The West since the Cold War

by Jon N. Hall7/12/18
Since the liberation of Europe’s Soviet Bloc in 1989 and the demise in 1991 of the Soviet Union itself, the West has become so pathetic that one might be forgiven for having a little wistful nostalgia for the Cold War era. At least back then, thirty years ago, Pakistan and North Korea didn’t have the bomb, China didn’t have an economy so huge that it threatened to eclipse America’s, and Europe hadn’t been invaded by millions of unassimilable Muslims allowed to just walk in.

When the Soviet Union broke up, the West had an historic opportunity to try to export freedom to Russia and make the world a better place. But we were told that the Cold War had ended and that the West had won and that communism was dead. Some even said it was the “end of history.”

The West was deluding itself. The need of some individuals to control others and the meek acceptance of it by those being controlled may well be genetic. The idea that the gene for tyranny or oppression might have died is like thinking rudeness (or even sin) could be eradicated. The socialist authoritarianism of the Soviets didn’t end with the end of the Cold War; it regrouped, adapted, and waited.

American conservatives may be heartened by Britain’s vote to leave the socialist European Union, but have the Brits really come to their senses? Huge swaths of them still want socialism, which was recently given evidence by Oliver Wiseman, the editor of CapX. On May 11 at The Weekly Standard, Wiseman tells us about a looming threat to the U.K. in “Old Labour, Old Danger”:

Before Jeremy Corbyn was unexpectedly elected Labour leader in 2015, he led a career of far-left obscurity, catching the attention of the public now and then only thanks to his support for Hamas, Hugo Chávez, and anyone lined up on his side in what he sees as a global battle against capitalism and the West. Three years later, he is the bookmakers’ favorite to be Britain’s next leader.

But according to Wiseman, Corbyn isn’t the main threat to Britain’s future, it’s Corbyn’s fellow Marxist John McDonnell, “shadow chancellor of the exchequer,” who would take over the British economy were Corbyn to become prime minister. Wiseman writes: “It is just possible that the real drag on the British economy isn’t Brexit, but the Marxists waiting in the wings”:

According to a recent profile in the Financial Times, the members of a trade union book club that McDonnell ran in the early 1980s used to joke that he prescribed the same book every week: Das Kapital. In 2006, he said that the biggest influences on his thought were “The fundamental Marxist writers of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky, basically.” In 2013, speaking about the financial crisis, he said, “I’m honest with people: I’m a Marxist. This is a classic crisis of the economy — a classic capitalist crisis. I’ve been waiting for this for a generation. . . . [For] Christ’s sake don’t waste it.” The man who could soon be in charge of the British economy is someone who sees a recession not as a time to limit economic damage, but as a chance for revolution.

One takeaway from Wiseman’s fine article is that the British people have been corrupted; they want their Big Government handouts. Wiseman reports that a majority actually support “Labour’s flagship economic policy of renationalization of utilities and the railways.” The British people may be too addled to grasp that their problems were not caused by capitalism but by the socialism they’ve had going back to Clement Attlee. Britain’s National Health Service wasn’t some creation of “rapacious” capitalists. Churchill and Thatcher couldn’t steer the U.K. completely away from socialism, because the citizenry was already hooked on “free stuff.”

I found that profile of McDonnell at the Financial Times Wiseman referred to, and it’s illuminating. But know that the FT has a paywall and gives non-subscribers one free read only; if you leave the webpage and attempt to return you’ll be kept out. So you might want to immediately print it or save it as a PDF. The print button is on Jim Pickard’s byline. Perhaps the surest way for a non-subscriber to get to the profile is to use this Bing search and then click on this link: “John McDonnell interview: is Britain ready for a socialist …,” which will probably be the first or second hit. You might be required to fill out a short questionnaire, but do it, as the piece is quite worth reading, especially if you’re concerned about Brexit not happening. The profile appeared on March 1 (italics added):

McDonnell believes he is on the brink of making history, should the government collapse because of Brexit. “Our objectives are socialist. That means an irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people,” he explains. “When we go into government, everyone will be in government.”

Or, as Mussolini once said, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” McDonnell is also inspired by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, who cleaved to a belief in cultural hegemony whereby socialism would triumph by infiltrating education, the media, and even the church.

Throughout the West, the Left has taken over the “commanding heights” of the culture. We see fatuous Hollywood actors consorting with foreign tyrants in their socialist paradises. Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders is “way cool,” and revered by mal-educated young people. Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may soon be a member of Congress. Thirty years after the end of the Cold War a new front has opened in the Eternal War between freedom and oppression, and it’s internal.

On June 30, National Review ran “Slavoj Žižek, Fashionable Revolutionary,” a fine article by Christian Alejandro Gonzalez. Žižek is a Marxist flunky straight out of central casting, and he’s on the payroll of British and American universities. (Perhaps “academic freedom” has gone a bit too far):

“Our task today,” Žižek writes … “is to reinvent emancipatory terror.” One cannot achieve true liberation without wanton violence … we must decide: Should we embrace “revolutionary-democratic terror?” …

During the moment of revolutionary fervor, passivity is tantamount to complicity with the forces of reaction. Anyone who does not participate in the terror is fit for elimination. … Those unwilling to inflict slaughter on behalf of revolution are “sensitive liberals” …

[W]hat makes the Žižek phenomenon truly remarkable is not that he openly advocates the mass murder of civilians, not that he is taken seriously by the Western academic establishment … It is, rather, that the terror he endorses is ultimately nihilistic. … Seduced by the aesthetics of revolution rather than committed to a serious pursuit of justice, Žižek’s philosophy collapses under the weight of its incoherence.

In John le Carré’s 1974 Cold War novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the British Secret Service has a double agent at the very top. In the 2011 adaptation for cinema, many liberties were taken with the novel. Even so, that wasn’t enough to keep the author from appearing in a singing of the Soviet national anthem, (he’s the elderly guy on the right who stands as the anthem begins; video excerpt). One of the changes was this bit of added dialog which occurs after the mole has been brought to ground and is waiting to be sent to the USSR in a spy swap: “I had to pick a side, George. It was an aesthetic choice as much as a moral one. And the West has grown so very … ugly, don’t you think?”

But the West was rather handsome thirty years ago before the end of the Cold War. Although he may be adept at dialectics, le Carré’s traitor to the West understands very little about aesthetics and even less about morality; he’s even more deluded than those he betrayed.

If the West is indeed growing ugly, perhaps it’s because we’re becoming like the East; perhaps it’s because we give vile clowns employment at our universities. Perhaps our growing ugliness is the result of throwing in with awful ideas, like socialism. The West needs to get back to being the West.

Jon N. Hall of Ultracon Opinion is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (221 views)

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30 Responses to The West since the Cold War

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    American conservatives may be heartened by Britain’s vote to leave the socialist European Union, but have the Brits really come to their senses?

    It’s hard to find good background on this because there are some subjects few will touch honestly. My guess is the Brexit was mostly about trying to do something about stemming the tide of Muslim “refugees.” Because, as you said, huge swaths of them want socialism (as they understand it or, most likely, misunderstand it). And there’s no particular advantage or innate affinity for British socialism apart from European Socialism. The latter would be the liking of most who are of that naive mindset.

    Given the beliefs of Corbyn and John McDonnell, it’s a real question if Britain would have been better off capitulating to the National Socialists rather than the English Socialists. Surrender can be honorable in some circumstances. Self-immolation never is. These idiot yutes who have been brought up on their brand of “social justice” have no idea what horrors they will unleash. Their history is mostly unknown to them.

    I would love to see Trump purge the universities of Marxists. And we really are getting to the point where extra-Constitutional actions are required to save our way of life.

    But, oh, I forget. Today’s socialist are all so damn nice and would never do anything nasty or violent.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Again, we’re witnessing events similar to Spain in 1936. The Spanish liberals had often allied with the Socialists, but those had been the more moderate ones (Fernando de los Rios, Indalecio Prieto, Juan Negrin). In 1936 the Socialists were run by the revolutionary Francisco Largo Caballero, and the liberals still allied with them. So there was a lot of revolutionary violence not only earlier against the center-right government of Alejandro Lerroux (which collapsed when his Radical Party did due to the straperlo scandal, leading to the 1936 election), but also after the Popular Front won. And this all led to the Spanish Civil War, in which Franco figured out how to deal with leftist revolutionary violence.

  3. Steve Lancaster says:

    Speaking as a Cold Warrior in the George Smiley mold.

    The movie staring the excellent actor Gary Oldman was so far from the Karla trilogy that it was hard to watch. The original TV series released in about 1980 and staring Alec Guinness is the touchstone for BBC productions.

    One of the best lines, Connie Sacs to George smiley, “half angels chasing half devils, and no one knows where the goodies are”. Still so very true

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      “half angels chasing half devils, and no one knows where the goodies are”

      That’s a great line, Steve.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Have you ever seen The Fourth Protocol? It starred Michael Caine and was based on the Frederick Forsyth novel. Quite good, though the novel was a bit better (as tended to be the case with Forsyth).

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The link is to a good article by Pat Buchanan.

    I believe he hits the nail on the head. The USA needs to reduce its military footprint around the world. We are protecting others who do less than what is necessary to protect themselves.

    NATO is an outdated concept. It was formed are a military alliance to counter the U.S.S.R. which disappeared in 1991. Russia is nothing like the threat the U.S.S.R. (an expansive militaristic state bent on the spread and victory of communism across the globe) was. Russia has no such ambitions.

    Russia has a G.N.P. smaller than that of Texas with a population of over 140 millions. It’s population is aging and does not cover the land mass it already has.

    Putin is not a nice guy, but since when have nice guys been the norm in world history, particularly when it pertains to rulers of countries. Was the Shah of Iran a nice guy? Are our allies in the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere nice guys?

    A combination of political-military-industrial-intelligence-financial elites of Western Europe and the USA are doing their best to create an “enemy” of Russia. The thing is, Russia and the USA are not natural enemies and have few real/natural geo-political conflicts.

    How much better is it to be talking in a reasonable manner to Russia than to be a bellicose opponent?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      As best I can tell, Putin wants to restore the old Tsarist empire, which is one reason I call him Tsar Vladimir the Putrid. Still, bad as he is he can’t compare even remotely to FDR’s good friend Uncle Joe Stalin, or the leftist icon Mao. He probably is better than leftist icons Fidel and Che (a psychopathic thug who used Communism as the excuse for his bloodlust). We don’t want him to restore the empire, but there are probably deals that could be made. Suppose we agreed to recognize their theft of the Crimea in return for them actually pulling out (not just promising to) of the Donbas? This would probably also reduce the sanctions against them. That’s far better than launching most of the world’s nuclear missiles.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Here is an excellent article by David Goldman. It tells some uncomfortable facts about the Russian and USA relationship and why Trump was correct in what he said at the press conference.

        One of the best thoughts in the article is:

        The Chinese and Russians (and most of the rest of the world) simply cannot process the notion that the United States is run by clueless amateurs who stumble from one half-baked initiative to another, with no overall plan (except, of course, to persuade the Persians to become America’s friends rather than enemies).

        And Goldman lays a large portion of the blame for this idiocy squarely at the feet of the neo-conservatives, of which he was one.

        This should surprise no one as neo-conservatives are ex-leftists, or the progeny of ex-leftists, who believed in theoretical nonsense when they were leftists and still believe in theoretical nonsense when they move a little to the right. Sane people understand the misery this belief in theory has caused the world. Yet the idiots/criminals keep trying to fit mankind to their theories.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Trump was a bit too obsequious to Tsar Vladimir the Putrid, but this was a diplomatic event, which means it wasn’t the place for denouncing him, either. One suspects that idiots such as the synoptic media, the Plunderbund, Grahamnesty, the McCainiac, etc. expected Trump to play Columbo and harass the KGB Tsar into confessing. For that matter, even if he had, what good would that really have accomplished?

          Helsinki accomplished nothing of significance, but then, it never was likely to do so. At least Trump doesn’t seem to have given up anything either. I would like him to speak more harshly about the KGB Tsar than he does, but at least he does act firmly, unlike the Black God. Deeds count far more than words.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Trump was a bit too obsequious to Tsar Vladimir the Putrid, but this was a diplomatic event, which means it wasn’t the place for denouncing him, either.

            I basically agree.

            But Trump acted like Trump. He typically lays it on thick when he meets people he wishes to influence. I guess he thinks that flattery will work. It seems to with many people, but I doubt Vlad will be so easily swayed.

            Remember when Bush the Younger said he could see into Vlad’s soul and that he was a good man, or something to that effect?

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Trump’s obsequiousness sure looks like obsequiousness. The problem is, we haven’t run this experiment long enough to judge the results. There could be method to his madness. But at face value, this is one strange duck as an America president.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Yes, we’ve seen this a number of times now, and people should realize that this is going to happen even if we’d rather it didn’t. What counts most is what he does, and there he’s been a lot better, and especially in comparison with Barry Zero.

              The insanity of leftists calling this treason, or comparing it to Pearl Harbor (no actual harm has actually happened, and I doubt most of those idiots actually favor the all-out war that would be the proper response to another Pearl Harbor) or Watergate (obsequious speech may be a mistake, but it isn’t gross corruption).

              Such gross exaggerations from nearly all of Trump’s critics actually leave me increasingly skeptical of their case. I judge such things on the basis of the arguments for and against, and the TDS arguments are as ridiculous as those on behalf of climate alarmism.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Why should we help pay for Europe committing suicide from inviting in invaders?

      One of the difficulties is having shared principles to ally around. As far as Trump playing nice with Putin, there are two Trumps: The Ego of the United States and The Executive of the United States. These seem to be two distinct beings. This is the reason analyzing Trump is so difficult. Which one are we talking about?

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Ann Coulter points out the dishonest slight-of-hand which the left and others are using on Trump as regards Russia.

    I hope others keep hammering away on this.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That was a nice article; I read it last night at TownHall. Who knows, maybe her plan would even work. Never underestimate the power of leftist reflexes. The knee jerk is their main form of exercise. What happens when two reflexes come up against each other? (Perhaps the sort of result created by the watches in the Avengers episode “Return of the Cybernauts”.)

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I don’t know how many recall the Malaysian Airlines jet which was shot down over the Ukraine a few years back. Everyone jumped on Russia as the perpetrator.

    The link will take you to an interesting article detailing recent Russian claims, with some backup, that it was Ukrainian forces which shot down the jet.

    There is no way for me to know exactly what happened, but I hope Russia’s claims are looked into.

    The present policy of vilifying Russia is insane. With a population of over 5xs that of Texas, the GNP of Russia is slightly less than that of Texas. Does anyone seriously believe Russia presents a serious threat to the USA.

    Vlad and Co., are no doubt bad people, but assuredly no worse than Emperor Xi and his minions. In fact, Vlad and Co. are a much less dangerous threat than Xi.

    So the question arises, “Why is our government building up Russia as an existential threat?” Because a military and intelligence budget approaching US$1 trillion require justification and the best way to justify that amount is to have an “enemy.”

    Why Russia and not China? Because the Russian economy is relatively small and our elites cannot make a lot of money there. On the other hand, our elites have been raking in fortunes in the Chinese economy so they would prefer not to disturb their money making machine too much.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I would be very cautious about relying on any information supplied by Russian government sources. They have a long history of “finding” convenient evidence against hostile sources. There seems to be little doubt that they are murdering ex-double agents residing in Western nations, which is a clear act of war.

      But it’s also true that China is a far more dangerous long-run threat than Russia (aside from the possibility of a nuclear war, which neither wants). And it’s true that whatever Russia claims is evidence that their enemy Ukraine is really the guilty party should be assessed properly by the JIT.

      It would be nice to see as much attention paid to Chinese oppression of dissident religions such as Christianity as there is to Russia’s crimes. What the heck, the Russians actually told us the truth about the Tsarnaevs. Has China ever done anything comparable for us?

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I am always skeptical of info supplied by Russian authorities. I am almost equally skeptical regarding information supplied us by any government agency. I have read history and know something about human nature, thus maintain a somewhat skeptical attitude as regards information I receive from just about every source.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reports an interesting story. Syria shot down a Russian plane — and Putin is threatening Israel over it. Of course, he can’t publicly denounce Syria, so this may be just bluster. But with Tsar Vladimir the Putrid, who knows? The US should make it clear that it will respond — hard — if the KGB Tsar attacks Israel. My idea of a good retaliation would be obliterating Damascus while Bashar al-Assad is there. Or if he’s in some other city, obliterate that instead. That way we wouldn’t be directly attacking Russian forces. The link is:

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I read something different, i.e. that the Defense Ministry reacted immediately blaming Israel and that Putin made a statement shortly thereafter that toned down the Defense Ministry’s statement.

            It would also appear that Israel was using the Russian plane as a bit of a cover by giving the Russians only a 1 minute warning before making an attack on Syrian forces from the same general airspace that the Russian recon plane was flying in.

            This may be smart or not. I think it is incredibly stupid. The Israelis have made over 200 such attacks against Syrian forces since the Russians got involved in the Syrian conflict. To date, the Russians have not made a big deal of these sorties.How do you think the USA would react if the Israelis accidentally shot down an AWACS because some Syrian planes had carried out a similar mission? I think Russia will be less easy going in the future.

            I understand Bibi has tried to speak to Putin to clarify things.

            Obliterate Damacus and Assad so the fanatical Sunis can take over Syria and slaughter or chase out everyone else?

            • Timothy Lane says:

              That’s if Putin makes a major attack on Israel. We would have to react somehow, and the target won’t be a Russian force. An Iranian or Hezbollah target might be even better if we can. That’s where the threat to Israel is, after all.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Perhaps I am naive, but I believe that Israel could teach Russia a lesson in Syria if the Ruskies were so foolish as to make a major attack on Israel.

                The first thing to go would be the naval base Russia has in Tartus. At the same time, I can imagine most Russian air force assets in Syria would be destroyed.

                Then perhaps Israel would ask Russia if they wish to continue or talk.

              • Steve Lancaster says:

                The Russians have, and will do, a lot of stupid things, but direct combat with a nuclear power is not one of them. They will never provoke Israel into any kind of shooting war. Nor, will Israel provoke Russia into a response that could escalate.

                The long term Russian target is not Syria but Turkey. Bibi knows this and so do the Turks. So should we, but BO ruined that option.For over 500 years the Russian policy has been control of the Black Sea and warm water ports. Today they are closer to that goal then anytime in the last 100 years.

                The invasion of Georgia and Ukraine coupled with nominal political influence in Romania, Hungary and now Syria put Russian influence on every Turkish border.

                Putin has to view the end game for Russia as more desirable than friendship with an Arab thug. He desires, and will get, a say in how Syria is divided when the war is over.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I remember visiting Purdue once and one of the wargamers arguing that the Israelis had planes capable of a one-way trip to Moscow with a nuclear payload. No doubt they still do. But note that Romania and Hungary no longer border on Turkey. Bulgaria and Greece do. Not to mention Cyprus.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Well, Putin pulled back today, calling the incident a tragic accident. What caused this isn’t known, though guesses are possible. In the end, there was probably an implicit threat that the US would act — and Putin would know that Trump was likelier to do so than the Black God (it’s appropriate to note here that the sobriquet is the English translation of Chernobog, a demon from medieval Russian folklore).

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    More proof that Russia is our big enemy. NOT!

    Our betters had better wake up and admit that China is the most powerful enemy nation facing us.

    They are hesitant to do so because the elites of our country have been making too much money off of China’s growth. Making money from Russia? Not so much.

    There is no doubt that China has been stealing us blind. We should stop all imports of Chinese electronic computer parts and see them squeal. Our future is at stake.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Russia is still has the world’s second greatest nuclear arsenal, and is certainly as expansionist and therefore hostile as China. But China is far more powerful economically and is waging economic war against us. It also seems to be a bigger threat in cyberwar, perhaps because of how many Chinese-Americans there are in important positions who can be blackmailed by threatening relatives back home.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        There is no doubt that Russia is trying very hard to expand its influence in the area which made up the old Russian Empire and neighboring areas. Other than that, I don’t see much action. I also see no overriding reason that this should be, what appears to be, America’s main foreign-policy focus as regards enemies.

        As to Russia’s hostility, we should perhaps not be surprised at a certain level of hostility from them given the way NATO i.e. the USA has done its best to move further East despite promises not to. Since the time Bush I told the Ruskies that NATO would not move East, 10 new Eastern European nations have become members of NATO. Macedonia; Really?

        Besides their nuclear arsenal, Russia is basically a second or third tier country.

        1. With 5x the population of Texas, Russia’s GDP is smaller than that of Texas.
        2. Russia has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. The country is shrinking.
        3. Russia has no contiguous border with the USA.
        4. Russia is not the USSR. We have no existential ideological bone to pick with them.

        Other than their nuclear arsenal, Russia has nothing near China’s ability to compete with and damage the USA.

        We waste time diverting attention and efforts to a near-non-existent problem while ignoring the ever-strengthening thug picking our pockets and pulling his knife out to stab us.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I can’t really disagree with any of that. It certainly is true that the West has tended to see the fall of the Soviet Union as an opportunity for revenge against them. Of course, when you have a former KGB thug running the show, the results may be inevitable.

          One thing I think we could do would be to recognize Russia’s control of the Crimea (which was only given to Ukraine during the 50s) in return for yielding their unofficial gains in the Donbas back to the Ukrainian government. The next step would be to remind them that jihadism is a bigger threat to Russia than to us, so ultimately they really don’t want Iran to control the Levant. It would be like the British and French forming the Entente Cordiale by making deals to end their colonial disputes.

          Of course, Putin will also have to stop sending his murderers out to Britain and America. That can’t be tolerated.

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