Monday 31 July 2023

Semi-official but deniable negotiations between Moscow and Washington

Washington, thank God, is talking to Moscow and attempting to find a way of ending the war in Ukraine, according țo this very interesting and encouraging conversation with a former US senior official, published in the Moscow Times. The problem is not the Russian government leaders, who never wanted the war and privately admit it is a mistake, but Vladimir Putin.  

From his vantage point, sitting across from senior Kremlin officials and advisers, it was apparent that the greatest issue was that the Russians were unable to articulate what exactly they wanted and needed. 

“They don't know how to define victory or defeat. In fact, some of the elites to whom we spoke had never wanted the war in the first place, even saying it had been a complete mistake,” he said. 

“But now they’re at war — suffering a humiliating defeat is not an option for these guys.”

Friday 28 July 2023

They chose the wrong person to mug in Nigel Farage

He mugged them back.

In case you don't know, his bank account at Coutt's was closed for what turned out, when he demanded and received the internal documents using the EU's GDPR laws, political reasons.

The bank officials thought he was bad for their reputation but their reputation and share price have fallen through the floor now. The CEO of Coutt's and its parent NatWest have resigned.

A rare victory for the forces of light.

But the Conservative government should have fought woke for 13 wasted years, not noticed it now when forced to by Nigel Farage. 

Wednesday 26 July 2023


Sir Roger Scruton, 'On Rousseau':


“The dead and the unborn are as much members of society as the living. To dishonour the dead is to reject the relation on which society is built – the relation of obligation between generations.”




David Ignatius in the Washington Post:

Monday 24 July 2023

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose“

The United States is the strongest military power in the world and the American political system the most democratic. That does not mean other countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, with far different histories, cultures and religions, will accept Washington’s advice or direction on their forms of government.

Walter Pincus in his last article in the Washington Post after forty years on December 29, 2015 . The paper has declined vastly since then. As for democracy the USA was very democratic until the Civil War and even till Franklin Roosevelt, but Switzerland is much more democratic as she has referendums at national level and no powerful military industrial complex or widespread corruption.

Sunday 23 July 2023

Former Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych perfectly predicted Russian invasion in 2019

This video clip is eerie. Did President Zelensky also expect the invasion and thought it necessary to preserve Ukrainian independence? I imagine so - and if so were both men unaware that Russia could destroy Ukraine?

In 2019 Oleksiy Arestovych, advisor to the Office of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, eerily predicted, with stunning accuracy, how events in Ukraine would unfold in 2022.

In an interview with Ukrainian news channel "," Arestovych believed that Nato accession was Ukraine's only hope of securing its independence. "If we don't join Nato, it's gonna be absorption by Russia within 10-12 years," he said.

However, the choice was not simple and Ukraine has found itself stuck between a rock and a hard place, while also stating that any talk of Ukrainian accession to Nato would "provoke Russia to launch a large-scale military operation against Ukraine." Ukraine's price for joining Nato, he said, would be large-scale war with Russia.

Arestovych believed that Russia would have the goal of degrading Ukrainian infrastructure and turning the country into a "devastated territory" in order to make the territory of Ukraine "uninteresting" to Nato. Russia would seek to destroy as much of Ukraine as it could prior to it being accepted into Nato, due to Russia not wanting to confront Nato directly, Arestovych said. Ukraine becomes "uninteresting to Nato as a devastated territory," he said.

Title of 1 February 2008 cable from the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice: "NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT RED LINES."

I just came across Professor Robert Wade of the LSE - these are excerpts from something he wrote in Le Monde  in 2015. He points out that the threat from Russia was exaggerated during the Cold War, something that is certainly true. Writing in 2015 he thought the Russian threat again exaggerated. 

The full essay is here and is worth reading. 

The distinguished Washington Post columnist Walter Pincus explained on 12 January why it is so dangerous – to us in the West – to keep framing security issues in the cold war framework, as though Russia and China constitute our major threats. He starts with the US Navy’s current claim that it must spend hundreds of billions of dollars in order to keep ahead of Russia and China’s rapid upgrading of blue-water naval capabilities. Then he shows how far behind the US Russia and China are, using the examples of nuclear-powered supercarriers and advanced submarines. He goes on to observe: “These days, terrorists are the first threat, and not a single one will be deterred by a nuclear warhead.”

So why does “US vs. Russia” and “US vs. China” continue to dominate the security agenda and security budget? Pincus’ short answer is that the defence firms earn vast profits from no-competition capital-intensive projects to build armaments against Russia and China; but much less from labour-intensive projects to build capabilities against terrorists.

Whether Russia invaded the eastern provinces is even less clear. A group of eight retired US intelligence analysts wrote to Chancellor Merkel on 30 August 2014, alarmed at the anti-Russian hysteria sweeping official Washington and the spectre of a new cold war. They reported the contents of a (leaked) 1 February 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The cable said that U.S. Ambassador William Burns was called in by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia’s strong opposition to Nato membership for Ukraine.


Søren Kierkegaard:

"Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion—and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion ... while Truth again reverts to a new minority."

Jeffrey Sachs in the left-wing Jewish magazine Tikkun, June 29 2022:

"The war in Ukraine is the culmination of a 30-year project of the American neoconservative movement. The Biden Administration is packed with the same neocons who championed the US wars of choice in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Syria (2011), Libya (2011), and who did so much to provoke Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The neocon track record is one of unmitigated disaster, yet Biden has staffed his team with neocons. As a result, Biden is steering Ukraine, the US, and the European Union towards yet another geopolitical debacle. If Europe has any insight, it will separate itself from these US foreign policy debacles."

"The neocon outlook is based on an overriding false premise: that the US military, financial, technological, and economic superiority enables it to dictate terms in all regions of the world. It is a position of both remarkable hubris and remarkable disdain of evidence. Since the 1950s, the US has been stymied or defeated in nearly every regional conflict in which it has participated."

Michael Anton in Compact, July 21 2023:

"Remoralization Never or Rarely Happens Within the Same Society or Regime

"There are very few examples of a formerly moral or at least somewhat virtuous people becoming dissolute and then remoralizing absent some sort of collapse and reset. Some will point to Britain in the Victorian era. OK, let’s stipulate that. Can you think of any others?

"What caused the Victorian example? It was, first, a religious movement led by dissenting Protestants and, second, the result of a widely expanding middle class insisting on 'middle-class morality.'"

Hadley Freeman in an article about Captain Tom:

"Maybe it’s because English people get so nervy about patriotism — is it embarrassing? Is it racist? — that they channel those feelings into other, less suitable outlets, known as national treasures. So whereas in the US it would be bad to say you hate the American flag, in Britain it would be unforgivable to say you hate Stephen Fry."

It's odd, isn't it, how unsaintly many British "national treasures" are: Barbara Windsor, Elizabeth Hurley, Mr Fry himself. Few are edifying Christians of the sort the Victorians admired (think General Gordon or Florence Nightingale).

The same goes for the foreign triptych of heroes, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Gandhi. 

Despite her being a woman Mother Theresa of Calcutta is no longer a heroine, being far too conservative and Catholic. 

Saturday 22 July 2023

Liberalism is the great problem but it's a symptom of a declining civilisation, rather than a force in itself

A historian I met once said to me that socialism is an absolutely terrible ideology, but the worst thing about socialists is that they are liberals too. 

He was right.

I sent an English friend of mine in his early fifties, who belonged to the Liberal Democrats and wanted to be an MP, a story from the Daily Mail about nine year olds in England being shown videos in sex education classes of men ejaculating. He has a daughter. 

He replied,

"This was a discussion even when I was at school. Healthy debate when it's appropriate. People won't always get it right."

Wherever you look the problem is the liberal outlook.

So the Ukrainians blew up the pipeline

I can be shockingly naive. I actually read about the blowing up of the Nord Stream pipeline and how it was the Russians who were probably to blame without seeing at first that this was absurd. I just accepted the nonsense for a few days.

Propaganda is insidious.

I was rightly incensed that the media that pretended that the Russians were to blame then suppressed the evidence in Seymour Hersh's scoop that it was the Americans. 

Nevertheless, the evidence from his anonymous source has been shown to have as many holes in it as the pipeline. Who gave it to Mr Hersh? 

Who blew up the pipeline? I really didn't know until the Russian "pranksters" Vovan & Lexus, pretending to be President Zelensky, asked Henry Kissinger who he thought was guilty. Dr Kissinger responded after a very, very long pause: "I thought you were."

As he thinks that then so do I, for all the difficulties in believing the Ukrainians were capable of it, the biggest difficulty being that the Ukrainian navy is in the Black Sea not the Baltic. 

But who else could it be? Had it been the Americans surely the secret wouldn't have been kept, as Anglo-American Russia expert Fiona Hill said. She also thinks it's the Ukrainians and, wrong headed though she is about Donald Trump and much else, she is not stupid.

If not the Ukrainians then I can't think of any other suspects other than the Americans. But I trust Kissinger's instinct.


General Franco on his legacy

General Franco fascinates me but I haven't read nearly enough about him and most of what I read was written by Communists or by people who wish the Stalinists had won the civil war. 

Stalinists like England's Jack Jones, the mighty 1970s trade union leader, Malraux, Koestler, Hemingway and various Eastern Europeans like Petru Roman's father Walter. The Republican side was full of people who helped Stalin rule Eastern Europe after the Second World War. 

On the other hand many people backed the Nationalists, from the Catholic Church and therefore Hilaire Belloc to JRR Tolkien, Gertrude Stein and Winston Churchill.

I was very interested to learn from the Spectator today that near the end of his life the Generalissimo predicted that after his death:
‘Spain will go a long way down the road that [the West] wants: democracy, pornography, drugs and so on. There will be a lot of crazy things but nothing terminal.’
How did he know?

‘Because I’m leaving something that I didn’t find on taking over the government of this country 40 years ago: the Spanish middle class… There won’t be another civil war.’

I remember an Anglo-Spanish friend laughing about how growth in Spain after his death never equalled what it was in his last years. His lasting monument, however, is not his tomb in the Valley of the Fallen (it's been moved anyway) but the jerrybuilt tourist resorts.

He saved his people from some bad things, though. It does not get much worse than Communism.

Andrew Roberts has said that how Hitler is judged in two hundred years time will depend on what happens in the next two hundred years. If things go well for democracy he will be judged as he is now, if not not. 

The same apples to Franco. 

If the ethnic Spanish become a minority in Spain he will become attractive to many Spaniards.

The same applies, of course, to the much more benign (even saintly, some thought) figure Dr Salazar, who always balanced the Portuguese books.

Friday 21 July 2023

John McCain in Kiev in December 2013 saying he wants to overthrow the Ukrainian government

I remember back in 2014 arguing with friends that there was no evidence that the Americans caused the 2014 Kiev revolution. There is not but their activities might very well have been decisive. What on earth were they doing?

In 2014 I pointed out the billions America admitted spending in Ukraine to a British diplomat who replied by asking how much were the Russians spending there.

l should have told him that the Russians were supporting the legal government of Ukraine. 

Esprit d'esclalier.

Certainly the Americans had no right try to replace the Ukrainian government. 

Certainly that is why the current war is happening, although American folly does not justify the Russian invasion.

Please watch this short clip. I found it on Twitter along with this tweet.

In December 2013 John McCain, live from Kyiv, tells CNN the US delegation in Ukraine is seeking to "bring about" a "transition" in the country (remove the government) and declares how "pleased" he is that Victoria Nuland is with him on the scene, attempting to achieve this goal.

I was certainly right to decide that Obama would make a better president than McCain.

A friend of mine who worked with her says 'Toria' Nuland like all other intelligent people has for many years believed that Putin wanted to restore the Soviet or Czarist empire. 

If she thought that she was unfit to be employed by State.

I don't think she is evil,  a word so much bandied about. She is a misguided ideologue, though I don't understand what her ideology is. 

It's not patriotism as Americans understood the word in Coolidge's day. It's liberal imperialism, I suppose. 

This is from the New York Times.  Anonymous senior US officials are frustrated that Ukrainians won't sacrifice enough of their soldiers.  For US interests or Ukrainian ones?

A really great American foreign policy analyst says this. Why don't the papers or TV stations report views like his?

Nothing will be achieved by reciprocal attacks on major infrastructures. Now that Ukraine's offensive has failed to change the map because the Russian army is getting stronger from the tumble of 2022, what is needed ASAP is a US peace plan. Ukraine has won its freedom. Enough

Thursday 20 July 2023


“The ‘production’ of souls is more important than the production of tanks.” Stalin

"We live in our desires rather than in our achievements." George Moore

"I oppose all change, of whatever nature, as a matter of policy." Mgr. Alfred Gilbey

Wednesday 19 July 2023

John Mearsheimer warned us

When I discovered John Mearsheimer very many years ago it was a revelation. I saw he was the first writer I had read who understood geopolitics now in the way AJP Taylor understood it in the 19th and 20th centuries.  

In this very insightful essay from last month he says a peace is not possible because both sides now have maximalist objectives and the result will be Ukraine as a rump state. He blames the Americans for leading Ukraine to this, something he and Kissinger warned the world about many years ago. Of course Putin alone is to blame for the war but of course Mearsheimer is right.  As Kissinger said, to be America's friend is fatal.

That goes for other countries besides Ukraine. 

I didn't imagine I'd see a worse American President than Bush the Younger but today I decided that Joe Biden is even worse. 


Monday 17 July 2023

Victoria Nuland versus Douglas Macgregor.

She says 10,000 Russians have died in the counter-offensive. Douglas Macgregor says only hundreds of Russians have died in the offensive compared to 20,000 or more Ukrainians. I wonder what the truth is.

I certainly do not trust her. I think her wholly malign. I don't see the evidence for what be says. He mentions that it comes from newspapers and records of funerals but he does not give us a link to the information online.

Zelensky's former adviser makes the same proposal for peace that I did in this blog last week


Sunday 16 July 2023

What Putin meant when he said the collapse of the Soviet empire “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russians in a broadcast in April 2005 that the collapse of the Soviet empire “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”. People think that this means that he is a Communist or that he wants to take back the other Soviet republics. Neither is true. 

Discount writers who quote that statement to mean either of those things. They are probably neo-cons and certainly don't understand.

Remember that Putin enlarged on it later, saying: “Anyone who doesn’t regret the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who wants it restored has no brains.”

Christopher Caldwell, in an article I just re-read that he wrote in 2017, says:
The degradation of Russia’s position represented by the Serbian War is what Putin was alluding to when he famously described the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” This statement is often misunderstood or mischaracterized: he did not mean by it any desire to return to Communism.
I don't know if Putin only meant the Kosovo war. I can see nothing on the net to support Caldwell's statement and there were many other indications of Russian weakness that Yeltsin presided over, but the Kosovo war was a huge humiliation for Russia. Putin was talking about how Russia had fallen into grave decay. 

The whole article is interesting,  especially in hindsight. I think Christopher  Caldwell is the best political writer living, better even than Douglas Murray. He is genuinely writing contemporary history.

Saturday 15 July 2023

Freedom is dying in Europe and in most places except the USA

“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.” 

Judge Learned Hand, an American judge from the early 20th century whose curious name we all vaguely know, spoke a profound truth.

Love of freedom has long been considered shockingly right-wing by the opinion formers in Western Europe. Since at least the mid 1960s. 

Friday 14 July 2023

"Do we want to end up in a situation when Putin will survive and he will have more time? Something like the lull between the first and second world war.”'

I do not love the Financial Times. It is the mouthpiece for all the ideas I most dislike, but I did once because it was a good, factual news source. It still is, if you discount for its bias towards what you might call globalism. Anglo-American Russia expert Fiona Hill thinks the word an antisemitic slur but it of course isn't and I think is useful. If you prefer we can say liberal internationalist instead. 'Pro-US bipartisan establishment, pro-Nato, pro-EU, liberal internationalist,' if you like.

I blogged about a great article in the FT on February 23, 2023 about why Putin invaded Ukraine. I also printed the article off and rereading it this week I was struck by this short passage.

'In ramping up military support for Ukraine, western officials are mindful anything less than a crushing defeat for Russia risks failing to deal with the problem.
'“We need to ask ourselves: How do we want this to end up? Do we want to end up in a situation when Putin will survive and he will have more time?” says an EU foreign minister. “Something like the lull between the first and second world war.”'

This is how many think. The Hitler analogy again. War against Russia that resembles the world wars against first the Kaiser then Hitler.

The idea that Russia has reasons (whatever international law says) for wanting Ukraine in her sphere of interests makes no sense to modern European diplomats except in Hungary. On the other hand by invading Crimea Ukraine had become an enemy of Russia forever.

They prefer to think in terms of criminology rather than of politics.

They think Putin is a homicidal maniac with Napoleonic or Hitlerian ambitions.

My American friends who think the US should have fought the Russians in Crimea in 2014 think this. I asked one why he thought Putin had waited so long before behaving like this. 'Because he was cementing his dictatorship. This was always his plan.' 

That is really how many American opinion-formers think. They do not consider that inviting Ukraine to join Nato in 2008 at Bucharest might have had anything to do with it.

Thursday 13 July 2023


'A false sense of security is the only kind there is.' Michael Meade

"She plucked from my lapel the invisible strand of lint (the universal act of woman to proclaim ownership)." O. Henry

“The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.” 
Margaret Thatcher said this to Paul Johnson, according to a piece he wrote for The Spectator in 2011.

'People who don't believe in their own religion are destined to be conquered by people who believe in theirs.' Bunny Sheffield

Hitler forever

I told a highly intelligent American friend (Catholic, Republican, usually commonsensical) who was high up in the US State Department, that for neo-cons it is always 1938. (Paul Gottfried said that first.) My friend replied that that's because it is always 1938!

There you have the history of the post-war period.

The invasion of Ukraine was caused by Hitler analogies (in Putin's mind), the new cold war with Russia will have been caused by Hitler analogies, like the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Gaddafi, like the Cold War and the Suez adventure. 

Donald Trump prevented Assad being overthrown because of Hitler analogies but was almost overthrown because of them himself.

100° today in my beloved Paris of the East. In July it feels very Balkan, dusty, shabby, romantic. The perfect place for me, as I knew when I first came here in 1990.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Note well

"If the UK continues with the same level of growth it has seen for the last decade, Poland will be richer than Britain in about 12 years’ time.” Sam Ashworth-Hayes

“We actually live in a world where it is imaginable that in less than 10 years living standards in Poland have exceeded living standards in Britain.” US economist Tyler Cowen talking recently an audience in Westminster

The economics of thinness and other quotations

"Anyone who takes a sure road is as good as dead." Carl Jung

"Brunettes are full of electricity." Auguste de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

"Rich women are much thinner than poor women but rich men are about as fat as poor men." The Economist, Dec 20th 2022 The economics of thinness

I posted this 7 years and 1 day ago

Overheard in the Athénée half an hour ago. (I hate calling it the Hilton.) 

'How are things in Britain?' 
'The middle classes are still in shock.' 
It is a pleasure to think most of the right of centre and left-wing middle classes have been defeated, but in fact it is a bit illusory. 43% of graduates voted Leave.
What saddens me is that the FCO will give us EU-lite, because the EU project is their life's mission. I increasingly feel that leaving the single market altogether might be best thing we could do. 
I also think it is increasingly obvious that leaving the EU is exactly what the British always wanted and the right thing to do. 'Let freedom ring'. 
And a victory for rootedness over citizens of the world. And a victory for people like Roger Scruton, Charles Moore, Douglas Murray and the people of England. We are many, they are not few but slightly fewer than us. It was a glorious victory.

How gracefully Farage conceded defeat a few minutes after 10 p.m. on referendum night after hearing the opinion poll results. Compare and contrast the behaviour of very many vocal Remain supporters, who want Parliament to ignore the result.

I sincerely hope I do not take pleasure in others' misfortunes but the agony of the Remain supporters has it's funny side. 

Sunday 9 July 2023


"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." 


“The devil is like a rabid dog tied to a chain; beyond the length of the chain he cannot seize anyone. And you: keep at a distance. If you approach too near, you let yourself be caught.” 

Padre (St.) Pio 

"The suburbs that burned are precisely the ones that the French state has invested more than 30 billion euros in "improving" over the past 20 years. The result has been the creation of a whole generation of "assisted" people whose ethnic and/or religious backgrounds are treated as heirlooms to justify government handout in various guises".

My modest proposal to end the war in Ukraine

I think Henry Kissinger was right that inviting Ukraine to join Nato provoked Putin to invade. Who can doubt it?

He might well also be right that now Ukraine should join Nato.

My suggestion for the basis for a durable peace now is this. A ceasefire that lasts forever (this is how the war will almost certainly end). Russia holds what she occupies. Ukraine and world do not recognise her right to do so. Ukraine joins Nato, which will deter another attack by Russia.

It is not ideal, it is not just, but peace is better than justice, as a Romanian monk recently told Rod Dreher.

Saturday 8 July 2023

"Ukraine's disastrous counter-offensive"

I'd never heard of retired Lieutenant Colonel Davis till now. In this interesting interview from two weeks ago the American said that the "disastrous" Ukrainian counter-offensive had failed and that Biden should not have engaged so much with the Ukrainian war effort.

He thought that there was no rational military path for Ukraine to win back her lost territories.

He could well be right. I agree with him that Barak Obama was right not to support a proxy war between Ukraine and Russia in 2014.

The interviewer mentions the Russian desire for an empire. Most Russians and many Americans think Americans are the ones who have an empire.

American empire

'The process of European integration has historically not been a European project but rather an American one.

'It is an American project both ideologically and politically. Ideologically because, from the American viewpoint, the European continent is home to quarrelsome micro-states still trapped in their own history, unlike the United States of America which broke away from its past, discovered the secret of good government in 1776, and never looked back. That secret is to be found in federalism and constructivism—the idea that a polity can be created ex nihilo, based on rational principles alone, and free from the determinisms of history. It is this invented nature of the American republic that gives it its famous millenarianism—novus ordo saeclorum or “the end of history” as it has been more commonly known in recent years. The European project is inspired by the same idea that Europe should turn its back on its own history and embrace a constructivist and rationalist project in order to achieve peace.

'Politically, this deep American conviction that Europe should Americanise has been conjugated since 1945 with the conviction that the U.S. needs to maintain a military presence in Europe to ensure its global hegemony. Without a bridgehead on the Eurasian continent, the “island” state cannot hope to dominate the “World Island,” to use Sir Halford Mackinder’s terms for the U.S.A. and the Eurasian continent. Americans hold their inter-war isolationism responsible for the outbreak of World War II because, with a Hobbesian logic, they believe that their power is the only antidote to the otherwise anarchical society of international relations.'

This is from an essay by the idiosyncratic thinker John Laughland in January and is, of course, true. 

It is exactly how Robert Kaplan and Victoria Nuland think and how the late John McCain did. 

The alternative to the American empire is literally Hitler. He's dead but he won't lie down.

After Hitler the role was reprised by a series of people from Stalin to Putin, Orban and of course Donald Trump.

Friday 7 July 2023

The history of the word fascism

In 19th century Italy the bundle of rods, fascio, came to symbolise strength through unity, because whilst each independent rod was fragile, as a bundle they were strong. Fascio came to mean union, band or league in the 1870s and was used by groups of revolutionary democrats in Sicily to describe themselves. 

The word had heroic, revolutionary connotations. Young men who demanded Italian intervention in World War I formed fasci and it was to one of these groups, with no party affiliation, that Benito Mussolini belonged.

The Italian fascists had imitators throughout Europe and beyond until the end of the 1939-1945 war. Since then there have been few who use the word of themselves. 

As Douglas Murray said, the need for fascists (by progressives) far outstrips the supply.

Franco remained after 1945 but he strictly speaking was not a fascist. He was supported by three organisations, one of which, the Falange, was. Salazar was not one either, just another right-wing, reactionary Catholic dictator. 

The interview with Stanley Payne in the National Review that I mentioned below quotes Orwell who said "Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’” 

The history of the vexatious words capitalism, democracy and racism

"Capitalism" is first found in 1854 to mean the "condition of having capital". In 1872 it was first used to mean a political and economic system, by socialists who disapproved of it.

"There is no satisfactory definition of the term, though nothing is more evident than the thing" said the entry on "Capitalism" in the 1929 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, written by J.L. Garvin.

It's a word to beware of. Its meaning is not clear and it still implies to some extent a negative connotation, however much it is used by people who think it a good thing.

The Antichrist and soft despotism

De Tocqueville in Volume II, Book 4, Chapter 6 of Democracy in America. I came across this quoted in an interview by Stanley Payne, the historian of Franco's Spain, in relation to America since Obama became president. It reminds me more of modern Western Europe and the UK. 

'Thus, after having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a


'Like the wheel, bronze, iron, the stirrup, gunpowder, guns, rifling, navigational instruments, airplanes, and submarines, the hypersonic missile is about to change warfighting dramatically, perhaps causing the demise of the Navy’s carrier fleet and its air wing—which is what America has used to project power since WWII. There’s no question that a surface fleet, especially carriers and planes, will still have vital functions to perform, but if it comes to war among major powers with thousands of hypersonic missiles ready to launch, then a pilot lifting off a carrier deck would look anachronistic, like something belonging in the 20th, not the 21st, century.

'We may long for the romantic and heroic days when acts of military derring-do were performed by Medal of Honor recipients, but it looks like the future belongs to the ugly, impersonal, and utilitarian high-tech hypersonic missile.'

Roger D. McGrath. This is from a very interesting short article about how military technology changes history by the military historian. The use of the stirrup, which the Saxons didn't have, enabled the Normans to conquer England.

Thursday 6 July 2023

Are the werewolf and vampire myths based on memories of a war between Cro-Magnon Man and Neanderthals?

I just listened to a short talk on the origin of the werewolf and vampire myths. 

I don't think those myths were of great importance before Hollywood used them, by the way, but all myths are very interesting and appealing, to me at least. 

Even though fairy tales bored me to tears when I was three or four I love them now. Why, I don't know.

Were Neanderthals the original vampires?

Others think vampires are linked to the rare disease porphyria, which makes sufferers flee the sun. 

Perhaps porphyria is a Neanderthal legacy. 

Vampires are not important in Romanian culture, by the way. An Anglo-Irish pulp fiction writer copied the idea of a vampire story from another more gifted Anglo-Irishman, who had set his vampire story not in Transylvania but in Styria in Austria.

I have no idea if Robert Sepehr is a good authority but his theories about war between Cro-Magnon and cannibalistic Neanderthals who saw well in the dark are worth hearing, though his stuff smacks slightly of the stuff people like Erich von

Wednesday 5 July 2023

“We have met the enemy and he is us"

This is the beginning of an astonishing article in the achingly liberal, globalist, Democrat newspaper the New York Times, about Richard N. Haass, the outgoing president of the oldest American foreign policy think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, set up by the daddy of American liberal foreign policy, President Woodrow Wilson.

It seems Mr Haas, 71, has witnessed a shaft of light before the setting of the sun. 

It reminds me of the mystical experiences that Aquinas and Pascal experienced late in life which they said were worth more than all their philosophy.

Everywhere he has gone as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard N. Haass has been asked the same question: What keeps him up at night? He has had no shortage of options over the years — Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, climate change, international terrorism, food insecurity, the global pandemic.

But as he steps down after two decades running America’s most storied private organization focused on international affairs, Mr. Haass has come to a disturbing conclusion. The most serious danger to the security of the world right now? The threat that costs him sleep? The United States itself.

“It’s us,” he said ruefully the other day.


And of course the threat to the United Kingdom comes from illegal immigrants, 'refugees' and terrorists, not state actors. 


Ukraine's tragic mistakes and Joe Biden, who encouraged them, losing his grip

'And (I'm serious about this), the retired Francis would face criminal prosecution for his alleged complicity in abuse cover-ups and if found guilty would be laicised and maybe receive a jail sentence. I mean it.' Damian Thompson, former editor of the Catholic Herald.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

And after many a summer dies the swan

At breakfast yesterday on the terrace opposite the National Bank a lady at the next table with a German accent was deploring this story about Old Man Biden making AI woke. 

I deplore it too. It seems the developed world is a country under enemy occupation. 

She said 'I agree with everything Trump said. Even his remarks about girls. Those girls are only interested in money, baby'. 

She thinks Biden should go to prison. I didn't hear why. 

I wish my Romanian was good enough to eavesdrop - eavesdropping is the best source of writing material.

A Romanian friend, who publishes novels in America and has to keep her liking for Donald Trump a secret if she wishes to continue to be published, says AI 'already is woke. I use it.'

The US Democrats and Western progressives are like an army of killer zombies. 

I should keep telling you what taxi drivers say about the Ukrainian war. The last two once again divide the blame but think America provoked Russia. The second talked about how badly ethnic Romanians are treated in Ukraine. And how much money given to Ukraine is stolen.

One hears both those points quite often. Both are true but I remember an American who lives here getting angry when I mentioned the stealing. He's a Democrat. He has lived here eighteen years but has not learnt cynicism. 

It is naivete which runs right through American foreign policy, like the word Southend through a stick of rock .

A close Romanian friend told me last night that there is no hope for West and suddenly for the very first time after years of doomsaying, I felt a cold chill of something like despair.

But I refuse to despair. 

She has and moved to the countryside, and a village with a convent, to escape modernity. 

I said that Bucharest was my refuge and by British standards it is one. 

For the time being.

It's a bit like the civilised, Christian Britons after the Romans left, waiting for the German barbarians. 

That was the moment when King Arthur fought and we should too. 

He is at least a beautiful heroic myth.

Here is something good but very frightening that I read just now in an article by William Lind called The Future of War.

<The origin of fourth-generation war lies not in technology nor in tactics, but in a vastly larger phenomenon: a growing and near-universal crisis of the legitimacy of the state. All around the world, the state has become a prisoner of a new class—an elite class that can’t make things work, that uses its wealth and power to insulate itself from the consequences of things not working, and which cares about only one thing: remaining the elite.

The non-elite majority is seeing through the game and trying, where they are allowed, to vote the bastards out; hence the victory of President Donald Trump in 2016. But the whole elite rallies to defend its position, often by destroying the person who threatened to topple it. And when populist forces do score a victory, the deep state mobilizes to thwart them at every turn. Eventually, ordinary people just switch the whole thing off.

But that “thing” includes their primary loyalty. Instead of giving it to the state, which they now view as illegitimate, they bestow it, as before Westphalia, on a wide variety of alternatives: on races and ethnic groups, religions and cults, business enterprises (legal and illegal), gangs, regions, causes such as “animal rights” and radical environmentalism—again, the list is endless. And many of these people, who would never fight for the state, willingly, even eagerly, fight for their new primary loyalty. (The environmentalist who engages in “tree spiking” by burying a metal rod in a tree, hoping to kill a logger, is committing an act of war, not just a crime.)

And so states dissolve in a many-sided civil war, returning one former state after another to a Hobbesian state of nature, a place where life is dominated by wandering groups of armed men taking whatever they want from anyone too weak to resist.>

This sentence spoke to me very loudly: 'And when populist forces do score a victory, the deep state mobilizes to thwart them at every turn.'

Yes indeed.

I hope and think the article is too alarmist and that there is a lot of ruin in a nation (Adam Smith). 

Mr Lind, however, says that as a young woman in the 1930s his mother would walk home late at night through white or black areas in Washington DC without giving it a moment's thought. 

A friend of mine grew up in a Nairobi the size of Chelmsford and almost as safe. 

Baghdad used to be safe under the monarchy, Kingston, Jamaica under British rule, Paris under the Fourth Republic.