The Holocaust Revisited

By: Sam Vaknin

International Holocaust Day and 70 Years Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Q: Was the Holocaust a unique event in European, or even human history?

  1. The Holocaust was a genocide, one of a few that occurred in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was the natural and inevitable culmination of trends in European history, thoughts and ideas. As scholars like Goldhagen and Nirenberg teach us, Hitler’s policies were not an aberration, but a natural extension of developments such as colonialism, imperialism, mercantilism, romanticism, and anti-Judaism. All the elements that comprised the Holocaust as an industrial process of annihilation (for example: concentration camps) were long in use by other polities, such as the British Empire and Soviet Russia. Hitler merely applied these policies in the European hinterland (rather than Africa, Asia, or the Americas) and against members of the White Race (rather than against blacks, reds, and “yellows”.)
  2. Was the Holocaust planned in advance? Was it always a policy of Hitler and, when he came to power, the Third Reich?
  3. Absolutely not. As scholars such as Bauer and Hilberg clearly documented, the phase of extermination was an improvised solution to the exigencies of war. The Germans, led by the Nazis, at first planned to evict the Jews from Europe (Judenrein) and resettle them elsewhere. Only when they have conquered territories which contained millions of Ostjuden (the poor, uneducated Jews of Eastern Europe) and only when the Allies blocked all Jewish immigration to their countries and territories did the Germans reach the decision to annihilate the Jewish population throughout the continent (at the Wannsee conference, in January 1942.)
  4. How did the Jews outside Europe react to the Holocaust?
  5. Even when the full scale of the Holocaust and the existence of death camps such as Auschwitz became known, the Jews in the USA and in Palestine had an ambivalent reaction to the unfolding horrors in Europe. The strategies they have chosen to cope with the unthinkable rendered it ineluctable.

American Jews preferred not to “rock the boat”: to acquiesce with the policies of the Roosevelt administration, which did not regard halting the Holocaust as a war priority. The Jews were afraid of an anti-Semitic response within the USA if they were to press their case. They believed that non-Jews that would rebel against turning the conduct of war in Europe into a “Jewish affair” intended to save the Jews there.

Similarly, the political leadership of the Jews in Palestine (headed by David Ben-Gurion) preferred to concentrate on the creation of a Jewish homeland where the remnants of the devastated Jewish communities in Europe could find refuge after the war. Their hands were full: both the British authorities and the indigenous Arab population were dead set against this vision of a Jewish state. Additionally, the Jewish community in Palestine (the “Yishuv”) was divided among violent extremists (“terrorists”) and moderates. One group (“The Stern Gang”) even supported the Nazis and offered them collaboration against the British!

  1. Was the State of Israel given to the Jews as compensation for the Holocaust?
  2. To some extent. People felt guilty about not lifting a finger to help the Jews as they were slaughtered by the millions, so they voted for a Jewish state in the United Nations in 1947. But, the British officially recommended establishing a Jewish state in 1937, years before the Holocaust. Jews and Arabs in Palestine were entangled in a bloodied conflict since 1882 and it seemed that there was no way out except two states for two nations. Ironically, this is now the position of the international community of the State of Israel, too!

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Author Bio

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East, as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

Live and Let Die: The West’s Perennial Error of Picking Sides

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

Rather than letting rabid militant Islamists slaughter each other to oblivion, the West keeps choosing sides and getting itself entangled in the internecine quagmire that is the Middle East. A policy of “live and let die” which would allow for the mutually-assured decimation of the fractious factions of these nether-lands would have had numerous advantages:

  1. Weakened by the attritive infighting, whichever the winner is, it would be compelled to collaborate with the West in order to survive. There is no substitute to the depth, innovativeness, and stability of the West’s capital, its markets, and its technology;
  2. The West would have conserved its resources while its ostensible and professed adversaries bled themselves to literal death;
  3. The neutrality of the West would have preserved its powerful and lucrative position as an arbiter and mediator of last resort;
  4. The denizens of the West would be spared the onslaught of all-pervasive terrorism that they are now forced to endure.

Islamist murderous and obscurantist thugs are not the first to benefit from the West’s curious habit of siding with one deranged assassin against another. Consider Hitler, for example.

Hitler and Nazism are often portrayed as an apocalyptic and seismic break with European history. Yet the truth is that they were the culmination and reification of European (and American) history in the 19th century. Europe’s (and the United States’) annals of colonialism have prepared it for the range of phenomena associated with the Nazi regime: from industrial-scale murder to racial theories, from slave labour to the forcible annexation of territory.

Germany was a colonial power no different to murderous Belgium or Britain or the United States. What set it apart is that it directed its colonial attentions at the heartland of Europe – rather than at Africa or Asia or Latin and Central America. Both World Wars were colonial wars fought on European soil.

Moreover, Nazi Germany innovated by applying prevailing racial theories (usually reserved to non-whites) to the white race itself. It started with the Jews – a non-controversial proposition – but then expanded them to include “east European” whites, such as the Poles and the Russians.

Still, Hitler was right to have been shocked by the failure of his wager: that the British Empire will side with him against the equally murderous Bolshevik Stalin. Hitler and Stalin were two of a kind: mass murderers, bent on an expansionist-imperialist agenda, promoters of ideologies that placed the state way ahead of individual life and freedoms. It made eminent sense for the Western powers to leverage Germany to get rid of Communism and prevent the rise of a lamentable and vile Stalinist Empire at the very heart of Europe. The peoples of Central and Eastern Europe have paid with four lost decades for the West’s erroneous choice of Stalin over Hitler. In hindsight, allowing Hitler and Stalin to decimate each other would have been far preferable.

Even more so since Germany was not alone in its malignant nationalism. The far right in France was as pernicious. Nazism – and Fascism – were world ideologies, adopted enthusiastically in places as diverse as Iraq, Egypt, Norway, Latin America, and Britain. At the end of the 1930’s, liberal capitalism, communism, and fascism (and its mutations) were locked in mortal battle of ideologies. Hitler’s mistake was to delusionally believe in the affinity between capitalism and Nazism – an affinity enhanced, to his mind, by Germany’s corporatism and by the existence of a common enemy: global communism.

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Author Bio

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East, as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

The Situational Codependent: Codependence as Reaction to Life Crises

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

Some patients develop codependent behaviors and traits in the wake of a life crisis, especially if it involves an abandonment and resulting solitude (e.g. divorce, or an empty nest: when one’s children embark on their own, autonomous lives, or leave home altogether.)

Such late-onset codependence fosters a complex emotional and behavioral chain reaction whose role is to resolve the inner conflict by ridding oneself of the emergent, undesirable codependent conduct.

Consciously, such a patient may, at first, feel liberated. But, unconsciously, being abruptly “dumped” and lonesome has a disorienting and disconcerting effect (akin to intoxication). Many patients rush headlong and indiscriminately into new relationships. Deep inside, this kind of patient has always dreaded being lonely (lonely, not alone!). Following a divorce, the death of a significant other or intimate partner, the passing away of parents or other loved ones, children relocating to college, and similar episodes of dislocation, she suppresses this dread because she possesses no real, effective solutions and antidotes to her sudden solitude and has developed no meaningful ways to cope with it.

We are taught that denied and repressed emotions often re-emerge in camouflage, as it were. The dread of ending up all alone is such that the patient becomes codependent in order to make sure that she never finds herself in a similar situation. Her codependence is a series of dysfunctional behaviors that are intended to fend off abandonment.

Still, patients who develop situational codependence (unlike classic, lifelong codependents) are fundamentally balanced and strong personalities who cherish their self-control. So, they always keep all their options open, including the vital option of going it alone yet again. They make sure to choose the wrong partner and then they spectacularly “expose” his egregious misconduct so that they can get rid of him and of the newly-acquired codependence in good conscience and at the same time.

To reiterate:

– The situational codependent is characterized by a deep-set fear of being lonely (abandonment anxiety, a form of attachment disorder) as an underlying, dormant inner landscape;

– This lurking abandonment anxiety is awakened by life’s tribulations: divorce, an empty nest, death of one’s nearest and dearest.

– At first, the newly-found freedom is exhilarating and intoxicating. But this “feel-good” factor actually serves to enhance the anxiety! The inner dialog goes something like this: “What if it feels so good that I will opt to remain by myself for the rest of my days? This prospect is terrifying!”

– Thus, a conflict erupts between conscious emotions and behaviors (liberation, joy, pleasure-seeking, etc.) and a nagging unconscious anxiety (“I am not getting any younger”, “This can’t go on for ever”, “I’ve got to settle down, to find an appropriate mate, not to be left alone”, etc.)

– To allay this internal tension, the patient comes up with situational codependence as a coping strategy: to attract and bond with a mate, so as to forestall abandonment.

– Yet, the situational codependent is ego-dystonic. She is very unhappy with her codependence (though, at this stage, she is utterly unaware of all these dynamics.) It runs contrary to her primary nature as accomplished, assertive, self-confident person with a well-regulated sense of self-worth. She feels the need to frustrate this new set of compulsive addictions (codependence) and to get rid of it because it threatens who she is and who she thinks she is (her self-perception.) Surely, she is not the clinging, maudlin, weak, out of control type! All her life, she has known herself to be a strong, good judge of character, intelligent, and in control. Codependence doesn’t become her!

But how could she get rid of it? In three easy steps:

– She chooses the wrong partner (unconsciously);

– She proves to her satisfaction that he is the wrong partner for her;

– She gets rid of him, thus re-establishing her autonomy, resilience, self-control and demonstrating credibly that she is codependent no more!

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Author Bio

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East, as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

Israel in 2025

“On the one-year anniversary of the independence of the Palestinian State, the newest member of the United Nations, the tension with its next-door neighbor, the State of Israel, is still there.

Sam Vaknin, an Israeli analyst answers our questions:

  1. Now, that the 2-states solution has been finally accepted and implemented by both nations, why the renewed tension between them?
  2. In order to be able to sign the Hebron Framework Agreement in February last year (which transformed the Palestinian Authority into a state recognized by Israel), Prime Minister Netanyahu was forced to make concessions to the more extreme far right. The Constitution was changed to say that the State of Israel is the Jewish home of the Jewish people, excluding 1.5 million Arabs within its pre-1967 borders and fostering the current unrest and “resistance” among them. Additionally, Israel was effectively transformed into a theocracy with enhanced powers granted to the rabbinate and to other Jewish Orthodox structures in various fields of life, including the military, education, and housing construction. This alienated the secular majority of Israelis. Fractured and weakened, Israel is in no position to make further compromises.

Palestine is in no better shape: its economy is still heavily dependent on Israel: VAT returns, food supplies, electricity, water, the Internet, trade in goods and services – everything comes from or through Israel. More than half the Palestinian budget still relies on international and Israeli handouts.

Moreover, the 2 security corridors or cordons that Israel insisted on maintaining cut across Palestinian territory and effectively bisect the new country, rendering it mutilated and dysfunctional. Roads, neighborhoods, villages, and cities are rended in half; police forces cannot engage in hot pursuit of, for instance, Israeli settlers, who are involved in terrorist activities, protesting the Hebron Agreement; goods are stuck in the border crossings and left to rot. This cannot go on for long. The Hebron Agreement foresees the elimination of these 2 arteries in 20 years, but I think it should and will be sooner than that – or Israel will face a fourth Intifada.

  1. What happened to Hamas?
  2. Hamas was totally discredited, even in the Arab street, when its close ties to certain intelligence agencies – including and especially the Israeli Mossad and Shin-Bet – were revealed. Still, it maintains its network of charities, schools, hospitals, and kitchens for the indigent throughout the Gaza Strip. Palestine right now has a technical government which is preparing all the necessary legislation, institutions, and Constitution prior to the elections in March next year. Fatah will remain in the lead, but Hamas may surprise with a comeback. The new political movement, al-Nahda, modeled after the successful party in Tunisia, may emerge as the third potent force in the territory.
  3. Five years ago, Israel was at war with Syria …
  4. Syria under al-Nusra and the remnants of ISIL was just the front. Israel was actually at war with the backers of the new Islamist regime there: Turkey, Iraq, Iran. But, in hindsight, this war was a “good” thing: it brought all the moderates in the region to their senses and made the Hebron Framework Agreement possible. The region was on the verge of nuclear war. It was a Cuba crisis moment. No one wants to see it happening again.
  5. Finally, how do Israelis feel about the Palestinian State on their doorstep?
  6. they are skeptical. Israel and the Palestinians experimented with dozens of solutions over the decades. Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza 2005. It built a wall around the Palestinian territories in the West Bank to isolate itself. It agreed to a Palestinian autonomy and the establishment of a state-like Authority. In 2000, Israel offered to the Palestinians 95% of all their territories and half of Jerusalem. Arafat rejected the offer. An Israeli politician once said: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. The Palestinian State may be no exception. It may end up embroiled in war from within (civil war, like in Lebanon 1975-1990) and without, with Israel and Egypt.

Israel, on the other hand, has never learned how to properly administer the territories it occupied. Its administration was illegal, mean-spirited, violent, harsh, and short-sighted. It has been paying the price ever since.

10 Predictions for the Coming Decade

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “
Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

  1. Italy, the euro, and the US dollar

On November 24, 2010, I published (in Global Politician and elsewhere) an article titled “Italy will Kill the Euro”. Six months later, credit rating agencies have downgraded Italy’s outlook from “stable” to “negative”. Italy has never really recovered. It has endured another downgrade in December 2014. Like Greece, it is in worse shape than most members of the European Union (EU): at 3% of GDP, it has an ostensibly sustainable budget deficit, but its external debt (now close to 170% of GDP) is higher, in constant dollars, than that of the most egregious wastrels in the bloc, Greece and Ireland included. Italy’s banking sector is over-exposed to borrowers in Central and Eastern Europe, a region habitually pendulating between recovery and economic calamity. If Italy goes Greece’s and Ireland’s way, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – already over-extended by serial bailouts and with Greece on the brink of a second crisis – will be unable to stem the red tide. Italy may actually effectively default and, in the process, ruin the euro and restore the US dollar to its erstwhile glory.

  1. Korean Unification

By late 2010, a succession war was simmering in North Korea. His panoply of suddenly-bestowed senior political and military posts notwithstanding, the generals and military establishment are less than happy and impressed with Kim Jong-un, the younger son of the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Each side flexes muscles in an attempt to burnish their nationalist and martial credentials. The outcomes of this internecine conflict are ominous: a series of ever-escalating military skirmishes with South Korea and the ramping up of North Korea’s already burgeoning nuclear weapons and cyberwar programs (as Sony discovered to its cost.)

North Korea’s leaders are likely to try to reform their country’s economy and introduce capitalism, but this will fail. The regime in North Korea is all but dead on its feet. These are its last days. China is facing the terrifying spectacle of a crony failed state with tens of millions of starved and destitute potential refugees swarming across its porous and indefensible borders. China’s ascendance to superpowerdom and its respectability are threatened by this association with the last remaining pariah rogue state. There is only one solution to all the problems of the Korean Peninsula: unification. The parties came close to discussing it in secret talks in 2002 and then again in 2009.

  1. China’s Economy and the Second Great Depression

As I predicted in an article published on February 22, 2009 and titled “The Next 18 Months: Recession, False Recovery, Depression”, the years 2010-2011 saw a false recovery from the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Mounting sovereign debts crises in Europe and an anemic rebound in America’s economy were more than outweighed by the emergence of Asia as a global powerhouse. Yet, the warning signs were there: China’s economic “miracle” was based on unsustainable dollops of government largesse and monetary quantitative easing. This led to the formation of asset bubbles (mainly in real-estate) and to pernicious inflation. The Chinese authorities’ attempts to clamp down on rampant speculation and price gouging are too little, too late. The economy will slow down considerably and the Chinese house of cards will collapse ominously and swiftly. This will bring the entire global economic edifice into disarray with mounting imbalances and increased risk-aversion among investors. The second phase of the global crisis will resemble closely the Great Depression with massive write-offs in the values of equities and mounting, two-digit, unemployment rates everywhere.

  1. Israeli-Arab War

The Arab Spring of 2011 empowered Islamist and other anti-Israeli elements in Arab society. Israel and its allies, the reactionary Arab regimes, were long and justly perceived by the oppressed average Arab as outposts of American (and, previously, British) mercantilist neo-imperialism. The popular uprisings unseated these entrenched dictatorial elites and replaced them with military and Muslim ruling classes bent on restoring the anti-Israeli hostility and enmity that characterized the Middle-East before 1979. Phenomena like Sharia-toting ISIL have become the mainstream norm rather than the exception in large parts of Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and even India. In time, this – and heavy Iranian meddling – will lead to an all out war between Israel and its neighbours, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with any certainty.

  1. Russian Liberalism

On June 2, 2010, I published an article titled “Putin’s Last Days”. Putin is on his way out. The belligerent stance in Ukraine and the massive economic crisis that followed the West’s sanctions and the collapse in oil prices amount to Putin’s own personal Vietnam. With this clownish “strong man” gone, Russia is bound to become a far more liberal and democratic place. No matter who wins the next presidential elections or not, Russia’s oligarchs are a dying breed; the rule of law is asserting itself; property rights will be restored; a new cadre of politicians – young, educated, self-confident, and cosmopolitan (though not necessarily pro-Western) – will take Russia forward and free it from its pecuniary dependence on oil by diversifying its economy.

  1. First Cyberwar

In 2010, the Stuxnet worm delivered a paralyzing payload to Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, thus heralding the second salvo in a gathering storm of cyberwars (a Turkish pipeline was the first to have been attacked in 2008). Prior to Stuxnet, hacker networks – both government-mandated and self-assembling – attacked the Internet infrastructure of perceived enemies (the prime examples being Russian attacks on the Baltic States and on Georgia and Chinese attacks on dissidents’ accounts with Google). The resulting disruption was minimal and transient. Not so with Stuxnet which ruined the Iranian uranium enrichment infrastructure single-handedly and remotely and without a single casualty among the Israelis who launched it. Similar offensives will become common in the near future. State actors will also unleash guerrilla cyber skirmishes via hacker-teams and proxy computers (see North Korea’s humbling of Sony in December 2014).

  1. Change of Guard in International Institutions

The composition of and voting rights within the United Nations and its organs (including the World Bank) as well as other multilateral institutions (such as the IMF – International Monetary Fund) reflect the world as it was in 1946, after the Second World War. A lot has changed since then, most notably the emergence of Asia as the fastest-growing region, both economically and militarily and the relative decline of an insular Europe and depleted USA. Within the next few years, the upper echelons of the IMF and the UN will be revamped to reflect these gargantuan historic shifts: we will see Asians and Africans running the world.

  1. A Dictatorship in Turkey

Snubbed by the EU (European Union) and the USA alike, Turkey is re-orienting itself. Once again, it is playing the role of a regional potentate, with ties to regimes of all sorts: veteran and unsavoury; emerging and fundamentalist; terrorism-prone and peace-seeking. Turkey’s military and its secular political establishment have lost their decades-old grip on power. Moderate Islam, reified by Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, is slowly being transformed into an authoritarian, fundamentalist, anti-Western pale imitation of Pakistan and Iran. Its erstwhile warm relationship with Israel is frayed. It surreptitiously supports terrorist organizations like ISIL against Syria’s Assad. Media freedoms and online access are curtailed and censored. Human rights are again breached and violated blatantly (especially where Kurds, intellectuals, and journalists are concerned). Turkey’s role in NATO, its special relationship with the USA, and its EU accession are all in doubt.

  1. War in Pakistan

The second war between the USA and China – directly and via proxies – will be fought on Pakistani, Indian, and Afghani soil. As an increasingly-Islamized Pakistan veers away from its frenemy, the United States, and towards its new-found ally, China, America’s vital interests in Afghanistan, India, Japan, and South Korea are at stake. Skirmishes will evolve into a full-fledged conflict, with a slate of nuclear powers as adversaries: Pakistan, India, China, Russia (who will back China), and the USA/NATO .

  1. Vatican in Conflict: An Assassinated Pope?

The job – and possibly life – of any Pope attempting to truly reform the Vatican is in jeopardy. The top echelons of the Catholic Church are in a deep crisis, faced with a reputation tattered by decades of unrelenting, egregious scandals, an ossified corporate culture, interpersonal relationships strained to the breaking point, and dwindling finances. The next few years will witness a titanic battle over the soul of this dysfunctional, secretive, and criminalized organization. A lot of money and power are at stake. People have been assassinated for less.

In general, the next decade will see a resurgence of political assassinations. Obama’s policies – lately on Cuba (remember Kennedy?) – put him at growing risk. ISIL may target one or more leaders of the European Union. An enraged and frustrated Palestinian may do away with an Israeli politician. The list of targets is long and growing by the day.