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British think-tanks call for “US leadership” in Europe

“Rebuilding US leading role is the key for European security” say British experts, but the new political realities inspire doubts

Jeremy McCoy

Drawing by Konstantin Maler. (source).

January 4, Anonymous hackers released the new batch of documents from the Integrity Initiative – a government-funded program run by the London based Institute for Statecraft. The Institute for Statecraft describes itself as “an independent body dedicated to refreshing the practice of statecraft, to improving governance and to enhancing national security”. The Integrity Initiative: Defending Democracy against Disinformation is one of the Institute’s projects aimed at countering Russian propaganda as well as all kinds of “attempts to influence the policies and undermine the societies of the West”.

The released batch inter alia contains the files on the Integrity Initiative efforts in the USA. These documents worth being examined more carefully because they show a questionable approach to European security shared by some British think tankers. The experts believe a reassertion of the US political and military domination in Europe is the only way for the West to counter Russia, China and Daesh/IS.

“The West is badly in need of a reassertion of US leadership. The EU has been unable to generate any strategic thinking or to exercise convincing leadership. Russia (& China) are successfully driving wedges between EU Member States and between Allies within NATO. Brexit has added to the confusion.

The US also needs to rebuild its understanding of Russia and how to deal with it, so as to (a) improve its own governance at a time of transition, and (b) rebuild its leading role in Europe via NATO and via encouragement to the EU, to enable them to deal more effectively with the new challenge to our democratic structures and processes posed by Russia (and China, and Daesh/IS) today,” the documents recently leaked by the Anonymous state.

In other words British security experts welcome American military bases on European soil and supremacy of American national interests over the interests of European nations. They believe that American military power will save the Europeans from “Russian hybrid warfare”, Chinese expansion and jihadists. This approach looks more than flimsy.

The problem of IS sleeping agents in Europe has no military solution at all. China shows no intention to annex Europe; it sees the Old Continent as an attractive market but not as the battlefield.

The problem of “the Russian threat” is more complex. Today it more looks like a mirage widely used by mass media to fuel anti-Russian hysteria necessary to justify increase in defense spending. By February, it could turn into a Cold War-style standoff between Russia and the West as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, that the US had given Russia 60 days to comply with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty or it would no longer abide by the agreement and could produce, test and deploy new missiles in NATO member states. There is now doubt Moscow will respond in kind by deploying missiles in its Western regions.

The new political realities show imprudence of the approach to European security developed by the think-tankers from the Institute for Statecraft. American military facilities are the last things necessary for the Europeans to feel safe. What the Europeans really need to do is to stay away from the up-coming missile duel between Trump and Putin.


  1. USAma Bin Laden says

    Apparently, Europeans specialize in Orwellian weasel phrases just as much as the Anglo Americans.

    So-called American “leadership” itself is merely NewSpeak for American tyranny and domination.

    Unquestioned by the Euro-American imperialist nations in general is the criminal character of American “leadership” and the propagandistic nature of its “threat perceptions.”

    At base, the Europeans and Americans possess a warped belief that they have a God-given right to rule the world in all but name.

    This is their Manifest Destiny.

    Thus, any nation (like Russia and China) that stand in the way of Euro-Americans’ Manifest Destiny is smeared as a threat–carefully ignoring the reality that the USA and its European crime partners have waged multiple wars of aggression around the world (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen) and thus they are the true treat to peace on this planet.

    What’s more, it is an open secret that the self-styled “democracies” of America and Europe have armed, sponsored, and supported terrorist groups like Al-Queda, ISIS, Daesh, Al-Nusra Front in order to destabilize nations from Syria to LIbya and ultimately subjugate them.

    While the Euro-Americans love to fancy themselves as a “force for good” in the world.

    In practice, they are a *force for evil* that is disguised as a force for good.

    This in its essence is the malign character of Western “values.”

    America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group

    The Criminal West’s State Sponsorship of Terrorism: “A -Team”— al Qaeda and ISIS

    • George Carlin used to call it soft language. He made an excellent point years ago about shell shock being renamed battle fatigue the changed to operational exhaustion and the post-traumatic stress disorder all to hide reality behind Jargon

  2. Narrative says

    — call for “US leadership” in Europe —

    US leadership means US economical and political colonisation with the military on stand-by, just-in–case.
    No need to waste time looking for another meaning because there is none.

    But there is one more element to this virtual colonization: Tightening the Zionist grip in the US ruling class, will mandate making it a crime to ‘criticise Israel’ in the US as well as in its virtual colonies.

  3. rtj1211 says

    Where is the Representative mandate for think tanks?

    They have no electoral validity, are always funded by vested interests and always provide paid-for opinions to benefit their sponsors.

    There is absolutely zero demand for Us leadership in Europe, the exact opposite in fact.

  4. Gezzah Potts says

    And lo and behold…. ABC News here in bootlicking Australia, aka deputy sheriff, has its lead story that…. ‘Trump Is Insulted By Questions He Ever Worked For Russia’ which yet again for the 973rd time (probably more) that the evil bloodthirsty Russians interfered in the U.S elections, and Trump is colluding with Putin and on and on. Do these bastards sit round reading 1984 to get inspiration for writing this garbage? Keep pushing the World to the edge of the abyss…..

    • Yeah, the ABC is as bad as any of the commercial propaganda outlets these days. And SBS is possibly worse.

  5. I thought this little clip BTL today’s Saker Vineyard deserves a place on OffG’s thread about a UK Thonk Tank calling for “U$ Leadership”.

    WageLaborer (note, U$ spelling) writes in despair: “We [presumably the People of the U$A] are the Clueless, led by the Insane, stumbling into Oblivion for the profits of the Greedy.”

    What drives some Yanks to despair is the sight of their Leadership busy thonk-tanking about Lobbing Nuclear Weapons into various countries around the globe yet _totally unprepared_ for the consequences of somebody Lobbing One Back. I have been posting about this on and off for years under the heading, Real War, coming to a WalMart near You. But not being a WarCraft geek I had not realised how easily the U$A (as a functioning country) can be demolished — until I read today’s Saker.


  6. Seamus Padraig says

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, that the US had given Russia 60 days to comply with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty or it would no longer abide by the agreement and could produce, test and deploy new missiles in NATO member states.

    So, Mike Plumpeo and John Dolton want to deploy missiles to Euro-stan? I wonder if we’ll see any mass protests this time around, such as when the Reagan Administration deployed the Pershing II missiles to West Germany back in the 80s:


    You think the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will act up this time around? I hope so!

  7. padre says

    So, the US is “able to generate strategic thinking and to exercise convincing leadership”?Where are they living, on the dark side of the moon!

    • Henry Wilson says

      You have no viable alternatives the majority of E U member states will never allow Germany to dominate E U defense policies again
      They have tried twice in the last 100 years with disastrous consequences
      Even in yesterday’s Telegraph Merkel is visiting Greece & is still refusing to pay any reparations for the horrors committed during the occupation
      I rest my case

      • Seamus Padraig says

        I sometimes honestly wonder whether Europe might not be better off today had the Germans won the war. Unlike Merkel, Hitler was not into austerity and he was definitely no captive of the banks. He chose to invade Russia, however, so we’ll never know …

        • Henry Wilson says

          So you justify the extermination of the Jews gypsies homosexuals disabled political aponants you really are a disgrace

          • wardropper says

            Sorry, Mr. Wilson, but Mr. Padraig did not mention Jews, gypsies, homosexuals or disabled political opponents. Just as I am not mentioning the atrocities perpetrated by former kings of England.
            There was a lot more to Mr. Hitler than wiping out groups of people he did not like, abominable though his success in doing so certainly is.
            I think Padraig’s point is simply that by now we would have been accustomed to a different way of life, just as we are now accustomed to a way of life very different from that in Richard III’s England, or in Louis XIV’s France. It might not have been a very nice way of life, but by now we would be used to it.
            In any case, I don’t think our current leaders show any moral courage at all, and I don’t enjoy living with spineless leaders any more than I would enjoy living with cruel ones.
            We have moved on, and new atrocities now await us which demand our immediate attention.
            Nobody is going to forget the ones which you mention, but, to keep some sort of perspective, let me say that I am now an old man, yet the things you mention happened before I was even born. Here, they are actually rather off-topic.
            I hope that does not disappoint you too much.

          • George cornell says

            He did not say that, you did. He is simply taking governance in isolation and I am sure he does not support the ‘exterminations’.

          • Seamus Padraig says

            It would have been very easy to stop the war in 1940, after France had fallen. London could have simply negotiated a peace treaty with Berlin, and that would have ended it right there. The forced relocation of Jews to the Eastern Front did not begin until spring 1942, most likely triggered by Hitler’s fears that they would try and organize some kind of rebellion or resistance against Germany in order to benefit her enemies.

            In short, I don’t believe all that was to follow had ever been written in stone. Different choices could have altered the course of history, perhaps for the better. That’s worth keeping in mind today.

      • George cornell says

        I believe there were lots of reparations paid, all of them? finding their way into Swiss accounts. Letting uber-corrupt Greece into the EU was a reparation, over and above the fraudulent accounts abetted by Goldman Sachs.

      • RealPeter says

        I agree with everything in Henry’s post except for the first five words: ‘You have no viable alternative’. There are definitely viable alternatives, e.g. dumping NATO and building friendly, cooperative relations with Russia in place of the current witless, headless-chicken, arm-flapping, wolf-crying hysteria.

        Re Germany: I’ve already said this in previous posts, but the immediate result of German reunification was the breakup of Yugoslavia. Germany instantly recognized Croatia as a nation after the latter’s unilateral declaration of independence, and it’s been downhill ever since.

        • Henry Wilson says

          NATO has definitely morfed from its original concept after the collapse of the Soviet Union this lead to the unification of Germany ( in reality the takeover of east Germany by West Germany) one voice who opposed this was Mrs Thatcher
          This was the catalyst for the disintegration of Yougoslavia & the Balklands wars
          Kosovar in reality a province of Serbia is now an E U protectorate & their are moves to cede territory back to Serbia ( Paddy Ashdown who died recently warned about setting this precedent) what about Germany & the territory lost to Poland after W W 2
          Regarding Russia a golden opportunity to bring Russia in to the fold after the collapse of communism was blown largely in my opinion by the muppets that run the E U & NATO
          Everyone forgets history Russia has always been invaded from the west & any reaction to an nato E U buildup is fully understandable
          Ukraine was destabilize by nato & the E U & in reality should be a neutral state just to give Russia the sense of security it craves
          That’s enough for today

  8. Gezzah Potts says

    Some of you may have heard about NewsGuard, yet another threat to alternative news sites, reported by Caitlin Johnston @ Medium, and also at MintPress News, this being yet another attempt to censor and squash alternate news. The usual suspects – Neocon slime are behind its implementation, with a big helping hand from the powers that be. Regards the above article, excellent post again on OffGuardian….. ‘by February, it could turn into a cold war style standoff between the United States and Russia’… I thought we were facing the end when Trump bombed Syria back in April. This insanity just goes on and on, with the stenographer scum in the ‘media’ continuously fanning the flames in their denunciations of Russia, China, Iran, etc. How much longer before a catastrophic mistake or misjudgement is made? I don’t have much hope at present unless there is a mass sustained uprising right across the Empire, but especially where it would have the biggest impact: in the United States itself. Things look pretty grim.

  9. British think-tanks call for “US leadership” in Europe.

    My own Private Think-Tank has gone even deeper into the problem: I call for U$ Leadership in the U$A.

    • different frank says

      A few shouty gammons are not the yellow vests.

    • Henry Wilson says

      Blair is probably the no one war criminal still at large

        • wardropper says

          An important point.
          I mentioned this the other day, but it bears repetition: When Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic Party took over from Bush’s wretched, lying government, one expected some sort of repercussions. Instead, she simply declared that Bush’s impeachment was “off the table”, and the media let her get away with it. Dennis Kucenich, one of the few with the courage actually to do something about the previous criminal regime, formally instigated impeachment charges at around that time, but was simply ignored by the new government and the press.
          Few even remember it now.

  10. mark says

    The UK is more of a satellite of the US than East Germany ever was of the Soviet Union. It’s quite pathetic and degrading how Uncle Sam’s European satellites crawl and grovel on their bellies to the US. People like Willian Hague with their really nauseating lickspittle toadying.

    • Theo says

      Good article! Interesting to read an article on consortiumnews.com :Covert British Military Smear Machine moving into US.

  11. mark says

    People don’t realise how close we came to nuclear war in 1962. Things were literally teetering on a knife edge. In 1961, there was the CIA invasion at the Bay of Pigs. There was also a terrorist campaign mounted from Florida, blowing up power stations and bridges that cost over 3,000 Cuban lives. Castro had had enough. After Uncle Sam had moved nuclear missiles into Turkey, so had Krushchev. He moved 40,000 troops into Cuba. Their commander was the Russian general who had defended Stalingrad 20 years before, fighting from house to house and from room to room. The Russians realised they were out on a limb, 90 miles from the US and thousands of miles from home, with a weaker navy. They knew that in the event of war, command and control would break down very quickly. Authority to use nuclear weapons was delegated right down to very low captain/ major level. Russian submarines were depth charged by US destroyers, who had no idea what was going on and thought war had already broken out. A Russian submarine captain took the decision to fire off his nuclear weapons. He was opposed by a junior naval officer, who disagreed. But for that nuclear war would have broken out. Castro was trying to persuade the Russians to fire off their nuclear weapons rather than back down, as he believed (correctly) invasion was imminent.

    Can you imagine what ‘s going to happen when these decisions are taken by Merkel/ May/ Macron/ Trump? Krushchev had fought at Stalingrad. Kennedy had a PT boat cut in half underneath him in the Pacific. They at least had seen what war meant.

    • BigB says

      I’m glad to read someone with an objective viewpoint. The Soviets/Cubans had 162 warheads on the island, and were ready to use them. Castro was urging a first strike on Guantanamo. RFK and the JCS were pushing for an invasion, for which preparations continued AFTER the crisis, violating JFK’s agreement with Khrushchev. They had no idea the warheads were in place. Mongoose resumed at the end of the year. Whatever happened to JFK, he has to take the bulk of the blame for precipitating the Crisis. The Jupiters were obsolete; the blockade an act of war; and as for his idiot brother.

      Yet they have been rewritten as the poster boys for Empire, the heroes of the hour, saviours of mankind. And people lap it up without the slightest critical reasoning. Or , I have to say, the slightest historical acumen. If more people realised that we all nearly died, largely thanks to the Kennedy’s, instead they lionise those who lead us there (JFK loudly boasted of doubling his nuclear arsenal, as well as his conventional forces, in his last speech). Yet the common mythology has him as a man of peace. With men of peace like the Kennedy’s, who needs enemies?

      Read “Dark Beyond Darkness” to see how close we really came to obliteration.


      • George cornell says

        Uh, his reaction to Operation Northwoods was revulsion and to enable the exit of “mad dog” Lemnitzer.

      • George cornell says

        Who is Sheldon Stern, who funds him and why do you dismiss Arthur Schlesinger’s opinions so readily? AS was there at the time and a Kennedy biographer. Stern dismisses him because he admired the Kennedys?

      • mark says

        I think it’s actually worse than that BigB. There was the man in charge, the captain, and the 2nd and 3rd officers. The first 2 agreed to use the nuclear weapons. The 3rd officer, the no.3 man, disagreed. And these decisions had to be taken when the boat was being depth charged and,sailors on board were fainting in 120 degree heat.

    • DunGroanin says

      You correctly identify that it was the generals/admirals – who believe their own wargaming outcomes thay mean they consider using their deadly weapons and nukes – who are the ones who are raring to turn humans into canon fodder.

      But you incorrectly fail to see that our elected political leaders are the only control over the militarists (many are proud of their ancestral martial thuggery and keeping it in the family).

      The likes of Merkel/Trump strive to keep the Military Industrialists contained.
      They would rather the money was spent on Mercedes’s and golfing.

      Where as the likes of Macron/ May do the opposite. They want the munitions to be used. They are mere minions of MIC.

      It was just extremely lucky that there was a rational sailor on board that submarine. As there was in that ballistic missile centre where he decided that the imcoming blips were not a US attack that needed a 4 minute response.

      The US commanders that attacked the submarines should have been court martialled and even executed for their gungho attempt to start a nuclear war.

      • BigB says

        Merkel/Trump a containment mechanism for the military/industrialists? I want some of whatever you are tokin’ DG!


  12. John2o2o says

    Can I just say, with all due respect, “fuck off America”. Look after your own continent. You are now welcome in ours (or anyone else’s).

    Speaking personally I want peace and trade. I don’t want your wars.

    Porky pig Pompeo and the John “walrus of death” Bolton need to be caged and kept at home in the US. Preferably in some nice orange suits.

    • Francis Lee says

      now welcome or not welcome. Bit of a Freudian slip methinks.

  13. harry stotle says

    “The Institute for Statecraft describes itself as “an independent body dedicated to refreshing the practice of statecraft, to improving governance and to enhancing national security”.

    Translation: Statecraft are a bunch of neocon loons who will not sleep until they own every oil and gas field in the world, or until there are more dead than living people in the Middle East.

    As an aside I wonder how many from this sinster fraternity attended a state school?

    • Hugh O'Neill says

      A survivor of state schools myself, I wondered whence this word “Statecraft” had emerged? Thucydides, Machiavelli, Bismarck, Churchill? And then I found a book with that title penned by one Margaret Thatcher. (I include a review by the last Governor of Hong Kong https://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/mar/30/politics2). This usage by Thatcher would fit better these anti-intellectual dead-beats of the Little Englander warring-class who have openly threatened a coup if Corbyn is elected PM. This usage of the word craft puts a more sinister edge to words like Diplomacy, International Relations, Geo-Strategy. It has all the implications of the dark arts, as practiced by the likes of CIA and MI6 i.e. the very antitheses of “Democracy”, itself a word of infinite elasticity. It [Statecraft] is also reminiscent of the apparently turgid magnus opus by the loathsome Allan Dulles who wrote “The Craft of Intelligence” – another misnomer. Whichever schools the loons attend, there would have been few prizes for imagination, empathy, kindness.

      • Francis Lee says

        A coup against Jeremy Corbyn! An everyday social-democrat portrayed as some sorrt of demented Marxist; If only! But no JC is a threat to capitalism,democracy the Queen, and christian civilization. The absolute stupidity and provincialism of these people is breathtaking. Ignorance is strength alright.

        • harry stotle says

          The rise of Corbyn flushed out the true nature of Britains establishment – basically a corrupt cabal of right wing ex-public school boys who loathe democracy, willing to turn a blind eye to any crime committed by neocons providing there is a bob or two in it for them.

          The Guardian has become an increasingly important instrument in this network, on the one hand crying crocodile tears at Britains descent into a divided, violent and impoverished state on the other doing all they can to thwart political alternatives.

          For example, any negative comment about Labour imposters like Luciana Berger is instantly deleted by the mods.

          Thinktanks like The Institute of Statecraft presumably feel emboldened by the feebleness of genuine plurality, knowing full well that when they invoke phrases like ‘enhancing national security’ they will be given great latitude when it comes to advocating dubious military initiatives.

          • DunGroanin says

            LBC is a global broadcaster with the usual motives and ownership.

            The non stop propoganda dressed as vox pop doesn’t even attempt to be fair.

            That Berger interview and question/no answer routine was an obvious setup – to be replayed regularly as some meme – the anti JC electioneering is underway.

            Eddie Mair, like Carole Cadwalladr, has been revealed to be deep covered in shit propagandists as opposed to impartial mavericks they cultivated for many years.

            I like it that the DS is so panicked that they are outing their moles and having the ‘ex’security bosses threatening the Tory MP’s in an effort to achieve their only Plan – a hard brexit; a tie in with the US and the formal creation of the 5 eyed Gollum of ‘white’ supremacy.

            The Guardian is there to bring the peoples of these states to the same voice. It is not interested in local peoples or politics. It is interested only in our enslavement according to the grand plan.

            Oops – they seem to be having some unexpected headwinds!

  14. archie1954 says

    I wonder why I think that this think tank is financially supported by US interests? The US is not the saviour of Europe and in fact, US interest in Europe is totally related to the proxy value Europe provides to the benefit of the US. Just consider the US sanctions against Russia. The US economy is not suffering from such sanctions but the EU economy certainly is! American military bases right net door to the Russian border makes the countries harbouring them, targets for Russian retaliation. Meanwhile the US mainland remains sacrosanct. I certainly hope that there is at least one intelligent EU leader who understands their subservient proxy relationship with the US and is ready to do something about it.

    • Francis Lee says

      ”I certainly hope that there is at least one intelligent EU leader who understands their subservient proxy relationship with the US and is ready to do something about it.”

      I wouldn’t bank on it old chap. Europe is an occupied territory ruled by Petainist riff-raff and serves as the US’s Vichy geopolitical hinterland. If there is going to be any national liberation for Europe it will have to come from below since its ruling elites are owned by the occupying power.

  15. bevin says

    Let’s call a spade a spade: this is no more a Think Tank than the Henry Jackson Society is a Research University.
    What we are seeing here are the views of the Security Services or, as we used to call them the Secret Police-the English language Gestapo. These people grew fat on the Cold War: can anyone imagine where Christopher Nigel would be if he had ever had to work for a living? Shivering on the edge of a used car lot, blowing his hands to keep them warm, is my guess.
    These people are begging for US leadership because, historically, it has meant bigger budgets for them, their only talent being a willingness to do the sort of jobs even the CIA find too sordid,(assassination for example or inserting agents into Bernie Sanders’ Presidential campaign) and doing business in a lingo even Washington’s politicians understand- English.
    And they are fearful that, should Brexit take place Europe’s secret police forces would start using their own languages exclusively, the whole Five Eyes network would become degraded and dozens of them, instead of becoming Professors of Strategic Studies, Learned Fellows in the Art of Murder or Censors of the Internet, based in Kiev would be shivering on the furthest extremities of junk yards hoping to sell the odd wreck for a fiver.
    Either that or writing opinion pieces for The Observer.. We ought to feel sorry for the buggers. I would if it weren’t for the blood dripping from their elbows.

  16. Hugh O'Neill says

    Important article, but you are too kind in your final paragraph: “The new political realities show imprudence of the approach to European security developed by the think-tankers from the Institute for Statecraft. American military facilities are the last things necessary for the Europeans to feel safe. What the Europeans really need to do is to stay away from the up-coming missile duel between Trump and Putin.”

    One of the best routes for insights into the US military mind (I say mind because we are dealing with the phenomenon of Group Think) is RFK’s “13 Days; A memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis” because it shows their insanity and amorality which is something beyond the mild “imprudence” you bestow. Anything short of immediate confrontation is deemed “Appeasement” (as in Munich 1938) one of those words – like “Communism” – which stops all critical thinking faculties and triggers automatic, apoplectic, white-knuckled Pavlovian response. (One wonders if Chomsky has written about the power of such trigger words…?)

    You do not get to the top of the US military by being independent minded – only those who conform to the collective mindset. That mindset is shared by the CIA, NSA and State Dept., impregnable to Human intellect, moral reasoning or simple logic. These guys have the emotional intelligence of a 3-year old, and the instincts of a school yard bully. How else can one explain Operation Northwoods – one of the few we know about? What kind of amorality could agree to assassinate their own president and then to blame the Cubans/Russians so as to get the nuclear exchange they felt they would ‘win’ – irrespective of the hundreds of millions of innocents (both US and Russian) who would die? This collection of evil is what James Douglass calls the “Unspeakable”.

    William Shirer – in his “Rise & Fall of the 3rd Reich” – clearly described the steps toward creating a Totalitarian State. When I read the book about 35 years ago, I thought the book ought to be compulsory reading for every citizen. Alas, it seems that only the CIA read and digested it, using it a their blueprint: tell the people what to think, what to believe and for whom to vote. Operation Hummingbird is only getting stronger and more pervasive. Which is why OffGuardian is such an important organ because it is one of the last bastions of hope and sanity. Tulsi Gabbard for President!

    • BigB says

      Re: ‘Thirteen Days’: well, you would think that, unless you ever actually read one of Sheldon M Stern’s three transcripts of the ExComm tapes. We’ve been having this back and forth for months: RFK was the worst of the hawks, pushing for invasion from day one. He advocated attacking Guantanamo: “You know, sink the Maine again or something!” It’s all in the transcripts: including Operation Mongoose, the assassination attempts on Castro, the invasion plans. RFK was chairman of the SGA: running Mongoose. The idea that just the military are insane needs revising: the politicians ain’t too savvy either.

      Further, it was Mongoose and the Jupiter deployment that got the US into the Crisis: and Khrushchev that got them out. If Bobby had his way, there would have been a nuclear exchange. The Russian’s had got the warheads through the act-of-war blockade. Douglass’ account is a contrived narrative combing elements of Thirteen Days and incidents cherry picked from Stern. If you get one of Stern’s books, we can go through page by page if you like. But you have to read an alternative account in order to see what Douglass has done. Fundamentally, the two sources are immiscible. Thirteen Days is not reliable.


    • BigB says


      I found this article (one of six) by Dr Stern. It confirms most of the salient points I made. Schlesinger’s ‘Bobby the Dove’ is a historic fiction that renders Thirteen Days obsolete as a source. It also renders Douglass’ ‘the Brothers Kennedy’ against the Unspeakable highly a questionable narrative fiction. How did they stand together if RFK was the chief hawk? Who were the Unspeakable? Who was chairing the dirty war on Cuba?


      Saves you buying the book. 😉

      • Hugh O'Neill says

        BigB. You are clearly not a fan of either RFK or JFK, but you patently trust Sheldon Stern. How do we assign trust to some but not to others? There must be an element of our own bias being confirmed. Mea Maxima Culpa in that respect. I work from the simplistic notion that the good guys get assassinated – take your pick: Jesus, Gandhi, Hammarskjold, Lumumba, JFK, MLK, RFK. Once they are out of the way, it doesn’t take much to alter the historical record and forge fraudulent papers, which the CIA admitted to doing with JFK records. That is why I am very suspicious of those who hold up supposed proofs. On the positive side, I did find this defect of the historical record by one Sheldon Stern against the lies perpetrated by neo-con ‘academics’ May & Zelikow:
        I will read the links you sent and comment upon them in the fullness of time. But please understand my caution when someone (like Chomsky, May, Zelikow) produces proof positive that JFK was not the man we thought.
        Schlesinger, though once a courtier at Camelot, had worked in the OSS and so his clubbable chums were in the CIA and working to a different agenda to the President. Did I mention bias?

        • Hugh O'Neill says

          BigB. I have read a bit more on the Stern oeuvre and whilst RFK gets tarred, JFK then emerges even more brilliantly as the only one to stand for Humanity. One reviewer of Stern’s [Myths vs Reality] book wrote:

          “For nearly half a century national security decision makers have relied on three lessons derived inappropriately from the Cuban missile crisis: success depends on (1) the threat of superior force, (2) toughness and inflexibility, and (3) the use of a small ad hoc group like the ExComm to advise the President. Sheldon Stern’s trenchant analysis, based on the most careful and exacting review to date of the ExComm’s recorded conversations, turns the three traditional missile crisis lessons on their head. He effectively demonstrates that the outcome depended on President Kennedy’s repeated refusal to use or threaten to use force, and on his persistent search for a compromise that could end the stand-off peacefully. Most important, Stern highlights that the ExComm did not provide Kennedy with the well-considered advice he supposedly used to avoid war, but instead Kennedy directed its discussions towards the conclusions he sought. This is a clearly written, timely, and significant contribution to our understanding of the Cuban missile crisis.” (Philip Brenner American University)

          So what are we to make from all this? If RFK was a hawk among hawks, then JFK deserves even more praise. Perhaps RFK, in his Memoir paints the RFJ he would have preferred to be, in which case it might be said that he had perhaps learned some wisdom. Would that we could all do likewise. To err is Human, but to learn from our mistakes is laudable. Even if I were to discard “13 Days” as a reliable source for History, it is nonetheless with deep insights into the Human Condition. I must have ent out my copy 5 times now, and each time the readers were enthralled and a couple bought their own copies. If you haven’t read it….I won’t lend you mine.

          • BigB says

            What can I say Hugh? You talk of confirmation bias: the reason I cite Stern is that he is also pro-JFK biased …he’s one of yours. Not only was he a JFK librarian, he was also the first, outside of the ExComm committee, to review the tapes. You have to read the transcripts and reconstructions, and make up your own mind. The simplistic black and white narrative is untenable. JFK considered ALL options: including a “post-Castro” Cuba. And the mood, as much as one can garner the mood from a narrative, was also shades of grey. There was even time for laughter, not much, but some.

            So Stern is also biased: but he has the intellectual honesty to keep it empirical. Zelikow is a traitor, whose rewriting of history (the 9/11 commission) rules him out of any reasonable discussion. So if we accept Stern’s view that JFK acted diplomatically to get the US (and the world) out of the Crisis: what about his decisions that got them into the Crisis? They have to be looked at too. If JFK emerges “even more brilliantly” from the Crisis: who precipitated the Crisis in the first place?

            This is where the history starts to get distorted: to give the kudos to JFK, you have to buy into the anti-communist mythos of the ‘exceptionalist’ USA. Everyone I see cited as an authority – RFK, Schlesinger, McNamara, Stern, Newman, etc believe and perpetuate this dangerous myth. This has to be parsed out too, to get a broader, non-UScentric, view. You have to look at the Cuban and Soviet POV.

            First of all, and most importantly, the Soviets, in answering Castro’s request for protection, acted entirely legally …within the norms and conventions of International Law. JFK did not. Everything JFK did was illegal, from the act of aggression of the Bay of Pigs, to the attempts on Castro, to the Mongoose operations (can we at least agree RFK chaired the SGA; and was actively pressuring the CIA into action – as Stern asserts?); to the act-of-war ‘blockade’ (called a ‘quarantine’ to avoid declaring war); to the invasion plans and forces on standby (beyond the end of the Crisis); to the attacks on Soviet submarines (the B-59 Arkhipov incident mentioned above); to the illegal U2 overflights …all of this was criminal: but this is parsed from the “even more brilliant” thesis.

            Even accounting for the fact that the Bay of Pigs and the Jupiter deployment were inherited: everything JFK did exacerbated the situation to a critical point. Everything he did was knowingly illegal (have you got to the bit where they discussed whether they had to declare war to ‘quarantine’ Cuba?) …and yet they did it anyway. Why?

            You talk of an insight into human nature: what could be more insightful than the fact that people with monstrous egos act irrationally, illegally, and calculatedly dangerously (with other peoples lives) …in order to preserve an ideology. That ideology being the myth of the exceptional, indispensable USA?

            The Jupiters were a piece of shit, superannuated (by Polaris), and due to be replaced anyway. JFK risked the future of the world to not lose face on their removal. The fact that the Soviet deployment to Cuba (as discussed by ExComm) did nothing to alter the strategic balance quite squarely puts his actions as in defence of a dangerous ideology: for which he risked everything that it was not his right to risk …for an idea, a conception, a cherished notion of the greatness of America.

            There’s your bias, Hugh. To accept that JFK was “even more brilliant”; you have to buy into that bias and accept that the Cold Warrior nuclear brinksmanship was some sort of normative, reasonable, and justifiable course of action …not a monstrous, narcissistic, egomaniacal distortion of humanity. The Thirteen Days is a dangerous ideological manifesto that perpetuates such a mentality. If JFK and RFK were the best of us, avoiding nuclear war, instead of bringing us to the very edge of destruction …God help us, Hugh.

            We need a humanistic, not an egotistic, appraisal of events like the Crisis. If, and when, people realise that the actions of the ‘best and the brightest’ so very nearly wiped us out (they depth charged a sub with a nuclear torpedo in defence of an idealism, ffs!) then perhaps they will do something about it. Aside from distort history (Thirteen Days) in heroification and hypernormalisation of their dangerously egotistical behaviour?

            • Hugh O'Neill says

              Morning BigB. Once more into the breach! (Apologies to OG readers for the tangential debate).
              Firstly, I am biased towards JFK for many reasons, and yes there are aspects of RFK which give cause for doubt – a very complex man. To borrow a line from Lippmann (See OG Chomsky): trying to make sense of any subject is like a theatre-goer coming in at the 3rd Act and leaving before the end, except in this case, both brothers were assassinated by the State. So what were there beliefs and attitudes which they grew up with? Their much maligned father Joe Kennedy was always an outsider, not entirely trusted by the US elite, whether in Boston, Washington , Wall Street or Hollywood. Despite his pacifist views, 3 of his sons volunteered for WWII i.e. they were not prisoners of his views, but more succumbed to the unstoppable forces of Patriotism and a justifiably real fear of Naziism.
              Post WWII, JFK wrote to a friend that wars would continue until the Conscientious Objector is revered etc. To try and understand the Kennedy Brothers’ mindset, you have to consider that the MIC was the ever-growing monster, just as Ike warned in 1961, though already too late. Because of CIA disinformation, all politicians believed that there was a missile gap (in the Russians favour) and that somehow Nuclear WMD were a Deterrence, Ike having diminished conventional war forces. The MIC needed an enemy, and goddam atheist Communism filled that gap for God-fearing Catholics too. It takes a massive effort to break out of these mindsets, added to which there is the fear of ostracism (like 9/11 today). Because of the corrupt US Democracy, no pinko pacifist goody-two-shoes ever stood any chance of being elected. If JFK had any pacific bent, he would have had to keep it very secret.
              But that’s the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. I had read that JFK had ordered the removal of the Jupiters from Turkey, but others in his admin simply ignored the order as they knew better. He was very surprised and annoyed to learn that his order had not been carried out.
              I have to go soon, but as a mental exercise, imagine if anyone other than JFK had occupied the White House during the CMC. True, the BoP was performed on his watch, but it was a done deal and he had not yet fully understood the treachery or the power of Dulles & Co in the CIA.
              JFK had no doubts about how his JCS regarded him, and despatched RFK to the Ru. Ambassador explaining that unless the ships pulled back, then a military coup might happen. After the ships did stop, JFK said to Bobby: Its a good night to go the theater (100 years since Lincoln’s assassination).
              So, please excuse my admiration for the courage of the man. He was the right man at the right time. Anyone else would have succumbed to the JCS. I agree therefore with Douglass, the JFK did not live and die in vain. Amen to JFK.

              • BigB says

                I don’t have much time this morning: but I can see why we have different opinions …we have different facts. I checked the ExComm version of October 27th. To frame it in perspective: they had received both of Krushchev’s offers (one secret; one public) and met to decide the response. After JFK noting the Jupiter’s were redundant: the discussion was on which offer to respond to (the fictive ‘Trollope Ploy’). When it came time to send a brief to RFK (who was on his way to meet Dobrynin) they mooted telling him – not of a coup, Hugh – but that they were ready to carry out a full scale invasion. Somewhat different from your version. Did that come from Douglass?

                At Rusk’s prompting, what they elected to tell RFK was that there would be no quid pro quo (Turkey/Cuba missile swap) in public – but that they could remove the Jupiter’s in secret later.

                To put that in perspective: at the eleventh hour, with the world teetering on the brink, after the U2 shootdown, after the B-19 incident, they were still considering full scale invasion (not knowing the Soviet IRBMs were armed), rather than just accept Krushchev’s offer, they wanted to risk humanities future in a face saving exercise for some redundant missiles. This is what I interpret as dangerous hubris, arrogance, and exceptionalism – motivated by misplaced ideology. If they wanted to avert the “final failure” they could have just accepted the missile swap: honours even. Instead, they pushed for nuclear one-upmanship. He certainly was the right man at the right time.

                Incidentally, on the 22nd of October: he issued the order not to fire the Jupiter’s in event of a reprisal over Cuba. Paul Nitze told him that in such an event, the EDP would be implemented. The European Defence Plan was for full scale nuclear war. I was 8 months old at the time, and completely oblivious. Good to know now that my life was in such safe hands (JFK insisted the missiles would not be fired without his order: that’s something, I suppose?). Not in the hands of a full blown egomaniac who wanted to look good on TV: for the sake of the exceptionalist hubris of the good ol’ US of A. Just how has American exceptionalism impacted the world in the intervening years? Some say it would have been different if he had lived: really? Not based on the facts I have to hand. Maybe the Thirteen Days and Douglass misinformation and disinformation has something to do with that?

                Catch you in a couple of months.

        • bevin says

          “I work from the simplistic notion that the good guys get assassinated “.
          More proof that it is a mistake to underestimate the influence that Trotsky has had.

  17. “There is now doubt Moscow will respond in kind by deploying missiles in its Western regions.” or there is no doubt?

    • Henry Wilson says

      NATO was formed to keep the U S in Europe & to keep Germany down this is just as nessary today as it was in 1945

      • wardropper says

        The problem with this for me is just that NATO has gone way beyond that mandate, and now represents American interests alone.
        74 years after the end of WW2, are we seriously talking about “keeping Germany down”, when we might just as well talk about keeping the French down after defeating them at Agincourt in 1415!
        But, look! What’s this? Denmark also has American military bases on its territory! Could that mean that Denmark, too, might be a threat to US interests abroad? Well, perhaps it might. But let’s relax. NATO will fix that.
        I could understand my grandfather and my father sharing such concerns as yours, but they didn’t have to live in a world with Bushes, Cheneys, Trumps, Erdogans, Macrons, Mays and Clintons – all warmongers.

      • George Cornell says

        And just why is it necessary to keep the US in Europe? Or in any of the 70 countries where their military bases serve no interests but their own?

    • BigB says

      For the moment there is doubt. Reading between the lines: McCain’s ‘markup’ two years ago, predating the threatened pullout from the INF, suggests to me that the project to manufacture an intermediate range missile is already under way. I further suspect that Pompeo is bluffing. What would he do if Russia complied? We only have NATO’s assertion that they ever broke the Treaty. And the concerted press smear to validate that specious claim. It’s all a con to service the grand narrative that the US is an exemplar in its conduct. So much so that other nations should follow their exceptional lead. I think we both know where that particular path ends?

      So, ‘now’ there is doubt; soon there will be ‘no’ doubt, as the IRBM missiles are installed in the Baltic states? US diplomacy at it’s finest (I think it’s called the ‘Truman Ploy’? Issue an ultimatum for unconditional surrender, after you’ve authorised the dropping of the atom bomb).

      • nwwoods says

        “What would he do if Russia complied?”
        Good question. Syria complied over both nukes and bioweapons. Observe how that turned out.


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