22nd of January 2015
About three years ago I was sitting at a restaurant with a friend of mine. He was an East German Naval Officer (Commander) and a former member of the Stasi, the East German secret service and also served in Angola as an adviser and trainer to FAPLA and PLAN the armies of Angola and SWAPO respectively. It was in Angola where he picked up his taste for Cuban cigars.
We were discussing military doctrine, training and strategy and I mentioned that we won just about every battle in Angola, how our training was superior, etc.
I told him why. I told him that we learned mostly from the French and their experiences in Vietnam and Algeria and adopted their Counter Insurgency strategies. I was quoting Andre Beaufre, David Galula, Trinquier, etc…I told him how we learned from the Swiss and the Israelis and incorporated their training methods into the SADF…I mentioned how I was convinced that we contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of Communism…
He listened to me very carefully, sucking on his cigar with a slight glint in his eye and never interrupted me once.
When I was finished he leaned over to me and asked me a simple question: “So Mike…who is in charge of Namibia today?”
“Well…SWAPO”, I answered.
“And who is in charge of South Africa today?” he asked.
“The ANC” I answered.
He leaned back, and as he was taking a tuck from his cigar he asked me, “They are both Communists organizations…So you tell me Mike, whose strategy and training was superior?”
I couldn’t answer him. It is true. We won all the battles and lost the war. Not only that, we lost our country. So did the Rhodesians and the Namibians. We are all run by Communists today.
I tried to defend myself and said, “…but the GDR (East Germany) itself collapsed, the wall fell…”
He looked me in the eye and said, “Who is the Chancellor of Germany?”
“Merkel” I answered.
“And who is the President?” He asked.
“Joachim Gauck”, I said
“Well, Mike, they are both East Germans. So I ask you…who really won the Cold War?”
He really made me think. Where did we err in our War on Communism? Were we so naïve? Did we not have a proper holistic strategy? What should we have done differently? What if we ever have to fight an insurgency again? Are we blindly going to follow those old methods that did not work? Are we going to at least learn from our mistakes or are we going to keep on blaming the politicians?
With the rhetoric of President Zuma lately that whites are the problem in South Africa, that it started with Jan van Riebeeck, that he promised his supporters that 2015 will be the year of Land Expropriations, that the EFF started organizing land grabs already and with the sudden sharp increases in Farm murders, it became clear to me that we are sitting with an insurgency on our doorstep. It has never stopped. It has just escalated recently.
Therefore, the time has come to re-evaluate our past strategies, tactics, successes and failures so that we do not repeat them when the “Big War” comes and believe me it is a coming.
Therefore I wrote a four part series that I will release over the next few days, addressing some key issues. I hope you enjoy and take part in the discussion. I appreciate all inputs.