Edward Luttwak

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Person.png Edward Luttwak  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, academic, neocon)
Edward Luttwak.jpg
Born4 November 1942
Alma materLondon School of Economics, SAIS
Member ofCenter for Strategic and International Studies, Council on Foreign Relations/Members 2
Neoconservative military strategist, author of Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook

Edward Nicolae Luttwak is an American military strategist and author known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations. He is best known for being the author of Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook.[1]

Luttwak is a Senior Fellow in Preventive Diplomacy at The Center for Strategic and International Studies. Luttwak is an associate of Michael Ledeen, Charlie Wilson, Barbara Studley and William Casey. Luttwak is also known for his hawkish zionist stance.

Early life

Luttwak was born into a Jewish family in Arad, Romania, and raised in Italy and England.[1]

After boarding school in Berkshire where he joined the British Army cadet corps, Luttwak moved to London at age 16 where he studied in grammar school, and later analytical economics at the London School of Economics.[2] His first academic post was at the University of Bath, from 1964 to 1966. In 1968, when Luttwak was 26 and working in London as a consultant for the oil industry, he published the book Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook, a pastiche of a military manual. The book explains in detail how to overthrow the government of a state, looking in particular at coups d'état on the African continent and the Middle East. In 1969 Luttwak graduated from the London School of Economics (LSE).[1]

Luttwak was a war volunteer in Israel in 1967 and later worked for the Israeli army. In 1972 he moved to the United States for graduate studies at Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore where he graduated with a PhD in International Relations in 1975.[3][4] Earlier, during a two month 1969 Washington visit, like his LSE roommate Richard Perle, Luttwak joined the Washington, D.C. thinktank Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defence Policy, assembled by Dean Acheson and Paul Nitze to lobby the Congress for anti-ballistic missile systems.[1][5]

Seizing Saudi oil

In late 1974 and into 1975 a series of articles were published by neoconservative intellectuals, discussing whether the US military should seize the Saudi Arabian oil fields. In March 1975 Harper's Magazine published an article Luttwak had written under the Pseudonym "Miles Ignotus" with the title "Seizing Arab Oil". Luttwak had published the gist of his argument on how to break Arab power previously under the title "Obsolescent Elites" using his real name in the London Times Literary Supplement. He suggested U.S. Marines should storm the Saudi Arabian eastern beaches, assisted by 82nd Airborne Division. The article and the author attracted considerable attention. But there is no evidence the Ford administration considered military intervention. In 2004 Luttwak told the Wall Street Journal he wrote the article "after discussion with several like-minded consultants and officials in the Pentagon".

Niger Uranium forgeries

Many of these past associations emerged in a recent episode revealed during my meeting with Luttwak: that he was shown the infamous Niger forgeries by a friend with the Italian intelligence agency Sismi, when he was working as a consultant to a Sismi contractor named Luciano Monti in the 2001-2002 time frame, but that he refused to back-channel them to the Bush administration. (He never agrees to back-channel intelligence, Luttwak said, and these looked like forgeries to him.) The allegations in the forgeries, of course, became one of the Bush White House’s most controversial casus belli for the Iraq war — and, after proven phony even on the eve of the invasion, among the most embarrassing and politically damaging for the president and vice president, who cited the bogus uranium allegations despite warnings from the CIA not to.[6]

Obama apostate smear

In a May 2008 article, Luttwak claimed that Barack Obama was a Muslim under Muslim law:

Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.
His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive).[7]

Hawkier than thou

There is a competition among cheerleaders for war to appear hawkier than their fellow Dr. Strangeloves. There are many such operators populating think-tanks in Washington, and the only way to stand out is to propose wars in terms that are media-friendly, or to appear far more hawkish than proposed government policy. On both counts such "operators" are useful for propaganda campaigns. First, they promote wars by making them more saleable. On this count Luttwak wrote "Give War a Chance" (picking on Lennon's slogan) [8]. And this refrain has been repeated often to justify other wars. Second, by appearing more hawkish than a government, these "intelligence experts" provide a service because they make government policy appear "moderate". Luttwak is one of these "super hawks".


He is a member of the National Security Study Group of the U.S. Department of Defense, and an associate of the Japan Finance Ministry's Institute of Fiscal and Monetary Policy.


Events Participated in

Colloquium on Clandestine Collection30 December 198131 December 1981A spooky colloquium in Washington DC
Symposium on the Role of Special Operations in US Strategy for the 1980s4 March 19835 March 1983Spooky conference attended by the US MICC
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