Vladislav Surkov: Without Sky

This was the first non-linear war. In the primitive wars of the nineteenth, twentieth, and other middle centuries, the fight was usually between two sides: two nations or two temporary alliances. But now, four coalitions collided, and it wasn’t two against two, or three against one. It was all against all.

And what coalitions they were! Not like the earlier ones. It was a rare state that entered the coalition intact. What happened was some provinces took one side, some took the other, and some individual city, or generation, or sex, or professional society of the same state – took a third side. And then they could switch places, cross into any camp you like, sometimes during battle.

.. The simple-hearted commanders of the past strove for victory. Now they did not act so stupidly. That is, some, of course, still clung to the old habits and tried to exhume from the archives old slogans of the type: victory will be ours. It worked in some places, but basically, war was now understood as a process, more exactly, part of a process, its acute phase, but maybe not the most important.

.. Some peoples joined the war specifically to be defeated. They were inspired by the flowering of Germany and France after being routed in the second World War. It turned out that to achieve such a defeat was no simpler than achieving victory.

.. Hundreds of thousands of airplanes, helicopters, and rockets destroyed each other throughout a day in the silence of the tomb. Even falling, they were silent. Sometimes dying pilots screamed out, but rarely, because almost all of the machines were pilotless.

.. At that time, automatic machinery was being hurriedly brought into general use, and not only in the field of transportation. They introduced hotels without staff, stores without sales people, homes without masters, financial and industrial firms without directors. Even a couple of “pilotless” governments were organized as a result of democratic revolutions, so airplanes were nothing to speak of.

.. The fighter aircraft of the Northern Coalition were super-light, made of almost weightless materials. Even if an entire one of these fighters fell on us, the whole airplane, it would not have caused us serious harm. And Papa had dug us in pretty deep.

.. If it was only that we didn’t see the sky above our village, that would be nothing, but our very thoughts lost the concept of height. We became two-dimensional. We understood only “yes” and “no,” only “black” and “white.” There was no ambiguity, no half-tones, no saving graces. We did not know how to lie.

We understood everything literally, and that meant we were absolutely unsuited for life, helpless. We required constant care, but they abandoned us. They wouldn’t let us work. They wouldn’t pay us a disability pension. Many of us deteriorated, fell and perished. The rest of us organized ourselves to stay afloat, to save ourselves together or perish together.

.. We founded the Society and prepared a revolt of the simple, two-dimensionals against the complex and sly, against those who do not answer “yes” or “no,” who do not say “white” or “black,” who know some third word, many, many third words, empty, deceptive, confusing the way, obscuring the truth. In these shadows and spider webs, in these false complexities, hide and multiply all the villainies of the world. They are the House of Satan. That’s where they make bombs and money, saying: “Here’s money for the good of the honest; here are bombs for the defense of love.”

We will come tomorrow. We will conquer or perish. There is no third way.

Their Chairs Are Empty, but We Know What Their Sacrifice Was For

I think how pleased my fallen comrades would be to see their country still safe, still free, still strong.

“Oh my friends, my friends don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for.” This is where art stops imitating life, the song’s tide turns, and my tears subside. We know—defiantly and with clear eyes—that some great good has come from some horrible bad. We do know what their sacrifice was for.

.. Every society requires warriors to defend its version of civilization. “If none of us is prepared to die for freedom,” the Yale historian Timothy Snyder recently wrote, “then all of us will die under tyranny.”

.. many military mottos: “Free the Oppressed”; “That Others May Live”; “Not for Self, but for Country.” It also lives on in the solemn pride expressed, only this month, by the son of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan: “His life was not taken: It was given, to his country.”

Philippines’ Duterte Says Chinese Leader Raised Threat of War Over South China Sea

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said his Chinese counterpart had threatened him that Beijing would “go to war” if Manila begins drilling for oil in the South China Sea.

.. “We do not want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain a warm relationship but if you force the issue we will go to war.”

.. Mr. Duterte has a record of inaccuracies and exaggeration.

U.S. Plans to Supply Antitank Weapons to Kurdish Fighters in Syria

The U.S. military is preparing to provide Kurdish forces in Syria with antitank weapons in their fight against Islamic State, U.S. officials said Monday, a move that would allow them to target armored Islamic State trucks used in suicide bombings but could also give them the ability to strike Turkish tanks operating in Syria.

.. Mr. Erdogan has said he still hopes to convince Mr. Trump to reverse course and stop plans to arm the YPG. But the U.S. military is already moving to supply the group with more firepower, including machine guns and other weapons, as well as ammunition.

.. To address Turkish objections, it is looking at providing the Kurdish forces with an unguided version of an antitank missile instead of the more sophisticated guided kinds

.. But even that has been the subject of debate. There are some in the administration who are worried about providing the YPG with any kind of antitank weapons

.. Until now, the U.S. has restricted arms supplies to the Kurds as a way to assuage Turkish concerns that the weapons could be smuggled into Turkey and used against its own citizens and soldiers.

.. The YPG is the largest force in the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of about 50,000 Kurdish and Arab fighters who work with U.S. special operations forces.