Saturday, November 15, 2008

"In theory. Communism works - in theory."

I hate Ronald Reagan. I hate him so much. One of the things I hate him for is how much credit he gets for ending the Cold War. Despite the fact that Soviet communism was dying before Reagan even came to office and that George Bush, Sr. was the instrumental figure in bringing down the Berlin Wall and reuniting Germany, it was more the inherent inability of communism to work that killed it - not Ronald Reagan. He was just lucky enough to be in charge when its collapse became imminent in the late 80's.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the Cold War and I have developed a theory. When Leninism first began to gain popularity in Russia, the United States became openly hostile to the idea of communism. We made arguments that it was godless, deprived people of their freedom, would lead to the downfall of humanity, etc., which all may be legitimate arguments. Nevertheless, we didn't do much about it on the international stage until after the Soviet Revolution. Even then, we didn't do that much until after WWII when Stalin took the spoils of war and built an empire.

That's what I think the Cold War was about - not communism, but empire. The United States had just won its second world war and was set to become the global power of the next century. After the defeat of Germany and Japan, the only thing that stood in the way of our total world domination was the Soviet Union - the only country left with the military resources to challenge us.

This is even more true in light of how world hegemony has developed since the 1980's. Think of the remaining communist nations in the world and how the U.S. deals with them. The big glaring omission from our "anti-communist" history is China. (We have continued our embargo on Cuba, but Cuba is insignificant. We don't lose all that much from the embargo and now it's taken on a more symbolic meaning than anything else.) China is the largest country on the earth, possesses the largest military, is close to developing the largest economy, and is openly Communist. Despite that fact, we still trade heavily with them (they have MFN status), ignore their horribly repressive government, and are increasing relations with them every day.

There are a lot of reasons for our continued love/hate relationship with China, but the point is that if the U.S. were really anti-communist, we would be fighting against Chinese expansion tooth and nail. My point is that we were not anti-communist, but anti-Soviet. Nowhere is this difference more clear than in the doctrine of Containment. (Containment is basically the idea that Soviet Russia wanted to expand and enact xenophobic policies and we should do everything we could to stop them.) Containment was about stopping Soviet power, not communism. If the Soviets had been monarchs, we still would have opposed their expansion into other countries because they spread xenophobia and believed in empire. Obviously, that's bad for business.

Clearly, I am making this argument as part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to change America into a communist nation. We achieved a major victory in electing that socialist, Obama, and now it's only a matter of time before America finally becomes the worker's paradise we've always wanted. However, I am willing to abandon this pinko plot in exchange for a solemn oath never to name anything else after Ronald Reagan. Except maybe the border fence, which I suggest you style, "The Ronald Reagan Useless Barrier for American Xenophobia and Racism."


Kirsten said...

In China's defense, they have been trying. Plus, without the morals of democracy they can do crazy stuff that completely undercuts and undermines America. They are the bat aiming at our knees. And, gosh dang it, sometimes it just feels good. I won't lie, I've bough Chinese, and I liked it. And don't worry, people like to whine, so you'll get your socialist state before too long.

Daniel said...

Don't get me wrong - I'm not ragging on China for being communist. While they do deserve some serious ragging for other reasons, I am really pointing out that if communism were the driving force behind the cold war, we should also be opposing Chinese power the same way we opposed Soviet power.

mulhollandj said...

We helped communism. Ever heard of Operation Keelhaul in WWII? Wasn't it funny that we pulled our forces out of China just in time for Russian backed communists to take over the government. The problem is that most people don't understand communism. I have some great books if you are interested.

Daniel said...

mulhollandj, welcome to my blog! You are correct in pointing out that we have helped communism. This is my point, we were anti-Soviet. Sure, we fought Chinese communists in Korea, but that didn't stop us from becoming their very good friends starting in Nixon's term because by that time, Chinese communists had rejected the Stalinist regime of the Soviet Union. From about the 50's on, the Chinese and the Soviets hated each other.

Anyway, I hate Ronald Reagan.