Wednesday, May 17, 2006
A Republican Myth
The far right and the Republican Party began to try to define post war society in terms of fear and hate. It is a style of politics that they have adhered to ever since. Despite the wishes and beliefs of the left the world can not be made perfect. However it can be made better and many of the reasons that it has not must be laid at the feet of the GOP and the radical right. They have made their world of fear and distrust a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The radical right was correct in recognizing the Soviet Union as an enemy. But it was an enemy of a competing imperial empire not a world wide conspiracy against democracy. The Russian revolution, never much for freedom and egalitarianism, morphed into a horrible dictatorship under Stalin. He was a tyrant not an ideologue. He used Marxist dogma to lend legitimacy to his rule and to justify the horrors he committed.
The Soviet Union had better reason to be distrustful and suspicious of the United States than the U.S. did of Russia. In 1918 and 1919 the U.S. sent more than 15,000 troops into the Soviet Union as a part of a Western force trying to subvert the Revolution. The dictum that you’re not really paranoid if they are out to get you surely applies here. None of this is meant as an apology for the USSR. Stalin was evil and Stalinism was brutal. It is a tossup between Stalin and Mao Tse-tung as to who was the worst murderer in history.
Under Stalin USSR foreign policy was the same as the United States’; they both gave aid and comfort to a nation based on that nation’s geopolitical support of the provider of the aid. Neither Russia nor America demanded the recipient to be ideologically pure and America couldn’t care less whether the receiving nation was a democracy or dictatorship as long as it at least claimed to pray to the God of capitalism and opened its markets and resources to United States’ corporations.
The elections of 1946 gave the radical right their first opportunity to use their anti-democratic philosophy and tactics. They were successful in several instances, not the least of which was the election of Joseph McCarthy to the Senate and Richard Nixon to the House. GOP extremists were off and running and they have never looked back.
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