RUSSIA WILL NOT FIGHT
A. J. E.
CRANSTOUN, M. C.
MARXISM, as inter
preted by Lenin, envisaged political life as a constant state of war until the final victory of world revolution h a s been achieved. Lenin himself was a keen student of the classic military writers, and especially of Von Clausewitz.
But, whereas Clausewitz maintained that "war is a continuation of policy by other means". Lenin's political creed is really summed up in the phrase of General Chapochnikou, "peace is a continuation of the struggle by other
Clausewitz taught that war was the servant of policy, to be resorted to only when all nonviolent means of diplomacy and international bargaining had failed. Lenin on the other hand. held that world revolution could only be brought about by the direct brutal use of force. Politics and polices were stratagems by which the field was prepared for the decisive battle.
For Clausewitz the strongest form of war was the kind of defence which allowed a weaker or
discomfited party to husband its resources and prepare for a counterstroke. Lenin never failed to teach that the offensive was the positive form of war and alone led to ultimate and decisive victory.
Yet, while Lenin and his followers accepted the philosophical concept of " absolute force ", they recognised that in practice this must be modified according to the current situation.
Lenin was particularly struck by the phrase that war was an instrument of policy, and, though he reversed this dictum. he and his followers ha ve always sought to conduct their wars, whether political or military. with moderation. So as not to provoke too strong an opposition.
ANoTHER Clausewitz dictum which greatly impressed Lenin and his adherents is: '' War exists for the defender rather than the attacker. It is only when the attack is met by violence that war breaks out. A eonquerer is always the champion of peace.
"Napoleon Bonaparte used to say that he would have preferred to have entered countries, without meeting resistance, and that it was they, not he, who wanted war by resisting him." This latter doctrine is very much in evidence now, when the Russians claim that it is they who are the peace loving people and the West wino are the warmongers, because they are not prepared to accept with quiet resignation the inevitable progress of world revolution.
This line of .irgument has a very special political importance in the domestic sphere of the Soviet Union. For. while the Party elite and its armed forces are conditioned by the political and military studies to the acceptance of war— and in theory, war a outrance—• as part ot the natural order of things, the great bulk of the people are not.
These it7"Z. on the whole. peaceloving. jealous of their level of living (however low it may be by Western standards), and they are still considerably shaken by the casualties suffered in the last world war. It would be highly danger /Is. if not impossible. to urge them to march in support of a war which might be described as aggressive or imperialist.
But they are nevertheless very patriotic and convinced of the Russian mission in the world—a relic of Czarism and Orthodoxy. If they could be convinced that their motherland and alt she stands for were in danger. and their hardly won material benefits threatened. through the stupid opposition of the non-Communist world, then indeed they might be roused.
WAR OF THE MIND
SOV1ET psychological warfare must he waged on two Ironic.
home and foreign. To the first, Russian policy must be presented as pacific and reasonable. seeking only to protect Russia from hostile powers. To the second. Russia must be made terrible. an irresistible force to which it is better to yield, rather than risk total disaster.
In Russia and East Germany recently, there has been a renewal of interest in the study of Clausewitz, possibly because the party elite feels that the time for the final phase a the world revolutionary struggle is fast approaching. and they must prepare their people for the decisive battle which will bring it about.
The reports reaching them from their agencies abroad embassies. foreign Communist Panics, front organisations cultural and commercial missions •must be Most Co Co iir4g!ng,
Everywhere. it can be said. people are confused, bent on their own material interests. hypnotised
by Russian scientific achievement. PrStress can be laid on the warm welcome given to the Russian "Spaceman ", the Russian ballet companies the growing interest in all things Ruesian. In the three main theatres of Operation. the non-Communist world is on the defensive. In the Far East. SEATO has just suffered a defeat over Laos. In the Middle East. CENTO is struggling to restore the outpost lines ruptured by the disaffection of Iraq. The special relationship previously existing between Biitain and Iraq acted as a stabiliser for the whole area. Today, that area is in a slate of grave political unrest.
t‘,UROPE and the Atlantic is the decisive theatre. Victory there would mean total victory. The neutrals would hurry to throw in their lot with the victor on any available terms. Any backward and ex-colonial peoples who did not surrender at once would be mopped up in a Feries of "police operations".
At long last. the NATO theatre shows signs of waking up to the dangers threatening it. There are the signs now of a movement towards a more united Europe and the strengthening of its defences.
Africa, and Southern and C.enIra! America are side shows — to he used for the kind of diversions recommended by Clausewitz provided that the effort put into them does not materially detract from one's strength in the decisive theatre, and provided that they impose a greater dissipation of strength on the enemy than on oneself.
Reports from these areas must be encouraging to Russia, and their problems make excellent ammunition for the political warfare battles fought in the various international gatherings.
Russia is now placed for the supreme moment. She has a massive superiority in conventional arms. and a propaganda superiority in the nuclear field. Her satellite empire seems, in the main, united behind her, while her one obstacle to world domination is the loosely allied Atlantic community.
Certain less favourable factors might suggest quick decision. The first is a failure of. Communism to capture her youth. The Communist missionary is to be found more often outside the frontiers of the Soviet Moe than within.
Industry and agriculture make greater and greater calls on Soviet manpowei. Reserves dwindle because of the reduced number of birth in the war years and the heavy child casualties. Agriculture deteriorates as the peasant resents collectivisation and the country has no attraction for the growing numbers of industrialised Russians.
Throughout the whole bloc, there is a flight From the land to the new industries, a result of Communist propaganda building up the status of the industrial worker at the expense of the peasant.
THE competition of China, as the Revolution's eldest daughter. for the Revolution's leadership is yet another factor suggesting that swift action must be taken. Russia has reached its zenith. hut China's power is growing still. An absolute victory now would establish Russia's position once and for ad.
Allegiance in some tarts of the Soviet bloc is switching from Russia to China. Moreover. China's wide spaces and huge population imply a better chance of surviving the ordeal, with
ghastly wounds, admittedly, but in effect only flesh wounds.
If Russia could be sure of a quick decisive victory in the West, preferably with conventional weapons. her decision would be easy — strike, and strike at once! But can she be certain?
Much of the Western network of bases has been dismantled, it is true. But some remain. and Polaris the compensation for the loss of the others, The West, if resolute, cart strike back and inflict terrible damage. crippling Rusaia. Even if the West were mainly destroyed, there would be only an empty Pyrrhic victory to compensate for the ruin of everything built up since 1917. And, in these circumstances. China. not Russia, would become master of the world revolution,
As good students of Clausewitz. I feel that the Russians might well hesitate before taking the final step. — They could justify their reluctance by saying that: while accepting the philosophic concept of absolute war, there is no good risking defeat or eclipse if one can gain a partial victory by political means.
A political defeat has an adverse military effect on the loser no less than a direct military one — for. as Clausewitz teaches, all international questions are both political and Military, and wars are, in the main, fought by other weapons than bayonets. rockets and bombs.
A resounding victory in the political field would restore Russia's prestige, rally the perhaps wavering loyalty of her satellites, while in no way risking her war potential should she in future be forced to fight.
As for the opening bombardment for this political battle, she has begun a new series of tests. Both Fast and West have sufficient first and second strike resources to inflict crippling damage on each other.
The results of any new series of tests is unlikely to upset the present balance of military power, but it may well have a considerable one on popular imagination —so great in fact as to make the vario'us national leaders ready to discuss terms that they might not otherwise have entertained.
Russie does not want war — like Napoleon, she would prefer to have her plans for world revolution accepted without opposition. War is the unfortunate but inevitable consequence of opposition to her wishes.
IF the West rernains firm. and -I. makes it clear that it will use all legitimate resources at its disposal to defend its liberty, Russia will not fight.
The outcome of anything but a quick and comparatively cheaply purchased absolute victory would endanger the success of her long term plans for world domination. When faced by a superior force. Clausewitz recommended withdrawal to positions of strength, and then, under cover. planning and working for the resumption of the offensive at a favourable opportunity.
But such a withdrawal will only take place in the face of opponents prepared for incredibly resolute war. All we can do now is to pray to God that our Leaders have wisdom. and we the courage. moral and physical, as well as the resolution. to stand up to the psychological warfare offensive which is now being launched against the free world.