New at The Nation: Second look at the Soviet Union?

posted at 8:35 pm on December 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

If they wanted to take a dump on Vaclav Havel’s grave, it would have been cheaper just to fly to Prague and do it.

The occasion here is the 20th anniversary of the break-up of the Evil Empire, but I like to think of it as a parting gift to Kim Jong-il. Where are you when we need you most, ruthless-Stalinist-counterweights-to-U.S.-power? Over to you, Mikhail Gorbachev:

This event led to euphoria and a “winner’s complex” among the American political elite. The United States could not resist the temptation to announce its “victory” in the cold war. The “sole remaining superpower” staked a claim to monopoly leadership in world affairs. That, and the equating of the breakup of the Soviet Union with the end of the cold war, which in reality had ended two years before, has had far-reaching consequences. Therein are the roots of many mistakes that have brought the world to its current troubled state…

Within such a matrix, the United Nations and its Security Council become expendable or at best an impediment, while international law is viewed as a burdensome legacy of the past. That was the attitude taken by the United States and its supporters in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and in Iraq in 2003. American pundits started talking about the United States as more than just a superpower, calling it a “hyperpower” capable of creating “a new kind of empire.”…

In short, the world without the Soviet Union has not become safer, more just or more stable. Instead of a new world order—that is, enough global governance to prevent international affairs from becoming dangerously unpredictable—we have had global turmoil, a world drifting in uncharted waters. The global economic crisis that broke out in 2008 made that abundantly clear.

The West must undertake a critical reassessment of all that preceded this painful crisis. It is more than just a crisis of global finance or even a crisis of an economic model based on a race for hyperprofits and excessive consumption that grinds down the earth’s resources and ruins nature. The crisis grew out of the arrogant conviction of “the collective West” that it had the recipes to solve all problems and that there was no alternative to the “Washington Consensus,” which claimed to work equally well for all countries.

The Soviet Union: Guarantor not only of international stability but of western prosperity. It’s not clear to me how the world is less safe when one superpower is free to intervene in Yugoslavia or Iraq than it is when two superpowers are forever at risk of being dragged into nuclear war by conflicts between their client states, but the good news I guess is that in another decade or two we’ll be able to test the theory again with China. In the meantime, to even begin to take this argument seriously, you have to assume the rosiest possible scenario for the transformation of the USSR from expansionist communist menace pre-Gorbachev to the cuddly UN-hugging perestroika pixies that Gorby envisions in his Nation piece. How likely is it, really, that the Soviets would have reacted to the rising regional ambitions of China and India by settling into some sort of benign isolationist Eurosocialist senescence? He can’t even bring himself to tell the truth about the Soviet reaction to German unification or Balkan independence in this piece. Why should we believe him when he assure us this particular Harry Turtledove novel would have turned out awesome?

Ah well. We’ll just have to muddle though for a few more years until some other country with the means and inclination to turn America into a parking lot arrives to restore global “balance.” I’ll leave you with this quote from one of the companion pieces to Gorbachev’s at The Nation, chronicling the troubles that have befallen Russians since the sudden sad demise of Stalinism: “A majority of Russians, on the other hand, as they have repeatedly made clear in opinion surveys, still lament the end of the Soviet Union, not because they pine for ‘Communism’ but because they lost a familiar state and secure way of life.”


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

From The Nation you say? Well, I never.

DanStark on December 28, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Yes, never mention the millions dead under Stalin… the biowarfare units… the draining of the Aral Sea… the gulags…

It is always nostalgia for the sameness of it all.

Much better to be sheep than wolves.

ajacksonian on December 28, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Though our proxies are running thin. WE WON.

bettycooper on December 28, 2011 at 8:41 PM

. American pundits started talking about the United States as more than just a superpower, calling it a “hyperpower” capable of creating “a new kind of empire.”…
==================================

Thank You,Liberal Marxist Socialist Media,”Mission Accomplished”!

canopfor on December 28, 2011 at 8:41 PM

No more Stalins, no more Hitlers….

lexhamfox on December 28, 2011 at 8:41 PM

“A majority of Russians, on the other hand, as they have repeatedly made clear in opinion surveys, still lament the end of the Soviet Union, not because they pine for ‘Communism’ but because they lost a familiar state and secure way of life.”

Sounds familiar. :)

ThePrez on December 28, 2011 at 8:42 PM

“We are the ones We have been waiting For”,

MMM…MMM…MMM….Yes We Can!
(sarc)

canopfor on December 28, 2011 at 8:42 PM

In short, the world without the Soviet Union has not become safer, more just or more stable.

I have to admit, I agree with this sentence at least. It’s not looking too promising out there.

Dan_Yul on December 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM

A majority of Russians, on the other hand, as they have repeatedly made clear in opinion surveys, still lament the end of the Soviet Union, not because they pine for ‘Communism’ but because they lost a familiar state and secure way of life.”

But the Georgians and Ukrainians don’t. Not to mention Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians.

It was always a forced “union.”

Wethal on December 28, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Russia is dying literally. Per wsj, forty percent of their young want out of the country and general pop decline. It was always a hollow shell of a country. Now China is different, but already it’s starting to come undone with that one town’s protests and economic issues/inequality.

IR-MN on December 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Short memories, the real problem.

“The fall of the Soviet Union deprived us of the biggest example of how socialism works. We need laboratories of failure to demonstrate what socialism is like. All we have now is Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, the U.S. Post Office, and state motor-vehicle departments.” —John Stossel

Speakup on December 28, 2011 at 8:49 PM

China has it right,(I’m Joking,I’ll switch a few words)!
=========================================================

China warns USA Democratic Progressive Party is a threat to peace – ReutersStory metadata:
Submitted 17 hours ago from http://www.reuters.com by editor
Share
+++++++++
+++++++++

China warns Taiwan’s opposition pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party is a threat to peace – ReutersStory metadata:
Submitted 17 hours ago from http://www.reuters.com by editor
Share

canopfor on December 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM

New? No, not new.

greggriffith on December 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on the assumption that might is right, severely undermined the American economy, in addition to causing tens of thousands of deaths. Today many in the West admit that it was the wrong path to take, but the time that could have been used to build a truly new world order was lost.

Tell that to Al Qaeda and their many supporters throughout the Muslim world.

pedestrian on December 28, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Contemptible.

Oh, I guess that given the reaction of the people in the video to Lil’ Kims carcase being paraded by, replacing the funeral music with this wouldn’t work, would it?

AZfederalist on December 28, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Umm, make that carcass.

AZfederalist on December 28, 2011 at 8:52 PM

The Soviet Union was marxism, and it failed spectacularly. Demographically, it rotted from the inside. Europe, with soft marxism of socialism is suffering the same fate. U.S. is in danger of following that path. Demographically Moslems are on the rise and have been for a while. The Soviet Union was destined to fail. Reagan saw that and pushed the rotten door. The US-SU chess game wasn’t going to last.

rbj on December 28, 2011 at 8:52 PM

No more Stalins, no more Hitlers….

lexhamfox on December 28, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Left one out. No more Obamas.

bgibbs1000 on December 28, 2011 at 8:53 PM

What does fraud in US home loans have to do with the old Soviet Union? Because Obama was involved in street protests to force banks to make loans to people who had no income?

Skandia Recluse on December 28, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Big ups for the Harry Turtledove reference, AP.

Red Cloud on December 28, 2011 at 8:54 PM

In short, the world without the Soviet Union has not become safer, more just or more stable.

I have to admit, I agree with this sentence at least. It’s not looking too promising out there.

Dan_Yul on December 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM

I’m not sure anyone could really expect that. After all, there will always be wars and rumors of wars. However, without the Soviet Union, a great evil no longer exists enslaving its people. That is something to celebrate.

Yes, there are a bunch of other great evils out there. But this was a victory to rejoice over.

AZfederalist on December 28, 2011 at 8:55 PM

The old Soviet Union was a “forced union”.
In the White House right now…we have a clown trying to ‘divide’ the union…by class and by state.

KOOLAID2 on December 28, 2011 at 8:55 PM

It isnt pro communism that totally drives the left it is also anti Americanism.

William Amos on December 28, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I noticed in the pictures of North Korea that they have a couple of nice old Lincolns. I wonder if Obama negotiated a deal for replacement parts for those relics from the 1960s.

jaime on December 28, 2011 at 8:59 PM

No Problemo, just put that wall in Berlin back up. Lotsa concrete and barbed wire, oh and guntowers. don’t forget the guntowers required to keep people from fleeing. There is no better sign of stability than guntowers.

trubble on December 28, 2011 at 9:02 PM

I noticed in the pictures of North Korea that they have a couple of nice old Lincolns. I wonder if Obama negotiated a deal for replacement parts for those relics from the 1960s.

jaime on December 28, 2011 at 8:59 PM

That, and watching the funeral procession; that procession probably constituted the sum total of all passenger cars in North Korea.

AZfederalist on December 28, 2011 at 9:03 PM

No Problemo, just put that wall in Berlin back up. Lotsa concrete and barbed wire, oh and guntowers. don’t forget the guntowers required to keep people from fleeing. There is no better sign of stability than guntowers.

trubble on December 28, 2011 at 9:02 PM

And don’t forget those tanks. Nothing spells fun like walking past them on your way to school when you’re a kid. Good times/

JPeterman on December 28, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Isn’t that painting the guy is holding in the pic with this thread the one Obama hung in the Oval Office to replace the bust of Churchill?

Koba, like Obama, was great at creating millions of jobs, too. Course, they were all in slave labor camps, but why nitpick over minor details.

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 9:08 PM

It isnt pro communism that totally drives the left it is also anti Americanism.

William Amos on December 28, 2011 at 8:58 PM

True that. According to our left, unless Obama is at the helm we epitomize the worst of the worst.
What remains to be seen is the BIG turning point that the libs/Oblah have promised. One more year to find out. oh joy!

bettycooper on December 28, 2011 at 9:10 PM

Unfortunately the world isn’t safer or more stable. It may be coincidental but nuclear proliferation was less of a concern then. Would NK and Iran be undertaking nuclear programs if the Soviets were still around? Would terrorists be so anxious to get them and use them on the US and Israel regardless of the consequences? It was easy for the Israelis to take care of Iraq’s nuclear program in the 80s. Today, it seems a lot less easy for them to take decisive unilateral action. Would things be different today if the Soviets were still around guaranteeing security for enemies of the US?

In addition, nature abhors a vacuum and I’d argue radical Islam was what largely filled the void. What struck me shortly after 9/11 were 2 things: One, older boomers were kind of slow to see radical islam for the threat it is despite what happened from at least the 70s on. Second, was in general, Muslims despised the heathen, godless communists more than us. Once they were erased from the equation, it was inevitable they would turn on us.

That said, I am happy they fell and in no way wish for their return. We just have a new, perhaps more dangerous, set of challenges to face. Dangerous because MAD no longer rules the game.

TheBigOldDog on December 28, 2011 at 9:10 PM

“A majority of Russians Americans, on the other hand, as they have repeatedly made clear in opinion surveys, still will not vote to end entitlements , not because they pine for ‘Communism’ but because they do not want to lose their secure way of life .”

they lie on December 28, 2011 at 9:11 PM

“…—we have had global turmoil, a world drifting in uncharted waters. The global economic crisis that broke out in 2008 made that abundantly clear.

The West must undertake a critical reassessment of all that preceded this painful crisis.”

Someone left the irony on again…

… What preced this painful crisis was liberal democrat social engineering policies interfering in the free capitalist market.

Seven Percent Solution on December 28, 2011 at 9:11 PM

It isnt pro communism that totally drives the left it is also anti Americanism.
William Amos on December 28, 2011 at 8:58 PM

Same thing. The average neo-hippy doesn’t have the faintest idea what a real Communist society is like, any more than he knows what an Islamic state is like.

All he knows is that attacking the greatest nation on earth, and everything that made it great, is the only thing in his life that makes him feel smarter than normal people.

logis on December 28, 2011 at 9:13 PM

You have to tip your hat to communists: they couldn’t produce consumer goods, their art and literature reeked of ideological purity, their food was uneatable, they destroyed their environment, and they were unable to produce a single roll of decent toilet paper.

But there were two things they were good at: killing people and making up historical bullshit.

Pardon my language.

And leftwingers like the Nation always fall for it.

SteveMG on December 28, 2011 at 9:17 PM

That, and watching the funeral procession; that procession probably constituted the sum total of all passenger cars in North Korea.

AZfederalist on December 28, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Exactly what I was thinking when I saw it; every single automobile in South Korea is on that street.

jaime on December 28, 2011 at 9:19 PM

North

jaime on December 28, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Stick in a sock in it head-stain.

Mr Galt on December 28, 2011 at 9:20 PM

I thought it was an interesting angle on game theory, but I guess it’s really evidence of communist sympathies?

adamcr on December 28, 2011 at 9:28 PM

In short, the world without the Soviet Union has not become safer, more just or more stable.

The world didn’t have these things before, during, or after the Soviet Union. As if having those 3 things would be better than freedom.

Sophistry.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 28, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Seems like he either believes or wants to take advantage of the false perception of increasing instability, war, suffering, oppression, and poverty — that is, the 11-o’clock-news view — when actual statistics tell a far different story. Just because it’s easier to see doesn’t mean it’s happening more. If you prefer case studies to statistics, contrast the last Iraq War with the Iran-Iraq War, our invasion of Afghanistan with the Soviets’, our bombing of the former Yugoslavia with its bombing of itself (okay, the last didn’t start in earnest until the USSR collapsed, but you get the idea). Now a thought experiment: Putin as head of half of Europe and much of Asia version Putin as head of Russia alone. Which sounds better to you?

calbear on December 28, 2011 at 9:32 PM

The folks at the Nation used to deny they were a bunch of commies who supported mass murderers. I guess they’re not trying to hide any more.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 28, 2011 at 9:37 PM

The chicks are hot. When they are young.

carbon_footprint on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Looks like y’all buried yourselves, Mikhail. How ironic, no?

Christien on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 PM

that grinds down the earth’s resources and ruins nature

Makes me wonder if the man’s ever been to Semipalatinsk, Magnitogorsk, Dnepopetrovsk, Omsk, or Khabarovsk. Not pristine places, because the all-powerful Soviet State didn’t care about the environment. Wasn’t in the Plan. And no one else’s opinion mattered.

I’ve got a fatigue jacket I can’t get the diesel fumes out of, 18 years after a 6-week trip to Novgorod.

Nostalgia says “things aren’t what they used to be.” Realism says “they never were.”

DrSteve on December 28, 2011 at 9:52 PM

If only we had adhered to real communism, then it would have worked.

Good Lt on December 28, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Second look at the Soviet Union?

Re-elect Obama and that’s about what we’ll get.

zmdavid on December 28, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Curious thing about lefties who pine for Communism, every last one of them firmly believes that THEY would be chosen for the committees which would control everyone else. No working in the fields for them, oh no, they are too smart and would be obvious Politburo material.

Bishop on December 28, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Oh, dear. Poor reading comprehension produces another screed. How about this, Allah: the hubris that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a lot of bad decisions. Like Iraq. Like the deregulation and lack of oversight that led to the financial crisis.

But hey, I understand… words are hard for your average Hot Air writer.

Constantine on December 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM

How about this, Allah: the hubris that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a lot of bad decisions

Nowhere does Gorbachev suggest such an idea.

It’s risible to think that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rejection of communism by the people in Eastern Europe had anything to do with the housing bubble that burst that was the chief cause of the financial meltdown.

We’ve had financial bubbles for centuries.

SteveMG on December 28, 2011 at 10:09 PM

In short, the world without the Soviet Union has not become safer, more just or more stable.

Thats too simplistic.
The world changes..weapons change and tactic change.

After the fall of the USSR we slowly devolved politically into a bunch of pc metrosexual cupcakes afraid of offending anyone with our standard of living and what was freedom.
I hate liberals and what they have done. This is just the beginning.

Mimzey on December 28, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Was the book ghost-written by Obama Ayers?

OldEnglish on December 28, 2011 at 10:13 PM

If the Soviet Union hadn’t collapsed and communism been exposed for the evil and failed system that it is, China – along with much of southeast Asia – may not have undertaken the economic liberalization that has led to the improvement in the lifes of hundreds of millions of human beings.

During the Cold War, China and these other Asian nations had economic systems that were disasters and which led to massive starvation and deprivation.

More people have been lifted out of poverty and despair since the collapse of communism than ever before.

Gorbachev is a fool.

SteveMG on December 28, 2011 at 10:19 PM

If Islam falls like Communism did the world will then become a better, freer, happier, saner, more prosperous place.

Only because the malignant totalitarian impulse of resurgent Islam quickly replaced the vacuum left by the failed malignant totalitarian impulse of Communism has the world not improved with the disappearance of the evil of Marxist madness.

You have to know the entire ideological equation to understand the world’s endangered condition.

America is the bulwark against these brainwashed, murderous bastards.

profitsbeard on December 28, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Constantine on December 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM

That small grain of truth doesn’t negate the pining for the USSR scattered through that article, you smug little twat. Also…

doubleplusundead on December 28, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Gorbachev is and was a fool. He was in college when Stalin died and never got to experience the true Soviet Communism. I often wonder why they catered to him at all. Perhaps it was just to use him as a front. Putin is the true example of Soviet leadership not Gorbachev.

Deanna on December 28, 2011 at 11:03 PM

You know I was much too nice. As someone who has family who escaped these vicious pigs and who thinks the only good Russian leader is a dead one, Gorbachev can go f### himself. I wonder if he had any family who died in a gulag or so-called sanitarium? Or who starved to death on a commune farm or was gulleted and nailed to a barn door in a porgrom? He can die a slow painful death and I hope it’s soon. Sorry.

Deanna on December 28, 2011 at 11:11 PM

The chicks are hot. When they are young.

carbon_footprint on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 PM

As Yakov Smirnov once said, “Russian women, not only can they drive tractor, they look like tractor”.

AZfederalist on December 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Two can play at this game. You want a reincarnation of the Soviet Union? Fine, all we ask in return is Ronald Reagan.

Erich66 on December 28, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Writers at The Nation don’t understand Burke, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Adam Smith, deToqueville, Bastiat, or Montesquieu. The Nation likes Marx, Engels, and Keynes, and the redistribution of property schemes.They don’t understand that capitalism has brought more prosperity to more people on earth than any other economic or governmental system. It starts with freedom of the individual, individual sovereignty, and a respect for the fruits of one’s labor.
All other systems, including socialism, communism, totalitarianism, socialist democracy, DO NOT believe in the sovereignty of the individual, and do not respect the individual or the fruits of his labor. In these systems, property belongs first to the state, and the state decides how much you can keep of your individual property, including intellectual property (books, songs, essays, stories, art).

Mark7788 on December 28, 2011 at 11:24 PM

The argument can be made that without the Soviet Union Nazi Germany would have had the ability to force the British into a truce of some kind and would have controlled all of mainland Europe. Up until the last moment the Soviets and Nazis were allies working together. Certainly the Russia of the Czars would have been no match for Nazi Germany and without Stalin’s iron fist running the Soviet response to the Nazi invasion it is very likely that the Soviet Union would have collapsed in the 1940s.

I’m not saying this is good or bad, but just another way to look at the history of the Soviet Union.

Comrades.

J.S. Kline on December 28, 2011 at 11:43 PM

Say what you want about Gorbachev, I’d still vote for him over Romney.

:-)

Glasnost! I’m out!

KirknBurker on December 28, 2011 at 11:46 PM

J.S. Kline on December 28, 2011 at 11:43 PM

Cool! HA’s armchair revisionist.

Don’t feel bad. I do that now and then too. (or three)

Ok, now I’m really out. G’nite to all, even that unhinged lady with PDA from Carolina. God send your grace to her.

KirknBurker on December 28, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Ok, now I’m really out. G’nite to all, even that unhinged lady with PDAS from Carolina. God send your grace to her.

KirknBurker on December 28, 2011 at 11:49 PM

KirknBurker on December 28, 2011 at 11:50 PM

without Stalin’s iron fist running the Soviet response to the Nazi invasion it is very likely that the Soviet Union would have collapsed in the 1940s.

I’m not saying this is good or bad, but just another way to look at the history of the Soviet Union.

Comrades.

J.S. Kline on December 28, 2011 at 11:43 PM

Baloney. Stalin had little to do with stopping the Nazi invasion. It was the weather and the fact they were untnumbered along with poor supply lines and leadership that made that debacle for the Nazis. And don’t call me comrade.

Deanna on December 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM

The Nation — a group of socialist ‘tards.

Conservchik on December 28, 2011 at 11:53 PM

If elitist 1%er Katrina vanden Heuvel doesn’t want her trust fund anymore she can give it to me.

Otherwise, STFU.

(That goes for everyone else at The Nation as well.)

Bruno Strozek on December 28, 2011 at 11:53 PM

I briefly dated a girl who was from the Soviet Union. She came over in 1987 at age 22. I asked her what she found the most interesting upon arriving. She said she spent about 4 hours at Jewel (a grocery store chain) just marveling at all the food. Over 90% of the food she had never seen before and was hypnotized by the meat section. If that doesn’t tell you something nothing will.

Capitalist Infidel on December 28, 2011 at 11:59 PM

I have to admit, I agree with this sentence at least. It’s not looking too promising out there.

Dan_Yul on December 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM

I would have to disagree. Though the fall of the Soviet Union did not lead to a perfect world by any stretch, it led to a better one.

The worst tyrants of the post Soviet era are pikers compared to those during the cold war:

USSR: 20-120M murdered
PRC: 40-100M murdered
National Socialist Germany: 12-20M murdered
Baathist Iraq: 2M murdered
Communist Cambodia: 2M murdered

In fact, it is interesting to consider that in looking at the barbarity that became commonplace after the rise of communism one has to go back hundreds of years to find horror on a comparable scale – arguably at least to Tamerlane.

18-1 on December 29, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Baloney. Stalin had little to do with stopping the Nazi invasion. It was the weather and the fact they were untnumbered along with poor supply lines and leadership that made that debacle for the Nazis. And don’t call me comrade.

Deanna on December 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM

laughable.

I never said that it was Stalin alone.

I am saying that Stalin, as the head of the Soviet government during the invasion, was able to keep the country together through his brutal and oppressive regime system. NKVD etc. I’m not saying this is good or bad, just the way it was. More than the weather and numbers played into the Nazi defeat. They seriously underestimated the Soviet manpower, tanks, planes etc. and the fanatical way that the Red Army fought back (again can be attributed to Stalin). The war on the Eastern Front was an absolute cataclysm in which the Soviets shot any of their own soldiers attempting to flee the Germans. Only in a dictatorship does this happen.

There is not one person or thing responsible for how the war turned out except if the Soviet Union did not exist, or Stalin (or somebody like him) were not in charge then, it is very LIKELY that the Nazis would have controlled mainland Europe due to the fact that the vast majority of the German wehrmacht was on the eastern front. Therefore, without all of their attention on the east and the Soviets they could have done a lot more to resist an allied invasion from the west. They would have also had access to the vast resources available in the Soviet Union for their military equipment.

Are you trying to say that somebody unlike Stalin would have held together the Soviet government, intelligence services and military during the Nazi invasion?

Simply put: If the Soviet Union did not exist at the onset of World War Two or if the Soviet Union was not a brutal dictatorship it is very likely that the Nazis would have overrun Russia.

J.S. Kline on December 29, 2011 at 12:09 AM

without Stalin’s iron fist running the Soviet response to the Nazi invasion it is very likely that the Soviet Union would have collapsed in the 1940s.

If the White faction had come out victorious in the Russian Civil war there would almost certainly have been a Russian-French Alliance in the 1930s, and WWII would not have played out as it did. Presuming the alliance supported the Czechs what we know as WWII would be a short war that saw the German army annihilated trying to force its way through the Czech defenses before the French and Russians could mobilize.

18-1 on December 29, 2011 at 12:10 AM

If the White faction had come out victorious in the Russian Civil war there would almost certainly have been a Russian-French Alliance in the 1930s, and WWII would not have played out as it did. Presuming the alliance supported the Czechs what we know as WWII would be a short war that saw the German army annihilated trying to force its way through the Czech defenses before the French and Russians could mobilize.

18-1 on December 29, 2011 at 12:10 AM

The French did have a pact with the Soviets I believe.

You make a good point regarding the Czechs. I believe it was Munich that forced them to hand over their great defensive area against Germany. Germany would have probably not been able to break through that area.

Also, had the French responded to the German occupation of the Rhineland the Germans were ready to retreat as they would have been greatly outnumbered. However, the French did nothing and a tyrant got his way. There is a high likelihood that Hitler would have taken great damage at home after a retreat from the Rhineland.

J.S. Kline on December 29, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Are you trying to say that somebody unlike Stalin would have held together the Soviet government, intelligence services and military during the Nazi invasion?

Simply put: If the Soviet Union did not exist at the onset of World War Two or if the Soviet Union was not a brutal dictatorship it is very likely that the Nazis would have overrun Russia.

J.S. Kline on December 29, 2011 at 12:09 AM

Hitler or Stalin, not much of a choice. But I don’t go in for theoretical history, my family lived it. Feel free to do so though and waste your time. Have a good night.

Deanna on December 29, 2011 at 12:21 AM

Hitler or Stalin, not much of a choice. But I don’t go in for theoretical history, my family lived it. Feel free to do so though and waste your time. Have a good night.

Deanna on December 29, 2011 at 12:21 AM

Yes, terrible choices.

Good night.

J.S. Kline on December 29, 2011 at 12:26 AM

Military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on the assumption that might is right, severely undermined the American economy, in addition to causing tens of thousands of deaths. Today many in the West admit that it was the wrong path to take, but the time that could have been used to build a truly new world order was lost.

How quickly it is forgotten that the progressive democrats and the media made sure that only negative news was reported about the war to insure the war was seen as unfavorably as possible, for political reasons of course. How much different would the outcome had been, and lives not lost, if our soldiers were actually supported and what was needed to win the war quickly was given to the task. Or had we not had a president that needs the war funds for his progressive socialist programs and state welfare dependency, and so as they have been trying to do since the beginning, run up the white flag as soon as it was politically possible and get out, forfieting the lives lost, and handing those that killed them an unearned victory.

Franklyn on December 29, 2011 at 1:39 AM

Simply put: If the Soviet Union did not exist at the onset of World War Two or if the Soviet Union was not a brutal dictatorship it is very likely that the Nazis would have overrun Russia.

J.S. Kline on December 29, 2011 at 12:09 AM

History shows that Hitler did not understand how to best use his nations resources nor the logistics of war. He often refused the advice of his Generals and ordered them to fight according to his plans, which like most Socialist plans, were lacking any bases in reality outside of reality as Hitler and his minons saw it. Sort of like someone we know today in Washington. Nazi were and are a socialist party in case anyone has missed that connection. Hitler ignored the warnings of his Generals of a Russian Winter, and the lack of Germany’s ability to fight under those conditions.

Assuming that Stalin did not take power or that a dictator was not in his place, history favors an outcome of a German invasion of Russia not being much different from the outcome we know, with the exception that maybe Russia would not have taken over Eastern Europe and divided Germany after the War.

Hitler’s mistake was in thinking that he could do as he did in Poland and rapidly move through Russia and take Moscow before the approaching Winter, instead of waiting until Spring. There is that socialist lack of understanding consequences of what they do today on what happens tomorrow. The Russian people, like true Americans, are feriously protective of their Mother Country and will defend it to the death, unlike other European countries that Hitler easily conquered. Unable to fight Germany in a traditional defense, they delayed and then lead the German army into a Russian Winter that the Germans were not prepared to fight in. The Russians burned and destroyed everything of use to the Germans as they retreaded and lead them deeper into their country. With no way to supply their army, Germany’s army was defeated by the Russians. Moscow was Hitlers goal, but even if Germany had made it there, it would have likewise been destroyed by the Russians, who would continue to draw them deeper into their vast country towards the Ural Mountains where the nations industries were located. It would not be a logical assumption to believe that somehow Germany could have been successful in bringing Russia under its control.

Franklyn on December 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

I just realized I have managed to go an entire decade
without ever looking at The Nation’s web site.

Probably good to keep it that way.

But for voyeurs, perverts, and masochists, here it is:

http://www.thenation.com/

Dextrous on December 29, 2011 at 3:16 AM

Ugh, while I can easily understand Gorby taking the time to polish his image, the companion piece by Stephen Cohen is actually just vile.

The regret felt for breakup of Soviet Union is hardly pining for the old system, but regret for loss of world influence and subservient vassals. In Cohen’s piece the millions who fought and the thousands (at least) who lost their lives in the fighting did not apparently exist.

It should also be pointed out that those who did the cleanest break with everything to do with Soviet (example: Estland) have fared the best. While those who shed the least of Soviet baggage have fared the worst (example: Belarus). It is a shame that Russia stopped midway in getting rid of the Soviet mindset, it could do a lot better now if it hadn’t.

kittysaidwoof on December 29, 2011 at 7:38 AM

An “Ode to the Gulag” piece. “Ah our beloved Egyptian night” the peaceful stability of living in chains./s

Hey Gorby note the ongoing protests in Russia. Did you consider that maybe some of the Russian people would really like to give a liberal democratic capitalist state a chance? Putin hasn’t been providing one. Oh and by the way, have you noticed how the former Soviet States are trying to join the EU and NATO rather than re-up with Russia? Get a clue.

KW64 on December 29, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Better Dead than Red.

teacherman on December 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Gorby’s been writing editorials for The Nation for fifty years, is what I think.

Akzed on December 29, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Franklyn on December 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

very interesting stuff but I would like to point out two things.

One. Moscow was never the only goal for Hitler. Part of his ridiculous military ideas that you mentioned included his ever changing goals. He kept switching them in Russia. The oil fields, Leningrad, Moscow were all top priorities at one point. I believe the all around goal was to establish a “border” than ran from Archangel in the north to the Volga river in the south.

Two. National Socialism was not socialism in the sense that we see it. In fact, Soviet communism (which is just authoritarian socialism) was a sworn enemy of Hitler. He believed that Marxism/Soviet Communism/Socialism/Bolschveism or whatever you want to call it was a “Jewish intellectual” movement and therefore had to be destroyed. Hitler, following Mussolini, favored an economic “third way” that fell between Capitalism and what the Soviets were doing. Although he was not much of a economist he favored what we know as fascism or corporatism in which the state dictated the economy but allowed “private” companies to exist. Hitler had no problem with people owning their own businesses and property as long as the NAZIS could dictate the terms.

J.S. Kline on December 29, 2011 at 1:30 PM

J.S. Kline on December 28, 2011 at 11:43 PM

Let’s not forget, Stalin also purged his generals, which led to the deaths of countless millions more Soviet citizens than might have been the case had he not.

I’ve also heard it said that with regard to the factors of production, fascism is de jure private ownership but de facto government control, whereas communism is de jure government ownership. Precious little difference.

DrSteve on December 29, 2011 at 1:58 PM

DrSteve on December 29, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Which proved to be very costly to the Soviet military response.

Hmm, well they are both authoritarian for sure but there are some differences. Most important in the context of world war two there was a significant difference in the twisted mind of Hitler.

J.S. Kline on December 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Time to get Archangel on the tube…

mojo on December 29, 2011 at 2:55 PM

“[T]he Soviet Union was not destroyed by any foreign power but as a result of internal developments.” Hmm, that sounds a lot like the Internal Contradictions of Capitalism that Stalinists obsessively invoke as the inevitable doom that awaits the West.

ConservativeLA on December 29, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Hmm–well, Gorbychops wrote it, so what else could we expect?

Olo_Burrows on December 30, 2011 at 12:45 AM

It isn’t that the US won, but that evil lost.

The fall of the evil empire was a victory for humanity.

leereyno on December 30, 2011 at 4:25 AM

I believe it was David Horowitz who stated (in “Radical Son” I believe) that at the end of the Soviet Union, roughly half of the hospitals in the union outside of Moscow didn’t even have running water (don’t remember where he got that stat).

Keep in mind, they had 70 years of practice “giving” “free” health care to their people. After all that practice, they couldn’t even get running water? In a HOSPITAL???

This is just another example of where we’re headed. Oh, sure, you could say I’m being hyperbolic since all our hospitals already have running water. But the point to remember is that these places went decades without it after being built without it. We’re not talking about nuclear science here, we’re talking about indoor plumbing. This is the natural result of a govt that has no concern about the needs of the people due to a total lack of accountability, and this is what obamacare promises to deliver.

Gorby knows all this better than I do. And still Gorby is a fool.

runawayyyy on December 30, 2011 at 8:58 AM

It isn’t that the US won, but that evil lost.

leereyno on December 30, 2011 at 4:25 AM

Agreed. It’s yet to be seen if we’ll win in the long run, or fall victim to economic rot like the USSR did. What a bitter irony that would be.

MelonCollie on December 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM

“[T]he Soviet Union was not destroyed by any foreign power but as a result of internal developments.” Hmm, that sounds a lot like the Internal Contradictions of Capitalism that Stalinists obsessively invoke as the inevitable doom that awaits the West.

ConservativeLA on December 29, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Unforunately, that was one of the few things those screwballs got right.

We fought a two-ocean war and won after having half our fleet wrecked in a surprise attack…but now we’re on the verge of economic collapse and moral chaos.

Take a look at Rome: the barbarians were only able to beat it after it had become a broke joke of its former self.

MelonCollie on December 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM