Strategical Possibilities and Dialectical Games
NATO membership for Ukraine means death for Russia.
– Alexander Prokhanov
In the first stages of Zyuganov’s creation of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (not without some participation on my part, as well as Prokhanov…), efforts were made to interpret and conceptually appraise the presence of the national component in the Soviet worldview (National Bolshevism), but this initiative was abandoned by the leadership of the [Communist Party], which had occupied itself with some other matters…. However, on the level of rhetoric and first reactions, Russian Communists in all senses present themselves as confirmed national conservatives – sometimes even as ‘Orthodox Monarchists.’”
– Alexander Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory
Alexander Dugin, quoted above, is not an ideologist. He is a strategist. Before delving into what strategy is, or can be, let us first consider the situation in Ukraine. Either Russian troops will drive into Ukrainian territory after 9 May, or Russia will rely on secret agents within the Ukrainian government to re-establish (or maintain) indirect control of the country. This latter strategy, if successful, could give Moscow a fresh avenue for making mischief within the EU. The fact that Russian clandestine structures are already embedded throughout Europe is hardly acknowledged or fully appreciated by expert opinion. Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is acknowledged, of course, but this is trivial in comparison.
Moscow’s grand strategy has always been multi-dimensional. To achieve a goal, the Russians do not merely follow one line of approach. They follow several parallel and opposite lines of approach simultaneously. This makes it difficult for Western strategists and politicians to anticipate Russian moves. Again and Again, Russia baffles us. We remain mystified, failing to realize that Russia possesses clandestine instruments developed under the Soviet Union that are unmatched in sophistication. We have nothing that can compete with these. To give a brief overview, there is the economic and financial penetration of Europe by Russian businesses and front companies. There is the role played by Russian organized crime in terms of blackmail and money-laundering. There also exists, as during the Cold War, classic networks of secret agents engaged in infiltrating governments and influencing policy. With regard to all these elements, until the countries of Europe grasp the possibilities open to Russia’s clandestine forces there will never be a full appreciation of the way Moscow is likely to use its military forces in combination with diplomatic leverage.
It was Clausewitz who said that war is politics carried on by other (i.e., violent) means. It was Lenin who inverted this dictum, saying that politics is war carried on by other means. The Bolshevik Revolution was not merely a social and political revolution. It signified a revolution in strategic thinking that has never been fully appreciated. Victory may be achieved with a combination of military and non-military means. It may be achieved through economic sabotage, through information warfare, or even through the corruption of government, language and culture.
The famous words of the ancient Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu, may serve as the inspiration for a new and all-pervading strategic science. Here strategy becomes the ruling god of all, the first principle of government and the East’s answer to the constitutional politics of the West. Oh yes, even in its decadence, the United States is (at least partly) guided by its Constitution. The Russian Federation is guided by its long-range policy (based on Sun Tzu’s principles). “All warfare is based on deception,” wrote Sun Tzu. “Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe that we are away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
The brilliance of Sun Tzu lies in the fact that his dialectical approach to deception can be applied to any set of opposites. Thus we may rewrite Sun Tzu’s words: “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when you are a Communist, you must appear to practice capitalism (e.g. in Beijing); when you are a cynical atheist, you must appear as a Christian (e.g., Putin); when you are attacking an opponent through Islamic surrogates, you must appear to be attacked by these same surrogates (e.g., in Chechnya); when you possess strategic nuclear supremacy (as Russia does), you must appear as a mere regional power (because Obama says so). Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
The transposing of opposites from the dimension of time-space, to the ideological dimension of left-right, is only one of many permutations. If it was possible for Putin to have a Chechen alibi prior to the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11, it was also possible for him to have a Christian alibi (by jailing Pussy Riot) in the midst of the cultural breakdown of the United States. As Global Warming is used as a pretext to sabotage the economies of the West, it is pro-forma for Putin to declare that he believes in “global cooling.” Again, one might use the analogy of an alibi. Given these examples, we cannot take Moscow’s stated intentions at face value. Does Moscow really want to annex Ukraine, or push Ukraine into Europe’s open arms? Is Ukraine itself a poison vat, ready to spill into Europe? Again, Putin is making for himself an alibi: so that when Western culture turns gay, Putin will not be blamed; when global warming is found to be a hoax, Putin will not be blamed; when Ukraine is bailed out by the EU and proves the final straw that bankrupts Europe, Putin will not be blamed. (In fact, he will present himself as Europe’s savior.)
Sun Tzu suggested that excellence in warfare consists in winning without fighting. To accomplish this you infiltrate the enemy camp and disrupt his plans through provocation, sabotage, and by sowing confusion; you prevent enemy factions from joining together; you demoralize the culture, spread irrational ideas among the intelligentsia, promote lawlessness and drunkenness among the working and professional classes. As Sun Tzu said, “In all fighting, direct methods may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.”
You must know your enemy’s direction of march, but he must never learn yours. The best strategy is one that is unknown to others, and the most effective warrior is one who enters the enemy camp unrecognized. To accomplish any objective, depict yourself as one for whom the objective is inconceivable. Many might be capable of stopping you. But who would think they had to?
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