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Shorts 2: Princess Ivanka, War Games, Trump President for Life, &c

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — if Paula White is Christian, must be the season of the witch ]

Princess (Jared’s) Bride:

It seems that beauty allied with power can add up to (almost) royalty. Consider Princess Ivanka. From the LA Times, Ivanka Trump: Born to legitimize corruption and make the shoddy look cute:

She has the same magic touch with the multitudes of flesh-and-blood rogues who flock to her for redemption. It’s Ivanka who first brought Gen. Michael “Lied to the FBI” Flynn into the administration, according to the New Yorker; she praised him for his “amazing loyalty” and offered him his choice of positions at a transition-team meeting. One person present said, “It was like Princess Ivanka had laid the sword on Flynn’s shoulders and said, ‘Rise and go forth.'”

The laying on of that princess sword seems to be Ivanka’s favorite pastime. In 2006, when she was 25, she toured Moscow with Felix Sater, who in 1998 pleaded guilty to a $40-million stock fraud scheme run by the Russian mafia. She also collaborated with the Soviet-born businessman Tamir Sapir, whose top aide in 2004 pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy with the Gambino crime family.

Redemption, did you get that?

And what a relief to get back to the Gambinos!


War Games:


  • NYT, U.S. Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans
  • Twitter, Wargames with @avantgame – at Jewish Community Center
  • Comment:

    Wow, I’m impressed. I’m not quite sure what Dr Jane McGonigal is up to with her war games, but the generals who participated in the table-top exercise in Hawaii simulating a war with North Korea might like to try them.. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, and Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command.


    Immortal Trump?

    Trump on China’s Xi consolidating power: ‘Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day’

    In the closed-door remarks, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, Trump also praised China’s President Xi Jinping for recently consolidating power and extending his potential tenure, musing he wouldn’t mind making such a maneuver himself.
    “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump said. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”

    The remarks, delivered inside the ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago estate during a lunch and fundraiser, were upbeat, lengthy, and peppered with jokes and laughter

    That’s all fun and games. Wait till Xi Jinping goes full Mao:

    Oh, ah — the immortality’s not just for Mao, it’s for all of us. ANd Lifton’s thesis is a meditation on the one and the many!

    Lifton undertook his book to supply an ingredient which he felt was lacking in current accounts of the Cultural Revolution: namely the link between psychological phenomena and historical framework, between the feeling of individuals and the events taking place around them.

    Briefly, Lifton argues that individuals relate to history and to other men by means of symbols. The symbols themselves vary in response to the historical context–different events make different symbols relevant. But their ultimate purpose is to give men a sense of connection with their past and future: to provide a sense of unity with other men and with history–a sense of immortality.


    Christian Today:

    Trump adviser Paula White says send money to her for blessings – or face divine consequences

    >onald Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White has told people to send her money – ideally their January salary – in order to receive blessings, or face divine consequences. [ .. ]

    ‘Right now I want you to click on that button, and I want you to honour God with his first fruits offering,’ she said in the video.

    ‘If God doesn’t divinely step in and intervene, I don’t know what you’re going to face – he does,’ she said. [ .. ]

    Explaining the theory behind her appeal for cash, she said: ‘January is the beginning of a new year for us in the Western world. Let us give to God what belongs to him: the first hours of our day, the first month of the year, the first of our increase, the first in every area of our life. It’s devoted…The principle of first fruits is that when you give God the first, he governs the rest and redeems in.’



    By way of explanation?

    When I look over my shoulder What do you think I see?
    Some other cat looking over His shoulder at me
    And he’s strange, very very very strange

    Must be the season of the Witch!

    One book calls for another

    Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

    [ by Charles Cameron — of books, wars and games, three things seldom far from my mind ]

    Yesterday I went thrifting with young master David, and found myself a copy of Daniel Johnson‘s White King and Red Queen: How the Cold War Was Fought on the Chessboard.

    This happy event makes me anxious to reclaim my copy of Scott Boorman‘s The Protracted Game: A Wei-Ch’i Interpretation of Maoist Revolutionary Strategy from storage.

    One of the things about books is that they call to each other.


    The clock in the SPECS image above is a Sunnywood 3246B Plastic Mechanical Chess Clock.

    Wylie’s Military Strategy

    Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

     by J. Scott Shipman


    Military Strategy, by Rear Admiral J.C. Wylie, Jr., USN (1911-1993)

    This is a very brief review and recommendation for a book that I discovered recently. Admiral Wylie’s short Military Strategy (about 85 pages in the original edition) was published in 1967, but written in the mid-fifties while Wylie was “at sea in a single-screw low-speed amphibious cargo ship.” He remarked these ships were “not demanding  of a captain’s attention as is, for instance, a destroyer.”My copy was published in 1989 by the  Naval Institute Press  as part of their Classics of Seapower series and has an excellent preface by John B. Hattendorf that will give those unfamiliar with Wylie’s life experience a good foundation. This copy also has a postscript written by Wylie “twenty years later” and three related essays published previously in Proceedings magazine.

    Given Military Strategy’s brevity, I’ll resist the urge to provide long quotes. Wylie and an associate’s search for articulating the relevance of the navy in the never-ending budget battles brought them in contact with the famed mathematician John von Neumann of Princeton. Wylie used a paraphrase of von Neumann as a starting point: “With respect to strategy as a subject of study, its intellectual framework is not clearly outlined, and its vocabulary is almost nonexistent. These two primary tasks are badly in need of doing…” He sets out to do just that and does a nice job.

    Wylie defines strategy as: “A plan of action designed in order to achieve some end; a purpose together with a system of measures for its accomplishment.” He discusses the military mind and strategy, and how often the military focuses on principles to the exclusion of real strategy. Wylie outlines methods of studying strategy that are simple and well thought-out. Wylie makes a compelling case for a general theory of strategy. He says: “A theory is simply an idea designed to account for actuality or to account for what the theorist thinks will come to pass in actuality. It is orderly rationalization of real or presumed patterns of events.” Further, he continually stresses the importance of assumptions being based in reality, and not wishful thinking or the last war/battle.

    His chapter on existing theories is worth the price of the book. He provides a type of Cliff’s Notes overview of the four theories he sees as core: the maritime, the air, the continental, and the Maoist. Of the last, he masterfully lifted sections from Mao’s On Guerilla Warfare, Che Guevera on Guerilla Warfare, and Vo Ngugen Giap’s People’s War People’s Army. He observed of the later, “these books are not only theory, the portray a hard reality of contemporary warfare.” To our people in uniform, in particular, unfamiliar with these books, Wylie provides an accessible and informative introduction to the type of war being waged by Islamic jihadists and how they attempt shape the battle field.

    He develops a brilliant point that destruction doesn’t necessarily translate into control, and that often destruction is driven more by emotion than strategy.

    Wylie goes on to provide a general theory of strategy that, using his words, has “substance and validity, and practicality.” As Seydlitz89 said in a recent comment thread here: “Wylie is amazing.  So many ideas in such a small book!  He misread Clausewitz and overrated Liddell Hart – which are probably connected, but overall?  He comes up with some very basic ideas about strategic theory which are ever sooooo useful.  I’ve re-read his small book several times and always come up with something that either I’d forgotten or that I had missed earlier.  Wylie’s basic approach to theory is as a practitioner, not as an academic, much like Clausewitz before him.”

    Indeed, Wylie provides a nice scaffold for any type of strategy, military or business. For me his approach was refreshing in a genre where, more often than not, dogma and ego walk hand-in-hand.  Time and again, he offers that his ideas may be wrong and encourages readers to think and wrestle with the concepts provided. Wylie writes in his postscript: “As far as I know, no one as ever paid attention to it [the book]. I don’t know whether this is because it is so clear and obviously valid that no one needs to, or because it is of no use at all. I suspect it could be the latter, but I really do not know.”

    This little book comes with my highest recommendation. If you’re in uniform and just getting started with strategic concepts/thinking, this is an excellent place to start.

    Interesting referenced titles:

    Military Concepts and Philosophy, Henry E. Eccles 

    The Military Intellectuals in Britain, 1918-1939, Robin Higham 

    An Introduction to Strategy, General Andre Beaufre 

    Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, John von Neumann 

    Strategy in Poker, Business and War, John McDonald 

    Mackinlay’s Insurgent Archipelago & Other Books

    Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

    The Insurgent Archipelago by John Mackinlay

    At the strong recommendation of Colonel Gian Gentile, I ordered The Insurgent Archipelago: From Mao to Bin Laden by Dr. John Mackinlay of King’s College, London and a hardcover copy just arrived this afternoon. Judging from the table of contents and the sources in Mackinlay’s endnotes, The Insurgent Archipelago will present a tightly written argument on the nature of COIN. For a well regarded  and informative review, see David Betz of Kings of War blog, brief excerpt below:

    Review: The Insurgent Archipelago

    ….The book is sweeping, as the subtitle ‘From Mao to Bin Laden’ suggests; yet it is also admirably succinct at 292 pages including notes and index.[2] In design it is exceedingly clear, consisting of three parts-‘Maoism’, ‘Post-Maoism’, and ‘Responding to Post-Maoism’, which reflect the basic components of his argument. Insurgency’s classical form is the brainchild of the carnivorously ambitious strategic and political genius Mao Zedong who gave meaning to the now familiar bumper sticker that insurgency is ’80 per cent political and 20 per cent military’. Mao’s innovation was to figure out what to fill that 80 per cent with: industrial scale political subversion by which he was able to harness the latent power of an aggrieved population to the wagon of political change, to whit the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War which ended with the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949

    ….The problem is that what we now face in the form of ‘global insurgency’ is not Maoism but Post-Maoism-a form of insurgency which differs significantly from that which preceded it.[6] We have, in essence, been searching for the right tool to defeat today’s most virulent insurgency in the wrong conceptual tool box. This is perhaps the most uncomfortable truth to be laid out in this book; another worrying one is that the security interests of Western Europe differ markedly from those of the United States-because the threat in the former emerges from their own undigested Muslim minorities which are alienated further by their involvement in expeditionary campaigns which, arguably at least, serve the needs of the latter well enough

    Oddly, this will be the second book by a former British Gurkha officer that I’ve read in the last six months; the first being The Call of Nepal: My Life In the Himalayan Homeland of Britain’s Gurkha Soldiers by Colonel J.P. Cross, which I played a minor role in getting reissued here by Nimble Books, along with Lexington Green. After just thumbing through a few pages, Dr. Mackinlay already strikes me as a far less mystically inclined military author than does the esteemed but eccentric Colonel Cross.

    I am way behind in my book reviews. Fortunately, Charles Cameron is stepping up with a new series of posts this week, which will give me some time to write reviews at least for Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld and Senator’s Son: An Iraq War Novel and then read Mackinlay. Ah, this designated guest blogger business is proving to be most convenient! 🙂

    Tuesday, February 27th, 2007


    In a Sunday New York Times book review, eminent diplomatic historian, John Lewis Gaddis examined Nixon and Mao by Margaret MacMillian. Gaddis writes:

    “A professor of history at the University of Toronto, soon to move to Oxford as warden of St. Antony’s College, MacMillan in her earlier book defended the peacemakers of 1919 against the charge that they had failed. The outbreak of a new world war two decades later, she argued, resulted not from their mistakes but from those of their successors. She has little need, in “Nixon and Mao,” to defend the peacemakers of 1972, for in the three and a half decades since they met, regrets have been remarkably few. An event that seemed inconceivable before it happened was instantly regarded by almost everyone after it happened as having made perfect sense. Rarely has foresight been so at odds with hindsight.

    When Nixon took office in 1969, he inherited a war in Vietnam that was costing the United States far more in lives, money and reputation than is the current war in Iraq. The strategic arms balance had shifted in favor of the Soviet Union, whose leaders had crushed dissent in Czechoslovakia and were promising to do so elsewhere. Meanwhile race riots, antiwar protests and an emerging culture of youthful rebellion were making the United States, in the eyes of its new president, almost ungovernable: the nation, Nixon worried, was on the verge of going “down the drain as a great power.”

    Playing the “China card” did not resolve these difficulties, but it did regain the initiative. With this single act, Nixon and Kissinger dazzled their domestic critics, rattled the Soviet Union, impressed allies (despite their exasperation at not having been consulted) and set up an exit strategy for a war that had become unwinnable: the United States might indeed “lose” South Vietnam, but it would “gain” China. Despite its implications for the unfortunate Vietnamese, this was an outcome with which it was hard to argue. “

    Read the whole review here.

    Yet there are those who would. H-Diplo is running a thread on Nixon and Mao as well as having an upcoming roundtable planned. I intend to put my two cents in as the debate develops.

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