City Journal Winter 2016

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Guy F. Burnett
The Tragedy of Inaction « Back to Story

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Professor: With admirable hindsight, you write well.How nice!

Tell me, do you think it was all right for the Europeans and even Americans to carry the "white man's burden too" for the higher good of society and nations in the 20th century?
a book ive just read says we liked the reds once we saw them as a check and balance against germany. Sounds ok to me
At the end of the First World War, the last thing the victorious powers wanted was to embark on another war.
JA, what motivates individuals to support foreign mass murderers is the pursuit of either power or pride in their own countries. That is how a photo of Che Guevara becomes a radical chic fashion accessory in the USA and Europe. That explains the vogue for Mao Tse Tung (remember the Little Red Book?) among U.S. college students in the 1960's and American movie stars's fondness of Fidel Castro. It's hard to imagine Noam Chomsky's admiration for Pol Pot or Eric Hobsbawm's for Stalin had the two dictators slaughtered American and British college professors instead of their own helpless subjects.
What is truly extraordinary is the number of American and Europeans that supported - via word or deed - Stalin and the Bolsheviks in the 1930s through the demise of the USSR in 1989.
These individuals knew that Stalin and his successors were responsible for the deaths of millions of people and that they intended to spread their ideology of repression, tyranny and mass murder throughout the world.
Yet, those Americans and Europeans, most of whom were middle class to wealthy and very well educated, had absolutely no problems encouraging a world view that Stalin and his successors were a benevolent, peace loving lot.
What motivates individuals to support mass murderers? Why do they have no empathy for those who suffered and instead express the idea that "you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet."
How is it that today, given all that has been learned over the last 90 years, we still have a CPUSA headquarters in Manhattan? No one would tolerate a Nazi Party headquarters in Manhattan (or anywhere else in the USA), so why is the CPUSA given a pass?
I wish I knew.
The "Reilly, Ace of Spies" TV series gave a dramatized insight into the politics that guided the USSR, Britain and America during and after the revolution. Sidney Reilly went from spy to hyper anti communist, fruitlessly endeavoring to reveal the methods used by the Bolshevik government to obtain funds from the easily deceived West. The "Trust" was one the major examples of this effort and Stalin's intervention presented a chilling look into the mind of a murderous tyrant.
Alena Hrom√°dkov√°,Prague December 03, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Perhaps the role of Czech /Slovak troops (so called Czechoslovak legions) deserves a deeper analysis, I believe. 40 000 POW who initially served in Austrian army got the Transsiberian railway under control. For decades many Russians appreciated their military efficency and civilised manners and were sorry that Siberia failed to organise an adequate complementary force in order to stop the Bolshevic expansion to the East. The story was many times very well analysed by several Czech historians since 1918. It is still perceived as a matter of many missed opportunities...