Gen. Breedlove, Strangelove-ian War Hawk

Ex-NATO Commander Breedlove was so bellicose toward Russia that the Germans objected to his dangerous provocations, but he is now strutting his stuff in hopes of landing a job in a Clinton-45 administration, says Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

At this conclusive stage of the presidential campaign cycle, Foreign Affairs magazine is doing what it traditionally does, showcasing on its pages candidates for appointive office in the cabinet of the next president whom the magazine’s editorial board would like to see installed.

Thus, the current, July-August issue carries an article by Philip M. Breedlove, until recently Commander of the U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. His piece, entitled “NATO’s Next Act” might more honestly be called “Why I Have Earned My Next Job as Secretary of Defense in the Administration of Hillary Clinton.”

Former NATO Commander Philip M. Breedlove.

Former NATO Commander Philip M. Breedlove.

During his service in Europe, General Breedlove was never bashful about being a politicking military officer who was keen to pick a fight with Russia. He met with the press often, making newsworthy pronouncements about Russia’s malevolent intentions and illegal actions that were unsupported by facts. Our European allies objected to Breedlove, stating openly that some of his allegations regarding Russian operations in Ukraine contradicted what their own intelligence services were reporting.

Indeed, on March 6, 2015, the Spiegel Online carried a story under a headline that says it all: “Breedlove’s Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine.” At the time, it was believed that Breedlove was trying to sabotage the recently instituted cease-fire in Donbas and overturn the Minsk-2 Accords in favor of resumed fighting in which the U.S. would provide Kiev with lethal weapons. By this scenario, a full-blown proxy war with Russia would follow.

The purpose of the new essay in Foreign Affairs is, as I say, to spread the word on what Breedlove achieved in his three years on duty in Europe by turning NATO around and giving it a new/old calling. When he arrived, NATO was busy extricating itself from its failed campaigns out of region, in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it had faced unfamiliar challenges for which it was ill-equipped, fighting insurgencies and irregular troops.

On his watch, a new threat was seen emerging in Eastern Europe. In Breedlove’s words, this took the form of a revitalized and aggressive Russia, seeking to reclaim its great power status and sphere of influence in post-Soviet space.

With its takeover of Crimea in March 2014 and involvement in the Donbas on behalf of Russian-speaking forces rebelling against the new Maidan government in Kiev, Russia demonstrated both defiance of the American-controlled New World Order and breathtaking military prowess. It thereby became a threat worthy of NATO’s finest traditions as defender of “law and order” on the European home front.

Still more recent Russian action in Syria awakened Breedlove to the fact that Russia’s ambitions are global. In this context he now declares Russia, with its nuclear arsenal, to be an “existential threat” to the United States which must be met by superior force. After all, Breedlove tells us, force is all that the Kremlin understands.

After going through this pre-history, Breedlove explains exactly what we are doing now to strengthen NATO in Poland, the Baltic States and Romania/the Black Sea so as to be prepared to resist Russian aggression and deter its existential threat.

Upside-Down Narrative

Most everything is wrong with what Breedlove tells us in his article. It is a perfect illustration of the consequences of the monopoly control of our media and both Houses of Congress by the ideologists of the Neoconservative and Liberal Interventionist School. We see a stunning lack of rigor in argumentation in Breedlove’s article coming from absence of debate and his talking only to yes-men.

Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Perhaps the biggest mistakes are conceptual: urging military means to resolve what are fundamentally political issues over the proper place of Russia in the European and global security architecture. Whereas for Clausewitz war was “a continuation of politics by other means,” for Breedlove politics – in this case, diplomacy – do not exist, only war.

In this respect, Breedlove is merely perpetuating the stone deafness of American politicians dating back to Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal in 2010 to negotiate an international convention bringing Russia in from the cold. The earnest offer of Russia’s most Westernizing head of state in a hundred years was left without response.

Breedlove’s entire recounting of what NATO is doing to stop a Russian threat to the Baltics and to Poland — through additional NATO boots on the ground and pre-positioned American heavy equipment fails — to mention, let alone explain what possible reason there might be for a Russian attack.

I contend that no realistic assessment of Russian national interest could justify their taking over the territories in question. The net result of any occupation could only be heavily negative due to hostile local populations even without considering its geopolitical consequences or retaliatory military and other action by the West.

Presumably the logic behind the assumption of Russian aggressive designs is illogic: the assumption of an insane Russian leadership. Such a line of thinking would be the direct fruit of the demonization of Vladimir Putin and of Russia more generally that the U.S. media has disseminated gleefully, with encouragement from the Obama administration.

Breedlove’s would-be boss in the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton, has likened the Russian ruler to Hitler. That obviates the need to examine rational calculations of your adversary.

Then there is Breedlove’s totally wrong-headed conceptualization of what constitutes the world order that he says is under threat. In his understanding, the United State is, by definition, the sole supplier of public good to the world and everything that it initiates is selfless and right.

This self-righteousness begins with history, with the sequencing of who did what to whom, who honored and who violated international obligations, who is the aggressor and who is the victim.  But this all comes down to one question: when did history start.

In Breedlove’s reading of history, the narrative that counts and is relevant to where we are today all started with the Russian “invasion” of Crimea. The controversial overthrow of the legitimately elected President of Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014, the day after France and Germany brokered an agreement between the government and opposition (for reduced presidential powers and early elections) does not exist in Breedlove’s version of history. Nor, of course, does any other prior Western intervention in the intra-Ukrainian power struggle going back to the start of the Maidan demonstrations in December 2013.

This leaves us with the whole series of Russian reactions that he gives us without any reference to the missing actions by the U.S.-led West. There are other holes in Breedlove’s logic through which you could drive a tank, if I may use metaphors from his domain of expertise.

Reassessing Russian Might

It is in a way refreshing to see Breedlove recognize (within limits) the newfound capabilities of the Russian military, which just several years ago were mocked by Western commentators, even by the occupant of the Oval Office.

A scene from "Dr. Strangelove," in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

Breedlove does underestimate the skills and equipment of the Russian air force and insists on the underlying military superiority of the U.S. and its NATO allies in the European theater. But, on balance, he asserts that today Russia poses an existential military threat to the United States. It would be nice if he finished the thought and explained exactly how and why (since Russia is not the only country with nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them but like those other countries – China, for instance – has no rational reason to do so unless directly threatened).

In any case, what is the appropriate response to an existential threat? Do you recommend the continued rapid build-up of NATO forces precisely at Russia’s Baltic and Black Sea borders to counter a perceived (though nonexistent) localized threat or do you address the existential threat by seeking to minimize tensions?

To date, and into the next five years, all of the U.S. and NATO measures which Breedlove describes and for which he takes credit have only unnerved the Russians and caused them to respond with equally provocative and dangerous counter-measures of a localized nature without in any way compromising their nuclear capability to wipe the United States off the map in any hot war.

Does this baiting the Russians near their borders make any sense? This was precisely the point that German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank Walter Steinmeier has just called out in an interview published in Bild am Sonntag in which he speaks against any further saber-rattling by NATO in Poland or the Baltic States.

The seeming parallels between stepping up to the line today, and stepping up to the line in Berlin during the Cold War are illusory. The present line is not in a distant buffer zone which Joseph Stalin had created precisely for this purpose, to remove conflict from Russia’s borders.

It is so threatening to Russia’s survival that the Kremlin is now moving vast military resources from Central Russia into the Leningrad Oblast, within a very few miles of the new NATO presence just across the border in the Baltics. The time for either side to react to local military incidents has been shortened immensely compared to the past. This is a formula for Doomsday which Breedlove willfully ignores.

The $3.4 billion expenditure, which President Obama has allocated to bring forward depots of American heavy equipment and key personnel to Poland, Romania and the Baltic States, recognizes the logistical disadvantage of NATO forces under the remote defense perimeter that extends to Russia’s western and southern frontiers. But it cannot resolve this intractable disadvantage.

Territorial Disadvantage

It has been argued that a major factor that worked against Russian forces in World War I was logistical – the length of time it took Russia to move its men and equipment from the centers of population of the country hundreds if not thousands of kilometers away to its western borders where the fight against Germany was going on.

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Today, the U.S. and NATO have placed themselves in exactly the same disadvantage by seeking to fight Russia in a conventional war right where the Russians are concentrating the bulk of their strength and where NATO can at best only position “trip wire” forces having symbolic, not actual military defensive value.

The best that NATO can propose, it would seem, is to snatch the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad  (the clear mission of the Anakonda-16 games now going on in Poland) in case the Russians occupied the Baltic States (within the 60 hours or so that a recent Rand Institute study suggests is feasible).

However, as President Putin has stated clearly, such encroachment on Russian soil will unleash a nuclear response from Russia that will include missile attacks on the mainland USA, i.e. not limited to the European theater.

Finally, let’s consider another absurdity in General Breedlove’s letter setting out his candidacy for a cabinet position. He repeats, parrot-like, the position of the Obama administration and of putative Democratic candidate for President Hillary Clinton that we can selectively cooperate with Russia on issues of common interest like counter-terrorism, Pacific fishing rights (!) and the like even as we remain engaged in a life-or-death scramble for position on the ground in Europe.

In fact, the U.S. effort to totally isolate Russia by cutting off many, perhaps most of its bilateral programs of cooperation with the country have worked precisely to defeat cooperation, none more grievously so than in the area of fighting terrorism.

Meanwhile, what amounts to American encouragement of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria by pressing for the overthrow of the Russian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad continues to this day under the guise of protecting the “moderate opposition” that happens to be embedded among the jihadist ‘’bad guys.’’

The fairy tales coming from Washington should not fool anyone, but Breedlove passes them along to his readers in the smug expectation that they will accept whatever he utters.

By lending its valuable “real estate” to the campaign for a high-level appointment by one of the most outspoken Cold Warriors within the U.S. military, the editorial board of Foreign Affairs magazine has shown yet again that it is incapable of guarding its own neutrality or balance.

Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His most recent book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015. © Gilbert Doctorow, 2016

29 comments for “Gen. Breedlove, Strangelove-ian War Hawk

  1. Robert G. Frano, A.-E.M.T.-4-Paramedic_Preceptor, A.C.L.S., (Retired)
    June 22, 2016 at 20:00

    Re: “…During his service in Europe, General Breedlove was never bashful about being a politicking military officer who was keen to pick a fight with Russia.”
    Re Photo_Caption: “A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union…”

    While I love ‘Dr. Stragelove’, (the movie), General Breedlove reminds me of the fictional General Buck Turgidson, (played by the late Geo. C. Scott).
    I also I love the ‘Terminator’, ‘N, ‘Mad Max’ franchises, etc.
    I think the ‘Terminator’ get’s the Post_Nuclear_Impact visuals just, about right, because…there are 10-20,000 REAL, (Vs. Bush’s / Blair’s IMAGINARY), N.-W.M.D.’s sitting in their launch_cradles, round our earth, exactly the same way as I used to sit, in…my N.Y.C.-E.M.S. paramedic unit!
    So…
    What, the hell is ALL this blather, ‘N bloviation, about the, (supposed), ‘end’ of the ‘Cold_War’??

    In my 22 year urban_paramedic career, the ‘Happy_Lands’ arson_homicide, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Land_fire), was the largest ‘loss, ‘O, life’ incident I ever responded, to…

    I was the 1St. paramedic, into the building, and…it broke my heart.
    Being a paramedic has firmly taught ME:
    Either we learn to live, together or we’ll be playing, out the movie, “On The Beech”, from a 1950’s Nevil Shute novel, {‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Beach_(1959_film)’}, or just, possibly…
    “A boy ‘N, his dog”, {‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Boy_and_His_Dog#A_Boy_and_His_Dog’}, minus the cute special effects / telepathic dog!

  2. Baldurdasche
    June 22, 2016 at 05:47

    I look at Breedlove and I start thinking of General Dreedle’s WAC.

  3. Antiwar7
    June 21, 2016 at 09:58

    Gen. Breedhate does not come across as polished.

  4. Abe
    June 20, 2016 at 12:08

    On 8 June 2016, Breedlove spoke at an Atlantic Council event on “The Future of NATO Enlargement and New Frontiers in European Security.”
    http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/keep-door-open-to-russia-breedlove

  5. Madhu
    June 20, 2016 at 09:57

    Here’s the Cockburn piece at TAC which is very good:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-wasteful-military-spending-never-stops/

    (I wish he’d read his writing on South Asia out loud, he sounds like some on the right complaining about scary foreign countries and their fascist leaders leading their fascist subjects fascist-ly…. just in a different direction, with a different religion. I bet he doesn’t ‘hear’ it. Shame. Can’t take that writing remotely seriously. It’s quite offensive, really. Hard to believe Saudi type intellectual propaganda on the importance of the Pashtuns made it into so many different writings (by so many authors) about the insurgency in Afghanistan/sarc).

    Okay, sorry, I am like a machine on certain subjects and never take a break. Not healthy!

  6. Madhu
    June 20, 2016 at 09:49

    This is a good post by Peter Hitchens about NATO saber rattling and the push back by a German Foreign Minister:

    (I don’t play the right versus left game, I’ve tried both parties in the US and don’t fit easily into either. Not a joiner. I just sort of look for any kind of intellectual allies against a kind of mindless militarism):

    German Foreign Minister attacks NATO Sabre-Rattling. Good

    Here’s an astonishing development which, in different times, would have got a lot more attention. Germany’s Foreign Minister , Frank-Walter Steinmeier has publicly warned NATO against ‘warmongering’ after it held daft and provocative military exercises in Poland, during which it pretended to have a capacity and a united political will which it simply does not possess.

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2016/06/german-foreign-minister-attacks-nato-sabre-rattling-good.html

  7. Madhu
    June 20, 2016 at 09:32

    Or is the Montenegro thing simply timed for the NATO summit in Warsaw? Playing with nuclear fire for budgets and those ugly McLean houses. A lot of those DC types are a kind of modern technocrat new money, aren’t they? Those Washington Post and other Washington publication style sections always make me laugh, for some reason. Maybe that’s why they like the Saudi influence agents and monarchy, besides the money, they have the same taste.

    Was Brennan impressed, did it make him feel important, a guy like him making it big and whispering in Saudi ears? Impressed by all the gold leaf and marble, was he?

    They are like that, a little, aren’t they? A bit provincial and bit too easily impressed.

  8. Madhu
    June 20, 2016 at 08:59

    What’s this curious little pleading open letter at the CNAS-related and supposedly “realist online platform”, War on the Rocks?:

    http://warontherocks.com/2016/06/open-letter-to-president-obama-and-the-u-s-congress-urging-quick-action-on-montenegros-entry-into-nato/

    OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE U.S. CONGRESS URGING QUICK ACTION ON MONTENEGRO’S ENTRY INTO NATO
    WOTR STAFF

    A plea to hurry up and admit Montenegro to NATO before the end of 2016 signed by Philip M. Breedlove, Michelle Fluornoy, Richard Fontaine, John McCain, Ian Brzezinski, and so on….

    Timed to push back against German complaints of NATO saber rattling?

    • Madhu
      June 20, 2016 at 09:11

      What variant of realism is the hurrying up the further expansion of NATO? That’s the site (The National Interest, too, for shame) that can’t seem to edit properly….as in pointing out that the Baltic RAND study was conducted under the theoretical proposition that nuclear weapons don’t exist and won’t affect decision making. Pure propaganda, in other words, to goose Army budgets. It’s funny how little it takes to nudge people into the “right” direction….

      War on the Rocks is a platform for analysis, commentary, debate and multimedia content on foreign policy and national security issues through a realist lens. It features articles and podcasts produced by an array of writers with deep experience in these matters: top notch scholars who study war, those who have served or worked in war zones, and more than a few who have done it all.

      http://warontherocks.com/about/

      A cultivation and information peddling platform, like the old CNAS COIN blogs.

      Most of those experienced writers have gotten everything wrong, yet, to criticize them is somehow beyond the pale.

      A cult. And a way to advertise one’s services to DC.

    • Madhu
      June 20, 2016 at 09:22

      Eric Edelman is on the list of signers too. There was an article in one of the British papers some time back that included part of a cable of a roundtable with the MOD and Edelman, among others. Despite everyone knowing which government was supporting the Taliban, the British delegation made sure the Americans understood that key parts of the British Asian population are an important voting bloc for some British politicians. Okay, it wasn’t put that way, but that is what was meant.

      Progressives missed their best chance to push back against the neocons or liberal interventionists right after Abbottabad. That was the time for a new 9-11 commission to root out those that were completely clueless on the whole thing. Americans of all stripes were willing to listen right at that moment. How did progressives miss it? Oh yeah, drones and Kashmir became the only narrative of South Asia that mattered.

      Just look at anything Andrew Cockburn writes (okay, his last article on the DC MIC was awesome). For an Irishman, he sure can sound like a certain kind of Englishman on the subject of South Asia.

      Oh, why am I deflecting? We Americans are the ones up to our eyeballs in it all. What a crew we have in DC. Why don’t more Americans pay attention? Still, that would have been the time to really push back against the militarists in DC.

      I hope the Germans don’t lose their nerve on pushing back at NATO saber rattling. But Germans have a defense sector too, and they need the new NATO market, according to their own formulations.

  9. Ol' Hippy
    June 19, 2016 at 18:21

    Not since the early 80’s of Reagan that I have this alarmed by the workings behind the election zoo of the US govt. They seem to be losing touch with reality. Do they think that Russia will back down from ever increasing aggression from the US and NATO? The insanity that the ‘strongest military in the world’ might win a war with Russia is….insane. They have as many nukes as the US and I have no doubt they would be used if provoked. Where’s the caution that was present during the cold war? They want to attack al-Assad and finish destroying Syria. Russia will NOT let that happen! They have bases in Syria they will protect. Someone has to get control of the govt before we go down the memory holes of history, I just don’t know who that is.

    • Realist
      June 19, 2016 at 18:24

      Yeah, kind of makes one pine for the days of Richard Nixon… of all people.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 19, 2016 at 22:11

      Ol Hippy read this paragraph from the Saker;

      “There is a profound cultural chasm between how the West views warfare and how the Russians do. In the West, warfare is, really, “the continuation of politics by other means”. For Russians, it is a ruthless struggle for survival. Just look at generals in the West: they are polished and well mannered managers much more similar to corporate executives than with, say, Mafia bosses. Take a look at Russian generals (for example, watch the Victory Day parade in Moscow). In comparison to their western colleagues they look almost brutish, because first and foremost they are ruthless and calculating killers. I don’t mean that in a negative way – they often are individually very honorable and even kind men, and like every good commander, they care for their men and love their country. But the business they are in in not the continuation of politics by other means, the business they are in is survival. At all cost.”

      Here you may read the whole article;

      http://thesaker.is/how-russia-is-preparing-for-wwiii/

      Here is another quote from the Saker’s article;

      “Russia never starts wars, she only ends them.”

      While that saying may intimidate many (Americans in particular), what the words state is historical accurate. Napoleon and Hitler, found out how impossible it is to take on the Russians. Another thing, if our U.S. Government finds it impossible to win over enemies such as the Taliban, or ISIS, then how in the hell are we going to win over a suitable adversary such as Russia? America maybe able to out spend it’s foe, but when that foe is fighting with all their will to protect their way of life, and their homeland, then this is surely a recipe for disaster of the aggressor nation. America needs a new foreign policy, and that new policy towards other nations must be topped off with the word ‘Respect’. We could change all this mayhem within a twinkling of the eye, if we stopped the invasions, and the instigations, by extending our better side to this planets other inhabitants. The world has grown to small for war. It is time to negotiate, and share, the resources we all so desperately need.

  10. Andoheb
    June 19, 2016 at 17:29

    NATO claims it is a defensive alliance, but in reality it is an aggressive war mongering institution. NATO has never been attacked, but has launched wars of aggression against Serbia and Libya.

    I suspect one reason for elite hostility to Brexit, is fear that it could undermine NATO.

    • Realist
      June 19, 2016 at 18:22

      Bingo. It would prove the concept to the rest of Europe that, should they so decide, they could walk away from Uncle Sam and all of his demented warmongering demands that are destroying their economies and throwing their populations into ethnic and religious turmoil.

    • Dave55
      June 22, 2016 at 03:36

      NATO is now as much a domestic welfare tool as a military alliance. Having the US shoulder most of their military burden frees up revenue for the other members to spend on their lavish welfare states. If they had to fully pay for their own defense, they would be forced to either a) abandon those welfare states or b) enact economy-crushing tax increases. At the same time, NATO props up America’s #1 welfare state, the military-industrial complex.

      In a sane world (IOW, one without welfare states), NATO would have been disbanded in 1992 after the USSR and Warsaw Pact went out of business, superfluous generals would have been put out to pasture, and Western taxpayers would have received a huge peace dividend. Trump was even more right than he imagined when he called it an “obsolete relic.”

    • Madhu
      June 20, 2016 at 09:02

      I fear that if the UK exits the EU, the transatlanticists will put even more focus on NATO to make up for a supposed loss of influence in one area. I mean, I agree that Brexit worries the NATOists so it makes me worried that the NATOists will be even more obnoxious, if that is possible, to make up for the loss.

  11. Skip Edwards
    June 19, 2016 at 15:32

    I really hate to put it like this, but keep in mind that every US citizen of civilian stature, not military, outrank every jerk wad military member like Breedlove no matter how many stars adorn their uniforms. We certainly don’t have to say “sir” to any of them unless we desire to do so out of genuine respect or cultural courtesy. Hopefully, they’ll just remain inside those barricaded walls of Washington, D.C. with all their psychopathic look-a-likes.

    • Realist
      June 19, 2016 at 18:19

      Unless Trump wins the election and the goons in camo and combat boots decide to emulate the Ukronazis and stage a North American coup d’etat. That would be a first… and ultimately a last.

  12. jo6pac
    June 19, 2016 at 14:46

    Yep, there’s a lot cycle-0-paths interviewing for hillabilly SofS but I believe that v. cookie monster nuland has a lock on it. We lose no matter which one it is.

    Oh and his replacement is any better.

    • Bart
      June 20, 2016 at 10:35

      One of the contributors here called her “The bride at every wedding” but I like “The Queen of all Ukraine”

  13. Tristan
    June 19, 2016 at 14:45

    Thank you for this concise and well presented article concerning one aspect of the most dangerous times we are presently living in. The provocation and outright military aggression by the US and Nato are certainly more than unnerving to the Russians. I’m astounded that no rational thought, in any major media in the US, has been given to how any other nation would react under such overt military aggression.

    As alluded to, there is no political opposition of any significance in the US (particularly for those who waltz in the halls of the new Versailles, the indispensable and exceptional) is part and parcel to the extreme confluence of government and corporate interests here presented in the form of Breedlove’s propaganda in many ways beyond sublime in subtly but brash in its otherworldly understanding of reality.

  14. Zachary Smith
    June 19, 2016 at 13:59

    Breedlove appears to be a warmongering punk with 4 stars on his uniform. As Mr. Doctorow suggests, he is also a political hack helping out on the neocon front.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/europe/2016-06-13/natos-next-act

    That’s a link to the Foreign Affairs article which worked for me on two browser. But Breedlove’s propaganda efforts are even more widespread than that. While trying to locate some of his writings (with little success) I ran into this:

    hXXp://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR676.html

    It’s a stenographic write-up of the glorious NATO victory over Libya. The Breedlove connection is down at the bottom in fine print.

    The research reported here was sponsored by General Philip M. Breedlove, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and conducted within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

    “Sponsored” may mean he gave them money – or access to NATO documents – or possibly Breedlove had the entire story ready for them on a platter.

    As the kind of political hack he really is, he’ll fit in very well with Hillary. Being only 60 years of age, he might very well be planning for his next promotion – to the White House.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 19, 2016 at 14:18

      As the kind of political hack he really is, he’ll fit in very well with Hillary. Being only 60 years of age, he might very well be planning for his next promotion – to the White House.

      Politicking is part of the process for promotions at any level, and often results in people of lesser competence being promoted over more qualified staff. There may be some military personnel and political functionaries who were promoted despite saying “No, sir” when “Yes, sir” was called for, but they must be extremely rare. As the Peter Principle indicates people rise to their levels of incompetence.

      As for Breedlove making it to the White House, there may not be much left of it after the Clintons (or Trump) get through with it.

    • Tristan
      June 19, 2016 at 14:56

      Deeper in one has to wonder then what is “… the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.”, beyond the fact the document referenced was sponsored by Gen. Breedlove?

    • Realist
      June 19, 2016 at 18:14

      Breedlove is a Neanderthal (having said that, I must apologise to those ancient cavemen who surely had far more sense than he does). Why on earth would Hitlery Clinton choose him to be her Secretary of Defense when Ash Carter is already off the bellicosity scale? Who needs to recruit Attila the Hun when we’ve already got Genghis Khan running the show? Whichever aspiring mass murderer she chooses to formulate her strategy for world domination, we can be sure that it will be the last person to ever hold the office. At least the earth will find a cure for global warming with the coming nuclear winter. So, there’s that, should you be convinced that there must be a silver lining to defeating Trump. Yes, all the racists will be gone, along with everyone else.

    • Madhu
      June 20, 2016 at 10:32

      Ugh, really?

      I never thought of that. Political generals are the worst.

  15. Bill Bodden
    June 19, 2016 at 13:28

    Breedlove appears to be Hillary’s and John McCain’s kind of guy. And what does his elevation into the higher ranks of the Pentagon say about the people making the necessary promotions? The responsible senate committee and ultimately the president have long histories of promoting generals of similar Strangelove-ian dispositions.

    Fortunately, when General Wesley Clark ordered General Michael Jackson to confront the Russians during the Balkan war the Brit had the outstanding good sense and moral courage to refuse that order because he had no intention of starting WW3.

    Then there were the great American heroes – “Blackjack” Pershing and Douglas MacArthur – who objected to the Armistice of November 11, 1918 that brought an end to a war that had already brought death to millions of people. These generals wanted to continue the war on to German soil at an additional cost of who-knows-how-many-more millions of lives. Despite their knowledge in the early hours of November 11th that an armistice would be signed at 11:00 am they insisted on continuing fighting until the last minute – adding many more names to the list of men who had already died in vain.

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