a few days away. In the first five days I think, frankly, the Russian forces were too gentle. They’ve now corrected that, so, I would say another ten days it should be completely over.
ANCHOR: It sounds like, colonel, you do not approve of Zelenskiy’s stand.
MACGREGOR: I think Zelenskiy is a puppet, and he is putting huge numbers of his own population at unnecessary risk. And, quite frankly, most of what comes out of Ukraine is debunked as lies within 24 to 48 hours. The notion of taking and retaking airfields, all of this is nonsense. It never happened.
ANCHOR: [Incredulously] He is not a hero, standing up for himself and his own people? You don’t think he is a hero?
MACGREGOR: [Smiling broadly] No. I do not. I don’t see anything heroic about the man. And I think the most heroic thing he can do right now is to come to terms with reality: Neutralize Ukraine. This is not a bad thing.
This exchange is vintage Macgregor. To smugly degrade the president of a beleaguered nation and promote the aggressor’s cause is disgusting. Yet this is what Macgregor does. To show how much currency Macgregor’s false narrative has, I received a call two Sunday evenings ago from a pro-Russian right-winger. Following Macgregor’s lead, this man confidently stated that Russia has already won the war. “All the news says so,” he insisted. I then asked, “Wasn’t the Russian drive on Kiev repulsed? Is not the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the bottom of the Black Sea?” The pro-Russian partisan did not answer me. “The Americans sank the Russian flagship,” he said. The Ukrainians, of course, get no credit for anything.
There has occurred, in the West, a general intellectual decline. In place of historical knowledge and classic philosophy we have conspiracy theories animated by feelings of resentment. These feelings are readily exploited, especially by Moscow. In fact, right-wing conspiracy theories can be seen as an adjunct to the old Marxist-Leninist demagogy, predicated on harnessing class resentment to ignite a “proletarian” revolution. As history shows, this harnessing was extended by the communists to include racial and sexual resentments, with devastating cultural effects on the West. After the supposed collapse of communism in Russia, Moscow was free to extend this strategy to the exploitation of conservative resentments – to harness the revolutionary potential of alienated traditionalists, racists, and libertarians.[xxiii]
Moscow can now mobilize an ever-wider spectrum of malcontents. (Why limit yourself to Marxists?) By gradual steps, conspiracy theorizing has brought anticommunists to see that capitalism is the real enemy. Moscow would have all right-wingers believe that communism itself was merely a conspiracy originated by capitalist malefactors.[xxiv] This coopting of the right by Russian disinformation has a long history, going back to the 1920s. In more recent decades we have the pro-Russian ravings of Lew Rockwell and the late Justin Raimondo. We have, on the paleoconservative side, Patrick Buchanan and Paul Gottfried. What is left of conservatism once you remove the libertarians and the paleoconservatives? Here the communist salami slicer has narrowed the spectrum of totalitarian resistance to a disempowered set of nobodies, labeled as “neocons.” It is interesting to see how the MAGA movement has marginalized the neoconservatives, driving them back onto the left.[xxv]
It is unlikely that Douglas Macgregor knows any of this. His military education, deficient as it was, does not enable him to grasp the strategic meaning of his own words. One observes that he is impulsive, even knee-jerk in his responses. Thus, he has joined those voices – on the left and the right – that despise the existing order. By seeing NATO as the problem, and Ukraine as a puppet state, he becomes a puppet in his own right. He has judged his brother as his enemy, yet he has not pulled the log out of his own eye.
Moscow and Beijing are great powers. They have thousands of nuclear weapons, fleets, and armies. While we should never disparage military power, ideas represent an even greater power; for the mind is involved in everything, having the power of perception and decision. If you can rule a person’s thoughts, then you rule the person. To this end Moscow and Beijing have built networks around the world for spreading subversive thoughts in other countries. One of the core thoughts now being inculcated on the right, is defeatism. As a case in point, Macgregor’s Defeatism helps to show that two ideas are at work in defeatist rhetoric: (1) Moscow and/or Beijing is not your real enemy; (2) your real enemy is the elite of your own society. This message, essentially, is Leninist. It is revolutionary.
Because the West has been infiltrated at all levels by socialists, the alienated conservative wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater. By all means, throw out the bathwater. But how does that work when your own ideas are part of that same bathwater? Ideas are, indeed, decisive. Take up the wrong ideas and you are defeated before the fighting starts.
Moscow and Beijing are succeeding in the information war. They have intellectually disarmed the West. By raising the false flag of their own spurious capitalism, they created narratives for turning conservatives into revolutionaries. Even now, they are working to unite the left and right against capitalism. The blades of the left-right scissors, once closed, could form a stabbing weapon with which to finish off the West.
This is the game that is being played.
Notes and Links
[iii] Othello, I. 1, 65.
[iv] V.I. Lenin translation Robert Service, The State and Revolution (London: Penguin Books, 1991), p. 14.
[vi] Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1968), p. 157.
[x][x] Ivan T. Frolov, Global Problems and the Future of Mankind (Moscow, 1982).
[xvii] Tough for the politicians? What about the German people?!
[xxiii] See the writings of Aleksandr Dugin, whose mission it is to harvest right-wingers for Moscow.
[xxiv] See, for example, the conspiracy theory of the John Birch Society.
[xxv] The neoconservatives were failures, to be sure, and their demise deserves an essay of its own. In short, foolishly believing that Russia was the West’s “partner,” the neocons allowed themselves to be strategically diverted and politically discredited by their misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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