Category Archive 'Cold War'

19 May 2020

Time for Western Countries to Decouple Their Economies From China

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Chinese Navy amphibious transport ship Changbai Shan (989) leaving the Port of Rotterdam.

Brian Stewart argues in favor of Cold War now in order to avoid Hot War later.

The fatal mistake of yesterday was to believe (or at least to pretend) that China’s rise could be safely accommodated without exposing the liberal order to immense risk. The fatal mistake of today, it would appear, is to imagine that America can prevail without a vigorous strategy and capable allies over such a dynamic and formidable revisionist power. The last time liberal civilization faced such a determined adversary it was the Soviet Union. It is common to regard the peaceful end of the Cold War as inevitable, but in truth its outcome was shaped by a series of decisions and policies that were by no means predetermined. Many of the global institutions of the liberal order played their part in the struggle against various forms of communist totalitarianism, but it was the strategic foresight of Washington and the global deployment of American power that made the difference.

Despite the profound differences with Soviet communism, the challenge posed by the authoritarian ideology of the People’s Republic of China is redolent of the long twilight struggle that marked the second half of the 20th century. Nonetheless, prominent voices today allege that a cold war with China would be “unnecessary” and “destructive.” But compared to what? The prospect of a shooting war, or even intense competition, is invoked to incapacitate prudent measures to contain Chinese power and deter Chinese aggression. For those who believe in liberal ideals and principles, it is the prospect of Chinese hegemony under the writ of the CCP that presents a more truly unnecessary and destructive scenario.

In the years ahead, the potential for armed conflict between the United States and the People’s Republic is by no means trivial. But as the first cold war largely demonstrated, great power conflict is not inevitable. Beyond capitulation to the CCP’s strategic imperatives—allowing Beijing to quash the freedom of Hong Kong, annex Taiwan, and bully other free peoples into submission—the surest way to avoid war is by adopting a robust strategy to counter China’s expansionism. This would entail acting in concert with like-minded nations to divest and decouple from China’s economy while deploying and, if necessary, wielding military force to establish what Dean Acheson once referred to as “situations of strength” in the Far East.

Such a strategy would be premised on observing a distinction once made by Michael Ignatieff—that adversaries whose designs “you want to defeat” are not necessarily enemies whose existence “you have to destroy.” It can no longer be credibly denied that China is an adversary of the United States. If it is not treated accordingly, it may prove impossible to prevent it from becoming a full-fledged enemy.


I think his postion is inarguable. The Free World Democracies cannot keep enriching China as a trading partner if China remains determined upon combining domestic tyranny and brutality with adversarial foreign aggression.

12 Mar 2020

A Cold War Legend

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Did Gus Weiss, a secretive White House and Intelligence Community insider, informally mastermind a plot to bring down the Soviet Union by sabotaging the crucial technologies stolen from the West that were required to prop up its failing economy? Did Weiss’s Operation Kudo successfully blow up, circa 1982, a Soviet gas pipeline delivering to Moscow some $30 billion-a-year in hard currency, resulting in an event classified by NORAD as the largest non-nuclear explosion in recorded history? Was Weiss’s death in 2003 a suicide or Moscow’s belated revenge? The stories are out there, but Wired Magazine’s Alex French found no official sources will confirm any of this. How odd!

Is it a tale too far-fetched to be true, or too bizarre not to be? Allegedly, a disgruntled KBG agent code-named “Farewell” gave away Soviet secrets to the French, who then promptly shared them with the US — giving the American government a veritable shopping list of the US technology most coveted by the Soviets. Enter Gus Weiss, an eccentric and brilliant insider in the US intelligence community. According to Alex French at Wired, Weiss devised the perfect plan to thwart the Russians: sell them what they want, but first make sure that technology is programmed to self-destruct, taking down a natural gas pipeline vital to the cash-strapped Russians.

Weiss proposed using the Farewell shopping lists to supply the Soviets with the products they sought.

But Weiss wanted the gadgets altered, pre-improved so that they would eventually fail. “The scheme was so goober-pea simple that nobody had come upon it,” Weiss wrote of his solution. Even if the Soviets sniffed out the American trickery, Weiss wrote, “the stratagem would still work as the Agency’s Red Star clientele would be forced to test and retest each recalcitrant unit, provoking delays and finger pointing in the Center, its puffed up potentates sniffing a Gulag behind their next performance appraisal … Real fake devices, false fake devices … The Soviets had set themselves up in exquisite fashion.”

That alternative plan is at the core of the legend of Gus Weiss. The best-known version of the tale goes like this: High up on the Soviet tech shopping list was software to regulate the pressure gauges and valves for the critical Siberian gas pipeline. According to Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes, the Soviets sought the software on the open market. American export controls prohibited its sale from the US. However, a small industrial software company located in Calgary called Cov-Can produced what the Soviets wanted. As Weiner writes, “The Soviets sent a Line X officer to steal the software. The CIA and the Canadians conspired to let them have it.”

The faulty software “weaved” its way through Soviet quality control. The pipeline software ran swimmingly for months, but then pressure in the pipeline gradually mounted. And one day—the date remains unclear, though most put it in June 1982—the software went haywire, the pressure soaring out of control. The pipeline ruptured, igniting a blast in the wilds of Siberia so massive that, according to Thomas C. Reed’s At the Abyss, “at the White House, we received warning from our infrared satellites of some bizarre event out in the middle of Soviet nowhere. NORAD feared a missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based. Or perhaps it was the detonation of a nuclear device. The Air Force chief of intelligence rated it at three kilotons.”

The pipeline explosion is said to have cost Moscow tens millions of dollars it could ill-afford to waste.


09 Aug 2016

Cold War, Berlin

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Three West German police officers, wearing old time helmets, back down seven East German Stasi armed with submachine guns after a young woman made it across the line. The West German foreground cop has unholstered his P-38.

15 Oct 2008

Useful Idiots

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In a 1985 interview, Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov reveals the KGB’s strategy of demoralization and describes the ultimate fate of Western sympathisers.

16:35 video

03 Oct 2007

East Versus West German Shepherds

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photo:Sucherquelle German Shepherds

AP reports that Cold War rivalries survive in the breeding of German Shepherds.

As the country celebrates 17 years of reunification on Wednesday, some animosities between the formerly communist East and capitalist West remain — and few are as doggedly contested as the fight over whose shepherds are superior.

One thing nobody denies is that in the more than four decades of Germany’s division, the dogs did develop different looks: Eastern shepherds are mostly dark gray or black, while the Western dogs have the better-known yellow-and-black appearance.

West German shepherds also have a characteristically sloped back, while their East German counterparts have a straighter back — which their proponents claim is less prone to the hip problems that can plague the breed. …

Because of this, the claim for the better dog at times sounds more like a battle over moral superiority between the East and the West than breeder rivalry.

Grube called the claims from the East German breeders an “obvious case of Ostalgie” — a sentimental nostalgia about life in former East Germany, which went out of existence at reunification in 1990 at the end of the Cold War.

East German breeders get particularly upset when confronted with the widespread assumption that most of their dogs were used at the border to keep citizens from fleeing to the West.

“The army and the police only got the scum — the best ones went to dog lovers,” said Werner Dalm, the former government official for shepherd dog breeding in communist East Germany. However, he acknowledged that the East German army asked particularly for those “that could really bite well.”

Today, Dalm, who is still breeding shepherds at age 81 and is also convinced of the East German dogs’ superiority, believes that pure East German bloodlines are all but extinct.

“Since the unification in 1990, we’ve been mixing bloodlines,” he said. “Even my dogs don’t have pure East German pedigrees any longer.”

Whatever the truth, it does seem like the East German shepherd is making a comeback among the 75,000 members of the German Shepherds’ Club and even abroad.

“We get so many requests for our dogs, there’s an international wait list of several years,” said Schultze.

23 Oct 2006

50th Anniversary of Hungary Uprising of 1956

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On October 23, 1956, a student demonstration in Budapest demanding democracy was crushed by police and the students arrested. A crowd gathered and attempted to free the students, and the police opened fire. Street fighting became general. The Communist regime declared martial law, and called for Soviet assistance. Overnight, Soviet tanks and jets fired on demonstrators.

So began 19 days of desperate struggle by the people of Hungary in a heroic attempt to throw off the yoke of Soviet Communism. Radio Free Europe urged resistance, but John Foster Dulles and Dwight Eisenhower declined to intervene.

Uncertain numbers, but undoubtedy thousands, of Hungarians died in the fighting, more than 350 were executed by the Soviets, 26,000 were put on trial, and over 200,000 fled the country. The inscription on a campanalogical memorial for Imre Nagy, could be applied to the memory of all the Hungarian freedom fighters murdered by the Soviets: Vivos voco / Mortuos plango / Fulgura frango (I call the living, I mourn the dead, I break the lightning).

Hungary regained its independence October 23, 1989, after the fall of Communism.

The Revolt

1956 And Hungary:The Memory of Eyewitnesses

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