After reading this latest work from Dr. van Creveld, it is no wonder that Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West had to be self-published as I cannot imagine a mainstream publisher would touch a manuscript that like this that so eloquently gores just about all of the sacred cows of the modern liberal movements but especially that of feminism and the infantilism of Western society.
The book itself consists of five chapters with subparts, a conclusion, 29 pages of notes, and an index. The chapters are arranged topically with the conclusion tieing the different strands together into a coherent whole.
As usual, Dr. van Creveld is insightful and devastating when describing the ills besetting the modern West and particularly the continual decline in actual military capability of the West. He correctly identifies that the problem with the West’s inability to defeat 3rd world insurgents lies not in Western inability to fight but in the West’s reluctance to actually prosecute such campaigns to their logical conclusion to achieve victory. He diagnoses the major problems as the infantilisation of the post-WWII generations, taking the killer instinct out of military training, the rise of feminism, the supposed PTSD epidemic, and the replacement of duties with rights and hits the nail on the head in all five areas.
Anyone who has a raised a child in the past 30 years and been dumbfounded by some of the things that are taught in modern schools understands the problem of infantilization which is a combination of schools indoctrinating instead of educating and parents, yes parents, who coddle their children and even actively try to prevent them from becoming adults. How else do you explain the huge rise in the number of supposed adults that still live with their parents. Economic alone is not a sufficient explanation.
The ways in the troops have been de-militarized is unreal. To illustrate that in the US forces just talk to an old vet and a younger vet and ask about the cadences that are allowed to be sung. I experienced this myself while a drill sergeant almost 20 years ago when a list of violent and/or sexist cadences that were forbidden to be sung while marching was circulated. Also ask yourself, why, as van Creveld does, bayonet training has been eliminated? Bayonet training was not there because the military expected to actually cross bayonets with an enemy. It was there because it is an excellent way to train combat soldiers to understand that at its core, their job is to kill the enemy.
The last and perhaps most important section in the book is the way in which the modern left has worked consistently since at least 1918 to delegitimize and war and defang advanced nation militaries. War is obviously a legitimate exercise of state power on its face but the left has continually chipped away at this in the West until despite Western militaries being the most powerful and effective on paper they cannot seem to defeat any enemies, even unsophisticated Arab fundamentalists running around in pickup trucks.
This is an excellent work that incisively and even bitingly diagnoses why the West is dooming itself to failure. It should be on the reading list of all Western militaries, not that any military leader would be willing to put it on there much less try to stem the rot. In this work van Creveld has shown himself to be a latter day Vegetius, who sees what is wrong but whose wisdom is ignored.
If you have read van Creveld’s “Culture of War” then you need to read this as well. If you have not then you need to read both.