Grand Strategy in the Age of Mass Destruction

Commentary for 28 January 2018


The general alarm over Candidate Trump sounded shrill and artificial next to the resolute quiet of the Obama years, especially when it came to ‘the Russian threat within’ posed by a president whose mentor Frank Marshall Davis was a Communist Party operative on an FBI arrest list in case of war with the USSR; whose close political aides, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, both, were descended from and mentored by Communist and/or Soviet operatives, some of whom were also associated with Davis. Not only was there no general alarm over this and so much more, there was media-enforced silence on these and related issues.
- Diana West, When American “Collusion” Looks Like Russian Deception

Last week a reader asked if I was familiar with KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov. The reader then outlined Bezmenov’s four stage process of Soviet subversion: “demoralization, destabilization, crisis and normalization.” He observed that “we appear to be in stage two – destabilization – [based] on the increased polarization of our society and heightened street violence and general breakdown of the rule of law."

Polarization, of course, is no accident. A divide and conquer game is now underway inside the United States which is calculated to produce instability. It naturally comes on the heels of a societal demoralization (decades in the making). Given current preparations for war in Korea, stage three (crisis) will likely result from a military clash in the Far East. The final stage (normalization), signifies the acceptance by the United States of Russian and Chinese military dominance (formalized by a treaty). This, of course, is only one dimension of the crisis/normalization process. Yet, if things go according to plan, it will be the decisive dimension.

Of course, destabilization is carried out by secret agent networks in much the same way as demoralization. It is a process guided by KGB officers and recruited agents. These agents not only operate on the political left. In order to guide the process the KGB has placed agents on the political right – in the guise of rock-solid conservatives. Bezmenov says that recruiting agents on the left is, in fact, not as important as recruiting (or planting) them on the right.

How are we to recognize these agents?

This requires special attention to the past relationships and associations of leading figures on the right. Any past association with communist groups or individuals, with East European or Chinese business interests, etc., should be a matter of serious concern. Such associations do not convict a person of being a Russian agent. Such associations, however, are the first things to look at when doing a standard background investigation.   

To understand how Russian intelligence recruits its subversion agents, it is useful to consider the testimony of an experienced spymaster. SS General Walter Schellenberg was the head of SS Foreign Intelligence for Nazi Germany from 1941-45. In his memoirs there is a chapter titled “Expanding our Swedish Network.” According to Schellenberg, German counterintelligence believed “that Sweden served as the main launching area for the activities of the Russian Secret Service [in Europe].” The key component of this launchpad was, of course, the Swedish Communist Party.

Throughout the free world communist parties do not play a significant role in electoral politics, for obvious reasons. This does not mean they are lazy or inactive. As with the Swedish Communist Party of the 1940s, Schellenberg tells us that the chief task of indigenous communist parties is to “furnish money, to run courier depots, and to give assistance to agents...."

According to Schellenberg, persons who defect from communist parties and join conservative parties or right-wing movements, should not be fully trusted. Schellenberg explained, “normal Soviet tactics” often involved persons who “had left the Communist Party with the knowledge and consent of the Russian Secret Service, having been given an assignment … to infiltrate” anti-communist organizations, including the intelligence services of various countries. Schellenberg further noted, “I knew from experience that such Trojan Horse tactics were very popular with the Russians, and that they gave their collaborators plenty of time to develop their plans."

Schellenberg's admonition may be misunderstood by persons who wrongly imagine that all former communists (or KGB defectors, for that matter) should be treated as pariahs. This isn’t Schellenberg’s point. In fact, Schellenberg’s behavior toward Soviet defectors was quite the opposite. He welcomed them with open arms. He merely avoided the necessity of trusting them. After all, they were not going to assume positions of leadership in German intelligence. Being friendly to such people was good policy, if only to encourage their cooperation. One might analyze and sift the merits of such people with an eye to vital strategic considerations. Yet consider how far such prudential wariness is from the everyday practice of American conservatives, who regularly trust the words of “former” communists (in Russia and here at home). The crisis on the American right derives in large part from the widespread degeneration of political prudence and discernment. Americans are too casual and flippant, too easy-going for the game that is presently being played.

Therefore, Russian subversion of the American right has advanced very far indeed (though probably not into the Oval Office as the mainstream media would suggest). The left has always been the devil's ragbaby in such matters. Insofar as the left dominates the media and the major newspapers, it would be very strange to see Russia's disinformation minions conducting a campaign of vilification against one of their own. That just wouldn't make sense.

Clearly, the "baddies" on the conservative side of the fence aren't going to be vilified by the left as Russian stooges. Misdirection would not be served by pointing out the real Russian agents on the right. Expect, instead, that Russia's right-wing plants will be vilified as "fascists" or as enemies of "tolerance." In fact, Russian agents on the right would likely engage in provocations designed to damage fellow conservatives or split the conservative movement into warring factions. Also watch for familiar "conspiracy theories" that focus on "central bankers" or "Jews" or the "New World Order." Such theories misdirect conservative opinion away from Russia and the communist movements supported by Russia.

The game of old is still the game of today. The communist bloc is real. Its agent networks are still operating. Nothing in that regard has changed. As Diana West noted in her "Red Thread" series (linked above), Obama was mentored by a Communist Party member – Frank Marshall Davis – who was slated for arrest in the event of war with the Soviet Union. Five years ago, Obama mocked Mitt Romney for suggesting that Russia was a dangerous adversary. Now we get something very different, which craves wary walking.

How do we account for this transformation of Obama’s position? More than that, Obama was not the only person to reverse his position on Russia. Many of those who protested the Vietnam War, who decried McCarthyism, and have opposed the buildup of U.S. nuclear power, now demand that Donald Trump be investigated for colluding with the Russians.

Never have so many reversed themselves so far, so fast. – Except, that is, when Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with Stalin in 1939. In those days the communists had previously opposed Hitler. Sudden they reversed themselves. Hitler was okay. The French and British were denounced as warmongers. Therefore, the central anti-fascist theme of Moscow’s “progressive” United Front strategy was reversed.

From a strategic standpoint, any mass reversal of the “progressive” left with regard to major powers or international alignments are probably the result of strategic decisions made in Moscow. In other words, we are not looking at a spontaneous phenomenon; rather, it is something calculated within the context of a larger movement or turn of policy. It is not adopted by people who are ultimately serving the interests of the United States. It is adopted by people who are ultimately serving the Kremlin.

But why would the Kremlin order its “progressive” minions to adopt a position hostile to Moscow?

Given the military buildup in Russia and China, and the pre-war rhetoric of the state contolled media of those countries, the answer should be perfectly obvious. The Russian agents in the United States Government and media are manuevering to protect themselves in advance of the outbreak of war by an anti-Russian pretense. It is sound strategy indeed if Russia’s communist friends in the United States establish their anti-Russian bona fides, providing themselves with effective operational camouflage. At the same time, by leveling accusations of Russian collusion against President Trump, they are undermining the country’s commander-in-chief on the eve of war.

Finally, if a war on the Korean Peninsula is lost because of a future Russian military intervention, the American left might say that Trump reciprocally allowed the Russians to win in exchange for the help he received in the 2016 election. Who, then, would the American people trust to make peace with Russia? Obviously, they would trust the leftists – the party that traditionally colluded with Russia and, on the eve of war, made a great show of pretending (uncharacteristically) to do the opposite. The resulting treaty, negotiated by the left, would be the first step in a choreographed national surrender.

In closing, the reader may profit by a quote from Yuri Bezmenov on the nature of Russian subversion. According to Bezmenov, the highest art of warfare is “to subvert anything of value in the country of your enemy, until such time that the perception of your enemy is screwed up to such an extent that he does not perceive you as an enemy….”