by Don Eichelberger
This year’s glimpse in to the Bohemian Grove encampment of the ruling elite was a unique one. We were not able to get a copy of the grove schedule as we have often in the past, but one intrepid worker was able to get cell phone photos of an unnamed member’s schedule, complete with margin notes. While there were a number of interesting titles and presenters for the daily Lakeside Talks and other events, the margin notes offered extra insights about the more spontaneous occurrences not documented in the program.
Among documented events, William Bratton spoke on “Policing in 2017: Everything Old is New Again”. The former NYC Police Commissioner was a first advocate of “Broken Windows Policing,” which includes intolerance of “antisocial” behavior (however you define it?), and favored going after minor infractions to avoid drift toward more major law breaking, stop and frisk being a major tool. Prediction: Right wing police methods will continue to escalate.
An interesting MUSEUM TALK, “The Case for Climate Engineering” was given by Harvard climate scientist, David Keith. We don’t have a text of his speech, but we do have his 2013 book by the same title. His speech likely updates his thesis that climate change is real and that even with big cuts to carbon production, carbon will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere for a long while, causing warming. We must therefore implement ways to actively combat the effects of increasing carbon, and his company, Carbon Engineering is working on it. The 2013 book sets out plans to spray 250 thousand tons a year of sulfuric acid above 60,000 feet to help reflect solar radiation back in to space. Has he done it? Perhaps only the Bohos know.
We can only echo the warning by author Naomi Klein, whose seminal book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” warns about the Capitalist approach to environmentalism, whose answer to climate change is worldwide applications of various chemicals or devices into the atmosphere or the oceans to reduce rising temperatures. The Law of Unintended Consequences is likely to crop up here but, by then, the “solutions” cannot be undone.
While Keith raises many of the same concerns, he comes down on the side of engineering. With Bohemians taking up the subject of climate engineering at their secret retreat, the investment opportunities must be endless.
Spooks and the military dominated Friday, July 21, with a Lakeside Talk titled “Disorderly Conduct–at Home and Abroad” from Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director. It would be interesting to know what disorderly conduct is being discussed, but this info is for Boho ears only.
On the same schedule page is a penciled notation, “10:00 Bobby Inman @ Hillside 9:30”. Inman is a member of Hillside camp and has served as Director of Naval Intelligence, also Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, then Director of the National Security Agency, then as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a post he held until June, 1982. To his credit, Inman criticized the Bush administration’s use of warrantless domestic wiretaps, making him one of the highest-ranking former intelligence officials to criticize the program in public.
On the same page, Gates’ name is circled with an arrow pointing to another notation, “* 1:15 Hillbillies fun (?) ‘The Presidence’ w/ Medal of Honor winners”. Also in the margins, several names, including Gates and some others. One name, “Walter Huss” may be Walter Hussman, Jr., a Bohemian in Valley of the Moon camp who runs a string of newspapers in the south, including his flagship Little Rock (Arkansas) Democrat-Gazette.
That could explain another name on the hand written list, Tom Cotton. He’s the junior US Senator from Arkansas, darling of the Tea Party. His name is circled, and under it in parentheses, “invite only”. Another informal gathering?
We wonder if another Lakeside Talk presenter was invited. Speaking on “When Duty Calls . . . and Everything Changes Forever” Jack Jacobs, Colonel US Army, (ret’d), is listed as a Medal of Honor recipient.
On the page listing the Colonel’s talk is a penciled notation, “5:45 Fireside Chat Paul Tagliab??”. While the last two letters are a little hard to read, odds are they’re talking about Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner of the NFL. Wanna talk sports the Boho way?
“The New Populism: Where It Came From & Where It’s Likely to Go” is a Lakeside Talk given by JD Vance, US Marine (Ret’d). He is author, according to Amazon, of “Hillbilly Elegy”, telling of his family’s escape from the poverty of the Ozarks. It describes his social rise culminating with a Yale degree and his family’s difficulty breaking free from the ravages of their class (with insights in to votes for Trump?).
This page also has a penciled-in note, “5:15 Campfire Chat, Don Rumsfeld” speaks for itself. Another note, “4:00 Spot Haas Ross Levine ‘Globalization’” could refer to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business head and, according to Wikipedia, last year’s tenth most quoted economist with insights to share on world economics. The last entry promises “6:15 Heavy appetizers”. One can only wonder.
“How Smart Could/Should/Will Cities Get?” by Steve Koonin, NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress is a compelling title, given these are men who “could”. It would be interesting to know if they “should”, and what criterion he uses.
“An Actor’s Life for Me” from actor/director Charles Siebert sounds tame, but the page includes several penciled notation that are curious and enticing, like the phrase written across the top, “Cave Man Economics”. Wonder if they’re talking about Caveman Camp?
Another entry, “Kissinger @ ? Midway” offers promise of face time with the great backroom dealer. The question mark may refer to time, or possibly doubt about where. Kissinger’s camp is Mandalay, which sounds a lot like Midway. Both are camps at Bohemia; hope he found it.
Another notation on that page, “1:15 Hill Billies Wine Lunch” has an arrow pointing to the name C. Covington, which is crossed out, and beneath it written enticingly in parentheses, “see back page”. This could refer to Christopher Covington, an investment banker in biotechnology and healthcare, a member of Cool-Nazdar Camp. Unfortunately, the back page was not photographed, so we’ll never know why he was crossed off.
“When the Prosecutor is the Problem” has preeminent trial lawyer, David Boies, famous for trying to break up Microsoft and representing Al Gore in the losing Gore v. Bush supreme court case that won Bush the presidency in 2000, talking law.
“Why Music is Great” features bass virtuoso, Victor Wooten, sharing a Lakeside Talk on the wonders of music, one of which is allowing a black man to enter this bastion of rich, white men.
Another interesting musical event has musicians Lawrence Hobgood and Tom Scott, with “special guests” discussing musical beat. With Grateful Dead Percussionist, Mickey Hart now a grover, and Scott’s history of playing with the band, it could be an interesting drum circle.
Same with the “midnight: guitar picking around the campfire” noted at the end of the day of the Cremation of Care; a campfire listed as “Care’s Wake”. Bobby Weir is noted more as a rhythm guitarist, but he may pick a tune if inspired. Only the Bohos know for sure.July 22, 2013 Lakeside Talks 2013
Apparently Gen. Stanley McChrystal and comedian Conan O’Brien were there. It’s interesting that the ostensibly secretive club appears to be announcing this information to the Press Democrat. Notice how the club spokesman makes a point of saying that the club is still relevant. Usually relevant people don’t have to point it out.
Has the club turned into a bunch of delusional old men? Has its glory days of Presidents and Secretaries of State passed?
Also: Paul Otellini, former CEO of Intel, Stanford University President John Hennessey; Jorge Quiroga, former president of Bolivia; David Gergen, political commentator; Chris Matthews, political talk show host; and William Reilly, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator.
There are rumors that Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck were at the retreat this year because they were missing from their usual schedules.April 28, 2013 Lakeside Talks 2011
Highlights of LAKESIDE TALKS Bohemian Grove July 16 to August 1, 2010 (taken directly from the Bohemian Grove Program of Events: Midsummer Encampment 2010)
Friday, July 16: WALTER CRONKITE¹S AMERICA:
Douglas Brinkley, Historian at Rice University
Saturday, July 17: THE SUPREME COURT IN THE AGE OF OBAMA:
Jeffrey Toobin, Legal Analyst and Author, CNN & The New Yorker
Sunday, July 18: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AT WAR:
David Martin, National Security Correspondent for CBS News
Wednesday, July 21: HOW SHOULD WE THINK ABOUT CHINA: PARTNER, COMPETITOR,
THREAT? Michail Armacost, former Ambassador
Friday, July 23: K‹12: EDUCATION IN AMERICA:
Joel Klein, Chancellor, N.Y. City Dept. of Education
Saturday, July 24: THE FUTURE OF NEWS:
Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation
Sunday, July 25: THE REVENGE OF GOD: RELIGION & VIOLENCE IN THE MODERN WORLD: Reza Aslan, Professor/Author, University of California at Riverside
Monday, July 26: VENTURE PHILANTHROPY ANDREW CARNEGIE 2.0:
John Wood, Founder: Room to Read
Tuesday, July 27: CULTURAL DIPLOMACY:
Dr. Gary Smith, Executive Director of American Academy in Berlin
Wednesday, July 28: DEFEATING IEDs AS A WEAPON OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE:
Thomas Metz, Lt. General, U.S. Army (retired)
Thursday, July 29: THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT WORDS IN ECONOMICS: PEOPLE RESPOND TO INCENTIVES: Arthur Laffer, Economist
Friday, July 30: TO BE ANNOUNCED:
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Saturday, July 31: WHY IS MARS SO IMPORTANT?:
Michael Malin, Planetary Geologist
COUNTDOWN FOR AMERICA:
David Gergen, Statesman (their title)
Democrats, Republicans mingle in Bohemian Grove
Column by Willie Brown San Francisco Chronicle August 1, 2010
It’s Bohemian Grove time, and once again power boys were up at the Russian River last week. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican and possible presidential contender, predicted a GOP takeover of the House. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, a liberal sharing the talk with Jeb, agreed. Don’t think the Grove gathering has lost its clout. Three former secretaries of state – Colin Powell, James Baker and Henry Kissinger – were spotted talking together. Condoleezza Rice would have fit right in, except they don’t allow women.
DEAD MAN TALKING: LAKESIDE TALKS AT BOHEMIAN GROVE August 2008
The LAKESIDE TALKS, 2008, at Bohemian Grove were somewhat less dramatic than in past years. However, there was one particular talk this year that put a whole new wrinkle into the mix. On Wednesday, July 23, Tony Snow (ex White House press secretary to George W. Bush) was scheduled to talk on LIFE IN THE PRESS ROOM. The problem was that he died on July 12 and Bohemian Club members started arriving for their summer encampment on July 11. There was
no correction so I guess even the powerful Bohos couldn¹t get a reprint together. We’ll never know (and neither will they) what Tony had to say about life as W’s mouthpiece.
THE LOGGING ISSUE:
For the last couple of years there has been an internal disagreement about the way the Bohemians are taking care of their 2000 acre old growth forest.
In 2006 a longtime 4th generation member quit the club as he tried to warn the Bohemians to be better stewards of their land. This year there were a couple of Lakeside Talks devoted to this subject and they weren’t from the point of view of the man who quit in protest.
Saturday, July 12: Professional Forester (and club member) Ralph Osterling spoke on TOMORROWS GROVE IN PROGRESS. Mr. Osterling¹s role has been to lend legitimacy to the Grove¹s logging plan.
Tuesday, July 22: Jack Blackwell, Vice President of Lands & Conservation at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, spoke on CONSERVATION EASEMENTS: PROTECTING YOUR RIGHT TO A GROVE SHOWER. This may seem quite tame and reasonable until one learns that this is the foundation that the Grove is donating an easement to in order to lower the acreage level on paper so as to avoid stricter logging regulations. For more info on this issue go to:April 28, 2013 Lakeside Talks 2006
2006 SCHEDULE OF LAKESIDE TALKS AT BOHEMIAN GROVE
The most striking thing about this years schedule is that there is NO
listing for the 12:30 PM lakeside talk for the second Saturday, July 22. In the past the second Saturday usually features a special big wig with a scary topic and is often just listed as ³to be announced² so nosy outsiders won¹t know. So this has piqued our interest and hope by July 22 someone out there will share what they know. Here is a partial list of other talks this year:
Friday, July 14: ³GLOBAL FINANCIAL WARRIORS²
by John Taylor, Bohemian and Professor of Economics at Stanford
Saturday, July 15: CREMATION OF CARE
Monday, July 17: ³UNTOLD TALES FROM THE COLD WAR²
Tom Reed, Bohemian & former Secretary of the Air Force
Tuesday, July 18: ³ENERGY, CO2 and CLIMATE CHANGE
Lynn Orr, Director Global Climate & Energy Project, Stanford
Wednesday, July 19: ³GULF COAST EROSION: CONSEQUENCES FOR AMERICA²
King Milling, Chm. Louisiana Governor¹s Coastal Restoration &
Friday, July 21: ³AMERICA IN A NEW WORLD² Fareed Zakaria,
Tuesday, July 25: ³ISLAND CONSERVATION WITH GUNS, TRAPS & POISON
Bernie Tershy, Research Biologist Institute of Marine
Sciences, U.C. Santa Cruz
Wednesday, July 26: ŒTHE PARALLELISM & ULTIMATE CONVERGENCE OF SCIENCE
& RELIGION, Charles Townes, Bohemian & Scientist
Thursday, July 27: ³GLOBAL URBANIZATION: A CHALLENGE FOR THE FUTURE²,
Richard Koshalek, President, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
³THESE EUROPEANS: DO THEY UNDERSTAND US? OR ANYTHING?²
Andrew Knight, Bohemian and Editor
Friday, July 28: ³LESSONS LEARNED FROM WAR, ASSASSINATION, THE WHITE
HOUSE & HOLLYWOOD², Jack Valenti, past president, Motion Picture Ass. Of
Saturday, July 29: ³FROM BATTLEFIELDS TO PLAYING FIELDS‹ECONOMICS,
ENERGY & EDUCATION², Colin Powell, Bohemian & Soldier/Statesman
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LAKESIDE TALKS at BOHEMIAN GROVE — 2005
July 15: Be Careful What You Wish For: by Howard Leach, former Ambassador to
July 16: Of Laughter & Leadership: David Gergen, Public Policy Professor and
former Presidential Advisor
July 16: CREMATION OF CARE ceremony
July 17: To Be Announced, Richard Leakey, Naturalist
July 18: The Case for Immigration Restriction: by Richard D. Lamb,
Professor, Unv. Of Colorado & Former Colorado Governor
July 19: Iraqi Medicine: Rip Van Winkle¹s Burden: by Bernard S. Alpert, M.D.
July 20: Wealth, Poverty & the Threat to Global Security: by William W.
Lewis, Director Emeritus, McKinsey Global Institure
July 21: Dark Energy & the Runaway Universe: by Alex Filippano, Professor of
Astronomy, Unv. Of California, Berkeley
July 21: Unlimited Government: by Chris DeMuth, Ex. Director, American
July 23: To Be Announced: (on Second Saturday usually an indication of
someone very important)
July 25: Nuclear Considerations‹the Way Ahead: by Albert Konetzni, Vice
Admiral, U.S. Navy
July 26: Peering Into Pandora¹s Box: Avian Flu & Beyond: by W. Ian Lipkin,
M.D., Scientific Director, Northeast Biodefense Center
July 29: To Be Announced: by Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico
July 30: Hoover Talk: by General Colin Powell, Bohemian & Soldier/
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LAKESIDE TALKS at BOHEMIAN GROVE 2004
July 16: Exploring Mars & Searching for Life in the Universe by Charles
Elachi, Director of Jet Propulsion Lab Professor, California Institute of
July 16: TITLE TO BE ANNOUNCED David Gergen, Bohemian & Public Policy
Professor and Former Presidential Advisor
July 17: The Landscape of American Politics: David Brooks, New York Times
columnist and Political commentator
July 17: CREMATION OF CARE ceremony
July 18: The Elections & Their Aftermath: Norman Ornstein, Political
Analyst, American Enterprise Institute
July 19: State Building: What we do and don¹t know about creating
institutions in Developing Countries Francis Fukuyama, Dean of Advanced
International Studies, John Hopkins Unv.
July 20: The Internal Life of Planets: A Comparison of Earth, Venus, Mars &
the Moon, by Mark Richards, Professor of Geophysics and Dean of Physical
Sciences, Unv. of Calif. Berkeley
July 22: The Coming Virtual Soldier: by Roger McCarthy, Chairman & Principal
Engineer, Exponent Inc.
July 23: The Long War of the 21st Century: by James Woolsey, Former Director
of the C.I.A.
July 24: The Unrealized Potential of the Technological Revolution: by James
H. Billington, Librarian of Congress
July 26: Remembering Reagan, One Insiders Account: Kenneth Adelman, Author
July 28: Did the Terrorists Expect the World Trade Towers to Fall?: Ian
July 31: Politics, Plagues, Prevention & Preparedness: Vice Admiral Richard
Carmona M.D., United States Surgeon General
This is a truncated speech by Henry Kissinger given at the Grove. It is estimated about 1/2 of the entire speech.
HENRY KISSINGER SPEECH AT BOHEMIAN GROVE, JULY 23, 1982
… Gentlemen, Bohemian Henry Kissinger … (Kissinger enters to the sound of an organ playing “God Bless America”).
“Oh fellow Bohemians, that tune was “Heil to the Chief”. (Laughter to comments “heil” in the background). I rather resent some of the introduction of Mr. Mayhew. If he hadn’t told you where I was born, you would all think I was talking with a Harvard accent. (Laughter) In fact I must tell you, when I was told that I’d have the opportunity to talk to such a distinguished group, I was rehearsing my remarks, which are written down here, before a mirror all week long. And now that I’m here and see you all in various states of disillusion, I must tell you candidly that even that thrill doesn’t match the one of the rehearsals. (Laughter)
And when I was invited to speak to you; I was told I could talk about any subject I wanted, and I was really intending to. read to you from the latest volume of my memoirs. But there was no way I could cut it, even if I took out the word “I”, (laughter) that we could be through in time for the Low Jinx. The other thing I was told is that anything one says here is strictly off the record. There has, in fact, never been a. leak from the Grove. I know what you people are thinking but … (laughter) what. do you think my friend Li Kwan Yu is going through right now? But, um, I must. tell you that was one of the most discouraging things that was told to me. What’s the point of being .brilliant if you do it in obscurity? If you don’t like my remarks, you have only have yourself to blame.
I tell you that it is a very elevating and encouraging thing to speak in the presence of the current Secretary of State, of the former Secretary of State, of the two heads of government, all of whom are going to disavow everything that I’m going to say just as soon as they get back to the drinking hour. Except I have on advantage, they can’t get back to the drinking hour until I stop talking.
My title, which comes from the poetry department of the Bohemian Grove, is “Challenges of the 80’s.” Since I don’t know what it means, I will discuss my view of the current state of international relations. Le me begin with a philosophical point: I think the biggest foreign policy problem of the Unites States isn’t any of the issues that form the headlines of the day. It is for the Unites States to get used to the concept of foreign policy the way other nations have had to conduct it throughout their history. Except for the first thirty years of our history, we have either been so removed from world affairs, or so dominant economically that we never had the problem of priorities and we never had to face the issue of continuity in a situtiona in which there are no final answers.
At the end of World War II, which is often considered the great period of American foreign policy, to which we are asked to return, we had some 55% of the world’s gross national product. In those circumstances foreign policy becomes an aspect of domestic policy. Foreign governments become lobbyists in the American decision making process. And the worst penalty for a mistake is that you have throw more resources at the resulting problems.
Every decade since then, our relative share of the world’s gross national product has declined by 10%, and we are now between 20 to 25%. That still makes us the single most powerful nation in the world. But it also means that if all the rest of the world combined against us, or fell under hostile domination or were denied to us, its resources would outmatch ours by a huge margin. That imposes on us a kind of policy for which we have no tradition, the sort of foreign policy that Britain had to conduct vis a vis the continent for some 300 years. For some three centuries Britain had the view that if the continent of Europe were united against it, its resources could not match it. And out of this grew the concept of the “Balance of Power.”
We are now in a comparable position with respect to the rest of the world. We have the obligation to maintain the equilibrium. Without a balance of power, there can be no peace. And there can be no creative foreign policy. An yet, that concept has a rather checkered history in our thinking. If you read textbooks on international relations and history, there’s always some pejorative term in front of it. What it means, what it requires, though, is that we develop a concept of our national interests. That we defend that interest, not because we are friends particular countries, though that helps, but because we believe it is in our interest and in the interest of the values we represent. It means also that these values and these concepts cannot change every 4 to 8 years. Every new administration obviously comes in with a view that it will chance the world. We, alone among nations of the worlds, but begin our new administrations with the belief that they created the world. (Laughter) Ahem! That cannot go on indefinitely. Sooner or later there has to be some settled perception of what our goals are and what our fundamental interests are. And these must change occasionally, with the changing constellations of power. And we’ve had, in my view, three obstacles to this view. One that I’ve already mentioned, the reluctance to face to the fact that were are now part of history, and that history has not terminal point, that tensions are inevitable as part of the process of change.
Our domestic debate tends to be divided between those who think foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry, and that relations among states are like relations among people, and that good will and unilateral concessions can supply their own justification. And another group that believes foreign policy is a subdivision of theology, and that if the walls of Jericho haven’t crumbled yet, it’s because the right trumpet has not yet been blown. The fact is that neither of these courses are going to work. And third is the attempt to make our foreign policy by adversary procedures within our bureaucracies where different philosophies and different points of view are reconciled in a series of ad hoc decisions, each of which can be very sensible, but which tend to be made rather noisily, with a lot of media attention, putting us into the position of a chess player who plays against an opponent who has a strategy, while he loudly discusses with a group of experts the rationale for every move that he’s making, and occasionally somebody makes a move for him. And it is not easy to get a sense of direction in these circumstances.
These, I say, are national problems. They’re not problems of an administration. In fact in general I agree with the direction of this administration. I think they have asked the right questions, they have taken the correct initial steps to get to that goal. But, as a nation we must solve this philosophical problem before we can have a consistent, long-range foreign policy.
With this as a background, let me now make a few observations about individual issues of the day. And to put them in this framework, if I’m right about our fundamental foreign policy problem, then our strategy in general should be that we support the weaker against the stronger. And that our tactics should be that to the greatest extent possible, we should have more options that any potential adversary. Now with this, let me talk about the situation in the Middle East, make a few comments about Latin America, a few comments about East-West relations, and you’ll all make the great organ concert without difficulties.
First, East-West, uh, first, the Middle East: In the Middle East, and let me make one other comment before I get into the specifics. I believe that with all the crises we read about, we are now at a moment in which the international environment is more malleable than it has been in a long time. The opportunity exists for new departures and major breakthroughs that had I been asked to speak even six months ago, I would have not foreseen. So we should not confuse the turmoil with the outcome. Let me illustrate this to begin with in the Middle East. In the Middle East we face a number of concurrent challenges. Now you can’t say I didn’t get that word of my title into my remarks. First, the Soviet strategic thrust, which is consistent, which is long-range, and which can be seen by that pinta (?) movement represented by Afghanistan on the one side, South Yemen and Ethiopia on the other, Libya as a kind of surrogate, so that all of our friends are in a way surrounded either by Soviet strategic bases, or by Soviet military deployments. Secondly, the thrust of Islamic fundamentalists, represented by Iran. There is the challenge to friendly moderate regimes of secular radicalism. And finally, there’s the Arab-Israeli dispute, of which the recent crisis in Lebanon is the most conspicuous example. Now, until I’m of the view that for whatever reason, whatever Israel’s motives were in going into Lebanon, it has given us an opportunity to unlock to door to making a major step forward in the peace process in the Middle East. It has military defeated the PLO, which was supported from an intelligence point of view by the Soviet Union, and which tied itself to the radical Arabs, now the secular wing, now the fundamentalist wing. It forced to back off the conflict, Syria, which was again supported by the Soviet Union, totally equipped by the Soviet Union, and represented the radical Arab nationalist cause. And it has demonstrated that the Soviet Union can supply arms, but not solutions to any of these problems.
So now we have an opportunity. The Israeli argument that progress on the West Bank would automatically lead to the installation of a radical PLO state is no longer necessarily true. We now have the opportunity, on which in my view we must insist, that significant progress be made in West Bank negotiations within the next year to eighteen months, to demonstrate that only through the United States and only through a course of moderation, is it possible to achieve any of the aims of the reasonable people in the area. It seems to me, also, that in order to do this, it is in our interest to put Jordan and Egypt, and to the extent that it is feasible, Saudi Arabia, into the forefront of these negotiations and not to build up the PLO prematurely. The PLO will have to earn its way back, although its hopes should not be totally foreclosed if it adopts a moderate course. I think on this route we will be able to make major progress, though I don’t envy either the President or the Secretary of State in putting it through against the opposition that will develop on both sides of this negotiation. The Israelis have to make more concessions by than they have prepared to make, and the Arabs have to take less than their extreme program. But if it is not done in the next 12 to 18 months, I think we will have lost an opportunity that will not quickly recur.
With respect to the Iran-Iraq crisis which represents the other thrust of the equation, we face this problem when the war broke out with the act of diplomacy which Mr. Mayhew did not mention when introduced me. (Laughter) I said at a press conference that my only regret in this war is …March 29, 2013 Caspar Weinberger speech from 1981
Remarks of CASPAR WEINBERGER, US Secretary of Defense, at the annual
meeting of the BOHEMIAN GROVE, Monte Rio, California, 1981:
I am deeply honored by being invited. This is one of my favorite spots in the world. It’s a beautiful combination because it involves all the familiarity of California and so many people I’ve known for so long. And that, plus the escape, however brief, from a summer in Washington.
For some reason unknown to me, they put the national capital on top of
a swamp; and all that entails in the summer. I have, of course, lived in California for many years because here they didn’t have nearly as many flies. My friends tell me that a state so widely known and famous far its fruits and nuts would obviously be the place to put a fly. (laughter} I do want you to know, however, that the Department of Defense is fully committed to eradicating the fly.
That’s an expression we use almost all the time in Washington, and I
asked someone down there what they really meant- by fully committing all
your assets, and he replied, “Well, it’s a very simple thing. The difference between being fully committed and just involved is expressed most effectively by referring to ham and eggs. The hen is just involved, the pig is fully committed. (laughter)
As you well know, one of President Reagan’s most fundamental beliefs is
the system of free enterprise. And the ability of individuals to create
their own wealth rather than have the Government try to accomplish it for them.
And, I think, that is one of the reasons why Adam Smith is so very popular in Washington currently. I like to think the reason Adam Smith is so popular is that he said in one of his writings that defense is so much more important than opulence. The trouble with that is that David Stockman keeps reminding me of that all the time when he looks at our budget. And Adam Smith, of course, has a great following in the Defense Department.
I did see our President this morning. We were meeting right up until eleven o’clock this morning in Washington with various crises that seem to arise. He asked if I would be back this afternoon, and I said, “No, I’d be out in the Grove.” He said, “Well, I’d like you to convey my greetings to all the members and my great unhappiness that I can’t be there.” I asked him if he had any special message, and he replied that “The only message I have to convey is that we have been discussing a number of different weapons this morning and I’ve become more and more convinced the longer we talk that the thing we really need is to revive the horse cavalry,” and he said, “I’d like you to recruit anybody who would like to join. That’s my kind of war!” (laughter) So we’ll set up a stand over here afterwards for anyone who wants to sign up.
The President has always felt that political freedoms are inseparable and one of the necessary traditions, not just for free enterprise but for the freedom of de-enterprising, to conduct one’s own business according to a reading of the marketplace, and he is fond of pointing out that the Soviets are denying both of these freedoms. Their society is one where, as the President notes, everything that isn’t compulsory is prohibited. And as you know, the compulsory restrictions that are placed on their economy are the cause of desperate shortages of the most basic goods they have.
Just the other day, to give you an example, the Polish party boss, Stanislaus
Kania, on the eve of the party congress, sent a message to Brezhnev and he asked for more grain because he needed to have a good showing to make to the congress, and he said that supplies are running, low.
Brezhnev cabled back and said, “Tighten belt.” Kania replied, “Send belt.”
Well, I’m afraid we have to now talk about something a little more serious. It’s really not much of -a joking matter – the problems of rearming America. Unfortunately, I think, in all seriousness, the fact is that our security and freedoms that we have known and taken for granted for so long face a threat which is really unlike any that have arisen in our history. The source of that threat, of course, is the Soviet Union.
It is very well known that the Soviet system is totally incompatible with freedom, and we don’t have to spend any time on that. It’s too beautiful of a spot to spend too much time on that particular aspect. But the simple fact of the matter is that their system is so totally incompatible with freedom, and they have acquired such strength in recent years that we may well be tested to keep our freedoms that are so precious to all of us. Their policy is characterized by their refusal to allow peoples of other nations to the right to run their own lives, and with the iron fist of repression on their own citizens at home. And it’s important that we do not allow the nicety of diplomatic exchange to obscure these facts.
I say that, because if we polish it up and speak about common aspirations or ultimately being the same underneath and the same people, that may be true of the people but that is not true of the system and not true of the government, and I think we’ve probably spent too much time in trying to allow necessities for a polite exchange to obscure the basic harsh facts. Their government is one they mean to keep in power by force of arms and their arms are very strong.
Our major problem today is the enormous strategic advantage that we had over the Soviets in the ‘50s and the diminished advantage we had in the 60’s is gone. That superiority enabled us to face any aggression in the world with absolute confidence, and one of the reasons we lost that advantage is that we used up a great deal of our equipment and supplies during the Vietnam War, and while we were doing that we were not modernizing and strengthening our capability. And then to make matters worse, the anti-military, almost isolationist feeling which was unhappily very prevalent following the Vietnam War, prevented us from doing the replenishing and the modernization and the strengthening which the Soviets had done and which we really have needed to do ever since.
And then compounding that and making it all the worse was their extraordinary build-up. A lot of people seem to think that there’s an arms race with the Soviets being suddenly demanded. The simple fact of the matter that on a perfectly steady, predictable, observable basis, every year since the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviets have added enormously to their strength – three, four, five percent rates of growth year after year after year. And that’s exactly what’s happening now. They now have a 4-l advantage in tanks. They’re out-producing us 2-1 in tactical aircraft; almost 4-1 in submarines. Their navy has sprung into being in a shorter time than any large navy in the world’s history. And that’s just what’s happening today.
During the whole Brezhnev era, their military has amassed a huge arsenal, and since the early ‘60s and through all the periods of detente and SALT, those eras of good feelings, they have done these things. They’ve increased their intercontinental ballistic missiles to about six-fold, and they have completely overturned our point of naval superiority. And that, of course, gives them an enormous capability in a nuclear war.
They also have an assured nuclear retaliation, meaning they have a clear ability to respond heavily AFTER a strike. They have more than tripled the size of their battlefield nuclear forces and they have reduced the credibility of NATO’s nuclear weapons as a counterweight. And they have mounted an enormous propaganda campaign in the NATO nations that has led to a great deal of dissipation in the deployment of the weapons that we have and are anxious to deploy to counterbalance the SS-20, very large, mobile, and extremely accurate Soviet nuclear missile that threatens the whole Eastern front. It more than doubles the artillery firepower of their divisions. It increases nine-fold the tactical force they can deliver huge surface ships and submarines that are larger than our largest.
All of these things have happened in a way that makes it very clear that they are not interested in the defense of their homeland. Very few of these new weapons are anything on a scale that is required for defensive purposes. They were built to give the Soviets a much greater ability to threaten other nations, to intimidate countries like Poland, and to carry out their various designs in the world.
And they do it in a very predictable, well known pattern: move into a particular area – Angola, Ethiopia, Yemen – either directly or through proxies. If they encounter no resistance, they expand; they go on to the next one. The process in the infantry was reconnaissance support, and if it succeeded you moved on to the next one, and so far without any resistance they’ve done it even to the point of absolutely making a formal invasion of Afghanistan and threatened two or three times in Poland.
So all of this means, I think, that we’ve had to rethink our basic approach to a world which has changed very rapidly, and the conclusion we’ve reached is that in a global situation as diverse as the one we face, as interconnected and as dangerous, there is simply no room for vacillation. Reality is far too varied and risky for that, and what we need is not any one big plan that will fit all contingencies. We have to have one that by constantly adapting to new events is able to control them.
And so we have tried to develop our new defense policy with care and thought that is needed to provide this adaptability. Shaping this defense policy and military strategy has to be a continuing effort. We’ve started out and now completed our defense guidance that is the basis for the defense budget that will be submitted to Congress in January for the Fiscal Year 1983.
But the defense policy has to continue to evolve as we take into account new developments. We have Senators who are demanding to see the entire 5-year defense budget year after year right now and that would be very good if we could do it; it would be fine, stabile, easy to predict for the book.
But the basic fact is that we and our allies may have to cope with bolder Soviet military initiatives carried out indirectly or through proxies in many parts of the world; possibilities of conflict in Central Europe, in the Arabian Gulf, in Africa, maybe even simultaneously. We will have to deal with more than one conflict at a time. We may have to contend with conflict in one area without opening up a critical vulnerability elsewhere.
So it is with all these things in mind, what we have tried to do is to recognize that perhaps we have to have the attributes of an island nation. Our friends and our allies are thousands of miles from our shores. The only way we can assure their needs of supply to help a friend or to acquire the strategic minerals that we will have to have for our domestic economy as well as for defensive purposes is to have a navy that will be strong enough to take care of the problems of keeping the sea lanes of communication open, no matter how expensive they are or how vital they may be. And achieving that capability is one of our chief goals.
But it can’t really be accomplished by a fixed quantity of the number of wars we need to be able to fight simultaneously. Our commitments may be quantified but the contingencies that might arise cannot possibly be, and that’s why the old slogan that we prepare for one-and-a-half or two-and- a-half wars really has no present validity. We’re going to honor our commitments to our people at home and to our allies around the world but in doing that we cannot shape the forces and doctrines as we have in the past solely on the assumption that there will be an initial conventional defense that could lead to nuclear escalation. Nuclear superiority is unthinkable now and so I have instituted strategic changes, driven by all these needs to improve our ability to fight a long war if necessary.
And we may well have to do it if we value our freedom. These changes will mean that we will have to pay far more attention to our industrial base which has been eroding the past few years, and the base that supports the defense of the country: improving our mobilization planning; and more mobility for our forces – air and sea lift – and powerful naval forces that I mentioned. So that we have a great deal to do and unfortunately we have a great deal to do all at once.
One of the frustrating things about this whole enterprise is the length of time that any of these things take. Someone said that we should not concentrate so on advanced technology. Someone said that you could do things much more quickly if you just built, using available technology.
But the simple fact is that it has always been necessary and usually indecisive.
In the First Tunic War, Rome took command of the seas away from the Carthaginians at the Battle of Manaus, and the thing that made this possible was a sort of hook which mounted at the prow of one of the ships which engaged enemy vessels while this device allowed marines to board. And 600 years later, the English, heavily inferior in numbers, routed the French at the Battle of Tracy in 1346 because their archers had the long bow, and it was murderous against the French. In modern times England was able to develop radar that was pivotal in the Battle of Britain, and we had the Norden bomb sight which gave us an enormous advantage, and the Atom Bomb ended the war in the Pacific in two days, after four years of struggle in the jungles and mud and on the beaches of the South Pacific.
So the enormous strength of this superior technology has always been our secret weapon. And it has always swept everything before it in every war we ever entered that we intended to win. And I want to say parenthetically that the tragedy of Vietnam was that we asked our forces to fight in battle in a war we never intended to win.
The Soviets, up until the past few years, have relied on sheer numbers, bigger missiles, heavier payloads, more tanks. And the general idea behind our approach has always been that with the preponderance of numbers against us, we had to counter with a superiority in design, speed, maneuverability, and firepower – and it makes good sense. Because then we would draw on our traditional genius for innovation, I can’t really imagine any responsible critic arguing that we should rest our defense on just producing the same kind or numbers of weapons that the Soviets build. There is a current school of thought that seems to be saying that what we should do is get away from all the complex,
modern, sophisticated weapons and just use possibly stripped down and inexpensive things and then we can win. But the problem is that the Soviets, for the past decade or so, have been showing every sign of taking offense technology very seriously, and for a decade their investment in research and development has exceeded ours by about $5 billion.
The result is that they have a vast amount of high quality military hardware:
tanks that go very high speed over rough terrain and destroy targets at night that they can’t see, and attack submarines that patrol large areas of the ocean up to 40 knots, a very sophisticated system for detecting and attacking other subs, and the new and highly accurate neutron ballistic missiles. They could destroy our missiles in the silos and new fighter aircraft that are very, very good indeed. And the situation is such that you simply can’t go on the theory that a stripped down, little, empty plane can compete with this technology.
The belief that the Soviets have only stripped down, low quality mutations is the same shot that I experienced and that my infantry company experienced when we first began to capture Japanese equipment, which up to that time we thought was just cheap imitations, and found that it was very, very good indeed.
As a result of the years of neglect by us and years of Soviet activity, we’re now outnumbered in equipment as well as men, and we will not be able to change the numbers very much, very soon. Our best hope is to take advantage of our technological needs which we still have: the M-1 tank, the Trident submarine, the F-15 and F-16 fighters; the MX Missile which will be constructed. These systems will permit us to take charge of the course of battle rather than forcing us into a one-on-one war of attrition, and they can give us the flexibility that we have to have to counter now the possible technological breakthroughs that the Soviets may shortly be developing in a number of fields. This is our best hope of fighting outnumbered and yet winning. And of course we plan to win.
Most important of all, I think, is the thing which none of us yet seem to appreciate, at least many of the people to whom I am talking, and that is that all of these new weapons which many think are unpleasant to talk about and unnecessary to talk about and indicate a conversion to militarism that’s really rather bad for us – the most important part of it all is that the real way to win a war is to deter it by never letting it start. We must have the kind of arsenal we need. If we don’t have it, we’re inviting attack. (applause)
The frustrating thing is that many of these things that we have to do that we start on now and will next year will take sometimes six to seven to eight years, and that’s a source of great frustration to many men as impatient as I am who sees as anyone would the information we get every day in Washington – the nature of this threat. It is essential that we do keep our superior technology and that we try to move it along as rapidly as we can.
One of the reasons this is such a dangerous epic is because of the lead time they have now built up and the time it takes to catch up. It isn’t an arms race. It is to insure that the Soviets know unmistakably that we as a nation have regained the resolve and the will and the purpose that will enable us to apply our energies and our technology and all of our resources if need be to building the kind of strength that can deter the war, which will never happen if we are strong enough. The danger, the thing that is the most destabilizing and likely to bring about war is that when a country allows itself to get so weak that it serves as an invitation to another to attack.
We hear some criticism that what we’re doing in defense spending will actually destroy the economy. I was very appalled by that because it is so clearly wrong. It also reminds me of Winston Churchill’s answer to those who asked why the British kept on fighting the Nazis when it was clearly hopeless. Churchill said; “If we stop, you’ll find out.”
Well, what would destroy the economy would be a devastating war. What
we’re trying to do is to strengthen the United States defense to such an extent that no one would dare to attack. The economy that exists supplies people’s needs. A strong defense is the only thing that can insure our freedoms.
We’re actually not proposing spending that is inflationary. Non-defense
spending is being cut at the same time and that is a new thing that is being done in Washington. The President’s had the courage to do it and it is something no other government seems willing to try. And we have encountered in our attempts to increase the defense contributions of our allies, and I am met repeatedly with the remark that we can’t possibly cut domestic spending and increase defense spending; if we did it would never be realistic. And we try to tell them that this is the same point that Governor Reagan made when he was in Sacramento, and they never paid any attention to that because he said he didn’t come to Sacramento to get re-elected. So really what we’re trying to do is to cut non-defense spending and cut not in a way that will cause injury or harm, but cut them in a way that will eliminate programs that have long since served their purpose and are in no way any longer effective. (applause)
Furthermore, the rate or the degree of defense spending measured by the percentage of the Gross National Product will be less than it was before Vietnam in those pre-inflationary days, so we don’t really worry about the fact that defense spending is going to be inflationary or harm the economy. On the other hand, I certainly don’t want to give the impression that it is a negligible cost or one that we view lightly. For an old budget man, it is a terribly painful thing to see all of these billions coming your way and then going out. But it is an essential thing.
And there is simply no way to avoid the realities of this world. It isn’t the world we would have created had we had the choice, but it is the world we have, the world we live in, a dangerous world, and it’s a world where freedom is a very rare and precious possession. We’re a real endangered species because only about a third of the people in the world have anything like the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. And as for the rest, over half live under one dictatorship or another.
The United States today still is and has been really-since the Revolutionary days-the great beacon and templar to the world. There was a lot of doubt and worry about the US in the past few years. We were viewed as an unreliable ally and a basically weak nation that could not stay on a course, that could not perhaps be trusted. But now the understanding is clear that we have a national consensus that is much stronger. It could be a fragile perception. We’re doing everything in Washington that we can to assure that that consensus is not lost by any improvident actions of ours. We are a nation conceived in liberty and cannot now
nor could we ever preserve our liberties without suffering. It’s a truism but that doesn’t make it any less true. We’ve known for a very long time, since centuries ago, that freedom is the possession alone of those who have the courage to defend it.
Today the only sacrifice really that is asked of us is to be prepared; to be strong enough to deter aggression, and to be strong enough to have a credible response to deter action against us. That’s the only test we have that we can consider of absolute major importance. It’s the task this Administration was elected to carry out and it’s the task we’re determined to do.
The purpose of American arms is to be a shield from the use of force against us or our allies. Obviously, as you all know, we never have had or never will have any desire to use armed force to maintain or extend an empire. Our only goal is peace and freedom; the two go inseparably together. Peace with freedom is the thing we have to have. And we’ll never waiver in our determination to keep this blessing we have so long enjoyed for ourselves and all our descendants.
Thank you very much.