Larry Kelley Author Home Page 2024-03-22T23:12:22-07:00

New Historical Novel Coming Soon

On a July afternoon in 1800, when I was 18 and my brother, Robbie, was 15, we sailed our family’s one-masted skiff into the greater Boston Channel. I had finished my first term at Harvard. The sky was clear and the salty breeze was wet, warm, and brisk. As we entered the main harbor, we solemnly gazed up at Bunker Hill where Warren Jones, our grandfather we never knew, was killed in the second battle of our war for independence. 

It had only been nine months since George Washington died. There was still a somberness that affected commoners in the local taverns and privileged wealthy Americans in their salons. The country still mourned his loss.

We rounded the point and saw vessels anchored in the harbor, a huge two-masted Brig from Spain, a full-rigged frigate from France, a number of American merchant schooners, and even an Ottoman galley. Boston had become a major international port and merchant center. The sight of these new foreign vessels now seemed normal.  Although we had not lived through the war, my brother and I understood who we were, the sons of an American revolutionary and his grateful beneficiaries. The site of so many foreign ships appearing in our harbor signaled to us that a new century and a new world had opened unlimited opportunities for us. With enormous pride, we basked in the knowledge that we were first-generation inheritors of the world’s newest constitutional republic.

On December 30 of last year, from its Beijing Bureau, Reuters filed a little-noticed yet incredibly important report.  President Xi executed a sweeping purge of many of his most senior generals which has “weakened the People’s Liberation Army.”

Wei Fenghe, China’s former Defense Minister who had moved over to head China’s new Rocket Force, is one of a few of China’s most senior military officers who have recently vanished. His supposed successor, Li Shangfu, was mysteriously removed as supreme defense minister last October without explanation. 

Chinese state-controlled media would not say where they were reassigned. When asked about their whereabouts, a defense ministry spokesman only said, “The military has zero tolerance for corruption.”

Knowledgeable China watchers agree the purges are a stunning setback for Xi who has pumped billions into buying and developing equipment as part of his modernizing efforts to build a “world-class” military capable of defeating the West.  Like Putin, his new ally in their mutual quest for world dominance, Xi’s purges expose deep-rooted corruption in his military’s opaque procurement department which spends billions annually.   

Since Xi took power in 2012, he has embarked on a wide-ranging anti-corruption crackdown among Communist Party and government officials, with the PLA being only one of its main targets.  Obviously, loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party can only be commanded by the threat of imprisonment. or execution.  

“It is a clear sign that they are being purged,” said Andrew Scobell, Distinguished Fellow for China at the United States Institute for Peace. “More heads will roll.”

The West Fights – And Steals from Russia’s Thieves 

Once Putin’s invasion looked imminent, many so-called military experts predicted Russia would destroy Ukrainian resistance in a matter of weeks.  As in Xi’s China,  Russia’s corrupt military procurement is one of the primary sources of graft and corruption for the men close to Putin.  When his invasion of Ukraine became bogged down in the winter of ’22, it came to light Putin had on paper more men and weaponry than actually existed, so much had been stolen. He was embarrassed on the world’s stage when Zelenskyy’s far smaller military has fought the Russians to a standstill.   

To make matters worse for the man who fashions himself the new Czarist conqueror, a multinational task force, REPO (standing for Russian Elite Proxies & Oligarchs), headed by the U.S., is confiscating the assets of Russian oligarchs surrounding Putin. Seizures include a superyacht, the 300 million-dollar, 106-meter ship owned by Suleiman Kerimov which arrived in San Diego in June of 2022. 

Owning private luxury mega yachts is just one of the ways Putin’s inner circle hides its millions stolen from Russia’s indentured subjects.  The good news is estimates have it that Putin’s kleptocrats have lost $30 billion to western government seizures. The process is known in government speak as disintermediation.  One wonders if it could be used against Putin, the biggest Mafia don of all time.  

Probably not. Tom Cotton, Senator from Arkansas, avers Putin’s assets are untouchable given that his wealth is inextricably tied up in Russian state-owned assets, where he might own a secret controlling interest in the Bolshoi Ballet or Aeroflot, etc.

Can the Tyrants Feel Safe?

The Ukraine war has cost Russia 315,000 dead and injured troops, or nearly 90% of the personnel it had when the conflict began. In a previous issue of this column, we reported that a general commanding one of Putin’s mercenary battalions, the Wagoner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, went into rebellion and led his army out of Ukraine and to within 120 miles from the gates of Moscow.    

Laurie Chen of the Reuters Beijing office writes, “The chronic problem of corruption will persist in the Chinese military because the root causes, low pay for officers and opacity in military expenditure have not been addressed.”  

As the Western Allies watch Putin suffer staggering losses in Ukraine and Xi purge his generals, it begs the question—Do these tyrants have a strong hold on power?

Envisioning Mustapha, the Dey of Algiers, can we assume that Xi and Putin are lonely tyrants afraid of their own courtiers?  Can Putin even contemplate a war against the U.S. and NATO in the West?   Can Xi confidently prosecute a war with the U.S., Taiwan, Japan, and Australia, in the East?  Or might they be more worried about the loyalty of their militaries or even a would-be assassin in their midst?   We can only hope.  

Sign up for the Freedom Chronicles newsletter below. In these articles, I will discuss the freedom movements that are attempting to destabilize totalitarian regimes such as Xi’s China, Putin’s Russia, and the Iranian Mullahs. 

“…Because Freedom is Always Under Siege…”

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    Larry Kelley’s first work of comparative history has been revised and released under a new publisher. The new edition of Lessons From Fallen Civilizations Volume 1; Why Great Societies Fail, is available exclusively through the Larry Kelley Amazon Author Amazon Publishing. Please use the button link below to purchase Larry’s books directly from the publisher via