Stratfor: we can learn to fight jihadists by studying the anarchists

Summary: We have difficulty dealing with present problems because we have forgotten so much of our past. Here Stratfor seeks lessons for our long war with jihadists by examining our long struggle with anarchists during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is rich with lessons for us.  The subject of this analysis is “nihilist and anarchist terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”  Also read my similar analysis in 2009: Are Islamic extremists like the anarchists?Stratfor

Jihadism: An Eerily Familiar Threat

By  Scott Stewart at Stratfor, 23 February 2017.

As part of my day-to-day job, I read a lot of news reports, books and scholarly studies. Though the never-ending avalanche of information sometimes feels like a mild version of electronic waterboarding, it also allows me to pick out interesting parallels between different events. Not long ago I re-read Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism, an excellent book by historian Michael Burleigh that outlines the cultural history of terrorism. As I flipped through the chapters on nihilist and anarchist terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, I couldn’t help but notice some intriguing similarities to jihadism. This week I’ll share them with you to put the modern threat that jihadists pose into better context.

The technological tools today’s jihadists use are certainly new; after all, the internet and social media only emerged over the past few decades. But many of the tactics they rely on are as old as terrorism itself. And despite the more primitive means at their disposal, anarchists were often far more successful than their jihadist counterparts in using propaganda and the media to recruit, radicalize and equip their followers.

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Chuck Spinney warns that we’re sleepwalking into a new arms race

Summary: One of the “an echo not a choice” aspects of the election was the war on Russia. Clinton’s team was well-stocked with cheerleaders for restarting the cold war. Trump won, so we have an administration stocked with cheerleaders for restarting the cold war. McMaster as National Security Advisor completed the roster. Here Chuck Spinney describes how the Deep State has managed this impressive feat, and how this game looks like from Russia.

“Mr. President, if that’s what you want there is only one way to get it. That is to make a personal appearance before Congress and scare the hell out of the country.”

— Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s advice to Truman about how to start the Cold War. On 12 March 1947 Truman did exactly that. From “Put yourself in Marshall’s place” by James P. Warburg (1948). In 1941 Warburg helped develop our wartime propaganda programs.

Atomic bomb explosion

Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia.

By Franklin “Chuck” Spinney and Pierre Sprey.
From his website, The Blaster. 24 February 2017.
Posted with his generous permission.

The Nuclear Question is becoming increasingly obfuscated by spin and lobbying as the West sleepwalks into Cold War II — a walk made all the more dangerous when the loose lips of the U.S. tweeter-in-chief announced that another nuclear arms race is a great idea (see linklinklink).  Two Cold War II issues are central and almost never addressed: What will be the Russians’ understanding of all the propaganda surrounding the Nuclear Question and the looming American defense spendup? And how might they act on this understanding?

Background

Barack Obama first outlined his vision for nuclear disarmament in a speech in Prague on 5 April 2009, less than three months after becoming President.  This speech became the basis for what eventually became the New Start nuclear arms limitation treaty.  But Mr. Obama also opened the door for the modernization of our nuclear forces with this pregnant statement:

“To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies –- including the Czech Republic.”

Why call for nuclear disarmament while opening the door to nuclear rearmament?

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A look at the future of global warming. Our political response depends on its trend.

Summary: The degree of global warming during the next few years might have large political effects, as the public policy debate appears to be at a critical point in its 29th year (from Hansen’s Senate testimony). Will the pause resume, or will we get rapid warming? Close examination of the monthly data will give us clues about this important question.

Global Warming

How can we see the short-term temperature trend?

There is no one true way to show trends in global temperature. Here are three different perspectives; all give roughly similar results. First, let’s look at a graph by NOAA of the global average surface temperature (their excellent interactive website shows data since the reliable instrument era began in 1880). The time period selected depends on what we are looking for. The following graph shows January’s. It minimizes the overall warming trend, which is concentrated in the months of May, June, & July. Click to enlarge.

The warming since 1950 — the period in which over half of the warming comes from anthropogenic causes — occurred almost entirely in two steps: 1981-83 (near the 1979-83 El Niño period) and 1998-99 (near the 1997-98 El Niño).  Since then climate scientists have shown that the two century-long temperature rise has “paused” (aka the “hiatus”). There are various theories about the cause. Then came the spike of the 2015-2016 El Niño. The peak to peak rise, 1998 to 2016, was only 0.4°F.

What happens next? The El Niño might have been just a spike, after which temperatures will fall back to the 1998-2014 average — and the “pause” continues.  If temperatures don’t fall back to their previous levels, then we begin a new watch. Will the 2015-16 El Niño start another stair step, with temperatures flat at a new high level? Or will temperatures begin a steady rise? The one month anomalies provide an easy if rough way to see which of these three scenarios unfolds, each having different political implications. Unfortunately, climate models cannot yet make reliable predictions for five to ten years horizons

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New research reveals the people guilty of wrecking America!

Summary: This is the scariest thing you’ll read this year. For a decade, since 4 July 2006, I’ve warned that the Republic was dying from our neglect — that the Constitution has died in our hearts (the only place it lived). Surveys, such as Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions poll, showed the rot. Now a larger survey reveals that the very foundation of the Republic is washing away while we remain complacent and self-congratulatory. See the For More Info section for ideas what to do about this.

Our burning constitution

The Danger of Deconsolidation: The Democratic Disconnect.”

By Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk
In the Journal of Democracy, July 2016.

Read the full paper. Here is an excerpt. Headers and red emphasis added.

Summary

“The citizens of wealthy, established democracies are less satisfied with their governments than they have been at any time since opinion polling began. Most scholars have interpreted this as a sign of dissatisfaction with particular governments rather than with the political system as a whole. Drawing on recent public opinion data, we suggest that this optimistic interpretation is no longer plausible. Across a wide sample of countries in North America and Western Europe, citizens of mature democracies have become markedly less satisfied with their form of government and surprisingly open to nondemocratic alternatives. A serious democratic disconnect has emerged. If it widens even further, it may begin to challenge the stability of seemingly consolidated democracies.

Forecasting

 

The difficulty of predicting social change

“For four decades, Die Welt, one of West Germany’s leading newspapers, refused to acknowledge the existence of an East German state. Since the paper’s editors expected the communist regime to collapse within a matter of years, they put scare quotes around its initials whenever they discussed the German Democratic Republic (GDR). While other papers reported about the policies pursued by the GDR, Die Weltun failingly wrote about the “GDR.”

“Sometime in the summer of 1989, the paper’s leadership finally decided to give up on the pretense that the East German regime was on theverge of collapse. The communists had been in power for so long, and seemed so well-entrenched, that the scare quotes had become an embarrassing denial of reality. On 2 August 1989, reporters were allowed to drop the scare quotes when writing a bout the GDR for the first time in the paper’s history. Three months later, the Berlin Wall fell. On 3 October 1990, the GDR ceased to exist.

“The editors of Die Welt radically misjudged the signs of the times. At precisely the moment when they should have realized that support for the communist regime was dwindling, they finally reconciled themselves to its durability. They were hardly alone. The collective failure of social scientists, policy makers, and journalists to take seriously the greater confidence in the durability of the world’s affluent, consolidated democracies.

“But do we have good grounds for our democratic self-confidence? At first sight, there would seem to be some reason for concern. Over the last three decades, trust in political institutions such as parliaments or the courts has precipitously declined across the established democracies of North America and Western Europe. So has voter turnout. As party identification has weakened and party membership has declined, citizens have become less willing to stick with establishment parties. Instead, voters increasingly endorse single-issue movements, vote for populist candidates, or support “antisystem” parties that define themselves in opposition to the status quo. Even in some of the richest and most politically stable regions of the world, it seems as though democracy is in a state of serious disrepair.

“Most political scientists, however, have steadfastly declined to view these trends as an indication of structural problems in the functioning of liberal democracy, much less as a threat to its very existence. …

“In our view, however, this optimistic interpretation may no longer be tenable. Drawing on data from Waves 3 through 6 of the World Values Surveys (1995–2014), we look at four important types of measures that are clear indicators of regime legitimacy as opposed to government legitimacy:

  1. citizens’ express support for the system as a whole;
  2. the degree to which they support key institutions of liberal democracy, such as civil rights;
  3. their willingness to advance their political causes within the existing political system; and
  4. their openness to authoritarian alternatives such as military rule.

“What we find is deeply concerning. Citizens in a number of supposedly consolidated democracies in North America and Western Europe have not only grown more critical of their political leaders. Rather, they have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy, and more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives. The crisis of democratic legitimacy extends across a much wider set of indicators than previously appreciated.

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The Premier of Ontario visits a mosque, revealing much about our society

Summary: Small incidents in the news often reveal hidden but large trends in society, if we examine them carefully. Such as a recent visit by Ontario’s Premier to a local mosque. Her political allies cheer; her political foes laugh and mock. But it tells us so much more. {Also, see yesterday’s post: Trump points to Sweden’s problems with migrants. Then they riot, again.}

Kathleen O’Day Wynne, Premier of Ontario.

Kathleen Wynne

Kathleen O’Day Wynne is the first female premier of Ontario and the first openly gay head of government in Canada (see Wikipedia). To build bridges with the local Christian community, she visited a fundamentalist church — and followed the appropriate Scriptural guidance. She sat quietly, head covered — even going beyond the Paul’s advice, to sit in the back of the church.

“Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head — it is the same as having her head shaved.”  (1 Corinthians 11 4:5.)

“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 14 34:35.)

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” (1 Timothy 2 11:12.)

Of course, this is impossible. If Premier Wynne visited a church and was asked to sit quietly, head covered, her tirade would have blown the roof off. But, as most readers know, she visited a Toronto mosque on January 30, the day after six died during an attack at a Quebec mosque — and, as the Toronto Sun reported, she obeyed.

“While the men prayed, she sat patiently in the back corner of the mosque waiting to {speak}.”

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Trump points to Sweden’s problems with migrants. Then they riot, again.

Summary: While America grapples with its irrational debates about immigration, Sweden grapples with the consequences of massive immigration from failed states. Their experience is rich with lessons for America, as Sweden seems unable to see — let alone understand — what is happening. This also provides another example of how the US press automatically declares Trump wrong, even when there is some truth to what he says.

Aftermath of riot in Rinkeby, Sweden

Policeman at aftermath of riot in Rinkeby, Sweden on 21 Feb 2017. © TT News Agency / Fredrik Sandberg, via REUTERS.

Slowly Trump’s performance as president becomes clear, how he handles the complex multi-dimensional aspects of the role. Uniquely he has become our Court Jester. Much of what he says is entertaining nonsense. But occasionally he says unmentionable truths that we need to hear. Such as the recent chatter about Sweden’s open borders policy, which reveals much about our inability to clearly see the world — and our push-back to news about it that disrupts the approved narrative.

 

The reaction was swift. Automatic mockery from the Left, and an interesting response from Sweden’s official Twitter account.

Reality quickly pushed back, hard, with stories about a new riot in an area of Stockholm with a large migrant population — with notable riots in 2010, in 2013, and 2016. See “Police intervention in Rinkeby was followed by riots and looting” in Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers (see Wikipedia).

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A plutocrat honestly explains the new politics of America

Summary: After decades of work by America’s plutocrats, aided by our apathy, they control all 3 branches, not just Federal but also most State and local governments. Control of a few more States will allow them to amend the Constitution, further entrenching their power. To better see where we are going, see this passage describing the UK (and US) government before the great democratization brought forth by three world wars (2 hot, 1 cold) and the Great Depression. {First of 2 posts today.}

Robert Morley as Andrew Undershaft

Robert Morley as Andrew Undershaft. Getty Images.

 

Who is the government of our country?

Remarks to an aspiring politician
by Andrew Undershaft, CEO of the giant defense contractor
Undershaft & Lazarus.

From George Bernard Shaw’s play,
Major Barbara (1906).

 

“I am the government of your country; I, and Lazarus.  Do you suppose that you and half a dozen amateurs like you, sitting in a row in that foolish gabble shop, can govern Undershaft and Lazarus?

“No, my friend; you will do what pays us.  You will make war when it suits us, and keep peace when it does not.  You will find out that trade requires certain measures when we have decided on those measures.

“When I want anything to keep my dividends up, you will discover that my want is a national need.  When other people want something to keep my dividends down, you will call out the police and military.

“And in return you shall have the support and applause of my newspapers, and the delight of imagining that you are a great statesman.

“Government of your country!  Be off with you, my boy, and play with your caucuses and leading articles and historic parties and great leaders and burning questions and the rest of your toys.  I am going back to my counting house to pay the piper and call the tune.”

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