Newsmax: A True Statesman, President Bush Helmed US as Sole Superpower

On the morning when the world discovered President Bush had passed away, I received an email from an old friend who I fought many political battles alongside. He informed me that the death of the president had stirred up dreams and remembrances. He asked if I recalled how great the 1988 campaign was, and how equally bad 1992 was. I had remembered it the same.
There have been countless articles and eulogies given for President Bush. Many of these rightly list off the numerous domestic and foreign policy accomplishments of the president who justly deserves to be considered the most qualified person for the Oval office since James Monroe.

Two items are often omitted from these acts of homage.

The first is that although many list his foreign policy achievements, they forget that at the grand strategic level Bush becomes the first president to deal with and manage the United States as the sole superpower. When the history of American grand strategy is written, it will need to start its chapter on the Pax Americana with George Herbert Walker Bush. This is greater than the singular parts of American foreign policy, even the Gulf War. In fact, you can’t have the successful transition of the USSR to Russia, the capture of Manuel Noriega, or the defeat of Saddam Hussein without Bush being first at the helm of the most powerful country to ever appear on the planet.

The second omission is the atmosphere of the 1988 campaign which made him president.

The 1988 presidential campaign was the first campaign where I, as a university student, held an executive position in Wisconsin. I was able to experience life as an “advance man” in addition to coordinating volunteers, phone banks, yard signs, and leaflet drops. This was still the golden age of retail politics before the internet age and the dubious and dark promises of social media. You either had a ground game, or you did not even bother.

My first encounter with the future president was at the Sheraton Hotel where I had to briefly act as a go-between from a Bush-adoring fan base to the Secret Service. They were naturally more nervous being in Madison, Wisconsin, which according to urban legend had an unofficial competition with San Francisco for the number of death threats against prominent politicians. President Bush was everything that many have recounted: generous, affable, awkward, and above all gentlemanly. Although Dukakis would carry the state 51 percent to 47 percent, this loss was tempered by both the popular vote and Electoral College landslide for President Bush nationally. Those of us in the heartland knew we had given it our all, and the right man won in the end.

The strangest aspect of the campaign, and one that enraged those of us on the team, more than the man himself, was the attacks by a minority of Republicans and many Democrats that Bush was “a wimp.” It was shocking, insulting, and appalling for two fundamental reasons. First, many of those accusing him of being said “wimp” had done nothing courageous or brave or sacrificial in their own lives. Second, was how far off the mark it was from the reality of the former young navy pilot, and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism. However, similar to Bob Dole and John McCain, Bush refused to exploit his wartime heroics, much to the consternation of the various campaign staffs. I remember phone banks where we would sometimes have the “wimp” or “silver spoon” factor thrown in our faces. The media de jour, the proto-fake-news media, had embellished both. As the campaign went on, it was clear that the more a voter knew about George Bush, the more that voter liked him, and better yet, respected him. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson stated in his memoir that Bush had a common touch, and had once told him to, “Never forget where you came from, Tommy.” Bush never forgot that where he came from was from a family devoted to service above self.

Sometimes Bush was accused of being a Patrician, but this was a strength, not a curse. The patrician class was what made Rome a Republic and ensured Rome’s greatest traditions and laws. If that is what the accusers were getting at, it was a losing battle.

Perhaps his real strength, which was somewhat of a curse when faced with a biased media was that he was not a politician. He was a statesman.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 4 December, 2018.

Newsmax: The Troika of Tyranny Is the New Axis of Evil

When President Bush gave the State of the Union speech in 2002, it was one of those magnificent historical events in the Anglosphere. It hearkened back to President Reagan’s Westminster speech and Churchill’s Battle of Britain Speech.

This State of the Union speech was the formal declaration of war against the post-cold war threats of the 21st century emphasizing the president’s declaration that he would not wait for threats to materialize before taking action. In that speech, President Bush coined the term, “the axis of evil,” referring to the three regimes that fit this evil definition, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Thus, under the Bush Doctrine, American foreign policy was moved from simply pursuing Al Qaeda to a worldwide crusade against the combined forces of extremism and WMDs. The speech set out the premise of the Bush Doctrine: preemption, prevention, and the ‘non-negotiable’ demand for liberty fulfilled by American primacy.

President Bush clearly affirmed, “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

In 2010, the “Axis of Resistance” was declared by Iran, Syria, and Hamas, the very entities that drink at the same evil wellspring that President Bush warned against.

The United States hit back forcefully this month when National Security Adviser John Bolton proclaimed his “Troika of Tyranny” speech at the Freedom Tower in Miami, calling out Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Bolton, who also referred to this grouping as the triangle of terror declared: “In Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, we see the perils of poisonous ideologies left unchecked and the dangers of domination and suppression… This Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere.”

Regarding Cuba, Bolton emphasized the need for free elections, assembly, expression, freeing of political prisoners, and the legalization of political parties. The atrocities committed by the Cuban communist regime can’t be forgotten or ignored. Despite, and in spite of, the Obama administration’s willingness to sacrifice human rights on the altar of left-wing romantic notions concerning murderers like Che Guevara. Bolton condemned both Venezuela and Nicaragua for continued repression, violence, election fraud, and setting their countries on a path of economic ruin.

The media has focused primarily on two issues. One, they claimed, was a cynical attempt to help Republicans in Florida by pandering to Cuban-American voters. Second, was for some media outlets to highlight Bolton’s criticisms, while engaging in apologetics for the same regimes. What is lost is a historical context.

Cuba was the epicenter of Soviet operations against its own people and the United States during the Cold War. Cuban Intelligence, the DGI, was and is the main arm of terror not only inside of Cuba but also abroad. It is one of those amazing examples of an arm of the state acting like a terrorist organization. Cuba is notorious for its labor camps, torture, and murder of its own population, the destruction of churches, the imprisonment of pastors, and an overarching tyranny that has attempted to destroy the spirit of the Cuban people. Venezuela and Nicaragua are only “better” by degree. Both governments have engaged in torture, brutality, election fraud, false imprisonment, executions, the use and pay of mobs to engage in violence against political opponents, destruction of the rule of law, the confiscation of private property, and persecution. Amnesty International reports that the Venezuelan government alone has murdered over 8,000 people from 2015 to 2017.

Where is the media outcry about this? Why divert attention to discussing Floridian congressional midterm elections while such human rights atrocities are occurring?

National Security Advisor Bolton made a bold and dynamic statement in line with the noblest expressions of American foreign policy. Americans should rally to this, and condemn real evil when we see it.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 19 November, 2018.

The Daily Caller: Pronouncing the Death of the Pax Americana

“Thank goodness, this situation of unipolarity and monopoly is already coming to an end, and it has practically disappeared.”

Though this may be a quote spoken by the American new-Left (or the old-Left for that matter), it actually was a statement made by the President of Russia on October 18, 2018, at the Pro-Putin, Russian Think Tank Valdai Discussion Club.

Hardly mentioned by the mainstream press, Putin’s grand declaration was part of an anti-American rant that should remind Americans that Russia and the United States are always on a collision course, which is always more stalled than ever derailed.

The trains are always headed at each other, but either the engineer dies of a heart attack, as in 1991 (until a new one finally takes his place), or they both engage in multiple near-misses.

The speech centered on three spokes (military technology, China and the Middle East) and Putin’s central core argument; the United States is a dying empire that has made such serious mistakes that it cannot recover.

“Empires often think they can make some little mistakes … because they’re so powerful. But when the number of these mistakes keeps growing, it reaches a level they cannot sustain.”

The few commentators that have highlighted this assertion have focused on the military disparity between the United States and the Russian Federation, which is true, but of course, it misses the point.

Disparity needs to be maintained; it just does not occur. Hence, the correct analysis is not to lull oneself into a false sense of security and inevitability, but to focus on motive and intention.

Putin’s desire to change the world order away from American hegemony is a grand strategy that is based on multi-decades into the future, typical of Russia’s dark and patient willingness to endure hardship over long periods of time.

In specific terms, Putin focused on military technology, boasting again that Russia is developing a hypersonic missile named Avangard. This missile program is designed for the purposes of defeating United States potential missile defenses. Feasible or not at this moment, the real issue again is motivation and intent.

One of the strangest parts of his comments was in regards to his high esteem for China, specifically China’s neo-Silk Road project. China’s “One Belt-One Road” project poses the greatest economic danger to the United States since the attempt by the axis powers to engage in Autarky, which had they won would have cut off the United States from its markets.

If Russia joins China in developing the northern or “Polar Silk Road” America will need to take proactive steps to thwart this geo-political merger.

Regarding the Middle East, Putin boasted of Russia’s influence in the region with Syria and Iran and even Egypt. This should serve as proof positive that relying on the inertia of American power will lead to catastrophe for us.

The Syrian civil war was not a foregone conclusion until the joint intervention of Russia and Iran. Russia’s modest military was very targeted in nature, not only gave Assad a diplomatic shield but allowed him to engage in human rights atrocities with impunity.

Before his death, Senator John McCain summed it up best: “Putin’s Russia is our adversary and moral opposite. It is committed to the destruction of the post-war, rule-based world order built on American leadership and the primacy of our political and economic values.”

Imperial Russia, Soviet and now simply Russian grand strategy has always been based on creating vast spaces in order to lure enemies and absorb losses so that they could overcome enemies with time. Putin’s speech may be 95-percent bravado, but the 5-percent that is not is the warning shot over America’s bow.

This piece originally ran on The Daily Caller on 24 October, 2018.

The Washington Times: The conservative fallacy

The past few weeks have highlighted one of the most problematic aspects of the modern conservative movement, namely that it has endorsed modernity. There is nothing modern about conservatism. Conservatism is based on a belief in the organic and unchanging nature of man. At its core are traditions, obligations, responsibilities, faith, reason and duty. These virtues are immutable, unchanging and eternal.

It is summed up in the simple phrase, “God, Family, Country.” Conservatives owe many obediences; the highest is to God and that which is closely related: Obedience to the truth. This takes a variety of forms, but one of the most important is obedience to history as it was, not revisionism.

There are five illustrations where conservatives, in a futile attempt to appear modern, have brought about strategic failure.

The first is over the Electoral College. The rising star of the Democratic Party, a self-declared socialist, recently summed up the new left’s attack on the Electoral College by arguing that it is a vestige of slavery. Conservatives were immediately indignant. Few conservatives attacked this nonsense with the actual foundation of the Electoral College. They talked about big states and small states and also political tradition; some even suggested that it was good that it has transitioned.

The Electoral College is one of the last vestiges of republicanism (as in a Republic) remaining in America. It was designed to put a stop to mob rule, a currently popular term. The House is the chamber of sentiment, the Senate is the chamber of reason, and the presidency is the guardian of the Constitution. Due to this, the president was never intended, nor should he be, elected by a popular majority.

The second is over Iraq. It appears that the left wishes to bring this up at any point where foreign affairs are discussed. The mistake made early on by conservatives was to only focus on the weapons of mass destruction which the American intelligence community assured President Bush were active. However, Iraq was more than that. It was one of the worst state sponsors of terrorism; it had engaged in chemical weapons attacks against its own people, and it was preparing for expansion once the UN sanctions were lifted.

However, it also provided the best option for democracy in the Arab world. The Bush administration knew this before the invasion but did not communicate this until later. It, therefore, appeared as an add-on, instead of the core that it was. Now, many conservatives who endorsed the war backtrack and backslide. This emboldens the left and only makes their radical agenda in foreign policy easier to attain. Conservatives need to support the actions of President Bush boldly, and assertively.

The third is over the Second Amendment. The NRA is on a roller coaster about whether to rely on the actual foundation of the Second Amendment or what they think will appeal to the masses. They and their allies have made a colossal blunder by focusing on hunting, personal defense, and target shooting instead of the foundation illustrated by John Locke and the Founding Fathers. Namely, that a government that owns a monopoly of arms is a government that can impose tyranny.

A free people armed is the last best check on an illegitimate government. Whether some think this is too far-fetched for the American people to understand or not is difficult to say. However, it frames the debate with the truth and defeats all naysayers Only a fool would argue that a future American government could never be a tyranny.

The fourth one is over the moaning over gridlock. There are many platitudes about bipartisanship and the failure to accomplish this legislative item or that. However, what the electorate needs to be reminded of is that the alternative to a system that could radically change — was tyranny. This is not to argue that gridlock is inherently good, but it is to illustrate that this is the cost to avoid the excesses and extremes of almost every other civilization. By not characterizing it in these terms grants the extremists the ammunition to engage in radicalism.

The final fallacy is over great men. The “out-of-fashion” historian Carlyle argued, “The history of the world is but the biography of great men.” He correctly argued that it is to the heroic figure that we owe so much. Conservatives should stop apologizing for the great men of civilization. The recent Winston Churchill controversy, the yearly wringing of hands over Christopher Columbus, and the continued, methodical and strategic attempt to destroy the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln should not be met by apologies, but by righteous anger.

The critics do not understand, nor are they able to match the trials and tribulations of these men. They know nothing of the perils of the Battle of Britain, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, or the crossing of the Atlantic. The left well-full knows that if they can knock these men off their pedestals, the rest of Western civilization will follow. In the end, out of fear, they are the biggest believers in the great man theory of history. If not, they would not try so desperately hard to destroy their reputations.

Conservatives have always warned of the tyranny of the one, the few, and the many. This is one of the fundamental values, and it does no good to anyone, especially the American electorate, when those that pride themselves on guarding the truth of the past do not themselves hold it as sacred.

Lamont Colucci is associate professor of politics at Ripon College and author of “The National Security Doctrines of the American Presidency: How they Shape our Present and Future” (Praeger, 2012).

This piece originally ran in the Washington Times on 23 October, 2018.

 

Praeger Security: Cyber Attacks Should Be Treated as an Act of War

Lamont Colucci
Ripon College

It is surprising that it has taken about 20 years to openly discuss cyber attacks against the United States committed by other nations. The first major attack is often cited as the “Moonlight Maze” attack of 1998, which is believed to have emanated from Russia. It is even stranger that we are debating whether or not these types of attacks are acts of war and aggression. This lackadaisical attitude is perhaps a function not so much of policy attitudes but culture and generational trends. Generation X and Millennials grew up with the Internet primarily as a positive force in their lives. Further, the Internet is seen as amorphous, surreal and lacking in a concrete manifestation. Negative news about the Internet focuses on such issues as identity theft, cyber stalking, and poor social judgment, as countless people engage in negative behavior that may haunt them in later life. This is unfortunate since the Internet dominates most areas of national security and American corporate activity. These foreign nation cyber attacks have become more sensationalized with the North Korean attack against Sony and allegations of Russian intervention in the 2016 election cycle.

The United States must have a clear policy that cyber attacks will be treated as an act of aggression and war viewed no differently than a kinetic attack, or an attack that results in tangible physical damage and or human casualties. In 2011, the Pentagon opened the official door by declaring that “any computer attack that threatens widespread civilian casualties”[1] could be considered an act of war garnering a military response. In an increasing tense atmosphere over the issue, Sen. Mike Rounds in 2016 introduced a bill called the Cyber Act of War Act, which would: “(1) develop a policy for determining when an action carried out in cyberspace constitutes an act of war against the United States, and (2) revise the Department of Defense Law of War Manual accordingly.” In developing this policy, the President shall consider: “(1) the ways in which a cyber attack’s effects may be equivalent to a conventional attack’s effects, including physical destruction or casualties; and (2) intangible effects of significant scope or duration.”[2] However, as critics have noted, this is less of a guideline for the use of force than a demand that any administration makes clear what American policy is toward such an attack.

It is not the purview of this article to discuss non-state actors, but even with state actors, there is a question of attribution: how sure is the United States that a particular state engaged in a cyber attack?[3] For any response policy to exist, the president must force the intelligence community (IC) to possess and maintain the tools to credibly give him positive attribution. The IC will likely resist such pressure but should be reminded that this is the reason the IC exists in the first place. It is highly likely that the IC will claim that they cannot be definite in all cases who the aggressor is; further, they may try to stall by arguing that more time is needed to assess the situation. Like many areas that demand firm answers from the American intelligence services, the IC should be forced to give an assessment and not be allowed to be ambiguous. Its entire reason for existence is to make such judgment calls and analysis. As much as it is important to be sure and prudent, it is equally important to act decisively to prevent major harm to the United States and the American people. This fully recognizes the possibility that a bad actor could attempt to a covert operation designed to make the United States think a national actor engaged in an attack when they did not. This could even be an action by a national actor itself. Perhaps Iran will attempt an attack that appears like the Chinese or the Russians. This is another reason that a declared policy that cyber attacks by national actors will be considered an act of war will inject a needed seriousness on all sides of the equation. It sends a powerful message not only to our own intelligence community but toward potential adversaries that this issue has left the ethereal feelings surrounding the internet and has entered the domain of hard power national security.

Another area directly related to cyber attacks by national actors is the area of cyber espionage. Again, culture has clouded the issue as espionage is still thought of along the old lines of human intelligence and signals intelligence. However, what could once not be achieved by an army of covert operators can now be achieved by an individual or small group of cyber operators. Cyber espionage is one of the most common threats the United States faces at the hands of state actors. This has often been an overlooked area of espionage by the media, and even politicians, as it often focuses on economic and industrial espionage. It is not considered by many of these same politicians or media actors as serious as attacks against the Pentagon’s communication systems, or even for some, as media manipulation. However, this is more of an ongoing threat than any other, and it harms the United States on a daily basis. In light of this, on April 1, 2015, President Barack Obama signed an executive order, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.”[4] This policy would allow the United States government, through the secretary of the treasury (in consultation with the attorney general and secretary of state) to apply sanctions to individuals or groups that engage in economic espionage. The administration’s test was if the attack created “a significant threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.” Although this was a long overdue step in the right direction, it may again reflect the Obama administration’s instinct to take the minimalist path of least resistance. Economic espionage encompasses everything from stealing to altering to destroying intellectual property or other trade secrets. This can be anything from machine blueprints to software applications to private employee information to chemical formulas. And while defense contractors and military technology top the looting list, everything is fair game: civilian aviation, gaming software, agricultural seeds, pharmaceuticals or car brakes. Naturally, Silicon Valley and corporations such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, HP, and Oracle are top targets. And while the good, old-fashioned spy work of using human intelligence assets and dealing with physical documents is still a reality, foreign agents can now also work remotely, through cyber attacks, malware, viruses and other forms of hacking.

The cost to the American economy and American jobs is staggering. One 2009 estimate pegged losses at $50 billion but BlackOps Partners Corporation, a firm that handles cyber counterintelligence for Fortune 500 companies, estimated in 2013 that the cost was $500 billion from U.S. companies annually.[5][6] Many of the code names of these attacks seem to come out of a Tom Clancy novel: Red October, Flame, Operation Aurora and the Elderwood Project. The aggressors have similarly colorful names: Unit 61398, for example, and Energetic Bear.

These last two were not independent hackers. Unit 61398 is part of China’s People’s Liberation Army while Energetic Bear was widely believed to be supported by Russia. Notice that these are not Russian and Chinese corporations but the governments themselves (indeed, they are the two biggest cyber adversaries of the United States). A 2013 report by the cyber security firm Mandiant estimated that Unit 61398 had hacked into 141 companies.[7] Similarly, a 2014 report by the firm CrowdStrike said that the Russian government had penetrated hundreds of American, European and Asian companies, stealing valuable intellectual property.[8]

One needs to be reminded that these are state actors of the two greatest power threats to United States interests using their intelligence arms to attack U.S. corporations. This is not about sanctions, this is warfare, and it should be treated as such. The Russian cyber attacks against the Estonian Parliament in 2007, the attacks against Georgia in 2008 (which were a prelude to the Russian invasion), and Ukraine continuously, should have served as a clear warning that the future for the United States looks dark if no decisive policy is enacted. Russia and China are the most common sources of national actor attacks against the United States. If these two nations perceive weakness on the America’s part, they will amplify and exploit their attacks progressively.

Although economic cyber espionage is the most common form of state-actor attacks, the question remains as to how the United States should respond to a cyber-attack that seeks to seriously harm our national security infrastructure or population. In May 2017, National Security Agency director Mike Rogers stated, “Advanced states continue to demonstrate the ability to combine cyber effects, intelligence, and asymmetric warfare to maintain the initiative just short of war, challenging our ability to react and respond.”[9] The scenarios of nation-state cyber attacks against the United States are endless: cut down the power grid, hack the major financial institutions, bring down military communications, confuse major transportation and supply chain networks. Many of these attacks may lead to the deaths of tens of thousands, especially those targeting health care and the water and food supply, and can cause mass casualties to the American military. Many national security experts have focused on the catastrophic result should a terrorist group or a rogue nation like Iran or North Korea deliver an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strike against the United States. An EMP attack by even a single nuclear detonation at high altitude above the surface could destroy electrical power to over 70% of the United States, resulting in casualties on a scale never been seen in warfare.[10] Hypothetical accounts of the days without electric power are terrifying. Lloyds of London and the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Risk Studies analyzed a scenario where an attack on the power grid resulted in a 15-state blackout plunging 93 million people into darkness: “Experts predict it would result in a rise in mortality rates as health and safety systems fail; a decline in trade as ports shut down; disruption to water supplies as electric pumps fail and chaos to transport networks as infrastructure collapses. The total impact to the US economy is estimated at $243 billion, rising to more than $1 trillion in the most extreme version of the scenario.”[11]

However, the same could be achieved via a cyber attack. There needs to be an unambiguous policy whose declaration would include the following: Any major cyber attack against United States’ interests or people will be treated as an attack by any other weapon of mass destruction in the same category as nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological. It is clear that short of the use of a hydrogen bomb, a major cyber attack will be more severe than any other weapon of mass destruction. The scale of such a cyber attack could be vast and comprehensive.[12] Second, any cyber attack by a state actor will not be governed by the same type response. The United States will use kinetic force to counter or retaliate against a serious cyber attack. In plain language, a state actor that engages in a serious cyber attack against the American power grid will find its own power grid destroyed by cruise missiles. Third, the United States will not be forced into a proportional response if the severity of the attack causes major damage or loss of life.

A serious cyber attack against the United States should be treated in the same way as we treated the potential for a nuclear attack in the 20th century. The United States must respond with the full force of American power and ensure that no nation contemplates this type of aggression.


Notes:

[1] David Sanger and Elisabeth Bumiller, “Pentagon to Consider Cyberattacks Acts of War,” The New York Times, May 31, 2011.

[2] U.S. Senate Bill 2905, 114th Congress, May 9, 2016.

[3] Dan Gallington, “U.S. Response to Cyber Attacks,” C-Span interview, June 11, 2011.

[4] President Barack Obama, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” The White House, Executive Order, April 1, 2015.

[5] Joshua Philipp, “The Staggering Cost of Economic Espionage Against the US,” The Epoch Times, October 22, 2013.

[6] James Scott and Drew Spaniel, “China’s Espionage Dynasty: Economic Death by a Thousand Cuts,” Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, July 17, 2016, https://icitech.org/icit-brief-chinas-espionage-dynasty-economic-death-by-a-thousand-cuts/.

[7] FireEye, Inc., “What About the Plant Floor? Six Subversive Security Concerns for Industrial Environments,” 2017.

[8] Jim Finkle, “Russia hacked hundreds of Western, Asian companies,” Reuters, January 21, 2014.

[9] Dan Boylan, “Mike Rogers, NSA chief, to Senate: Cyberattack on infrastructure ‘worst-case scenario,” The Washington Times, May 9, 2017.

[10] Henry F. Cooper and Peter Vincent Pry, “The Threat to Melt the Electric Grid,” The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2015, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-threat-to-melt-the-electric-grid-1430436815.

[11] Lloyds of London and the University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, “Business Blackout,” July 8, 2015.

[12] Quan Hai T. Lu, “Cyber Attacks The New WMD Challenge to the Interagency,” InterAgency Journal 6, 2 (Special Edition, Spring 2015).

Lamont Colucci

Copyright 2018 ABC-CLIO, LLC

This post originally appeared on ABC-CLIO’s Praeger Security International website

This content may be used for non-commercial, course and research purposes only.

MLA Citation:
Colucci, Lamont. “Cyber Attacks Should be Treated As an Act of War.” Praeger Security International, ABC-CLIO, 2018, psi.praeger.com/Search/Display/2174723. Accessed 4 Oct. 2018.

https://psi.praeger.com/Search/Display/2174723

Entry ID: 2174723

AMI NewsWire: The Cost of Appeasement

Eighty years ago today the camera’s flashed as the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain stepped out of 10 Downing Street and uttered these infamous words, “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time…Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.” It was on September 30, 1938, and those words would hang in the air, forever; they would linger like an unwanted ghost in the halls of statecraft, decade after decade. (Within eight months Chamberlain would resign and be replaced by the great man who served God, Winston Churchill.)

History depends on the actions of great men. There is no sentence in the English language more out of favor among historians than this one. Actually, there is only one worse – history depends on the actions of great men who serve God. This idea is also amplified in reverse: history’s tragedies are amplified by small men, and such a man was Neville Chamberlain.

“It is a price which enables a dictator who would willingly destroy the last vestige of democracy in Europe to claim with justice that he scored over the democracies of Europe the greatest diplomatic triumph of modern times,” The New York Times wrote disapprovingly of the policy known as appeasement. Some in the British press and public approved appeasing Hitler. Many thought the horrors of the First World War would be avoided and the only sacrifice had been the liberty and freedom of the people of Czechoslovakia. Others protested the agreement in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Many who write about the Chamberlain policy of appeasement focus on the statement and discuss its folly in light of the Second World War. In March 1939, Hitler had annexed all of Czechoslovakia, and the war the West so desperately did not want was given to them under Hitler’s terms on September 1. Chamberlain, (and to a lesser degree the then French President Daladier), became the poster-boy for foreign policy appeasement: the policy that is willing to grant concessions in order to forestall conflict. The term appeasement became a slander used by realist and conservative statesmen, academics, and journalists who understood that dictators are fed by such victories.

By 1938 Hitler had scored a pile of bloodless victories starting with the withdrawal from the League of Nations in 1933 (akin to withdrawal or ignoring of U.N. or other international agreements today), the unilateral rejection of the disarmament in 1935 (similar to the research, development or sale of WMD today), the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936 (likened to spending on military modernization when other aspects of your country are in poverty), and the annexation of Austria in 1938.

We have seen this in the contemporary era with variations on appeasement with the USSR during parts of the Cold War, Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda in the 1990s, and North Korea and Iran during the last administration.

“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” then President George W Bush said in a speech in Jerusalem in 2008, “We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

Bush was alluding to Senator William E. Borah, an Idaho Republican in the 1930s who was many proponents of appeasement.

Even in Germany there were opponents of Hitler. In 1938, a small group of anti-Nazi activists had begged the West to pursue a different policy. This German anti-Nazi opposition made numerous attempts to inform the British and French governments of their plans, asking only that they stand-up to Hitler over Czechoslovakia.

By May 1938 a group of Germans within the Army, Foreign Office, and intelligence services had come to the decision that Hitler and the Nazi regime must be overthrown. This part of the German resistance was not the dissenters, protestors, student activists, or religious figures that often had great qualms against violence. This group was primarily made up of conservative Christian nationalists who differentiated between treason against the government, which they knew they were committing, versus treason against Germany and the German people. In other words, the loyalty they had to Germany justified treason against the Nazis. In an amazing memorandum, Chief of the General Staff, General Ludwig Beck, wrote in 1938, “Your military duty to obey [orders] ends where your knowledge, your conscience, and your responsibility forbids the execution of an order.” We might remember that the American revolutionaries made parallel arguments in the Declaration of Independence. There is a higher duty to God and righteousness than any manmade construct. These men, motivated by honor, duty, and obligation, created a plan to dismantle the Nazi regime by using the German army to take over the country and neutralize the SS.

We know of course the coup plot was a failure but, proud Germans continued to resist Hitler (two others by German military officers in 1943) with the more famous July 1944 Valkyrie plot.

Hitler, like modern-day tyrants, played both the belligerent and the peacemaker when it served his interests. Similar to the 1930s, today’s leaders in the West question their own systems, values, and civilization. The prospect of war was a greater horror than the prospect of evil or the protection of innocent lives. The arguments about saving lives in the short run ended up costing the lives of millions in the long run – the most colossal failures in all of human history.

The Western acceptance of the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia ensured the abject failure of the one attempt that had the greatest amount of success to rid the world of Hitler and Nazism. Had the allies stood up to Hitler, the resistance would have removed him from power. The result of this is beyond calculation, but it is not without credibility to suggest that there would have been no Second World War, no Holocaust and no Soviet enslavement of Eastern Europe.

The eightieth anniversary of appeasement writ large should cause us to reflect. There can never be accommodation with evil for it always ends in more innocent lives destroyed.

Lamont Colucci is a former diplomat with the U.S. State Department and a professor of international relations.

This piece originally ran on AMI Newswire on 30 September, 2018.

AMI NewsWire: America Played A Big Role In The Decisive End of WWI

The largest offensive in American military history began 100 years ago tomorrow when some 1.2 million Americans launched an offensive in northern France that helped end World War I.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which lasted until Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1918, resulted in over 122,000 American casualties including 26, 277 deaths. More Americans died in this forgotten World War I battle than in all American wars since 1975, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq.

America was a latecomer to the First World War but, American involvement in the final offensive of World War I on the Western Front proved decisive in ending years of stalemate and trench warfare.

The offensive also proved decisive in forcing the surrender of Germany and the other Central Powers. The offensive simply exhausted the will and resources of Germany after four years of constant war.

Initially President Woodrow Wilson had favored allowing American troops in World War I to serve under British and French command in order to secure his political goals. Luckily the chief American commander, General John “Blackjack” Pershing, a brilliant but forgotten hero, thwarted this idea, declaring, “We came American. We shall remain American and go into battle with Old Glory over our heads. I will not parcel out American boys.”

In the end a few Americans were re-assigned to help depleted allied units notably the 369th “Harlem-Hellfighters” regiment which fought with the depleted French Army during the campaign.

The offensive focused on an area of North-Eastern France located near the Belgium and Luxembourg borders. The Germans had seized the higher ground in the region in 1914, and built substantial defenses. The allies knew that if they could make a breakthrough here, the war could be ended after four years of stalemate and casualties on a scale no one had imagined at the beginning. American soldiers were coming off the successful offensive at St. Mihiel and were in good fighting spirit. This was war at its worst – hellish fighting on horrible and broken terrain. It was a series of battles where success was measured in clawing a few miles here and there against stone-walled resistance where the dense wood favored the German defenders.

The Meuse-Argonne offensive would create one of the most enduring heroic American tales, that of the Medal of Honor winner, Sergeant Alvin York, who led an attack on a German machine gun station that killed 25 enemy soldiers and captured another 132.

The battle was also notable for the valiant actions of the 77th Division, and America’s “Lost Battalion” which had been encircled by German forces but held their ground for six days.

The 369th “Harlem-Hellfighters” regiment, a unit of African-American soldiers almost suffered the same fate of being surrounded. The unit out performed its French counterparts in the opening part of the offensive advancing faster than the French could keep up and fighting its way through 9 miles of heavy German resistance before falling back. Perhaps as a result of its assignment to the French army the 369th saw more combat than any other American unit in the war.
It was also the cauldron for future American leaders such as Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, and George Patton.

This American-led offensive would go on until the end of the war and reshape the world forever. It was American troops that prior to the offensive stopped the last German attempted advance and then with the Meuse-Argonne offensive, broke the back of German resistance, which would ultimately lead to the day we now call Veterans Day, originally a commemoration of the Armistice created by the conditions of the Meuse-Argonne offensive on November 11, 1918. The Germans would be forced to sign a humiliating peace agreement on a railcar — the same one the Nazis would use in 1940 when accepting France’s surrender. In 1918, that was all in the future, the success of the Meuse-Argonne offensive put America on the path from world power to a superpower, changing the landscape of international relations forever.

The legacy of the Meuse-Argonne offensive is hard to calculate however, it likely ensured that Europe would not be divided up between exhausted-teetering democracies, expansionist monarchies, and militaristic communists. Although America would engage in self-defeating pseudo isolationism as a result of World War I’s cost, it enabled America to be in a position to succeed in the Second World War, the Cold War and beyond.

Lamont Colucci is a former diplomat with the U.S. State Department and a professor of international relations.

This article was originally published by AMI Newswire on 25 September, 2018.

Washington Times: Right Thinking on Grand Strategy

This article was originally published in the Washington Times on Wednesday, August 22 2018

In the pages of World Affairs from 2015, I wrote an article that condemned the then-contemporary strategic thinking as being anything but strategic. The American national security establishment’s obsession with counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency is going to come back to haunt us since great power conflict never ceases.

In fact, many of the same international relations problems of 1914 were revisited in 2014, and the article’s intent was that the centennial of World War I provided a good marker for our own reassessment. As I also pointed out, Russia had adopted a “Putin Doctrine” designed to modernize its military, increase the use of covert operations and espionage, utilize energy and economic intimidation, promote fear on its borders and project power into the Mediterranean, Atlantic and the Arctic.

It is in this light that one can analyze the recent decision by the American government to resurrect two concepts from the Cold War and proactively push NATO into the 21st century with a new benchmark.

The first of these is the reactivation of the United States Navy’s Second Fleet. It was deactivated in 2011 as part of a string of Obama-era decisions that mirrored Bill Clinton’s attempts to take a “holiday from history” in the 1990s. It took years to recover after the Clinton years, and it will take even more effort to do so from the Obama era.

In May 2018, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson stated, “Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we’re back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex That’s why today, we’re standing up Second Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the north Atlantic.” This decision is designed to send a clear message to Russia that the United States recognizes the serious strategic threat that Russia poses and is taking aggressive and concrete measures to ensure that both the Atlantic and the Arctic are not endangered. This is a clear response to Russian actions in the Baltic, the Arctic Circle, and off the east coast of the United States.

More importantly is the creation of NATO Joint Force Command for the Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia.

Although this new Atlantic Command is portrayed as ensuring logistical and communication integrity among NATO, it is clear that it is designed to project power. Finally, a new American initiative titled the Four Thirties pushes NATO into the 21st century. The Four Thirties is a plan that by 2020 NATO should be able to get “30 battalions, 30 squadrons, and 30 ships ready for deployment in 30 days.”

From the 19th century onward, American strategic thinking has been dominated by navalism. This idea promoted by strategists like Alfred Thayer Mahan and adopted first by President Theodore Roosevelt understood that a great power’s ability to protect itself and project power could only be accomplished by the ability to project naval power. This attitude goes in and out of favor depending on whether or not a particular president understands this foundational argument such as Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush and Trump or whether they want to wish great power conflict away as Carter, Clinton and Obama.

The problem is that it often takes decades to repair the damage of the latter’s actions. It is important to note that two of the three NATO reforms are commands that should never have been deactivated. It was the short-sighted attitude of administration’s that failed to understand the very basics of international affairs and foreign policy.

Although we are now on the cusp of taking strategic naval thinking into space, a delayed move, it is heartening to know that sound decisions to counter potential great power aggression is going beyond rhetoric and into action.

• Lamont Colucci is associate professor of politics at Ripon College and author of “The National Security Doctrines of the American Presidency: How they Shape our Present and Future” (Praeger, 2012).

Sage Journals: American Doctrine – The Foundation of Grand Strategy

On 20 August, 2018, Dr. Colucci published an article with SAGE Journals in the World Affairs category. The article is titled, ‘American Doctrine: The Foundation of Grand Strategy’.

An account with SAGE must be created before accessing the full article, available here.

Abstract:

There is an organic American grand strategy, expressed over three centuries in multiple presidential doctrines. Through an examination of grand strategy and doctrines, a clear pattern of success and failure can be demonstrated. Doctrines and grand strategy continue to vanish from policy and public discourse. Often the concept of American Grand Strategy has nearly vanished from any discussion of national security and foreign policy. There is an assumption that expressions such as national security, foreign policy, national security doctrines, grand strategy, vital, national, and peripheral interests are the same concept; they are not. There are many definitions of Grand Strategy; they range along the spectrum from the simple to the complex. Grand Strategy is put into practice with the adoption of national security doctrines. These doctrines should be the highest form of statecraft, but they are often ignored or misunderstood. This article examines the definition of Grand Strategy, why Grand Strategy is often ignored, how Grand Strategy relates to national security doctrines, how national security doctrines are created and implemented, what have been the common themes in American Grand Strategy and doctrines, and what the future holds for American Grand Strategy. It postulates the return to an organic American doctrine that can engage the current national security threats.

INHomelandSecurity: The US Must Create a Space Corps to Remain Dominant over Its Enemies

National security experts recognize that there are pivotal points when a nation must choose between disaster and surrender or triumph and victory. Most military disasters that have led to the downfall of a nation — or even a civilization — have been caused by their strategists’ failures to spend the time and resources needed to adapt for the future.

Failure to Appreciate Technological and Strategic Advances Leads to Disaster throughout History

This lack of political foresight was evident in Athens in the Peloponnesian wars and in the Roman Empire in the fifth century. It was also in China in the 19th century and France and most of Europe in the 20th century.

In each case, the problem was that national leaders failed to appreciate the technological and strategic advances that made their political and military doctrines obsolete. Those leaders believed that:

  • Fixed fortifications could withstand gunpowder.
  • Heavily-armored knights could not be felled by longbow arrows.
  • Wooden ships could stand against armored battleships.
  • French troops stationed on the Maginot Line could defend France against a German invasion.

History is littered with the bodies of soldiers whose political leaders lacked foresight and imagination.

In 1897, the American naval officer and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan warned of the consequences of ignoring major advances in military tactics and armaments in his book, “The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future“:

“Those who hold that our political interests are confined to matters within our own borders, and are unwilling to admit that circumstances may compel us in the future to political action without them, look with dislike and suspicion upon the growth of a body [the navy] whose very existence indicates that nations have international duties as well as international rights, and that international complications will arise from which we can no more escape than the states which have preceded us in history, or those contemporary with us.”

Mahan predicted that a nation that invested in advances in sea power would dominate the globe. His prediction was ultimately demonstrated by the strength and power of the aircraft carrier during the Pacific campaign in World War II. However, those days are numbered, as were the days of the now obsolete wooden battleship.

The United States is at a similar crossroads now. This crossroads presents us with decisions on whether or not we will lead in space, advance medicine through space technology and have the capability to dominate the next battlefield.

The Militarization of Space Is Inevitable

Whether we like it or not, the militarization of space is inevitable; the question is not if, but when. The nation that is first out of the gate will remain first permanently. Nothing short of American superpower status is at stake.

The nation that dominates space and space exploration will also enjoy the most vibrant and dynamic economy, the most advanced and high-paying jobs, and a technological edge that is second to none. Taking the lead in space exploration and domination is a national security and economic imperative. Failure to act on this front will make ISIS, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea seem like a distraction, a sideshow for amateurs.

It is not enough to point out a problem; there must be a solution. The first step in this solution is to support and endorse the creation of a Space Corps as a separate military branch. The basic plan was created and endorsed by President Trump, Vice President Pence and Congressmen Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Jim Cooper (D-TN).

A Space Corps, independent of the other service branches, would begin by prioritizing the U.S. mission in space, create plans to clean up dangerous space debris and eliminate the natural threats that could emanate from space, such as errant asteroids. This new service would be responsible for creating a true spacefaring component of our national security. To do so, the Space Corps will need its own academy, training, uniforms, budget and hierarchy.

Foes of the Space Corps: Status Quo Military and Left-Wing Politicians

However, this proposal faces two unlikely foes. The first enemy is the “status quo” brass in the Pentagon, who understand that a new service would mean different priorities, budgets and officers. They fear that payment for these additions would come from their service budgets.

We saw this shadow play before in our nation’s history, when General Henry “Hap” Arnold pushed for the creation of an independent Air Force in the aftermath of World War II. This makes the Air Force’s opposition to the Space Corps the ultimate irony.

The Air Force and the Navy have the most to “lose” from a bureaucratic perspective and a potential loss of some of their missions. This is a good reason why grand strategy should never be left to generals and admirals of the status quo.

The other opposition comes from many on the left wing of American politics who instinctively dislike any increase in defense spending. They will automatically bemoan the “militarization of space” as if that is a choice we actually have. Meanwhile, Russia and China already made changes in their defense strategies in 2015 that put them squarely on this road to a more active role in space.

In an interview with the author, General Peter Worden, former Director of the NASA Ames Research Center, summed it up best:

“The first human settlements will be in place on the moon within a decade, and large-scale space manufacturing starts soon after. By the middle of the [21st] century, the global economy will likely be based on space resources. These developments are, and will increasingly be, driven by private commercial concerns. Now is the time for us to consider the security underpinnings of human expansion into outer space. The concept of a military force, a Space Corps, to protect and nurture this expansion is a key question for today. The history of human expansion into unknown regions shows that military capabilities are necessary. Why should outer space be any different?”

To keep the United States in its position of primacy, we must reinvigorate our space program because any future military conflicts will be won by the nation that achieves dominance in space. The 5,000-year evolution and history of military technology have proven the validity of this trajectory.

If we surrender to the status quo mindset of the mid-20th century, we will be surrendering more than our imagination and innovation. We will be surrendering our nation’s peace.