The cat is out of the bag, although most people don’t realize that because most people still do not see the cat. Why? Simple. They couldn’t see the open bag, so why would they see the cat?
Now the bag is not simply a container. It was tied shut, right? So it should be considered primarily as a mask. A device meant to conceal its actual meaning or content. And the attempt to explain or divine the contents of the bag (before that cat emerges) is an attempt to understand something that is still mystical or hidden. I have a different approach to this need to know. An Alexandrian approach. Why try and untie that Gordian knot? Forget that, just cut the damn thing in two! Unfortunately, very few people agree with my approach. It’s not polite, you see.
So that still leaves the question of the bag, and who constructed it. And how they wove it. I have dealt with that in my book The Barbarian Bible whose subtitle should tell you something more: The True History of Man Since the Fall of Troy. I reject the common habit of dating everything from either the Fall of Jerusalem or the Fall of Rome. I contend that everything important goes back another thousand years to The Fall of Troy. Because that’s where the bag was first made. And where it’s power to deceive was first proven.
Now I further contend that this mesmerizing feat has been continued to the present day, and that the bag continues to exist, along with that damnable cat. But the cat doesn’t interest me that much, other than to say it is obviously not a desirable gift. I’m more interested in who packaged it. And it seems to me that if we knew who did that, we would know why they left it on our doorstep. And while we know who made that first wooden bag, we seem to be totally unable to understand the connection between them (the Greeks) and the marketing geniuses of today (the Greek-Orthodox Russians). And now we’re back to my observation that most people can’t even see the bag, let alone imagine what lies within.
So then, let’s look back at the past for a moment or two before we plunge ahead. Let’s remember that the whole point of the exercise of concealment was to convince the occupants of Troy that their enemies had simply melted away. It worked perfectly. Why? Because the gods understood human nature. Never forget the gods! And never forget Odysseus, the world’s greatest liar. And if you look it up, he was the grandson of Autolycus, the world’s greatest thief. And Autolycus was the son of Hermes, the trickster god. So both the gods and Odysseus, knowing the weakness of men, knew that the men of Troy longed for peace, at nearly any price. Anything but giving up Helen, that is. But the men of Troy didn’t understand that their willingness to believe the unbelievable would have devastating consequences. Which made them totally ripe for the picking. And so they were undone. And all of this was accomplished through deception, the theme of the New Testament of the pagan world. Welcome to Olympus.
Well then, what does this have to do with today? Everything, actually. Because a new bag has been constructed, and the weary men of the West (and their wimpy children who revel in stealing the wives of other men) are ready to believe anything that plays to their desire for an unearned peace. Anything that seemingly lets them keep their ill-got gain without a formal surrender. Without a repentance of their ways.
But now it’s time to shift gears. Time to understand how the bag is constructed. Because after all, if you make it look pretty and put a hefty price tag on it, you’ve already satisfied the requirements of half the occupants of the West. Yes, I’m looking at you, ladies. Think I’m kidding? Then tell me if most wine isn’t bought based on the attractiveness of the label? And who buys most wine today? So, am I a sexist? Absolutely, Helen. With good reason.
Let’s get back to the bag. Let’s understand something first. There are two strategies we can use to make the sale. One is brute force (a billion dollar ad campaign to sell an ugly bottle with an ugly label, even though the contents may be superb). The other choice is deception, where a beautiful bottle with an enchanting label is placed in a prime shelf position (with a little help from a ‘marketing incentive’ paid to the dealer), regardless of the quality of the contents.
In the military, these two strategic choices are distilled down to the following two categories: annihilation or attrition. Brute power versus deception and maneuver. And the foremost genius of understanding the difference in these two strategic approaches was Alexandr Svechin.
Alexandr Svechin was the genius behind reformed Russian military strategy today. Yes, he was executed by Stalin in 1938, for his supposedly rigid adherence to the choice of attrition over annihilation. After all, Uncle Joe wanted victories, big ones. Unfortunately Uncle Joe didn’t understand the reality of the battlefield. Because, of course, he didn’t have to do any of the actual fighting. But Svechin and his men did. And Svechin understood the difference between the desire and the ability to conduct a battle of annihilation. And what was this critical difference in how to approach your enemy? It’s actually quite simple, in concept. Each and every battle is to be approached according to the ‘peculiar’ circumstances that surround it. No prospective battle is exactly like a previous one, regardless of the academy’s insistence on preparing for the last war. And there is the key to understanding Vladimir Putin. He understands the nature of the battlefield. Just as Nikita Khrushchev did in 1959. And the West didn’t. And still doesn’t.
Svechin understood that each battle was a separate, individual specie. Each battle was different. And no matter how many men and tanks and howitzers you had, a creative and motivated enemy can defeat you. Just ask Consul Lucius Paullus how things went at The Battle of Cannae. Every element of every potential battle must be taken in to account before deciding on which strategy to pursue.
Svechin understood the root of the problem faced by the Russian armies. The root was this; the Red Army was not motivated by an offensive war. After all, the Russian people are defensive in nature. Not only that, the Red Army was not truly equipped for it. And lastly, it was not led by men who understood true leadership. Because, of course, the true leaders of the Red Army were the political officers that could over-rule any Army officer in any situation. This was the original Russian Roulette. These political officers took their orders from Uncle Joe, not Svechin and his officers on the front lines. The guns these political officers wore weren’t pointed at the enemy. Because of this, when Svechin recommended a war of attrition, he was seen as a ‘defeatist’ by the political leadership in Moscow. Never mind the fact that the tiny Finnish Army could and did kick the butts of the Red Army under his successors. And so Svechin paid the price of telling Joe the truth.
Yes, Svechin understood that Russia was dealing from a position of weakness. And that was the exact same position Khrushchev and his Politburo found themselves in in the late 1950’s. They led a nation bled white by WWII. Their economy was ready to collapse. Their erstwhile allies in the worldwide Comintern were ready to walk away from the leadership of Moscow. Their only strength lay in their possession of nuclear weapons that, if used, would have resulted in their own destruction. And so Khrushchev did what any intelligent criminal would do: he changed strategies. He switched from Wrath (open aggression, à la Korea) to Deception. From The Illiad to The Odyssey.
To add to the irony of this decade, Khrushchev officially rehabilitated Svechin as part of his de-Stalinization campaign right before he made his peace with all the other members of the Comintern, as he prepared to take down the West through a strategy of deceptive attrition. A strategy of a thousand cuts, versus the head-to-head battle Uncle Joe always seemed to think Russia could win. But Joe was an egomaniac, and the rest of the Politburo knew it. They also knew the actual status of Russia’s economy and army. And that’s why Joe had to go. Time for some poisoned borscht, eh? By the way, do you know who Joe’s personal cook was for over 15 years? And Lenin’s before that? It was Spiridon Putin. Vlad’s grandfather. Anyone who thinks Vladimir Putin simply materialized out of nowhere is whistling past the graveyard. Their own graveyard. This guy’s been groomed. The only question is, by whom? Perhaps our bag-maker can tell us?
So what does this have to do with Troy? Quite a lot, actually. Just as the men of Western Greece had been bled dry for ten years trying to take down Troy, the men of Moscow had tried to take down the West through overt aggression. But they couldn’t even keep in line what they had won in WWII. Berlin 1948. Korea 1950. East Germany 1953. Hungary 1956. Things weren’t working out so well, in spite of Sputnik and the Missile Gap.
Before we go further, the question has been raised. The question deserves to be answered. It is the question of whether or not a clan, tribe or nation can engage their enemy in a multi-generational battle, and win. But it’s not just that, is it? No, after all, the Punic Wars tell us this is true. So does the Reconquista, the 770 year battle to rid Spain of the Islamic Horde. The real question is this; can this aggression be centered on a deceptive ploy that never seems to see the light of day in the eyes of the enemy?
The answer, as so many people seem to believe (including our own ‘intelligence’ services), is an unqualified ‘No’. It’s impossible, according to them. Why is it impossible? Because someone, somewhere will blurt it out, either in a drunken state, or from pride, or under compulsion. And once that cat is out of the bag, the scheme is dead. Right? If men were logical, yes. But they aren’t.
Well, why do I say this? Because history teaches us otherwise. History tells us of many examples of men who refuse to see what is directly in front of them. Beginning at Troy, I contend. All the way to Yalta. And why would our day be any different? Has mankind changed any of his repetitive behaviour over these past three millennia? I think not. Not in the least. The only thing that has changed is that some men have seen the advantage of moving from wrath to deception as their operative principle of action. There’s that word again, my favourite one; action.