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A Question of Discernment

Posted By admin On 12 January 10 @ 6:54 In Jeff Nyquist | 16 Comments

Michael Bąkowski has explained, very briefly, his hypothesis of how the extended “Final Phase” of the Soviet long range strategy is carried forward in Eastern Europe by a “third echelon” of Soviet leaders: including such figures as Yushchenko, Saakashvili, and Putin. Because of the inevitable decrepitude of old politicians, like Yeltsin and Walesa, Bąkowski believes that the Kremlin was compelled to deploy new politicians, initiating a new round of deceptions. This was necessary because the long range strategy failed to break up NATO by detaching Germany in a timely fashion; so the “Final Phase” of the strategy went into overtime. The Liberal Facade Theater Company of the USSR was tasked with a series of encore performances. Further concessions had to be made to liberalism, capitalism, and to economic survival. Of course, there is danger in necessities of this kind. The former Warsaw Pact countries have joined NATO, and so have three former Soviet republics. If Moscow doesn’t like a political outcome in Eastern Europe, Russian tanks can no longer be called upon to intervene; and, on account of exit polling, electoral fraud carries risks (except in Russia, where the degree of control is maximal). The Soviet bloc has undergone structural changes. These changes were initiated in order to mislead and disarm the Western powers, gaining credits and technology, opening new lines of attack for the future. Napoleon once said that battles can be won by changing formation in the middle of the action. The advantage follows from the enemy’s inability to grasp the reason for the change, which is carried forward in an intentionally misleading way. The vulnerability of the army performing this “change of formation” is very real; but the enemy is taken by surprise, and misinterpreting what he sees, fails to adopt the right counter-strategy.  

Reviewing the twists and turns of the last twenty years, we should remember what Moscow’s long range strategy is all about. According to former KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn, in his February 1995 memorandum to the CIA, “The final objective of this strategy is Sino-Russian world domination….” Golitsyn further stated that the reason the “Russian strategists” selected Yeltsin to be President of Russia, was due to Yeltsin’s apparent renunciation of “Communism and [its] strategic purpose.” Here is the crux of the deception. The strategists in Moscow want to put the West to sleep. They want America to disarm and NATO to dissolve. One of the first things they did was disband the Warsaw Pact in hopes that NATO would disband. Sadly for them, this gambit did not work. This means that Moscow has been improvising without definitive success for nearly 20 years. The need to activate Mr. Bąkowski’s so-called “third echelon of leaders” merely proves that things have not gone according to Moscow’s plan. In short, Mr. Bąkowski is indirectly acknowledging my central point: that the Soviet long range plan has been forestalled by a series of complications.

“Everything in war is very simple,” wrote Carl von Clausewitz, “but the simplest thing is difficult.” In politics and war, there are many variables. These are not always within our power to calculate. That is why strategy is an art, and not a science. As Clausewitz explained, “In war more than anywhere else things do not turn out as we expect.” Men also misjudge situations because of the “fog of war.” Besides hope and fear, ambiguous information produces adverse “friction.” Clausewitz wrote that “every fault and exaggeration of theory is instantly exposed in war.” Therefore, it is worth repeating for the reader’s benefit: Moscow’s deception succeeded, but the strategy did not achieve its objectives. The United States did not immediately disarm. NATO did not fragment and collapse. As the 1990s went by, the particulars of limited freedom began to tear the vital fabric of Moscow’s controlling mechanisms. Russia had to be tightened. Therefore it was necessary to initiate a second war in Chechnya and bring in the regime of KGB officer Vladimir Putin. A retreat into nationalist forms became necessary. Golitsyn predicted this in his 1995 memorandum:

“In my letter of 12 October 1993 I referred to the military/nationalist option as the third course upon which the Kremlin strategists might embark in future to adjust the style and leadership of a new government if, for example, Yeltsin was considered to have exhausted his usefulness in extracting concessions from the West. In this context, the Chechnyan ‘crisis’ can be seen not as a likely cause of a military coup, but as a possible planned prelude to a change of government. The new government might be military or nationalist. Certain indications that this is envisaged, are apparent.” [The Perestroika Deception, p. 229]

Golitsyn thought the likelihood of a military/nationalist government might “prejudice the flow of Western aid and the continued ‘cooperation’ with the West which furthers the strategists’ interests….” For this reason, he suggested, “the Kremlin strategists will opt for a hybrid solution involving, for example, a new President and Commander-in-Chief with a military background and a ‘reformist’ Prime Minister, in the context of overtly tighter KGB control.” We find, in these words, yet another uncanny prediction by Golitsyn. Six years later Boris Yeltsin wrote in his memoirs, “I was waiting for a new general to appear, unlike any other. Or rather, a general who was like the generals I read about in books when I was young.” At long last, according to Yeltsin, “a general appeared. And soon after his arrival, it became obvious to our whole society how really courageous and highly professional our military people were. This ‘general’ was named Colonel Vladimir Putin.” [Midnight Diaries, p. 70] At Putin’s elbow was the fashionable liberal prime minister, Mikhail Mikhailovich Kasyanov. What Golitsyn called “the third course,” therefore, was the actual direction the “Russian strategists” took. The third course was necessary because the early hopes of the strategists were dashed by multiple failures, and the strategy had to be continued over a longer interval.

The strategists in Moscow are good planners. What they were attempting, on the scale they were attempting it, had never been tried before. They were quite confident regarding the deception, or they wouldn’t have gone ahead with it. They were uneasy about the ultimate effectiveness of the deception, however, as evidenced by their preparations. They saw weakness in Ukraine and Georgia; and so they took visible precautions. This may be seen in Moscow’s creation of special enclaves. In the case of Ukraine, the Trans-Dniester enclave is one of several links in a chain of encirclement. This chain includes Russia’s military union with Belarus in the north, Russia’s military position in Crimea to the south, and Moscow’s reinforced political holdings in the strategic port city of Odessa. Except for a small and vulnerable corridor leading into Poland, Ukraine’s national supply lines were blocked at the outset. This was by design, not by accident. A similar situation applies in Georgia, where Moscow’s military specialists and agents long ago created breakaway enclaves in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Here we see that the invasion routes into Georgia were thoughtfully secured, in advance, to facilitate a future invasion by Russian troops. There can be no doubt regarding the significance of Moscow’s preparations in Georgia and Ukraine. If Moscow spent precious resources developing these enclaves, then the Soviet strategists had doubts about Moscow’s agents in Kiev and Tbilisi. If this is so, then Mr. Bąkowski should also have doubts. For everything Mr. Bąkowski has written assumes that Moscow’s strategists know what they are doing. If they do not trust their own instruments in the two named countries, then Mr. Bąkowski should concede that genuine revolutions in Georgia or Ukraine are possible. In fact, Russia’s activation of the enclaves in Georgia, and the diplomatic recognition of those enclaves, suggests that Tbilisi’s independence is genuine; for Russia was holding these enclaves in reserve, as a countermeasure to genuine revolt. The triggering of these mechanisms, far from advancing the deception strategy, reveals the Russian Federation to be a threat to the whole of Europe. As a result of the Kremlin’s push into Georgia, the flow of Western money into Russia slowed. The Russian tanks were stopped because the Russian economy faced strangulation. The long range deception strategy was at a standstill.

The decisive argument for the authenticity of Saakashvili’s revolution in Georgia is found in the Russian military strike of August 2008: The Kremlin displayed its evil intentions and then was forced to abandon its military offensive by Western economic pressure. It is hard to imagine a more pathetic outcome, from a strategic point of view. The deception policy of 1989-91 was seriously damaged. There is nothing here, whatsoever, that could serve Moscow’s purpose. The West applied its economic weapon and forced Russia to retreat. If this is the work of a KGB agent sitting in Tbilisi, then the KGB has become as stupid as the CIA, and it’s strategy has become nonsense.

What has happened to the Kremlin’s strategy is simple. I call it the “Benedict Arnold factor.” As you probably know, Benedict Arnold was a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He treacherously changed sides in 1779, and his name became a byword for treason in the American lexicon. Historians of every period have noted the existence of traitors. Thucydides wrote of Alcibiades, an Athenian general who changed sides twice during the Peloponnesian War. Julius Caesar marched on Rome, proving himself to have been the most successful traitor in history. Acts of treason have continued up until modern times. Every political system, and every military force, has traitors living inside it. Entire armies have turned upon the state, provinces and colonies have rebelled, generals have changed sides. This is the way of history, the way of politics and war. The “Benedict Arnold factor” was understood perfectly by Josef Stalin, who took no chances whatsoever. His measures against treason may be described as “prophylactic.” He knew far better, and was much wiser, than the “blind kittens” who succeeded him and initiated the long range strategy. Stalin had a better sense of a deceiver’s limitations. Today’s Kremlin strategists have been forced by the initial failure of their strategy to rely on untested, third-rate material. It is probable, indeed, that Saakashvili was initially used by Georgian dictator Eduard Shevardnadze as a cast member in a further attempt to “renew” the mechanisms of Kremlin control in Georgia. Unexpectedly, Saakashvili wrested power away from Shevardnadze’s lieutenants, and gradually fortified his position.

As for the status of Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko, Mr. Bąkowski has conceded that “perhaps after all Nyquist is right….” Indeed, it would be difficult for him to argue that Yushchenko is Moscow’s loyal agent after they poisoned him. Better to retreat on this issue than appear ridiculous. With regard to the Yushchenko poisoning, a few comments are in order:  The primary suspect in the poisoning is Volodymyr Satsyuk, formerly the deputy head of the SBU (Ukrainian state security). Please note: Satsyuk fled to Russia and is now an advisor to the FSB Director. According to Oleh Lytvak, head of the Department on Law Enforcement for the Presidential Secretariat, “[Satsyuk] lives [in Russia] under another last name, not Satsyuk. Other suspects [in the case] are now advisors in different law enforcement agencies and the [Russian] Ministry of Interior.” Furthermore, the Kremlin refuses to give up the suspects, or allow them to be questioned. Therefore, nobody should be confused as to the relationship between Yushchenko and the Russian leaders. Russia is protecting the men who are suspected of poisoning the Ukrainian president. This is not a fake split, or a fake poisoning incident. When Satsyuk fled to Russia, the Ukrainian Interior Minister also fled to Russia. From this we can see that Russia had high-placed agents in the Ukrainian security system, and these agents were exposed.

To avoid misunderstanding, at no point do I think the Orange Revolution secured genuine independence for Ukraine. I am not confused as to the dominance of hidden or not-so-hidden KGB structures in the country. I refer to Boris Chykulay’s excellent report on the likely extent of the former KGB’s penetration of Ukraine’s political system. I write this so that Mr. Bąkowski will not misrepresent my position, suggesting I have proclaimed Yushchenko as the Second Coming, or that I refer to Ukraine as a genuinely independent country. What happened in Ukraine was a small step in a journey of a thousand miles; but the journey has begun. Yushchenko was elected, though his power has been cleverly and consistently undermined by the machinations of Ukraine’s parliament. He has used his position as head of state to promote remembrance of the Ukraine terror famine. He has therefore planted dragon’s teeth. Nothing could be more obnoxious to Moscow. Under Stalin, Yushchenko would have been struck down for marrying an American, let alone for flirting with Ukrainian nationalism. “Have you gone soft?” Stalin would say to his minions. “He fooled you.” And then, ominously: “Perhaps you wanted to be fooled.” (At these words the listener’s knees would go soft, and his bladder would weaken.)

So Mr. Bąkowski has retreated, and on more than one front. He now professes respect for Antoni Macierewicz. Until now, this respect has been demonstrated in an equivocal manner. He has publicly chastised Macierewicz’s participation in what Bąkowski calls a “fraudulent” political system, and for referring to the enemy strategists as “Russians.” I hate to mention this fact, but Anatoliy Golitsyn refers in his writings to “the collective leadership of the Russian strategists,” on page 223 of The Perestroika Deception. So if Macierewicz and Nyquist are guilty of this horrendous grammatical error, then I think we are in good company. Besides, it is wrong to reproach a man who has done so much with a fault so insignificant (if it is, indeed, a fault). In my view, Antoni Macierewicz is a hero who has unmasked enemy agents, performing a great service to his country. If our purpose is to frustrate a common enemy, then Macierewicz’s actions are more to the point than political grammar. As for the “fraudulence” of the Polish political system, we should remember that all political systems are permeated with fraud. Does that mean we should abandon them entirely to opportunists and criminals? It would be useful to know why Mr. Bąkowski thinks Macierewicz’s participation in politics legitimizes Communist dominance. If Macierewicz retired from politics would Moscow be happy or unhappy?

It is very human, but nonetheless egregious to use a simplistic formula to judge a complex event. When several nations apparently freed themselves from Communism in 1989 I never assumed anything without studying the relevant details. Suspecting that Golitsyn’s predictions would come to pass before the fact does not prove the revolutions were part of a Soviet long range plan. Genuine revolutions could occur even if fake revolutions were planned. It is only through the actual evidence that we find Golitsyn’s value as an interpreter and prognosticator. The proposition that “all revolutions against Moscow are arranged by Moscow” should not be our assumption, and it is not the basis of Golitsyn’s methodology. As a former Soviet citizen pointed out to me, the need for a controlled anti-communist movement is a measurement of the ever-present danger of genuine revolution. Ergo, the proposition that “all revolutions against Moscow are arranged by Moscow” is not valid insofar as it posits a universal rule from an incomplete set of particular instances. It is akin to the famous and erroneous proposition that “all swans are white.” In the case of “all revolutions against Moscow” we already know that genuine revolutions (i.e., black swans) have already been sighted. Consider the 1956 uprising in Hungary. Perhaps you will modify your thesis to say “all revolutions against Moscow after 1984 are arranged by Moscow.” But this formulation assumes that all future revolutions will be under Moscow’s control, which is something we cannot possibly know! On what grounds – factual or reasonable – can we make such an assertion? The formula takes for granted the permanent effectiveness of Moscow’s control system, the steady reliability of Moscow’s agents, and the invincibility of Moscow’s hidden KGB structures (which Bąkowski denies are hidden, perhaps because his perspicacity extends to things the rest of us cannot easily see). Mr. Bąkowski draws his conclusions based on guilt by association: Yushchenko and Saakashvili participated in the Soviet system, were elevated to prominence by “former” Soviet apparatchiks, and were trusted functionaries within this context. The same could be said of Jan Sejna and Ion Pacepa, high-level Soviet bloc defectors. From such men we have gained the deepest insights into the Soviet system. Believe me, Mr. Bąkowski, there are many Sejnas and Pacepas at work in the former Soviet countries. Some have already turned against the system. Others will turn in the future.

The appearance of every object depends to some extent on our distance from the object. The further away we are the fewer details stand out. An attractive female shape in the distance may, in fact, be a homosexual man. The visual details required for a proper identification may demand a closer vantage point. The same must be said about Mr. Bąkowski’s depiction of Yushchenko and Saakashvili. The first details that come to our attention are damning, and suggest the conclusion that these men are agent provocateurs. In reality, of course, we know next to nothing about the men themselves. Further details, however, call our preliminary conclusions into question.

In matters of strategy, concepts must be grounded in practical experience. Strategic ideas are not deductive propositions, such as (1) all men are mortal; (2) Socrates is a man (c) therefore Socrates is mortal. Strategic ideas are blueprints for action or counteraction against an opponent, such as (1) Soviet methods include controlled dissident movements; (2) controlled dissidents movements may be used to generate fake anti-communist revolutions (c) therefore revolutions against communism may be contrived and deceptive. This is a far cry from saying “all revolutions against communism are arranged by Moscow.” Our evaluation of any particular revolution must depend on the facts of the case. Whether a revolution against communism is authentic or contrived is a matter for expert determination. We should not automatically assume it is contrived, as in: (1) Moscow has infiltrated every opposing formation; (2) those who oppose Moscow are merely tools of Moscow (c) therefore, resistance to Moscow is futile. This approach is defeatist, and therefore blameworthy. It does not reflect what actually happens when strategies – even good ones – are put into effect.

It is lamentable that our discourse, so far, has failed to inspire a promising counterstrategy. It is even more lamentable that we have apparently embraced  defeatism. Such should no longer be tolerated, and must be put down. The enemy’s lies have an expiration date. Their purpose envisions a reversion to “one clenched fist.” The deception disarms and divides the West, while the East rearms and unites. This was clearly stated by Golitsyn, and is seen today in Moscow and Beijing’s armament policies. We are headed, therefore, toward a critical passage from a situation in which the world is deceived to a situation in which the world is undeceived. As we approach this passage there occurs an increase in “friction.” As it is a political war, the words of Clausewitz are applicable: “…a general in time of war is constantly bombarded by reports both true and false; by errors from fear or negligence or hastiness; by disobedience born of right or wrong interpretations, of ill will, of a proper or mistaken sense of duty, of laziness, or of exhaustion; and by accidents that nobody could have foreseen.”

We are at war. And there is no escape from this war. We look at the tumult of politics, at the confusing list of political actors and causes, and we are inclined interpret things favorably or unfavorably. We are either optimistic or pessimistic. In a dangerous struggle such as this, balance is required; and so I give my American friends a dose of black pessimism while offering Mr. Bąkowski “a spoonful of anticommunist honey.” The chief fault of the American is unwarranted optimism. The chief fault of Mr. Bąkowski is unwarranted pessimism. The American must be taught to expect the worst while Mr. Bąkowski must be taught to hope for the best. It is my view that Mr. Bąkowski needs a sweetener. Of course, we wouldn’t want him too sweetened. Someone might mistake him for a pineapple.

Michael Bąkowski says that we should “not allow common usage to dictate the terms of our discourse.” But common usage already dictates the terms; and we are not superheroes who can obliterate given names or accepted terminology at a single blow. The significance of common usage lies in the necessities of mutual regard and courtesy. When your thinking goes against the received ideas of the day, when your facts are unknown and your analysis discounted by nearly everyone, respect for others is the portal through which to win respect for yourself. The best way to be heard is to listen. The people who disagree with us are not idiots. Why should we treat them like idiots, correcting their grammar, terminology and words? If we want to improve our own thinking, we should take the thinking of others into account. If we do not converse with those who see the world differently, then ours is not a discourse but an offstage soliloquy; a lunatic babbling to himself.

We respect others so we may be respected in turn. By observing the reactions of others, we see the off-putting effect of idiosyncratic language. We see how people are likely to turn away from outdated terms, unverified facts, and unconventional thinking; that is, unless the approach is respectful and imbued with an attitude of humility that eschews the cocksure. Why should we forfeit sympathy that we might otherwise win? What are we doing, after all? Asserting our omniscience? It is better to recognize the power of the person who disagrees with our position, and engage in a dialogue that tests our understanding as it tests the understanding of others.


16 Comments (Open | Close)

16 Comments To "A Question of Discernment"

#1 Comment By michał On 12 January 10 @ 8:01

I am flabbergasted that Jeff Nyquist would like to teach me “to hope for the best” (Sonia! Are you there? Can you see this? Are you still suicidal after reading JN?) but I think I am too old to be taught. To paraphrase from an anticommunist Nyquist does not know, “my rheumatism will not allow me to get down on my knees and kiss the common usage on the arse”. In any case, I will respond to this splendid polemic separately but I feel the need to state the following:

Jeff Nyquist does not know what or where I have written about Antoni Macierewicz. His comments above on the subject are, therefore, by definition, misleading. I hope Nyquist is not one of those people – there’s plenty of them everywhere these days – who would form an opinion without any foundation. Surely, he would not judge a book by its Foreword. Or would he?

#2 Comment By Jeff Nyquist On 13 January 10 @ 10:14

In reviewing your statements on Macierewicz, Michal, the impression remains that your respect for him was demonstrated in an equivocal way. An example of this would be, “His intentions are good, but….” What follows is series of criticisms. In the Third Echelon piece you explained that Macierewicz’s intentions were good: “But should he not be a little bit more careful who he associated himself with?” I take this to be a criticism of Macierewicz. Furthermore, you also wrote: “…an active politician … could legitimately have made a mistake in assuming that it was possible to expose the ‘new Poland’ as a sham from within…. But to repeat the same mistake 15 years later is a bit too much, isn’t it?”

If I understand correctly, you are saying that Macierewicz means well, but he is making mistakes. This rates, in my book, as “chastisement,” though it is “gentle chastisement.” To say that someone means well is often the prologue to saying that he has done ill. And certainly, you credit him with more than one mistake.

#3 Comment By michał On 13 January 10 @ 11:46

Jeff,

I think you have missed the point. My opinions about Macierewicz have not changed since 1992 and my point was that you could not possibly have known that nor, by implication, have judged that. You don’t know what I thought, where, if at all, I published it, and yet you see fit to pronounce that I have retreated… I have not and see no reason to do so. I hope you will agree it is rather strange or, to quote from a living classic: “It is very human, but nonetheless egregious to use a simplistic formula to judge…” Yeah, it is very human so perhaps you should be forgiven.

If I understand you correctly you are prepared to assess my position based on rather flimsy knowledge of that position. This is a bit as if you were trying to speak with authority about a book written in another language, which you do not possess (or “have limited ability to read”) on the basis of an unauthorised and incoherent translation of a part of the Foreword conveniently published on the internet. This rates, in my book… Oh, well, let’s say that it rates very low. Frankly, I’d rather you didn’t.

Now to Macierewicz. The position is much less complicated than you suggest. Macierewicz earned many people’s respect in the Seventies and Eighties. His work in establishing KOR was unfortunately hijacked by others, individuals such as Michnik and Kuroń, the “false opposition”, ex-party members, declared communists, revisionists etc. Macierewicz was prepared to work with them to defend workers thrown out for protesting in 1976 but he knew all along that there were fundamental differences between these Leftists (they called themselves the “lay left”) and the group surrounding him with strong roots in Catholic scouting movement.

In 1989 he did not (at least ostensibly) accept the secret talks, which led to the formation of the current “third republic” and yet in 1991 he joined the Government. As a commentator by the name of Mark ironically points out under my text (The Third Echeleon): “perhaps he didn’t take part in round table talks simply because no one invited him?” Then they DID invite him and off he went.

He had some credit in our eyes, otherwise, neither Darek Rohnka nor I, would have ever written to him. If it wasn’t for that basic respect, he would not have been the addressee of our open letter; we do not intend to correspond with the Yushschenkos and Wałęsas of this world. But “gentle chastisement”? No, there was nothing gentle about our open letter. There is nor room for gentility here, and I can assure you that I will always be as forthright as possible in questions as fundamental as this one.

We all know that road to hell is paved with best intentions. But it is also littered with sloppy analysis, full of potholes of “hoping for the best” and hasty conclusions. Please, let’s not go down that road.

#4 Comment By Jeff Nyquist On 14 January 10 @ 12:50

I am responding to your criticism of my position. I regard Macierewicz’s publication of Golitsyn as a positive development. You are dismissive of this, as you do not want to acknowledge my point. It is on this matter, as it pertains to the credibility of Yushchenko and the worthiness of Macierewicz, that I felt you were retreating. I had the impression, from your dismissive statements following my interview, and from your open letter to Macierewicz, that you held Macierewicz and Yushchenko in contempt. So I was surprised when you made positive statements about Macierewicz and admitted I may be right about Yushchenko. This is what I regarded as retreat, judging from the current exchange. In terms of resistance to my argument, you made your strongest stand on the issue of Saakashvili. No reference was made to your opinion of Macierewicz going back to 1992.

#5 Comment By Apollo5600 On 14 January 10 @ 2:33

A splendid article Jeff, so is Putin the “archgeneral” of the Russians? He struts around like a macho Nazi, posing with his shirt off and hunting wild game. I think only the lowest IQ of Russian would really be impressed with that (but maybe I’m wrong). The Russian General is really a glorified thug. I had been talking to several Russians recently who, after accusing me of being a Jew or a Georgian, mentioned casually that Stalin was not a communist, but a leader of the “pure Czarist” model, and that Stalin killed all the real communists. Dumbest thing I ever heard, but that is what they learn in Putin’s Russia I suppose.


By the way, Michal, you write splendidly as well, but why so much fuss over Jeff’s optimism? His logic seems perfectly reasonable to me. It doesn’t appear that Jeff is married to his optimism either. Why so much hullabaloo when you both agree on the essentials and work to fight the same enemy?

#6 Comment By Apollo5600 On 14 January 10 @ 2:44

By the way, to clarify something, after reading that editor’s note, I would like to say I personally have no problem with Russians. In fact, I even have a Russian boss who recently gave me a free can of hot chocolate mix (which, so far, has not killed me). When I say “lowest IQ of Russian”, I’m talking about the type that supports Putin and sees no problem with the deaths of millions of Americans and Europeans.

#7 Comment By Jeff Nyquist On 14 January 10 @ 8:09

In Lothan Machtan’s “The Hidden Hitler” we read of Hitler’s attempt to join the communists prior to his joining the Nationalist Socialist Party. Hitler’s first choice was not his final choice. In terms of inventing his own ideology, Hitler mixed nationalism with socialism. For a brief period of time he succeeded because most people will die for their country; only a small minority are willing to die for communism. The utility of Hitler’s discovery was not lost on Stalin or the Chinese communists. In China, Russia, North Korea, and elsewhere, we may detect the gradual unfolding of National Socialism. It was Joseph Schumpeter who remarked that it was a joke of questionable taste that Marxism, in practice, was fascism. Setting all these terms and definitions aside, the Italian sociologist Vilfredo Pareto explained that ideology is merely a cover beneath which certain eternal instincts operate. Simply put, there are instincts that destroy and instincts that build. According to the law of compound interest the smallest denomination of Roman coinage deposited at 4 percent interest per year would now equal more in gold than the weight of the entire earth. So why aren’t we all rich? Because there is a law of periodic plunder which negates the accumulation of wealth, and this is the instinct or “force” that communism represents.

#8 Comment By michał On 14 January 10 @ 9:17

Apollo,

Fuss? Hullabaloo? No, just an old-fashioned, full-blooded debate. Where should we discuss our differences if not in The Underground? Who should we debate with if not with those we fundamentally accept? Debating anything with people of fundamentally opposing views is actually a waste of time, it’s like playing tennis over an abyss, it’s hardly satisfying. When you say to a leftie that Hitler was on the Left of the political spectrum, all they ever reply is: “oh, no he wasn’t!” I don’t find Punch & Judy shows a high class entertainment.

On the other hand, debating finer points of our views with people who fundamentally agree with us, is extremely rewarding because it allows us to fine tune our own thinking. It also allows us to further our own understanding – and that after all, is the real purpose of intellectual engagement.

But your last point is the most relevant: we should fight the common enemy. This is the crux of the matter: what do I care if some numskulls propose Yushchenko as an anticommunist? What’s that to me? There are lots of them out there and I am happy to ignore them. But Jeff Nyquist?! Darek Rohnka was so astounded by this sudden change that he said to him clearly: “In last article [“Common usage…”] you wrote that Mr. Bąkowski, who would seem dismissive of Macierewicz and Kaczyński, should explain his stance. I have no idea what he is planning to do, but I think his stance does not require as much explanation as yours because, to my mind, you seem to have changed your viewpoint quite radically.”

When Jeff Nyquist ignores ample warning signs, it matters. It matters because if he can accept people such as Yushschenko as genuine than, ironically, there is probably no hope at all. Which, incidentally, is fine by me. If I had much hope, I’d be with Antoni Macierewicz, trying to pull this or that out of the sovietised area. I tried that approach until I realised that it was futile and that all it ever achieves is furthering of soviet goals. So, as things stand, I am in The Underground.

#9 Comment By michał On 14 January 10 @ 10:06

Jeff,

You had a wrong impression. You are actually the best example of the harm done by the publication of Golitsyn because you now mistakenly think that today’s Poland is somehow a “ray of sunshine on the European firmament”. No, it isn’t. It is a sovietised creature, a pure continuation of “polish people’s republic” but much stronger – stronger in the support of people like Macierewicz. Never, ever, did I equate Macierewicz with Yushchenko, though. One was an anti-establishment figure under commie rule, the other, Yushchenko, is a member of what Ukrainians brilliantly call “demokratura”, i.e. the old soviet “nomenklatura” with pseudo-democratic veneer. The alleged spats between him and Yanukovich, between Timoshenko and him are nothing but a re-run of the old “power-struggles” played out on the Kremlin and in every other commie capital for the benefit of silly Western journalists and the so-called “sovietologists” who made a decent career out of observing this nonsense.

You say above that I have “conceded that ‘perhaps after all Nyquist is right….’ Indeed, it would be difficult for him to argue that Yushchenko is Moscow’s loyal agent after they poisoned him. Better to retreat on this issue than appear ridiculous.” I invite you to read that passage again, it has irony written all over it, but it is also an attempt at considering all options; the words you chose to quote are surely not the final conclusion, so to call it a “positive statement” is a bit OTT.

Would it really be so difficult to argue that Yushchenko is Moscow’s agent after they poisoned him? Would it? Commies often put pressure on people who they expect to break, persecute those, who are close to them in order to turn them into loyal servants or use them in any other way. Do I have to mention Trotsky, Bucharin, Zinoviev etc.? They also persecute people to create their myth, as heroic opponents of the evil oppressors; personages such as Adam Michnik or Vaclav Havel spring to mind. They are good examples but for Yushchenko’s case there is a better analogy: Gomułka. The only problem is that if one was to limit one’s knowledge of Gomułka, and his role in forming the long term strategy, to Wikipedia or google translate – than God help us!

My point about Yushchenko and Saakashvili is this: I DO NOT KNOW whether they are loyal Moscow’s servants but there is enough information about them in the public domain to warn me that they could be just another pair of frontmen in the soviet game plan; enough info to be cautious about them.

#10 Comment By michał On 14 January 10 @ 10:49

Jeff,

I really can’t agree with Schumpeter’s remark. Marxism in practice is known as communism. Full stop. Introducing “fascism” into this only fudges the issue although I’d agree that it is of questionable taste. Pareto is even worse but I never expect any insights from sociologists. Ideology is a bastardised view of the world, where the place of Truth, as the ultimate goal of our perception, has been taken by “something else”, be it the good of nation or a class, or even the success of my football club. OK, the last ought not be raised to the level of ideology but it nevertheless well demonstrates a world view where everything is subjected to one idiocy. Pareto’s point is merely true about people that one would not wish to meet in a dark alley but one would not want to meet them anyway, whether they found cover in some distasteful ideology or not.

All this only leads me to a conclusion that I think communism represents much more than the instinct of periodic plunder. Much more. And is much more evil than that.

#11 Comment By Sonia Belle On 17 January 10 @ 6:37

Why so much hullabaloo when you both agree on the essentials and work to fight the same enemy?

I don’t think Jeff and Michal completely agree about who exactly that enemy is.

I think that if Communists were in charge in Washington and anti-Communists were in charge in Moscow, Jeff’s patriotism would prevent him from joining anti-Communist ranks. Jeff’s essential problem is that he cannot understand that nationalism is one of Communism’s many manifestations. One cannot be both a nationalist and an anti-Communist.

And that’s why Jeff defends people like Yuschenko with such a passion. But the real reson he defeds Yuschenko has less to do with Yuschenko’s Communist or anti-Communist symathies (real or alleged). For Jeff, Yuschenko is clearly anti-Russian and anti-Moscow. And that’s more than enough to support him.

Michal, on the other hand, couldn’t care less if Yuschenko is pro-Russian or anti-Russian. What’s important to him is whether he is pro or anti-Communist. If Communists were in charge in Washington and anti-Communists were in charge in Moscow, Michal wouldn’t hesitate for a second to move to Moscow and work for them.

But Michal has another problem. Even if United States would nationalize its entire economy and closed its borders, while in Russia taxes would be low and there was a perfect press freedom, Michal would still hesitate which country is really Communist based solely on the fact that a Russian president used to work for the KGB, while the American president used to work for the CIA.

Of course, this is a purely theoretical discussion. United States is far from being Communist (although it’s slowly inching in that direction) and Russia definitely doesn’t have press freedom (although its taxes are probably lower now than in United States). So on many issues, Michal and Jeff are in perfect agreement. But it’s just a coincidence.

#12 Comment By michał On 17 January 10 @ 7:04

Ha, ha! Brilliant, as always.

I’m not sure about this “slowly inching”, though. The process seems to have gathered some speed. You are right, I will fight the commies whoever they are and wherever they are. I guess, so would you. The trouble is that your definition of what constitutes communism is so narrow that it excludes people like Putin or Ahmadinejad. So sadly, you again are correct, I don’t envisage visiting Moscow or Kiev, or Warsaw for that matter, in the near future.

You were very diplomatic in avoiding to mention “pessimism”. So how is it now? After his unexpected turn to optimism, does Nyquist still make you suicidal?

#13 Comment By Jeff Nyquist On 18 February 10 @ 8:02

I am anti-Communist. I understand the way in which Communists exploit national feeling. I do not defend Yushchenko “passionately.” I never wrote that Poland is a “ray of sunshine in the European firmament.” The exaggeration of what I write, and the mischaracterization of my views, is fundamental to Bakowski’s argument. If I say there are positive developments, I am charged with saying much more. If I am slow to accuse Yushchenko of being a Communist agent, I am some kind of “nationalist,” which is somehow inconsistent with principled anti-Communism. If I say the publication of Golitsyn’s book in Polish is an important development, it is occasion to lose hope — since this affirmation merely proves that Nyquist misunderstands what Communism is and how it works. If I say that America is going to suffer a devastating blow, that the game will play out longer in Europe, I am accused of “optimism.” If I point to the fact that Moscow’s plan cannot achieve its ultimate aim, but only leave destruction in its wake, I suppose this is also “optimism.”

I yet maintain that Golitsyn’s work is worthwhile and should be promoted in every language; that America is going to suffer a devastating blow, that the decisive battles of the future (like those in the past) will play out in Europe; that Moscow’s plan cannot succeed in achieving its ultimate aim, but will only leave destruction in its wake. Such are the conclusions I have come to, and hold by. At different times I have found different ways to express these conclusions, showing how current developments continue to affirm them. I have long been sickened by the intellectualizing, and the “reifying,” of political concepts which — in the last analysis — are full of sound and fury, yet signify nothing. When our time has passed away, ask yourself what will be remembered, and what will be the result.

It is always an error to say that our situation is all black or all white, that nothing good can come. Yet Mr. Bakowski says “nothing good will come.” He dismisses Pareto as a “sociologist.” He dismisses Schumpeter as erroneous. He lacks respect for these great thinkers, and thereby loses the advantage of knowing them. It seems he relies on one writer, and one thinker, instead of the many whose wisdom may be profitably consulted. He berates me for not knowing ONE. I take him to task for not knowing MANY. My sense of things comes from reading a lot of history, and putting that together with the political and social analysis rooted in history. Bawkoski, however, sounds like an ideologist. And that has, indeed, rubbed me the wrong way from the first.

#14 Comment By michał On 19 February 10 @ 12:02

Jeff, I am a little taken aback by this. And all this after we’ve just agreed on something!… Well, no matter. I believe disagreements are more informative.

That I “exaggerate” and “mischaracterise your views” would be a serious accusation but to say that such tricks are “fundamental to my argument” is indeed difficult to accept. Do you mean “my argument with you”? Or do you mean the argument I put forward in defence of my anticommunism? Either way, this is serious. The trouble is I try not to engage in arguments in (a sense of quarrels) and surely did not engage in one with you. I merely reason. I establish my position and put forward arguments to support it. This position is not sacrosanct, I am prepared to change it and by doing so, to improve my view. To make my views more adequate, I engage in debates, in discussions – “what do you do, sir?” It is generally accepted that to enter into a discussion of someone else’s opinion, one ought to summarise it first, if only to put the point one wishes to make into sharper focus. And thus I never claimed that you uttered the words “Poland is a ray of sunshine on the European firmament”, I merely rephrased your statement (I quote): “Poland is a front line state in the struggle against Russian power, and everything that happens in Poland today is decisive for Europe.” This was my interpretation with a hint of irony: if what happens there is so decisive, than it offers a ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak picture, doesn’t it? But I will gladly apologise if I misunderstood. I would only submit, however, that perhaps you ought to take some blame for this misunderstanding too. Based on what you said, it seemed to me that your views about Poland were based on a misinterpretation of the real situation. When an anticommunist, whom I slavishly translated and published on this very website, says something that I feel opens him to ridicule, should I point it out or should I keep quite? “What would you do, sir?”

As for Yushchenko, this is a different case. Your words were: “Do not despise humble beginnings. Did you know? The president of Ukraine will not go to Moscow.” They were subsequently elaborated on by Serge Kabud and I am probably guilty of putting your views in the same bracket. Mr Kabud saw fit to write as follows on a forum you frequent (and of which, I think, you are an administrator): “This Michael Bakowski CONSTANTLY attacks Yushchenko in his posts. Usually with a probability of 99% that means that the attacker is an enemy; if he is just stupid – it is even worth (sic!).” You did nothing to disassociate yourself from this. (But please do not get me wrong: I’m not saying that you should! I am still to blame.) Would it be an “exaggeration and a mischaracterisation of his views” to say that Kabud defends Yushschenko “passionately”? So, yes, mea culpa, I confused your stance on Yushchenko with Kabud’s. Perhaps you should have made the differences clearer.

But hang on, you clearly misrepresented my views in our debate too. You mischaracterised my opinions many times, only – I’m used to it, I understand the reasons behind it and (in the most) I really don’t mind. I like a robust debate and despise sycophantic choruses of sidekicks so I understand that a summary of one’s position could stray and yet could remain truthful in essence. Intellectual engagement requires that our views should be vivisected, however painful that may be. Some say that a good discussion is a spice of life; I’d say it is the very essence of life. I’d rather debate Pareto and Schumpeter – oh, by the way, you misrepresented what I said about them too – than Kabud or Yushchenko but I find it difficult to understand why you would engage in a debate with someone whom from the first you saw as an ideologue. What the hell for? I wouldn’t! I wouldn’t because I loathe ideology in every shape. Ideology replaces Truth as the object of human enquiry and whether it replaces it with good of the nation of world revolution is equally despicable so never ever enter into discussions with people you regard as ideologues. That I am not an ideologue I do not intend to try and demonstrate.

And finally, Jeff, I really don’t need lessons from you about respect for thinkers (sic!) because the last thing thinkers need is respect. You know nothing about “one” nor “many”, you know nothing about me because the knowledge afforded you by google translate applied to the Foreword of my book is pitifully embarrassing and embarrassingly pitiful so, with all respect, you cannot take me to any task because it simply is beyond you.

But it was pleasure, nonetheless, and I am very grateful. It was – how shall I put it? – interesting…

#15 Comment By JRNyquist On 19 February 10 @ 5:06

Forgive me for writing in this commentary section, It is not the best way to carefully consider what is said; but to read the above discussion, in which I am told that nationalism and anti-Communism are inconsistent, that I am not really an anti-Communist, is highly offensive to me personally. Also, I am an American. The U.S. is my nation, and without my nation I am either dead or in exile. If I am not for my nation, what am I? Here is my nationalism, mock it or degrade it as you will.

Michal: I may be slow, or even stupid, but not so stupid as to think you treated my remarks on Pareto or Schumpeter with the thought or fairness they deserved. But more than all this, I am out of patience with the insults, and the disrespect. I wanted to pay tribute to Fighting Solidarity and Macierewicz. Do we find a Macierewicz in Germany, in France, in Spain or Britain? If it is ridiculous to pay tribute to those in Poland who are opposing the Kremlin, then I will remain ridiculous — even if you sneer at me.

What has been wrong, and what I have imperfectly sidestepped all this while, is best characterized by your last outburst, where you write: “I don’t need lessons from you about respect for thinkers (sic) because the last thing thinkers need is respect.” Call me ignorant or pitiful as you like. Say I am inconsistent, that I know nothing about you. Say, if you will, that I cannot infer from this that you are insulting, unpleasant, or eaten from within by contemptuous thoughts. The impression given in these exchanges is indelible, and may be read by all who have eyes.

#16 Comment By michał On 19 February 10 @ 10:20

Good. You paid your respect and I’m glad of it. You are right that the impressions given in the exchanges above are indelible and somehow I will be happy for an objective reader to come to his own conclusions.

You can always infer whatever you wish, just like anyone else. If you feel iinsulted, I gladly apologise because it was not my intention to insult you, I had had a lot of respect for you. However, to say to anyone that he is “insulting, unpleasant, or eaten from within” by whatever, is quite an emotional statement; it also seems, erm…, insulting, unpleasant and eaten from within by selfconsuming rage. I was hoping for a debate about politics but, hey, I don’t mind, I still think it was worth it.


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