Complacent Sentries and the Sloth of Roaming Unrest

Author’s Note, on 12 May 2021: This essay was completed on 19 January 2013, which was less than a month before the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was announced (on 11 February 2013), and almost two months before Pope Francis’ election to replace Benedict XVI as the new pope (on 13 March 2013). Moreover, this essay discusses the strategic insights of two non-Catholics about many matters of moment which should be of interest to Catholics, as well: James Burnham and Whittaker Chambers.

Dr. Robert Hickson

19 January 2013

Saint Canute of Denmark (d.1086)

General Robert E. Lee’s Birthday (d.1870)

Complacent Sentries and the Sloth of Roaming Unrest:

The Ambience of Vaticanum II in its Historical-Military Context

Epigraphs:

“Given time, we hear the argument, we can gradually work our way out of the mess….Conferences of foreign [and hence ecclesiastical] ministers will step by step build up confidence and solve the problems and bring us peace and prosperity. But we are not given time, and there is now loose in the world a mighty force dedicated to the proposition that we shall not have peace and prosperity.” (James Burnham, The Coming Defeat of Communism, 1949, 1950, p. 12.)

“If I am wrong in my assumed point of view, if the crisis is an illusion and the catastrophe an anxiety complex, then there can be no justification for either the analysis or the plan [“that I propose”]. But I do not believe that I am wrong.” (James Burnham, The Coming Defeat of Communism, p. 12.)

“Neuroticism, insanity, and the comic are, however, largely a matter of context. Behavior and ideas that would have proved insanity under Queen Anne [in the years 1702-1714] may have a very different meaning in the 20th century. Putting money each week in the savings bank is not sensible behavior during an unrestrained inflation; bringing suit for libel is not a mark of sanity in a revolution. What is historical madness depends upon what historical reality is….But what then of the …[F.D.R.] Roosevelts…, many of whose actions can be explained only by the hypothesis that they imagined themselves to be living in another century than their own?” (James Burnham, The Coming Defeat of Communism, pp. 10-11.)

This essay is an act of thanksgiving, not only a deeply humbling acknowledgment, to two non-Catholics, James Burnham and Whittaker Chambers—both of them long-suffering, wholehearted men—who saw more clear-sightedly and more deeply into the historical reality of the 1950s and early 1960s than many professed Catholics of the time, to include many of the leading Ecclesiastics of the day. And they tried to warn us.

On 3 June 1961, two years to the day before the death of the affectionately expressive and publicly buoyant Pope John XXIII (on 3 June 1963), James Burnham wrote a highly cultured, prescient, and far-sighted strategic article during his visit in Vienna, Austria, where he was alertly present—specifically in order to report on the euphoric and widely publicized Summit Meeting between the Soviet Chief Nikita Khrushchev and the youthful President John F. Kennedy. It may be still helpful to our grasp of historical reality, if we consider Burnham’s subtle and sobering article, which was tersely and resonantly entitled “Sleeping Sentries.”1 It may also be a timely, cleansing Parable for us.

Full of liberal hope in that early summer of 1961, as well as (after “the Bay of Pigs”) with some admitted embarrassment and ambiguous guilt, President Kennedy had gladly consented to this high-level Vienna meeting. It was taking place just some four months after his own inauguration as President on 20 January 1961. It was also but six weeks after the humiliation (and arguable betrayal) of the failed, though U.S.-supported, Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba (17-19 April 1961), which had been very covertly prepared for, and then largely mounted out of Central America, namely Guatemala. More shockingly, however, soon after that 3 June Summit meeting—i.e., on 13 August 1961—the Communist construction of the Berlin Wall chillingly began.

Moreover, only a year-and-a half after this (as Burnham saw it indeed) “provocatively weak” Summit Meeting in Vienna, where Khrushchev also once again saw young John Kennedy as a callow vacillator, there came another test of power and will: the very dangerous Cuban Missile Crisis of 16-28 October 1962 (even months before that in the tense covert world), which so precariously transpired, publicly, only a week after the optimistic and effervescent opening in Rome of the Catholic Church’s new Ecumenical Council (on 11 October), usually called the Second Vatican Council or Vaticanum II. The secular and religious Mass Media of Social Communications and Propaganda were also fervently energized and set for High Drama—as some had feared, such as Pope Pius XII himself in 1950.

Slightly more than a year after the commencement of the Council— on 22 November 1963—the liberal-progressive, professedly Catholic, President Kennedy himself was assassinated. Some of the hopeful idealism, which Kennedy and his New Frontiersmen had hoped to inspire and to infuse, started then to turn dark, even cynical, especially among some of the young, and not only because of the United States’ equivocal and increasingly disillusioned involvement in the Vietnam War.

Yet, how does one account for the mood, as well as the deeper, utopian-progressive atmosphere in Rome and Vatican City and in Western Europe itself, only sixteen years after the formal conclusion of World War II? This question is certainly a challenging one, and not so easy to answer in a differentiated and adequate way. A loyal and faithful Catholic might well ask: How do we understand God’s Providence here?

For it was in 1955, after all, that the Soviets had suddenly (and even somewhat perplexingly) pulled out of eastern Austria, which had been under Soviet occupation for ten years. Was this not a good sign? To some this withdrawal even seemed to be a sort of moral miracle, and even an answer to prayer and sacrifice—even though, with their own strategic alertness, the Soviets immediately thereafter then created the martial Warsaw Pact, which soon led to disorder: to the chafing East German and Polish restiveness, and finally to the bloody Hungarian Uprising in October-November 1956, which was crushed by communist power, under Khrushchev himself, with his intentional utilization of merciless Asiatic-Mongol troops against the Hungarians (when, shamefully, the West did very little to help). Nonetheless, there still seemed to be a growing attitude, not just in the Vatican, that “we can have fruitful dialogue with the Soviets” and even an open-handed “Ostpolitik.” That is to say, to help the aggressors to become more democratic and hence prosperous and non-revolutionary.

James Burnham, however, had some keenly contrasting considerations and a different understanding as to whether or not there was a momentous crisis, or even a potential catastrophe, at least in the strategic and secular political realm—the realm of Power without Grace. In any case, and for our edification, Burnham’s analysis looked maturely at the Facts, as distinct from other men’s Beliefs. As he had said in his somewhat influential 1949 book (in certain circles)—notably after the Chinese Communist conquest of China—which was entitled The Coming Defeat of Communism:2

In a measure that has been reached only twice before in Western history [“that of the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D.” and that of “the first half of the 16th century”], we are being told that we live in an age of crisis, that we face the possibility of catastrophe. But the question of whether men today [1949-1950] have a sense of crisis, believe themselves to be in the midst of crisis, is after all secondary. The more central question is not of belief but of fact. Whatever most men believe, is it in fact true that our age is in crisis? Is the catastrophic point of view, as we might call it, justified? Two world wars within a generation, with a destruction of from 50 to 100 million human lives and several trillion dollars’ worth of human products, would seem, alone, to be enough evidence for a positive answer.3

(But would the majority of the Council fathers, or the pope, of Vaticanum II, have sincerely agreed with that assessment and conclusion, much less have acted accordingly, hence proportionately? At the beginning of the Council, how many knew of the Cardinal Tisserant’s and Father Yves Congar’s earlier, secret diplomatic meetings in Metz, Nancy, and Strasbourg, France with both Communist and Hebraic Groups who themselves desired, pre-emptively, to shape—or “bracket out”?—certain topics and the strategic-doctrinal discourse of that forthcoming, professedly Pastoral, not Dogmatic, Ecumenical Council? If most of the council fathers were kept in the dark, and not even later informed of these non-public “agreements” or “deals,” why not? And where was the Honor in this course of action?)

Furthermore, to these two world wars—which were also, in effect, a new Thirty Years War in Europe (1914-1945)—Burnham then adds some items to a “long list” of other devastations and unmistakable desolations, such as:

….The 15, 20, 30 million persons thrown into slave camps; millions of peasants killed because they loved their land; crowds of tens of millions, refugees and displaced persons and exiles, wandering across Eurasia in swarms that make the barbarian hordes of the 3rd and 4th centuries seem as minor as neighborhood gangs. An economic depression that shakes the structure of the entire world, wild inflations that wipe out the money and savings of a dozen nations, trials and purges that liquidate hundreds of thousands of men of every variety, are not phenomena of normality. The great wave of revolution that broke in 1917 [the Bolshevik revolution] has waxed and ebbed, but has never since then subsided. It pounds at every shore, from the islands of East Asia to the borders of the Panama Canal.4

Making a further contrast which will later help our understanding of the roots and fruits of Vaticanum II—and maybe even its initial buoyancy—Burnham also says:

The totalitarians believe that we live in what Lenin defined as “an era of wars and revolutions,” in an age of crisis. They count on crises, and make these the fulcrum of their policies. Lenin was sure there would be a world war [circa 1914], and his energies were directed at seizing power in the breakdown which he was sure would come during the course of the war [i.e., in World War I, as Stalin also later foresaw and implemented his own strategic plans, even during “the war of rival capitalisms” in World War II, as he saw it].5

However, in delusionary contrast to these realistic and stern-minded revolutionary insights and actions, Burnham saw the softer or evasive approach, namely:

The democratic leaders have regarded the crises as abnormal exceptions to the flow of history, as errors that can be avoided by doing each day its daily short-term task. They have failed either to utilize these crises or even to prepare for them. They find themselves in the paradoxical position of having suffered the greatest social defeats from the two world wars in which they have won the greatest military victories of all time [though, admittedly, with the then-indispensable aid of the brutal Soviet Army].6

For, adds Burnham, “we are dealing now not with kings and emperors and czars, but with totalitarian mass revolutionists.”7 To what extent, however, did the Vaticanum II popes and council fathers hold Burnham’s deep understanding of at least one portion of “the war we are in,” as he called it, not only in the interval from 1944-1950, but even still in 1961? For, as Burnham argued:

The totalitarian political movements of our century, particularly the communist, have accepted a catastrophic point of view. In 1916, totalitarianism, limited at that date to a few thousand outlaw associates and followers of Lenin, was so negligible a force as to be unknown to the politically literate public. Today [in 1950], 34 years later, it dominates a quarter of the world, and closely threatens the rest. The contribution of the [Bolshevik] catastrophic point of view to this rise, which is quite without precedent, has been much more than minor. It has been so because the catastrophic point of view, as a perspective of our age, has been correct.8

(It is not clear, and we shall likely never know, whether Pope John XXIII himself would have included Burnham as one of those “prophets of doom” whom he depreciated in his opening address to Vaticanum II on 11 October 1962.)

Therefore, a further, and more specific examination of James Burnham’s lucid and admonitory 3 June 1961 article, “Sleeping Sentries,” might awaken us, even now, to some of the deeper historical realities and to the consequently important (even urgent) need, sub Gratia, for a deep “course correction.” For, during the past year of 2012, we have been volubly presented with many and varied, indeed often incommensurate, official and non-official interpretations of the Roots and Fruits of Vaticanum II. Is that not so? Do we agree?

At the time of his 3 June 1961 article, however, Burnham himself was not a believing Catholic, and had not been a professed Catholic for almost forty years. (He was to come home again to his Faith only near the end of his life in July of 1987.) But, this fact may enhance for us his own testimony, his own witness—as Whittaker Chambers had also earlier done, in his own special language as a sincere Protestant Christian, and after his own much grimmer experience and break with Communism: not only to be seen in his 1952 book, Witness, but also in his posthumously published 1964 book, Cold Friday.

But, regrettably, on 9 July 1961, very soon after Burnham’s own words from Vienna, Whittaker Chambers was to die at his Westminster, Maryland farm shortly after his last heart attack. It was, thus, only a month after Burnham’s article was written from Vienna, “Sleeping Sentries,” in which compact article as we may now come to see, Burnham conveyed the irony and the nuances of his own sobering and complementary, strategic perspicacity concerning “the war we are in.” (Would that we could also know the extent to which, if at all, at least the American bishops at Vaticanum II and their theological advisors—the “periti”—knew of the writings of Burnham and Chambers, both their savor of goodness and their salt of reality.) In any case, where were the comparable Catholic writers?

James Burnham opens his 1961 article surprisingly with a “cosmopolitan” consideration of the great art galleries and museums of Europe, as well as of New York and Washington. After visiting such artistic concentrations, he says:

It can begin to seem that all of the masterpieces of Western painting [though not of Piero della Francesca] have been funneled, along with the swarming masses, the money and luxury and power, into the colossal world-cities that characterize our epoch as they have a number of other epochs buried under the storms of time. As you walk through the scores of rooms of the Prado, the Louvre, of London’s or our own National Gallery, it seems incredible that mankind should have been able to produce so many hundreds of works of almost absolute genius as hang, one after another, along the walls of these central banks of aesthetic deposit.9

Then, he considers what one may also more negatively experience, even a certain sterilizing artificiality, amidst these colossal concentrations:

The joy and wonder at the multitudinous beauties which these walls offer the passer-by, can become cloyed, in certain moods, not only from a sense of surfeit at so rich a perceptual diet, but by a tenuous feeling that the feast as served up from these gleaming kitchens lacks an essential vitamin. That faint uneasiness does not deceive. Prime ingredients are indeed missing: in particular, except as reconstructed in the mind of the beholder [except as a sort of abstract “ens rationis”], Place and Time. These paintings…were not [originally or usually] meant to hang together on one set of walls…. But we pay the cost in the abstraction of the works from the fullness of existence [“diverse…moments over two thousand years of time and thousand of miles of space”].10

With some discouragement, he adds: “Not only have the museums ransacked so many of the Places. Mass tourism has turned most of the authentic Places into museums.”11

Speaking then of his recent experience at Assisi and of Giotto’s frescoes there, he says:

But looking at them a week ago [in late May of 1961], it was impossible to keep the eyes as well as mind from blurring from the effects of the Flemish priest-guide shouting all about them (I suppose that was what he was shouting) to his busloads of compatriots, the Germans checking every item off in their guidebooks and pulling strings of photographic equipment out of large leather cases, the few middle-aged Americans [present] dutifully but unhappily submitting to the local leeches who had fastened on them.12

There is, amidst such visual noise, as well as auditory noise, such a difficulty of “learning to see again” (in the words of Josef Pieper). Therefore, says Burnham,

That is why there is a special kind of excitement, and in the end the reward of a special kind of seeing, when we follow the spoor of a great work of art [like “Piero’s fresco of the Resurrection”] to its own Place [“in San Sepolcro”, which was also “Piero’s birthplace”—and where he also died, on 12 October 1492].13

After having arrived in San Sepolcho, “thirty miles east of Perugia,” Burnham and his wife had lunch, and:

When we had finished there was still an hour to go before the lunch-and-siesta-shut doors of an Italian town would be open, but a cheerful man in some sort of uniform appeared in the little piazza. He had a key to the small, old city hall, much battered by the last as by so many earlier wars. He let us into a high, arched-ceiling, well-lighted room, whitewashed, in mid-repair….But on the wall that faced us as the door opened was Piero’s [Piero della Francesca’s] fresco of the Resurrection, which we had so often seen in reproductions, surely one of the very greatest of the world’s paintings. The dazzling geometry of its structure is like a theorem in Riemann made visible, or Plato’s Form of the Good, seen by the physical eye as well as by the soul.14

Moreover,

In front of the tomb [“the heavy stone sepulchre”], leaning on it, on their weapons and each other and their own limbs, are the four Roman guards, richly uniformed, well-armed, sleeping, as if drugged or bemused, at their eternally critical post.15

What also impressed Burnham greatly was that portion of the fresco “behind the stone coffin,” where, “with one firm foot on its forward edge, stands the risen Christ” and, furthermore,

A Christ that has none of the physical weakness or effeminacy with which He is so often painted. Piero’s risen Christ has thrown his shroud, like a cloak, over His shoulder, to reveal a spear-slashed breast that, though gaunt, is strong and hard-muscled; in His right hand He holds a standard of an unfurled white banner, quartered by a red cross; His glance, directed straight out, is majestic, terrible, almost—through the effect of those eyes that seem to stare to infinity without particular focus—obsessive.16

Now Burnham—a very rare, historically and culturally informed, philosophical strategist—will lead us to his own special interpretation, after being unaccountably moved to deep reflection:

A great work of art has an inexhaustible variety of meanings. Piero’s fresco is first of all a painting, integrally organized and unified in terms of line and color and shape and texture. And it is a religious vision too, of course, of staggering profundity. Its dramatic and human meanings, specified or suggested, will never be fully numbered. As I reflected afterward on what I had seen, I found myself adding to these an allegorical perspective that seemed inescapable, though it becomes banal when put into words instead of color and space. What we are looking at in Piero’s picture, among so many other things, is the power and wealth and luxury of Rome gone soft and sluggish, asleep instead of alert and on guard. The closed eyes of the sentries in their handsome dress cannot see, do not even try to see, the fierce Phoenix rising from the gathering ashes of their world.17

As he saw it in burstingly prosperous Modena the very next day—with its celebrated Communist mayor (and a sprouting, miscellaneous assortment of other Leftist Political Parties, to boot) —it was clear, on the one hand, that

The sentries, the citizens of Italy—or Europe, or of all the Western world—are not physically sleeping, of course: very much the contrary, indeed; for never has there been so much rushing about [and yet, maybe, with so much prosperous luxury and its “dynamic materialism,” there is much “restlessness” and “interior uprootedness,” as well]; increased mobility [but with few children?] seems to be the most valued potential of all won by the jump above a subsistence standard of living that so much of the Western world has made in the postwar years. It is the spirit that sleepeth, in the coarse sleep of the glutton.18

We shall later see the words of Whittaker Chambers about the growing materialism in the West and the likely “dialectical” consequences, as expressed in his own posthumous book, Cold Friday, in the memorable chapter entitled “The Direct Glance.”19

Immediately after his presented image of the spiritually sleeping glutton, or lout, in his noisy coarseness, Burnham becomes more ironical as he prepares to take us with him to seductive Vienna:

What if trade with Russia [in 1961] gives her the machines her armies need and the profits which, skillfully funneled, nourish her Italian agents? From that trade we Italians get cheaper gasoline for our new cars and Vespas, and some of us get, in addition, pretty piles of lire. Hasn’t England always lived as a nation of successful shopkeepers? What is the objection, then, to the $6 million British Trade Fair in Moscow, and the sales of plant and equipment that we English drummers [energetic and enterprising “traveling salesmen”] have booked?20

After this larger and pointedly ironical framing of the larger West European situation, Burnham chooses to conclude his article with an a fortiori agument, namely it is in Vienna now, even moreso than in 1961 Italy, that we see the spiritual slackness amidst the quite charming abundance. The following words could even be called a deft description of “elegant, but insidious, decadence”:

Nowhere is the [spiritual] sleep more delicious, the dreams more ravishing, than in this enchanted, enchanting city. The scars of the war and the occupation [1945-1955] in Vienna are healed or forgotten. The hotels are the most luxurious (and among the most expensive) in the world. The rich coffee topped with whipped cream, the seraphic pastries and chocolate, are back in the cafés. The gypsies play in the restaurants, while still more bottles of wine and beer are opened, as long as customers wish to linger. And this [June] is the month of the Music Festival, with every morning and afternoon and evening crowded with opera and symphony and operetta, quartets and singers and pianists playing always the best and loveliest music.21

Then comes the counterpoint of political reality:

Not a note of the Spring Concerto wavered as the K’s moved [Khrushchev and Kennedy both] toward their Summit. The [Americans’] smiling sleep was immunized by the further dream of eternal neutrality. The selection of Vienna for their encounter meant, so the dreamers dreamed, that the wished-for condition was now recognized and affirmed by the great contestants [both of them]. The sleepers snuggled back into the visions of the fabled Congress [of Vienna] of a century and nearly a half ago [from 1 November 1814—8 June 1815], when the night-long dancing, champagne, music, and love filled the hours between the elegant formalities of the diplomatic sessions.22

Now comes the designed Burnham shock amidst these perceptibly lovely illusions:

So the first [JFK himself] among the sleepwalkers, lids fallen, drugged into paralyzed and impotent sloth by the sentimental syrups of [Kennedy’s own] ideological courtiers, wafts in, like a dreaming bride sailing through a [Russian artist, florid Marc] Chagall sky, from the West. The analogy from Piero’s picture is not to be pressed too closely. This time the terrible, staring form that rises above the sleeping sentries and opened tomb—if it is a tomb—is the Anti-Christ, not the Savior. The banner he unfurls proclaims the message, not of hope springing from the dark, of redemption, freedom, and eternal life, but of slavery and death, and a degradation much worse than death.23

To what extent were the Prelates of Vaticanum II and their own “ideological courtiers”—all of whom had taken the Anti-Modernist Oath—also such dreamers and sleepwalkers, sleepwalking into servitude: a servitude unfaithful, and even perjuring, and most degrading, as well as dishonorable? With more and more trustworthy evidence and knowledge of this larger 20th-century historical-military-political warfare context, it is even harder to understand the allure of their optimistic, indeed euphoric, ecumenical (or syncretist) illusions, much less to embrace the shabby results of these “hybrid beliefs,” as if the very principle of non-contradiction no longer applied, or anyway did not matter.

Chamber’s warnings in his chapter on “The Direct Glance,” however, will teach us more, and be an additional warning for our instruction. Though not a Catholic, but a sympathetic Protestant (who greatly honored Saint Benedict and his monastic foundations), Whittaker Chambers knew the Allure of Communism and deeply grasped the long-fostered and indulged, “dynamic materialist” weaknesses and consequent vulnerabilities, even futilities, of the West, both of which developments he rejected—but he also feared that he was likely, in human and secular terms, to be “on the losing side.” Writing his chapter some time in the late 1950s or very early 1960s, his first words capture our docile attentiveness:

I speak with a certain urgency both because I believe that history is closing in on this people with a speed which, in general, they do not realize or prefer not to realize, and because I have a sense that time is closing in on me so that, at this point, I do not know whether or not I shall be given time to complete what I seek to say.24

With characteristic modesty, and once again “making himself small,” he continues:

I may not claim for the larger meanings of what I shall say: This is the truth. I say only: This is my vision of the truth; to be checked and rechecked (as I [like James Burnham, too] continually check and recheck it) against the data of experience….I write as a man who made his way back from a special experience of our time—the experience of Communism. I believe the experience to be the central one, for whichever side prevails will be shaped by what Communism is and meant to be, and by the conditions that made it possible and made possible the great conflict…. [For,] the problem of man in this [20th] century—[is] the problem of the terms on which man can wrest some semblance of his human dignity (some would say: save his soul) in a mechanizing world, which is….a revolutionary world.25

Speaking of the French author of a dark and chilling book, Man’s Fate (La Condition Humaine, “to use its French title, which fixes its meaning more clearly”), Chamber’s poignantly adds:

After he had read Witness [1952], André Malraux, the author of Man’s Fate, wrote me: “You are one of those who did not return from Hell with empty hands.” I did not answer him. How is one man to say to another: “Great healing spirit”? For it is not sympathy that the mind craves, but understanding of its purposes.26

Chambers then tries to make more explicit and more compellingly complete what he had written in his earlier 1952 book:

In Witness I sought to make two points which seemed to me more important than the narrative of unhappy events [my personal struggle] which…chiefly interested most readers. The first point had to do with the nature of Communism and the struggle against it. The crux of this matter is the question whether God exists. If God exists, a man cannot be a Communist, which begins with the rejection of God [and rejection of the supernatural order of grace]. But if God does not exist, it follows that Communism, or some suitable [collectivist-socialist] variant of it, is right. More follows. A man is obligated, if he seeks to give any effect to his brief life, to tear away all mystery that darkens or distorts, to snap all ties that bind him in the name of an untruth, to push back all limiting frontiers to the end [the purpose] that man’s intelligence may be free to realize to the fullest of its untrammeled powers a better life in a better world.27

Later returning to this theme, Chambers begins by quoting a line from the American author, Sherwood Anderson:

I want to know why,” one of the most native of our voices asked in a line that rises out of all else he did and said because it sums up all the rest. I want to know why. It is for this that we seek a little height, and because of this we do not feel it too high a price [of sacrifice] to pay if we cannot reach it crawling through a lifetime on our hands and knees, as a wounded man sometimes crawls from a battlefield, if only so as not to die as one more corpse among so many corpses. Happy is he who finds any height, however lowly. That craving for the infinitely great [as Dostoievsky said about God, in The Possessed, through and with his novel’s character, Stefan Trofimovitch] starts with the simplest necessity. It is the necessity to know reality in order, by acting on it directly [through the attentive and docilely guileless “Direct Glance”], to find the measure of man’s meaning and stature in that single chance [or grace?] of some seven decades that is allotted them to find it out in….It is anything that blocks their freedom to enact it [i.e., their possibly tragic, but inescapably suffering, life] meaningfully that kills men with despair. And if the old paths no longer lead to a reality that enables men to act with meaning, if the paths no longer seem to lead anywhere—have become a footworn, trackless maze, or, like Russian roads, end after a few miles of ambitious pavement, leading nowhere but into bottomless mud and swallowing distance—men will break new paths, though they must break their hearts. They will burst out somewhere, even if such bursting-out takes the form of aberration. For to act in aberration is at least more like living than to die of futility, or even to live in that complacency which is futility’s idiot twin.28

These piercing words help us to understand the appeal of Communism to the broken of the world, to those who might have been even slowly dying of despair—or of a sense of futility or of “that complacency which is futility’s idiot twin.” Such complacency may also be, as in the Catholic Church today, not only a lack of vigilance or even a dishonorably tepid negligence, but also a more dangerous sign of both Complicity with evil and sinful Presumption—and perhaps that combination has gradually and self-deceptively happened, as if by titration—drop by drop—over these past fifty years since the buoyant and tolerant commencement of Vaticanum II in the autumn of 1962. In any case, the words of Whittaker Chamber about the deep needs of the human spirit, show us, as with Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, his own deep heart. For, as Chambers also says: “Suffering is at the heart of every living faith.”29

Then Chambers reminds us of the second thing he implicitly said in his earlier book, Witness:

From this proposition—that the heart problem of Communism is the problem of atheism—followed the second problem I set up in Witness, also without developing its conclusions. This proposition implied that the struggle with Communism included its own solution. That is to say, in the course of its struggle with Communism, the West would develop or recover those resources (in the main spiritual and moral) which it held to constitute its superiority to Communism, or in the struggle it would go under. Going under might…take one of two forms. The West might simply lose the war in political or physical terms. But I also allowed for the fact that the West might win the war [Burnham’s “Third World War”] in such terms [“political or physical”] and still lose it, if the taxing necessities of the conflict brought the West to resemble what it was struggling against, i.e., Communism [i.e., Historical and “Dialectical Materialism (DIAMAT)” or, in less technical language, “dynamic, or electronically energetic, materialism,” for example]. A turn in this direction [i.e., toward more and more forms of materialism] has been perfectly visible in the West for several decades [i.e., not only in Burnham’s own convincing perceptions of comfortable and “energetically complacent” Italy and Vienna in 1961!].30

Throughout his chapter on “The Direct Glance,” Chambers manifoldly shows just how deeply—even before 1961—Materialism and its Spirit had taken over in the West, and had thereby constituted, not only a grave vulnerability in the true struggle, but actually became an asset and accomplice to Communism itself—the de-Christianized (now Post-Christian) West coming more and more to resemble what we were purportedly fighting against. Chambers’ eloquent words and detailed insights should be read closely in their entirety, and truly savored. His Witness here, too, will not be forgotten—and “we may run, but cannot hide.”

Chambers also saw the growing flight from suffering and sacrifice—also a flight from the Cross into a sort of “Christianity without the Cross” and thus without the indispensable need for Divine Grace. But, he repeated:

Suffering is at the heart of every living faith. That is why man can scarcely call himself a Christian for whom the Crucifixion is not a daily suffering. For it is by the hope that surmounts suffering that true tragedy surmounts pain and has always had the power [with Grace] to sweep men out of the common ugliness of ordeal to the exaltation in which the spirit rises superior to the agony which alone matures it [the human spirit] by the act of transcending it. This is what we loosely call greatness. And it is the genius of Christianity to recognize that this capacity for greatness inheres [sic] in the nature of his immortal soul [which is truly “Capax Gratiae”—capable of receiving Grace—by virtue of his personal Creation by God]….For it is by the soul that, at the price of suffering, we can break, if we choose, the shackles that an impersonal and rigid Fate otherwise locks upon us. It was the genius of Christianity to whisper to the lowliest man that by action of his own soul he could burst the iron bonds of Fate with which merely being alive seemed to encase him. Only, it could never be done except at a price, which was suffering.”31

Before Chambers contrasts this deeper insight and its fruition with the growing permeation of another ethos, he says:

It was because Christianity gave meaning to a suffering endured in all ages, and otherwise senseless, that it swept the minds of men. It still holds them, though the meaning has been blurred as Christianity [and Vaticanum II, as well?], in common with the voices of the new age, seeks new escapes from the problem of suffering. But the problem remains and the new escapes circle back on the old one. For in suffering, man motivated by hope and faith affirms that dignity which is lit by charity and truth. This is the meaning of the eternal phrases: lest one grain perish, and unless a man die [to himself and sin], he shall not live—phrases…[still now] as fresh as the moment in which they rose upon the astonishment of the saints.32

Speaking of the “new age” which now “seeks new escapes” from suffering—to include, perhaps, the danger—the risk—of final suffering in eternity, Chambers focuses emphatically on the hedonistic and self-indulgent world which James Burnham also saw and so vividly depicted, and thus he says:

Nothing is more characteristic of this age than its obsession with the avoidance of suffering. Nothing dooms it more certainly to that condition which is not childlike but an infantilism which is an incapacity for growth that implies an end [a twofold “Finis”—both a purpose and an ultimate finality]. The mind which has rejected the soul, and marched alone, has brought the age to the brink of disaster. Let us say it flatly: What the age needs is less minds than martyrs—less knowledge (knowledge was never so cheap) but that wisdom which begins with the necessity to die, if necessary, for one’s faith and thereby liberates that hope which is the virtue of the spirit.33

As The Penny Catechism would now fittingly remind us: the two sins against Hope are Presumption and Despair. Thus, there are two fundamental forms of Hopelessness: not only the dark Despair that kills a man; but also Presumption (a premature and facile anticipation of one’s final fulfillment).

For example, Burnham’s “Sleeping Sentries” can also imply Complacent Sentries. And Complacency itself is not only a kind of nonchalant Negligence, but it can also insidiously become a form of insouciant (and sinful) Presumption. Sentries—as well as Guardians of the Faith—who are spiritually asleep and complacent may also be guilty of both the lassitude and the interiorly uprooted restlessness of Spiritual Sloth (Acedia, Accidia). When Saint Thomas himself spoke of the sin of Sloth, he noted that it was marked by an ungrateful and inordinate “worldly sadness concerning a spiritual good” (“Tristitia de bono spirtuali”)—even unto a certain tedium and disgust with the whole supernatural apparatus of salvation. Saint Thomas also discerned that Spiritual Sloth was not so much characterized by mental dullness (“Hebetudo Mentis”) nor by listless sluggishness, but, rather, by a deeply formed (yet gnawing) interior uprootedness and actual itch of restlessness (or “curiositas” for “novelty”). He even called this grave incapacity “a roaming unrest of spirit” (an “Evagatio Mentis”), an unrest which also could not attentively have (much less preserve) “a repose of the mind in God” (a “Quies Mentis in Deo”).

Do not these compact and incisive formulations also illuminate for us a good portion of that vulnerable Modern Materialist Age that Burnham and Chambers saw and criticized, and that world that the Pastoral Second Vatican Council was also to have addressed, in light of the timeless and timely, missionary Catholic Faith? (And without “that itch for innovation,” in Dr. Johnson’s words, which is so indefinitely restless, just like those “itching ears” (“aures prurientes”) of which Saint Paul also spoke.)

We may now, therefore, have further just reasons to wonder what the Council Popes and Fathers truly thought they were to have done, as well as what, in fact, they often so ambiguously did—the many ill fruits of which actions and omissions we may now better see. If we ourselves are not dreaming, or spiritually asleep.

Having examined rather closely the observations and reasons of two non-Catholic thinkers—James Burnham and Whittaker Chambers—both of them men of heart and of high philosophical and strategic intelligence—we now may fittingly ask who saw more of the historical reality and the political-martial context of the times—and, thus, the true pastoral issues to be faced—just before and just after 11 October 1962 the formal opening of Vaticanum II?

In any case, I have not yet found any Catholic author writing of those times to have seen as much of the wider (mostly temporal-secular) reality as Burnham and Chambers; and I gratefully render tribute to these two long-suffering Witnesses to truth.

Admittedly, I have grown more ashamed of what our delusional Vatican II Prelates and Advisors imprudently and unfaithfully set in motion during that 11 October1962—8 December 1965 interval. For I have also been a “Fruit Inspector,” as it were, reflecting upon its cumulative 50-year Aftermath, as I likewise have long considered the deeper truths, the roots and fruits, of World War II, also so delusively and dangerously still called “the good war.” The “good war” and the “good council” should be, perhaps, cross-examined together?

The opening, buoyant but almost dismissive, words of Pope John XXIII at Vaticanum II, still using “the Papal ‘We’” said, in part (but as a representative instance of his whole, somewhat parodic and sentimental, even “naturalistic” tone), the following accented and syntactically separated sentence: “We feel we must disagree with those prophets of doom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand.” Would that he, like Burnham and Chambers, had used more differentiated language and made more substantive and differentiated comments, so that they be not an occasion of travesty or hyperbole, but may, rather, reveal and not conceal reality: “the truth of things,” i.e., “reality manifesting itself to a knowing mind” (the “Veritas Rerum”), to include supernatural reality and its purposes and vivid indispensabilities, to include “Sanctifying Grace” and our continuous attentiveness to “The Four Last Things” (“Ta Eschata”), hence even to the Adventure and the Risks of the “Dies Irae.” May the Gift of Fear (the Donum Timoris)—as a Faithful Sentry—at least Guard us from Presumption. And, please God, also keep us from Spiritually Sleeping and Slothfully Complacent Sentries.

If John XXIII were now also a “Fruit Inspector,” what would he, as well as Paul VI, now honestly say after all these years? Might they not both also now gratefully honor the warning Witness of James Burnham and Whittaker Chambers, much less the merciful warnings of Our Lady of Fatima?

As Whittaker Chambers himself said somewhere in his writings, although I can no longer find nor even reliably cite the text: “The great test of humility is the pain of not receiving love for love.” Our Dear Lord knew that too—and so has Our Lady.

FINIS

© 2013 Robert D. Hickson

© 2021 Robert D. Hickson

1James Burnham, The War We Are In (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1967), pp. 306-311. This article, longer than usual, was originally published in National Review in his regular Column, called “The Third World War.”

2James Burnham, The Coming Defeat of Communism (New York: The John Day Company, Inc., 1949, 1950). In the U.S. Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Pentagon, Burnham was gratefully and formatively read, especially by the advocates of “liberation,” and even by the more influential Paul Nitze and George F. Kennan, those “containment” advocates who soon helped craft and implement NSC-68—“United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” (secretly issued on 14 April 1950, shortly before the outbreak of the Korean War).

3 Ibid., pp. 5, 6, and 7—my emphasis added.

4 Ibid., pp. 7-8—my emphasis added. Burnham, because of his methods, does not consider the 1917 warning-appearances of Our Lady of Fatima, nor her own fortifying and purifying admonitions. But we might fittingly do so now, especially in this sobering context of historical reality.

5 Ibid., p. 11—my emphasis added.

6Ibid.—my emphasis added.

7Ibid., p. 12—my emphasis added.

8Ibid., p. 10—my emphasis added.

9James Burnham, The War We Are In (1967), p. 306—my emphasis added.

10Ibid., pp. 306-307—my emphasis added.

11Ibid., p. 307.

12Ibid., pp. 307-308—my emphasis added.

13Ibid., pp. 307 and 309.

14Ibid., pp. 308 and 309—my emphasis added.

15Ibid. p. 309—my emphasis added.

16Ibid.—my emphasis added.

17Ibid., pp. 309-310—my emphasis added.

18Ibid., p. 310—my emphasis added.

19Whittaker Chambers, Cold Friday (New York: Random House, 1964), “The Direct Glance” (Chapter 3), pp. 67-88.

20James Burnham, The War We Are In, p. 310—my emphasis added.

21Ibid., p. 311.

22Ibid.—my emphasis added.

23Ibid.—my emphasis added.

24Whittaker Chambers, Cold Friday, p. 67. We may remember that he suddenly died on 9 July 1961; and, as it should also be mentioned, the writer of this essay is ashamed to say that he himself did not then even know of Whittaker Chamber’s name, much less did he know of his writings and profound witness. For, then at 18 years of age in July of 1961, he was but a callow, new West Point yearling-cadet out at our Camp Buckner’s Recondo-and-Summer-Combat Training, although inspired nonetheless to seek martial excellence and manifold competence within our fitting limits.

25Ibid., pp. 67-68—my emphasis added. It is also, more and more, a world of stifling “bureaucratic collectivism,” as well as of “mutable electronics” and abstract “protean change,” or so it seems.

26Ibid., p. 68—my emphasis added.

27Ibid., pp. 68-69—my emphasis added.

28Ibid., pp. 85-86—my emphasis added.

29Ibid., p. 86—my emphasis added.

30Ibid., p. 70—my emphasis added

31Ibid., pp. 86-87—my emphasis added.

32Ibid., pp. 86-87—my emphasis added.

33Ibid., p. 87—my emphasis added.

Historic Privatizations of Warfare, Covert Finance, and the Security-Services

Author’s Note, 26 April 2021: This essay of 20 pages was originally written three years after the open invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. Various privatizations of warfare and security-services were already showing themselves, under new conditions of technology and finance. This essay is a sequel to an earlier essay by the author, entitled: “Setting Just Limits to New Forms of Warfare.”

Dr. Robert Hickson

29 October 2006

Festum Christi Regis

The Crescent Phenomenon of the Privatization of Warfare and Security-Services:

New Oligarchic Feudalities, Special-Operations Networks, and Ambiguous Mercenaries in a Time of Borderless Economies and Finance

This essay on the arguably grand-strategic – but unmistakably permeating – privatization of “military and security services” constitutes a short sequel to an earlier strategic essay, entitled “Setting Just Limits to New Methods of Warfare.”1 This aggressive sequel might also be entitled “Setting Just Limits to Old Methods of Warfare under New Conditions of Technology and Mammon.”

It proposes to be especially attentive to the Corporate Governing Class and their “Managerial Elites” (in the discerning wise words of the late James Burnham). Indeed, these new luring conditions of technology and wealth are to be found, as it is herein tenaciously affirmed, conducing especially to the monetary advantage and added perquisites of the Corporate, often Trans-National, Nomenklatura and their mobile, often unaccountable, Managerial Elites. This lure of new advantages and influence (with little accountability) will also likely attract the closer inextricable involvement of the tax-exempt, strategic-cultural Foundations and their own Governing Elites, not only in the United States, but also in other areas of “Mandarin” or “Democratic Centralism.” To what extent, we may well ask, are we witnessing the formation of New Feudalities with their own special Patronage System – and with new possibilities of collaboration between the “Overworld” (or the “Overlords”) and the “Underworld”?

Surprisingly, even a cautious professor from Duke University, Peter Feaver, who now serves on the staff of the National Security Council in Washington D.C., candidly admitted at an October 2004 Conference on “The Privatization of American National Security”:

In fact what we’re seing is a return to neo-feudalism. If you think about how the [British] East India Company played a role in the rise of the British Empire, there are similar parallels to the rise of the American Quasi-Empire.2

This grand-strategic (not just “military-strategic”) matter of the “military-merchant banker” apparatus of the East India Company was not only important historically. It will also likely be very important strategically in the near future, especially in its new embodiments under the current conditions of finance and technology. Scientific and technological elites – also the Managerial and Higher Elites in the financial world – are prepared to help “the Military-Industrial Complex” in new ways, and maybe also for the sake of our seemingly advancing American-Anglo-Israeli Empire, proposing, as well, the advance of a “New Mercantile Order” (in the approving words of Jacques Attali, the French Socialist, in his admiring biography of the “super-capitalist,” Sigmund G. Warburg).

In President Eisenhower’s once-famous Farewell Address (January 1961), he warned his audience of two special and growing dangers: not only what he called “the Military-Industrial Complex,” but also what he designated as “the Scientific and Technological Elite.” Although the former formulation, known also as “the M.I.C.,” became more widely used and better understood in later years (and not just in Left-Wing Circles), President Eisenhower himself never elaborated upon what he really had in mind concerning this more specific danger of the Scientific and Technological Elite. Given the modern propensity for “social (and psychological) engineering,” it certainly included the then-growing fields of Mass-Media Studies, Cybernetics and the Information Sciences; and their applications in human psychology, commercial-political advertisements, semiotics, and finance, to include the growth of encryption systems and the consequent scope they gave for secrecy, deceptive manipulation, and “money-laundering.”

The phenomenon of Mercenaries or Soldiers of Fortune is an immemorial practice to be seen in various cultures down the course of history, whether as individual soldiers “for hire” or as larger “free companies” and even as “secret armies.” Carthaginian mercenaries from Spain and Sardinia, or Greek mercenaries in Persia, for example – and as they were also later used by the conquering Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great – are well known to students of Greco-Roman history.

Mindful of the recent book, America’s Inadvertent Empire (2004),3 we may comparably recall the Carthaginians and their inattentive (and inordinately complacent) resort to mercenary forces:

Meanwhile Carthage grew pre-eminent, and as she grew, manifested to the full the spirit which had made her …. And everywhere they [i.e., these questing Carthaginians under sail] sought eagerly and obtained the two objects of their desire: metals and negotiation. In this quest, in spite of themselves, these merchants, who could see nothing glorious in either the plough or the sword, stumbled upon an empire. Their constitution and their religion are enough to explain the fate which befell it. They were governed, as all such states have been, by the wealthiest of their citizens. It was an oligarchy which its enemies might have thought a mere plutocracy …. To such a people the furious valour of the Roman and Greek disturbance must have seemed a vulgar anarchy …. It was characteristic of the Carthaginians that they depended upon a profound sense of security and that they based it upon a complete command of the sea …. The whole Maghreb, and, later, Spain as well; the islands, notably the Balearics and Sardinia, were for them mere sources of wealth and of those mercenary troops which, in the moment of her fall, betrayed the town …. The army which Hannibal [i.e., “Baal’s Grace”] led recognised the voice of a Carthaginian genius, but it was not Carthaginian …. The policy which directed the whole from the centre in Africa [i.e., from Carthage] was a trading policy. Rome “interfered with business” …. The very Gauls in Hannibal’s army, for all their barbaric anger against Rome, were [justly] suspected by their Carthaginian employers.4

This Mammonite Maritime-Merchant Empire truly paid for its mercenaries – who were contumaciously troublous and finally perfidious, multicultural mercenaries, indeed.

But, we may also recall the famous Swiss mercenaries, at least until the 1513 Battle of Marignano; the Irish “Wild Geese” in seventeenth-century Spain and elsewhere; the English and American “privateers” and Italian “maritime mercenaries” (or “mercenaries of the sea”); the “condottieri” of Italy; the Hessians; the French Foreign Legion; the British use of the Gurkhas from Nepal; various military secret societies of China and Japan (to include the Chinese “Triads” – or “Tongs,” like the 1900-era “Boxers” – and the current Japanese and Korean “Yakusa”); all the way up to Private Military Companies of more recent times, like Executive Outcomes, Sandline International, Blackwater, Triple Canopy, Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), and Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton.5

To quote the summary, introductory words of Michael Lee Lanning’s recent book on the concept and reality of “mercenaries”:

They go by many names – mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, wild geese, hired guns, legionnaires, contract killers, hirelings, condottieri, contractors, and corporate warriors – these men who have fought for money and plunder [or other perquisites] rather than for cause or patriotism. Soldiers of fortune have always played significant roles in warfare, they are present on the battlefields of today, and they certainly will be a part of whatever combat occurs in the future.6

The sophisticated incorporation of mercenaries into what has been called “the Military-Industrial Complex” is – and morally should be for us – a troubling development, especially with their new access to and elusive application of “Special Technical Operations” (“STO”), which often involve the unique and sometimes unrepeatable use of a particular nation’s “Technological Crown Jewels”. However, in the rather cynical, but thoroughly “progressivist,” view of Michael Lee Lanning:

From huge, publicly owned firms to small independent companies [i.e., “military companies”], the corporate world has learned that war is indeed good business, and business is good and getting better.7

Nonetheless, this is a phenomenon which often must be strongly, but yet discerningly, resisted – and not fatalistically or lethargically accepted as irresistible and as already overwhelming and “beyond control.” Moreover, it is often the case that “organized crime is protected crime,” that is, protected by certain political and financial elites.

Furthermore, to what extent does a well-paid “all-voluntary force” itself represent and promote (or at least conduce to) the broader “mercenary phenomenon” of which we speak?

For, the concept of the “all-volunteer” military – which was first re-established in the U.S. during the final years of the Vietnam War, in 1973, and just after the United States had itself ended the military draft – inherently promotes, it would seem, a structure of incentives which often enough suggests an elite “mercenary force” to be used “on call,” in readiness for many rapid “expeditionary missions” or other worldwide “special operations.” Such a volunteer force easily becomes more separated from the common citizenry and their own proper sense of duties and those selflessly sacrificial commitments which are so necessary for the true common defense of the nation: i.e., an integrated strategic “defense-in-depth” of the Homeland – i.e., of the home “base” and of its manifold essential “communications,” to include our “sea lines of communication” and important “undersea cables and nodes.”

Moreover, it is all too easy to employ an all-volunteer force without the deeper moral engagement of the whole nation. Thus, the citizens – given the propensities of our human selfishness – may all to easily say: “Well, they volunteered for these hazardous duties; it’s not really our special concern.” Such an insouciant attitude certainly does not appear to be an adequate, or even a responsibly attentive, orientation to meet the Constitution’s specific requirement: “to provide for the common defense,” and unto the greater common good. Such an indifferent orientation tends towards a fragmentation or segmentation of the larger society, and even into the tripartite “Neo-Gnostic” division (in the “Information Age” words of Michael Vlahos), a division between “the Brain Lords,” “the Upper Servers” (or the new Praetorians), and “the Lost” (or “the Masses”). What, for example, is the concept of citizenship in such an “over-specialized” and “compartmented” society? What is the likely sacrifice for and common participation in the common good, and not just in defense of the Elites or of the elusive “public interest,” which is already vague enough?

Lanning himself makes a pertinent observation in this context of an all-voluntary military, and considers further its long-range implications, especially in the matter of the financial bonuses currently given to both citizens and non-citizens, both men and women, who are now active members of the U.S. Armed Forces and serve “in units rotating in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq”:

It would be unfair to the many brave men and women [who were, already in early 2002, 15% of the overall Army!], both citizen and noncitizen, who accept the [larger military] bonuses [for “volunteering to extend their tours” overseas] to question their patriotism or their commitment to their country. However, it would not be unfair to note that increased pay, citizenship [granted to non-citizens in the military, after a certain period of “service”], and other benefits in exchange for enlistment [or voluntary extensions of duty] are not all that different from the reasons [the motives, the incentives for which] soldiers of fortune have fought since the beginnings of time.”8

The all-volunteer military was itself, it would seem, also an effective psychological and cultural preparation – “a psychological preparation of the battlefield” – for the further strategic and tactical recourse to military privatization and to those commercial and financial incentives which this now more organized, new, corporate phenomenon has so generously and profitably provided! And which seems especially remunerative and risk-free for the corporate elites themselves, and not so much for the short-term, high-paid “young adventurers abroad.”

When most people recall the discussion over the last ten or fifteen years about “privatization” in the military, they probably think of the phenomenon of “outsourcing,” sometimes called “farming out.” This proposed and soon expanding “outsourcing” first meant the “contracting out” to civilian contractors of certain traditional military functions such as “recruiting,” “food preparation,” “clean up,” “personnel services,” and certain kinds of logistical functions of “supply, maintenance, and transport.” It was thought (or euphemistically “propagandized”) to be an enhancement of “cost effectiveness” and “efficiency,” so that the military could purportedly concentrate on its more essential missions of “training, readiness, operations, and combat.”

Initially these new “managerial” proposals seemed plausible and even attractive, though some people, more historically informed and far-sighted, wisely saw that the long-standing and much-tested tradition of a “self-policing military” capable of operating as an independent and self-reliant and coherent entity abroad, especially in “denied areas,” was being subtly undermined. And, from the outset, certain perspicacious questions were raised.

For example, would such civilian contractors, after “releasing a soldier for combat,” also still deploy with the military into combat zones? Would they also easily and willingly go to various remote and dangerous areas overseas, and then persevere, even after combat and in the graver times of instability and uncertainty and insufficiency? And then, what would be their status, according to the laws and conventions of land warfare, especially if they were to be captured? Would the U.S. Military also, for reasons of purported “expedience,” come to hire “foreign nationals” to help their military operations and support missions overseas? Moreover, would our covert (“black” or “gray”) Special Operations Forces, for example, have foreign “food providers” even in their Forward Operating Bases – such as (hypothetically) cooks at a covert base in Qatar? And what about the consequent security problems, to include the matters of both Operational Security and Communications Security? Or would we preferably ship American civilian-contractors to these overseas locations – such as “vehicle mechanics,” “construction engineers,” “mess hall” cooks and stewards, and even female barbers and nurses, especially from our domestic U.S. military bases, who were, as is commonly known, already being sent overseas in 2002 to Uzbekistan and other nearby areas?

However, these discerning questions constitute only a beginning to a fittingly deeper examination; for, these initial concerns were even still somewhat “on the surface,” especially when we consider, in the longer light of history, the special dangers and “lessons that are to be learned” from those earlier “strategic, para-military, merchant-banker joint stock companies,” such as the British East India Company, as well as their Dutch and French counterparts.

For, when we even briefly examine how some earlier Empires all too promiscuously (but quite seductively) resorted to such military-commercial-naval instrumentalities to enhance their wealth and power – namely, their overseas colonization, their access to raw materials (including gold), and their prosperous trade in special commodities, and even their inherently corrupt and nation-destroying criminal involvement in the “drug trade” (as in the corrupting British Opium shipments from India into China, which caused the protracted “Opium Wars,” which the Chinese have never forgotten, nor seemingly forgiven) – we should have great pause, indeed, at our own incipiently analogous developments.

By such an historical-strategic inquiry we may thereby come to understand how and why these earlier and also current “Arcana Imperii” worked (i.e., their more secret doctrines and methods of imperium or exploitative hegemonic rule), so that we may then intelligently and persistently resist them today and all of their metastasizing corruptions and treacheries. The military has always been an instrumental subsidiary of these larger schemes of dominance, and they are still so utilized today, though now under newer forms of “privatization” and aided by some new kinds of special weapons that are rooted in very advanced, new technologies, thereby enabling them to conduct “special technical operations” with great subtlety and secrecy and “plausible deniability” – and even with long-range environmental and genetic effects.

The newer forms of military “privatization” imply much more than just the traditional phenomenon of “soldiers of fortune,” “mercenaries,” or “privateers” with “letters of marque” – something also more pejoratively and bluntly known as “pirates” or “buccaneers”! The scientific and technological elite may now more easily make and sustain “strategic combinations” with the sophisticated corporations of “the Military-Industrial Complex,” in order more deftly to employ “private military companies” over a wide spectrum of overt – and also covert – operations.

By way of further preparation for our deeper grasp of these new “combinations,” some considerations of that earlier military history will first help us better to understand – especially in order to differentiate and then to resist – these troubling developments: not only what is still continuous from these well-established historical origins, but also what is new in the current analogous privatization of warfare and its related “security services.” For, police and military realms are now increasingly intermingled, and there is also a growing “seam” between war and criminality – part of the growth of unlimited irregular warfare, or what the Chinese have called “unrestricted warfare.” It is also part of the competition and strategic initiative “to set the rules” – to set and control the new and operative “conceptual terms and legal rules of engagement” in the wider spectrum of “future forms of warfare.”

The “Emerging American Imperium” seems more and more prone, it would appear, under current conditions of technology and encrypted information, to resort to methods and organizations which were once analogously used by the Emerging British Imperium, such as the British East India Company, especially under the eighteenth-century colonial military leadership of Robert Clive, and as aided by its long-standing, resourceful association with the Bank of England itself (which was founded only in 1694).

Two finely connected sets of insights from General J.F.C. Fuller will, in this important context, help illuminate the current developments in military privatization and its likely formation of new loyalties, new feudalities, and a new ethos and culture: namely a “monetary” and “mercantile ethos” of “the cash connection,” in increasing subordination to the new Lords of Mammon, the New Grand-Strategic Overlords. The public good of a particular historical nation, for example, may come thereby to be subordinated more and more to the service of new Masters of Trade, or to the Global and Quasi-Feudal Lords of High Finance. This new Mercantile Order, which includes the influential continuity of certain well-connected families and financial Dynasties, will themselves likely require more and more military protection, both in defense and for the offense; as well as variously versatile, investigative and secret “security services.”

In the strategic conclusion of his chapter on the Battle of Blenheim (1704) and its momentous consequences, General Fuller says the following, concerning the War of the Spanish Succession, and from his own Military History of the Western World:

It decided the fate of Europe, and as Mr. Churchill writes, “it changed the political axis of the world….” For England, Blenheim was the greatest battle won on foreign soil since Agincourt [1415]. It broke the prestige of the French armies and plunged them into disgrace and ridicule …. and at Utrecht a series of peace treaties was signed on April 11, 1713…. Further, he [Louis XIV] recognized the Protestant succession in England [against the political legitimacy of the Catholic Stuart kings] …. Of all the booty hunters, England obtained what was the lion’s share: … and [hence] from Spain, Gibraltar and Minorca, which guaranteed her naval power in the Western Mediterranean. Further, an advantageous commercial treaty was signed between England and Spain, in which the most profitable clause was the grant to the former [i.e., England] of the sole right to import negro-slaves into Spanish America for 30 years.9

General Fuller, before moving on to even more consequential matters, adds an important footnote about this corrupt network of manifold smuggling, which included the inhuman slave trade:

The Asiento or “Contract” for supplying Spanish America with African slaves, … permitted the slave traders to carry on the smuggling of other goods. “This Asiento contract was one of the most coveted things that England won for herself and pocketed at the Peace of Utrecht.” (Blenheim, G.M. Trevelyan, p. 139)10

Moreover, says General Fuller:

With the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, England was left supreme at sea and in the markets of the world, and as Admiral Mahan says, “not only in fact, but also in her own consciousness [an unmistakably prideful imperial consciousness!].” “This great but noiseless revolution in sea-power,” writes Professor Trevelyan, “was accomplished by the victories of Marlborough’s arms and diplomacy on land [i.e., by John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), victor at Blenheim] … it was because Marlborough regarded the naval war as an integral part of the whole allied effort against Louis [King Louis XIV of France], that English sea power was fixed between 1702 and 1712 on a basis whence [as of 1955] no enemy has since been able to dislodge it.”11

Later, he adds: “Sea power was, therefore, the key to the colonial problem.”12 For example, “in the struggle for trade supremacy in India,” the “command of the sea” was decisive, for, under the geographical and technological conditions of that age, “whoever commanded the sea could in time control the land.”13

Concluding his important strategic analysis, not only of British sea-power’s “noiseless revolution,” but of something of even greater moment, Fuller says:

But the revolution went deeper still; for it was the machinery of the Bank of England [founded on 27 July 1694] and the National Debt [which significantly began only in January 1693] which enabled England to fight wars with gold as well as iron. William’s war [King William of Orange’s War] had lasted for nine years and had cost over £ 30,000,000, and the War of the Spanish Succession [concluded by the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht] dragged on for 12 years and cost about £ 50,000,000. Only half this vast sum of £ 80,000,000 was met out of taxation, the remainder was borrowed [from the High Financiers who had leverage over the Bank of England and thus held the Sovereign at risk] and added to the National Debt. Thus a system was devised [sometimes called “Sovereign Risk” and its accompanying “Fractional-Reserve Banking”] whereby the prosperity of the future was underwritten [or mortgaged!] in order to ease the poverty of the present, and war was henceforth founded on unrepayable debt. The banker merchants of London steadily gained in political power [“le pouvoir sur le pouvoir” – Jacques Attali] over the landed interests, and, therefore, increasingly [as is still the case today] into their hands went the destinies of the nation and the Empire, whose frontiers had become the oceans of the seas.14

Naval power and the power of High Finance and the Manipulation of National and Foreign Debt was a very powerful combination indeed! Military and naval leaders allied themselves with “the Banker Merchants” – perhaps also as it is the case today, more and more.

After 1713 – and especially after Clive’s decisive Battle of Plassey in 1757 – Britain expanded the use of its other strategic instrumentalities, such as the earler-founded “private” military-merchant joint-stock company in India, which was also known as the British East India Company.

General Fuller will again help us consider the long-range implications of the East India Company’s quite momentously decisive battle in 1757, the Battle of Plassey, conducted in northeast India on the “shifting banks” of the Bhagirathi River – only some forty-four years after the Treaty of Utrecht:

What did this small battle, little more than a skirmish accomplish [a battle which was led by Robert Clive (1725-1774)]? A world change in a way unparalleled since on October 31, 331 B.C., Alexander the Great overthrew Darius [the Persian] on the field of Arbela. Colonel Malleson, a sober writer, says: “There never was a battle in which the consequences were so vast, so immediate, and so permanent.” And in his Lord Clive he writes: “The work of Clive [who later took his own life in England at only 50 years of age] was, all things considered, as great as that of Alexander.” This is true; for Clive realized that the path of dominion lay open. “It is scarcely hyperbole to say,” he wrote, “that tomorrow the whole Moghul empire is in our power.”15

Recalling what General Fuller has already said about the Bank of England and the manipulation of the National Debt, we may now further appreciate what he says about the growing claims of Mammon and the progress of a Mammonite Colonial Empire:

Yet this victory [at the 1757 Battle of Plassey], on the shifting banks of the Bhagirathi, produced deeper changes still. From the opening of the eighteenth century, the western world had been big with ideas, and the most world-changing was the use of steam as power [also to enhance British sea-power]. Savery, Papin and Newcomen all struggled with the embryo of this monster, which one day was to breathe power over the entire world [which now has also other advanced technologies to deal with]. All that was lacking was gold to fertilize it [like the old alchemist’s dream and delusion of the “maturing of metals”!], and it was Clive who undammed the yellow stream.16

“Howso?”, we may ask.

Quoting the Liberal-Whig historian, Lord Macaulay, General Fuller says:

“As to Clive,” writes Macaulay, “there was no limit to his acquisition but his own moderation. The treasury of Bengal was thrown open to him…. Clive walked between heaps of gold and silver, crowned with rubies and diamonds, and was at liberty to help himself.” India, that great reservoir and sink of precious metals, was thus opened, and from 1757 enormous fortunes were made in the East, to be brought home to England to finance the rising industrial age [and Whig Aristocracy-Oligarchy], and through it to create a new and Titanic world.17

Such was the swollen and swelling “Globalism” or Cosmopolitanism of the Eighteenth Century.

As was the case with earlier plunderers – Alexander, Roman Proconsuls, and Spanish Conquistadores – the candid Fuller then adds:

So now did the English nabobs, merchant princes and adventurers [and their own “Feudalities” of the time] … unthaw the frozen treasure of Hindustan and pour it into England. “It is not too much to say,” writes Brooks Adams, “that the destiny of Europe [sic] hinged upon the conquest of Bengal.” The effect was immediate and miraculous [sic] …. Suddenly all changed [with the rapid development of “machines”] …. “In themselves inventions are passive … waiting for a sufficient store of force to have accumulated to set them working. That store must always take the shape of money, not hoarded, but, in motion.” Further, after 1760, “a complex system of credit sprang up, based on a metallic treasure [which was largely now “pouring” in from India].”18

As another example how a seeming prosperity, as well as a war, was “henceforth founded on unrepayable debt,” General Fuller goes on to say:

So the story lengthens out, profit heaped upon profit. “Possibly since the world began,” writes Brooks Adams, “no investment has ever yielded the profit reaped from the Indian plunder [as the New Reformation English Oligarchy in the Sixteenth Century and afterwards was based on “the Great Pillage” of the Monasteries, and of the Church in general], because for nearly fifty years [until the Early Nineteenth Century] Great Britain stood without competitor.” Thus it came about that out of the field of Plassey [1757] and the victors’ 18 dead there sprouted forth the power of the nineteenth century. Mammon now strode into supremacy to become the unchallenged god of the western world.19

Such was the idol of the increasingly de-Christianized West. Today the apostasy from historic Christianity has gone, unmistakably, even further.

With a portion of bitter cynicism – or at least hard, cold realism – General Fuller concludes with the following words, which should also provoke our further reflectiveness:

Once in the lands of the rising sun western man had sought the Holy Sepulchre. That sun had long set, and now in those spiritually arid regions he found the almighty sovereign. What the Cross had failed to achieve, in a few blood-red years, the trinity of piston, sword, and coin accomplished: the subjection of the East and for a span of nearly 200 years [as of 1955] the economic serfdom of the Oriental world.20

Will such institutions as Halliburton and its own military subsidiary, Kellog, Brown, and Root, also be able to do such things today in Iraq or Afghanistan? And should this be permitted? Ought they be allowed – with their own private military or security forces – to expand their networks into a comparable system of corruption?

To what extent will they have, and maybe even continue to have, “influence without accountability”? And, if not, where are the effective sanctions: clear and enforceable sanctions?

It is now widely known that, down the years, the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States has had its own “contractors,” to include various “front companies” at home and abroad, which are sometimes called “proprietaries” or “asteroids.” Even in their “covert” or “clandestine” activities, however, they had gradually developed a system of regulation and control and accountability. “Black operations” – which deceptively purport to be someone or something other than who or what they truly are – always require even greater supervision and accountability – perhaps, most especially in “black” financial operations! Multiple, insufficiently controlled and disciplined “black” or “false flag” operations can very easily get out of control, and can often be self-sabotaging or mutually destructive.

Standards of moral responsibility and accountability in such matters must therefore remain high, given the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of human nature, and C.I.A. has itself various levels of oversight, to include Congressional Oversight. No one should expect that these forms of moral supervision and control are sufficient, but the culture and traditions of the civilian intelligence community do have ways of honorably “policing” themselves. The self-policing of professionals is one of their distinguishing marks.

However, there is today even less oversight of the “special activities” of the Department of Defense, and, therefore, C.I.A. has been tempted at times to “fold itself under” the more spacious and protecting wings of the Military. And the Military has had its own special temptations to evade certain kinds of accountability concerning the nature and scope of its own “special activities.” But, once again, there is still a traditional military culture of “duty, honor, country” that continues (without romantic sentimentalism) to set just moral limits to warfare.

With the growth of special technologies and “space assets,” however, to include “cyberspace,” and especially so in the undefined and growing “Global War on Terrorism” (“the GWOT”), and in the newly added “War against Tyranny,” the temptation to use “irregular” methods and more “unrestricted warfare” is greater. (And a temptation wouldn’t be a temptation if it weren’t attractive.) Likewise greater is an ingrained inattentiveness and ignorance of consequence – especially the decisive and long-range consequences.

A fortiori is this the case with the even less accountable networks of Private Military Companies, which also create a “command-and-control” nightmare for a uniformed Military Commander in his own assigned Area of Responsibility (AOR), especially in a Combat Zone, where he already has, in addition to “the enemy,” the difficulty of dealing with many dubious Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) – to include groups of Journalists and Lawyers (and other “self-nominating targets”)!

When the United States as a purported and increasingly multicultural nation essentially wants to have – and to sustain – a Global Hegemony and thus a new kind of Imperium, or Quasi-Empire, then these already existing dangers will increase, not only for resistent foreigners, but for U.S. Citizens themselves and their already weakened Constitutional Order. In order to be prudent about the nature and consequences of increasingly incommensurate, cultural waves of non-Western and other kinds of immigration, the United States must not inadvertently – much less deliberately – create a “Surveillance, Counter-Intelligence Police State” in its anxious, sometimes delusive, pursuit of “sufficient security.”

In areas of “ambiguity” – in the “interstices” of law and conflicting jurisdictions – great discipline and self-limitation are required – hence a high standard and an intimate moral culture of honorable accountability. The greater the ambiguity and “gray areas,” the greater the virtue needed!

Such an ethos is against a deceitful “system” of anonymity and impersonality and unaccountability. (And morality is not reducible to legality.)

But, when war and comprehensive “security” are made much more “profitable” and when more and more people develop “vested interests” and “lusts” for such “profits” and for “influence without accountability,” then war and “security services” will become – in the words of Marine General Smedley Butler – even more of a “Racket”! And this must be persistently resisted. Otherwise, there will not just be a growing “seam” between war and criminality; there will grow an increasing “overlap” – indeed, a very ugly “convergence” or “congruence” of war, security, and criminality. And unrestricted war will become unrestricted criminality.

Unable now to deal more extensively, or intensively, with such a large and growing phenomenon of “private military and security services” in this limited essay, I propose, therefore, to conclude with only two further sets of suggestions for our deeper inquiry; and then to consider one revealing example of the manifold missions of one U.S. “private military company,” in the Balkans. This final example is also intended to be a parable, of sorts, for our deeper reflections upon this whole matter of Mercenaries and Finance and the Empire – or Quasi-Empire. These matters must be stripped of all obscuring and deceitful euphemisms and be seen “whole and entire,” as they truly are! No Bullshitsky!

The two suggestions:

1. Look more deeply at the growing “militarization” of both “police forces” and “secret societies,” both at home and abroad – in light of various nations’ own historical practices and cultural traditions of Statecraft and Strategic Intelligence. (China, Great Britain, and Israel are particularly good examples.) Adda Bozeman’s Strategic Intelligence and Statecraft: Selected Essays contains several historical-strategic cultural studies of great worth.21

More specifically, look at NORDEX, the former “KGB Trans-National Corporation” and its current “re-structuring” and evasive mutations and “deployments” in Europe and elsewhere. Look at how the British made strategic use of “Military Masonic Lodges” in their earlier revolution-fomenting penetration of Latin America, especially in and through Brazil (given its strategic location), soon after the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. Look at the Triad Operations and the Yakusa Apparatus in the longer light of Oriental Secret Societies, especially military secret societies.

2. Look at various modern examples of “private military companies” or “networks of multicultural mercenaries” – like Executive Outcomes or Sandline International – and whom they serve (e.g. the oligarchs – or “overlords” – of strategic minerals and key strategic resources); and how they are related to and funded by – even indirectly – various foreign governments, financiers, and intelligence agencies, as well as being involved in the widening covert institutionalization of “Special Operations Forces” (SOF), also in Israel. Look at how official SOF organizations, in Britain and the U.S., for example, allow (without penalty) their “active duty” members to serve for some years with contractors or “mercenaries,” and then return to their former official positions in uniform, along with a fund of “wider experience” and “adventure.”

The case of Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI) in Bosnia is, as follows – and we must remember that MPRI itself helped to write the two main Army Field Manuals concerning “Contractors” and “Contracting Support on the Battlefield”:

In 1997 [after MPRI “successes” in Croatia and Bosnia] the Army determined that it needed guidance on the conduct and regulation of private military companies and directed its Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to prepare the regulations. So what did TRADOC do? It hired MPRI to develop and write the regulations, of course. The results, approved by TRADOC and the Department of the Army, produced Field Manual (FM) 100-10-2, Contracting Support on the Battlefield, released in April 1999, and FM 100-121, Contractors on the Battlefield, the following September [1999].22

In the further words of Lanning,

Whereas it was said in the nineteenth century that the sun never set on the British Empire, it may be stated that in the twenty-first, the sun never sets on employers of MPRI [established in 1987, in Alexandria, Virginia]. Today, MPRI contractors [also less politely known as “mercenaries”] can be found in every continent of the world with the exception of Antarctica, and that frozen land may very well be a future source of contracts.23

After training “the Croatian National Army” (starting in September 1994), they moved from being “a moderately successful private military firm into a worldwide influence on modern soldiers of fortune.”24

In May 1996, the government of Bosnia hired MPRI “to reorganize, arm, and train its armed forces” and “the contract differed from that with Croatia in that this one [of 1996] specifically contained provisions for MPRI to provide combat training.”25

Now, we shall see how a “private” U.S.-based Military Company helped establish and fortify an Islamic Republic in the heart of Europe:

MPRI and Bosnian officials agreed to a contract amounting to $50 million for the first year with provisions for annual renewals. Another $100 to $300 million was authorized [by whom?] for the purchase of arms and equipment. Although the U.S. State Department had to approve the MPRI portions of the contract and maintain some oversight of the entire operation, the U.S. government did not finance the program. Instead, the money came from a coalition of moderate [sic] Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Brunei, and Malaysia, which hoped that the improved Bosnian army could protect the country’s Muslim majority from its non-Mulsim neighbors …. To introduce the weapons into the Bosnian Army and to train the force, MPRI sent retired U.S. Army Major General William Boice, recently commander of the U.S. 1st Armored Division, and a team of 163 veteran U.S. military personnel.26

U.S. Government-approved, retired U.S. military-mercenaries help establish a better-armed and better-trained, militarized Islamic Republic in the heart of Europe – a Muslim Republic funded by a Coalition of Muslim Countries from afar. What’s wrong with this picture?

How should the Europeans, not only the Americans, respond to such a strategically subversive travesty: a penetration and permeation not only of the strategic threshold of Europe (like the Maghreb), but a further Islamic penetration of the historical heartland of Christendom?

The answer to this question – and our active response – will have great consequence upon the larger flow of migrations – whether from the Maghreb or from Mexico – and also upon the larger cultural and religious struggles we are unmistakably in!

Moreover, with reference to Private Military Companies and their expanding missions:

During the Gulf War in 1991 there was only one contract employee for every hundred uniformed military personnel supporting the conflict. In Operation Iraqi Freedom [which began in March of 2003], the number of contractors has increased to one per every ten soldiers. By mid-2004 the best estimate on the number of private military companies providing direct combat services [sic] to various governments and causes is more than two hundred. There are a dozen or more PMCs [Private Military Companies] in Africa that filled the vacancy left by Executive Outcomes. Several more are based in western European countries. Many more, and some of the most secretive, are based in Russia and other countries once part of the Soviet Union [as well as in Israel and China?]. The vast majority of the private military companies, however, are in the United Kingdom and the United States.27

In the longer light of history, especially the strategic history of the military-merchant-financier British East India Company – with its oligarchic “banker merchants” and “merchant princes and adventurers” and their exercise of increasing “political power” – we may now better understand the likely effects upon the conduct of war of the modern “Private Military Companies,” as a new institution of Mercenaries with a “global reach” and “special technologies” and other “covert assets.” American private military contractors may have even more “reach” (but at what long-range cost?), if they are permitted to have “sub-contractors” from foreign countries like Israel. For, unlike the United States, the Israelis have at their disposal deep knowledge of numerous foreign languages and cultures, and many “linguistic skills,” as well as “interrogation skills.” But, if Israelis are even suspected of being the interrogators of Iraqi Muslims, as at Abu Ghraib prison, for example, the consequences or “blowback” would be very grave for the United States. We must be very attentive to the “farming out” of such matters. We must not be supine or fatalistic, and thus surrender to the view that “the process is irreversible.”

The conduct of war will be greatly affected by the combination of “Special Operations Forces” (SOF) and “Special Technical Operations” (STO) under a variety of new forms of “privatization” or “non-official cover.” These well-financed and “globalized” Private Military Companies will likely have access to advanced and “breakthrough” technologies, and will be more readily disposed than our conventional forces “to exercise them in innovative ways.”

Given the earlier precedents in England – because of the established institutions of the National Debt and the Bank of England and “a complex system of credit” – “war [has been] henceforth founded on unrepayable debt.” The “destinies of nations” and “the frontiers of Empire” are still gravely affected – especially the destinies of dependent “little nations” – by the strategic manipulation of National Debt and of the Debt Bondage of those economically weaker nations or arguably “failing states.”

The combination of modern “banker merchants” and “military adventurer-hucksters” is “a terrible thing to think upon” (in the cheerful words of François Rabelais).

What will be the ultimate loyalties and guiding ethos of such Private Military-Merchant Companies and their foreign “Sub-Contractors” – whether in Iraq or Indonesia or in the restive Southern Hemisphere of Latin America?

In a time of “borderless economies and finance,” how are these new martial-mercantile Feudalities likely to affect the common good of vulnerable societies, who are especially in need of a well-rooted, humane scale of life – not a restless and roaming uprootedness? Whom will these new Overlords serve, and to what extent will these Trans-National Corporate Elites serve the true common good of the United States and provide for the common defense?

And, as always, how does a humane political order regulate and control “the Money Power” and disallow it from being “le pouvoir sur le pouvoir” (“the power above the power”), i.e., from being only superordinate, instead of always subordinate?

The financial and credit question is additionally complicated today by the reality of electronics (“Virtual Money”) and the reality of drugs. Drugs themselves indeed often constitute, not only a currency, but also an access to liquidity – and hence a source of strategic manipulation and “money-laundering,” especially for covert intelligence and military operations.

The spreading phenomenon of the privatization of warfare and “security services” must be understood – and often, not only strictly regulated, but altogether and persistently resisted – especially in light of the lessons that should be learned from earlier Imperial Histories and Economic Colonizations; and also in light of current strategic realities, to include the seemingly reckless, diplomatic and military conduct of the United States. Its foreign “Nation-Breaking” is much more evident than its foreign “Nation-Building,” and not only in Iraq! As distinct from an “Emerging American Imperium,” we may be witnessing, instead, a Submerging American Imperium now making further, even frantic, use of “Private Military Companies” and their “New Feudalities,” both as an imperial “weapon of weakness” and in an act of provocative desperation. For the United States, now often perceived as a “Rogue Superpower,” does increasingly seem to be out of control.

CODA

The Dangerous Moral Aftermath of Promiscuously Applied Irregular Warfare

Almost forty years ago B.H. Liddell Hart, General J.F.C. Fuller’s British colleague, published a second revised edition of his book, Strategy, wherein he had added an entirely new chapter, entitled “Guerrilla War” (Chapter XXIII).28 He sought to understand “particularly the guerrilla and subversive forms of war” and thereby to enhance our “deterrence of subtle forms of aggression,” or “camouflaged war,” which he also called “forms of aggression by erosion.”29

Alluding to Winston Churchill’s short-sighted and promiscuous promotion of irregular warfare behind enemy lines in War War II, and also to “the material damage that the guerrillas produced directly, and indirectly in the course of [enemy] reprisals,” Liddell Hart speaks of how all of this often-provoked (yet always consequential) suffering became, indeed, “a handicap to recovery after liberation.”30 Then, even more profoundly, he adds:

But the heaviest handicap of all, and the most lasting one, was of a moral kind. The armed resistance movement attracted many “bad hats” [i.e., rogues, knaves, dupes, and criminals]. It gave them license to indulge their vices and work off [i.e., avenge] their grudges under the cloak of patriotism…. Worse still was its wider effect on the younger generation as a whole. It taught them to defy authority and break the rules [in their “black operations” or “unrestricted warfare”] of civic morality in the fight against the occupying forces [whether German, Japanese, or, today, Israeli occupation forces]. This left a disrespect for “law and order” that inevitably continued after the invaders had gone. Violence [to include vandalism and terrorism] takes much deeper root in irregular warfare than it does in regular warfare. In the latter it is counteracted by obedience to constituted authority, whereas the former [more lawless, irregular warfare] makes a virtue of defying authority and violating rules [hence “limits”]. It becomes very difficult to rebuild a country, and a stable state, on a foundation undermined by such experience.31

Even moreso is this the case today when “new feudalisms,” mercenary warfare and strategically-organized “private military companies” are promiscuously set loose to fight an increasingly undefined “global war on terrorism.” For, it unmistakably fosters “the privatization of lawlessness” and soon gets further out of control.

Moreover, these new indirect forms of warfare – and the asymmetrical (irregular) cultural and strategic resistance against them – often have, despite the secular appearances, very deep and very tenacious religious roots, to include Hebraic-Islamic roots.

FINIS

© 2006 Robert Hickson

1Robert Hickson, “Setting Just Limits to New Methods of Warfare” in Neo-Conned! – Just War Principles (Vienna, Virginia: IHS Press – Light in the Darkness Publications, 2005), pp. 331-343 (Chapter 18).

2See the transcript of the 9-10 October Conference at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont (http://www.wws.princeton.edu/ppns/conferences/reports/privtranscript.pdf); the Conference, entitled “The Privatization of American National Security” was held at the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs. Immediately after his above-quoted words, Feaver said: “A number of folks have expressed the concern that this makes military force [as in the case of the East India Company] too usable a tool [of Empire]. That was precisely the issue raised by the rescinding of the draft [in 1973]” (my emphasis added). Correlative with this “rescinding of the draft” was the creation of the “all-volunteer force” in the United States.

3William E. Odom and Robert Dujarric, America’s Inadvertent Empire (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2004). These thoughtful and manifoldly discerning authors also give much weight to the importance of a Constitutional Order – for them a Liberal Order – which always requires a preceding agreement and what the authors call a “Great Compromise” among the given polity’s component Elites, which would otherwise be able to break with relative impunity the prevailing rules of society.

4Hilaire Belloc, Esto Perpetua: Algerian Studies and Impressions (New York: AMS Press, 1969 – first published in London, in 1906), pp. 25-28, and 36-37 – my emphasis added.

5See Michael Lee Lanning, Mercenaries: Soldiers of Fortune, from Ancient Greece to Today’s Private Military Companies (New York: Ballantine Books, 2005). Lanning’s book is a very useful survey of the phenomenon, despite some important gaps in its treatment, especially with respect to foreign strategic cultures (e.g., Russia, Israel, China, Ancient Persia and the Islamic World). He also has a useful Bibliography, pp. 26-272, and some valuable Appendixes.

6Ibid., p. 1.

7Ibid., p. 214 – my emphasis added.

8Ibid., p. 222 – my emphasis added.

9J.F.C. Fuller, A Military History of the Western World – Volume II (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1955), p. 153-154 – my emphasis added.

10Ibid., p. 154 – my emphasis added.

11Ibid., pp. 154-155 – my emphasis added.

12Ibid., p. 217.

13Ibid., p. 218.

14Ibid., p. 155 – my emphasis added.

15Ibid., p. 240 – my emphasis added.

16Ibid. – my emphasis added.

17Ibid., p. 241 – my emphasis added.

18Ibid. – my emphasis added. – Between 1756 and 1815, the National Debt increased from 74.58 Million Pounds to 861 Million Pounds!

19Ibid., p. 242 – my emphasis added.

20Ibid. – my emphasis added.

21(Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, Inc., 1992). See, especially, her essay on “Statecraft and Intelligence in the Non-Western World” (pages 180-212).

22Michael Lee Lanning, Mercenaries, p. 203 – my emphasis added.

23Ibid., p. 198.

24Ibid., pp. 199-200.

25Ibid., p. 200 – my emphasis added.

26Ibid. – my emphasis added.

27Ibid., p. 206 – my emphasis added.

28B.H. Liddell Hart, Strategy (New York: Penguin – A Meridian Book, 1967), “Guerrilla War,” pp. 361-370.

29Ibid., pp. 361, 370, 363.

30Ibid., pp. 368-369.

31Ibid., p. 369 – my emphasis added.

Remembering Louis Blanqui and the Leninist Concept of “Enlightened Terror”

(Author’s June 2020 note: This essay was written and published in early January 2013.)

Dr. Robert Hickson                                                                                              6 January 2013

Feast of the Epiphany

Saint Andre Bessette

Epigraphs:

“He agreed with my view that the means governed the end, ill means distorting the end.” (B.H. Liddell Hart, Lawrence of Arabia.)1

***

“The manipulation of language was one of the salient characteristics of Leninism, particularly in the de-coupling of words from the reality they were supposed to represent.” (Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression.)2

***

“The war we are in is particularly characterized as being omni-dimensional, but it perhaps is even more sharply distinctive for the fact that within the omni-dimensional deployment psycho-political operations have been raised to the level of a primary weapons system.” (James Burnham, The War We Are In (1967), Chapter I—“The Decade Past,” p. 14)

***

On 4 June 1960, one month before I was to enter the United States Military Academy as a seventeen-year-old New Cadet, an article was published that was later to illuminate much reality for me as a military officer—especially about the strategic and tactical manipulation of mobs by well-trained, disciplined cadres who sought “command of the streets.” The 1960 article was entitled “Student Riots and Blanqui’s Legacy” and the writer was the former Trotskyite, James Burnham.

Burnham’s well-informed article was originally published in his regular bi-weekly column in National Review under the heading “The Third World War.” But, it was later published again in 1967, in one of James Burnham’s strategic-cultural books, entitled The War We Are In: The Last Decade and the Next.3

Moreover, if one considers Burnham’s 1960 article also in light of advanced modern communication-technologies some fifty years later, and in light of such recent, purportedly spontaneous manifestations as “the Arab Spring,” one may freshly see again some enduring principles and applications of effective indirect warfare. We may also come to see how this matter of indirection is itself related to strategic and tactical deception and to the difficult matter of detecting and countering “False-Flag Operations.”

Since this essay proposes to be intelligible to the general reader, as well as urgently pertinent to the reader’s actual needs for discernment and counter-action, it is fitting to make a clarification and a slight over-simplification. By tactical, in this essay, we should understand something as being directed toward more short-term and partial objectives. By strategic, we should understand something as being directed toward more long-term and decisive objectives. The choice of tactics is also a part of strategy. Moreover, in the introductory section of his book’s Chapter VIII, entitled “The Forms of Modern Warfare,” written in 1967 amidst the keen challenges of that era, Burnham thoughtfully says:

Military theorists tell us that the principles of warfare never change. This may be so, if the principles are formulated in general enough terms, but practical strategy as well as weapons and tactics are of course continually changing. The war we are in is not the first in which political, psychological and other “unconventional” methods have been employed. Their use goes back to the beginning of warfare—that is, to the beginning of man’s social history. We take the term “Trojan Horse” from three thousand years ago to describe certain types of contemporary infiltration behind enemy lines. Thucydides makes clear the important role of political warfare in the Peloponnesian conflict. In gaining his sweeping victories at the end of the fourteenth century, the Mongol leader, Tamerlane, made political and psychological measures a major weapons system…. Very often this method of psychological terror attained Tamerlane’s objective—the conquest of a city—without any need of overt fighting. The two surrenders of Czechoslovakia—to Hitler in 1938 and to Stalin in 1947—are not so very different from the surrenders by the Asian cities to the Mongol conqueror….Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points, particularly his stress on self-determination, were an important factor in bringing about the downfall of the German and especially the Austro-Hungarian governments in the First World War. Hitler took control of the Rhineland, the Saar and Austria, as well as Czechoslovakia, by political warfare methods without fighting by the main elements of his armed forces.4

After his brief conspectus of relevant history, Burnham brings us closer to the specific challenge of Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist communism and the revolutionary methods which its strategic-and-tactical “Conflict Apparatus”5 variously employed:

There is, thus, ample precedent for the communist use of political and psychological warfare methods, together with the many sorts of guerrilla, partisan and paramilitary methods, and the lesser but increasing use of these methods by the anti-communist camp. However, as I have remarked earlier, no previous conflict has displayed as great a variety and number of methods—of dimensions—as the war we are in. From the communist point of view, every institution in the camp of the enemy is a battleground: churches as well as armies; business corporations and trade unions alike; art, literature and science; Boy Scout troops along with intelligence agencies; communications media just as much as political parties. The front, as Colonel William R. Kintner has insisted through the title of one of his books, is everywhere. And since the enemy attacks everywhere, we must either resist everywhere, or succumb.6

Let us now turn to Burnham’s consideration of Louis Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881), whom Vladimir Lenin himself thoroughly studied and greatly admired. Burnham will thereby lead us to other deeper considerations by first examining “the political pattern” that “emerges unmistakably” when we observe the worldwide, and often simultaneous, “student riots” of 1960.

Burnham first presents some facts and, then, some of the cumulative effects of these often concurrent, but geographically separated, events—all of them also occurring, we should note, in strategic locations:

During the past two years [1958-1960] there have been mass riots in the streets of many major cities of the non-communist world: Caracas, Montevideo, Lima, Baghdad, Havana, Capetown, Léopoldville, Algiers, Seoul, Ankara, Tokyo, San Francisco, among others. In these, students are usually prominent. Nearly all of these riots, with the notable exception of Algiers, have been directed against political friends of the United States.7

Moreover, lest we think these disruptions to be mere trifles, Burnham adds:

These riots have been remarkably successful. They played an essential role in the overthrow of no less than five governments that were firm allies of the U.S.: in Venezuela, Iraq, Cuba, South Korea and Turkey. South Korea and Turkey have been thrown into domestic turmoil.8

Then making a partial review of the geographically distributed, representative effects, he says:

Riots in the Latin American capitals prevented Vice President Nixon’s visit from yielding positive results, marred the President’s [Eisenhower’s] subsequent trip, and degraded U.S. prestige in the eyes of the Latin American masses. The fierce riots now sweeping through the street of Tokyo may smash the pro-United States Kishi government, and compel both repudiation of the U.S.-Japan security treaty and cancellation of Mr. Eisenhower’s scheduled visit.9

With careful probabilistic reasoning, Burnham raises a few questions and gives his reflective judgment and the reasons for his conclusion, in light of earlier historical operations of “the conflict apparatus”:

Do the communists have a hand in these events? When we fit them together, the political pattern emerges unmistakably. Cui prodest?—to whose benefit—the old rule tells us to ask. Invariably the answer is, to the benefit of the communists and the policies they favor. Where are the street riots against a pro-communist regime or policy? Coincidences so multiple, both positive and negative, simply do not occur in politics.10

After giving the likely “left-Liberal and socialist” objections to his view—and he eloquently states them in a whole, lengthy paragraph, and without any caricature or mocking distortion—he proceeds gradually to refute them, by first understanding some other ways of thinking about the usefulness of crowds and uproars. For example:

The Bolshevik approach to mobs, riots and “command of the streets” is rather more serious. In his design for the revolutionary party—the conflict apparatus—Lenin, like Bakunin [the Anarchist] and Nechayev [the Russian Nihilist] before him, incorporated the ideas of Louis Auguste Blanqui, a French revolutionist who lived from 1805-81. Blanqui first became prominent in the 1830 revolution, and devoted the rest of his life, in and out of prison, to revolutionary conspiracy. He believed that the key to successful revolt was the development of a small, secret,“cadre” organization. Normally the cadres would remain underground, abstaining from political affairs. They were to be trained in the manipulation of crowds and the use of the small arms and improvised weapons accessible to crowds.11

For our further instruction and strategic edification, Burnham gives some additionally specific history:

Blanqui assumed that the normal course of modern mass society would periodically bring crowds into the streets. Unguided, they would mill around to no particular purpose. The trained cadres could, however, deploy through the mass and take leadership. In the 1848 and 1870 revolutions [in France] the practical cogency of Blanqui’s ideas was proved. In 1870 it was his cadres—4,000 strong—who were primarily responsible for the overthrow of the Third Empire and establishment of the Paris Commune—history’s first revolutionary, proletarian, Soviet dictatorship. Unguided mobs may shake but they do not overthrow regimes. They do not produce consistent slogans and select strategic targets. [That is, as the earlier “Comintern”—Third Communist International Apparatus 1919-1943—had done, and even as the follow-up “Cominform”—the 1943-1956 Communist Information Bureau—did, though in a more mitigated, speciously conciliatory, way]. The coordinated operations of these recent [1958-1960] riots, and their high measure of success, are the product of trained Bolshevik neo-Blanquists who, once the masses take to the street, supply the guidance and slogans, point to the targets, and foment the violence.12

Supporting his analysis further, Burnham returns to specific riots then occurring in Japan and Uruguay—and even, in a more incipient way, in California:

This [disciplined guidance] is true not only in Tokyo, where the Bolsheviks work through the wild Zengakuren hoodlums, or in Montevideo, where the communists openly control the student clubs, but in our own San Francisco at “an earlier stage” of the revolutionary process [to be further developed on “the Inner Front” during the Vietnam War?]. The police investigation proved the communist leadership of the student mob that took command of the center of the city….Americans smile incredulously, but it is the simple truth that the HUAC [House Un-American Activities Committee] riots last month [in May of 1960] were not a student prank but a rehearsal for revolution.13

What Marguerite Higgins later showed in her 1965 book, Our Vietnam Nightmare,14 poignantly confirms Burnham’s analysis, especially with the manipulation of the “select” Buddhist mobs against President Diem and his regime, helping the agents and complicitors of the 2 November 1963 assassination of the President and his brother Nhu, and thereby the calamitous overthrow of the Diem Regime. Speaking of the Revolutionary and effectively “neo-Blanquist” Cadre-Chief, the Buddhist monk Thich Tri Quang, for example—who himself had immense contempt for the American dupes who courted him and who fatuously thought they could “reform” him—Marguerite Higgins so modestly (and very humble as to her own insufficiency of discernment) wrote the following in her 1965 book:

It seems strangely unreal, looking back on the summer of 1963 [a few months before the assassinations and following coup], that anybody could have still been in doubt about short-term Buddhist aims. “What do the Buddhists want?” I wrote at the end of my Vietnam tour. “What they want is Diem’s head, and not on a silver platter, but wrapped in an American flag.” What I did not foresee was that “Diem’s head wrapped in an American flag, was precisely what the Buddhists would get.15

As we shall soon see, this outcome closely resembles, not only a form of the deceitful “Judo Principle” (using someone’s own force and vices, as well as his moral virtues, against him), but also another part of Leninist doctrine, namely the concept of “enlightened terror.”

In the May 1960 riots and revolutionary rehearsals in San Francisco, some three years before the Diem assassination, however, even then:

The cadre chiefs were well pleased with the exercise [or the “rehearsal”]. For several hours, screened by student-innocents, (in the protective role of the proletarian wives that the Bolsheviks pushed to the front of the 1917 Petrograd mob), they held control of the streets against all the power [police and military] of the enemy. They compelled the local sovereign, Mayor George Christopher, to capitulate….And they bent the courts to their will. Judge A. Axelrod, with a fatuous statement about not wanting to “cause a stigma,” dismissed all charges against all the rioters, Blanquists and dupes. They flung his sentimentality back in his face with a scornful declaration that they “still stand firmly” by their aims and actions. Would that our mayors and judges might say as much!16

Almost three and a half years later, on 5 November 1963—only three days after the Diem assassination—James Burnham wrote another important strategic, and morally discerning, article, entitled “The Revolution on the Mekong.” It was another one of his regular columns in National Review, coming under the heading, “The Third World War,” but also reproduced, on only three incisive pages, in his book The War We Are In.17

As a complement and counterpoise to Marguerite Higgins’ later book, Our Vietnam Nightmare (1965), Burnham’s analysis is, however, more geopolitical, strategical, and doctrinal. He begins his column with stern and sobering words which swiftly catch our attention, without his even mentioning the assassinations on All Souls’ Day three days before:

The first two communist objectives in the South Vietnamese sector of “the revolution on the Mekong”—the phrase is Ho Chi Minh’s—have now been attained. Le Duan, secretary of the Communist Party of North Vietnam, listed the early stages when, in September 1960 [three months after Burnham’s earlier-discussed article on Louis Blanqui], he announced formation of the “National Liberation Front” (FLN) of South Vietnam: “This Front must take as the principal objectives the overthrow of the Diem regime, the abolition of the present Constitution, the orientation of the South Vietnam foreign policy toward neutralism, and the establishment of normal [sic] relations between the South and the North.”18

Moreover, and very importantly to our deeper understanding of these forms of warfare, Burnham then says:

These objectives have been achieved by “enlightened terror,” which aims at bringing about a situation, chiefly by psychological means, in which the active opponents are destroyed by their own camp.19

I believe that these words should be carefully considered, especially because such insidious operations always break intimate trust “within our own camp,” a demoralizing breach which is so difficult to repair.

Burnham then gives supporting documentation for this Doctrine of “Enlightened Terror”:

A remarkable document found on the body of a dead NKVD officer [a Soviet security-and-intelligence officer] explained: “In the concept of enlightened terror the terror subject [the perpetrator] not only remains in the shadows, but acts and applies the terror not in his own name but in the name of his opponent [the target]….In the system of enlightened terror nearly all the efforts of the terror subject are directed at converting the [human] environment into a spontaneous assistant and accessory, in ignorance of its role.” The terror subject indeed [says Burnham] must be congratulating himself today, in his shadows, for the psycho-political manipulation by which he led the Government of the United States to act as his “spontaneous assistant and accessory, in ignorance of its role.”20

At this point of his apparent knowledge of the fuller Vietnam “environment,” Burnham is still unaware of (or at least does not mention) the probability of conscious, culpable complicity, as well, on the part of some U.S. actors, civilian and military.

After Burnham gives an excellent, lucid summary of the strategic geography of the Mekong River as “one of the dozen greatest rivers in the world” from the Tibetan plateau to the China Sea south of Saigon, he affirms that, therefore, as seen through the eyes of the enemy, “the revolution on the Mekong” is “conceived as a vast integrated strategic campaign that will carry communism to the South Seas.”21

Showing first how almost the entire strategic theater—not sufficiently appreciated by the Americans—is already under predominant communist influence or is at least resisted by an “anti-Western “’positive neutrality,’” as in Cambodia, he concludes:

The South Vietnam sector is now the only remaining obstacle of consequence….[Thus,] an anti-communist South Vietnamese regime has been a road block that must be breached or undermined. To that end a varied mix of weapons has been directed: paramilitary, terrorist, psychological and political….In the middle of 1960 the main slogans of the propaganda campaign—many of them destined to make their way through the layers of underground agents, fellow travelers, collaborators, dupes, silly journalists and innocents all the way to the White House [especially, from the outset, to the January 1961 White House of John F. Kennedy]—were launched: “Overthrow of the reactionary U.S.A.-Diem clique!”; “An end to the policy of repression and terror!” etc.22

Concerning President Diem and his regime, specifically, Burnham adds:

The Diem regime represented the only serious and cohesive anti-communist formation in South Vietnam—nor is it by mere chance that Christians were so prominent within it. That regime and that formation are now shattered. The communists and pro-communists are dancing in the streets, schools, and pagodas, along with the naïve and heedless. Some of the officers who took part in the coup are sincerely anti-communist, but they have no “social base” for an anti-communist policy. Moreover, they have the insuperable disadvantage that the whole world knows them—as Moscow immediately named them—for the American puppets they really are.23

Concluding his trenchant article with a consideration of the ideologically Liberal John F. Kennedy Administration and Kennedy’s chosen array of progressive “New Frontiersmen,” Burnham says:

The socio-political process that President Kennedy initiated [in early 1961] can be predicted with near certainty [although President Kennedy’s own imminent assassination on 22 November, only some two weeks later, could not be comparably extrapolated nor reasonably expected]. The new regime, or rather succession of regimes [in South Vietnam], will begin disintegrating at once. Its leftward elements will inevitably make contact with the National Liberation Front (are doubtless already in contact)….And is John F. Kennedy, flying [now himself] the [detente] Treaty of Moscow at the masthead of his ship of state, the man to reject the claims of Peace?24

(Burnham’s sharp irony here about the true nature of “the Peace” will not be easily missed.)

Whether knowingly or not, whether as knaves or dupes, Liberalism tends to give a free hand to its own assassins, even, at times, hands the weapons over to its own assassins. Burnham came to see this sad fact very well.

Less than a year later, during the new Lyndon B. Johnson Administration, James Burnham was, in fact, to publish his long-germinating and profound and still-unrefuted analysis of Liberalism and of its inherent consequences. It is entitled Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism (1964).

Burnham also knew what Alexander Solzhenitsyn himself, again and again, argued in his own writings and critiques: the Girondins give way to the Jacobins; the Mensheviks give way to the Bolsheviks; Stalinism is not at all a corruption of Leninism, but rather a continuation and further fulfillment of Leninism (even in its own disciplined “strategy of terror”). Stalinism, moreover, is not a corruption of some pure deposit of Marxism-Leninism: the monster is in the doctrine itself. Moreover, Lenin’s and Stalin’s views of power and expansion and the sophistic deceits of dialectical-and-historical materialism (and thus its ongoing manipulations of the purported “contradictions at the very heart of reality”) are entirely different from historical “Russian Nationalism,” despite the latter’s own aggressive and imperially expansive initiatives.

In his own 11 September 1987 essay on James Burnham (shortly after “Jim” had just died on 28 July 1987), Joseph Sobran recalls Burnham’s revealingly important, earlier article from the early 1940s, in the Leftist intellectual journal, Partisan Review, a provocative article entitled “Lenin’s Heir.” In Sobran’s words:

Jim did like to shock. The Machiavellians [first published in 1943, after his break with Trotsky] belongs to the same period as “Lenin’s Heir,” a piece he wrote for Partisan Review to “épater les Trotskyistes” [to “floor” or “flabbergast” the Trotskyites], as he told me once smiling. He épatered them, all right. He called the holy martyr Trotsky a “Platonic Communist” and said that Stalin, not Trotsky, was Lenin’s true successor. Stalin had fulfilled it in its real essence: power.25

That is to say, “Power without Grace,” in Helena’s words to her son, Emperor Constantine.26 She then amplifies her theme in that same conversation alone with her son, and gives her further counsel with a view to the future and even to the coming reality of mass democracies:

“Sometimes,” Helena continued, “I have a terrible dream of the future. Not now, but presently, people may forget their loyalty to their kings and emperors and take power for themselves. Instead of letting one victim [like you] bear this frightful curse [the burden of responsibility of an Emperor’s lonely Rule], they will take it all on themselves, each one of them. Think of a whole world possessed of Power without Grace.”27

So, too, will there likely be misery and loutishness and spreading disorder stemming from “Democratic Centralism,” “Bureaucratic Collectivism,” and the theories of Revolutionary Naturalism, such as the dialectical doctrine, power, and disciplined deceits of “Enlightened Terror” which still may come forth from Neo-Leninist Neo-Blanquist Cadres and their coherent “Conflict Apparatus” so deftly prepared and variously able to conduct covert, tactical and strategic, crowd or “mass” manipulation.

Should we not expect that these effective traditions and principles are still being transmitted and subtly adjusted to current actualities (and technologies), and applied, at least by Neo-Bolsheviks or Neo-Jacobins, some of them even religious and imperial Neo-Conservatives or Neo-Zionists?28 Messianic Politics is still a formative (and “deformative”) and fevered factor in our world.

May we, therefore, at least learn from the varied experience and tested wisdom of James Burnham,29 which we now, in part, have seen in this little essay. Thus, we may also now analogously remember the subtle and effective practices of Louis Blanqui himself, and consider how he would likely employ the new electronic, “radio-frequency” instruments and bio-nano technologies of “perception management”—and even “psycho-neuro-linguistics”—today in his covert oligarchic guidance of mobs (and even magistrates). Also by using the “trust-shattering” methods of “enlightened terror.” And even especially so (as with the slower cultural strategy of Antonio Gramsci) against the Catholic Church.

FINIS

© 2013 Robert D. Hickson

1B.H. Liddell Hart, Lawrence of Arabia (New York, New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1989), the Postscript, p. 369—this book was originally published, in 1934, 1935, and 1937, as Colonel Lawrence: The Man Behind the Legend.

2Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 739. The full clause, with an added, but likewise pertinent, sentence, says as follows :“The manipulation of language was one of the salient characteristics of Leninism, particularly the de-coupling of words from the reality they were supposed to represent, as part of an abstract vision of society in which people lost their real weight and presence and were treated as no more than pieces in a social and historical erector set. This process of abstraction, closely linked to ideology, is another key factor in the birth of the terror.” (pp. 739-740—my emphasis added)

3James Burnham, The War We Are In: The Last Decade and the Next (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1967), pp. 254-256. This essay is to be found in the Section of the book which is entitled “The Forms of Modern Warfare” (Chapter VIII), pages 240-284. Burnham’s own National Review column,“The Third World War,” his regular column since the magazine’s first issue in November 1955, was re-named “The Protracted Conflict” in 1970 and remained so thereafter until his retirement in 1978, regrettably for reasons of impaired health.

4Ibid., pp. 240-241—my emphasis added. See, also, the excellent study by James Chambers, entitled The Devil’s Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe (New York: Atheneum, 1979), a vivid and applicable book of 200 pages.

5Ibid., p. 255.

6Ibid., p. 241—my emphasis added. Burnham refers to Colonel William Kintner’s 1950 book, The Front Is Everywhere.

7Ibid., p. 254.

8Ibid.

9Ibid.

10Ibid., pp. 254-255.

11Ibid., p. 255—my emphasis added.

12Ibid., pp. 255-256—my emphasis added. We also may now better imagine what Pontius Pilate himself, the Roman Procurator, had to face, especially when he encountered the manipulated, and increasingly furious mob with their strident calls for the criminal, Barabbas—which constitutes, as it seems, another part of “that unended war of mobs and magistrates against the innocent! ” in Evelyn Waugh’s memorable words. (Evelyn Waugh, Helena (1950), Chapter 11 “Epiphany,” p. 223—which is the penultimate page of that Chapter).

13Ibid., p. 256—emphasis in the original.

14Marguerite Higgins, Our Vietnam Nightmare (New York: Harper &.Row, Publishers, 1965). See, also, “Giving a Free Hand to the Assassins” (13 December 2012—8 pp.), by Robert Hickson, which is now also posted on the website, Catholicism.org.

15Ibid., p. 33—my emphasis added. On the same page, Higgins quotes the specific words of the arrogant Manipulator-Chief, Thich Tri Quang, from his private interview with the Saigon Press, as recorded in detail, specifically in the Saigon Post: for example,With the Americans, it is not so interesting any more. They are too easy to outwit….Some of them persist in thinking they can ‘reform’ me into agreeing with them….It is useful to smile sometimes and let them think so….We will use the Americans to help us get rid of the Americans.” (p. 33—my emphasis added).

16James Burnham, The War We In, p. 256—my emphasis added.

17Ibid., pp. 232-234.

18Ibid., p. 232.

19Ibid.—my emphasis added.

20Ibid.—my emphasis added, except for the bracket within the phrase “the [human] environment” which is James Burnham’s own original and clarifying insertion.

21Ibid., pp. 232-233.

22Ibid., p. 233.

23Ibid., pp. 233-234—my emphasis added. President Diem, however, was not a puppet, but, rather, a distinctive and independent Catholic Mandarin and protective Nationalist, also against the French, who also resented him, and likewise betrayed him.

24Ibid., p. 234—my emphasis added.

25Joseph Sobran, Joseph Sobran: The National Review Years, 1974-1991 (Vienna, Virginia: FGF Books, 2012), p. 98. Sobran’s 11 September 1987 article is entitled “James Burnham, 1905-1987: Editor, Thinker, Colleague,” pp. 97-99.

26Evelyn Waugh, Helena (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1950), p. 185. It comes near the beginning Waugh’s Chapter Nine, entitled “Recessional.”

27Ibid., p.186—my emphasis added. A little later, Constantine says, once again, “If I wish to live, I must determine to rule—And that is [still] true today”; and his mother, once again, immediately replies:“But not without Grace, Constantine.” (p. 186—my emphasis added).

28In this context about the deceitful dialectical mutations of dynamic communism (with its always more stable and dully viscous, underlying “socialist phenomena”), the words of the gifted scholar, William Thomas Walsh might help us to be even more attentive and responsive. Professor Walsh, shortly after the formal conclusion of World War II, met in person with Sister Lucia, then Sr. Maria das Dores (Mary of the Sorrows), for “a long conversation” in Northern Portugal, near Porto. It was “on the afternoon of Monday, July 15, 1946.” In the Epilogue to his 1947 book, Our Lady of Fatima, Walsh spoke of how Sister Lucia of Fatima said “more than once, and with deliberate emphasis” that a certain, very specific, consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart must be done; and “If it is not done, the errors of Russia will spread through every country of the world.” When he asked her: “Does this mean, in your opinion, that every country, without exception, will be overcome by Communism?”she said “Yes.” This may appear but a visionary folly to many, but maybe not. W.T. Walsh Our Lady of Fatima (Garden City, N.Y.:Image Books, 1954; first ed. in May 1947), p. 221.

29See also the recent essay, “Honor in Foreign Policy” (9 pp.) by Robert Hickson, which text is largely a tribute to the insights of James Burnham. It is dated 18 December 2012, and is now also posted on the website and Electronic Journal of Catholicism.org.