[ by Charles Cameron — who was wondering about this particular strategy a few minutes before encountering this headline.. ]
How would cops joining protesters figure in a simple zero-sum game? Impossible, you say? Did ever a white bishop in chess determine the black cause was righteous and declare itself black, allowing the black player to move it? Never, you say? How, then, do we score this move?
[ by Charles Cameron — a biker gang as alt-army, a chess board as Cold War battlefield — Night Wolves, and Fischer Spassky ]
I mentioned the Night Wolves bikers in my post It’s how we / they roll in May 2015, and there have been many reports of their activities elsewhere — but yesterday I was pointed to some videos I hadn’t seen before, and came across this intriguing title on an RT video from Sevastopol, 2014:
Russia: Epic Night Wolves biker rally takes war in Ukraine to the stage
Putin’s Angels: the bikers battling for Russia in Ukraine
Think about it. Taking a war to the stage — with a couple of rock bands, a light show, plenty of fires, and the Night Wolves themselves making high bike jumps across the stage — may sound like little or nothing, but for the citizens of Sevastopol is’s either w pretty profound warning or a pretty powerful affirmation that the Crimea belongs to Mother Russia.
That’s quite an audience! And read the caption:
This city will come back
Sevastopol will stay Russian
Note — this is a very short video clip — that Putin rides with the Night Wolves — in Crimea:
Note that Putin‘s bike has the Russian Imperial insignia of a double-headed eagle — on his gas tank!
Note the crown at the very top, and St George slaying the dragon in the center panel.
If you have 35 minutes, watch this — it’s pretty damn impressive for a show put on by a biker gang:
If you don’t have 35 minutes, just flick through it, catching a sense of the thing. But uit’s well worth watching in full, so perhaps you can find time to come back and watch it later.
The title of this post claims that “Epic Night Wolves biker rally takes war in Ukraine to the stage<" is A very interesting title". Any text which suggests that war can be considered a drama, a game, or a dream -- a subset of reality -- is of inherent interest: think of the impact of the black American athlete Jesse Owens crushing his German opponent to win four gold medals in Hitler's 1936 Summer Olympics!
In this case we have the claim that war can be enacted in a rock and roll and light show. A comparison with warfare as chess may prove illuminating: consider the Telegraph article titled How Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky became pawns — the title itself is extraordinary, making pawns of two great chess grand masters!
Even before Fischer-Spassky, we are told:
For the USSR, chess had always been a key weapon in the Cold War.
Cold War in Reykjavik as Fischer breaks Soviet defender Spassky
Never before or after has a chess tournament, or perhaps any sporting event, taken on such non-sporting significance. This was not Spassky v Fischer. It was the USSR v US. [ .. ]
The fate of a nation has rarely depended on the result of a sporting endeavour. But that was how the match-up between Fischer and Spassky was portrayed in the lead-up to Reykjavik in 1972.
When he defeated Spassky, we are told, Fischer “was treated as a war hero.” Spassky resigned by telephone– and Fischer? Ever the eccentric —
The audience (about 2,500) burst into rhythmic applause and rose. Fischer, still busying himself at the chessboard, again nodded, looked uncomfortable, glanced at the audience from the corner of his eyes and rushed off.
[ by Charles Cameron — Soleimani’s death prospects — does my title sound like the title of a Ludlum novel? Good! ]
I’ll do this all, or mostly, in tweets — things are happening fast enough that just watching my twitter stream is keeping me pretty busy.
Okay: there’s a whole lot of mirroring going on. Commenting on the assassination of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, President Trump tweeted:
Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have…..
….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
In both cases, we have threats, which we might say fall half-way between words and deeds, and which may also be pure bluster. It’s a thriller, to be sure, given President Trump‘s propensity to exaggerate in both speech and action.
Trump promises to blast 52 Iranian sites for the 52 American hostages held over 40 years ago. Does Iran respond by threatening 53 US sites for the US backed coup of Iran’s democratically elected leader Mossadegh in 1953?
Iranian military official Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan: “We will not enter into an all-out war with America under any circumstances and we will respond appropriately to the U.S. strike. Iran’s response will be based on wisdom and reason and will be deterrent and influential.”
No mirroring there — no ping-pong, no tit-for-tat, just restraint — an “appropriate” and “restrained” response.
But look, there’s more going on there — there’s death mirroring life. And if you’ll take a moment to break from national security concerns, death mirroring life is precisely what Jean Cocteau shows us in his great film Orphée:
“Soleimani has taught us that death is the beginning of life, not the end of life,” one militia commander said.
And that may be the wisest mirroring comment of all.. though Soleimani surely intended it in the context of that other quote I cited yesterday:
The war-front is mankind’s lost paradise. One type of paradise that is portrayed for mankind is streams, beautiful nymphs and greeneries. But there is another kind of paradise. … The war-front was the lost paradise of the human beings, indeed.
Mirrorings found, but paradise lost, I fear — not Soleimani‘s war-front, but its mirror-image, the paradise of hoped for Middle Eastern peace. That’s a mirror undone, when you consider the letter from Soleimani to the Iraqi PM that Brasco Aad tweets about:
raqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi: “Hadj Soleimani was in Baghdad at my invitation. He was scheduled to visit me and carried a letter with him from the Iranian leadership on how to de-escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.”
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.