by Hugh Fitzgerald (April 2009)
I have learned my lesson now -- from two different comments,the first a while back, and the second just now from Mr. Groffman. Barclay de Tolly was not of French descent, but Scottish (like Lermontov), and spoke German (but I assume did not consider himself a "Baltic German," baltiiskij nemets). Next time I make a dumb assumption, I'd better double check. Which reminds me -- I'd better wiki-up on Baudouin de Courtenay right now, before I make another such mistake.
Barclay de Tolly wasn't French. He was Russian and his family had lived in the Russian empire for 150 years. His family were German speakers, and his ancestry was Scots.
Or as the Chinese say "Wu wei re zhi" - or "Managing by doing nothing" - an approach formally adopted by the Tang dynesty, one of the most successful ones. Also adopted by one of the most diligent and succesful Emperoro, Kunghxi. Complexity Science explains WHY this works when things are very complex and hard to predict; Complex Adaptive Leadership (see Wikipedia) explains HOW to do it in a way which gets results!
Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly was from Hasnseatic family which was, in its turn, the branch of Scottish aristocratic family of Barcleys. In some sources Michail Bogdanovich Barclay de Tolly is known as representative of family of Welsh aristocrats. Point is--he was NO French. The article is good, albeit debatable.
P.S. War and Peace was a mandatory read in Russian Tzarist Academy Of general Staff.
Mr. Fitzgerald, two thoughts: (a)perhaps the Islamists have read War and Peace and adopted the "retreat/don't engage" mentality by dawa, money, and demographics as you rightly identify the stealth jihad and (b)there is also a parallel between the above-it-all russian aristocrats and our self-satisfied elites who have no engagement with the evil and hatred infecting so much of the rest of our world. Perhaps (b) is well beyond the scope of your article; but (a) is a matter of pressing urgency,
I wonder if a valid comparison can be drawn with the success of islam over a divided Christendom? To what extent did filioque contribute to the present advance of desert barbarism?
Does anyone in power in the West even think as subtly as Kutuzov anymore? Bush, Obama, whatever ... nothing but crass everywhere you look.
And another point ... if folks actually read War and Peace, they might begin to realize there is something to defend in Western Civilization, something profound and beautiful. But alas, that would require curiosity and life experience necessary to appreciate the book; those have been squeezed out of the curriculum and the culture.
Dear Mr. Santiago Macquarrie,
Your last name, so winning in its mix, made me think of an old anglo-argentine acquaintance of mine, John Murchison, who when Borges spent a year at Harvard was his course grader, his guide (from 22 Concord Avenue to the basement of the library at Radcliffe), and his all-round helper until Norman Thomas Di Giovanni appeared, and pushed his way forward. Murchison's family had been in the Argentine since the railroads were built with British money; he could do a lunfardo muy cerrado as good, I suspect, as any Lugones or Fernandez.
And I take your a point. But did the American government have to spend two trillion dollars in Iraq for such practice? While the Americans are doing that, Iran is building its bombs, and China has built missiles that can destroy American aircraft carriers in the China Sea. A clever usee of resources and, what's more, attention?
And how many of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been thoroughly confused by the notion that they are there to "help the Iraqis" or "to reconstruct Afghanistan," and are kept, as much in the possible, in the dark about Islam. It doesn't help matters. It makes too many of the American military into Colonel Bogeys, pitching right in to build that bridge over the river Kwai, without asking themselves what the hell are we doing, and why?
As always, a first rate article, but do you not think it a good idea for US and British troops to get plenty of practice in fighting the holy warriors? The training they receive may prove very valuable back home when, as surely will happen soon enough, the Mohammedans go one step too far.
Santiago MacQuarrie, Argentina
As is plain to see. Ooops, that'll teach me to quote some half remembered stuff.
H?las no fury like a misquoted French poet.
As ever, a great article and a true startegic understanding of the current condition. The Master Principle of War taught in the past was that of the Selection and Maintenance of the Aim. What is the Aim of the muppets of the universe who have led us to where we are? EUrocrats and Obamaniacs with Gramsci's agenda? Where is the alternative Aim being propounded intelligently at the right level? Not too many places as Groupthink ensures it is unwelcome. It'll take a disaster to sort this out after a lot of spilled red stuff. Hey ho...