Thursday, September 22, 2011

Odds and Ends

I've been too busy to sit down and write a proper follow-up to Showdown, so this will have to suffice.


KFOR and EULEX found themselves outmaneuvered last weekend, as the local Serbs built roadblocks of logs, trucks, earth and even concrete, sealing them off at the two "customs posts" (Jarinje, Brnjak). They also sealed off the routes leading into the northern part of Kosovo from the Albanian-occupied south. While this has had the effect of seriously impeding their own supply, they've effectively disabled KFOR traffic. I can't imagine the occupiers are happy about this, but there's little they can do without appearing extremely heavy-handed. They may try, of course, and spin it as peacekeeping - but in the era of viral videos, can they really risk it?

It is worth noting that the Empire operates on the idiotic assumption that the Serbs in Kosovo are being directed from Belgrade somehow, or that the quisling government there can command them. Having become used to astroturf behavior of their Balkans allies and proxies, they can't imagine a genuine grassroots protest.

The truth, however, is that Belgrade has no control of the situation in north Kosovo, and may be rapidly losing control over the rest of Serbia as well. The reason the minister in charge of police is objecting to the October 2 "Belgrade Pride" is not that he hates homosexuals, but that he's mortally afraid of his police refusing orders and defecting. Once that happens, the government can kiss its quisling posterior goodbye.

In other news, Senator Marco Riubio (R-Fla.) said in a recent speech that the U.S. military  has been "one of the greatest forces of good," because they "stopped Nazism and Communism and other evils such as Serbian ethnic cleansing.” I wanted to put together a rebuttal of this nonsense, but Julia Gorin beat me to it. I would like to add, though, that the lion's share of credit for stopping the Nazis should go to the Soviets; that the U.S. armed forces did precisely nothing to defeat Communism; and that putting "Serbian ethnic cleansing" on par with Nazism is a heinous insult for all the victims of Nazi aggression - which includes the Serbs.

Also, does that mean only Serbian "ethnic cleansing" is bad, while everyone else's is virtuous? For example, that committed by Croats, or Albanians, which the U.S. armed forces have actually sponsored? It certainly seems that way. Why else would the Wall Street Journal publish editorials by such luminaries of humanitarianism as Hashim "Snake" Thaci, leader of the terrorist KLA and the current prime minister of the so-called independent Kosovo, Julia Gorin asks.

Meanwhile, I did manage to write up a quick look at the Palestinian Authority campaign to declare statehood and request recognition by the UN, which was posted on Ilana Mercer's Barely a Blog. I've been reading Ilana's stuff for years; she's a fantastic writer and excellent researcher, who just published a very interesting book on South Africa and I am grateful to have the opportunity to guest-post on her blog

Right now I'm working on a column for Antiwar.com, and preparing to make an appearance on RT's Crosstalk. Sleep? What's that?

13 comments:

Asteri said...

Balkan Analysis was reporting that the authorities calling themselves the 'government of Kosovo' were planning on setting up a 'neutral' Serbian language TV channel for the north do give the Serbs a more balanced outlook on the situation - they're very brainwashed by Belgrade you know - nice to see that Stalinism is alive and well in the Empire!

Suvorov said...

Your hard work is greatly appreciated!

Defender said...

Thanks for all your work, Nebojsa. Sleep is overrated, my friend.

Eugene Costa said...

In fact the key battle of the victory in Europe against the Germans took place before any "World War" was declared and was not even in Europe, to wit, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1938, in which the Bolshevik peasant Zhukov pioneered new and decisive tactics and reforms, and because the truce with the Japanese that held until the last days of the war allowed vast manpower to be moved west against the NAZI's.

With all due respect for Suvorov's namesake, there are only two overweeningly great commanders of modern war on par with some of the ancients, Napoleon and Zhukov, both products of revolution.

Between them it is a draw, more or less, with Napoleon perhaps ahead by a hair, ironically counting his brilliant retreat from Moscow.

If it was a strategic mistake to invade, N. realized it immediately when he saw Moscow burning and is supposed to have exclaimed in recognition, "Scythians!"

Who else could have got out of that alive?

Suvorov himself perhaps, also known for a brilliant retreat?

jack said...

@Eugene Costa

I don't know Eugene the Serbs did a pretty good job fighting NATO forces in 99.

I hear Gadaffi’s forces are putting up some strong resistance in strongholds in Libya although that could just be propaganda or disorder in the ranks of the Libyan rebel forces.

I hope the Russians and Belarusian’s have been redefining there tactics and looking at the tactics employed by NATO and its various Islamic mercenary forces when NATO tries its Yugoslav civil war scenario in Russia towards the end of the year.

@Nebojsa Malic

What’s happening with antiwar.com recently and its love affair with Islam?

They used to focus a lot on US involvement with Iranian and Bin Ladin backed Islamists in the Balkans now they have taken the persecuted Muslim approach to where it now sounds like a Soros media outlet.
Incidentally it was Soros that funded the recent research showing who was behind the Islamaphobia network in the US.

As horrible as the Neocons are the good thing about there Iraq war driven Mid East policy is that it shifted US/Europe’s post Cold War foreign policy supporting Jihadists towards Russia and focusing it on the Mid East

The latest attempts under the Obama/Brzezinski regime to realign it back towards it’s pre-9/11 stage including an operation base in Afghanistan and the latest British/Soros assault on the pro Israel anti jhadist networks/Murdoch Empire is part of this.

Eugene Costa said...

Merely by the way, it might be added that Suvorov was a brilliant commander and theorist and Zhukov --particularly in regard to training--was his attentive student.

On the other hand, Suvorov himself developed his ideas at least partly by his own attentive study of the Roman Army.

It also might be noted that neither Caesar nor Alexander was the ancient world's greatest commander, though Caesar was certainly second and instructed by the first.

For the nonce one only mentions that Suvorov too knew who was first among the ancients and studied him deeply.

Yugoslav war? Not pertinent. The Yugoslav military did a marvelous job of eluding NATO air strikes but this is no surprise. If you want a parallel, the Germans at Monte Casino are applicable.

But it has been known for a very long time that air war, except as a tactical supplement to ground forces, does not accomplish much.

The British and American fantasy about strategic bombing in World War II, East or West, is just that--a fantasy.

On the other hand, the gist of the NATO assault in Yugoslavia was from the first directed against civilians and infrastructure--which, of course, has been the British and American mode of warfare for a long time--at best with mixed results and where there is a serious opponent on the ground very poor ones.

Libya? In an earlier comment on Falcon's blog was noted the curious chronological correspondence between the NATO attack and the attack on Libya by the Italians in 1911, a century ago.

In another place, one mentioned in the same connection the anniversary of the first bombing
by air which occurred in this same earlier war.

The mythology of air power, of course, begins with Giulio Douhet and is a useful and key Capitalist mythology as well, generating enormous expenditures and a kind of "creative destruction" that escaped Schumpeter but not Vladimir Lenin.

But this is too complex to do more than merely mention here.

Eugene Costa said...

Metaphors and similes have their limits but also their uses. If one wants another analogy, for those with some acquaintance with both subjects, Napoleon is a little like Fischer and Zhukov a bit like Karpov.

Suvorov like Kasparov?

Suvorov said...

Perhaps, as far as style goes, comparisons are possible, but when it comes to the record, no chess player in history won every single match, let alone game. And Alexander Suvorov won every battle he fought, whereas Garry Kasparov relinquished his title to Vladimir Kramnik in a match which did not feature a single game won by Kasparov.
As to your comparison between Karpov and Zhukov, the former was renowned for his economical and efficient use of chessmen, whereas the latter's use of men in WWII was much less sparing. He will be remembered as the man who uttered, "Women will give birth to new ones."

Eugene Costa said...

Style and historical context as well--yes. Napoleon is the great innovator, in his use of artillery, for example, and in seeing "combinations", so to say, that were beyond anyone before him. Like Fischer, he was also, after a certain point, an autodidact, thus original in unexpected ways.

Never losing a battle does not mean much. One's own guess, for example, is that Karpov would have beaten Fischer over the long run if they had played and that Fischer himself knew it on some level. But that does not detract from Fischer's place in the history of the game.

One has doubts that Kasparov, if he played at that time, would have beaten Fischer, whom he was patterned after to a degree.

Yes, another namesake of Suvorov--wasn't he?--wrote a little treatise on Zhukov's supposed waste of manpower which was more a ideological hatchet job than anything else.

How the Red Army often crossed minefields, for example, charging straight through, seems brutal and a waste. But in fact it had been determined that charging straight through or slowing down and trying to pick one's way through resulted in about the same loss of life in the end. Actually less, since the Germans were psychologically intimidated by the Russian tactic.

Also the Soviet edge was manpower--in fact the single most important edge--as the only edge of the Romans against Hannibal
was manpower.

The original Suvorov himself would likely have approved.

As for Caesar and Alexander, for those still in the dark, Alexander owed to Philip what Caesar owed to his uncle.

And, of course, one does not wish to confuse "conqueror" with "commander". What was Alexander without Parmenio--at the beginning at least?

Eugene Costa said...

More often than one might expect, the historical sources include odds and ends that offer great psychological--and in turn objective insight--that conventional historians see as trivial or accidental.

Consider, for example, that Caesar is recorded to have been an accomplished mimic, often entertaining his troops with his impressions--vocal, facial, and gestural--of the enemy commanders.

Clownish? Perhaps, but it also limns out that Caesar knew his enemy, and his tendencies, inside out, which is a great advantage and also--that they did not know him.

Similarly in regard to Napoleon, it is remembered somewhere or other (one has not the time to look it up at the moment) that Napoleon inveterately cheated at chess, moving and removing pieces when the opponent was not looking, and so forth.

The typical Englishman, naturally, is outraged--isn't that like cheating at cricket or golf?

Yet, isn't this, in a larger context, exactly what Napoleon did in maneuver and on the battlefield, moving and rearranging his pieces when the opponent was not looking or did not have the intelligence resources to see, or, though seeing, was persuaded he was seeing something else?

Suvorov said...

I was actually far from adopting the standard line of Liberal/Nazi propaganda, according to which the Soviets just ceaselessly threw human bodies at German cannons and machine guns, and the Germans found it so easy that they forgot to bring their winter coats, and therefore couldn't capture Moscow. Moreover, I am perfectly aware that there was no "liberal" way to defeat the Third Reich. I was specifically referring to Zhukov's style of handling warfare. My conclusions are partly based on the accounts and judgements of family members who were war veterans.
Regarding Fischer, yes, there is actually not too much mystery as to why he refused to defend his title: he simply wasn't confident that he could defeat Karpov. It is none other than Kasparov who believes that, had anyone but Karpov won the candidates' matches, Fischer would have undoubtedly played, because he already had experience with players of the older generation. The story has it that he sent his mother Regina to spy on Karpov who was giving a simul in Germany.

Now, when you say that if Kasparov played Fischer "at that time", he would have probably lost, do you mean if Kasparov in his top form played Fischer in his top form? You don't mean in 1975 when Kasparov was 13 years old?

Eugene Costa said...

In top form but at the time and without the benefit of knowing Fischer as past model--admittedly a wholly hypothetical act of subtraction, but based partly on what Kasparov himself said about Fischer's influence upon his style of play.

Not a "chump" or whatever it was Fischer called Spassky privately perhaps but along the lines of, say, Scipio without Hannibal meets Hannibal.

Not a problem really for Karpov.

Eugene Costa said...

Again merely by way of odds and ends, ranking of military figures is a very ancient activity, even among the figures themselves.

Livy, following a Latin translation of an account of Acilius, who was on the embassy to Ephesus (189 BC), details an interview between Scipio and Hannibal, replete with what was known as Punic astuteness:

"Africanus having asked who Hannibal believed was the greatest commander, he answered Alexander, because with a small band he had defeated countless armies, and because he had marched through remote lands which even to visit as a tourist would have been beyond a man hoping to do.

Africanus asking who then second, Hannibal said Pyrrhus, because he was the first who mastered the art of fortifying his camps, and because no one was more elegant at choosing his battlefields and disposing his forces, and besides he was also good at reconciling humankind to himself, so much so that the Italians actually preferred for a long time the rule of a foreign king to that of the Roman people in that country.

Scipio followed up with who might be third in line, and Hannibal said—no doubt about that, himself.

Scipio laughed and said, 'But what would you have said if you had defeated me?'

'Well in that case', replied Hannibal, 'that I was before Alexander and Pyrrhus and everyone else!'...."

[tr. EC]