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By John Helmer, Moscow

One of the leading war strategists in London, professor to general staff officers and warfighters on both sides of the Atlantic, has lost his brain to an advanced cyber technology designed by the American and British military to win wars by frightening their adversaries into capitulation for fear of being destroyed. The new weapon appears to have backfired because it has destroyed the British strategist’s capability to take seriously what his enemy is thinking. The calculation required for fighting has been lost because the strategist has self-destructed.

Sir Lawrence Freedman (lead images) is the victim of this warp weapon; the evidence is the new book he published a few weeks ago. It’s called The Future of War, A History,  “In his new book,” according to a British intelligence veteran, “Freedman repeated everything we and the Americans, especially the Americans, have given him over the years.  But the outcome is what we might call an overdose of Novischlock.”

Freedman, 70,  has now retired from King’s College in London. Before he went, he was  commissioned by the British defence establishment to compose the official history of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s war against Argentina over the Falklands Islands in 1982. In 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed Freedman to the committee of inquiry into the British war against Iraq, named after the committee chairman Sir John Chilcot. Freedman’s task then, like that of the other committee members, was only partly to discover the truth of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s war of 2003. It was also “to identify the lessons that can be learned.  Those lessons will help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country.” 


The Chilcot Committee takes witness testimony; Freedman is second from right.

Freedman’s new book takes the best British interests for granted. He doesn’t report anything he’s read  unless it’s been turned into English first, except for one reference in French. The enemies identified in the book speak Russian, Chinese, Serbian, Pashto, and Arabic – not a word from them appears, except on Freedman’s say-so and interpretation.

On the front and back covers of his book, endorsements have been printed from the New York Times, The Times of London, and the Financial Times. The Russian media have ignored the book, except for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Russian Service.

On Freedman’s table of most frequent references, there’s himself on top; followed by a former Marine colonel and several others from Pentagon and NATO-financed think-tanks. References Freedman doesn’t agree with he shows verbal contempt for; for example, Noam Chomsky is  tagged a “left-wing polemicist” before liquidation.  Edward Luttwak, an American strategist of Israeli disposition, and academic rival of Freedman’s, is dismissed with the line: “there were obvious counter-examples to Luttwak’s examples.”

Among the many civil wars Freedman analyses, he doesn’t mention the English one, nor its victorious generals, Oliver Cromwell, William Waller and the two Fairfaxes. Too, Freedman’s geography is myopic – Ireland, Scotland and Wales are not places where Freedman recognizes the English have planned, won and lost a good many wars.  Civil war is something other people start somewhere else, and certainly never at the instigation of the British or American secret services. Syria, for example, “which appeared to be as stable as any Middle Eastern country,  came to be consumed by a civil war which gathered pace in 2011.”  Freedman manages to weaponize the reflexive passive verb.

For a reason Freedman doesn’t explain, the weapons of war are either of the physical type – gunshot,  blast, radiation, chemical or biological agents – or of the mind-changing variety. He entirely ignores economic warfare, destruction of assets, confiscation of food and money, and what the Americans insist on calling sanctions — as if they are penalties for violating international laws when in fact they are  weapons the US Government invents itself.

Freedman’s idea to start with is that by comparing the history of plans for war since the mid-19th century with the way the plans turned out in real wars, there are useful lessons to be learned right now in how to anticipate the next war – and defeat an enemy contemplating one. Freedman admits there’s a bit of a counting problem. He isn’t sure how many wars there have been in the last two centuries, or since the beginning of recorded time; nor whether the number of years of war dwarfs the number of years of peace. A whole chapter is devoted to counting casualties, but it ends in reservation: “there was no science here, and the great uncertainties  created opportunities for political manipulation  and wilful distortion.” Not on Freedman’s side, perish the thought.

Freedman believes it’s obvious who the other side is, so the book is a recommendation that his side should be the one doing the planning, anticipating, and lesson-learning in order to make sure the other side will be destroyed before it can pull a surprise. But Freedman hasn’t been alert enough; he hasn’t registered yet that he’s been taken by surprise.   

Among the facts of war Freeman spells out without considering the evidence:

  • The Soviet Union disintegrated because “the system turned out to be rotten”.
  • “The West’s victory over communism [capital W over small c] was…a triumph for the democratic way of life.”
  • “The antecedents of the Bosnian conflict were long and complex, but the origins of the immediate crisis lay in the instrumental use of nationalism by Slobodan Milosevic as the president of Serbia.” Freedman’s spelling is telling: heads of government on Freedman’s list of enemy states are always small-p presidents or prime ministers, but if they are English or American, they are always capital-p. However, Saddam Hussein and Bashar Al-Assad are named without titles at all.
  • “By 2015, following its invasion of Ukraine (including the annexation of Crimea) Russia had put itself back into the running as a threat to be taken seriously”.
  • Russian forces were responsible for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. “When one of their anti-aircraft missiles shot down a Malaysian Airlines aircraft in July 2014…instead of accepting responsibility they sought to implicate the Ukrainians , with explanations of the shoot-down becoming ever more fanciful.”
  • “Russian efforts used social media to spread false messages and create misleading impressions to weaken opponents…”

Among the lessons Freedman aims to inculcate in his readers:

  • US air superiority — “It is a long time since [US forces] have faced serious threats from the air”.
  • US firepower – “in most contingencies [the US] would enjoy an overwhelming advantage in firepower.”
  • US technological superiority in precision-guidance weapons, drones, and robots enables the US military to conduct wars which don’t risk popular resistance or Congressional disapproval because there is “minimal risk of casualties.”

Future wars, then, are what Freedman’s side says are wars, even if his enemies think something else.  He’s bound to agree with the Ukrainian and Canadian governments who have decided that the Kerch Strait incident of November 26 between the Ukrainian and Russian forces was war.  

According to the outgoing Chairman  of the US General Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford,  if the other side wins swiftly enough, it wasn’t a war. 


Left to right:  David Ignatius, the Washington Post’s booster of losing US wars for forty years, interviews General Joseph Dunford on December 6.  Source: https://dod.defense.gov/

When asked what had happened in the Kerch Strait and what the US military is going to do about it, Dunford replied:  “There is not a discussion ongoing right now about a military dimension in response to the Sea of Azov.  Obviously, my job in uniform is to make sure the president has options available should he decide to respond with military force. But there has been no military response nor has there been a discussion about a military response to the Sea of Azov in public.”    Dunford also admitted that he has not “specifically” spoken about the incident with his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov.

In Freedman’s book, Gerasimov is given credit for thinking up  a “way to prevail in a conflict without having to rely on superior force in a classic battle”. Might Gerasimov out-think Dunford, and the Russian military defeat the American military? On his last page Freedman’s brain collapses into tautology.  “The future is not preordained. This is the main reason why prediction is so difficult.”

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