Photo by Sebastian Gorka via Wikipedia‘s Wikimedia Commons.
Three factors led to Russia’s defeat and any outside actor will have to deal with these factors should they wish to drastically change the Afghan reality in a lasting way.
To change Afghanistan, an outside power must do the following:
- install a national leader who is a Pashtun but who is recognized by, and able to make lasting deals with, the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara ethnic groups;
- effectively co-opt the most significant tribal players;
- cut off sanctuary to any insurgent element exploiting the porous border with Pakistan.
The Soviet Union failed on all three counts.
Gorka, Sebastian. “U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan: The Lessons of History.” Jewish Policy Center, Spring 2010.
Related on BackChannels: “FTAC: The New Nationalists and Moscow’s Reflexive Control.” February 7, 2017.
The Cold War ended on December 25, 1991, and although the Phantoms of the Soviet would seem to haunt Moscow as the revived capital of a persistent KGB State under the guidance of President Putin, the axis of east-west competition has been profoundly changed or clarified.
Throughout the Soviet Era, Washington promoted the virtues of Capitalism against Communism, and for most Americans, that argument between “centralized economic planning” and the “free enterprise system” appears to have sufficed for explaining east-west hostilities.
Perhaps there was more to it then — something more about the soul of historic Russian politics in the mix — but the public — or perhaps only this editor, lol — would not seem to have been able to “get it” until now:
Medieval Political Absolutism
Modern Democratic and Checked Distribution of Power
In the process of developing his own political stance, Sebastian Gorka, the son of a fiercely anti-communist, anti-Soviet father — one Paul Gorka betrayed by the infamous spy Kim Philby and subsequently captured by communist officials in Hungary and imprisoned and and tortured — appears to have focused on Moscow’s continuing totalitarian aspect but not on the medieval aspects that may characterize his own authoritarian response to challengers of American democratic principles and values (including America’s classically liberal outlook).
Instead, perhaps in reflexive response to Islamic Terrorism, Gorka may have played precisely into Moscow’s feudal worldview, preferring to amplify the forces of Islamic Jihad as part of the Trump Administration’s sense of mission while missing the observation that the threat of Islamic terrorism has served Putin quite well.
Here’s a trick: look up “Zawahiri, Russia”.
Also see, for example, David Satter’s work on the “Moscow Apartment Bombings” (National Review, August 17, 2016).
Also consider Moscow’s near 100 years of experience exploiting, sometimes sponsoring, and today perhaps manipulating terrorism.
By focusing perhaps overmuch on “Islamic Terrorism” — a deus ex machina that generally targets for slaughter those Muslims who seem the first to be in its way — Sebastian Gorka has perhaps missed the necessity of putting to rest the yesterday that was the medieval world and its worldviews while further widening the scope of connectivity and cooperation that has brought us our modern world, boosted international trade beyond imaging, and far promoted the secular humanist ideals and values associated with democracy and its defense of community and individual belief.
As now long demonstrated by the Syrian Conflict and Tragedy as well as continuous warfare in Ukraine, the existence of Putin’s world and worldview depends mightily on the validation of authoritarian nationalism and its indulgence in barbarism.
Encountered earlier today: fragments from the web involving Sebastian Gorka.
Note: Gorka’s own misplaced emphasis on loyalty to an elected official, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and by extension himself would seem part of the medieval formula and precisely that which personal and political insight would now do well to address.
My father spent 6 years in a communist prison, two years in solitary. Not two months, two years. Two years in a prison coal mine where each prisoner – hold on to your seats – without machinery or explosives was required by the communist wardens to break ten tons of anthracite off the coal face every day. But, a few years later, in the cold, cold autumn of 1956, something happened that was monumental. Not as monumental as Wednesday morning, but monumental. The group of young Hungarian students and manual laborers, believe it or not — quite a coalition, think about Wednesday. Yeah? Think about the blue-collar rural vote. Some students and some manual laborers decided to have a demonstration in Budapest, the silent demonstration. That silent demonstration devolved into the first freedom fight against communism, the October revolution of 1956, 60 years ago this year. As the result of that revolution, my father was liberated from prison by a revolutionary commander who had captured a Soviet tank.
Frontpage. “Sebastian Gorka: How We Defeat the Global Jihad: The ISIS threat in our midst and a plan for victory.” November 30, 2016.
Posted by The Majority Report With Sam Seder, February 9, 2017.
There has been an incredible amount of interest in “our” Sebastian Gorka. I say “our” because Hungarian Spectrum was the first internet site to deal at some length with Gorka, who, by the way, is turning out to be a much more important character in the Trump White House than we first realized.
It was on January 31 that I wrote “Sebastian Gorka’s Road from Budapest to the White House” and on February 2, “Sebastian L. von Gorka’s encounter with the Hungarian National Security Office.” Subsequently, with the help of Eli Clifton, who wrote a fascinating article titled “Why Is Trump Adviser Wearing Medal of Nazi Collaborators?” I ascertained that I was wrong in assuming that the “v.” in Sebastian L. v. Gorka’s name stands for “von.” I came to the revised conclusion that the medal on Gorka’s “bocskai” is the symbol of the “vitézi rend” or “Order of Heroes” and that the “v.” stands for “vitéz.” Clifton’s article is a real gem, which should be read by everyone who wants to know more about Gorka’s right-wing roots.
Balogh, Eva S. “Donald Trump’s Influential Advisers: Sebastian and Katharine Gorka.” Hungarian Spectrum, February 13, 2017.
Balogh, Eva S. “Sebastian Gorka’s Road from Budapest to the White House.” Hungarian Spectrum, January 31, 2017.
The White House’s omission of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in its statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day raised objections from Jewish groups across the political spectrum but the Trump administration’s combative defense was perhaps the most surprising move by a presidency facing record low approval numbers. Last Monday, Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka refused to admit that that it may have been poor judgment not to specifically acknowledge the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust.
Gorka was an odd choice of proxies for the White House to put forward in defense of its Holocaust Remembrance day statement.
He has appeared in multiple photographs wearing the medal of a Hungarian group listed by the State Department as having collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
Clifton, Eli. “Why is Trump Adviser Wearing Medal of Nazi Collaborators?” LobeLog Foreign Policy, February 12, 2017.
On February 7, 2017, Gorka asserted that the White House would continue to call all media criticism of Trump “fake news” until the media let go of its “monumental desire” to destroy the President.
Gorka is a member of the Order of Vitéz (Vitézi Rend), an hereditary order of merit which was founded by Miklós Horthy in 1920. Although required to list and renounce his membership in the Vitézi Rend, an order prohibited along with other Nazi-linked organizations, on his N-400 Application for Naturalization in 2012 when he sought U.S. citizenship, Gorka appeared on FOX News on Inauguration evening dressed in the uniform and wearing the badge, tunic, and ring of the Vitezi Rend.
What editors and writers seem to be detecting in their presentation of Sebastian Gorka is a latent fascism that would appear to mirror Moscow’s character. As much surfaced with Trump’s choice of Paul Manafort, consultant to Ukrain’s corrupt and piratical Viktor Yanukovych (among other of the world’s dismally kleptocratic personalities) as a campaign manager. By now, the White House should be figuring out that it needs to change public perception of its own authoritarian bents or continue eroding the confidence of the electorate, and that across Party lines.
Founded by Sebastian and Katherine Cornell Gorka: Institute for Transitional Democracy and International Security
Harris, Ben. “Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka Calls Criticism of Holocaust Statement ‘Asinine’.” Forward, February 7, 2017.
Clifton does not bother to report why the order was awarded then, or even why the “Hungarian diaspora” existed in the first place; he shows no interest in the order as an anti-communist symbol, merely noting that the Soviets banned it.
And of course Clifton offers no evidence — none at all — that Gorka, or his antecedents, had any kind of empathy for the Nazi regime or its views.
Clifton could have consulted Gorka’s book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, to know more about his background. His father grew up during the Nazi siege of Budapest and later joined the anti-communist resistance. He was betrayed by Kim Philby, a British double agent for the Soviet Union, arrested and tortured.
Pollak, Joel B. “Fake News: Media Smear Sebastian Gorka as Nazi Sympathizer.” Breitbart, February 14, 2017.
Gorka says journalists have deliberately misrepresented Trump’s intentions, and that on occasion it provides comic relief at the White House.
“I come in every day and with my colleagues we have a good old laugh because we open the newspapers, the ones that are supposed to be the leading authorities in America, and they write about issues where we were in the room the day before, and their reportage has absolutely no resemblance to what is actually happening inside the White House,” he says.
Gorka says the White House is not in disarray and denies its officials are sending mixed signals on policies including Washington’s stance on Ukraine and Russia. But contradictions are apparent.
PRI. “Breitbart alumni shape the message at Trump’s White House.” February 7, 2017.
Posted by Fox Business February 7, 2017.
Generally speaking, “If it bleeds, it leads” has been the working rule in journalism, but if nothing much happens — perhaps as when the FBI publicizes a sting — it may well be met with a shrug.
One may flip the question and leave it rhetorical: what conflicts and acts of terror (on BackChannels, “Allahu Akbar Attacks”) have the major media overlooked?
Posted by AfterPod on February 8, 2017.
McKew, Molly. “Putin’s Real Long Game: The world order we know is already over, and Russia is moving fast to grab the advantage. Can Trump figure out the new war in time to win it?” Politico, January 1, 2017.