Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Kerensky’s Missed Opportunity

Reprinted from Isegoria:

One hundred years ago Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, ending 300 years of Romanov rule of Russia, and this so-called February Revolution presents one of the great what-ifs of history: 
If this revolution — which actually took place in early March 1917 according to the West’s Gregorian calendar (Russia adopted that calendar only later) — had succeeded in producing a constitutional democracy in place of the czarist empire as its leaders hoped, the world would be a very different place.
If the leading figure in the provisional government, Aleksandr Kerensky, had seized on an opportunity presented by a now-forgotten vote in the German Reichstag, World War I might have been over before American troops reached Europe. In this alternative history, Lenin and Stalin would be obscure footnotes, and Hitler would never have been more than a failed painter.
Aleksandr Kerensky reviewing the troops in 1917
What is surprising, to anyone who has absorbed the standard victor’s view — according to which the Allies were fighting a defensive war to liberate small states — is that Britain was disingenuous about its war aims, while France declined to state them at all. The reason is that those aims were too discreditable to avow openly. In a series of secret treaties, they agreed in the event of victory to carve up the empires of their defeated enemies.
From the Russian viewpoint, the big prize was the Turkish capital, Constantinople, now called Istanbul; this was promised to Russia in a secret agreement in 1915. The subsequent publication of this and other secret treaties by the Bolsheviks did much to discredit the Allied cause.
Kerensky could have repudiated the deals made by the czarist empire and announced his willingness to accept the Reichstag formula of peace without annexations or indemnities. Perhaps the German High Command would have ignored the offer and continued fighting (as it did when the Bolsheviks offered the same terms after the October Revolution at the end of 1917). But the circumstances were far more favorable in July than they were at the end of 1917. As the Kerensky offensive demonstrated, the Russian Army, while demoralized, was still an effective fighting force, and the front line was far closer to the territory of the Central Powers. Moreover, Kerensky commanded credibility with the Western Allies that he could have used to good effect.
Kerensky’s determination to continue the war was a disaster. Within a few months, the armed forces were in open revolt. Lenin, who was transported across Germany in a sealed train with the High Command’s acquiescence in the hope that he would help to knock Russia out of the war, seized the opportunity. The provisional government was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. This Bolshevik Revolution consigned the February Revolution to historical oblivion.
After accepting a humiliating treaty imposed by the Germans, Russia was soon embroiled in a civil war more bloody and brutal than even World War I. By its end, the Bolshevik government, launched as a workers’ democracy, was effectively a dictatorship, enabling the ascendancy of a previously obscure Bolshevik, Joseph Stalin, who would become one of the great tyrants of history. On the other side, the German High Command’s rejection of peace similarly led to defeat, national humiliation and the emergence of the 20th century’s other great tyrant, Adolf Hitler.
We cannot tell whether a positive response from Kerensky to the Reichstag peace initiative would have achieved anything. But it is hard to imagine an outcome worse than the one that actually took place.
My reaction: I've often wondered about this myself — why Kerensky felt that his government should fulfill the agreements the Tsar had made. The argument above, that his régime might well have survived had he done otherwise, is compelling. I think it's a bit extreme to think that Russia would have ended up with a democratic system like those of Western Europe, but it could well have ended up with something approximating the German constitutional monarchy of the time. A mix of representative democracy and authoritarianism. The world would indeed be a different place. I can visualize WWII being confined to the Pacific conflict with Japan, if it happened at all. 

On the other hand, if WWI had ended early, in this scenario, one or more of the participants might very well have decided to renew it when it seemed advantageous to do so. Britain and France might well have felt cheated of victory, and they might have decided to emulate Mussolini's system, and we could have had WWII a decade earlier.

Do feel free to discuss this in the comments.
The graphic quote is from one of the commenters on Isegoria. The picture I found on the net.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Peshawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling

by Joe Glasgow

The earth is hit by a comet in 1878, and humanity fights for survival in this alternate history by S. M. Stirling. The book picks up the story in the 21st century; where technology has struggled to advance, and clings to technology from the late 1870’s. Humanity is dealt a devastating blow in the North Hemisphere, and is left in desolation with a cooling climate.

The North American Hemisphere has lost all semblance of civilization, and has become a land of barbarians. The power of the British Empire has relocated to their colonies in Australia, Indian, and South Africa with the help of their surviving fleet. The French to the Algiers, and the Russians somehow survive and turn away from the Orthodox church. 

The book is filled with fast paced action complete with a Russian conspiracy.  The characterization is solid, and the book rings a bit Kiplingesque. I would recommend read the appendix before you start the book. It is filled with a lot of details that will help when start the novel. The science is a bit shaky, but doesn’t take away from a solid tale by Stirling

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Jackboot Britain: The Alternate History - Hitler's Victory & The Nazi UK! by Daniel S. Fletcher

Daniel Fletcher’s Jackbook Britain is set 1940 in the Nazi occupied United Kingdom.  There is no Dunkirk in this world and the British Empire has capitulated to Nazi Germany. The British Expeditionary Forces have been captured, and the characters live under the iron fisted occupation of the Nazis.

The first third of the book is a little slow getting started, but the action picks up at that point in the book. If you are looking for military action this doesn’t appear, and his only mentioned or the results hinted. The story focuses more on the social aspects of occupation by the occupied, and their German occupiers.

Fletcher is spot on with his characterization of the British folk, but he fell short with the Germans. The German characters came across being a little too one dimensional. The social commentary was too modern for my tastes, and not period enough.

Myself, I didn’t care for the ending. I thought it was too ambiguous, and would hope this is a series, and not a stand alone book. It is Fletcher’s first novel, and hope we see a second book to get a better feel for his work.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Guess the POD!

POD=point of departure. What historical event changed to result in this situation in 1947?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NIxon's the One! In 1960!

It wouldn't take much change for Nixon to have won in 1960. A gaffe on the part of Kennedy, perhaps, or rumors of his promiscuous sexual behavior (which we now know to be true), gaining traction. But I like the idea of Rockefeller agreeing to become his VP, which he turned down in our timeline. That might give Nixon New York and one other, maybe New Jersey, and the presidency. So let's see where this takes us:

1960Rep. Richard Nixon/Nelson A. 
John F. Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson

Vietnam never develops into a
large-scale conflict. Nixon turns
the Bay of pigs into a success and Cuba is liberated.

1964Rep. Richard Nixon/Nelson A. Rockefeller
Dem Lyndon Johnson/Pat Brown

Passage of civil rights bill, much
more moderate than in our time

Nixon vetoes immigration bill,
which then fails, because Ted
Kennedy is not in Senate.

1968Rep. Nelson Rockefeller/George
Dem. Harold Hughes/John Connally

An economic slump and the
unpopularity of the Sarawak war
leads to a primary challenge
from Pete McCloskey which weakens his candidacy.
Senator Howard Baker becomes well-known
nationwide because of the Sarawak hearings.

1972Rep. Nelson Rockefeller/George
Dem. John Connally / John Lindsay

1976Rep./George Romney/Charles
Dem. John Connally / John Lindsay

1980Dem. Jerry Brown/Jimmy Carter
Rep. Howard Baker/Otis Bowen

1984Dem. Gary Hart/Alan Cranston
Rep. Howard Baker/Otis Bowen

1988Dem. Richard Gephardt/Albert Gore
Rep. Donald Rumsfeld/Jack

1992Dem. Richard Gephardt/Albert Gore
Rep. Julie Eisenhower/PIerre duPont

1996Dem. Paul Tsongas/Tom Harkin
Rep. Julie Eisenhower/PIerre duPont

2000Dem. Howard Dean/Bob Graham
Rep. PIerre duPont/Paul Findley

2004Dem. Bob Casey, Jr./Bill Richardson
Rep. PIerre duPont/Paul Findley

2008Dem. Bob Casey, Jr./Bill Richardson
Rep. Tommy Thompson/MIke


Dem. Mark Udall/Joe Manchin
Rep. Fred Thompson/MIchelle

Thompson dies in office. Bachman 
becomes President. She selects 
James Mattis for VP

2016Dem. Andrew Cuomo/Barbar Boxer
Rep. Michele Bachmann/James Mattis

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

President Sessions?

This is an oddity from Breitbart [link] that intrigues me. Before Trump got into the race for the nomination, my first choice for President was indeed Jeff Sessions, largely because he's a hawk on immigration, and also because of his generally conservative orientation, with a populist bias. Actually, that sounds a lot like Trump, doesn't it? That explains his choice of Sessions for Attorney General. But I think it less likely that Sessions would have beaten Hillary, had he been nominated. After all, we've just witnessed some downright political genius on the part of Trump, using liberal tactics against liberals, hitting back harder when he's hit, and using technology to make an end run around the hostile press.

But if somehow he had been elected, Sessions would indeed make a great President. Read on:

A Look Back at the Remarkable Presidency of Jeff Sessions


In the just-completed 2024 presidential election, the Republican Party has won the White House for a third consecutive time—only the third instance in a century that the GOP has managed this feat.
So it’s worth pausing over the origins and causes of this political achievement—this Republican “triple play.” In particular, we might ask: What additional political force has given the GOP this newfound political muscle? After all, from 1992 to 2012, the GOP had lost four of six presidential elections—and five of six in the popular vote. And yet the Republican presidential victories of 2016, 2020, and 2024 cannot be denied: Even the Main Stream Media are now willing to concede that GOP strength is more than just “a blip.”
In fact, if we examine these Republican win streaks, we can identify some commonalities. In each instance, we can see that one political figure stands as decisive in building the Republican Party’s national strength. Way back in the 1920s, the key force for the GOP was President Calvin Coolidge, who inherited the wreckage of Warren G. Harding’s presidency in 1923 and won big in his own right in the 1924 election. In office, Coolidge was so popular that he bequeathed a strong Republican majority to his successor in 1928.
In the next GOP win streak, in the 1980s, the Republican main man was President Ronald Reagan. In the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections, the Gipper was the big winner, and his popularity helped George H.W. Bush win another thumping victory in 1988.
And most recently, in the Teens and Twenties, the undeniable architect of sustained Republican success was the 45th President, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama. His victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016 was relatively close, and yet his re-election in 2020 was a landslide. And as we have just seen, President Sessions’ continued popularity made it easy for his anointed successor to hold the White House in 2024.
So yes, over the last eight years, President Sessions has indeed consolidated a new Republican majority. In particular, we can identify three pillars of strength:
First, by virtue of his long service to the Republican Party, he held the Republican base.
Second, by virtue of his strong stance on key issues of principle, he solidified the support of Tea Partiers and Constitutionalists. Crucially, he recaptured the allegiance of the United States Independence Partythe group of disaffected Republicans that had split from the GOP over the immigration issue.
Third, by virtue of his populist appeal, Sessions brought over a great many centrist Democrats, who were dissatisfied with former President Barack Obama but nevertheless fearful of most Republicans. Wits of the time said that Sessions was a “gateway drug” for wandering Democrats.
During the Obama years, Sessions, then in the US Senate, stood out. He was a solid conservative vote on virtually all issues, from taxes to guns to Life, yet nevertheless he took bold positions on immigration and globalization that jolted the open-borders libertarian hegemony that then prevailed within the GOP. As he said repeatedly, a truck driver is just as important as a billionaire. That is, protecting the jobs of ordinary Americans were just as much a priority as protecting the profits for venture capitalists. Indeed, Sessions showed his Southern spunk: He wasn’t afraid to mix it up with liberal Democratic billionaires. Ideological purists were horrified; ordinary Americans were delighted: Finally, someone in Washington was willing to fight for them.
Sessions thus pointed the way to a new and powerful kind of politics with broad national appeal: It was sometimes called “populism,” although others preferred to call it “Middle Class Conservatism.” For his part, Sessions eschewed labels; to him it was just common sense.
Yet by whatever name, Sessions’ brand of politics proved wildly popular in his home state of Alabama; in 2014, he was the only US Senator, in either party, who was unopposed for re-election. Moreover, Sessions’ message resonated to a larger audience than just the Yellowhammer State. His staunch opposition to Obama’s amnesties of 2014, 2015, and 2016 made him a national hero. Indeed, he was admired by many Democrats who could see that the rising tide of illegals flooding into the country was jeopardizing not only their wages at work but also their safety at home.
Thus Sessions emerged as an important national figure. And yet as we remember, during the Obama years, he was not only not generally seen as a future president, but he himself actively swatted down rumors that he might throw his hat in the ring.
Still, the presidential speculation about Sessions continued. In those years, GOP strategists were hungry for victory; after all, the Party had lost the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections by wide margins. Notably, Republican politicos knew all too well that their candidates in ’08 and ’12 had virtually no appeal to swing voters. And so many Republican thinkers came to believe that that a more populist message could bring disaffected Democrats—of the type who had once voted for Ronald Reagan—back into the Republican fold.
Read the rest here:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SJW's Everywhere! Even in Alternate History!

This is a reprint from

You never know where you're going to find delicate SJW snowflakes. I'm still surprised when they pop up in unexpected places, though by now I shouldn't be. Half the team that does this blog has an oddball interest in alternate history science fiction, the sort of thing Harry Turtledove writes, and a classical example of which is The Man in the High Castle [link].  This has led him to have another blog, Ifnicity [link], all about alternate history.

There's an alternate history discussion forum on the net at "Alternate History Dot Com" [link]. And he finally got around to registering there to participate in some of the discussions. After registering, one of the first threads he came across was the question, "Are there any right wingers anywhere!?." (meaning on the forum) Some people had answered already, saying they were conservatives, talking about right-wingers as a different classification than conservatives, stuff like that, mostly very mild. So he answered the question this way:

Neither "right-winger" nor "conservative" has widely agreed-upon definitions. Both terms should be defined whenever they're used, especially in forums like this, that include people of many different places and with very different experiences. Me, you can call Alt-Right (I was Alt-Right before Hillary popularized the phrase) or "libertarian nationalist" (google it) in that I believe in libertarian principles about the way the Founding Fathers did, and that I think the nation-state is the best guardian of these principles and its inhabitants. Another way to look at it is that I'm the sort of Goldwater "conservative" that was the default conservative before the Trotskyites left the Democratic party, joined the Republican party, and began calling themselves "neoconservatives."

And guess what happened next? One of the SJW's on the forum wrote:

Oh look it's a brand new member starting off by announcing he's a racist.


And I naturally expected this just to be the reaction of one of the more childish members, but no, I received an email right away, reading:

[Y]ou have been permanently banned in response to your message Are there any right wingers anywhere!?.

Whoa! Amazing that they, or anybody else, can find "racism" in that paragraph I wrote. Maybe you can enlighten me. Is it the Alt-Right part? Reference to "libertarian nationalist" or maybe even the "Founding Fathers"? The identification as a "Goldwater conservative"? Or the Trotsky part?

Well, if any of you are interested in alternate history, and join that forum, for God's sake don't mention to them that you ever voted for or supported anybody but the most orthodox of leftist Democrats. Better yet, go to Ifnicity [link] and do your alternate-history discussing there. is a cybernetic "safe place," I suppose.
Quibcag: Since this is about thinking, I used Yuki Nagato of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu)  to illustrate it, because she looks very brainy and very cute at the same time.