Book of the Week

I am very pleased to announce that Equality: The Impossible Quest, by Martin van Creveld, is now available in case bound hardcover for $24.99 on Amazon. Along with his friend William S. Lind, Martin is Castalia’s most important non-fiction author and he is one of the foremost military minds living today. Jerry Pournelle himself has observed that van Creveld is a necessary addendum to Clausewitz; one simply cannot hope to begin understanding modern war without becoming familiar with his distinction between trinitarian and nontrinitarian warfare.

Equality is Martin’s attempt to examine and understand the ill-defined and nebulous idea that has somehow become the ruling political metric of our times. From the reviews:

  • A work of amazing breadth, Martin van Creveld also explores the depth of the history of equality, while striking a healthy tone between conversational and scholarly. Reading through the book ends up being rather easy, as the writing is engaging, yet a plethora of footnotes intersperse the text for those who wish to either fact-check or read further. 
  • I’ve not read van Creveld’s work
    before, though I am familiar with his reputation and his theories in a
    secondhand way, but this book has definitely sold me on reading the rest
    of his work.
  • A must-have for every student of Western philosophy. 
  • If there was more justice in the
    world, this would be assigned to young students as a primer — or
    rather, as an inoculation against — this seductive political idea which
    has become so debased over the last 200 years. 

This is a hardcover for which I have personally been eagerly awaiting. Castalia will be releasing more print books, in paperback and hardcover, in the near future. The next three will be 4GW Handbook (paperback), Cuckservative, (paperback), and Brings the Lightning, (hardcover, paperback).

And speaking of Martin van Creveld, if you haven’t been periodically checking out his blog, you really should. He doesn’t post often, nor does he usually post original work, but he always selects very interesting and informative guest articles. (I have myself once had the honor of having one of my posts selected for a guest article, a distinction I would not trade for a dozen Hugos.) The latest, “Sarejevo on the Baltic?” by Karsten Riise, merits a read simply on the off-chance that it might correctly read the possibility that Russia’s unexpectedly successful Syrian adventure was a practice run for Ukraine and the Baltics.

Baltic Membership in NATO is Destabilizing

When both sides have good reason to feel insecure, the relationship between them becomes unstable and something dramatic may well happen. This is currently the case in the Baltic where Russia may feel an understandable need to take action to remove the future military threat from the three Baltic countries before proceeding to liquidate its unfinished business in the Ukraine.

Any Russian operation in the Baltic will have to take place before NATO’s growing presence there makes it too dangerous. By NATO Treaty, such an operation will be considered an attack on all NATO countries, the US included. But honestly: In such a case, will the US and Europe risk a nuclear war? Probably not. Thus Russia may bet on a limited conventional war; one which would lead to the end of NATO.

On 17 May 2016 one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, Berlingske Tidende, published an article by a retired NATO brigadier general. The article was written with some typical NATO rhetoric. But under the rhetoric the Danish brigadier general seemed to be genuinely scared. He fears that something violent may take place in connection with NATO’s maneuver, BALTOPS 2016, schedules to take place in the Baltic Sea from 3- to 19 June, as Russia’s window for action in that region may become smaller in the future. As I just explained, his worries are in line with own my analysis.

Russian Interest in (Temporary) Stabilization in Syria

The Russian operations in Syria bear strong similarities to those of the German “Legion Condor” during the 1930s Spanish Civil War. They enabled the Kremlin to test and train its most advanced weapons—and watch them working perfectly well. The lesson to NATO? Beware!

For a conflict in the Baltic, Russia will prefer to have all of its air force back after its success in Syria. Land operations in the Ukraine are better undertaken in the summer time, and a Baltic operation will have to take place before NATO builds up too many forces in the Baltic. Therefore Russia has an interest in reaching a settlement (at least temporary) with the West on Syria; one that may allow it to bring the rest of its military aircraft home. As NATO’s build up in the Baltic accelerates, Russia may only have short time left to act