Saturday, June 16, 2007

The bigger they come, the harder they fall

Sean's Russia Blog looks at Vladimir Putin's book on Judo, reviewed here by the London Review of Books and wonders whether it holds the secret to his political thinking.

The excellent thing about judo – in theory – is that you don’t have to be stronger than your opponent to beat him. The idea is that you use the momentum of his attack to keep him moving in the same direction, and then, with a little twist, you send him flying onto the mat. The bigger they are the harder they fall. This should be useful to Putin, since Russia is so heavily outgunned and outspent by the US military machine that it can’t win the arms race the old-fashioned way. Putin provides a striking metaphor to demonstrate the judo master’s technique. He calls it ‘give way in order to conquer’. Imagine you are a locked door. Your opponent wants to break you open with his shoulder. If he is ‘big and strong enough and rams through the door (that is, you) from a running start, he will achieve his aim’. But here’s the neat bit. If instead of ‘digging in your heels and resisting your opponent’s onslaught’, you unlock it at the last minute, then, ‘not meeting any resistance and unable to stop, your opponent bursts through the wide-open door, losing balance and falling.’ If you’re even more cunning, you can stop being a door and stick out a leg, causing him to trip as he sails through. ‘Minimum effort, maximum effect’, as Russia’s effortlessly effective president says.

And that's without us tripping up ourselves, an activity that the 60s taught was without consequences and patriotic, to boot.


Blogger wretchard said...

Westhawk reviews Robert Kaplan's new article, Forgetting the Obvious. "Mr. Kaplan thinks there are two Americas, a pacifist Establishment and a warrior class, two Americas that hardly know each other. These two Americas need to meet and find something to agree on before the next big challenge arrives."

I think the probable resolution of this bifurcation, which is probably common to the entire West, is that ranks will close as security progressively and palpably declines; as the sense of entitled safety erodes even among elites. Once they get scared enough they'll experience an attitude change. But by then ...

Many are frustrated that things apparently have to get to that point, resulting as it will in unnecessary suffering, irreperable loss and heartbreaking sorrow. But if the past is any guide, no ruling elite has had the wisdom to understand that history had not ended with them. Kipling wrote his Recessional to express a malaise. It made not a whit of difference. Of course it doesn't have to be that way, though it probably will be.

6/16/2007 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I think this would be a good point to quote the great man himself:

“Let us look at what is happening in North America,” he exclaimed. “ It is horrible. The torture, the homeless, Guantanamo, detention without normal court proceedings.”

So a former head of the KGB has come out against torture, Gitmo, lack of court proceedings, and people wandering around without a place to live (the normal KGB response to a human rights activist in the USSR who was not worth killing was to dump them off in some Siberian village and let them fend for themselves).

It really is the End of History...
But not in the way that was meant.

6/16/2007 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger El Baboso said...

The true crisis then comes when the pacifist establishment refuses to cede power in the face of an imminent exsistential threat and the warrior elite cannot bring itself to violate the Constitution in order to take decisive action -- a highly probable outcome when one considers the oath of office that the warrior elite take and the seriousness with which it takes that oath. Of course there would be exceptions -- local law enforcement and local National Guard units -- but if sufficiently infiltrated by a networked insurgency, these might not have time enough to rally and form their own highly effective network. A case in point: during the Los Angeles riots, the the highly dispersed National Guard units were ready in a matter of hours. Their ammunition was centrally controlled and was not ready for distribution for over a day after the first looting and arson began due to a series of poor decisons and knuckleheaded bureaucratic ass papering.

Of course in Europe, they don't even have the advantage of a militia or locally controlled law enforcement. Thus one critical error in the bureaucratic chain during an uprising could cascade into defeat. An here in the US, our militia units are ever more concentrated due to our august political class, looking to pinch a few pennies as part of the BRAC process.

6/16/2007 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Crazy Marzouq Redneck Muslim said...

An idea I was toying with to reduce the bifurcation of our pacifist class and warrior class is an "Armed Peace Corps". The hippies would have "hippie" S.F. operators embedded in their reconstruction/civil service teams. This could work outside and inside USA.

A pipe dream I guess.

Understanding unification, with the Constitution being our common denominator, with a conservative outlook regarding the 2nd Ammendment, we do have an edge.

Recalling the LA Riots and the reaction of the Korean convenience store owners, a very small network, were successful.

Salaam eleikum.

6/16/2007 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

So what happens when the bigger stronger opponent is carrying a big old honking gun after he bursts through the door and is tripped by a puny Putin-like person? Wouldn't the puny Putin-like person still end up endlessly perforated and dead?

6/16/2007 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The little fellow then pulls his little gun, shoots the big intruder in the head.

Or, as in Iraq, the little fellows climb all over the big man, who came with an empty weapon, just to scare the little fellow.

If the big man with a gun was serious, he'd burn down the little guys house, then shoot him as he ran out.

Like the LAPD used to do, back in the SLA days.

6/16/2007 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The further we move away from our Judeo-Christian foundation and the nurturing of the social and political institutions created therefrom the less likely an "accommodation" becomes. Both the Democrats and Republicans learned long ago that they can buy votes with the public treasury. The Democrats do it better, and if amnesty and chain immigration add 30 or 40 million new Democrat voters to the rolls then even the illusion of an ideologically diverse political system goes out the window.

It would take more than a few blog posts to substantiate that this is the most contentious political climate and least competent political leadership since the mid 1800s but I do think the argument could be made. That period didn't end too well and there is not much reason to believe this period will end well either although certainly not in the same way.

Maybe every 150 years or so physic magnetic poles switch polarity and people and political ideas just repel each other no matter what you do.

6/16/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


re: the most contentious political climate and least competent political leadership since the mid 1800s but I do think the argument could be made.

Here! Here!

If you have not already heard, Ehud Barak, who brilliantly implemented the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, has been named Defense Minister. Misery loves company.

The Arabs could not have chosen a better time to go on the offense.

In Aftermath of Gaza Battle, Grim Realities

“Grim realities”, indeed.

6/16/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard, the bifurcation leaves off the middle. The ordinary, middle class people who don't want to be killed. Don't want their cities incinerated, don't want to leap to their deaths off tall buildings on fire, don't want to die in airplanes smashing into skyscrapers (or football stadiums).

The poster upthread mentioned the LA Riots. The seminal feature of that was Reginald Denny being nearly beaten to death by a black mob, with the message that Angelenos were on their own, and the Korean shopowners who stood guard over their stores with rifles and shotguns.

ONCE the Pacifist elites cede authority by not responding to a massive terrorist attack (which is a dead certainty) then the ordinary people will figure out quickly they are on their own and resort to vigilante action. If the question is, how do I and my family survive, when the Government has chosen Pacifist PC nonsense, then any Muslim around is a menace. You can't tell which one is a threat and which one is not. Combined with "we will kill you" rhetoric from Muslim groups like CAIR and so forth, it's a recipe for pure tribal survival. By killing all members of the enemy tribe (which is Muslims).

A good deal of the problem of the elites is their feminization. The article shows the men in suits agahast at the soldier in full uniform. Feminized men, and women, can't operate in the same environment as soldiers. Can you imagine Valerie Plame, cube dweller and Georgetown Salon member, doing anything useful against Al Qaeda or the Taliban? Or Joe Wilson, habitue of first class air travel and luxury suites?

Even a man like Harry Truman had lived rough, as a farmer, briefly, slaughtering livestock, as a Sante Fe railroad clerk, as a Captain in the Army on the front in WWI. Violence was not something he had never seen before. A woman like Plame, or Albright, can't handle a man like say, Zawahari or Nasrallah because those men will kill at the drop of a hat, and the pampered, sheltered women (and men) of cubes can't understand what that means.

So the warrior class will be sidelined, and the vigilante class of desperate ordinary people will make things clear, by making the 1850's Committees of Vigilance look like a Boy Scout Jamboree. If the elites show a power vacuum (and they will, they are deeply feminized and unable to handle anything outside the cubicle or salon) then people with property and family at risk will do what they have to in order to survive.

6/16/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Perhaps it's an indication of how upside down things are. Barak is a lion compared to his predecessor.

How weird can it get when the PLO is considered moderate? The meme is that because they're "secular" they can be dealt with. What do the Muslim wisdom documents say about this?

Bukhari:V4B53N386 "Umar sent Muslims to great countries to fight pagans. He said, 'I intend to invade Persia and Rome.' So, he ordered us to go to [the Persian King] Khosrau. When we reached the enemy, Khosrau’s representative came out with 40,000 warriors, saying, 'Talk to me! Who are you.' Mughira replied, 'We are Arabs; we led a hard, miserable, disastrous life. We used to worship trees and stones. While we were in this state, our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or pay us the Jizyah tribute tax in submission. Our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says: 'Whoever amongst us is killed as a martyr shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever survives shall become your master.'"

6/16/2007 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Today, I have seen accounts of the events in Gaza intimating that Arafat was a moderate! Obviously, the Western elite and their media are pathologic. We are, I fear, on a road into darkness.

6/16/2007 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

In December a book was published called "New Lies for Old" by Soviet defector KGB agent Anatoliy Golitsyn.

It is the blueprint for what is going on right now and eclipses Putin's Judo metaphor with hard fact and insight. It might be hard to believe but we are deep into the house of mirrors.

Get the book, you'll see.

6/16/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

That would be DEC 1990...sorry

6/16/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


We are, I fear, on a road into darkness.

I will continue your theme with a darkest before the dawn motif. The Islamists' tactics succeed in the shadows because so far nobody is willing to toss a grenade into the kitchen to clean out the roaches. That will change when it becomes apparent that is the only way to prevent the cockroaches from taking the entire house and driving the occupants into the street.

By taking full control of Gaza by force Hamas has made all of Gaza a presumptive battlefield. Hamas can survive in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon only for so long as Israel or the USA or perhaps even another Western ally, as the case may be, choose not to engage in tonnage warfare.

If things continue on their current path, and a trend remains in place until it changes, the Islamists will continue to up the ante by growing their organizations and transitioning them into something resembling a more conventional force. Hamas will call on Gaza clan leaders to supply their young men for jihad. Their Jizyah tax if you will.

As with any other pathological organism nature limits its growth. Beyond a certain size the organism will spin into chaos. Given the absence of the demonstration of any organizational skills in all of Arabland for the last five hundred years the ultimate threshold is probably well below Army Corps. I guess what I'm saying is that the Islamists will be awed by their numbers and completely overestimate their ability. Launch an attack on Israel and get obliterated.

6/16/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


re: obliteration

From your lips to G-d's ear!

With the leadership of Olmert and Barak, it might take Divine intervention.

6/16/2007 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

Habu -

there were some recent youtube postings Re; interviews with a former KGB discussing Soviet disinfo campaigns in the US & West.

there were 3 or 4 clips.

did you happen to see those?
different from your author above,
i believe.

not had time to watch them yet,
but found some links here:
YouTube - Yuri Bezmenov on demoralization
YouTube - Bezmenov on Marxists, useful idiots

6/16/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Whiskey 199: I don’t think it is just a matter of the “Warrior class” although I guess I belong to that one.

I have seen a bifurcation along the lines of the “doers” and the “talkers.” We really need few real “doers” now for many tasks; automation and the constant move toward greater efficiency - and people who do not really exist (e.g., illegal aliens, among others) mean that somewhere in excess of 50% of the population think that demanding things be done by others is the real “work.”

A certain 5 sided building where I used to work was pretty much full of people who thought that getting a new policy through the DC bureaucracy was the hard part. Figuring out how to implement it was someone else’s problem, one that they could not be bothered with. It was not uncommon to see a bureaucrat downright offended at the very thought that resources might have to be devoted to accomplish what he wanted. On one occasion I recall that Congress directed that $20M of pork be added to a favored - and about to be cancelled - program; when the Air Force asked where the funding was supposed to come from, the answer was for us to “find it somewhere” – but, of course, not take it out of the other pork.

I think that there are now so many talkers versus doers that something of a group identity has developed – one that is offended at the very idea of physical effort. Both the Internet and expanded MSM has aided this development quite a bit. They are especially upset with the thought of physical effort that is beyond their abilities – and that includes just about everything. Global Warming is the perfect crisis to them – the answer is for people to stop doing things – listen to the talkers, and send them their money.

6/16/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger mouse said...

Interesting thread, as so often happens on this blog.

I seem to note a general expectation that at a certain point things will get so bad that Israel will "strike back", and boy, that will be the end of it.

Who says?

Things can get pretty bad and passive people won't strike back. The VA Tech shootings were an example. At least 30 people stood around while they were being shot in the face, maybe half of them military age males, and they did nothing; their only defense was "Please shoot the other guy first."

Last summer Hezbollah humiliated Israel. As many kasams fell the last day as in the first. The marvelous military machine of the Jewish State couldn't stop them. Those things only fly a few miles. That was a job for boots. They had to go in there on the ground and clean them out. They were too gutless and cowardly to do it, and after the war they greatly lamented and mourned their sixty dead. I lament and mourn that there were not 6,000 dead, to protect six million.

But they chose defeat rather than war and so war they will have again, and who's to say that defeat isn't now in their blood? Perhaps they've lost faith in themselves as a state, perhaps they know it's all over, perhaps they just await the slaughter? This is a generation removed from when they were a warrior state. They suffered a defeat, they placidly maintain the same government, who's to say a second war will have a different outcome?

States do lose faith and collapse. It happened with the Soviet Union, it's certainly happening with Europe, and in the end, a State with a rotted faith is no match for a jihadi with a gun.

6/16/2007 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


On the matter of the importance of morale, Kaplan might agree with you.

H/T Maggie’s Farm for an excellent article.

___“The United States is still far from being a decadent country. And you cannot blame the American public from becoming disenchanted with a war that has gone on for so long and been so badly handled. The question is, in what direction—relative to our current and future adversaries—are we headed? Argue the question as we may, one thing is clear: We’re fated to find out.”

On Forgetting The Obvious
Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, and Iraq

6/16/2007 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

RWE -- the doers and talkers can though fit into the model of elites, warriors, and everyone else. Certainly most people cannot by definition be elite.

On 9/11 the only effective response was the ordinary men on Flight 93 who understood they would die anyway, and decided to act. They were also older than the VT paralyzed young men, and used to thinking for themselves.

I would agree that the elites thing that talking about something is doing it, but there are plenty of men who do, still. Most people mow their own lawns, still. Home Depot and Lowe's make a nice living off those people. America is filled with the types of garage tinkerers and so forth. Or small shopkeepers, and so on.

And those were the people who formed the Committees of Vigilance. Ex Army men from the Mexican-American War. Used to living and working rough. Unwilling to simply "hand it over" to the Irish Gangs who had moved there from New York. Able to self organize spontaneously. Willing to kill even to make their point.

6/16/2007 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger mouse said...


Did read the Kaplan article just now. Very very good. Thanks for the prompt.

6/17/2007 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

In addition to the "open the door at the last minute" trick, Putin also hints at other methods:

1) Paint a fake tunnel into the side of a wall and watch as your opponent attempts to run through it.

2) Place a bowl of dollar bills with a sign "Free Money" at the bottom of a cliff and hold an anvil at the top of the cliff. When your enemy goes for the money, drop the anvil.

3) Dress up as an attractive woman and seduce your [male] enemy.

Note: none of these methods work on on the specis of bird known as geococcyx californianus.

6/17/2007 06:11:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered by Blogger