The Fukuyama Complex - Fixed Ideas and Imagination

Posted in Asia | 18-Aug-04 | Author: Herbert Kremp

9/11 - the "war on terror" starts.
9/11 - the "war on terror" starts.
30 July 2004: "Failure of imagination" – this verdict by the 9/11 Commission in its report to Congress applies not only to US intelligence but also to the administrations of Clinton and Bush and the whole civilized world that is threatened by "jihadist" terrorism. For heuristic purposes, let’s refer to its failure, self-endangerment and ultimate risk of losing its reputation, life and sense of mission as the “Fukuyama Complex”. It is one of the structural defects of the 20th century, as this essay is going to demonstrate: In critical situations, fixed ideas were combined with a tremendous lack of imagination.

As the Soviet Union came to an end in 1991, the notion arose in the US and in Europe that the last imaginable alternative to liberal democracy had collapsed. Francis Fukuyama, an essayist trained in European thought and at the time deputy director of the US State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, condensed this thought to a philosophy of history: Fukuyama's book "The End of History" (1992) depicts mankind as a wagon trek that finally, after a difficult trail of history, comes “to town” – meaning the destination of the "rational course of the world", liberal democracy as a universal principle. Hegel scholar Alexandre Kojève was the godfather, and the image of the "new frontier" provided the impulse. Fukuyama asserts that the end of history is now only facing threats by men, unable to live without struggle and therefore potentially acting against "the good cause". Fukuyama does still recognize anthropological dangers, but he cannot imagine political ones anymore. In the bibliography that indicates his intellectual horizon, there is not a single book on Islam (in 1992!). The key sentence of Fukuyama's piece, "...liberal democracy remains the only clearly defined goal shared by the different regions and cultures around the world", shows "the failure of imagination" – everywhere, but with a particularly dramatic effect in the US.

The role of intelligence services

The Fukuyama Complex is reflected in the Senate report on US intelligence and in the 9/11 Commission's report, both released in July 2004. All western nations are to blame of the "lack of imagination", with the hardest lesson having been given to the US on September11, 2001. Primarily, therefore, blame lies with the administrations of Clinton (1993-2001) and George W. Bush as well as the with the "grass roots" of the US national security system – the "messy universe" of the 15 US intelligence services, above all the CIA and FBI.

What led to the "failure of imagination"?

One must remember that this universe of US intelligence came into being in the late 1940s after the collapse of the misalliance of 1941. From then on, as pointed out by experts such as Dr. George Friedman, its whole apparatus and organization was oriented towards

  • investigating the strategic intentions, military, technological and industrial capacities of the Stalinist empire;
  • penetrating and deceiving the Soviet leadership, particularly the KGB secret services;
  • influencing and controlling the leaderships of other states as well as political "movements" of all sorts in the world;
  • countering complementary Soviet intelligence operations.

The US intelligence services tried to offset the KGB's advantage in its operations in free societies by making intensive use of their technological advantage. Both systems – though asymmetrical – were in tune with each other and worked well, at some times better than at others, in a manner that would not ever provide decisive advantage to either side but offered so much information and influence that a “balance of intelligence” was constituted, at least after the disclosure of important nuclear secrets in the 1950s.

William J. Casey, successful director of the CIA during the Reagan years (1981-1987) told me in 1984: "We have penetrated them (the Soviets) deeply. We can pull strings. We have fewer operatives in place, but our technology is superior and we are inside their communications system. We know the Soviet Union’s economic weaknesses. They are fundamental and in the long term fatal. We control large parts of the KGB, on the inside a very bureaucratic organization, including the movements of its affiliated terrorist groups worldwide. This will go on until it is all over".

Dr. Herbert Kremp is member of the WSN International Advisory Board.
Dr. Herbert Kremp is member of the WSN International Advisory Board.
It was apparent that the CIA, in particular, claimed for itself “a proud share”, as stated by William J. Webster, CIA director 1987-91, of the eventual political and economic victory over the Soviet empire. As always, victory created a critical situation: Since the CIA's human capacity and global activity was focused on the Soviet Union and China, and its recruitment and specialization were targeted primarily at these “objects", the notion was underdeveloped that a different dangerous power could emerge in the “post-Communist” era. The CIA saw no need for drastic reforms to redefine its mission and organization.

During the administrations of George Bush, Clinton and (in the beginning) George W. Bush, the CIA concentrated on China; Through its economic experts who went to Russia in large numbers after 1991, it also influenced the Yeltsin regime and the safety of the Russian weapons arsenal. As it was thought at the time that Arab terrorism (Palestinians), nationalistically motivated at first, was directed and manipulated by the KGB, it was believed that this sort of terrorism would lose its character as a "weapon" and its "borrowed" capability to operate globally with the end of the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, terror organizations that had no connection to the KGB were considered irrelevant - at least not a challenge for the US. "The world has become a safer place", exclaimed William J. Webster in January 1990 in Washington. Saddam Hussein's attack on Kuwait and the brief war in 1991 did not change this fundamental belief. On the contrary: The US cooperated with Gorbachev's Soviet Union, the United Nations and an Arab coalition that even included Syria. The "new world order" that President George Bush referred to when addressing Congress in March 1991 reflects the Fukuyama Complex as an optimistic principle of thought. At NATO conferences, Bush even referred to the "peace dividend” that could now be reaped.

After 1991, the CIA remained in the hands of the "old boys" - the old China hands and the old Russia hands. The discourse style of reminiscence was combined with the nostalgia of veterans who had won an immense war. They looked back, spent lots of money to install giant computer systems - digital world maps that showed everything that was happening (most of all, however, what had happened). Many analysts spoke Chinese or Russian but hardly anyone spoke Indian dialects, only a few Arabic, as Walter Laqueur complained about to me. Central and South America remained of interest. As a curiosity, the habit continued to tend to the "sensitive" European neutrals - the Swedes and the Finns. The assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme on 28 February 1986 was acknowledged by the intelligence community almost with satisfaction ("well finally"). The Swedish General Staff was told by Washington in the night after the attack that Palme had been murdered...

Underestimating al Qaeda

In these conditions, underestimating al Qaeda was almost inevitable. Lack of imagination allowed al Qaeda to operate "in the shadows" for a long time. The CIA had only heard of the organization through Afghan, Pakistani and Saudi sources only a short time before the Soviets retreat from Afghanistan in 1989. Islamism, or as they preferred to say: "jihadism", was not unknown – it had infiltrated Nasser's an the PLO’s "nationalism" after the Arab defeat in 1967 as an "ideology of salvation". At this stage, however, the CIA considered this radicalism, now religiously founded, to be just a "volte"in the KGB’s flexible approaches, and not a new, independent strategic force.

This was partially so because al Qaeda was not directed by, or even dependent on, any intelligence agency after its emergence from the resistance against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Bin Laden's men had connections to the intelligence service of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and gained support there in terms of money and information, but remained free and unpredictable, even vis-à-vis the Taliban whom Bin Laden considered to be too close to the US. Bin Laden lived under the protection of "Islamic brotherhood", but he disagreed with Taliban leader Mohammed Omar's intention to "drape the cloak of the caliph over his own shoulders". According to Bin Laden, the creation of a new caliphate should take place only at the completion of a global revolutionary process (process of conversion), in which corrupt leaders, monarchs and heads of state in the Arab world should first be gotten rid of.

The United States, as the chief power of Jahiliyya, became a target early on, after Afghanistan had demonstrated that "God willing" even global military powers like the Soviet Union could be defeated. Al Qaeda did not share its “big secret” with its Taliban brothers: the series of attacks against the US that began with the attack in the basement of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. The Taliban were farmer warriors. Al Qaida represented intelligence, progress and modernism in the name of the rule of Allah.

3/11 -  massive terrorist attacks come to Europe.
3/11 - massive terrorist attacks come to Europe.
Al Qaeda had understood the methods of the KGB and the CIA in the Cold War and acted in a manner that prevented agents from penetrating it and tapping into its communications. Al Qaeda's inner circle always consisted of people who long knew each other. Messages are transported by donkey, the most advanced defense against spies. Technology-spoiled after its competition with the KGB, the CIA only takes seriously what is "audible" and "visible". It came to the conclusion very soon that such a primitive organization as al Qaeda could not possibly pose a global threat or be effective in wars at a distance. Moreover, in the early 1990s the CIA did not grasp the "jihadism" of religiously fanatic terrorists. If they were relevant at all, they were only a regional problem and not new phenomenon on the scale of a global threat. Although it sounds like a paradox for an intelligence agency, the CIA remained caught in the Fukuyama Complex. It is for this reason that it was taken by surprise by the disaster on September 11, 2001.

In general, it can be said that until this point, the US and the complete western world, i.e. "western society" (if there is such a thing), had imagined themselves trekking to the "great city of liberty". Then they ran away in all directions as if under attack by Indians. Perhaps a comment made by Joseph Hermann Abs about stockholders applies to this form of society: They are stupid. Even odder, the terror-stricken Bush administration only begins to radically reform the intelligence services, the hard core of the security apparatus, nearly 3 years after the attack. The proposals put forward by the Congressional committee read like an embarrassing list of deficiencies. George Tenet was only removed after 2 1/2 years of self-defense at the CIA after the catastrophe.

Franklin D. Roosevelt could have served as an example: After the Japanese attack against the fleet in Pearl Harbor, he fired the top echelon of responsible officers - at the beginning of a war on several fronts. The congressional report on the surprise attack was not published at the time - this was done only after the war. However, Roosevelt drew the conclusions immediately. It is true that Bush reinforced the security apparatus of the United States through a series of measures, but the sensitive early warning system of the intelligence services and its management have remained unchanged despite their acknowledged defects. Institutionally, "imagination" remained at the same level. A few of the "old boys" vacated their chairs, but substantially nothing has changed. If, as anticipated by many people, a new attack were to occur in the US or against US interests somewhere in the world before the presidential elections in November, this would have to be double-charged to the Bush administration’s account.

So far, our analysis has shown that a lack of imagination is encouraged by fixed ideas, leaving simple ignorance aside for the moment. Without the Fukuyama factor, the radius of imagination of US policy would be larger, the threat perception more complex, and the field of regard more variable. The notion of a universal principle of liberal democracy to be attained through the rational movement of history is part of the philosophical pattern of enlightenment. It has a certain noble intellectual dignity in its erroneousness, and is therefore ineradicable in respectable societies. In contrast, the mistakes that it causes and in particular its immense historical consequences are always banal, bloody and cruel. They lead to a sort of double destruction: On the one hand, they rob the conception of history of every bit of all splendor of progress; on the other, they disillusion the unavoidable victims who perceive the events as an inferno. "Let all hope go, those who enter here" acclaims the inscription over the door to hell in Dante's "Divine Comedy".

For our question how severe "failures of imagination" can happen, there are several other prominent and insightful examples.

The First World War, 1914-1918

During the events that led up to the First World War, that is being remembered today with such piety as if it represented the 100th anniversary of the "original disaster”, the truly fateful combination of idèe fixe and the lack of imagination played a decisive role. As Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles, dealing with responsibility for the war, and the German Fischer controversy of the 1960s have faded (Fritz Fischer had claimed that it was Germany's objective in 1914 to become a world power and place itself at “equal rank” next to Russia and the United States), it is generally accepted that in 1914, the European powers clashed as a result of well-distributed, latent willingness to use force and a lack of problem-solving capacity. Nowadays, the reasons for this war are discussed more openly. The stereotype of older historical literature that Germany and its elites are solely responsible for this war is now under scrutiny.

The war was not inevitable. However, in the countries ready to engage in conflict there were certain impressions, "fixed ideas", even complexes of ideas that proved to be irresolvable. Contrary to routine allegations, the colonial question and naval rivalry were in themselves not substantial reasons for going to war. Listing the Emperor’s loose remarks does not make this reasoning more convincing. What was more important, and in the end decisive, was the indelible, increasingly paranoid mutual mistrust - British hegemonial fear faced with an industrially and scientifically dynamic Germany; French resentment of 1871, mixed with fear; Russian pan-Slavism and its exercise in the Balkans; and German fear of encirclement after the other great European powers had shifted their attention from global conflict areas to the European continent (something Bismarck had sought to avoid successfully in his time, with a desperate look to the future).

Thus, the First World War was a collective blunder. Since the beginning of the century, constellations of alliances and conflicts gave rise to a readiness to strike that could not be contained through the weak traditional methods of diplomatic communication. The power to drive and slow down events rested with Great Britain, as Niall Ferguson convincingly shows in his book "The Pity of War" (1998). In the end, Britain's leadership was unwilling, to an ultimately decisive part, to accept a new decision in Europe in the form of 1870-71 and the Peace of Frankfurt. In their opinion, Germany had become too large for this. British Foreign Minister Edward Grey (1905-1916) who represented the anti-German faction in England, at first a minority, told the poet Henry Newbold in 1903: "I have come to the conclusion that Germany is our worst enemy and poses the greatest danger to us ... I believe that German policy amounts to helping themselves to what they want without providing something in return: To keep us isolated, so that they (the Germans) can watch how we fall squarely on our back." The entente with France and the triple entente since the British-Russian Treaty of Petersburg in 1907 seemed to Grey to be indispensable guarantees against the "new dominance" centered in Berlin. In order to strengthen Russia as a "counterweight against Germany on the continent", Grey agreed to carve up Persia into 3 zones: a northern Russian zone, a southern British zone and a neutral zone at the center. He even toned down the old opposition against opening the Turkish Straits. The Russians could return to their dream of conquering Constantinople.

Trenches of World War I.
Trenches of World War I.
War preparations by the British Committee of Imperial Defence (CID) - planning for an expeditionary force to assist France, doubting Belgian neutrality and Grey's appeasement of Russia - were based on the fixed idea that Germany was playing a "role on the global stage ... that is much greater and more dominant than it had been conceded in the light of the current correlation of forces" (memorandum by Eyre Crow of November 1907). Germany's ambitions were portrayed as "boundless", and in 1911 Grey warned of a threat of "Napoleonic proportions" in Europe. The CID's opinions and conclusions did not receive majority support in Herbert Asquith's cabinet. In November 1911; it decided that there should be no discussions between the General Staff and the staffs of other countries (France) that could commit Britain directly or indirectly vis-à-vis other countries to intervene on land or at sea. This again supports the view that the war was not destined to happen. However, the fear that without being firmly allied with other great powers, Britain would fall under the iron grip of the “Teutons” and everything that the “Teutonic system” represented (Winston Churchill), blocked every chance of utilizing elements of rapprochement, such as for example the British-German practice of coordinating colonial policies before the war. The conversations between British War Minister John Scott Haldane and the Emperor, Chancellor von Bethmann Hollweg and Minister of Naval Affairs Tirpitz in Berlin in 1912 dealt with agreements over naval and colonial issues, and eventually about a non-aggression pact. The Germans in no way demanded "unconditional" British neutrality in the event of a war between Germany and France at this occasion. On the contrary. von Bethmann's draft said: "If one (of the high contracting parties) is involved in a war where they cannot be considered as aggressor, the other side will at least assume an attitude of benevolent neutrality.”

One is tempted to share Niall Ferguson's suggestion that these facts are able to turn Fritz Fischer's theories upside down. The question is justified: Why did Grey and the highest level officials in the Foreign Office and in the General Staff conjure up alleged German plans for gaining a power position like Napoleon that would pose a direct threat to Great Britain? Most likely, they exaggerated this danger in order to justify Britain's military obligations to France, which they preferred. In other words, says Ferguson: Precisely because they preferred that Great Britain remained allied with France and Russia, it was necessary to insinuate that the Germans had monstrous plans to control Europe.

To be clear, this is not about the question of responsibility for the war. It is about the “fixed ideas” that in the end led to the "inevitable" outbreak of the First World War through tensions that were if anything more imagined than factual. These ideas - of which Thomas Mann's "Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen" were only an inept resonance – were combined, significant for the purpose of our analysis, with a lack of imagination about the nature of the new war. Granted, imagination did not fail completely. The warnings by Helmut Moltke the Older, former Chief of the German General Staff, during his last speech to the Reichstag in 1890 are worth remembering: "The time for cabinet wars is behind us - we now only have the war of the nations ahead of us...Gentlemen, when war breaks out - the war that has been hovering over our heads like a sword of Damocles already for more than 10 years now - then its duration and outcome cannot be predicted. It is the great powers of Europe, armed like never before, that go to battle with each other. None of them can be defeated so completely in one or two campaigns that they would have to make peace under harsh conditions. They would arise again, even if only after a year's time, to resume battle. Gentlemen, it can become a 7-years war, it can become a 30-year war - and woe to those who set Europe afire, who first hurls the match into the powder keg!".

All sides expected the war to be short and decisive. As a matter of fact, after the "miracle at the Marne" – as the French call it – when the French and British halted the German advance "against schedule" only 5 weeks after war had begun, the war developed into trench warfare with costly break-through attempts that continued in the West until the last German offensive in March 1918. Stagnation in the system of trenches from Flanders to the Swiss border and the tremendous expenditure of men and materials in order to regain movement had consequences that no side had anticipated. At Verdun alone, more than 700,000 soldiers died in 1916. On other battlefields, the number of fatalities came close. In a war of mass armies, vast quantities of artillery and ammunition, equipment, fortifications, logistics, food and medical support were needed. Rapidly advancing weapons technology led to the employment of the most sophisticated means of killing. Poison gas was used, released from containers, delivered by cannons and mortars. Bombs were deployed by the air force, and tanks were used for the first time. The war of attrition demanded an enormous increase in production. The conversion to war production was unprecedented. In Germany, it led to a shortage of food and to hunger from 1915. Although technological war had been prepared for years in the modern industrial states in Europe and in the US, its unprecedented employment at the fronts gave the conflict a new face that no one would have thought possible. The war surpassed everything that could be imagined. It would have led to peace in Europe through exhaustion, as had been predicted on the German side by Moltke the Older, if the United States had not been available with fresh forces in 1918.

The Second World War, 1939-1945

The next concoction of fixed ideas and insufficient imagination can be found at the end of the Stresemann period of the Weimar Republic. Its "West-Locarno" approach could not hide the ambition for a German great power policy. This reservation, in itself legitimate, entered a new political state of aggregation with the presidential regimes and the Hitler government’s accession to power. Establishing a German world power dominated by the Germanic race became the decisive idée fixe, hidden by Hitler from the world, and even from Germany and his collaborators for a long time, at least until the outbreak of the German-Soviet war in 1941. According to Stefan Scheil's analysis, many powers were "fatally involved" in the war that began in 1939 and expanded globally in 1941. He takes a critical approach to existing historical literature ("limited in substance, with little theoretical scrutiny, riddled with axioms”). Again, this is not the place to discuss on the question of war guilt. What should be noted in any case, however, is that the approach of German policy to great power and world power was incomparably more aggressive under Hitler than all of the plans during the Imperial era before 1914 and Stresemann's concept of "great power". Also, war aims policy should not be discussed here, although in both big wars it was subject to expansive development.

Hitler followed an idea of hegemony that disengaged itself from the basis of the nation state and became politically charged with race. In this respect it was thoroughly revolutionary, but not in the form of a Napoleonic "Weltgeist on horseback"; also not in the form of the colonial British Empire whose cultural-imperial ethos cannot be denied; also not in the form of the democratic world mission of the Americans under Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt; and also not in the form of the Bolshevist world revolution with its goal of a "socialist liberation of the world" under Lenin. Hitler led the European war until 1941 under the protective umbrella of a German-Soviet border and friendship treaty whose secret additional protocol of 23 August and 28 September 1939 foresaw the partition of eastern central Europe into German and Soviet spheres of interest, and Soviet occupation of the eastern half of Poland. He also led the war after his attempt had failed to induce Great Britain, which he wanted to preserve as an empire, to stay neutral.

If one considers the time until the outbreak of war in 1939 from the perspective of the western powers France and Great Britain, there was no sufficient clarity about the hegemonic intentions of the German dictator during the time of appeasement until the "annihilation of the rest of Czechoslovakia" (Hitler) in March 1939. In all his conversations and negotiations with western statesmen, he presented himself as a revisionist politician who tried to reverse the stifling provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, in part with the acquiescence or even agreement of his partners. From 1936, we observe a stream of western politicians, scholars and publicists having audiences with Hitler - a picture that would repeat itself again in the "pilgrimages" to the Soviet leaders and to Mao Zedong. Only a few of those responsible at the time would have burdened themselves with reading Hitler's "Mein Kampf". Hitler's idea of hegemony and his plans for eastern expansion that are contained in this book written at Landsberg, was matched on the other side by an idea of peace, pacifistically motivated, that was aptly expressed by Jean Giraudoux: "We want eternal security. We wish for centuries of security, so that we can go in safety to the end of the world and to the day of judgment".

Here again, we see how fixed ideas handicapped the ability to imagine a war that unfolded in a manner more destructive than anything ever before. The failure happened on both sides. Hitler carried out successful Blitzkrieg campaigns against Poland (with the eastern half swallowed by Stalin on 17 September 1939), on the Scandinavian Atlantic coast, and against France - with helpful tolerance by the Soviet Union and in the hope that Britain would at last be prepared for peace after the French campaign in order to save its empire. This expectation proved wrong. Winston Churchill was determined to become a junior partner of the US, to risk the empire to be able to resist Germany. Hitler's "plan of stages" (Andreas Hillgruber) had failed. Nevertheless, on closer consideration, the war with the Soviet Union that had been delayed by important months due to the campaign in Yugoslavia does not at all look "irrational”. It is without doubt that Hitler’s logic was biological, and that the creation of a "Germanic empire of the German nation" was one of the defined objectives of the eastern campaign in 1941. However, historical studies leave out, for reasons of political correctness, that the war against the Soviet Union had a preventative character in connection with Stalin's exceptional armament efforts between 1939 and 1941. In any case they created a "slope of action". German armies did not meet defensively deployed and motivated Soviet troops but units that were highly vulnerable exactly because they were staged for offensive deployment.

Ruins of the World War II.
Ruins of the World War II.
The object here is not to comment on the controversy over Stalin's immediate intentions and his prospective program for a Soviet sphere of power in Europe. We are primarily interested in the fact that Hitler promoted the Russia campaign as a racial war, that the Blitzkrieg method failed, leading to a constellation in this campaign that cannot be explained without a decisive lack of imagination and foresight. The overstretch of German forces resulted in defeat against a global coalition that remained contradictory in itself but proved superior in all capacities in the multi-front war that was reestablished in 1943/44.

These contractions in the coalition of 1941 - or the "mesalliance", as formulated by the German historian Gregor Schöllgen - lead us to consider the opposite side. Independent of the controversy over Stalin's immediate intentions for summer and autumn 1941, Andreas Hillgruber's findings and perspective are of decisive importance. He arrives at the conclusion that "in the time since autumn 1940, two mutually exclusive war aim programs confronted each other. In June 1941, the realization of Hitler’s program, hectically driven forward by him and dependent on the exploitation of surprise effects and maximum speed in completing individual stages, moved ahead of Stalin's dilatory policy that foresaw the realization of his program only at a later, yet undetermined time, allowing it to be hidden, modified and presented by the Soviet side as a mere reaction to the German attack. However, this program of Stalin – with its primary objective of expanding the Soviet sphere of power in Europe into the center of the continent in confrontation with the US and Britain after the expected defeat of Germany on the western front - can be traced back to the autumn of 1940. It remained constant, at its core, from then to the end of the Second World War throughout all changes of constellations."

Did the western allies foresee Stalin's "agenda", or did they lack the imagination to do so? One cannot say this of Winston Churchill. He tried himself as a grand strategist throughout his life, and with his never-implemented plan of an advance from the south by the armies of the western allies through the states of the former cordon sanitaire, he pursued the goal of blocking Stalin’s way to the west. As he was now nothing but the junior partner of the Americans, the intention never led to more than a "front" in Italy. Roosevelt was more complicated, impenetrable and negligent than many realize. "Roosevelt first suspected and then knew that Hitler was a monster that had to be exterminated", wrote Hans-Peter Schwarz. Then Schwarz proceeds to ask "but why did he repress that Stalin was also a monster? Why did he accept with little objection that Stalin forced Poland and the Balkans into his monstrous system in 1944 and 1945?" Did he consider the effect that the people concerned had no choice but to tolerate Russian rule (as Roosevelt indicated to Cardinal Spellman in September 1943) as a tragedy - or did he simply lack a sense of tragedy? In any case, he let "Uncle Joe" have his way. When the bad consequences of Yalta became obvious at the refusal of free elections in Poland, he responded to Churchill's call of alarm with the nonchalant, perhaps resigned, but more accurately cynical sentence: "I am inclined to minimize the general problem of the Soviet Union as much as possible, because these problems seem to crop up in this or that form day for day, and most of them solve themselves on their own..." (Hans-Peter Schwarz). Schwarz states at the end of his analysis that it "is quite definite" that Roosevelt would have tried his utmost to avoid the Cold War.

The Cold War, 1947-1990

Finally, let us take a look at the connection between fixed ideas and imagination in that war, the “cold” one from 1947 to1990. Truman, Churchill and other statesmen of the postwar period decided to block the way west for the Soviets beyond the imperial border established in the war and postwar period, to establish global containment and to let the red empire simmer in its own juice so long and at such expense that it would finally collapse under the weight of its own inadequacies. This decision contained great risks with regard to the initial conventional superiority of the Soviet war machine and Moscow's race to catch up in nuclear weapons in the 1950s. Stalin was consistent in his belief that wherever the Russian military boots went, the red flag of ideology had to follow. Although in the end he never risked too much (witness Berlin in 1949), one must nevertheless credit him with a "monstrous" tendency for a policy of violence (Hans-Peter Schwarz): During a banquet after the graduation ceremony of the military academy on 5 March 1941 at the Kremlin, a major-general of the tank troops proposed a toast to the "peaceful foreign policy of comrade Stalin". Something unexpected then occurred. Stalin took the floor and said: "Allow me to make a correction. The policy of peace secures the peace of our country. Peace policy is a good thing. Until now, until the present time, we have carried out the line of defense - until now, as long as our army was not re-armed, as long as it was not equipped with modern arms. But now that we have reconstructed our army and satiated it with technology for modern combat, now that we have become strong - now it is necessary to change from the defensive to the offensive. After we have managed to defend our country, we are obliged to assault, to move from defense to a war policy of attack operations. It is necessary to adjust our education, our propaganda, our agitation, our press to the notion of attack. The Red Army is a modern army, and a modern army is an attack army" (quoted from Joachim Hoffmann).

No, the risks of stepping in Stalin's path were indeed high. Thanks to US and British decisiveness, however, it became the idée fixe of the western community of nations, this time due to a fully developed power of imagination. In this respect, the Cold War was the most successful world event that our memory of crises can come up with. Since both sides held a clear perception of the effects of using nuclear weapons after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and since the use of this weapon was planned in pursuit of western strategies in the case of a Soviet attack for conquest, there was a tool at hand that helped to prevent the war that would have been inevitable with near certainty in conditions of normal armaments. Sophisticated as the NATO strategy of flexible response (MC 14/3) was designed, the assurance of mutual destruction as a certain prediction and reliably communicated prospect was the center of “deterrence”. The recognized risk that deterrence could fail - if political will or uncontrollable events broke the barriers - imparted the strategy with additional elegance and power of persuasion. Instead of leading to all-out war, there was limited arms control and partial disarmament, even the ABM Treaty, now obsolete, that intentionally preserved the ultimate risk for both sides by banning missile defense of wide areas. The Cold War, that in the beginning appeared to be wild and unpredictable, developed into a rule-based game – just not like the whole chess game, but instead like the possible endgame of stalemate.

The terrorist war

We know that the terrorist war fundamentally differs from the character of the Cold War as well as from every other known form of war because the idée fixe of the jihadists does not succumb to the rules of mutual deterrence. As a consequence, the strength or lack of imagination of the consequences of a particular action becomes irrelevant. The jihadist approach to thought, decision and action lies outside the Fukuyama Complex, defined as the political doctrine that universally accepted liberalism represents the end and completion of history. Moreover, from the perspective of any known relationship, it is "monadic", windowless, of interstellar distance and thus “unconnected”, alien, resistant to negotiation and agreement. These characteristics not only justify but downright demand preemptive defense. The world of treaties after the world wars and the Cold War in the 20th Century did not anticipate this. This highlights the quality of imagination in the framework of idée fixe of western projection of liberalism. Both are in severe crisis. Its nature is another chapter.

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