Chuck Spinney: Wallerstein on China-Russia Grand Strategy

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

The self-referencing chattering class is up in arms about the $400 billion Russia-China gas deal, seeing it and the associated Russia-China alliance as a threat to the grand strategic ambitions of the United States to remain, in the words of President Obama at West Point, the world’s “indispensable”* power.  Taking place against the immediate backdrop of the prevailing US narrative** describing the Ukraine Crisis and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the gas deal is manna from heaven for the unreconstructed cold warriors and neocons in the press, the Pentagon, the defense industry, and the State Department who are fanning anti-Russian/anti-Putin hysteria with prognostications that the US, being on the cusp of a new Cold War, should not cut back its defense spending or its propensity to meddle in the affairs of others.

Viewed thru Russian and Chinese eyes, however, the gas deal may be part of a defensive grand strategy aimed at evolving pathways around Russia’s “NATO expansion problem” and China’s “pivot east” problem.  The attached essay by Immanuel Wallerstein, a traditional ‘balance of power’ scholar (in the best sense of the phrase), presents a fascinating speculation in this regard.  Only time will tell if he is on to something, but his hypothesis is well worth thinking about.

I have reformatted Wallerstein’s essay to highlight his main points … if you find this distracting, the original is at this link.

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Jun 2

2014 Robert Steele Open Letter to Vice President of the United States of America Joe Biden, The White House

Robert David STEELE Vivas

Robert David STEELE Vivas


These materials were delivered via certified mail to the Office of the Vice President on Monday 5 May 2014.

There is a better than even chance that the IC “minder” controlling the Vice President’s correspondence intercepted the package and the Vice President is therefore unwitting of this official certified as delivered communication.

1 May 2014 Letter to VP
Biden Six Slides
Open Source Agency Synopsis 2014
2014 Smart Nation Act (Simplified)
USPS Shipment Info for 9502600036814121000268

ADDENDUM: The OSA will be the premier decision-support organization in the world, promulgating the proven process of decision-support (requirements definition, collection management, source discovery and validation, multi-source fusion, geospatially-rooted processing, inter-disciplinary analysis, and open transparent action-enabling production). The OSA will also be the only USG element that provides Congress and the Executive with identical decision-support also shared with the public, and the only USG element that is “all in” on M4IS2/OSE. For those that have asked about personnel, tables of organization, budgets, etcetera — at this level of play, decisions are made on one line and a number. OMB has set the numbers — $125M IOC toward $2-3B FOC. My personal view is that the organization should consist of no more than  120 full-time personnel within the HQ element on the South-Central Campus. Spending will be focused on individual minds in every clime and place, and on incentivizing coalitions among the eight tribes across all boundaries. The School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance, the World Brain Institute, and the EarthGame will be independent subsidized elements manned by rotational personnel on sabatical — gatherings of eagles from across all nations, agencies, disciplines, and domains.

M4IS2: Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making

OSE: Open Source Everything — the only affordable, inter-operable, scalable, and therefore sustainable global approach to engineering

Full Text Below the Fold — Use Translate Box to Read in Other Languages

全文下方折 – 使用转换盒来阅读其他语言
Texte intégral en dessous du pli - Utiliser Traduire Boîte à lire dans d’autres langues
Полный текст ниже раза - Использование Перевести Box читать на других языках
पूर्ण पाठ तह के नीचे - उपयोग अन्य भाषाओं में पढ़ने के लिए बॉक्स अनुवाद
Texto completo abaixo da dobra - Utilize Caja Traduzir para ler em outros idiomas
Teks Penuh Di bawah Lipat - Gunakan Terjemah Box untuk Baca dalam Bahasa Lain
Texto completo debajo de la tapa - Utilizar Caja de Traducion para leer en otros idiomas Volledige tekst onder de vouw - Inzetten Vertalen Box te lezen in andere talen

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May 17

Neal Rauhauser: Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review? Start with Counterintelligence?

Neal Rauhauser

Neal Rauhauser

Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review?

The Department of Defense began producing the Quadrennial Defense Review in 1997 in response to requests from Congress triggered by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Four of them have been released and the fifth will begin to appear in February or March of 2014.

The Department of State began producing the Quadrennial Diplomacy & Development Review in 2010. Unlike the Congressionally mandated QDR, this review was undertaken when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State with the intent to push American diplomacy out of its dated approach. Since John Kerry has replaced Hillary Clinton there is speculation that a 2014 QDDR may not be published. This has to be taken seriously, given that it appeared in Foreign Policy magazine.

The Department of Homeland Security also produced the QHSR for the first time in 2010. Like the QDR, this one was ordered by Congress, rather than internally motivated like the QDDR.

The Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review(warning: pdf) was first published in 2001, then again in 2005 and 2009, but I do not find a document for 2013. This is a mystery which I will delve into further, but this should not be read as the IC being behind in some fashion – the National Intelligence Council has produced a Global Trends report for each incoming president since 1979.

Looking at these four areas, Congress sought a systematic review of defense after the end of the Cold War and they made a similar effort to better understand Homeland Security in 2010. The State Department wishes for a better balance between diplomacy and defense and undertook their own quadrennial review. The NIC, now part of the DNI, has been in the habit of producing quadrennial reports for incoming presidents, but this is a work product for them, rather than an oversight and planning related document. They do produce some material like this, but it isn’t queued up for a top level review the way the other three are.

The QDR covers nearly $700 billion in annual expenditures. DHS has a budget of $60 billion, the State Department is about $55 billion, and it’s harder to characterize the intelligence budget but $50 billion is close to the mark.

The Intelligence Community’s Overloaded Life Boat begins to address counter-intelligence concerns at a time when budget cuts are going to lead to the elimination of programs. Edward Snowden’s whistle blowing has laid bare an NSA that is completely out of control, but he’s done us a huge favor in making it obvious we need better oversight. Both Manning and Snowden were young, low level employees who were in a position to walk away with their employer’s most important secrets. Does anyone believe that this hasn’t already happened with other contractors, acting out of a profit motive rather than patriotism?

Congress can begin to do its duty to the American people by formalizing quadrennial review requirements for both the State Department and the seventeen agencies under management by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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Dec 28

Marcus Aurelius: SSI Monograph on Known Unknowns – Unconventional “Strategic Shocks” in Defense Strategy Development

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

Ladies and Gentlemen:

You may want to check out US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute paper at link below and attached:

Read with a view to some of the strange things that have been ascribed to FEMA.


Nathan Freier

Strategic Studies Institute, November 2008


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Nov 29

Marcus Aurelius: War Games Test 2 Versions of US Army — Current and Planned Army Loses Big, Innovation Army Triumphs

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

War game compares response of 2 versions of future Army

By Lance M. Bacon Staff writer

Army Times, Nov. 25, 2013 – 06:00AM

A reduced reliance on airfields and seaports in a recent war game resulted in increased speed and entry operations.

New Gear: What’s next

If necessity is the mother of invention, get ready for a lot of new stuff. In the near term, that will include:
■ Getting the network into standard units.
■ More interoperable and user-friendly mission command.
■ Mobile and survivable command posts.
■ 3-D or 4-D printing to reduce logistic repairs.
■ Hands-free, heads-up displays so “people playing ‘Call of Duty’ [no longer] have an ability to access data our soldiers don’t.”

And that is just the start, according to Maj. Gen. Bill Hicks, deputy director for the Army Capabilities Integration Center. He described some “very promising” advances in science and technology after the conference. One was mo-lecular changes to reduce the weight of vehicle armor by half without lessening protection.

Have you ever heard of graphene? It would take an elephant balanced on a pencil to break through a sheet with the thickness (or thinness) of plastic wrap. Imagine using that as body armor.

The Innovation Group moved one-third of its force using two conceptual troop carriers. One was an ultra-heavy vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft that would (theoretically) cut BCT deployment from 29 days to four. The other was a conceptual joint high-speed, shallow-draft ship expected to reduce sealift time by half.

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Nov 28

NIGHTWATCH: Turkey Joining Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)?

Categories: Strategy

Turkey: Prime Minister Erdogan called on Russian President Putin to let Turkey join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during a joint press conference the two leaders held in St. Petersburg.

“Include us in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and relieve us from this pain,” Erdogan told Putin in a reference to Turkey’s long European Union membership process.

“Besides, we are also ready to ink free trade agreements with countries in Eurasia,” added Erdogan. The SCO is a mutual-security organization that was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The other countries, with the exception of Uzbekistan, had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organization.

Comment: On Friday, press sources said Erdogan first had a tête-à-tête with Putin and then the two leaders attended the fourth meeting of the High Level Cooperation Council (ÜDIK), which was created between the two countries on May 12, 2010. Erdogan, accompanied by a group of Turkish ministers and journalists, has been in St. Petersburg since Thursday for top-level talks and was due to return to Turkey late Friday.

Turkey was accepted as a dialogue partner by the Shanghai Five at its annual summit in Beijing on 7 June 2012.

Membership in the SCO would not replace membership in NATO, but would signify that European Union requirements for membership would carry less weight with the Erdogan regime.

In his talk with Putin, Erdogan was playing to his audience, but, cumulatively, Turkey’s recent actions indicate a shift in Turkey’s strategic outlook. Turkey’s purchases of Chinese air defense systems and ballistic missiles are early manifestations of a gathering trend. Turkey’s strategic tilt means NATO is less relevant. It is also a setback for Uighur separatists in western China who obtain support from Turkey.

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Nov 23

Marcus Aurelius: Five Takeaways from a Decade of War [Defense One] Plus Blistering Alternative View from Phi Beta Iota Editors

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

Five Takeaways from a Decade of War

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, in a keynote address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies this week, signaled to military commanders that they should assume the across-the-board, automatic spending cuts imposed by sequester over the next decade will remain in place indefinitely. “We do not have the option of ignoring reality, or assuming something will change.” Before they decide how to shrink U.S. military forces and allocate scarce resources, however, uniformed leaders will have to decipher the lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to apply them to the coming era of austerity and global instability.

Hagel gave a preview of his own thinking when he argued that the Pentagon should protect investments in cutting edge technologies that are central to the evolving, network-centric model of warfare honed in those conflicts — to include space systems, cyber capabilities, “ISR” (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance), and special operations forces (SOF).

Following Hagel’s speech, three senior retired generals offered their own thoughts on battlefield lessons. Here are five takeaways from the discussion by Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former vice chief of the Army; and Gen. Ronald Fogleman, former chief of staff of the Air Force.

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Nov 8

NIGHTWATCH: CIA Kills Peace in Pakistan, Saudi Goes Nuclear [with Chinese Help?]

Pakistan-Pakistani Taliban: The Pakistani Taliban rejected peace talks with the government on Thursday after electing hardline militant Mullah Fazlullah as their new leader.

Earlier this month militant sources said that the consultative Shura council of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chose Khan Said Mehsud known as Sajna as the new leader. But the election of Sajna, who leads the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan, reportedly was opposed by Taliban’s other groups. Fazlullah was reported to have strongly objected to the choice of Sajna.

Shahidullah Shahid, the main spokesman for the TTP said talks with the government were a “waste of time” and the new chief Maulana Fazlullah was against them. “Holding of peace talks is not even an issue to discuss — this government has no authority, it is not a sovereign government, it is a slave, a slave of America. Holding peace talks is a waste of time.”

Fazlullah’s men shot and wounded Malala Yousafzai last year, instantly turning Malala into a global hero for the education of girls.

Comment: Fazlullah’s election does not necessarily mean that negotiations will never occur. Hardline leaders often are the only ones capable of negotiating with credibility. But that is for the future. Meanwhile, no peace talks are likely in the near term. Pakistani Pashtun savagery against Pashtun women will increase, including murder attempts against Malala in the UK.

Fazlullah’s election signifies rejection of Prime Minister Sharif’s peace overture. It also highlights a degenerative leadership pattern resulting from the US program of leadership decapitation. First, there is always someone waiting for the chance to be leader. Second, the new leaders are less experienced and wise than the men they replace. Third, the new generation of leaders is more extreme and theologically rigid than its predecessors. Finally, the new leaders tend to be unknown to intelligence relative to their predecessors. Decapitation is not a permanent solution to an insurgency or an uprising.

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Nov 8

Michael Shank: Why the White House Won’t Win the Afghanistan War…

Michael Shank

Why the White House won’t win the Afghanistan war

Washington Times, Wednesday, November 6, 2013 –

Cause, Conflict, Conclusion by Michael Shank, Ph.D.

WASHINGTON, November 7, 2013 — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry desperately needs a win on the Afghanistan war. Unfortunately, however, it appears increasingly unlikely he will get one.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Despite repeated visits and discussions, Kerry has so far failed to secure a clean Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Without an agreement, all U.S. and NATO forces – including the approximately 10,000 that the Pentagon wants to keep in country – would have to leave the country next year.

The immediate sticking point is on whether U.S. troops will receive immunity for misdeeds during the deployment, but the larger issue centers on respect, sovereignty and judicial non-interference.

Local populations are overwhelmingly against immunity for U.S. troops. In Afghanistan, most cases currently slide without reprimand or justice. This includes countless stories of abuse accompanying night raids, which Karzai has repeatedly attempted to ban. As is the case in Iraq, the Philippines and elsewhere, local populations want accountability within their own courts for U.S. troops who commit abuses in their countries. Americans would assuredly want the same treatment for foreign troops on U.S. soil.

After 12 years at war with Afghanistan, we continue to miss the mark on four fronts: strategy, cost, accountability and perception.

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Nov 7

Chuck Spinney: Steven Walt’s Proof of Col John Boyd’s Strategic Theorem — Don’t Think, Just Keep The Money Moving….

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

Boyd’s Theorem 

(pounded with unrelenting ferocity into the heads of friends for over 30 years):
“People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy 
They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy; it is: 
Don’t interrupt the money flow, add to it.”
— Col. John R. Boyd (U.S. Air Force, ret.)* 
Fighter Pilot, Tactician, Strategist, 
Conceptual Designer, Reformer
Now read the attached opinion piece to see why Steven Walt’s last sentence is dangerously wrong.
Lesson: If you want to understand U.S. foreign policy and U.S. military strategy, you need to climb down from Mount Olympus and dig into the dirt to discern and acknowledge its domestic roots.
Hint: A good place to start getting your hands dirty would be to investigate the real reasons why the Pentagon has refused to fix its corrupt and unauditable accounting system, a disgraceful state of affairs that is in violation of the law (i.e., the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990), not to mention the spirit and the letter of the Appropriations and Accountability Clauses of the Constitution (which, by the way, every member of the US government has taken a sacred unconditional oath to protect and uphold).
Chuck Spinney
* New readers unfamiliar with Boyd and his seminal works will find an introduction and references to his strategic theories here, including especially Robert Coram’s highly readable biography, Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Little Brown).

Leaving Afghanistan: Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

 Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, 28/10/13

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Oct 29