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17 апреля, 12:17

Michael Anton: The Full Transcript

Susan Glasser: I'm Susan Glasser, and welcome back to the Global POLITICO. We're here, once again, with Michael Anton, our guest for this week. He's the White House director of strategic communications at the National Security Council. I'm delighted to be with him here today. We're here in I believe what was the old State Department diplomatic reception room, at the Old Executive Office Building, back before the State Department moved to other quarters. Very grand circumstances. Subscribe to The Global POLITICO on iTunes here. | Subscribe via Stitcher.Michael Anton: Yes, this is the room where the Japanese ambassador and his delegation were held on December 7, 1941, while Cordell Hull was in the next room, learning about the Pearl Harbor attack. And they didn't know about it, that their government had done it, and Hull came in and yelled at them a little bit, and then kicked them out, and they didn't have their meeting. Glasser: Now, did they ever get to go home? I don't think they did, right? Anton: You know, I don't know. I should know that, and I don't know that. Glasser: Well, we'll go back and research it. It's funny, I wanted this to be a whole conversation about you in this fascinating role as sort of a public intellectual turned strategic communications guy/bureaucratic staffer. Anton: You can say flak, it's okay. Glasser: Flak, it's not the nicest word, but in Washington, it has an elevated stature maybe compared-but so I thought that's the conversation it would be. As you know, I've been trying to get you to do this almost since we launched The Global POLITICO, but I have to start really with the last week, and the news that's coming out of the Trump White House when it comes to foreign policy, and we're all-call it whiplash; Mike Allen called it 'Operation Normal' today, other people have a different point of view, but basically in the last week, we've seen an astonishing amount of news come out of President Trump when it comes to foreign policy. He has appeared to, or has in fact, changed his position on key foreign policy issues, whether it's NATO no longer being 'obsolete,' or whether he should use force in response to chemical weapons in Syria; whether China is a 'currency manipulator.' He said a week ago it was; yesterday, he said it wasn't. So, you guys have the foreign policy establishment cheering you on, when it comes to some of you foreign policy actions, and you have a lot of people, like you, who were supportive of President Trump when he was candidate Trump, wondering what's going on. So, how should we understand this? Is it a major change of course in the Trump foreign policy? Anton: No, I don't think so. I mean, we can go down issue by issue-the most notable thing that the president did, obviously, in the last week and a half, is ordering the strike on Syrian air base, and I think the extent to which that's being touted as some major change is really oversold. And the president actually clarified this pretty definitively in a subsequent interview in which he said, 'It's not going to be the policy of this administration.' His exact words were, 'I'm not going into Syria,' or, 'We're not going into Syria,' but the more fulsome statement of that is he doesn't intend to use the U.S. military to effect regime change in Syria, which is completely consistent with everything he said during the course of his campaign. Not just about Syria, but about other countries. He never ruled out strikes that he thinks are in U.S. interests. Keep in mind that this was a strike by Tomahawk missiles; there wasn't even a manned aircraft, much less boots on the ground. So, I don't see that in any way as an about-face from what the president promised during the campaign. It might be a little bit out of keeping with some of his rhetoric, but he addressed that when he spoke side by side with the king of Jordan; he said that he was very flexible, and he can be a very flexible person, and he responds to events. Famous politicians have said the same thing. Lincoln always said-Lincoln once wrote in a letter that he confessed that he had not controlled events, but that events had controlled him. That's not an exact quote, but it's something like it, and there's a famous line of Harold Macmillan's-what do you fear most? He said, 'Events.' Glasser: I believe that was when they asked him what his foreign policy doctrine was, and he said basically, I don't have one. It's events. Anton: I think this president has a foreign policy doctrine, but he's not rigid. I mean, I could quote Lincoln again; I wish I remembered these quotes exactly where Lincoln said something like-someone asked him, what do you do when the facts change? He says, 'Well, I change my response. What do you do?' In other words, you don't just hew to a rigid line, no matter what happens in the world. You've got to be prepared to respond and as the president said, he's flexible, and he responded in a way that he thought best. Glasser: He's flexible; is he also unpredictable by design? Anton: Oh, he definitely-the only thing maybe predictable about his foreign policy is that he says to the world, I'm going to be unpredictable. He's said many times-he said he thinks that America has been too predictable, and I think he relishes that, to keep adversaries, competitors alike, sort of off balance. Glasser: So, you said that he does have a foreign policy doctrine. What is the foreign policy doctrine? Anton: I don't know if there's a way you can state it, the way you could state in one sentence the Truman Doctrine or the Reagan Doctrine, or some famous doctrines of the past. His doctrine, I think, it's still emerging, it's still coming together, but the outlines of it were clear in the campaign. It was: there's an approach to the use of force, there's an approach to putting American interests first, an approach to putting especially the interest of American workers and the American economy first in trade negotiations. All these things, I think, have a coherence that unites them, and the NSC with our interagency partners are currently in the beginning stages of working on a document that's required by Congress, called the National Security Strategy, that when that is eventually published-probably in the fall-will be the Trump doctrine, but it won't be a sentence. It'll be-I don't know how many pages, but a number of-a couple dozen pages that explain this in some detail. Glasser: So, I want to back up to the question of how you personally got here, because it's a pretty interesting story, but let's first go through this dramatic last week. Syria, we all saw the picture of President Trump and his national security aides in the room, cramped quarters in Mar-a-Lago, making the final decision. You were in the room; you're in that picture. Anton: I'm going to dine out on that one for a long time, I think. Glasser: There's no signature moment like Hillary Clinton gasping with her sort of hand over her mouth in that bin Laden-Anton: A couple things to clarify: that picture was not-first of all, there wasn't a live video feed of the strike, and in fact, when the strike was occurring, the president was still at dinner. The picture was taken after the strike, when the president was receiving updates from his-Glasser: On how successful it was. Anton: On how it went, and it was very preliminary information because several of his top advisors made clear that it was going to be several hours-at least six hours or so before much more information came in, and we would have a fuller picture. Glasser: What was President Trump's decision-making process in terms of deciding to launch these strikes? Was there a lot of debate and back and forth? Was he clear from the beginning he wanted to do this after the reports and the pictures? Anton: I would say he was clear from the beginning that he wanted options, but that he wanted to have time to consider the options and really think about them. And be able to ask questions, and get answers. It took-the strike-I'm trying to do this from memory, but the strike happened very early Tuesday morning, and I think the president-Glasser: The chemical weapons attack, you mean? Anton: Yes, that's right-the chemical weapons attack, and the president learned about it in detail in the 10:00 hour or something, Tuesday morning, asked for options, options began being developed, he had a first very large meeting about it the following day-did not make a decision that day. Asked a lot of questions, wanted more information, and was briefed a couple subsequent times before making a decision Thursday afternoon. Glasser: Was there a lot of disagreement among advisors about how to proceed? Anton: I've got to be careful what I say here. I feel privileged to have been in the room. I wasn't in every single meeting but I was in most of the meetings, and these are highly classified, and I also don't want to get-undermine the confidentiality that presidents need and deserve in order to make decisions, so that when they have somebody in the room, they can trust that that person isn't going to go out and explain everything, and make further decision-making more difficult because they tell everybody who said what, and then nobody wants to speak up. I will just say that he was presented with, I think, sound options. He chose the one that he thought was the most-the best, the most sound, and he was very comfortable with this decision, and I think the team was comfortable with his decision, and the team executed it well. Glasser: What do you make of all this very-at times, even over the top praise that President Trump is receiving from groups of people who have not been supportive really of anything he's done up until now. You have a couple different groups-you have the more traditional Republican foreign policy hawks, who are cheering this, and people that you personally have been sort of taking on in a sort of intellectual war of ideas. Anton: Had been. I'm retired. Glasser: You're retired. Okay, well, we've got to get into that. And then you also have, of course, the former Obama aides who tried and failed to persuade their boss to do this. Anton: I mean, look, I think a lot of this comes down to people misinterpreting the president's campaign rhetoric. He never campaigned as someone who would not use military power in any circumstance-U.S. military power. In fact, he said quite the opposite. Glasser: No, that's right. Anton: He made it plain that he was willing to use U.S. military power in instances when he thought it was in the national interest. And this is an instance in which he determined it was in the national interest. So, the people who think that this was some-either a pleasant, or a disastrous surprise, I leave pleasant or disastrous to their own interpretation, but surprise, I have to say, is maybe a matter of fact, and it didn't surprise me. So, I don't know why it surprised so many others. Glasser: Well, that's right. He always had this very muscular-Anton: Well, let me put it this way: whether he did-maybe that's the wrong way to put it-it didn't surprise me. But I think it's completely in keeping with what he said he might do, and in that regard, I don't see it is in any way a contradiction of his campaign rhetoric or promises. Glasser: So, you came to this position as-you say you're retired now, but basically during the campaign-Anton: Well, I'm retired as an anonymous pundit, I think. I may be a pundit again someday, but I might as well write under my own name, even though I liked my fake name. I thought it was pretty clever. Glasser: So, our listeners might not all know yet about your career as an anonymous pamphleteer in the tradition of anonymous pamphleteers going back a long way. You adopted the name-Anton: Of Publius-well, in traditional Latin, it should be Decius, but it looks like Decius, and so I just always pronounced it Decius. So, Publius Decius Mus, known as Decius, who is a consul of the Roman republic in the 4th century BC, who died-it's a long story. I like the story, though, so I might as well tell it, and you can edit it out, if you think it's too much. So, there's always two consuls in a battle in the Roman republic, two generals, and they took the auguries, which is basically they cut open a chicken and they study its guts. And they, by studying the chicken's guts, the augurs, the priests, can predict what they think is going to happen. And they said, 'Well, the chicken guts say that one side is going to win the battle, and the other side is going to lose a general.' And so Decius said, 'I understand,' and when his wing of the battle was faltering, he dismounted his horse and rallied the troops and was killed in the process, but they won-the Romans won the battle. This is the Battle of Vesuvius. Glasser: So, instead of being killed, your team won, but you're here in the White House as your afterlife. Anton: Right, well, the reason I chose the name at the time is because I thought that I was putting at risk a corporate communications career, and if I had been found out, bad things might've happened. And there was also, I think, reputational risk, because it was just not-it was a very unpopular stance among any kind of mainstream Republican, and certainly among any kind of intellectual, even a conservative intellectual, to be pro-Trump. And I've taken a lot of ribbing, some of it good-natured, and so of it not so, just to say, well, that was the dumbest fake name-anonymous or pseudonym anyone has ever picked because it all worked out great for you. You didn't sacrifice anything. Well, yes, okay, that's basically true, but I think there's something to the fact that the reputational risk is there. I've been called a lot of bad names for what I wrote. A lot of conservatives who used to think reasonably well of me, or at least not hate me, they really don't like me now. And it's because of what I wrote and what I said, and the stance that I took. So, I think there's something to be said that Decius made a sacrifice. Glasser: Well, let's tell our listeners a little bit about what you wrote, for those who aren't familiar. Probably your best-known work as Decius was an article in the Claremont Review of books called 'The Flight 93 Election.' You wrote this under the pseudonym, it came out last fall, it's been taken as an intellectual statement of Trumpism. In effect, what you wrote was, 'you've got to charge the cockpit or you die.' And 'America is headed off a cliff.' Anton: And it wasn't-I mean, I don't mean to discount it, but it was like the least intellectual of a lot of stuff that I wrote in 2016. In fact, there's a follow-up piece to it called 'Restatement on Flight 93,' that's a lot denser and geekier than-'Flight 93' really is a kind of Thomas Paine-esque, you know, barbaric yawp, to add in a little Walt Whitman there. It's a yell. It's kind of a full-throated statement of-Glasser: Yes, basically, it's American carnage before President Trump gave us the 'American carnage' inaugural. That's your argument, was that basically we're screwed. Anton: My argument was and remains that the two-party system had kind of ossified into an almost de facto one-party system, where the letters after people's names changed, but the ideology didn't really change, the ideology didn't really change, and elections didn't do much to change the government. And then candidate, now-President Trump was the first to really challenge the system, which explains why there was so much opposition, even within his own party, because he was so different than the entire rest of his own party. He was-it was almost-I didn't use this, but it was almost reminded me of the Barry Goldwater slogan: A choice, not an echo. Glasser: But do you still stand behind some of the more controversial aspects of this, now that you're working in the Trump White House? I mean, this has not just been seen as a critique of the two-party system as its evolved, but also even many fellow Republicans have argued that it was 'racist' or 'authoritarian' or 'anti-Semitic' or all of the above. Anton: I deny all of that, every single charge, and I have rebutted it as extensively as I can, with a job like this that takes up a lot of time, but I don't hold any truck with that, and I can answer every single of one of those charges, and I find them frivolous. Glasser: You find them frivolous, but your identity was unmasked by The Weekly Standard in February when you had already taken up this job. Did you get any feedback from your colleagues here in the White House? Did they know that you were the author of this before they hired you? Anton: I don't think they were fans and readers in the sense that-'wow, that was you all along?' It was more like, 'hey, before you hire me, you need to know the following, because it'll come out. And I don't want you to be surprised in hiring somebody and then go, 'why didn't you tell us this in advance?'' And most of them were like, 'I never even heard of this, but okay, thanks for letting us know. 'Glasser: Well, tell us how you did end up here, though. That seems interesting. Did you know Donald Trump before? Anton: No, I didn't. Glasser: When did you meet him? Anton: I only met him in the job, and I still haven't-I'm not one of the close aides who's around him all the time. Glasser: Has he read your 'Flight 93' article? Anton: I don't know. Glasser: He's never mentioned it to you? Anton: No. Glasser: So, how did you end up working at the National Security Council? Anton: I got involved in the transition because I had worked at the National Security Council before, and was asked to help out on the transition, and ended up being offered a job. Glasser: And I think you've told others that actually it was oddly enough the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel who read your work. You didn't know him. Anton: No, I did know him. I actually have known him since we were both in college, going back a long, long, long way. Glasser: I see. Anton: And I had lost touch with him. We hadn't spoken in a while, and he found the work, and then found me, and we reconnected in 2016. Glasser: And he hooked you up with Michael Flynn. Anton: He hooked me up with the transition. Glasser: But it was Michael Flynn who hired you? Anton: Really, Keith Kellogg who's sort of the hiring authority, and still is as chief of staff of the National Security Council. Glasser: Okay. So, everybody now seems fascinated with the inner workings of the Trump White House, and there's certainly an interesting question as to who is guiding and shaping foreign policy. There's been nowhere more tumultuous, in some ways than the NSC; you had a national security advisor who lasted only 24 days. Should we feel sorry for you guys here? Anton: No. Glasser: Is it like Game of Thrones here? Anton: No. No, I mean, it's been very, very busy. You're right; that was an unprecedented situation, but I think we now have-the National Security Council staff is-it actually-I was impressed by how well it worked through such a difficult period. The professional staff, the people from various agencies, plus the direct hires that were brought in with this administration. The business of running the NSC went on and had to go on during that time, and foreign leader calls, and we're still being made visits, we're still coming in, interagency meetings were taking place, paperwork had to be prepared, and it all kept getting done very professionally, and well, and on time. Everybody worked through it almost as if none of that stuff was happening. It was pretty inspiring to see, to be honest. Glasser: Lot of questions about the role that the president's political strategist Steve Bannon has been playing on the National Security Council. Last week, in addition to all these other developments we talked about, he was also removed quietly from the Principals Committee of the National Security Council. What role was he playing, and is he still playing? Anton: He was removed simply from a memo that named him as a permanent member of the Principals Committee. But-Glasser: So, he's still going to the meetings. Anton: He still goes to the meetings. I mean, he doesn't go to every meeting. He goes to the meetings the president wants him in or that he ought to be in. As you know, the picture that you just referenced, he was in the room for that. The meeting-one of the meetings that I was in where the decision was discussed and debated when the president was in-he was in that. He's still a close advisor, has a broad portfolio, and it's appropriate for him to be in any meeting-the president's entitled to the advice he wants from any of his advisors, and they can be in any meeting that the president wants them in. Glasser: So, do you give any credence to the reports that the knives are out for him, or that he might not be long for the White House? Anton: I don't pay that much attention to it. It's just-there's too much to do in the day to day to day, and everything I 'know' -- and for listeners, I'm using my fingers here to do air quotes, so I'm putting 'know' in air quotes-everything I 'know' about this, I read in the papers, when I read those stories. So, I don't really know anything because the-I can tell you, it's not an issue in day-to-day work here. You don't see this stuff going on, you don't hear about it, it's not talked about, everybody gets along. You see people in meetings, they work together collegially, they contribute, they're doing their jobs. So, that's the way it looks to me from the inside, plus, I'll be perfectly honest, I've had to deal with a lot of reporting in my job that's reporting directly on things that I see firsthand, that I know is either wrong, or really shaded in a way that is sort of technically right in certain aspects but wrong in the macro. So, when I see stories like that, I have to take them with a big lump of salt. Glasser: Now, you have-Steve Bannon has been very publicly very complimentary of you, and your writings. He said that you're 'one of the most significant intellects in the nationalist movement'. You're seen as one of the staffers in the White House who most represents this kind of populist, nationalist strand of President Trump. Clearly, there are other viewpoints that are competing, whether how fiercely or not, we may not know, but there are different camps of thought about what Trumpism actually means. Other people have called Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and some of the other advisors from Wall Street, representatives of a more globalist viewpoint. Do you see-walk us through the sort of different schools of thought about how Trump's foreign policy should play out? Anton: Well, again, I don't want to get into internal debates, because I think that deprives the president of the advice that he deserves to get, because without confidentiality, his advisors won't feel free to-Glasser: Sure, I understand that, but we need to try to understand these disparate events, which right now, are pretty confusing, as you can imagine. Anton: Like I said, though, I don't think they are that confusing. I'm not at all-if I were back out there writing as Decius, or even under my name and outside the administration, I would have no problem whatsoever understanding the Syria strike as completely consistent with my own-even my own vision of what the Trump foreign policy ought to be, and certainly with what the president said on the campaign trail. It doesn't confuse me a bit. Glasser: So, what is the Decius headline on the article about the last week in Trump foreign policy? My headline was President un-Obama, or President Not-Obama. Anton: Well, look, the president did deliberately contrast his actions with President Obama, which I think is fair. I think that's one of the reasons why he took the action he did. I think he felt that U.S. credibility had been undermined by the stating of a red line, and the refusal to act when that red line was crossed, even though he himself hadn't stated a similar red line. I think he thought that an assertion of American strength in the face of a clear provocation would be valuable to the restoration of American prestige, and American credibility and resolve in the war. Which might, in fact, deter future actions along these lines, and that would be in American interests, and in allied interests. Glasser: So, you think the President Not-Obama theory has a certain resonance, in terms of how he's making decisions right now? Anton: I think, yes, the president himself has made a contrast between himself and President Obama on many issues, foreign policy certainly among them. Glasser: So, tell us a little bit about your-your title is the sort of grand but amorphous director of strategic communications. Your predecessor in the job under President Obama, Ben Rhodes, ultimately had a pretty expansive role, and was seen as President Obama's mind meld when it came to foreign policy and communicating about it. What is your job description? Anton: I think mine is-I certainly wouldn't claim a mind meld with the president. I would say that there's an element of the very traditional running of a public affairs operation within the NSC. It helps support the White House communications office on foreign and defense policy, support the press secretary, especially; get out a positive message about the president's foreign policy; respond to media inquiries of which we get many hundreds a day, with as much factual information as we can give, keeping in mind that a lot of what we deal with is classified, so we have to be very careful about what we say and what we don't say. And just overall, helping the administration shape its message in the foreign policy and national security areas. Glasser: So, what does it mean to-in terms of the strategic piece of it, obviously this is a president who's best known for communicating about not just foreign policy but in general, in tweets. Can you be strategic in a tweet? Anton: A tweet can be part of a strategy. I don't know that it in itself is strategic. But that is-nothing-no single piece is. I mean, even the biggest communications tools that a president has-a speech to a joint session of Congress, for instance--is not in itself a strategy. A strategy is bigger than that, and involves many components. Glasser: So, are you saying these tweets that we see from the president early in the morning are strategic or are you as surprised as the rest of us when you see them? Anton: I think the president, as he said the other day, he's his own strategist, and I think he got second-guessed constantly throughout 2015 and 2016 by people-person after person, pundit after pundit, assuming that everything he did was off the cuff, seat of his pants, and he didn't have a plan. He seemed to outfox them all, time and time again, so I don't know why people still underestimate him so much, but I think it's risky to continually underestimate him, given what he's shown he can do. Glasser: So, in terms of going back to the strategy or the Trump doctrine or whatever it's going to ultimately end up being, you find a through line with him when it comes to unpredictability, which he's talked about; muscular responses; a different set of instincts than President Obama. Unlike a lot of other people, you actually spent a fair amount of time last year, though, also trying to construct Trumpism out of President Trump's statements. Tell us a little bit more on the substance of it. A lot of what we've talked about so far are his attributes of decision making or how he approaches a problem. But what about the world view of Trumpism? Anton: The world view of Trumpism-I think you could sum it up with this phrase that he's used many times: America First. He's been criticized for it because of the American First Committee, which opposed American entry into World War II, but the phrase itself is so tautologically sane, you wonder how anyone could object to it. The purpose of any government is to put its own citizen's interests first, and I think the president identified not just on the campaign trail, but long before he even took the campaign trail, that that had ceased really being the operative principle of the American government, and he was going to reorient every aspect of American policy-not just foreign policy, but of course, also foreign policy-back to that single standard: Is what we're doing in the interest of American citizens? Glasser: Do you regret now having gone back and tried to sort of resurrect or to reinterpret the reputation of the America First-Anton: I didn't really try to reinterpret-I mean, resurrect the…. People were outraged. 'Well, he can't use this phrase because it's affiliated with this group, with this disreputable group.' My view of the group is that they were wrong on a matter of a very important policy, to oppose entry into World War II. But if you actually take yourself back to 1939, 1940, it seems obvious now in hindsight why American interests were at stake, and why America should get involved in World War II, and why it turned out ultimately to be in America's interest to get in World War II. It wasn't obvious, really, necessarily, to the average person in 1939 or 1940, especially only less than 20 years after World War I, which was highly unpopular, until America got into World War I, and everybody rallied around the flag. But there's still a lot of questions about was that really the right thing to do? Do we need to get into yet another war in Europe? It's so far away. These dangers can't come to our shores. It took somebody very far-sighted like F.D.R. to realize that this ultimately is going to be a necessity, and the danger will come to our shores. Glasser: Right, but the critiques-Anton: F.D.R. himself had to deal with the public opinion that didn't want it. And it took Pearl Harbor to turn public opinion around, and even all the things he did to support England during 1940, '41, before Pearl Harbor, were-he almost had to pretend he wasn't doing them, in order to keep public opinion at bay. And it was very tricky to get Lend-Lease passed, and so on. Glasser: Right, but the argument that people have had with you is not trying to look back at the rational basis of isolationism before World War II; it's specifically the fact that people who were connected with the America First Committee, like Charles Lindbergh, had a strain of anti-Semitism that was part of the rationale, and that has been the critique, really, that aren't you just carrying water for both anti-Semitism, or-Anton: No. Of course I'm not. I mean, there were anti-Semites affiliated with the America First Committee, and supporting the America First Committee. But is there still a separate rationale, which is the America First Committee rationale for being was isolationism, not anti-Semitism. So, there were some isolationists who were anti-Semites, who affiliated with the America First Committee. And I'm not justifying that at all; I'm just saying when President Trump uses the phrase America First, the idea of delegitimizing America First by associating with the committee… it's a kind of faulty logic. You have anti-Semite here; you have the America First Committee here, and then you have President Trump use America First, and so the whole thing kind of comes under this one disreputable banner. And I think that's completely unfair, to him and to me. Glasser: Many people said, during the campaign last year, that the use of these phrases was sort of a dog whistle to the anti-Semitic world of the internet that's out there, to a lot of racists who are out there. Anton: I don't believe that at all. Glasser: Did it make you uncomfortable, that those people were cheering for President Trump? Anton: Sure. Definitely. I think it-and I know it made him uncomfortable. Glasser: What's your response to them? Did you criticize them? Anton: I think I did. I don't remember every single word that I wrote during the 2016 campaign, but I definitely criticized a lot of the disreputable stuff that people said during the time. Glasser: But being in an intellectual foxhole with people like that-Anton: No, I never thought of myself as being in any kind of an intellectual foxhole with people who hold those views. It's-the question reeks of a kind of-to be perfectly honest-a kind of guilt by association tactic that I find unfair. Glasser: Look, a lot of people on both right and left have weighed in, since you were publicly unmasked in February, on this subject, and I'm sure becoming public in this fashion has been a new phenomenon for you, right? Anton: Yes. Glasser: Well, let's go back here to where we're sitting in the National Security Council, and you worked in the Bush White House, there was also plenty of criticism of the policies of the Bush White House. How is working in the Trump White House different than working in the Bush White House? Anton: It's a little more freewheeling. That's the way to put it. It's a little more freewheeling. It's exciting, maybe because you really feel like things are changing here, things-there's a real possibility, like I say, of a real realignment, that history is being made. Obviously, history was made in the Bush administration, too, but I get the feeling that maybe history is really being made here in a way that it hasn't been made in a long time. Glasser: Yes, you had another very interesting article recently, about the liberal international order, and how the foreign policy 'priesthood' in both parties really had sort of-Anton: Yes, it gets back to what I was saying earlier about that there doesn't seem to be that much difference, especially on the foreign policy side. If there's bipartisan cooperation, that's honestly one of the striking facts of our time, is there's so much bitterness and division on the Hill, and you'd think the parties have never been further apart, but policy-wise over the last couple decades, they seem like they've never been closer together, and that's really been quite true on foreign policy above all. Glasser: Right, that there's a relatively narrow spectrum. Now, you have made your own journey from a more traditional Republican, when during the Bush White House years, you were in favor of the Iraq war, along with other people. You've since changed your mind about that, right? Anton: Yes. Glasser: Why? Anton: I think the facts just bear it out that it didn't work the way the administration wanted it to work, hoped it would work, thought it would work, and it just because plain for any eye to see. Like I said, I quoted Lincoln earlier when he says-when he was asked what do you do when the facts change? He says, 'I change my opinion. What do you do?' Glasser: As this new administration encounters the facts, a lot of people have the view that he will move away from revolutionary approaches, and more towards the way Washington really works. There's an old saying that Washington is like a casino; the house always wins, sooner or later. Do you take that view, having worked here before? Anton: I think to some extent-there's another saying that campaigning is poetry, governing is prose. There is some extent to which governing always involves compromise, as the president has often said, too, he's a deal-maker, and one of his tactics is to stake out a pretty ambitious goal or demand that it's not as real necessarily as a real demand. It's a negotiating demand and the deal gets worked out in the negotiating. I think you're probably going to see some of that, and you maybe have already seen some of that, and that, in one sense, that's no different than what's happened to other presidents, but in another sense, I think it will be different; the tactics and the way you're going to see it implemented will be different than what other presidents have done. Glasser: But so, you are familiar with how another White House has worked. What does that mean in practice? Are you seeing a lot of strategizing over deal-making and leverage and things like that? Give us some granularity. Anton: I'm not in any domestic policy discussions, so when it comes to negotiations with the Hill on the healthcare bill, I don't see any of that firsthand. I see mostly the interagency process of the formulation of foreign policy, which isn't deal-making. I do see the president interact with foreign leaders sometimes, so I see that, but it's early days, and most of these meetings are first meetings, and relationship-building meetings, and not meetings that take place months later when you're at the table, working on a specific deal. I think we're going to see that later in the year and throughout the rest of the administration, but in the first six months, the vast majority of these meetings are preliminary. They're people he's never met, or he's only talked to on the phone. Glasser: Right, these foreign leaders, he's spent a lot of time actually with-both in person and on the phone, although he doesn't seem to be traveling abroad. Are we going to see him travel more? Anton: Yes, he's already said that he will go to the NATO summit in Brussels in May, and to the G7 in May, and to the G20 in July, and I think you'll probably see other foreign travel, too, although we haven't announced anything. Glasser: But it's not going to be-President Obama, I think I looked this up, took ten trips his first year. It's not going to be at that level. Anton: I don't have any other trips than those to announce at this point. But I would say stay tuned. Glasser: Okay, so what has impressed you or what you have been surprised by if anything in all of those early calls and meetings. He's clearly spent a lot of time with leaders from the Middle East. Just last week, we had both the president of Egypt and the king of Jordan here. Anton: I guess one of the things is that he's really good at building a personal rapport with people who you think have just-are so different from him, and have such different experiences, backgrounds and cultures and religions and so on, that where's the bridge going to be? And he finds a way to do it, every time. Glasser: Who has he gotten along with best, personally? Anton: Best, personally? Oh, God, there have been so many great meetings. He got along tremendously with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, with [British Prime Minister] Theresa May, with [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi. Maybe the most surprising would have been [Chinese] President Xi. You'd think that there would be a big gulf between the two there, and they spent two days together-or maybe not quite. Over the course of two days, they spent a lot of time together, and really hit it off well. Glasser: What was the basis do you think-the commonality that made them hit it off? Anton: Hard to say exactly what the basis was. I think that they both recognized that they were trying to do the best for their individual countries. I think they both appreciated the tough stand that each took, in being-in trying to mix a friendly rapport and building a personal relationship, while still being very stalwart about what they were trying to accomplish for their own side. I think he saw in President Xi the kind of negotiator that he is, and that he respects. Glasser: So, what about Russia and Vladimir Putin. We haven't talked about this a lot, but obviously, it's been a huge question mark surrounding what does President Trump really think. He hasn't met Putin face to face yet in this new role. Obviously, Rex Tillerson was there this week. He said very admiring things publicly about Vladimir Putin, and even now, when there's much more perceived coldness towards Russia in the wake of Syria and it seems like we're no longer headed for Russia reset three, at least not now. How should we understand this, and what do you personally make of President Trump's statements that seem to be admiring of Putin's rule? Anton: Well, I would go by his most recent statements in particular, and what he said yesterday with the secretary-general of NATO standing by his side, that he acknowledged that relations seemed to be at a very low point right now, but he's still hopeful that the relationship can get better, and that he can even build a positive relationship with Vladimir Putin. Glasser: But even then, it was interesting, he didn't personally criticize Putin. Anton: No, but he acknowledged the currently poor state of U.S.-Russia relations, at a moment when his secretary of state was in Moscow, and had met with Putin. I think the meeting was already over by the time the president went out and spoke. I mean, it is a sign that Putin gave Secretary Tillerson two hours. Now, I'm not sure that they were the two most warm, cordial, friendly, fuzzy hours of all time, but if the Russians-Glasser: Words never associated with Vladimir Putin. Anton: Right, well, but if the Russians really wanted to snub the United States, there was a lot of things they could do, and one of them was don't give the secretary of state two hours of the president's time. And they did that. I think that shows, at least, some little opening to maybe further improvement, and Secretary Tillerson and the Russian foreign minister both acknowledged that things had to get better, and that they immediately-they recognized it, and they set in place some mechanisms to get that going as soon as possible. Glasser: So, you still think that President Trump is hopeful that there will be a moment in time at which there can be sort of a reset in relations? Anton: I don't know that I would use that word. That was a sort of Obama administration word. We've never used the 'reset,' except to criticize it as a failure, which I think is fair. What he's said is he wants better relations. He even said at his big press conference in the East Room now a month and a half ago or so, I'd like to make a deal with Russia. I don't know if I can, but I'd like to. I think that's a completely reasonable approach. Who wants bad relations with a country that big, with that large a role in the world, a nuclear arsenal and so on? Nobody should want poor relations with a country of that strategic importance. We should all want better relations. We just should want those better relations on terms that are favorable to U.S. interests, and that's the one thing I absolutely trust President Trump to do is not to make a bad deal for America, just for the sake of getting a deal. Glasser: So, a lot of people say, if you look at the history of the modern presidency, that the first year in office almost invariably there is a major crisis, a major foreign policy crisis that comes from nowhere, and really defines the administration, so we can talk about doctrine and strategy and all that kind of stuff, but in the end, it's the crisis that often dictates how we remember these presidents. That was certainly true for George W. Bush, who came in talking about a different kind of presidency than the one he ended up having. A lot of people think North Korea might be the big crisis for President Trump. Anton: Although I would immediately say you can't call North Korea a crisis that came out of nowhere. It's been brewing since the early 1990s, at the very least, and has caused problems for at least four, now five-I'm thinking-certainly for Clinton, W., Obama, so at least four, and at the tail end of the Bush 41 administration, although it wasn't yet quite what it became in '93, '94 for Bill Clinton. This is one of the world's most kind of obvious festering problems for two decades-two and a half decades now. Glasser: Is there now a linkage in our policy with China between trade and more cooperation on North Korea? Anton: Well, the president made such a link in a tweet-Glasser: Yes, that's what I'm referring to. Anton: And like I said, that's one of the-he chooses to reveal as much as he wants to reveal. I don't see it as my role to reveal more than he wants any of the staff to reveal, so I'm going to leave that one alone, but certainly one of the things that we're contemplating, we know-let me put it this way, the American administration knows that making progress on North Korea absolutely requires Chinese cooperation, because China alone among the nations of the world has real leverage over the North Korean regime, and if China agrees to use that leverage more fulsomely than they have hitherto, we think that can make real progress. And so we're exploring ways to persuade China to use the leverage that we think they have-that we know they have. Glasser: And if that doesn't work out, which is certainly possible, do you believe there is a real military option with North Korea? Anton: I would say the following about that, that the military-no U.S. president since North Korea emerged as a serious problem has ever taken military action off the table, but no U.S. president has hitherto used it, either. So, it's certainly not something anyone wants to elevate to option number one, and it's certainly not even something anyone wants to be forced to resort to. For reasons of prudence, it can't be taken off the table at a juncture like this, but every other option is going to be explored first because the consequences would be pretty dire, as we know for the region and for our allies, and for ourselves, and for a lot of the people. Glasser: So, one of the observations people have made about the Trump National Security Council, even compared with its predecessor, is that it's a pretty militarized group here. There's a lot of colonels; of course, you now have General McMaster as the new national security advisor. His predecessor General Flynn was also a general. You're kind of a civilian in-Anton: Retired. Glasser: Of course. But you're definitely a kind of a civilian intellectual type in their midst. How much do you think it's been a correct analysis to say this is a pretty militarized kind of foreign policy, that team that's being set up? Anton: I think the bulk of the National Security Council staff is typically made up-typically, by that I really mean always, because that's just the way it's structured. Career civil servants, military, and intelligence officers from within the government who served one- to two-year terms on detail and go back. And we have, just like any other NSC, a range of foreign service officers, some U.S.A.I.D. civilians, D.O.D. civilians, serving military, retired military, intelligence officers. We've got that mix. Typically, the single largest component of people-the single largest source-let me put it that way-of any-on the NSC staff, is the State Department. So, State Department civilians. I don't think this NSC is any different in that. I don't know the numbers off the top of my head and what the agency mix is. The fact that you haven't had a serving officer to head the NSC since Colin Powell-when the person at the top is an active duty, not even retired lieutenant general, that gives a certain appearance. But if you look below that, and you look at actually at the staff, I think you'll see, it's not radically different than it has been in prior administrations of both parties. Glasser: But have things changed a little bit around here, since General McMaster came in? There were a lot of reports of bad morale and concern that the professional staff felt they weren't being included in things? Did he make structural changes to address those complaints? Anton: He did make some changes. In fact, one of the first things he did was call an all-hands meeting, and asked for staff input. And people wrote down their ideas on cards, and he analyzed that entire package, and after some due deliberation, made changes based on staff input and then sent out a memo informing the staff, and then called the second all-hands meeting, in which he discussed those, and took further questions. So, he definitely put his own stamp on the institution, and he did that, in part, based on his own ideas, and in part based on the feedback that he got from the staff. Glasser: What do you feel like was a big thing that changed as a result of that? Anton: I don't think he did anything that was too radical. I think the main change between this and the prior administration was-and is ongoing-it's getting smaller. It had peaked, not-this is well before the end of the last president's last term, but the National Security Council staff had peaked at well over 400, and it's been in the process of coming back down ever since. And I think you've also seen a re-delegation of authorities back to agencies that should-that in General McMaster's view, and in the president's view, and in the principals' view, ought to reside at those agencies, and not be run through here in an operational manner. Glasser: Do you see this as a leakier White House than its predecessors? Anton: I don't-you know, it's a good-I mean, all White Houses leak. Otherwise, we wouldn't have anything to read in the papers every day, and since the papers have been publishing now for hundreds of years, I assume that this has been going on-Glasser: There seem to be extra stories, though. Anton: That could be. That could well be. I don't know how to measure it, though. Glasser: Fair enough. Well, you've been very generous with your time today. I thought we'd just close on this. We've talked a little bit about your untraditional background here, but you're certainly the only person in this White House who's written a whole book on fashion and Machiavelli, so two final questions. Number one, what do you think Machiavelli's advice would be for Donald Trump? And number two, on fashion, it's not a super fashionable place. Aside from you yourself, who would you say is the other best dressed staffer? Anton: I think it's sort of a skinny tie, skinny lapel era right now, which I've never been that into, but Jared Kushner clearly has very good taste, although he dresses very, very soberly. It's usually just some dark gray, white shirt, and a solid tie. I don't think I've ever seen him in anything else. And you know, skinny lapel, skinny ties are not kind of my things, but it works for him.Glasser: And I should note, you're wearing a very nice looking sort of black and white suit with a pale pink shirt, and a black and white tie, at the moment. Machiavelli, what's his advice to Donald Trump? Anton: As much as I know Nick, as well as I know Nick, and Nick and I have known each other for about 30 years, I always hesitate to say what he would say in a current circumstance. I think he would like the president's unpredictability. I think he certainly would like his focus on putting the citizens of his own country first; he would like his small r-republican spirit. I don't know exactly what he would say beyond maybe keep doing what you're doing. And I have to caveat that now, by saying that Nick has a bad reputation because of all these outrageous things that he said. This is one of the other things maybe that Decius has in common with him, and that's part of the reason that I chose the name. I think Machiavelli knew when he wrote his books that the things he was writing were going to give him a bad reputation, but he felt like the intellectual climate of his time required shock therapy. And if he just wrote a regular sort of sober treatise along scholastic lines, nobody would read it. It wouldn't have the effect that it had to have. And so, he needed to deliver some shocks to the system, which he did, in pungent language, and which have, for 500 years, given him the reputation that he has. And he was willing to accept that. He knew that would happen, and he thought it was the price he had to pay. But if you spend time with his books over a very long period, you realize how actually philosophic and humane he is underneath the outrageous surface. So, when I say that he might pleased with some of President Trump's actions, I hope no one interprets that as saying that the murderous Machiavelli, as Shakespeare's Richard III calls him, is the one I see approving of President Trump's actions, I mean Leo Strauss' Machiavelli, the great mind who revived Western philosophy in the 16th century. Glasser: That's a pretty nuanced view. Do you think President Trump has anything like that kind of a view of Machiavelli? Anton: I don't know. Glasser: Never discussed it with him? Anton: No. Glasser: All right. We're going to leave it at that. President Trump and Machiavelli. Thank you so much. My guest this week is Michael Anton at the National Security Council. I'm Susan Glasser at The Global POLITICO. I'm delighted that you joined us today, Michael, and also to our listeners, thank you again for joining us. I hope you'll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. I hope you'll give us feedback. You can email me any time at [email protected] Send me more suggestions for names of people to interview, as you already have, and thanks again to Michael and to you, the listeners.

16 апреля, 04:58

Operation Long Jump: The Nazi Assassination Attempt on the Big Three

Warfare History Network History, Middle East Elite German commando Otto Skorzeny was given the mission to eliminate Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt when they met together in Tehran. In German it was called Operation Rösselsprung, which translates to “Long Jump.” Its goal was to kill or kidnap the Allies’ “Big Three” leaders––Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt—when they met in Tehran, Iran, in November 1943. That the plan did not succeed is attributable to smart intelligence work, a drunken disclosure, and a bit of good luck. Perhaps no operation was more audacious or had greater consequences to the war’s outcome if it had succeeded than Long Jump. Former Soviet Lieutenant General and KGB intelligence officer Vadim Kirpichenko said, “The first secret report that this act was being planned came from Soviet intelligence officer Nikolai Kuznetsov, who learnt about it during a conversation with SS-Sturmbannführer Ulrich von Ortel. Ortel was the chief of the sabotage group in Copenhagen, which was preparing the operation. While drunk, the senior German counterintelligence officer blurted out that preparations were underway to assassinate the Big Three. Later the Soviet Union and Britain discovered other facts confirming that preparations had been made to assassinate Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt.” Soviet Counterintelligence in Iran The assassination was scheduled to take place in Tehran, the capital of Iran, after the three Allied leaders announced plans to meet there to hammer out the final strategy for the war against Nazi Germany and its Axis allies. Stalin, whose nation was then still bearing the brunt of the German onslaught, also wanted to know how and when Britain and the United States would open a second front in Western Europe (Churchill was still dead set against a direct assault on the continent, fearing it would lead to catastrophe). The momentous meeting, dubbed Eureka, would be held at the Soviet embassy in Tehran between November 28 and December 1, 1943. Iran was occupied by Soviet and British troops during the war and it was the “southern route” for Lend-Lease materials being shipped from the United States to the USSR. Although Iran had declared itself neutral on September 4, 1939, and despite the presence of Allied troops in the country, it continued to pursue an openly pro-German policy. Read full article

08 апреля, 14:20

Trump’s White House Is a Family Business. That’s Not a Bad Thing.

Critics complain about the presence of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the White House. But it’s a more promising model than most people appreciate.

31 марта, 14:26

5 Super Weapons that Won World War II

Michael Peck Security, Europe They changed history--forever.  Including the A-bomb on a list that otherwise features conventional weapons seems out of place. That the atomic bomb was a weapon, there is no doubt. But it was a weapon of a different magnitude, a device that could pulverize an entire city more thoroughly than a raid by a thousand regular bombers. It also epitomized the ability of the United States to harness scientific and industrial resources on a single project, to a degree that no other nation could match. As a weapon of war in World War II, the A-bomb was of greater shock than practical value. They were too complex to mass produce in the late 1940s, and by 1945, American and British bombers had pretty much devastated every German and Japanese city worth bombing. There is still much debate over whether Hiroshima and Nagasaki convinced Japan to surrender, or whether the Soviet declaration of war was the final catalyst. The secret of American victory in World War II was quantity and quality. Copious amounts of weapons and equipment that not only overwhelmed and outmatched the Axis arsenal, but helped enable Lend-Lease allies like Britain and Russia to do the same. Not that every U.S. weapon was great. The ubiquitous M-4 Sherman tank was plentiful but mediocre. Early U.S. fighters like the P-40 and P-39 were nothing to brag about (except in the hands of the Flying Tigers), while U.S. submarine torpedoes had a bad habit of not exploding until late 1943. But utilizing its massive industrial and technological base, America was able to produce some excellent weapons, including: Proximity Fuzes: Shell fuzes aren't usually thought of as weapons. But Japanese pilots and German infantrymen learned otherwise. The issue was that in an era when most anti-aircraft guns lacked radar or sophisticated fire control computers, their chances of hitting a target were not great. So complex were the calculations required to compute where to intersect the path of shell and airplane two to five miles high that tens of thousands of rounds had to be fired on average to score a hit. The problem became really acute when American warships encountered Japanese kamikazes; destroying an aircraft hell-bent on crashing into your ship meant the suicide planes had to be shot down quickly. Read full article

23 марта, 16:18

Why did the Soviet Union develop its own atomic bomb?

Washington demonstrated the power of the devastating nuclear weapons when it dropped two bombs on Japan. Photo: View of the radioactive plume from the bomb dropped on Nagasaki City, as seen from 9.6 km away, in Koyagi-jima, Japan, August 9, 1945. Source: Getty Images Nuclear weapons are a serious concern for mankind today, but their creation brought the era of large-scale world wars to an end. Mutual assured destruction compelled the superpowers to effectively lay down their arms and seek dialogue, whereas before conflict may have prevailed. In the early years of the atomic era, the U.S. was leading the way. In August 1945 Washington demonstrated the power of the devastating nuclear weapons when it dropped two bombs on Japan, sending a warning to countries outside the Western bloc in the process. However, the situation changed on Aug. 29, 1949 when the Soviet Union tested its own nuclear weapon. The race begins Scientists and workmen rig the world's first atomic bomb to raise it up into a 100-foot tower at the Trinity bomb test site in the desert near Alamagordo, N.M. in July 1945. The first atomic bomb test, known as the Manhattan Project, took place on July 16. Source: AP The idea that the colossal energy released when the uranium atom was split could be used for military purposes was first mooted by physicists in the late 1930s. The pioneers were the Germans, who made more advances than other countries in developing the theoretical basis for the nuclear program. The German atomic project was already up and running in the summer of 1939. Physicists who fled Germany after the rise of Hitler quickly realized what the successful conclusion of the project could lead to. The Germans had to be pre-empted - and the sooner the better. In August 1939, U.S. President F.D. Roosevelt was handed a letter from the distinguished scientist Albert Einstein. The Nobel Prize laureate in physics drew the president's attention to the fact that the Nazis were conducting research to develop a nuclear weapon and proposed that implementation of a similar project should begin in the U.S. In the subsequent two years, large-scale work was launched in the U.S., significant funds were invested and some of the greatest minds of the time, including Niels Bohr and Edward Teller, were recruited The USSR knew full well about all of this. Soviet physicists were aware of the work of their foreign colleagues. Soviet intelligence did not sit idly by, either. In June 1940, they had a close eye on the American’s early research into uranium-235. A year and a half later, when the Great Patriotic War had already begun (following Germany’s invasion of Russia), even more alarming news arrived: Britain could develop a nuclear weapon as early as 1943. This meant that the Germans, whose troops were already nearing Moscow, must also be close to possessing a primed nuclear weapon. The Soviet Union was seriously lagging behind in the nuclear race. Physicists and spies at work Visitors at the presentation of a multimedia installation specially created by the Rosatom Corporation to mark the 65th anniversary of the RDS-1 Soviet atomic bomb. Source: Maksim Blinov/RIA Novosti Information about the successful advances of Western countries in the development of a nuclear weapon was pouring into the Kremlin. Joseph Stalin rapidly realized it was a vitally important issue for Russia. His verdict was unambiguous: "We don't have the bomb: we're working badly!" The Germans were halted outside Moscow, and a breakthrough in the war was soon to follow. But no one could guarantee the situation would not change if the Germans got their hands on the super-weapon. The achievements of the Americans and British were also viewed with alarm: having acquired the atomic bomb, they could overcome Hitler on their own and subsequently threaten the Soviet Union. In September 1942, the USSR leadership authorized the founding of a specialist laboratory to work on the nuclear project. It was effectively the start of the history of the Soviet atomic program. It was staffed by a small but highly accomplished group of physicists under the overall leadership of Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov, who is now regarded as the father of the Soviet atom bomb. The intelligence services cooperated closely with the scientists. The Soviet spy network in the U.S. had a complete picture of the progress of the American atomic project, and even knew the locations of the main research center. Significant assistance was also provided by American nuclear physicists sympathetic to the USSR. Thanks to them the blueprints for the American bomb were already on Kurchatov's desk two weeks after it was created in 1945. End of American atomic monopoly The American and British military drew up plans for a possible war against the USSR. Photo: Yuly Khariton, a Russian physicist working in the field of nuclear power. Source: Valentin Cheredintsev/TASS Germany was crushed without the use of nuclear weapons. The atom bombs the Americans dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 were by and large symbolic. It was Washington's way of proclaiming to the whole world that it had the super-bomb. The message was directed above all to Moscow. After the end of World War II, the former allies in the anti-Hitler coalition found themselves on different sides of the barricades. The American and British military drew up plans for a possible war against the USSR. They proposed the bombing of major Soviet cities using nuclear weapons. This could only be avoided through the elimination of the American nuclear monopoly. Two weeks after the destruction of Hiroshima a special committee was established on Stalin's orders to coordinate all the work on the atom bomb project. It effectively meant the creation of a super-ministry with enormous resources and emergency powers. It was headed by one of Stalin's closest associates, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria. Under his direct leadership, a new industrial sector was born in the USSR in the space of a few years - the atomic industry. Uranium enrichment plants, reactors, centrifuges and factories to make bombs were set up in a short period of time. In Siberia and the Urals, new industrial complexes were built deep in the mountains, from which hundreds of tonnes of solid rock were extracted. Around them whole cities sprang up excluded from maps. Only people connected to the atomic program knew of their existence. The American leadership was convinced that the USSR would acquire nuclear weapons no sooner than 1954. A nuclear weapon test at the Semipalatinsk range in 1949 came as an unpleasant surprise for the U.S. The Soviet Union managed to destroy the U.S. nuclear monopoly, and in doing so laid the foundations  for the international security that the world order rests on to this day. Alexander Vershinin - doctor of historical sciences, lecturer in history at Moscow State University, senior research fellow at the Governance and Problem Analysis Center. Lend-Lease: How American supplies aided the USSR in its darkest hour>>>

25 января, 20:11

Trump hit with $2 million suit by contractor on D.C. hotel

Freestate says the Trump Organization has offered to pay only one-third of the project change and acceleration costs the contractor incurred.

23 января, 04:27

The M-3 Grant: America's Nazi Germany Tank-Killer

Michael Peck Security, Europe The weapon Britain needed in its most desperate hour. Why were Rommel's tanks blowing up? As the Desert Fox's panzers churned through the Libyan desert in May 1942, they were confident of victory. For more than a year, despite being outnumbered by the British Eighth Army, the German armor had time and again emerged victorious. Now the Afrika Korps was on the offensive against the British fortified line at Gazala, aiming to capture the vital port of Tobruk, and then move on to seize the Suez Canal and perhaps even the vital Middle East old fields. But on May 27, the Afrika Korps ran into a deadly surprise. Its tanks were being destroyed from long range, something that had never happened before. Until Gazala, the Afrika Korps had only faced the 2-pounder (40-millimeter) guns on British tanks and 37-millimeter cannon on American Lend-Lease Stuarts used by Britain, both of which frequently bounced off the frontal armor of German Mark III and Mark IV tanks. Yet now the panzers were being picked off by 75-millimeter cannon that outranged their own 50-millimeter tank guns. Rommel discovered the cause soon enough. It was the M-3 Grant, an American-made tank sent to the British under Lend-Lease. As Rommel wrote in “The Rommel Papers”, “Up to May of 1942, our tanks had in general been superior in quality to the corresponding British types. This was now no longer true, at least not to the same extent.” The M-3 (known as the Lee in American service, but called the Grant when used by the British) was as ugly a tank as ever rolled on treads. Vaguely resembling the Army Surplus Special in the 1960s cartoon “Wacky Races,” the 30-ton Grant stood an incredible 10 feet tall (compared to 9 feet for a Sherman and 8 feet for an M-1 Abrams). Read full article

05 января, 08:53

Американские мифы о Победе

По общему убеждению американцев, вступление США во Вторую мировую войну предопределило её окончательный исход. Многие американцы (вряд ли ошибусь, если скажу, что большинство) твёрдо уверены в том, что их страна внесла решающий вклад в победу над Германией и Японией во Второй мировой войне и что СССР был бы раздавлен Гитлером без американских поставок оружия. В интернете нередко можно наткнуться на искренние высказывания жителей США, вроде "мы спасли русских от Гитлера" в разных вариациях. Иногда утверждения, что "без американцев мы бы не выиграли войну", можно теперь услышать и от соотечественников. Автор не намерен отрицать значительную роль США в победе над странами агрессивного блока, особенно над Японией, существенную помощь Соединённых Штатов Советскому Союзу военными материалами в 1941-1945 гг. Речь идёт о том, чтобы точно обозначить величину этой роли. Без сомнения, американцы вправе гордиться тем, чтó совершила их страна в годы Второй мировой войны. США (в союзе со странами Британского Содружества) нанесли основные поражения военно-морским и военно-воздушным силам Японии, причинили серьёзный урон военной и промышленной машине нацистской Германии. Роль США в снабжении СССР оружием, транспортными средствами, ценным промышленным сырьём, медикаментами и продовольствием в ходе войны также немаловажна (о её величине - ниже). В результате Второй мировой войны США стали сверхдержавой, доминирующей на большей части земного шара. Этих выдающихся результатов США добились ценой сравнительно небольших потерь - погибло только 322 200 граждан США, почти исключительно военнослужащих, так как военные действия почти не затронули территорию самих США. При этом США избежали падения жизненного уровня своего населения. Наоборот, их экономика все годы войны испытывала интенсивный подъём. Приписывать США во Второй мировой войне заслуги сверх вышеперечисленных нет никаких оснований. Разберёмся теперь с этой ролью на конкретных примерах. 1. "Арсенал демократии" В марте 1941 конгресс США принял закон о предоставлении странам, "чья оборона представляет важность для интересов США", льготных целевых кредитов на закупку у США оружия и прочих военных материалов. Долг за оружие и материалы, которые были бы израсходованы в ходе войны, объявлялся списанным. Эта система получила общеизвестное название lend lease. Первым адресатом американской помощи стала Англия. Она же оставалась основным получателем поставок по ленд-лизу все годы Второй мировой войны (31,4 млрд $; СССР - 11,3 млрд $). Закон о ленд-лизе был распространён на СССР только 7 ноября 1941 года, но фактические поставки начались раньше - после того, как 30 сентября 1941 во время визита в Москву спецпредставителя президента США У. А. Гарримана и министра военной промышленности Англии У. Бивербрука был подписан первый протокол о поставках. Общий объём поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР оценивается обычно в 4% от общего объёма ВВП СССР за этот период. Однако это не показатель, так как помощь по ленд-лизу не имела целью заместить военное производство СССР. Более объективным, хотя и дифференцированным показателем является доля американских поставок по отдельным видам военного производства. Здесь необходимо также учесть, что основная помощь вооружением шла в СССР в 1941-1942 гг., затем главный упор в поставках был сделан на дефицитные в СССР военные материалы и на продовольствие. Значительна была помощь США нашей стране по таким видам продукции, например, как мясные консервы (480% от произведённого за эти годы в СССР), цветные металлы (от 76% до 223% по разным металлам), животные жиры (107%), шерсть (102%), автомобильные шины (92%), взрывчатка (53%). Существенными были поставки грузовых автомобилей (375 тыс), джипов (51,5 тыс), колючей проволоки (45 тыс т), телефонного кабеля (670 тыс миль), телефонных аппаратов (189 тыс штук). Поставки основных видов вооружения составили 12% от выпуска советскими заводами танков, 20% от выпуска бомбардировщиков, 16% от выпуска истребителей, 22% от выпуска боевых судов. Особо необходимо отметить поставки радиолокаторов (445 штук). Известна неофициальная оценка роли поставок по ленд-лизу для хода Великой Отечественной войны таким авторитетом, как маршал Г. К. Жуков (доложенная шефом КГБ В. Е. Семичастным Н. С. Хрущёву, она послужила одной из причин снятия Жукова с поста министра обороны в 1957 г.): "Сейчас говорят, что союзники никогда нам не помогали... Но ведь нельзя отрицать, что американцы нам гнали столько материалов, без которых мы бы не могли формировать свои резервы и не могли бы продолжать войну... Получили 350 тысяч автомашин, да каких машин!.. У нас не было взрывчатки, пороха. Не было чем снаряжать патроны. Американцы по-настоящему выручили нас с порохом, взрывчаткой. А сколько они нам гнали листовой стали. Разве мы могли бы быстро наладить производство танков, если бы не американская помощь сталью. А сейчас представляют дело так, что у нас всё это было своё в изобилии". Необходимо, однако, иметь в виду, что в данной цитате могли быть сознательно искажены многие высказывания, чтобы представить говорившего в невыгодном свете. Фактом останется то, что в самый тяжёлый для нашей страны период войны - летом и осенью 1941 года - никаких поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР ещё не было. Немецко-фашистские армии были остановлены на подступах к Ленинграду и Москве исключительно нашим оружием. Было бы правильно считать, что американская экономическая помощь советским вооружённым силам (развернувшаяся в широких объёмах только с 1943 года!) ускорила окончательный разгром немецко-фашистских войск на Восточном фронте. Но было бы ошибочно делать вывод, что без такой помощи эта победа не наступила бы вовсе. 2. "Высадка в Нормандии стала решающей битвой войны" Вторжению американских и британских войск в Северную Францию, начавшемуся 6 июня 1944 года, на Западе придают значение поворотного момента в ходе Второй мировой войны. Однако эта оценка игнорирует факт многочисленных поражений, которые вермахт к тому времени уже потерпел на Восточном фронте, начиная с декабря 1941 года. С ноября 1942 года, за исключением кратковременных эпизодов контрнаступления под Харьковом и начального этапа битвы под Курском, немецкие войска на Востоке находились в стратегической обороне. К лету 1944 года советские армии освободили уже бóльшую часть первоначально захваченной гитлеровцами территории СССР и в ряде мест вышли на госграницу СССР. Окончательный исход войны уже не вызывал сомнений, и этот исход определился именно на Восточном фронте. С учётом общей стратегической картины Второй мировой войны более обоснованной представляется традиционная точка зрения отечественной историографии, согласно которой сама высадка англо-американских войск в Нормандии была предпринята летом 1944 года с целью не допустить окончательного разгрома вермахта одними лишь советскими войсками. Размах и напряжённость сражений на Западноевропейском театре военных действий (ТВД) в 1944-1945 гг. ни разу не приблизились к тому, что имело место на Восточном фронте не только в 1941-1943 гг., но и в эти последние два года войны. Советско-германский фронт до самого 9 мая 1945 года оставался главным фронтом в Европе. К январю 1945, в момент максимального напряжения сил Германии на Западном фронте, вызванного попыткой наступления в Арденнах, части вермахта на Западе насчитывали всего 73 дивизии, в то время как на Востоке в это же время находилось 179 немецких дивизий. В целом же 80% личного состава действующей армии Германии, 68% её артиллерии, 64% её танков и 48% авиации люфтваффе в этот период использовались против советских войск. Таким образом, и в последний год войны основные силы немецкой сухопутной армии сражались не на Западе, а на Востоке. На Восточном фронте вермахт понёс решающие потери во Второй мировой войне. 70% от всех уничтоженных в ходе войны немецких самолётов, 75% потерянных танков и 74% потерь артиллерии Германии пришлись на войну с СССР. Более сложно всегда оценить количество людских потерь. Однако список соединений вермахта показывает, что всего за годы Второй мировой войны было полностью разгромлено на поле боя и вычеркнуто из этого списка 130 немецких сухопутных дивизий. Из них 104, то есть 80%, потерпели поражение именно от советских войск. 3. "США в одиночку разбили Германию на Западе и Японию" Миф о решающей роли США во Второй мировой войне направлен на принижение роли не только СССР, но и других участников антифашистской коалиции - стран Британского Содружества и Китая. Между тем, когда мы говорим о тех ТВД, где действовали американские войска, необходимо иметь в виду, что они всякий раз воевали в составе коалиционных сил, не всегда имея в них большинство. В войну к востоку от Атлантики США реально вступили только высадкой десанта в Северной Африке 8 ноября 1942 года. Причём это был удар даже не по Германии, а по Италии и вишистской Франции. В 1940-1942 гг. силы Британского Содружества сами отразили ряд наступлений "оси" в Северной Африке. Английская победа под Эль-Аламейном в октябре-ноябре 1942, в результате которой произошёл окончательный перелом в войне на Средиземноморском ТВД, была одержана до прибытия американских войск. Роль американских поставок в вооружении и оснащении британских войск была существенно выше, чем их роль для советских войск. Однако подданные Британской империи оплатили эти поставки своей кровью. Во Второй мировой войне погибло 364 тысячи жителей Соединённого Королевства (1/6 - мирное население) и 109 тысяч жителей британских доминионов и колоний, то есть в общей сложности больше, чем американцев. До лета 1944 года количество сухопутных войск Британской империи, воевавших с противниками на Западном и Азиатско-Тихоокеанском ТВД (и вместе, и на каждом в отдельности), неизменно превышало численность находившихся там американских войск. Только после высадки в Нормандии это соотношение стало медленно меняться. В "битве за Атлантику" решающей была роль британских ВМС, уничтоживших 525 немецких субмарин (в то время как американские ВМС - 174). В АТР американцы воевали совместно с австралийцами и британскими колониальными войсками в Индии. Кроме того, здесь нельзя сбрасывать со счетов постоянный (хотя и сам по себе пассивный) фактор Китая, постоянно отвлекавшего на себя больше половины японской сухопутной армии и значительные силы японской авиации. Эти силы в совокупности, а не одни лишь американцы, обеспечили союзникам победу над морской и воздушной мощью Японии. И, как уже неоднократно писалось, именно вступление СССР в войну против Японии, а не атомная бомбардировка, стало "последним ударом меча", заставившим Японию капитулировать. Таким образом, даже на тех ТВД Второй мировой, где решающая роль принадлежала западным союзникам, роль США в составе коалиционных сил не может расцениваться как абсолютно доминирующая. Михаил Загорский(http://www.nationaljourna...)

05 января, 08:53

Американские мифы о Победе

По общему убеждению американцев, вступление США во Вторую мировую войну предопределило её окончательный исход. Многие американцы (вряд ли ошибусь, если скажу, что большинство) твёрдо уверены в том, что их страна внесла решающий вклад в победу над Германией и Японией во Второй мировой войне и что СССР был бы раздавлен Гитлером без американских поставок оружия. В интернете нередко можно наткнуться на искренние высказывания жителей США, вроде "мы спасли русских от Гитлера" в разных вариациях. Иногда утверждения, что "без американцев мы бы не выиграли войну", можно теперь услышать и от соотечественников. Автор не намерен отрицать значительную роль США в победе над странами агрессивного блока, особенно над Японией, существенную помощь Соединённых Штатов Советскому Союзу военными материалами в 1941-1945 гг. Речь идёт о том, чтобы точно обозначить величину этой роли. Без сомнения, американцы вправе гордиться тем, чтó совершила их страна в годы Второй мировой войны. США (в союзе со странами Британского Содружества) нанесли основные поражения военно-морским и военно-воздушным силам Японии, причинили серьёзный урон военной и промышленной машине нацистской Германии. Роль США в снабжении СССР оружием, транспортными средствами, ценным промышленным сырьём, медикаментами и продовольствием в ходе войны также немаловажна (о её величине - ниже). В результате Второй мировой войны США стали сверхдержавой, доминирующей на большей части земного шара. Этих выдающихся результатов США добились ценой сравнительно небольших потерь - погибло только 322 200 граждан США, почти исключительно военнослужащих, так как военные действия почти не затронули территорию самих США. При этом США избежали падения жизненного уровня своего населения. Наоборот, их экономика все годы войны испытывала интенсивный подъём. Приписывать США во Второй мировой войне заслуги сверх вышеперечисленных нет никаких оснований. Разберёмся теперь с этой ролью на конкретных примерах. 1. "Арсенал демократии" В марте 1941 конгресс США принял закон о предоставлении странам, "чья оборона представляет важность для интересов США", льготных целевых кредитов на закупку у США оружия и прочих военных материалов. Долг за оружие и материалы, которые были бы израсходованы в ходе войны, объявлялся списанным. Эта система получила общеизвестное название lend lease. Первым адресатом американской помощи стала Англия. Она же оставалась основным получателем поставок по ленд-лизу все годы Второй мировой войны (31,4 млрд $; СССР - 11,3 млрд $). Закон о ленд-лизе был распространён на СССР только 7 ноября 1941 года, но фактические поставки начались раньше - после того, как 30 сентября 1941 во время визита в Москву спецпредставителя президента США У. А. Гарримана и министра военной промышленности Англии У. Бивербрука был подписан первый протокол о поставках. Общий объём поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР оценивается обычно в 4% от общего объёма ВВП СССР за этот период. Однако это не показатель, так как помощь по ленд-лизу не имела целью заместить военное производство СССР. Более объективным, хотя и дифференцированным показателем является доля американских поставок по отдельным видам военного производства. Здесь необходимо также учесть, что основная помощь вооружением шла в СССР в 1941-1942 гг., затем главный упор в поставках был сделан на дефицитные в СССР военные материалы и на продовольствие. Значительна была помощь США нашей стране по таким видам продукции, например, как мясные консервы (480% от произведённого за эти годы в СССР), цветные металлы (от 76% до 223% по разным металлам), животные жиры (107%), шерсть (102%), автомобильные шины (92%), взрывчатка (53%). Существенными были поставки грузовых автомобилей (375 тыс), джипов (51,5 тыс), колючей проволоки (45 тыс т), телефонного кабеля (670 тыс миль), телефонных аппаратов (189 тыс штук). Поставки основных видов вооружения составили 12% от выпуска советскими заводами танков, 20% от выпуска бомбардировщиков, 16% от выпуска истребителей, 22% от выпуска боевых судов. Особо необходимо отметить поставки радиолокаторов (445 штук). Известна неофициальная оценка роли поставок по ленд-лизу для хода Великой Отечественной войны таким авторитетом, как маршал Г. К. Жуков (доложенная шефом КГБ В. Е. Семичастным Н. С. Хрущёву, она послужила одной из причин снятия Жукова с поста министра обороны в 1957 г.): "Сейчас говорят, что союзники никогда нам не помогали... Но ведь нельзя отрицать, что американцы нам гнали столько материалов, без которых мы бы не могли формировать свои резервы и не могли бы продолжать войну... Получили 350 тысяч автомашин, да каких машин!.. У нас не было взрывчатки, пороха. Не было чем снаряжать патроны. Американцы по-настоящему выручили нас с порохом, взрывчаткой. А сколько они нам гнали листовой стали. Разве мы могли бы быстро наладить производство танков, если бы не американская помощь сталью. А сейчас представляют дело так, что у нас всё это было своё в изобилии". Необходимо, однако, иметь в виду, что в данной цитате могли быть сознательно искажены многие высказывания, чтобы представить говорившего в невыгодном свете. Фактом останется то, что в самый тяжёлый для нашей страны период войны - летом и осенью 1941 года - никаких поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР ещё не было. Немецко-фашистские армии были остановлены на подступах к Ленинграду и Москве исключительно нашим оружием. Было бы правильно считать, что американская экономическая помощь советским вооружённым силам (развернувшаяся в широких объёмах только с 1943 года!) ускорила окончательный разгром немецко-фашистских войск на Восточном фронте. Но было бы ошибочно делать вывод, что без такой помощи эта победа не наступила бы вовсе. 2. "Высадка в Нормандии стала решающей битвой войны" Вторжению американских и британских войск в Северную Францию, начавшемуся 6 июня 1944 года, на Западе придают значение поворотного момента в ходе Второй мировой войны. Однако эта оценка игнорирует факт многочисленных поражений, которые вермахт к тому времени уже потерпел на Восточном фронте, начиная с декабря 1941 года. С ноября 1942 года, за исключением кратковременных эпизодов контрнаступления под Харьковом и начального этапа битвы под Курском, немецкие войска на Востоке находились в стратегической обороне. К лету 1944 года советские армии освободили уже бóльшую часть первоначально захваченной гитлеровцами территории СССР и в ряде мест вышли на госграницу СССР. Окончательный исход войны уже не вызывал сомнений, и этот исход определился именно на Восточном фронте. С учётом общей стратегической картины Второй мировой войны более обоснованной представляется традиционная точка зрения отечественной историографии, согласно которой сама высадка англо-американских войск в Нормандии была предпринята летом 1944 года с целью не допустить окончательного разгрома вермахта одними лишь советскими войсками. Размах и напряжённость сражений на Западноевропейском театре военных действий (ТВД) в 1944-1945 гг. ни разу не приблизились к тому, что имело место на Восточном фронте не только в 1941-1943 гг., но и в эти последние два года войны. Советско-германский фронт до самого 9 мая 1945 года оставался главным фронтом в Европе. К январю 1945, в момент максимального напряжения сил Германии на Западном фронте, вызванного попыткой наступления в Арденнах, части вермахта на Западе насчитывали всего 73 дивизии, в то время как на Востоке в это же время находилось 179 немецких дивизий. В целом же 80% личного состава действующей армии Германии, 68% её артиллерии, 64% её танков и 48% авиации люфтваффе в этот период использовались против советских войск. Таким образом, и в последний год войны основные силы немецкой сухопутной армии сражались не на Западе, а на Востоке. На Восточном фронте вермахт понёс решающие потери во Второй мировой войне. 70% от всех уничтоженных в ходе войны немецких самолётов, 75% потерянных танков и 74% потерь артиллерии Германии пришлись на войну с СССР. Более сложно всегда оценить количество людских потерь. Однако список соединений вермахта показывает, что всего за годы Второй мировой войны было полностью разгромлено на поле боя и вычеркнуто из этого списка 130 немецких сухопутных дивизий. Из них 104, то есть 80%, потерпели поражение именно от советских войск. 3. "США в одиночку разбили Германию на Западе и Японию" Миф о решающей роли США во Второй мировой войне направлен на принижение роли не только СССР, но и других участников антифашистской коалиции - стран Британского Содружества и Китая. Между тем, когда мы говорим о тех ТВД, где действовали американские войска, необходимо иметь в виду, что они всякий раз воевали в составе коалиционных сил, не всегда имея в них большинство. В войну к востоку от Атлантики США реально вступили только высадкой десанта в Северной Африке 8 ноября 1942 года. Причём это был удар даже не по Германии, а по Италии и вишистской Франции. В 1940-1942 гг. силы Британского Содружества сами отразили ряд наступлений "оси" в Северной Африке. Английская победа под Эль-Аламейном в октябре-ноябре 1942, в результате которой произошёл окончательный перелом в войне на Средиземноморском ТВД, была одержана до прибытия американских войск. Роль американских поставок в вооружении и оснащении британских войск была существенно выше, чем их роль для советских войск. Однако подданные Британской империи оплатили эти поставки своей кровью. Во Второй мировой войне погибло 364 тысячи жителей Соединённого Королевства (1/6 - мирное население) и 109 тысяч жителей британских доминионов и колоний, то есть в общей сложности больше, чем американцев. До лета 1944 года количество сухопутных войск Британской империи, воевавших с противниками на Западном и Азиатско-Тихоокеанском ТВД (и вместе, и на каждом в отдельности), неизменно превышало численность находившихся там американских войск. Только после высадки в Нормандии это соотношение стало медленно меняться. В "битве за Атлантику" решающей была роль британских ВМС, уничтоживших 525 немецких субмарин (в то время как американские ВМС - 174). В АТР американцы воевали совместно с австралийцами и британскими колониальными войсками в Индии. Кроме того, здесь нельзя сбрасывать со счетов постоянный (хотя и сам по себе пассивный) фактор Китая, постоянно отвлекавшего на себя больше половины японской сухопутной армии и значительные силы японской авиации. Эти силы в совокупности, а не одни лишь американцы, обеспечили союзникам победу над морской и воздушной мощью Японии. И, как уже неоднократно писалось, именно вступление СССР в войну против Японии, а не атомная бомбардировка, стало "последним ударом меча", заставившим Японию капитулировать. Таким образом, даже на тех ТВД Второй мировой, где решающая роль принадлежала западным союзникам, роль США в составе коалиционных сил не может расцениваться как абсолютно доминирующая. Михаил Загорский(http://www.nationaljourna...)

26 декабря 2016, 17:15

Russia Had Big Plans to Build a Massive Super Battleship Fleet

Kyle Mizokami Security, Europe Stalin had a big idea...but it never happenned.  At the end of the Second World War, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin stood undisputed as the most powerful man in Eurasia. His Red Army had crushed Nazi Germany, repelling an invasion and going on to capture Berlin after a grueling, four year campaign. Stalin’s Red Army was arguably more powerful than the American, British, French and western European armies combined. Still, that was not enough. Stalin had long craved a strong navy that would extend Soviet influence far from Europe and Asia, and do it in a big way. The Soviet leader wanted battleships, and a lot of them. A fleet that simply was never meant to be, it existed largely on paper and even included some highly advanced ships that were flat-out hoaxes. The Idea: During World War II the Soviet Navy was a distant third in priorities. It was the Red Army that had fought the grueling ground battles and campaigns that defeated Germany. Supporting it was a Red Air Force optimized, like the Luftwaffe, on tactical battlefield support of ground forces. The Navy, on the other hand had played a very limited role, providing convoy protection for Lend-Lease equipment from the U.S and support for land operations and harassment of the German military in the Baltic and Black Sea regions. Still, by mid-1945 it was clear to Stalin that with Germany gone, his most powerful rivals—the United States and United Kingdom—lay across the water and out of his armies’ reach. So was Japan, which the USSR had been shut out of occupying, and many of the former European colonies that were ripe for revolution. Powerful army or not, if  Stalin wanted to remain a major military power, he was going to need a powerful navy. Why Battleships?: By the end of World War II it was clear that battleships were obsolete. Aircraft carriers had replaced them as the dominant naval platform, a fact made painfully clear to the Empire of Japan during literally dozens of sea battles in the Pacific Theater of Operations. After the war, the Western Allies mostly divested themselves of battleships, preserving their fleets of carriers instead. Read full article

13 ноября 2016, 05:23

Britain's Centurion: The Best Cold War Tank?

Michael Peck Security, Europe And it's not American. When someone mentions a list of the best tanks in history, the names are always the same: Tiger, T-34, M-1 Abrams. And always from the same nations: Germany, Russia, America. But great tanks from Great Britain? Though the British were the ones to develop armored fighting vehicles in World War I, British tanks of the Second World War can generally be described in one word: awful. There were tanks that could barely move without breaking down. Tanks that were fast but too thinly armored, or heavily armored but too slow. Tanks with radios that didn’t work. Tanks with guns that could shoot armor-piercing shells at other tanks, but not high-explosive rounds at infantry and antitank guns. The British had some successes here and there: the heavy Matildas that tore through lighter Italian armor in 1940, the Crocodile flamethrower tanks whose very presence terrified German troops into surrendering, or the “Funny” engineering tanks that proved invaluable at D-Day. But on the whole, British tanks like the Crusader proved a disappointment. There were reasons behind the failure. British railroads were too narrow to transport big vehicles the size of the German Tiger. British tactics were faulty, favoring gallant charges by tanks acting without infantry or artillery support. The British tank corps of World War II was schizophrenic, caught between those who wanted fast, light cruiser tanks that were essentially cavalry horses on treads, and those who wanted heavy, slow infantry tanks to help the foot soldiers breach enemy trenches. In the end, many British units were equipped with Lend-Lease American Shermans, a mediocre vehicle that at least was reliable. British armor had been roughly handled in North Africa, yet the Normandy campaign in the summer of 1944 was the real nightmare. British and American crews dreaded coming to grips with the heavily armored German Panthers and Tigers, whose powerful cannons inflicted huge losses on Allied armor. And then in 1945, the British got it right. The Centurion may have been the best tank overall during the 1950s and 1960s. Though fielded just a few months after World War II ended, the Centurion proved such a good design that it is still in service today with the Israeli and other armies. Read full article

16 октября 2016, 15:42

The Iconic B-29 Bomber: The Plane America (and Russia) Loved

Sebastien Roblin Security, Europe It’s not just Chinese plans that Russia copies. Few aircraft have as great a mark on history as the B-29, the pencil-shaped American four-engine bomber that dropped the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What’s less well known is that the Soviet Union had its own B-29—as in, literally the same airplane, in all but a few respects. And like its American counterpart, this duplicate B-29 would deliver the Soviet Union’s first air-dropped nuclear weapon. In World War I, Russia pioneered the use of heavy bombers when it successfully fielded enormous Sikorsky-designed Ilya Muromets four-engine biplanes against Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany. The concept soon spread to all the major warring powers, and was elaborated into a doctrine of strategic bombing after the war. Strategic bombers are large aircraft that carry heavy bomb loads over great distances to hit strategic targets behind enemy lines such as factories, oil refineries, bridges and rail yards—or, as occurred frequently in World War I and II, urban population centers. By World War II, however, the Soviet Air Force (the VVS) was largely a tactical air arm focused on hitting targets close to the frontline. The VVS only fielded ninety-three new four-engine Pe-8 strategic bomber during the war, while England and the United States deployed thousands of heavy bombers. The United States’ most expensive weapons program during World War II was the development of the ultimate strategic bomber, the B-29 Superfortress. The B-29 exceeded its predecessors in speed, range and bomb load. It also featured remote-controlled defensive machine-gun turrets, while the eleven-man crew benefited from a fully pressurized crew compartment. The new B-29s were deployed to the Pacific theater starting in 1944, where their great range allowed them to launch raids on the Japanese home islands—ultimately including the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the even deadlier firebombing of Tokyo. The first units operated out of bases in southern China until the United States captured island bases closer to the Japan. At the time, the Soviet Union was receiving aircraft from the United States through the Lend-Lease program, so Moscow twice requested that the United States send over B-29s. Washington declined. Read full article

05 октября 2016, 13:13

Understanding GOFO And The Gold Wholesale Market

Submitted by Koos Jansen, BullionStar.com An essay on the relationship between GOFO, gold forwards, the gold lease rate and the US dollar interest rate. In order to continue to reveal essential information about the physical and paper gold markets around the world, first I would like to expand on the inner workings of the gold wholesale market. In this post we’ll use the Gold Forward Offered Rates, in short GOFO, as an excuse to illuminate the most vital gears that drive the gold market engine. For, if we truly understand GOFO we also understand gold leasing, forwards and swaps, which are the building blocks of the gold wholesale market. Therefor, the goal of this post is to achieve a thorough understanding of  GOFO. GOFO officially “represents rates at which the market making members will lend gold on swap against US dollars”, but GOFO also resembles the gold forward rate and the difference between the US dollar interest rate and the gold lease rate. The purpose of this post is to explain all this in a simplified way. Let us start discussing gold forward contracts and work our way through this. Please be aware this post requires some studying and is not an easy read. Gold Forward Contracts In the gold market there are several possibilities to enter into contracts for buying or selling gold at a future date. These contracts can be used by gold market participants to lock in a future gold price or for speculation. The most common contracts are forwards and futures. On exchanges (organized markets) such as the COMEX gold futures contracts are traded, in the over the counter (OTC) market gold forwards are traded. For this post we’ll mainly focus on forwards. Below is a chart in which I’ve plotted an exemplar gold forward curve based on mid market rates. In addition, I've added a table in the chart with the the bid and ask quotes (that set the mid market rates). The bid quotes represent the prices at which market making members are willing to buy gold at a pre-determined date in the future. These are the same prices at which we the market takers are willing to sell gold at a corresponding date in the future. The ask, or offer, quotes represent the prices at which market making members are willing to sell gold at a pre-determined date in the future (market takers buy at these prices). The mid market rate is the mid-point between the bid and ask price. Have a look at the chart and the table. Chart 1. Gold forward curve. The slippage is $0.15. Please note, forward prices reflect what the market expects now about the future based on present circumstances. Forward prices do not determine what the actual spot price in the future will be. We can see the bid-ask spread in this example is a constant $0.3 for every gold forward contract. In reality these spreads can vary and are determined by the liquidity of the forward contract. For liquid contracts, which are traded in high volumes, the spread is thin (meaning the spread between the bid and ask quotes is small). For illiquid contracts the spread is wide. Furthermore, the difference between the mid market rate and the bid (or ask) is called the slippage. Let's have a look at a simplified example how a gold forward contract can be used. Say, a gold mining company anticipates the gold price will decline in the future. The miner has a steady output of 1,000,000 fine ounces a year and his annual expenses are 1.3 billion dollars, all to be paid at the end of the year. His business is viable starting at a gold price of $1,300 dollars an ounce. To ascertain to stay in business over one year’s time the miner can choose to enter into a 12 months forward contract in order to sell gold for $1,310.74. The seller of a forward contract is said to be short, the buyer of the contract is said to be long. The total amount of shorts and the total amount of longs are always equal with respect to forward and futures contracts. The total amount of outstanding contracts is what is referred to as the open interest. The long, in example, is a jewelry company that in turn seeks to lock in a future price for the well being of his enterprise. Perhaps it makes economic sense for the jeweler to borrow gold for the fabrication of gold ornaments, in the now, a loan he’s required to repay in one year’s time. Not to be exposed to future swings in the gold price he can choose to buy 12 months gold forward, assuring him to be able to repay the gold loan when it comes due. Let us move on to the workings of the gold lending (/lease) market. The Gold Lease Market In a free market any currency can be lent out. Whether it’s the US dollar, euro, Norwegian krone or gold. Interest is paid from the borrower to the lender to stimulate supply, compensate for the risk of defaulting on the loan and postponement of using the currency. It's true precious metals safely stored in a vault do not yield, however, when metal is lent out it will accrue interest. Gold lending in the gold wholesale market is referred to as gold leasing, and the acronym for the gold lease rate is GLR. The interest on a gold loan can be settled in gold or dollars, although most often the latter is agreed. From the London Bullion Market Association we can read: Market convention is for the interest payable on loans of precious metals to be calculated in terms of ounces of metal. These ounces are then generally converted to US dollars, based upon a US dollar price for the metal agreed at the inception of the lease transaction. In the past decades the most prominent gold lenders have been central banks. During perceived economic stability it was thought to be safe for central banks to lend large portions of their official gold reserves. Though, in recent years these leases have been unwound to a great extent. A borrower in the gold market can be, in example, the jewelry company mentioned in the previous chapter. In need of funds for production goods the jeweler can borrow dollars at ie 6 % from a bank, or he could directly borrow gold at ie 2 %. Historically, the normal state of the gold market offered a lower GLR than US dollar interest rate. Below is a chart with an exemplar gold lease curve - showing the mid market GLR for several tenors. The gold lease bid is the interest rate market making members are willing to pay for borrowing gold (and the rate market takers are willing to receive for lending gold), the gold lease ask is the interest rate market making members want for lending gold (and we the market takers are willing to pay for borrowing gold). Chart 2. Gold lease rate curve. Usually interest rates in financial markets are calculated on a 360 days a year basis. Let us move on to combine currency lending, spot and forward markets, and come to grips with how these are interrelated and how the wholesale market in general functions. Interest Rate Parity Free markets that cater liquid venues for lending currencies, spot exchange and trading in forward contracts give rise to a concept called interest rate parity. This concept can be tough to get your head around, therefor I will describe it first and then show the math to clarify it. Let us start at the base: the interest rate of any currency affects the forward value of this currency, because loans based on the interest rate grow into more supply of the currency over time. In example, a $5,000 US dollar loan at a 6 % US dollar interest rate grows into $5,300 in 1 year. The theory of interest rate parity suggests that the interest rates of two currencies determine the forward relationship between the values of these two currencies (/the forward price of either currency denominated in the other). As, both interest rates generate a return in the future, the volumes of which determine the forward price. With respect to gold, interest rate parity suggests the forward gold price is firmly correlated to the gold lease rate and US dollars interest rate. We should get familiar with the math that clarifies interest rate parity. We'll work with the following exemplar market: the spot gold price is $1,200, the US dollar interest rate is 6 % and the GLR is 2 % - we’ll ignore bid-ask spreads for now. From here it can get complicated. Suppose, a trader borrows $1,200 for 6 months (180 days) at the annual US dollar interest rate of 6 %. When the loan comes due the trader is obliged to repay the principal plus interest to the US dollar lender. In the following formula we can see the principal (1,200), the interest rate (0.06) and the tenor (180/360) going in: $1,200(1+0.06(180/360)) = $1,200(1.03) = $1,236 With the dollars borrowed the trader can buy 1 ounce of gold on spot and lend it for 6 months. When the gold loan matures the trader will get back the principal plus interest. In the next formula we can see the principal (1 oz), the interest rate (0.02) and the tenor (180/360) going in: 1(1+0.02(180/360)) = 1(1.01) = 1.01 oz Remarkably, as we know the spot gold price and the volumes the loans grow into, we can compute the 6 months forward gold price: the gold lend by the trader will grow into 1.01 ounces over a 6 months time horizon and his dollar loan will grow into $1,236 over the same period, so consequently the 6 months forward gold price is $1,223.76. $1,200/1       = $1,200         = spot gold price $1,236/1.01 = $1,223.76   = forward gold price As mentioned above, “both interest rates generate a return in the future, the volumes of which determine the forward price”. In one formula it will show the 6 months forward gold price is: $1,200(1+0.06(180/360)) / (1+0.02(180/360)) = $1,223.76 We can see the forward gold price is higher than the spot gold price because the GLR is lower than the US dollar interest rate. The market will set the 6 months forward gold price at $1,223.76, because any undervalued or overvalued forward gold price (bellow or above $1,223.76) would immediately be arbitraged (interest rate parity is said to be “a no-arbitrage condition”). Let’s have a look at an arbitrage trade in case the forward gold price would diverge from the forward price suggested by the theory of interest rate parity. Suppose, interest rates and the spot gold price are the same as above, but now the quoted forward gold price is too low at $1,220. To arbitrage this opportunity you want to buy (long) this cheap forward gold. Spot–forward arbitrage requires the opposite trade in the spot market - or one would just enter into a forward contract - in this case sell spot gold. If you don’t have spot gold you can borrow it. We can identify two legs in our arbitrage trade: sell spot gold = buy spot dollars buy forward gold = sell forward dollars The chronological order to arbitrage undervalued forward gold would be: Now, borrow 1 ounce of gold for 6 months at 1 % (an annual GLR of 2 % divided by 2. In this example the gold interest will be settled in gold) sell 1 ounce of gold on spot for $1,200 lend the $1,200 for 6 months at 3 % (an annual 6 % US dollar interest rate divided by 2) buy long a 6 months gold forward contract for 1.01 ounce at the quoted forward gold price of $1,220 per ounce to repay the gold loan plus interest. The 6 months forward contract will have a notional value of: 1.01*$1,220 = $1,232.2 Then, in 6 months time, receive $1,200 plus interest for the dollar loan: $1,200*1.03 = $1,236 settle the gold forward contract by paying $1,232.2 for 1.01 oz repay the gold loan with 1.01 oz The total revenue of the arbitrage trade is $1,236 dollars. Having to settle the forward with $1,232.2, leaves a profit of $3.8: $1,236−$1,232.2 = $3.8 The arbitrage opportunity will be taken advantage of until it’s closed, at that point in time the 6 months forward gold price is $1,223.76. For more clarity I should add that the closing of the arbitrage opportunity happens in the now, not in 6 months time. In addition, when the arbitragers step in the forward gold price could be pushed up from $1,220 to $1,223.76, as we’ve seen in the example trade, though in reality the other variables, such as the spot gold price or the GLR, can give way as well until interest rate parity has manifested. Interest rate parity suggests the spot, lending and forward markets are strongly linked. If one market is moving the others will move accordingly. In reality everything is more complicated than in our exemplar market because of additional costs involved such as collateral/margin requirements and transaction/shipping/insurance costs (and because interest rate parity is just a theory, which does not always hold). James Orlin Grabbe, the author who inspired me to pen this post, wrote in the late nineties:  The forward price of gold - the price agreed now for gold to be purchased or sold at some time in the future - is a function of the gold spot price, and the interest rates representing alternative uses of resources over the forward time period. James Orlin Grabbe. Introducing GOFO So, we can compute the forward gold price from the spot gold price, US dollar interest rate and GLR. The formula can be written as: F(T) = S(1+r(T/360)) / (1+r*(T/360)) F(T) = the forward gold price over a time horizon T days (up to 360 days) S = the spot gold price r = US dollar interest rate r* = GLR From this equation there is more to reveal. In our exemplar market the spot gold price is $1,200 and the 6 months forward gold price is $1,223.76. Ergo, the 6 months gold forward premium in percentages (/the forward rate) is: ($1,223.76/$1,200)−1 = 0.0198 = 1.98 % The 6 months forward rate is by approximation 2 % and consequently the annualized forward rate is by approximation 4 %. The difference between the US dollar interest rate (6 %) and the GLR (2 %) is also 4 %. Meaning, the forward rate equals the difference between the US dollar interest rate and GLR. Why? Math. If we play with the formula above we get a nominal forward premium of: F(T)−S = $1,223.76−$1,200 = $23.76 And by using (r−r*) as difference between the US dollar interest rate and GLR, we get: S(r−r*)−S = $1,200(0.03−0.01) −$1,200 = $24 The forward rate equals the difference between the US dollar interest rate and the GLR. At this point I would like to bring up GOFO. Grabbe wrote: Gold forward rates are sometimes referred to as "GOFO" rates, because GOFO was the Reuters page that showed gold forward rates. Although this is not the official definition of GOFO, it is true that GOFO resembles the forward rate. I say 'resembles' and not 'equals', because there is a tiny difference we will discuss in the final chapter about GOFO. Finally, we have explained two descriptions of GOFO mentioned in the introduction of this post. Namely, GOFO resembles the gold forward rate and the difference between the US dollar interest rate and the gold lease rate. The official and exact definition of GOFO we’ll save for last. GOFO ≈ US dollar interest rate − GLR GLR ≈ US dollar interest rate − GOFO US dollar interest rate ≈ GOFO + GLR Chart 3. A positive gold forward rate is called contango. When the forward rate is negative this is called backwardation. A negative forward rate implies gold for immediate delivery is trading at a premium to gold for future delivery. This can be caused by tightness in supply now or by market expectations the price will fall in he future. Backwardation is the opposite of contango, a positive forward rate. Historically contango has been the normal state of the gold market whereby the GLR is lower than the US dollar interest rate. Because GOFO resembles the gold forward rate, negative GOFO implies backwardation in the gold forward price. Unfortunately, GOFO is not being published anymore after it was negative for long periods in 2013 and 2014. The LBMA writes on its website: GOFO … was discontinued with effect from 30 January, 2015, following discussions between the LBMA and the contributors to the dataset, the LBMA Forward Market Makers. So much for transparency. In the chart below we can see GOFO went negative repeatedly in 2013 and 2014. The cause was presumably tightness in spot gold supply, as every time GOFO went sub-zero the spot gold price was pushed up. Chart 4. The 1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 months GOFO rates from July 2013 until April 2014. In the interest rate parity chapter we examined an arbitrage trade that surfaced when the forward gold price was too low in relation to the prevailing US dollar interest rate and GLR in our exemplar market. Naturally, a comparable arbitrage opportunity arises when the forward gold price is too high in relation to the prevailing US dollar interest rate and GLR. Say, the 6 months forward gold price in our exemplar market is not $1,223.76, but higher at $1,300. This time we want to sell overvalued forward gold and buy spot gold to strike a profit: buy spot gold = sell spot dollars sell forward gold = buy forward dollars Now, borrow 1,200 dollars for 6 months at 3 % (an annual US dollar interest rate of 6% divided by 2) buy 1 ounce spot gold for 1,200 dollars store the gold for a storage fee of $5 for 6 months sell short a 6 months gold forward contract at $1,300 for 1 ounce. The forward contract will have a notional value of: 1*$1,300 = $1,300 In 6 months time, settle the forward: deliver 1 ounce of gold and receive $1,300 pay storage costs $5 repay the initial dollar loan: $1,200*1.03 = $1,236 The proceeds of the gold forward are $1,300. Total expenses of the dollar loan ($1,236) and storage costs ($5) are $1,241, which leaves a profit of $59. $1,300−$1,236−$5 = $59 The trade can also be executed by buying spot gold end lend the metal for 6 months instead of storing it. In that case the profit would be higher as the storage costs would be replaced by interest accrued on the gold loan. A 6 months gold loan of 1 ounce would grow into 1.01 ounce. When this gold loan is settled in dollars, the return would be the interest in ounces converted to dollars based on the spot gold price: 0.01*$1200 = $12 (dollar return on 6 months gold loan) Using a dollar return on the gold loan would give a profit in our previous arbitrage trade of: $1,300−$1,236+$12 = $76 The difference in profit ($76 - $59 = $17) is of course equal to the storage costs plus the dollar return on the gold loan ($5 + $12 = $17). More on the pricing of commodity forward/futures contracts and the interaction between the theory of interest rate parity and the theory of storage will be discussed in a forthcoming post. Gold Forward Swaps & GOFO We’ve arrived at the official definition of GOFO, the swap. From the website of the London Bullion Market Association we can read the following official definition of GOFO: GOFO represents rates at which the market making members will lend gold on swap against US dollars. In parlance of the precious metals markets the word swap usually refers to a forward swap, whereby gold is sold spot and bought forward, or bought spot and sold forward. Essentially this is what GOFO is all about, a forward swap. The swap always has two legs, namely a spot and a forward leg. Consequently, the swap rate equals the forward rate. gold swap rate = gold forward rate = US dollar interest rate − GLR When market makers are willing to “lend gold on swap against US dollars” in the official definition of GOFO, they’re willing to execute a forward swap by selling gold spot and buying gold forward. The word “lend” in the official definition can be slightly deceiving, as strictly speaking there is no lending, the swap simulates lending: a gold loan to the market taker collateralized with dollars. When a swap is executed and the market maker (dealer) sells spot gold to the market taker (client) and simultaneously signs a forward contract to buy it back in due time, the client buys that spot gold with dollars (collateral) and is obligated to return the metal through the forward contract at a fixed price. From the client’s perspective the process can be viewed as borrowing gold (collateralized with dollars), from the dealer’s perspective the process can be viewed as lending gold (on swap against dollars). In the official definition of GOFO the dealer is the lender of gold but naturally he offers the reverse swap as well, whereby the dealer is the borrower. Let’s have a look at an example trade in which the dealer borrows gold: a central bank owns gold that it wants to put up as collateral for a 1 year dollar loan. The central bank and its dealer agree on a swap transaction. Based on the data from our exemplar environment the central bank will sell gold on spot to the dealer at $1,200 an ounce and then buy back the metal in 1 year’s time at $1,248 an ounce. $1,200*(1+(0.04(360/360))) = $1,248 Essentially, the central bank has borrowed dollars for 1 year at 4 % instead of 6 % because it has collateralized the loan with gold (/lend its gold simultaneously at 2 %). Again, the swap rate is the difference between the US dollar interest rate and the GLR. Let’s take it one step further and add bid-ask spreads to learn what GOFO is exactly. In more academic literature (The Non-Investment Products Code, NIPS code) we can read: GOFO is the Gold Forward Offered Rate and is the rate at which dealers will lend gold on the swap against US dollars. As such it provides an international benchmark and is the basis for the pricing of gold swaps, forwards and leases. … From GOFO rates, indicative mid-market gold lease rates can be determined as: Mid-market lease rate = (US dollar LIBOR less 0.0625%) minus (GOFO plus 0.125%) To explain the equation mentioned in the NIPS code, we should compare it to the one I penned in the previous chapter: GLR ≈ US dollar interest rate – GOFO The formulas are to a great extent similar. Though, the NIPS code uses LIBOR as the US dollar interest rate, which it corrects downwards by 0.0625 % because LIBOR is an offer rate - LIBID is its related bid. To compute the mid market US dollar interest rate the slippage, in this case 0.0625 %, is subtracted from LIBOR. In turn, GOFO is increased by 0.125 % because a “lend gold on swap against dollars” deal from a market maker’s perspective is based on the mid market spot leg, while the forward leg is the bid (in the official definition of GOFO the market maker buys forward, so the forward leg is the bid). To calculate the mid market forward leg GOFO must be increased by the slippage, which according to the NIPS code is 0.125 %. In the Nips code formula LIBOR is adjusted to come to the mid-market US dollar interest rate and GOFO is adjusted to come to the mid-market swap rate, in order to compute the mid-market GLR. In the end both formulas are: Mid-market gold lease rate = mid market US dollar interest rate – mid market gold swap rate Hopefully by now you can see how understanding GOFO helps understanding the essential workings of the gold wholesale market - which is very valuable for understanding gold in general.

14 сентября 2016, 22:11

Lessons from FDR's Lend-Lease Program

Robert Murphy Security, Americas The core of any new security strategy must share the basic premise of FDR's lend-lease program When Hitler dragged the world into war in 1939 Americans were concerned about the future of Europe, but largely saw no direct role for the United States. By the summer of 1940, a majority of Americans favored the defeat of Germany but very few were inclined to do so with American troops. In fact, the majority of Americans still viewed Germany’s defeat in the context of a British, not allied, victory over the Reich. Europe was an ocean away, the scars of the war to end all wars were still visible, and the legacy of the Great Depression loomed over unemployment lines and shuttered factories. Their solution was a radical change in security philosophy. The creative and ambitious lend-lease program changed the course of the war.   A similarly radical revision of our current strategy can reverse the last decade’s decline in America’s global posture. We face a similar dilemma as President Roosevelt did in 1940.  The distant wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have exhausted the armed forces and bored the public. High unemployment, profligate public spending and ill-conceived social initiatives have left the country financially challenged, and deeply divided by race, income and profession. The nation’s poorly planned shifts in global security priorities and cuts to military strength have encouraged once marginal regional adversaries to engage in increasingly risky challenges to American influence. Bottom line: America is fatigued, yet we must somehow sustain the beneficial arrangements at the core of our security. Read full article

28 августа 2016, 06:25

What If Hitler Never Invaded Russia During World War II?

Michael Peck Security, Europe This might be just the ultimate “what-if.” One of the most momentous decisions in history was Adolf Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Operation Barbarossa transformed Nazi Germany's war from a one-front struggle, against a weakened Britain and a still-neutral United States, into a two-front conflict. The Eastern Front absorbed as much as three-quarters of the German army and inflicted two-thirds of German casualties. So what would have happened if Hitler had not invaded Russia? The dynamics of the Third Reich and Hitler meant that Germany would not remain passive. In fact, it is hard to imagine Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union not at war, though the question is when this would have happened. One possibility was invading Britain in 1941, and thus either ending the European war or freeing the up the Third Reich to fight a later one-front war in the East. Thus Operation Sealion, the proposed 1940 amphibious assault on southern England, would merely have been postponed a year. The problem is that the Kreigsmarine—the German navy—would still have been badly outnumbered by the Royal Navy, even with the addition of the new battleship Bismarck. The British would have enjoyed an additional year to reinforce the Royal Air Force and to rebuild the divisions battered during the Fall of France. Britain would also have been receiving Lend-Lease from the United States, which by September 1941 was almost a belligerent power that escorted convoys in the North Atlantic. A few months later, America did formally enter the conflict; despite the Japanese advance in the Pacific, the United States would certainly have concentrated its growing strength on keeping Britain unconquered and in the war. A more likely possibility is that Hitler could have chosen to move south instead of east. With most of Western Europe under his control after the summer of 1940, and Eastern Europe either subdued or allied with Germany, Hitler had a choice by mid-1941. He could either follow his instincts and ideology and move against the Soviet Union, with its rich resources and open spaces for Nazi colonists. Smashing Russia would also be the apocalyptic climax for what Hitler saw as an inevitable showdown with the cradle of communism. Read full article

24 августа 2016, 00:08

Liveblogging the Cold War: August 23, 1946: Eleanor Roosevelt

**Eleanor Roosevelt**: _[My Day][]_: [My Day]: https://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/myday/displaydoc.cfm?_y=1946&_f=md000425 >NEW YORK, Thursday--None of us can help being worried and indignant over the shooting down of two of our unarmed transport planes which had wandered over the Yugoslav border. Conceding that there may be some hidden reason why our planes are forbidden to...

13 августа 2016, 01:34

Roundup

This week, as American Olympians made history and shattered records, Donald Trump continued setting his own record for most unstable, unqualified and dangerous presidential candidate in our country's history. An overshadowed and aggrieved Trump, who sees a very different America than the one making most Olympics-watching Americans proud, has achieved something truly remarkable: He has become unsatirizable, since his every utterance is already a punch line. He is the "you can't make this stuff up" candidate. This time, on Tuesday, he was wink-winking at the idea of, yes, presidential assassination, implying that if Hillary Clinton were elected, nothing could stop her from appointing judges, except, maybe, "Second Amendment people." The Secret Service confirmed that it had "more than one conversation" with the Trump campaign about the comments. Trump then denied it in a tweet, implying that those protecting him round the clock are lying. Then, on Wednesday, he claimed that President Obama and Clinton were the "founder" and "co-founder," respectively, of ISIS. And while more and more Republicans are choosing to maintain their credibility and integrity by jumping off the Trump Train to the Bottom, others like Paul Ryan continue to support Trump and, by extension, what he stands for. On the HuffPost front, I announced that I'll soon be leaving HuffPost to launch my new venture Thrive Global, which will be helping individuals and companies reduce stress and burnout and improve their health and productivity. I've long been passionate about doing everything I can to change the way we work and live, and now I'm putting that into action! And there is a real connection between leadership and the principles of Thrive, as FDR demonstrated in 1940. When he was confronted with the difficult decision of the U.S. entering the war at a time when the public was solidly against it, he took 10 days off, sailing around the Caribbean on a navy ship to think through this monumental question. The result was his idea for the crucial Lend-Lease program. As Roosevelt's speechwriter Robert Sherwood put it, "One can only say that FDR, a creative artist in politics, had put in his time on this cruise evolving the pattern of a masterpiece." Trump, at the extreme other end of the spectrum, demonstrates the opposite: that the more burned-out and sleep-deprived he is from his manic shambles of a campaign, the more unhinged he becomes and the more idiotic his decisions and pronouncements. And that's exactly what science tells us will happen. On Thursday, Trump said of his campaign's prospects: "at the end, it's either going to work or I'm going to, you know -- I'm going to have a very, very nice long vacation." Here's hoping he gets that nice long vacation -- not only for the sake of his country, but for his own sake. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

12 июня 2016, 14:31

Why This Russian Wants to Give Donald Trump 100,000 Rubles

In the land of Putin, America’s gold-plated populist is seen as the best hope for stability and calm.

23 мая 2016, 19:42

Arianna Huffington Tells Grads They Must 'Recharge And Refuel' To Show Real Leadership

"Bottom line, @FletcherSchool graduates, the world needs you." Thanks @ariannahuff! #fletcherclassof2016 pic.twitter.com/tQUP6nW9T3— Danielle Robinson (@dsrobinson10) May 21, 2016 Wearing your own exhaustion "as a badge of honor" is not a sign of true leadership, Arianna Huffington said in a commencement speech at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on Saturday. In fact, failing to take care of your personal health signals an inability to "organize, ruthlessly prioritize, and impose order on chaos," Huffington said.  "Please recognize that as science now makes clear, you’ll be able to fulfill all your dreams and obligations much more effectively -- and with much more creativity and joy -- if you regularly take time to recharge and refuel," she added. The editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post was, of course, speaking about getting enough sleep, which is the theme of her latest book, The Sleep Revolution. She pointed out that ambition can sometimes get the best of bright people, causing them to make poor choices that diminish their chances of accomplishing their goals. Huffington has also said a lack of rest could explain some of Donald Trump's abhorrent statements, since the GOP hopeful brags about only getting four hours of sleep a night. "Right now, wherever you look around the world, you see smart leaders -- in every field -- making terrible decisions," Huffington said. "What they’re lacking is not IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise; it has never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from all our omnipresent devices and distractions, and reconnect with ourselves." You'll be able to fulfill your dreams & obligations if you take time to recharge - @ariannahuff #TuftsFletcher2016 pic.twitter.com/zP9d7iJDW7— The Fletcher School (@FletcherSchool) May 21, 2016 Philosophers have often said that to "truly know the world, you have to first know yourself," Huffington reminded her audience at Fletcher.  "So if you feel like there’s just too much to be done, it’s important to remind yourselves of something our modern culture seems to have forgotten: That there are two threads running through our lives. One is pulling us into the world to achieve and make things happen, the other is pulling us back from the world to nourish, replenish and refuel ourselves," she said. "If we ignore the second thread, it is much harder to connect with our deepest courage and wisdom, the most essential building blocks of leadership." You can read Huffington's entire speech below: Dean Stavridis, members of the faculty, proud parents, family, and friends, and, above all, the graduating class of 2016, I'm deeply honored and grateful that you have invited me to be a part of such a special moment in your lives. And I don’t know if you can tell, but I have a slight accent, in fact a Greek accent, which means I’m obligated to comment on the fact that your dean -- who has had an incredible career in the Navy, as a thought leader and as a dean of this school -- is also, in addition to all these great things, Greek -- though, suspiciously, with no trace of an accent. But not to worry, I have enough accent for the both of us. This is, of course, an extraordinary time -- not just in your own lives, though I know it is certainly that -- but in all of our lives. When you picture the world you'll be graduating into after your last Fletcher Follies, it’s a world of both huge challenges and incredible possibilities -- where the vastly accelerated pace of technology is creating constant disruptions that require both resilience and wisdom. And because we can’t predict all of the downstream consequences of these disruptions, leadership -- which includes being able to remain serene and imperturbable in the middle of all crises and to see the icebergs before they hit the Titanic -- is more important than ever. And that’s where you and the Fletcher “Mafia” come in. As graduates, or very soon to be graduates, of the oldest graduate school of international affairs in the United States, you are uniquely poised to become the leaders the world needs to meet these challenges. So, I don’t want to put too much of a burden on you -- on top of student loans, the pressure to find a job and to find a place to live -- but, bottom line, the world needs you. In fact, the world is putting out the bat signal and counting on you to answer the call -- and the best part is, you don’t have to choose an alter ego or wear a funny suit. As Fletcher graduates, your opportunity, and your responsibility, is truly singular as you head out into the world. And what I want to urge you to do today is pay special attention to the building blocks of leadership, which will help you widen and redefine what leadership is. Because being the leaders the world so desperately needs today will require you to go not just onward and outward, but also inward to tap into your own wisdom. Right now, wherever you look around the world, you see smart leaders -- in every field -- making terrible decisions. What they’re lacking is not IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise; it has never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from all our omnipresent devices and distractions, and reconnect with ourselves.  The great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was a leader in his determination to bravely tell the truth, once wrote that “If you wanted to put the world to rights, who would you begin with? Yourself or others?” And I know all of you want to put the world to rights -- that’s why you’re at this wonderful, essential institution. To put it another way, in the words of another essential -- though not as admired -- institution, the airline industry, "Secure your own oxygen mask first before helping others." And this is something our leaders have forgotten. In fact, they do just the opposite -- in order to signal their dedication to the people or organizations they’re leading, they burn themselves out and proudly proclaim their refusal to sleep, to take time to recharge and renew themselves. As a result, we end up with leaders leading at less -- often much, much less -- than full capacity. And this of course is stunningly clear to anyone masochistic enough to be closely following the 2016 election. But as recent scientific findings make unambiguously clear, having the discipline to take time to recharge, including getting enough sleep, is essential for all the key elements of leadership: decision-making, impulse control, the ability to learn and take in new information, to act with reason and judgment instead of reacting with emotion. In short: wisdom. As Dean Stavridis wrote recently in an essay titled “Sleep is a Weapon” -- Greek minds do think alike -- there is power, including military power, in sleep. He recounts as just one example a tragic incident where 200 citizens were killed by a military mistake caused by sleep deprivation. And we actually do have evidence of how productive it is when a political leader does recognize the creative powers of recharging. In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt did something that would be inconceivable in today’s political climate. To think through the monumental question of whether America should enter the war, rather than putting out photos of himself and his team with their sleeves rolled up pulling all-nighters, FDR announced that he would instead be taking a 10-day vacation, sailing around the Caribbean on a navy ship. His wife Eleanor wrote him a letter that read, “I think of you sleeping ... and I hope getting rest from the world.” And as Roosevelt’s aide Harry Hopkins later said, “I began to get the idea that he was refueling, the way he so often does when he seems to be resting and carefree.” The result of Roosevelt’s refueling was the $50 billion Lend-Lease program, in which the United States would lend arms and supplies to Great Britain and be paid back after the war in kind. Or as Roosevelt’s speechwriter Robert Sherwood put it, “One can only say that FDR, a creative artist in politics, had put in his time on this cruise evolving the pattern of a masterpiece.” In fact, FDR’s ally and counterpart, Winston Churchill, also knew the value of renewal. Indeed, he’s credited by some with coining the term “power nap.” And evidently, he was on to something. To make up for having to often work late into the night, Churchill was disciplined about taking his afternoon naps on the cot he kept in his war room a few blocks from 10 Downing Street. This is how Churchill himself vividly described his habit of recharging: “You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more." So if you feel like there’s just too much to be done, it’s important to remind yourselves of something our modern culture seems to have forgotten: That there are two threads running through our lives. One is pulling us into the world to achieve and make things happen, the other is pulling us back from the world to nourish, replenish and refuel ourselves. If we ignore the second thread, it is much harder to connect with our deepest courage and wisdom, the most essential building blocks of leadership. As many a philosopher, from every tradition, has said, to truly know the world, you have to first know yourself. To quote just one of them, Lao Tzu, “Knowing others is knowledge; knowing yourself is wisdom.” And when we access our courage and wisdom, and put them at the service of leadership, we will have the judgment and fortitude to be true to ourselves and to speak truth to power when it most matters. And it’s never mattered more than now. Will we rise to the occasion to speak the truth, or will we shrink from the moment and retreat to safe platitudes and euphemisms? That is now, and has always been, the first test of leadership. As Harold Pinter said in his Nobel acceptance speech, “the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.” And as we see now, some are facing it and some are not. At a moment when this country is on the cusp of legitimizing the most unqualified presidential nominee in U.S. history, some leaders are speaking the truth, and some are holding back. In the U.K., conservative Prime Minister David Cameron rose to the occasion, calling Donald Trump’s plan to institute a religious test to ban all Muslims from the United States exactly what it is: “divisive, stupid and wrong.” That’s bold. That’s true. And that’s leadership. The alternative is to pretend that the truth is always in the middle, and that our job is to present two sides to everything. But not every story has two sides, and the truth is often found on one side or the other. The Earth is not flat. Evolution is a fact. Global warming is a fact. And there are definitely not two sides to the truth that instituting a religious test to enter a country founded on religious freedom is “divisive, stupid, and wrong.” Claiming that Mexico is sending us rapists, inciting violence at rallies, or claiming that President Obama was not born in the United States -- we know these are all false and all wrong -- and if we don’t say so clearly and unequivocally, that’s how these insidious falsehoods become whitewashed and mainstreamed. I was delighted to meet the Director of the Edward R. Murrow Center earlier. And I asked him how Murrow would have dealt with Trump. “He would have skewered him,” he replied. The New York Times recently called Trump’s racism a “reductive approach to ethnicity,” and said that Trump’s attitude toward women is “complex” and “defies simple categorization,” as if sexism is suddenly as complicated as string theory. In the name of Edward R. Murrow, good journalism and the truth, can the media stop using euphemisms and stop trying to normalize Trump? Of course, in many ways, the world is always in some kind of emergency. And you are our diplomatic first responders. It’s right there in the Fletcher mission statement, “to educate professionals from around the world and to prepare them for positions of leadership and influence in the national and international arenas.” In the words of Dean Stavridis, that means training graduates to know the world. “The challenges we face in this turbulent 21st century,” he says, “quite literally transcend borders -- we must be ready to connect in every sense of the word.” So that’s what I want to explore today -- connecting… in every sense of the word, and transcending borders both external and internal. Connecting not just with the world, but, just as important, with yourselves. Many leaders today have lost sight of that. In today’s buzzing, blinking, and notification-soaked world, it’s very easy to allow your attention and your essence to be frittered away in a million different ways. And when we are exhausted and disconnected, that’s when we are more likely to make our biggest mistakes. To quote a modern practitioner of the political arts, Bill Clinton, “every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.” He did not specify which mistakes, but as David Maraniss wrote in his biography of Clinton: “Clinton had been sleeping only four to five hours a night since a professor said in college that many great leaders of the past had gotten by that way.” This aversion to sleep -- which is really at its heart an aversion to disconnecting from the world, our projects and to-do lists to reconnect with ourselves -- may well have played a part in several lapses in Clinton’s presidential judgment, including his handling of the issue of gays in the military -- now widely considered to be one of the low points at the beginning of his two-term presidency. And another example -- very much in the news today -- is Alexander Hamilton. He is, of course, the subject and namesake of the biggest Broadway hit musical of our lifetime, nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the musical for which The New York Times suggested people “mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets.” But as much press as the show has rightly gotten, one angle that deserves more attention is how it shows the value of making time to renew and replenish ourselves. Hamilton, it turns out, wasn't just the founding father of American banking, he was also the founding father -- and the first fully documented case -- of American political burnout. Ron Chernow, the author of the biography on which the musical is based, depicts a man who never slowed down. “This intensely driven man,” Chernow writes, “had a mind that throbbed incessantly with new ideas.” But how much better would his adopted country have been if he had given more time to his mind and his body to refuel before he hit a wall of burnout? This theme of constant, ceaseless work -- along with the inevitable consequences -- comes through resoundingly in the musical as well. Again and again, Hamilton is presented as a leader ultimately overwhelmed by the pressure of all the work ahead of him. “And there’s a million things I haven’t done,” he sings, “but just you wait, just you wait.” As you move onto a new, thrilling chapter in your lives, you may have a similar feeling -- of all the millions of things you haven’t done. But please recognize that as science now makes clear, you’ll be able to fulfill all your dreams and obligations much more effectively -- and with much more creativity and joy -- if you regularly take time to recharge and refuel. There’s even a song in the "Hamilton" musical entirely devoted to this theme and appropriately called “Non-Stop.” I promise I’m not going to sing -- I don’t want to cause a stampede. So bear with me. “Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time?” asks Aaron Burr. To which the ensemble answers: “Every day you fight like you’re running out of time, like you’re running out of time. Are you running out of time?” And, in a sense, he was. The sex scandal that would derail his career and indirectly affect the decisions that led to his own premature death was looming. Sleep deprivation had left Hamilton vulnerable to Maria Reynolds’ plot to seduce him and then blackmail him. In “Say No To This,” Hamilton is aware of his weakened state: “I hadn’t slept in a week,” he sings, “I was weak, I was awake You never seen a bastard orphan More in need of a break.” Alexander Hamilton was only 49 years old when he died, in the infamous duel with Aaron Burr. What connection did his burnout have with his untimely death? When you find yourself walking to a duel at dawn -- after you had lost your son in a duel three years earlier -- it’s fair to ask if you’re mustering all the wisdom you’re capable of. And perhaps if he’d listened to his wife Eliza’s advice to “take a break,” he’d have had more time to build the nation he was so devoted to. Burnout among our political leaders has proved as enduring as Hamilton’s bank and other parts of his legacy. In fact, our leaders actually brag about it. Our political campaigns constantly feature candidates presenting themselves as ceaselessly working -- as if that’s a good thing. In mid-April, Ted Cruz sent out a fundraising email proclaiming that he was sacrificing his health and his sleep because he was, “fighting morning and night for the future of the country.” Isn’t it time our leaders stop thinking we want them to be sick and exhausted all of the time? No leader would smoke in front of a camera, but most of our leaders clearly declare -- and show it in their faces -- how depleted they are. Yet, one recent scientific study showed that even moderate sleep deprivation can leave you with levels of cognitive impairment roughly equivalent to being legally drunk. And yet no campaign would feature a candidate saying, “Vote for me, because I structure my life so that I make all my decisions while effectively drunk.” (Actually, that might explain a lot about this year’s race, but that’s a different speech.) In fact, for even further evidence of the connection between leadership and sleep and recharging, there was a recent article by McKinsey, the management consulting firm, about just that in the Harvard Business Review titled, “There’s A Proven Link Between Effective Leadership And Getting Enough Sleep.” Now, if somebody even a year ago had showed me a piece written by McKinsey consultants saying that the way for executives to be better leaders is to sleep more, and not less, and that McKinsey would actually have a sleep specialist on staff, I would have assumed the piece was in The Onion.  But the piece is real, and so is the science it’s based on. The authors point to the science showing that the prefrontal cortex -- the part of our brain that’s the source of leadership, of problem solving, of organizing, of decision-making, of building teams, is also the part of the brain particularly affected by sleep deprivation. One study found that participants who had a good night’s sleep were twice as likely to come up with a hidden or hard to find shortcut to a given task than those who were sleep deprived. Another study they mention showed that sleep deprived brains are more susceptible to misinterpreting emotional cues from those around them and overreacting to emotional situations. Not exactly what you want in a leader of any kind. And yet our entire political system seems almost engineered to guarantee that kind of exhaustion. Hillary Clinton has said that during her time as secretary of state, she’d be so exhausted as she prepared to meet with world leaders that she would sometimes be “standing there and digging my fingernails into my palm to keep myself awake” so she could answer questions on behalf of our country. And this is actually celebrated in our misguided world as a feat of endurance. But is this really the best place from which to lead? Even if it results in our leaders’ collapse and concussion, as happened with Secretary Clinton? It’s no wonder that, after Hillary Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in 2012 -- having logged nearly 1 million miles flying to 112 different countries -- she told The New York Times that her most immediate goal was to see whether she could get “untired.”  There is a cultural shift happening, and you Fletcher graduates can help accelerate it. Instead of wearing your exhaustion as a badge of honor and a sign of how important and how much in demand you are, you can recognize that it’s actually a sign of an inability to organize, ruthlessly prioritize, and impose order on chaos -- all essential building blocks of leadership. To see the icebergs before we hit them requires a deeper kind of vision. It requires us to be aware of how we can be, in the words of psychologist Daniel Kahneman, “blind to our own blindness.” We can’t see everything, we can’t control the world and we can’t prevent the unexpected. But we can control ourselves, we can maximize our inner resources to deal with the unexpected, we can make the most of our intuition, our conscience, our wisdom. Because, contrary to our collective delusion, our successful leaders are successful not because of their burnout, but in spite of it. And you Fletcher graduates have the opportunity to redefine leadership to include a deep understanding and knowledge of yourselves so that you have the clarity to recognize the truth, the wisdom to live by it and the fearlessness to shout it from the rooftops, no matter what. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

23 мая 2016, 19:42

Arianna Huffington Tells Grads They Must 'Recharge And Refuel' To Achieve Their Dreams

"Bottom line, @FletcherSchool graduates, the world needs you." Thanks @ariannahuff! #fletcherclassof2016 pic.twitter.com/tQUP6nW9T3— Danielle Robinson (@dsrobinson10) May 21, 2016 Don't sacrifice your health just to avoid FOMO, Arianna Huffington advised in a commencement speech at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on Saturday. OK, Huffington didn't actually use the term "FOMO," meaning fear of missing out. But she alluded to it by asking graduates not to obsess over "all the millions of things you haven’t done." "Please recognize that as science now makes clear, you’ll be able to fulfill all your dreams and obligations much more effectively -- and with much more creativity and joy -- if you regularly take time to recharge and refuel," she said. The editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post was, of course, speaking about getting enough sleep, which is the theme of her latest book, The Sleep Revolution. She pointed out that ambition can sometimes get the best of bright people, causing them to make poor choices that diminish their chances of accomplishing their goals. Huffington has also said a lack of rest could explain some of Donald Trump's abhorrent statements, since the GOP hopeful brags about only getting four hours of sleep a night. "Right now, wherever you look around the world, you see smart leaders -- in every field -- making terrible decisions," Huffington said. "What they’re lacking is not IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise; it has never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from all our omnipresent devices and distractions, and reconnect with ourselves." You'll be able to fulfill your dreams & obligations if you take time to recharge - @ariannahuff #TuftsFletcher2016 pic.twitter.com/zP9d7iJDW7— The Fletcher School (@FletcherSchool) May 21, 2016 Philosophers have often said that to "truly know the world, you have to first know yourself," Huffington reminded her audience at Fletcher.  "So if you feel like there’s just too much to be done, it’s important to remind yourselves of something our modern culture seems to have forgotten: That there are two threads running through our lives. One is pulling us into the world to achieve and make things happen, the other is pulling us back from the world to nourish, replenish and refuel ourselves," she said. "If we ignore the second thread, it is much harder to connect with our deepest courage and wisdom, the most essential building blocks of leadership." You can read Huffington's entire speech below: Dean Stavridis, members of the faculty, proud parents, family, and friends, and, above all, the graduating class of 2016, I'm deeply honored and grateful that you have invited me to be a part of such a special moment in your lives. And I don’t know if you can tell, but I have a slight accent, in fact a Greek accent, which means I’m obligated to comment on the fact that your dean -- who has had an incredible career in the Navy, as a thought leader and as a dean of this school -- is also, in addition to all these great things, Greek -- though, suspiciously, with no trace of an accent. But not to worry, I have enough accent for the both of us. This is, of course, an extraordinary time -- not just in your own lives, though I know it is certainly that -- but in all of our lives. When you picture the world you'll be graduating into after your last Fletcher Follies, it’s a world of both huge challenges and incredible possibilities -- where the vastly accelerated pace of technology is creating constant disruptions that require both resilience and wisdom. And because we can’t predict all of the downstream consequences of these disruptions, leadership -- which includes being able to remain serene and imperturbable in the middle of all crises and to see the icebergs before they hit the Titanic -- is more important than ever. And that’s where you and the Fletcher “Mafia” come in. As graduates, or very soon to be graduates, of the oldest graduate school of international affairs in the United States, you are uniquely poised to become the leaders the world needs to meet these challenges. So, I don’t want to put too much of a burden on you -- on top of student loans, the pressure to find a job and to find a place to live -- but, bottom line, the world needs you. In fact, the world is putting out the bat signal and counting on you to answer the call -- and the best part is, you don’t have to choose an alter ego or wear a funny suit. As Fletcher graduates, your opportunity, and your responsibility, is truly singular as you head out into the world. And what I want to urge you to do today is pay special attention to the building blocks of leadership, which will help you widen and redefine what leadership is. Because being the leaders the world so desperately needs today will require you to go not just onward and outward, but also inward to tap into your own wisdom. Right now, wherever you look around the world, you see smart leaders -- in every field -- making terrible decisions. What they’re lacking is not IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise; it has never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from all our omnipresent devices and distractions, and reconnect with ourselves.  The great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was a leader in his determination to bravely tell the truth, once wrote that “If you wanted to put the world to rights, who would you begin with? Yourself or others?” And I know all of you want to put the world to rights -- that’s why you’re at this wonderful, essential institution. To put it another way, in the words of another essential -- though not as admired -- institution, the airline industry, "Secure your own oxygen mask first before helping others." And this is something our leaders have forgotten. In fact, they do just the opposite -- in order to signal their dedication to the people or organizations they’re leading, they burn themselves out and proudly proclaim their refusal to sleep, to take time to recharge and renew themselves. As a result, we end up with leaders leading at less -- often much, much less -- than full capacity. And this of course is stunningly clear to anyone masochistic enough to be closely following the 2016 election. But as recent scientific findings make unambiguously clear, having the discipline to take time to recharge, including getting enough sleep, is essential for all the key elements of leadership: decision-making, impulse control, the ability to learn and take in new information, to act with reason and judgment instead of reacting with emotion. In short: wisdom. As Dean Stavridis wrote recently in an essay titled “Sleep is a Weapon” -- Greek minds do think alike -- there is power, including military power, in sleep. He recounts as just one example a tragic incident where 200 citizens were killed by a military mistake caused by sleep deprivation. And we actually do have evidence of how productive it is when a political leader does recognize the creative powers of recharging. In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt did something that would be inconceivable in today’s political climate. To think through the monumental question of whether America should enter the war, rather than putting out photos of himself and his team with their sleeves rolled up pulling all-nighters, FDR announced that he would instead be taking a 10-day vacation, sailing around the Caribbean on a navy ship. His wife Eleanor wrote him a letter that read, “I think of you sleeping ... and I hope getting rest from the world.” And as Roosevelt’s aide Harry Hopkins later said, “I began to get the idea that he was refueling, the way he so often does when he seems to be resting and carefree.” The result of Roosevelt’s refueling was the $50 billion Lend-Lease program, in which the United States would lend arms and supplies to Great Britain and be paid back after the war in kind. Or as Roosevelt’s speechwriter Robert Sherwood put it, “One can only say that FDR, a creative artist in politics, had put in his time on this cruise evolving the pattern of a masterpiece.” In fact, FDR’s ally and counterpart, Winston Churchill, also knew the value of renewal. Indeed, he’s credited by some with coining the term “power nap.” And evidently, he was on to something. To make up for having to often work late into the night, Churchill was disciplined about taking his afternoon naps on the cot he kept in his war room a few blocks from 10 Downing Street. This is how Churchill himself vividly described his habit of recharging: “You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more." So if you feel like there’s just too much to be done, it’s important to remind yourselves of something our modern culture seems to have forgotten: That there are two threads running through our lives. One is pulling us into the world to achieve and make things happen, the other is pulling us back from the world to nourish, replenish and refuel ourselves. If we ignore the second thread, it is much harder to connect with our deepest courage and wisdom, the most essential building blocks of leadership. As many a philosopher, from every tradition, has said, to truly know the world, you have to first know yourself. To quote just one of them, Lao Tzu, “Knowing others is knowledge; knowing yourself is wisdom.” And when we access our courage and wisdom, and put them at the service of leadership, we will have the judgment and fortitude to be true to ourselves and to speak truth to power when it most matters. And it’s never mattered more than now. Will we rise to the occasion to speak the truth, or will we shrink from the moment and retreat to safe platitudes and euphemisms? That is now, and has always been, the first test of leadership. As Harold Pinter said in his Nobel acceptance speech, “the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.” And as we see now, some are facing it and some are not. At a moment when this country is on the cusp of legitimizing the most unqualified presidential nominee in U.S. history, some leaders are speaking the truth, and some are holding back. In the U.K., conservative Prime Minister David Cameron rose to the occasion, calling Donald Trump’s plan to institute a religious test to ban all Muslims from the United States exactly what it is: “divisive, stupid and wrong.” That’s bold. That’s true. And that’s leadership. The alternative is to pretend that the truth is always in the middle, and that our job is to present two sides to everything. But not every story has two sides, and the truth is often found on one side or the other. The Earth is not flat. Evolution is a fact. Global warming is a fact. And there are definitely not two sides to the truth that instituting a religious test to enter a country founded on religious freedom is “divisive, stupid, and wrong.” Claiming that Mexico is sending us rapists, inciting violence at rallies, or claiming that President Obama was not born in the United States -- we know these are all false and all wrong -- and if we don’t say so clearly and unequivocally, that’s how these insidious falsehoods become whitewashed and mainstreamed. I was delighted to meet the Director of the Edward R. Murrow Center earlier. And I asked him how Murrow would have dealt with Trump. “He would have skewered him,” he replied. The New York Times recently called Trump’s racism a “reductive approach to ethnicity,” and said that Trump’s attitude toward women is “complex” and “defies simple categorization,” as if sexism is suddenly as complicated as string theory. In the name of Edward R. Murrow, good journalism and the truth, can the media stop using euphemisms and stop trying to normalize Trump? Of course, in many ways, the world is always in some kind of emergency. And you are our diplomatic first responders. It’s right there in the Fletcher mission statement, “to educate professionals from around the world and to prepare them for positions of leadership and influence in the national and international arenas.” In the words of Dean Stavridis, that means training graduates to know the world. “The challenges we face in this turbulent 21st century,” he says, “quite literally transcend borders -- we must be ready to connect in every sense of the word.” So that’s what I want to explore today -- connecting… in every sense of the word, and transcending borders both external and internal. Connecting not just with the world, but, just as important, with yourselves. Many leaders today have lost sight of that. In today’s buzzing, blinking, and notification-soaked world, it’s very easy to allow your attention and your essence to be frittered away in a million different ways. And when we are exhausted and disconnected, that’s when we are more likely to make our biggest mistakes. To quote a modern practitioner of the political arts, Bill Clinton, “every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.” He did not specify which mistakes, but as David Maraniss wrote in his biography of Clinton: “Clinton had been sleeping only four to five hours a night since a professor said in college that many great leaders of the past had gotten by that way.” This aversion to sleep -- which is really at its heart an aversion to disconnecting from the world, our projects and to-do lists to reconnect with ourselves -- may well have played a part in several lapses in Clinton’s presidential judgment, including his handling of the issue of gays in the military -- now widely considered to be one of the low points at the beginning of his two-term presidency. And another example -- very much in the news today -- is Alexander Hamilton. He is, of course, the subject and namesake of the biggest Broadway hit musical of our lifetime, nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the musical for which The New York Times suggested people “mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets.” But as much press as the show has rightly gotten, one angle that deserves more attention is how it shows the value of making time to renew and replenish ourselves. Hamilton, it turns out, wasn't just the founding father of American banking, he was also the founding father -- and the first fully documented case -- of American political burnout. Ron Chernow, the author of the biography on which the musical is based, depicts a man who never slowed down. “This intensely driven man,” Chernow writes, “had a mind that throbbed incessantly with new ideas.” But how much better would his adopted country have been if he had given more time to his mind and his body to refuel before he hit a wall of burnout? This theme of constant, ceaseless work -- along with the inevitable consequences -- comes through resoundingly in the musical as well. Again and again, Hamilton is presented as a leader ultimately overwhelmed by the pressure of all the work ahead of him. “And there’s a million things I haven’t done,” he sings, “but just you wait, just you wait.” As you move onto a new, thrilling chapter in your lives, you may have a similar feeling -- of all the millions of things you haven’t done. But please recognize that as science now makes clear, you’ll be able to fulfill all your dreams and obligations much more effectively -- and with much more creativity and joy -- if you regularly take time to recharge and refuel. There’s even a song in the "Hamilton" musical entirely devoted to this theme and appropriately called “Non-Stop.” I promise I’m not going to sing -- I don’t want to cause a stampede. So bear with me. “Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time?” asks Aaron Burr. To which the ensemble answers: “Every day you fight like you’re running out of time, like you’re running out of time. Are you running out of time?” And, in a sense, he was. The sex scandal that would derail his career and indirectly affect the decisions that led to his own premature death was looming. Sleep deprivation had left Hamilton vulnerable to Maria Reynolds’ plot to seduce him and then blackmail him. In “Say No To This,” Hamilton is aware of his weakened state: “I hadn’t slept in a week,” he sings, “I was weak, I was awake You never seen a bastard orphan More in need of a break.” Alexander Hamilton was only 49 years old when he died, in the infamous duel with Aaron Burr. What connection did his burnout have with his untimely death? When you find yourself walking to a duel at dawn -- after you had lost your son in a duel three years earlier -- it’s fair to ask if you’re mustering all the wisdom you’re capable of. And perhaps if he’d listened to his wife Eliza’s advice to “take a break,” he’d have had more time to build the nation he was so devoted to. Burnout among our political leaders has proved as enduring as Hamilton’s bank and other parts of his legacy. In fact, our leaders actually brag about it. Our political campaigns constantly feature candidates presenting themselves as ceaselessly working -- as if that’s a good thing. In mid-April, Ted Cruz sent out a fundraising email proclaiming that he was sacrificing his health and his sleep because he was, “fighting morning and night for the future of the country.” Isn’t it time our leaders stop thinking we want them to be sick and exhausted all of the time? No leader would smoke in front of a camera, but most of our leaders clearly declare -- and show it in their faces -- how depleted they are. Yet, one recent scientific study showed that even moderate sleep deprivation can leave you with levels of cognitive impairment roughly equivalent to being legally drunk. And yet no campaign would feature a candidate saying, “Vote for me, because I structure my life so that I make all my decisions while effectively drunk.” (Actually, that might explain a lot about this year’s race, but that’s a different speech.) In fact, for even further evidence of the connection between leadership and sleep and recharging, there was a recent article by McKinsey, the management consulting firm, about just that in the Harvard Business Review titled, “There’s A Proven Link Between Effective Leadership And Getting Enough Sleep.” Now, if somebody even a year ago had showed me a piece written by McKinsey consultants saying that the way for executives to be better leaders is to sleep more, and not less, and that McKinsey would actually have a sleep specialist on staff, I would have assumed the piece was in The Onion.  But the piece is real, and so is the science it’s based on. The authors point to the science showing that the prefrontal cortex -- the part of our brain that’s the source of leadership, of problem solving, of organizing, of decision-making, of building teams, is also the part of the brain particularly affected by sleep deprivation. One study found that participants who had a good night’s sleep were twice as likely to come up with a hidden or hard to find shortcut to a given task than those who were sleep deprived. Another study they mention showed that sleep deprived brains are more susceptible to misinterpreting emotional cues from those around them and overreacting to emotional situations. Not exactly what you want in a leader of any kind. And yet our entire political system seems almost engineered to guarantee that kind of exhaustion. Hillary Clinton has said that during her time as secretary of state, she’d be so exhausted as she prepared to meet with world leaders that she would sometimes be “standing there and digging my fingernails into my palm to keep myself awake” so she could answer questions on behalf of our country. And this is actually celebrated in our misguided world as a feat of endurance. But is this really the best place from which to lead? Even if it results in our leaders’ collapse and concussion, as happened with Secretary Clinton? It’s no wonder that, after Hillary Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in 2012 -- having logged nearly 1 million miles flying to 112 different countries -- she told The New York Times that her most immediate goal was to see whether she could get “untired.”  There is a cultural shift happening, and you Fletcher graduates can help accelerate it. Instead of wearing your exhaustion as a badge of honor and a sign of how important and how much in demand you are, you can recognize that it’s actually a sign of an inability to organize, ruthlessly prioritize, and impose order on chaos -- all essential building blocks of leadership. To see the icebergs before we hit them requires a deeper kind of vision. It requires us to be aware of how we can be, in the words of psychologist Daniel Kahneman, “blind to our own blindness.” We can’t see everything, we can’t control the world and we can’t prevent the unexpected. But we can control ourselves, we can maximize our inner resources to deal with the unexpected, we can make the most of our intuition, our conscience, our wisdom. Because, contrary to our collective delusion, our successful leaders are successful not because of their burnout, but in spite of it. And you Fletcher graduates have the opportunity to redefine leadership to include a deep understanding and knowledge of yourselves so that you have the clarity to recognize the truth, the wisdom to live by it and the fearlessness to shout it from the rooftops, no matter what. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.