Grand Strategy in the Age of Mass Destruction


The Psychopath Under the Bed - PART ONE

Commentary for 2 November 2014

Because we can see that there is a complex and clever system in Russia, quite opaque and full of interesting details and inner rules, we should conclude that the system came about by intelligent design. But how? The evidence strongly suggests that it did not come about by chance. This book firmly rejects the ideas often promulgated in Western academic circles that Putin is an ‘accidental autocrat’ or a ‘good tsar surrounded by bad boyars.’
            - Karen Dawisha, Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?

The elite [are] the ultimate authority [in Russia]: it provides the collective leadership of which [the president] is a member and which decides, among other things, how long he should serve as President. The elite has to have some mechanism at its disposal through which such decisions can be reached and through which controlled political events can be coordinated. It is essential to the success of the strategy that this mechanism should be well concealed from the West. I lack the facilities to study how it might be operating. The likelihood is, however, that it functions under cover of some openly acknowledged body. The National Security Council might be a candidate for investigation as a possible front for this secret mechanism.
             - Anatoliy Golitsyn, Memorandum to the CIA: 1 October 1993

I want to warn Americans. As a people, you are very naïve about Russia and its intentions. You believe because the Soviet Union no longer exists, Russia now is your friend. It isn’t, and I can show you how the SVR [Russian Foreign Intelligence Service] is trying to destroy the U.S. even today and even more than the KGB did during the Cold War.
                  - Sergei Tretyakov, as quoted by Pete Early in Comrade J, 2007

America’s old enemy is still there, plotting the overthrow of capitalism. But this is a paradox because communism supposedly died 23 years ago. What died, of course, was something different. What actually died was the practice of admitting to communist beliefs. That is what died! The fashion today – in Russia and China, the U.S. and Europe, Latin America and Africa – is to deny that one is a communist. Thus, Nelson Mandela was not a communist, but a “democrat.” Hugo Chavez was not a communist but a “populist.” President Xi Jinping is not a communist, but a “pragmatist.” Vladimir Putin is not a communist but a “Christian.” And so the game is played, around the world, so that nobody is a communist except those who wear a red beanie, or have a hammer and sickle emblazoned on their forehead.

And who would be such an idiot and wear such a beanie? Only a fool would say that he is coming to tear down capitalism; for the capitalists have money and power, and they will resist any open or direct assault on their position. Therefore the communist label interferes with the accomplishment of the communist goal because even a relatively clueless businessmen instinctively fears expropriation. Therefore, the advance of communism must be a dissimulative process in which the communists take over under a “progressive” banner, promising better medical care and better living conditions. Or as Lenin promised the Russian people in 1917, “Our policy is bread and peace!” Their campaign gives itself away, however, by its envious telltale, and by the husbanding of destructive forces and impulses – especially by keeping alive the memory of past injustices and those tragedies of history which can be credibly blamed on “greed,” or on the “rich.” But in truth it is not the “rich” we have to fear. For wealth is not the same as evil. The criminal and the psychopath are not so much motivated by greed as they are motivated by the hatred of normal society. “A man is not a socialist,” wrote Gustave le Bon, “without hating some person or thing….” The background of the great socialist leaders, from Mao and Castro, to Stalin and Lenin, was a background of psychopathology. Totalitarian socialism, in fact, has always been government by psychopaths. The final giveaway is the presence of ordinary criminal types within the leadership of the Communist Party and its revolutionary cadre. Here we find the sadists, the robbers, the killers, and the misfits. Revolution is alluring to them, because it gives them permission to do their thing under cover of an ideal.  As Sam Vaknin has pointed out, “The suppression of envy is at the core of the narcissist’s being. If he fails to convince his self that he is the only good object in the universe, he is bound to be exposed to his own murderous envy. If there are others out there who are better than him, he envies them, he lashes out at them ferociously, uncontrollably, madly, hatefully, he tries to eliminate them.”

If one is pathological, then one belongs to a pathological tribe. And yes, they can recognize each other. It is this subset which works to destroy Western civilization and eliminate what is best in the world. The psychopath, energized by politics, realizes himself in a new way. One is not destined to commit mere petty crimes if one has sufficient grandiosity. One can commit crimes on an undreamt of scale, against millions of defenseless people. The scheme is given an idealistic coloring. The perpetrator is presented as a champion of the downtrodden. And that’s how the whole enterprise is sold to the feeble-minded, the naïve, and the half-baked. Here is the subset which presently lures our businessmen into a massive trade relationship with China. Here is the subset responsible for changing the school curriculum in the various jurisdictions of the United States. They have taken over the major unions. They have a surprising degree of influence over the media and Hollywood. They have a major hand in designing America’s environmental policies, with a special view to crippling the capitalist economy and making it impossible for America to compete economically. And as Trevor Loudon has shown in his latest book, The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress, these “enemies” even write our laws – in the state houses and in Congress.

Today we are supposed to believe that the communist world movement no longer exists. It no longer has its capital in Russia. We are supposed to believe that the Chinese communists are communists in name only. Is it wise to believe that communism died because the psychopaths behind it were cured? Or would it be wiser, overall, to assume that the psychopaths who composed the core of a criminal system remain as they were? Why would it be any different now? Today they fool us with the pretense that they have turned over a new leaf. But there is no leaf, and there is nothing to turn over. Psychopaths are not cured by becoming capitalists.

Tens of millions were murdered by the Communist Party system between 1917 and 1991. Who stood trial for these murders? Was property restored to the families of the victims? Was restitution given? No. Lenin was not even buried, but remains on display in Moscow, as fresh as a daisy. His statues remain standing throughout Russia. It may be argued that in 1991 the Communist Party Soviet Union changed its formation, going partly underground. If the system in Russia is opaque, as Russia expert Karen Dawisha shows, then it is by careful design. Why should Russia’s political reality be so murky except that Russia has been organized with a deception in mind – with a dark veil drawn over key events and personalities? We need to look closer at the work of Anatoliy Golitsyn, who successfully predicted the entire course of Russian policy from 1985 to the present. He predicted perestroika and glasnost. He predicted the Communist Party giving up its monopoly of power. He predicted the establishment of checks and balances in the Russian political system. And he predicted these checks and balances would be a swindle; perhaps the greatest swindle of all history, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Many researchers strongly suspect the apartment bombings that struck Russia in 1999 were staged by the FSB so that Muslims would be blamed and a war could begin against Chechnya. Some researchers suspect this was done as an opening move to consolidate a new type of regime in Russia. Yet it was not merely a new type of criminal regime, but a reconfiguration of the Soviet regime (same criminals, different label). As outgoing head of the FSB prior to the bombings, Vladimir Putin must have been involved in the planning, and he was certainly the political beneficiary of the outcome. The subsequent resumption of the war in Chechnya, which was then dubbed “Operation Anti-Terror,” was not merely the Kremlin’s alibi in advance of 9/11. It set up Putin to play the role of faithful ally to the United States (which he never was). That this alibi was a fake was even acknowledged by Putin’s handpicked Gauleiter in Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov, who gave an interview for the 7 January 2000 edition of the London Arab language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat in which he obliquely suggested that Russian generals controlled both sides of the Chechen conflict. How very intriguing indeed! “This is not jihad,” Kadyrov explained, “it is rather deception.” He had personally confronted Putin about this fact, and Putin had supposedly admitted that “mistakes were made.” According to Kadyrov, “I told Putin that if Russia really wanted to, not a single foreigner [i.e., al Qaeda terrorist] could have infiltrated into Chechnya or extended a single dollar to it, which means that this whole thing was deliberately planned.”

Oh yes, and it was planned for a number of carefully thought-out reasons. As Anatoliy Golitsyn later argued, the war in Chechnya proved to everyone that Russia was militarily weak and incapable. It could no longer be a threat to the West. This further reinforced the shift of the West’s intelligence assets away from Russia toward the new Islamic threat. As Golitsyn suggested, the policies and actions taken by the Communist Party Soviet Union (CPSU) from 1985-1991 had this outcome in mind from the start.

Thirty years ago former KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn warned, in New Lies for Old, that “the next five years will be a period of intense struggle. It will be marked by a major coordinated communist offensive intended to exploit the success of the strategic disinformation program over the past twenty years and to take advantage of the crisis and mistakes it has engendered in Western policies toward the communist bloc.” This offensive, he said, had been carefully prepared since the late 1950s. It would involve secret collaboration between Moscow and Beijing. According to Golitsyn, Russia and China were committed to a “scissors strategy,” and in “the final stroke,” wrote Golitsyn, “the scissors blades will close.” The European option “would be prompted by a revival of controlled ‘democratization’ on the Czechoslovak pattern….” Golitsyn explained that the intensification of hard-line policies during the early 80s “exemplified by Sakharov’s arrest and the occupation of Afghanistan, presages a switch to ‘democratization’ following, perhaps, Brezhnev’s departure from the political scene.” Golitsyn then made an astonishing prediction: “Brezhnev’s successor may well appear to be a kind of Soviet Dubcek. The succession will be important only in a presentational sense. The reality of collective leadership and the leaders’ common commitment to the long-range policy will continue unaffected.” Golitsyn predicted that an era of Soviet reform would be at hand. Control would be decentralized, self-managing firms would be created, and material incentives would be employed. According to Golitsyn, “the [communist] party’s control over the economy would be apparently diminished. Such reforms would be based on Soviet experience in the 1920s and 1960s, as well as on Yugoslav experience.” Despite outward appearances, Golitsyn warned, the party “would continue to control the economy from behind the scenes as before. The picture being deliberately painted now of stagnation and deficiencies in the Soviet economy should be seen as part of the preparation for deceptive innovations….”

These deceptive innovations would include political liberalization. “The ‘liberalization’ would be spectacular and impressive,” wrote Golitsyn. “Formal pronouncements might be made about a reduction in the communist party’s role; its monopoly would be apparently curtailed. An ostensible separation of powers between the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary might be introduced…. The KGB would be ‘reformed.’” Unfortunately, warned Golitsyn, “the ‘liberalization’ would be calculated and deceptive in that it would be introduced from above. It would be carried out by the party through its cells and individual members in government … and by the KGB through its agents….”

Golitsyn never received due credit for his many successful predictions, but his insights are being confirmed – however indirectly. In Karen Dawisha’s new book, Putin’s Kleptocracy, we find a detailed description of the mechanism by which the Communist Party Soviet Union hoped to continue its control of the post-Soviet economy in secret. Of course, Dawisha does not fully recognize that the described object (the KGB cabal around Putin) is a mechanism for secret control by an underground ruling party. She does recognize that it is a mechanism composed largely of KGB operatives. According to Dawisha, “when the newly elected Russian president Boris Yel’tsin banned the CPSU after the failed 1991 August coup attempt against Gorbachev, the CPSU’s guidance ceased, and the control over this vast mountain of foreign money fell to the KGB agents who had access to foreign operations and accounts.”

Dawisha’s statement is naïve, of course; for how does she know who is actually in charge? The KGB continued to exist after 1991. The overall military system of the Soviet Union, however attenuated, also continued to exist. We have testimony on this from KGB, FSB, and GRU defectors. But more than that, the international communist struggle continued to exist! (Check out this recent video from Cuba.) Please consider, that if the communists were not still in charge of Russia, why would Russia now be expanding its sphere of influence into communist-dominated Nicaragua as documented by Valeria Gomez Palacios? It is a fact beyond dispute, that President Daniel Ortega is a communist. The Sandinista Party is in fact a Marxist-Leninist Party which only pretends to be a “social democratic” party. The gangsters who ran the party in the 1980s are the same people who run it today. The game in Nicaragua, in fact, runs parallel to the game in Russia. The game, of course, has been to put social democratic lipstick on the same old communist pig.

If Moscow is now Russian and not communist, why would they support Ortega and the Sandinistas by installing a Russian military base in Nicaragua? According to Gomez, “As of February 2014, illegal changes to Nicaragua’s constitution went into effect, thus providing a new decree of authority to the president and changing the entire essence of the political system. The new reform of the constitution has Nicaraguans living in a legalized dictatorship and has undermined the little democracy left in the country.” In other words, a communist takeover in Nicaragua has been finalized, and a number of Russian military bases will be constructed. If the CPSU is not ruling Russia, even now, why would support for Ortega be such a priority? And why would Russian soldiers walk arm-in-arm with a dedicated communist? Even more to the point, why would the Nicaraguan communists trust the Russians unless they know that the Russians are still faithful to their cause? Furthermore, Nicaragua under Ortega is now a dictatorship opposed to the United States. Is it merely coincidence that Russia under Putin is now a dictatorship opposed to the United States? Let us be realistic, at last. Let us admit what has been happening since 1991.

During the 1990s, after the supposed fall of communism in Russia, the Kremlin continued to send military supplies to the MPLA communists in Angola. Even when the United States stopped supporting Jonas Savimbi, the Russian supply planes continued to deliver their weapons and ammunition. If advancing global communism was no longer a Russian objective, then why support the idiotic MPLA? Why deploy pilots to Angola? The same goes for Russia’s relationship with South Africa and the communist-controlled ANC government under Mandela and his successors, and with Chavez in Venezuela. Sending warships and military aircraft to Venezuela was not merely a friendly visit. It was something more. 

Karen Dawisha suggests that Russia’s present leadership, which is drawn from the KGB, is oriented toward self-enrichment. She doesn’t see the communist part of this grand scheme, despite the many statues of Lenin that are still standing throughout Russia (as they were still standing in Ukraine only a year ago). Why not take down the statues? Why not bury Lenin? Why threaten the people who took down the Lenin statues in Ukraine? These questions are glossed over, and they shouldn’t be. For if the supposed KGB rulers in Moscow were not communists, but merely greedy criminals, how do we explain their apparently suicidal prodding and poking of America today? How do we explain their ferocious lashing out? How do we explain their annexation of Crimea, their belligerence toward the Baltic States and NATO? Surely, if their plan was to enjoy their ill-gotten gains in peace, they would merely bribe key Western officials and present themselves as non-threatening, nuclear-armed “friends” who would rather get access to the Western financial system than shoot down civilian airliners and annex chunks of neighboring countries. What better way to preserve their wealth than to avoid conflict? Why build military bases in Central America? Why send strategic bombers to fly along the California coast? What kind of man risks World War III in order to possess $80 billion instead of a $40 billion? This is not greed. It is a psychological abnormality, a defect symptomatic of a communist misfit.   

Oh yes, Putin and his gang are criminals. As Karen Dawisha shows, Western leaders knew about this long ago. Here the label of “criminal” replaced the more threatening brand name of “communist.” Here was a diversion wrapped inside an alibi, sugared with the promise of a lucrative partnership. The diversion was successful, the alibi was accepted without a second thought, and the partnership was a farce. Showing his true colors today, Putin snarls threats as we move beyond the final phase of the great deception – toward what Anatoliy Golitsyn called “one clenched fist.” The danger of war is growing. The Russian military drills are becoming more frequent. Bases are being prepared in Nicaragua. ISUS is advancing in Iraq. North Korea is preparing for war. China is preparing for a “regional war.”

In Karen Dawisha’s book we read about the massive wealth controlled by the Russian president and his associates. These people hold key positions in global finance, enabling them to (in Dawisha’s words) “undermine … Western financial institutions, the banks, equity markets, real estate markets, and insurance companies….” Prominent Western politicians have been corrupted, like Silvio Berlusconi, and major companies have been compromised like the Bank of New York. The new Russian sistema controls the political and economic development not only of Russia, but has intertwined itself, insinuated itself, into Western politics and business. According to Dawisha, “The KGB moved the CPSU’s vast financial reserves offshore, out from under President Mikhayl Gorbachev’s control, thus further crippling his regime.” But the money wasn’t moved off shore to cripple Gorbachev. It was moved offshore to infect the West. Dawisha has yet to realize that a strategy was then being engaged. She does not grasp the sophisticated methods and tactics of the CPSU and its Sword and Shield (the KGB); so she has yet to recognize the process that was actually being advanced in 1991. When Lev Pavolovsky warned that Putin belonged to “a very extensive but politically invisible layer of people who … were looking for a ‘revanche’ in connection with the fall of the Soviet Union” he was perhaps referring to the Communist Party Soviet Union, which continues to exist. And yes, it still is running things because we can trace its larger design (which is thoroughly Red). Amazingly, Dawisha comes very close to seeing this larger picture. She acknowledges that Putin’s favorite songs are Soviet, yet she tends to lay a greater emphasis on Putin’s greed. While Putin was stationed in East Germany, she explains, “he had the leaders of the German Red Army faction … steal speaker systems for him when they had a moment free from their terror campaigns.”

Communism, as I noted earlier, has always been about looting. It has always been infused with envy. The Communists steal and lie and kill. This is the history of Communism – in Russia, in China, in Cuba, in Venezuela, etc., etc. It is not a testimony to their anti-communism that the KGB operatives in charge of the CPSU’s money have enriched themselves. We should not feel surprise at Bill Gertz’s Free Beacon article of last April 7, “Putin Corruption Network Revealed.”  What should surprise us is the recent communist advances in Colombia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and inside the USA. The leading communists have always been greedy. To believe in their rhetoric about the exploited workers is completely idiotic. The communist leaders have never really cared about the workers. Malignant narcissists and psychopaths do not care about other people. They care about their own grandiose place in the universe while seeking to eliminate those who threaten to expose their true insignificance.  

In her excellent outline of Putin’s criminal ties, Dawisha assumes that all of this automatically tells us what these links are designed to do, and what purposes they serve. She does not stop to think that wealth is merely one of the trappings of absolute power and not the thing itself. She does not stop to think that if “top Kremlin elites” set the guidelines for working with criminal structures, that the central purpose may be strategic aggrandizement through an appeal to personal aggrandizement. The thing which allowed Anatoliy Golitsyn to make so many accurate predictions about Russia was his ability to stay focused on the strategic significance of actions and events. In her analysis, Dawisha is almost there. She has put the pieces together admirably when she quotes a Spanish prosecutor as saying that “one cannot differentiate between the activities of the [Russian] government and organized crime groups [in Russia]…. The FSB is ‘absorbing’ the Russian mafia [and using them for black ops].”

This is very important. The Sword and Shield of the CPSU is “using” the Russian mafia. It is not the other way around. Here I want to return to one of Dawisha’s most intuitively brilliant insights: “that the [Russian] system came about by intelligent design.” Few realize how sophisticated that design truly is, and how much study, and how much brain power, has gone into it. This is no ordinary criminal network. These are not merely “corrupt officials.” The Soviet Academy of Sciences made its contribution. Top Soviet experts in every field also contributed; for the Soviet Union was geared to one objective, one mission, and the collapse of the Soviet Union was not the end of that mission but a means to it. Again, the Spanish prosecutor that Dawisha quotes spoke of wiretaps which showed that Russian mafia bosses “had a ‘dangerously close’ level of contact with senior Russian officials.”

What kind of system does Russia have? Who was behind the “intelligent design” she writes about? And what is the objective of this design? “I suggest that the antidemocratic and politically illiberal aspects of the plans were present from the beginning….” Dawisha is very close to the truth, indeed. And what is more antidemocratic and politically illiberal than communism? I have to wonder if Dawisha has found another way of discussing the true situation while omitting the more embarrassing, outmoded terminology of the Cold War – even though we are still in the Cold War, and we are still fighting the same people. If Putin’s name were Donald Duck, it would not change what he is. Our habit of mistaking our labels for the “thing itself” has contributed to our confusion; and so it’s good to read such a clever researcher as Dawisha.

What is happening now, in the Far East and the Near East, in Ukraine and Central America, is all of a piece. We have to think strategically. We have to realize that an abnormal political system and it's abnormal leaders cannot change what they are. A tiger may hide in a tree, and wait for its victim. But it cannot change its stripes. What we interpretted as change in 1989-91 was mere adaptation. The animal remains the same, especially under the skin.

[Part 2 coming soon]

Thoughts inspired by Karen Dawisha’s book,
Russia’s kleptocracy, in the light of Golitsyn’s methodoloy