In the film Apocalypse Now the protagonist, Captain Benjamin L. Willard, is sent up the Mekong to Cambodia to kill Colonel Kurtz, who has gone rogue and is leading a group of native combatants who follow him unquestioningly. There is a scene on the boat going upriver when Willard is reading Col. Kurtz’s dossier, including a report that Kurtz is supposed to have written to the Pentagon after an early tour in Vietnam. The report is called “Commitment and Counterinsurgency” and it includes the following:

“As long as our officers and troups (sic) perform tours of duty limited to one year, they will remain dilletantes in war and tourists in Vietnam. As long as cold beer, hot food, rock and roll and all the other amenities remain the expected norm, our conduct of the war will gain only impotence. The wholesale and indiscriminate use of firepower will only increase the effectiveness of the enemy and strengthen their resolve to prove the superiority of an agrarian culture against the world’s greatest technocracy… The central tragedy of our effort in this conflict has been the confusion of a sophisticated technology with human commitment. Our bombs may in time destroy the geography, but they will never win the war… We need fewer men, and better; if they were committed, this war could be won with a fourth of our present force…”

Everyone knows that Apocalypse now was loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. I think it would probably be better to say that Apocalypse Now was inspired by Heart of Darkness — or we could use more contemporary terminology and say that Apocalypse Now is a re-imagining of Heart of Darkness.

Vietnam, Apocalypse Now, and counterinsurgency have all become eerily relevant again as the US seeks to disengage from Central Asia after a ground war that has stretched over more than a decade with no resolution consistent with original aims seeming to be in sight. I’ve written about counterinsurgency, or COIN, several times recently as a result of these all-too-familiar events.

Despite the firm intentions of both US military and civilian leadership that the US not be involved in another unwinnable counterinsurgency operation in a distant part of the world, this is exactly what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact that history repeated itself in this way, despite the conscious efforts of military and civilian leaders to avoid such a repetition, says much more about the international system and the imperatives of contemporary political organization than it says about the US.

I would argue that any global hegemon at the present moment in history — whether that global hegemon happened to be the US, Russia, China, Brazil, or the British Empire — would find itself more or less forced by circumstances to engage in counterinsurgency operations in widely disparate parts of the globe. Such interventions are systemic rather than opportunistic and episodic.

In the past week US and NATO efforts in Afghanistan have come under scrutiny again after the death toll of US soldiers passed 2,000 as widely-reported “insider attacks,” also called “green on blue” attacks, continue to take the lives of US soldiers.

We quantify wars in terms of deaths, injuries, damage, and dollars. It is a dissatisfying measure to all involved — to the families of dead soldiers a single digit in a statistic scarcely captures the loss, to the families of dead civilians, and those whose lives have been disrupted beyond salvaging, similar considerations hold, while for the war planner the commitment in blood and treasure to the fight does not accurately represent the ultimate effort that was made under adverse circumstances.

Nevertheless, there must be some measure, and certainly blood and treasure constitute the fundamental calculus of commitment in war, apart from that intangible commitment that the fictional Col. Kurtz attempted to communicate to his superiors. It may well be that this intangible commitment of — what? — is precisely that unmeasurable element of the equation that results in victory or defeat, but until we have a theory to account for it, and a language in which we can formulate it, we cannot say anything coherent about it.

It is admittedly difficult even to speak coherently of quantifiable measures like blood and treasure because estimates of death in war are always contested, and because they are contested the numbers employed are almost always the result of a political decision. Some will argue for higher numbers and other will argue for lower numbers. In a war like the Second World War, when entire cities were destroyed and millions were buried under the rubble, estimates on casualties may be off by millions, and at very least off by hundreds of thousands.

In long-term counterinsurgencies like the US in Vietnam, the USSR in Afghanistan, or the US in Afghanistan, estimating civilian deaths is difficult not so much for the absolute numbers involved but because in such conflict it will be inherently controversial who is and who is not a civilian, as it will be controversial as to who is blame for atrocities carried out far beyond the reach of investigating authorities, and for which each side blames the other.

Casualty counts, then, are inherently controversial, but estimates are made; each estimate represents a particular methodology, and each methodology embodies certain assumptions. Despite all the hazards involved, I am going to give some numbers comparing three different wars — World War Two, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. In all cases I have picked the high estimates, even when these estimates have been contested. Dates, and rates derived from dates, are also numbers that can be contested. So what follows is very rough, but still indicative of a trend.

The Second World War — not in any sense a counterinsurgency — lasted about six (6) years and resulted in about 25 million military deaths and 52 million civilian deaths. This occurred in a total global population of 2,300 million, so that the war consumed about 3.3 percent of world population. This isn’t much compared to a demographic event like the Black Death when it first swept across Europe in 1348-1349, but it is still a very high number for deaths from war. The military casualties of more than four (4) million per year work out to about 475 per hour for each hour of the war, while civilian casualties of more than eight (8) million per year work out to about 988 per hour for every hour of the war.

The involvement of the US in the Vietnam War, a classic counterinsurgency, lasted about ten (10) years from 1965 to 1975, with 58,220 US military deaths and as many as 2,500,000 civilian deaths spread across Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This works out to 5,822 military deaths per year, or 0.055 US military deaths for every hour of the war, and 250,000 civilian deaths per year or 2.3766 civilian deaths every hour for the duration of the US involvement in Vietnam (I am here choosing not to include the ten years of French involvement from 1955-1965, although the civilian casualty numbers include at least part of this period — as I wrote above, I took high numbers, and the numbers themselves are inherently controversial).

The involvement of the US in Afghanistan, another counterinsurgency, has lasted almost eleven (11) years from 2001 to 2012 with 2,000 US military casualties. I found it rather difficult to come by estimates of civilian casualties, which varied widely, but, again, taking the high numbers, I found about 34,008 civilian casualties, or about 3,092 per year, which works out to 0.029 per hour for every hour of the war. US military deaths averaged 182 per year or 0.0017 per hour for every hour of the war.

It is interesting to note that during the Vietnam War global population increased by almost a billion persons from 3,345 million to 4,086 million, and during the Afghan War global population again grew by almost a billion, from roughly 6 billion to 7 billion. With these much higher total global population figures, and the far lower casualty totals, whether military or civilian or both, the war deaths from these protracted conflicts don’t even register as a demographic rounding error.

These “big picture” statistics of course hide a lot of details, but they are still the big picture and they tell us something. They tell us that both military and civilian casualties of war are at historic lows, which is something I wrote about in the early history of this blog in The Lethality Peak. Another way to look at the lethality peak is to understand it as societies investing far less in armed conflict than was the case even in the recent past, i.e., there is a lower level of commitment in terms of blood; a lot more statistical analysis would be required to reveal the relative expenditure of treasure.

Yet another way to interpret these numbers is that the great infringements upon human life and human society in our time do not come about from wars and from outright deaths caused by war, but from what I have called non-atrocites, that is to say, depredations upon human populations and human communities that are maintained below the threshold of atrocity.

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Grand Strategy Annex

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Recently I have become fascinated by the development of early bombers during the First World War. Driven by the exigencies of the world’s first large-scale industrialized war (the Russo-Japanese War was an industrialized war, but not on the scale of the First World War), aircraft developed rapidly. I have focused on the same rapidity of technological development previously emphasizing the modernity of weapons systems during the Second World War. In The Dialectic of Stalemate I wrote:

“When the Second World War ended, there were operable jet fighters, ballistic missiles, electronic computers, and atomic weapons. None of these existed when the war began.”

True enough, but the essential ideas behind these weapons systems were already in play. An idea can be implemented in any number of ways (admittedly some more efficacious than others), and exactly how an idea is implemented is a matter of technology and engineering — in other words, implementation is an accident of history. As soon as the idea has its initial implementation, we are clever enough to usually see the implications of that idea rather quickly, and thus technology is driven to keep up with the intrinsic potentiality of the idea.

Once the proof of concept of heavier-than-air flight was realized, the rest fell into place like pieces of a puzzle. Aircraft would be armed; they would seek to destroy other aircraft, and prevent themselves from being destroyed; and they would seek to destroy targets on the ground. Hence the idea of aircraft in warfare rapidly moves to fighters and bombers. The pictures above are of the Zeppelin-Staaken — not the first enclosed bomber, but among the first (the Russians, I believe, made the first enclosed bomber, the Sikorsky Ilya Muromets).

The Zeppelin-Staaken was an enormous craft with a wingspan almost equal to that of a B-29 and a crew of many men. In fact, these early German bombers were called Riesenflugzeug (or R-planes) — gigantic aircraft. An early testimonial from a Zeppelin-Staaken crew member vividly conveys the sense of flying the R-planes:

“Inside the fuselage the pale glow of dim lights outlined the chart table, the wireless equipment, and the instrument panel. Under us, the black abyss.”

Trenches: Battleground WWI, episode 5, “Fight On, Fly On”

The technology and engineering of flight during the First World War was not sufficiently advanced to make a decisive strategic difference, but they had the idea of what was possible, and they attempted to put it into practice. The idea of bombers, coordinated by radio, executing a strategic precision airstrike was already present during the First World War.

During the Second World War, the technology had advanced to the point that strategic bombing was decisive, and, in fact, it was at one point the only possible war that the UK could wage against Germany. The evolutionary development continues to the present day. Contemporary precision munitions are finally beginning to converge on true precision air strikes that were first imagined (and attempted) during the First World War.

The point here is that, once the idea is in place, the rest is mere technology and engineering — in other words, implementation. The corollary of the essential idea coupled with with contingent implementation is the fact that the wars of industrial-technological civilization, there are no secrets.

William Langewiesche in his book Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor emphasized that the early atomic scientists knew that there were no “secrets” per se, because the atomic bomb was the result of science, and anyone who would engage in science, technology, and engineering on a sufficiently large scale can build a nuclear weapon.

This thesis should be generalized and extrapolated beyond the science of nuclear weapons. Precision munitions, aviation, targeting, and all the familiar line items of a current military budget are refined and perfected by science and technology. For all practical purposes, all war has become science, and science is no secret. Any sufficiently diligent and well-funded people can produce a body of scientific knowledge that could be put into practice building weapons systems.

One might suppose, from the regimes of state security that have become so prevalent, that secrecy is of the essence of technological warfare. While this impression is encouraged, it is false. Secrecy is no more central to competition in technological warfare than it is central to industrial competition. That is to say, secrecy has a role to play, but the role that secrecy plays is not quite the role that official secrecy claims might lead one to believe.

Wittgenstein in his later work — no less pregnantly aphoristic than the Tractatus — said that nothing is hidden. And so it is in the age of industrial-technological civilization: Nothing is hidden. Everything is, in principle, out in the open and available for public inspection. This is the very essence of science, for science progresses through the repeatability of its results. That is to say, science is essentially an iterative enterprise.

Wittgenstein also said in his later period that philosophy leaves the world as it is. That is to say, philosophy is is no sense revolutionary. And so too with the philosophy of war, which in its practical application is strategic doctrine: strategic doctrine leaves the world as it is.

The perennial verities of war remain. These are largely untouched by technology, because all parties to modern, scientific war have essentially the same technology, so that they fight on the same level. Military powers contending for victory seek technological advantages when and where they can get them, but these advantages are always marginal and temporary. Soon the adversary has the same science, and soon after that the same technology.

The true struggle is the struggle of ideas — the struggle of mind against mind, contending to formulate the decisive idea first. As I said above, once the idea is in place, everything else follows from the idea. But it is the idea that is the necessary condition of all that follows.

War, then, is simply the war of ideas.

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Grand Strategy Annex

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Kenneth Clark, in his Civilisation: A Personal View, concludes his multi-hour documentary with a reflection on moral psychology, although he does not call it that. He particularly mentions the rise of humanitarianism. This sort of thing would not go over well today, some forty years later, as it would be seen as rather too credulous, and smacking of progressivism (which, we are given to understand, is a terrible thing). But listening to Clark it is obvious that it is already in his time becoming dangerous to say such things — dangerous, because one is liable to be thought a simpleton. Clark himself calls himself a “stick-in-the-mud.”

I do not disagree with Clark, and I am not so dismissive of progress as has become common today, but this is a point I will not argue here. I simply tell you my prejudices so you know that I agree with Clark on this point. This is significant because, even if we recognize the emergence of a humanitarian consciousness in the nineteenth century, we must recognize at the same time the earlier wisdom of Hamlet, viz. that we often discover that we must be cruel to be kind.

One might consider it a kindness that the First World War was ended by agreement with an armistice, and that this spared lives and property by not necessitating an invasion of Germany itself, but the very fact that the defeat of Germany was not made absolutely manifest on the home front in an age of popular sovereignty meant that the armistice did not settle the war. As Foch said, and was proved right, “it is not peace, but an armistice for twenty years.”

Would it have been a “kindness” to push on an defeat the Germans on German soil, taking the lives of more soldiers and destroying the infrastructure of Germany in the teens? This would possibly have changed subsequent history, and it might not have been necessary to level Germany twenty years later with a strategic bombing campaign. And it would have been primarily soldiers who were put at risk of life and limb. During the First World War, more soldiers died than civilians. During the Second World War, more civilians died than soldiers. This is a portent that says something truly horrific about our time.

Such horrific choices have faced us repeatedly throughout our history, and still face us today. Because these choices are hideous, the way that each of us comes down on one side of the question or the other is often used against us, when the most unflattering construction is placed on our preference. This is disingenuous, because either side can smear the other side with the unsavory and unavoidable corollaries of a forced choice. And history forces us to make such forced choices — or forces us to avoid making a choice and, as we say today, kicking the can further down the road — time and again. We should not conceal this from ourselves.

Here is a semi-contemporary example. I have read interviews with one of the scientists who was involved in the design of the neutron bomb. He had served as a solder in Korea, and he had seen the devastation wrought in Korea by conventional weapons. Many cities were annihilated, not unlike the German cities subject to strategic bombing during the Second World War. This vision of destruction on an apocalyptic scale was an inspiration to this scientist, and was part of his experience that contributed to the design of the neutron bomb. For this man, the neutron bomb was a more humanitarian weapon — not unlike the guillotine, which when first invented by a doctor, was conceived as a humane form of execution.

After it become possible to build a neutron bomb, and some nation-states considered adding it to their arsenals, the very idea of the neutron bomb was held up as something ghastly and ghoulish, as though it had been designed with the intent to killing people while “saving” their property, which latter might be expropriated by others who would simply move in to a depopulated urban area. Anti-neutron bomb activists put the worst possible construction on the intention of the neutron bomb. For them, it was apparently more “humanitarian” to keep war so horrible that it would remain unthinkable. From this point of view, mutually assured destruction is a good thing. And I certainly understand this argument, but at the same time as I understand the argument, I know that, for some people, mutually assured destruction is one of the great moral obscenities of our time, and our civilization should be ashamed of itself for having made such a conception possible, not to mention the very foundation of the international order during the Cold War.

What is more “humanitarian”: the threat of a nuclear genocide of a significant proportion of our species, or the threat of a lesser degree of destruction that might settle a war at a lower cost? I think that if you are honest with yourself, you will acknowledge that each alternative is a moral horror. That does not mean that I regard the argument between the two as indifferent. On the contrary, I believe that rational arguments can be made on both sides of the question. All I am saying here is that the irrational thing is to believe that moral horror is exclusively on one side or the other.

This is certainly not the only paradox of humanitarianism, but it is certainly one of them.

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Grand Strategy Annex

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The Stalin Doctrine

22 January 2011


Uncle Joe

One of the most famous and most memorable passages in Clausewitz is his definition of war as being continuous with policy:

“We see, therefore, that War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means.”

Immediately before this Clausewitz elaborates on the theme that Anatol Rapoport called political war:

“…if we reflect that War has its root in a political object, then naturally this original motive which calls war into existence should also continue as the first and highest consideration in its conduct.”

On this, I can only agree partially with Clausewitz. While the political object continues as the highest consideration in the conduct of war, the political object is not the first consideration in the conduct of war. Political objects suddenly become distant once war has begun and more immediate needs take precedence.

It is the first business of war to define military objectives that will bring about the defeat of the enemy, and these military objectives are almost always distinct from the political objectives that were the cause of the war. The political objectives remain the highest objectives of the war, but the military objectives must be attained first, and they must be attained by military means, if the political objectives that could not be attained by political means are to be attained once the war has been won.

Once — and if — the war has been won, then political objectives, having been made possible by military means, again return to the fore. However, even having won a war, the victor may still encounter significant obstacles to imposing his political objectives on his former adversary. There are usually very good reasons that a people will resist the political impositions of another people, even to the point of fighting a war to resist this imposition. The winning of a war does not automatically make the defeated people more pliant and agreeable to one’s political aims. Indeed, the population may well be resentful, recalcitrant, and rebellious. Every conqueror must put down civil unrest, often brutally, in order to proceed with the imposition of a political settlement.

The radical solution is the root-and-branch reconstruction of the former adversary’s political society. Today this is called “nation building” (a term Burke and de Maistre would have found deeply ironic, as a nation can no more be “built” than a flower can be built; it is, or must be, organic), but it has always gone on under other names. I have previously observed in relation to the Peloponnesian War that wherever the Athenians triumphed, they imposed a democratic regime on their defeated foe, and where the Spartans won, they imposed aristocratic rule. The imposition of an entire social system upon a conquered people may be called The Stalin Doctrine. I mentioned this once previously in Promoting Democracy, where I wrote:

In a speech of April, 1945 (as quoted in Conversations with Stalin, 1963, by Milovan Djilas), this visionary attitude was given explicit formulation by Stalin:

“This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes on it his own social system. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise. If now there is not a communist government in Paris, the cause of this is Russia has no army that can reach Paris in 1945.”

We could call this principle cuius regio, eius credo, following the famous formulation that was the basis of the settlement of the Thirty Years War with the Treaty of Wesphalia, namely cuius regio, eius religio (also cf. my remarks on this in Descriptive Democracy and Revisionary Democracy). But in our time, credo has supplanted religio.

Taken to its logical conclusion, The Stalin Doctrine is even more comprehensive than cuius regio, eius religio or cuius regio, eius credo; The Stalin Doctrine is ultimately the imposition of a way of life and not merely a belief or set of beliefs, and in order to impose one way of life upon a people one must abolish the previous way of life. It is important to try to understand how radical this idea is. It represents the mirror image of the kind of radical annihilation that has been practiced throughout human history. I gave an example of this in The Great Souled Man in regard to the Melians during the Peloponnesian War. Upon defeat the Melians were dispossessed of their city-state, the men were killed, the women and children were sold into slavery, and the Athenians sent five hundred colonists to occupy the city as their own. There are also the examples of mass population transfers that I discussed in The Threshold of Atrocity. A scenario based on more recent military technology might involve the use of a neutron bomb to annihilate the inhabitants of a city or region, later to be occupied by a more cooperative population.

Stalin was good to his word and installed social systems based on the Soviet system as far as the Red Army could impose a settlement.

Under the Stalin Doctrine, a population remains intact and in place, but its life is altered beyond recognition. The people remain, the bare minimum of life is intact, but the way of life is transformed — that is, transformed if this radical imposition is successful, which is rarely the case. Because where these is life, there is hope, a people is never fully defeated as long as they are alive, and they will keep alive, even if only in secret, the way of life that was taken from them by conquest. And we have seen, after the end of the Soviet Union, the re-emergence of national identities throughout regions upon which the Russians sought to impose its social system.

GeneralPlan Ost: Salvic Europe as Lebensraum for the Germans.

Stalin’s own pronouncement specifies that the victor imposes his own social system, but this is not the only possibility. The victor in a war might well seek a root-and-branch reconstruction of the former adversary’s political society in order to impose a social system unlike that of the victor, but one believed desirable to the victor’s interests. This is particular pointed in the case of the Soviet Union, since this is exactly what Nazi Germany had planned for the Lebensraum that it would “liberate” for itself in formerly Slavic regions. The Nazi’s Generalplan Ost (GPO) was to exterminate all the leadership class from Slavic regions and reduce the remaining Slavic population to essentially serf status, working on the estates of German feudal landlords, who would move into the region to colonize it. There is no reason to suppose that the Germans would not have followed through with this plan had they been victorious. Indeed, they implemented this plan to the extent that they were able under wartime conditions.

The extent to which Germany was able to impose its Generalplan Ost by fiat of the Wehrmacht.

Less well known that the Generalplan Ost was the Morgenthau Plan for Germany, originally formulated by Henry Morgenthau, Jr., that called for the partition of Germany, the internationalization of highly industrialized areas like the Saar and the Ruhr and Upper Silesia, and the de-industrialization of the remainder of the country. This was a radical and a visionary plan. It is a loss to history, as a social experiment that would have been administered by the US, that it was not carried out. As we all know, it was the Marshall Plan, and not the Morganthau Plan, that was the basis for post-war German development.

Partition of Germany under the Morganthau Plan

Perhaps the reader finds it shocking that I would say that it is a loss to history that the Morganthau Plan was not acted upon. The reduction of Germany from an industrialized nation-state to agriculturalism and pastoralism would have removed it as a major Cold War asset that the Soviets would have wanted to possess for its industry, it would have addressed the perceived threat of German militarism feared by other Europeans, and it would have brought real peace to continental Europe. Moreover, the plan would have given the Germans what they themselves wanted, though as peasants rather than as feudal lords. Recall the Generalplan Ost mentioned above, which planned for similar agriculturalism and pastoralism in formerly Slavic lands. This was an essential part of the Nazi vision of the future. The Nazis sold their plans for Germany to the German people by promising them an ideal communal society without the ugly and repulsive features of industrialized society, in a word, Volksgemeinschaft. The Germans could have had this in their own country, on their own land, and enjoyed just as much Gemütlichkeit without Slavic serfs as with them.

Marshall Plan aid to Europe

Perhaps most importantly of all, the Morganthau Plan would have given the US an opportunity to administer a visionary social plan for another people. Whether this would have proved a success or a failure, it would have conformed to twentieth century norms of megalomaniacal utopian visions of the sort pursued by the Russians under Stalin, the Germans under Hitler, and the Chinese under Mao, except that it would have been the turn of the Americans to impose their vision of what would be good for another people. I for one would have found this fascinating. Would American pragmatism and efficiency have made it possible for the Morganthau Plan to be at least partly successful? How would success or failure of the plan be judged?

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Grand Strategy Annex

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Herbert Marcuse (July 19,1898 – July 29,1979) was a German philosopher, political theorist and sociologist, and a member of the Frankfurt School.

Herbert Marcuse (July 19,1898 – July 29,1979) was a German philosopher, political theorist and sociologist, and a member of the Frankfurt School.

Progress of empire, especially in contest with other empires, passes a technological threshold such that without communications, transportation, and armaments of a given degree of sophistication, an empire cannot survive the onslaught of its rivals. This turning point was especially in evidence with the European arrival in the Americas at the end of the fifteenth century, and European colonialism in Africa and Asia in the following centuries.

Empires that did not have a minimal degree of technological sophistication were simply swept away, and could do little to save themselves. Unlike empires, however, peoples are resilient, and peoples the world over quickly adopted and adapted the technology of those who swept their empires aside, and were soon fighting as near equals against the European onslaught. But the crucial historical moment had passed. The peoples were not defeated, but their empires were defeated, and the subsequent empires were derived from or otherwise indebted to the European model even when the imperialists were no longer Europeans.

Before the revolution in mechanical technology — of which the Industrial Revolution was a moment within a larger development — the contests between peoples could be decided by vigorous exertion. Virtually any people could establish an empire by expending sufficient effort. This is parallel to the fact that before the Technological Revolution the interest prohibition was no great impediment to peoples or individuals, since most of that to which peoples or individuals aspired could be secured through sufficient effort (i.e., largely independently of any technical expertise in finance). This is no longer true. In those regions of the world most affected by the Technological Revolution, the age old calculus of ambition has been utterly transformed. Will, effort, and exertion alone are not sufficient for a people to found or expand an empire or for an individual to attain social status.

This has been expressed in — of all places — a posthumously published manuscript of Herbert Marcuse:

“Capital has created (not only in the fascist states) a terroristic apparatus with such striking power and ubiquitous presence, that the traditional weapons of proletariat class struggle appear powerless beside it. The new technology of war and its strict monopolization and specialization turns the arming of the people into a helpless affair.”

This quote comes from Marcuse’s Technology, War and Fascism, Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Volume One, edited by Douglas Kellner, London and New York: Routledge, 1998, p. 218. The quote is taken from “33 Theses”, thesis #6, dated February 1947. The manuscript shows Marcuse struggling with the dilemma of revolutionary Marxism during the post-war period. For Marcuse, both opposed camps of the Cold War, Soviet and American alike, were hostile to revolution, for which he still held hope. Marcuse refers to these theses in letters to Horkheimer in 1946 and 1947, discussing plans for publication that never came about.

Marcuse was right for his particular cause (Marxist revolution undertaken by the proletariat) at his particular place and time (Europe after the Second World War). The achievements of military technology had far outpaced anything that could be achieved by “the arming of the people”.

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Grand Strategy Annex

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