Communism must be lived with, even while it is opposed

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

It was probably necessary for the opposition to win, in 1952, T. R. Fehrenbach suggests (in This Kind of War):

Whatever the domestic issues, only a Republican Administration could have dragged the American liberal middle classes into world affairs — and entanglement they violently distrusted. Only a Cabinet of men who never once, not even in college, had seen anything attractive in the far left could have brought to Americans understanding that Communism must be lived with, even while it is opposed.

This Republican Administration would do damage — it would toy with solutions such as “massive retaliation,” and it would seek cheap answers: “More bang for a buck.” It would continue to dislike professional legions, and try to do away with them. It would find, painfully, that all the old ideas dear to business-liberal society would not work.

It would, after a year or two, adopt containment, and continue virtually unchanged, every foreign policy of the Truman Administration.


  1. Kirk says:

    I have to say that I’m growing increasingly ambivalent about the whole “fight Communism” thing.

    Observationally, a case can be made that in doing so, we turned ourselves into their mirror-image, while simultaneously blindly allowing their fellow-travelers to infiltrate, suborn, and corrupt our culture. The evidence lies all around us–The “security” apparatus we built up to “fight Communism” has now been turned against a sitting US president, and has been entirely captured by the self-same “communist” fellow-travelers we were fighting.

    So, what did it all accomplish, aside from wasting trillions of dollars on weapons that were never used before going obsolescent? What did the average American gain from it all? Where’s the benefit to our cultural underpinnings? Why the f**k did I waste the best years of my life in the “fight against international Communism” only to see their like-minded petty tyrants take over my nation before my eyes, apparently without any truly effective resistance by my “betters” in the national elite?

    Tell you the truth, the more I contemplate it all, the more I’m forced to arrive at the conclusion that the fight was useless, ineffectual, and what we should have done was just pulled a Republican, dressed up in a gimp harness and presented our anal orifices for penetration.

  2. Szopen says:

    Well, Kirk, would that be a comfort for you to say I (and I guess several millions of my compatriots) appreciate no longer being under communist rule, which in no small part is due to America fighting communism?

  3. Kirk says:


    It would be, of course. I don’t begrudge any of the sacrifice that actually accomplished something constructive, but the thing that absolutely enrages me is watching the follow-on side effects here in the US play out before my eyes. I do find myself wondering if we really “won”, or if what happened was actually a stunning ju-jitsu move that turned the US government into a more effective tool for the ideas and mentality behind big-C Communism than the vaguely competent and entirely backwards entities that they took over in the former Soviet sphere.

    There’s nothing more terrifying than a competent tyrant or one that’s got control of a semi-competent social entity. Witness the difference between Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Chavez’s funhouse-mirror version of “Bolivarian Socialism” in Venezuela–There ain’t no hyper-competent military there for him to have turned on his neighbors, and the generally lackadaisical tropic culture prevalent in that part of South America isn’t exactly amenable to being turned into a nightmare of hypercompetency at tyranny. Nightmare of ineffectual and corrupt governance? Oh, hell yes… But, that’s not one that’s going to be something they manage to export the way Hitler’s weaponized bureaucracy was. Hitler’s Nazi fantasy was a world-historical nightmare-level threat that absolutely had to be put down before it immured an entire continent into its fantastic madness, but Chavez’s Venezuela is more an object of pity and laughter. Good God, they’re sitting on top of a huge fraction of the world’s crude oil, and they can’t even manage to get it out of the ground any more…

    One does wonder, though… Would the inherent unworkability of the whole Communist enterprise have collapsed just the same, had we simply waited? Looking back, I have to wonder if the Soviets weren’t just reacting somewhat naturally to the experience of WWII, and what would have happened had we not fed into their paranoia? A paranoia which, from their point of view, was entirely natural?

    We’re never going to know, but I do wonder what the world would have looked like had all involved in WWII not decided to continue the game in the Cold War. You look back on it, and it seems like the whole thing was some sort of fever dream–At 18, I was a pretty well-informed young adult, and from the way the world looked to me at the beginning of the 1980s, odds were absolutely excellent that I’d be dead in a nuclear holocaust before I was 35. Still kind of shocked/amused/awed that I’m not, TBH. These years since about ’99 have been pure unexpected bonus, in some ways–I really did think that between Brezhnev/Andropov and Reagan, we were sure to see Armageddon on the Elbe or Rhine.

    So… Yeah. Don’t think I’m begrudging you guys that got out from under the Soviets anything at all. I just wish we hadn’t warped (or, outright killed…) much that was good within our own nation in the doing of it all. And, I do appreciate the implied thanks, while wholeheartedly saying “You’re welcome…”.

    After all, with all the bad ideas that came out of our Progressive movement (eugenics, racism, and all that lot…), we kinda owed it to the world. When you find out that the actual Nazis came to Wilson’s America for lessons on how to do things, that’s kind of a wake-up call…

  4. Goober says:


    I have often wondered at what would have happened if we’d genuinely and purposefully presented an olive branch to the Soviets after WWII.

    But then I realize that was never really in the cards.

    Consider this:

    Britain entered WWII because they had guaranteed Polish sovereignty, and left WWII with that guarantee unfulfilled, because of Soviet insistence on expansionism. Poland suffered under Soviet rule for decades after.

    The Soviets entered WWII as Nazi allies. Debate and quibble all you want that M/R was a non-aggression pact. You can call it what you want, but any agreement that lays out the process by which two entities will invade a sovereign neighbor and conquer it is a WAR ALLIANCE, not a non-aggression pact. The Soviets also invaded and conquered Lativia, Estonia, and Lithuania, and invaded (but was unable to conquer) Finland, all unprovoked. As far as war-mongering, expansionist dictatorships go, the Soviets were doing a pretty damned good impression of the nazis in 1940 and 41, and only stopped doing those things when Hitler double-crossed them in 41. Then, in 44 and 45, when they were fighting the Nazis, they were taking a bunch of territory that wasn’t theirs, which they had no intention of giving back.

    I think the war against communism was a red-herring. The war in Vietnam, for instance, was entirely unnecessary. The communist regime there was no friend of the Red Chinese or the Soviets, and could very well have been an American ally if we hadn’t taken issue with their socio-economic system. The Cold War should have been a war against the aggressive, shitty Soviet dictatorships (and more specifically, Stalin) and not Communism. I don’t think that later Soviet premiers would have necessarily had any issue with the idea of a negotiated “peace” if we could have just gotten over the Red Scare, and allowed them to be Communists just as long as they weren’t being aggressive, militaristic asshole Communists.

    As long as Stalin was the premier, there’s no way we extend that olive branch. The Soviets under Stalin did shitty things that really didn’t separate them much from what the Nazis did, and I really don’t foresee a decent way to be friendly with such a regime. Especially one so powerful.

  5. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Kirk: “I have to say that I’m growing increasingly ambivalent about the whole “fight Communism” thing.”

    Well, “Communism” clearly lost. It still gets lip service in China — but Chinese people work for private companies, save for their own retirements, drive their private cars on toll roads, pay out of their pockets when they go to hospital, and send their children to private schools if they can afford it. Some “Communism”!

    But “Democracy” lost too.

    It seems that the West, Russia, China have all converged in practice on what we would have to call — if we were being honest with ourselves — fascism. Private property is allowed, but there is an unholy alliance in all countries between Big Business and Big Bureaucracy, with politicians calling the shots.

    We will find out eventually if this international “Friendly Fascism” is a stable form of government.

  6. Kirk says:

    Not sure about the premise that Vietnam was unnecessary; it played a key role in bankrupting the Soviet Union–So, there is that.

    With Stalin, I don’t see a way to avoid the ugliness–He was the major driver behind Soviet expansionism in the 1930s through the 1950s, and you can read WWII as being lit up primarily through his good offices and meddling–Hitler would never have had the resources to do what he did in the West without Stalin’s willing support and acquiescence. Not to mention, all the material he sent westwards to Hitler, along with the “guidance” issued through the COMINTERN to French Communist Party members to do as much damage as they could to the French war machine. I want to say that the Air Minister at some key point was following instruction from Moscow when he sequestered entire wings of modern French fighters and bombers.

    Absent Soviet meddling, WWII would have been a far different conflict. Then, too, there was the calculation that Germany was needed as a counterweight to Soviet ambitions in Europe, so that’s why they let them rearm and they kinda ignored what Hitler was doing, just so they had a stronger Germany between them and the Soviets.

    So… Yeah. I have to agree that the Soviets brought on a lot of their misery their own damn selves, and I feel not one whit of pity for those who enabled it inside the Soviet Union. Stalin was as much to blame for WWII as Hitler, when you get down to it–And, he continued to cause problems in the post-WWII era as well.

    Take him out of the picture, and things probably don’t get anywhere near as bad as they did, historically. Once he was dead, though, I think a lot of the Cold War was the US and allies reacting as though he was still around and running things, when the reality was that much of the Soviet power structure just wanted to survive and enjoy life. Once Stalin was gone, maybe the Cold War wasn’t necessary.

    One of the great imponderables of history, that. The root of it all might have been eliminated, had we had the wit and wisdom to do it. On the other hand, maybe the hardliners in the Soviet Union would have been encouraged, and done even worse things than historically.

    It’s an interesting argument for late nights around a table, with a bottle or two of something congenial to hand.

  7. Kirk says:

    Gavin, don’t get me wrong… Not saying that communism in all of its forms shouldn’t have been resisted, just that the whole apocalyptic Cold War thing could have perhaps been foregone, and the inherent illogical contradictions of the whole thing would have eventually caught up with them, leaving us in a situation where we hadn’t warped our entire civilization out of whack in the attempt to counter something that was going to kill itself anyway.

    I don’t think any of the “-isms” are going to survive, in the long haul. You can’t control from the top for any really meaningful length of time. Inevitably, the little scrambling mammals mucking about in the undergrowth are going to grow and topple the dinosaurs of the world. Big can do some things, but its very strength winds up militating against long-term success. You want long-term success for something, you have to go with the model where the power and strength isn’t centralized and under the control of any one individual or group. And, that increasingly means that the future belongs to “not the way we’re doing it now”, or corporatism.

    The brainwashing eventually hits a point where it no longer really works, because the people whose brains have been washed are observing that the environment doesn’t match what they’ve been told and taught. Once that cognitive dissonance sets in, then the whole thing starts to fall apart.

    A lot of people credit “the people” inside the Soviet bloc contrasting things with what was going on outside it, but the reality was more that they were contrasting the hypocrisy of the nomenklatura and how they got ahead in life vs. the Marxist homilies they’d been taught all their lives. In the end, what killed the Soviet Union wasn’t that people knew there was a better life available outside it, but that they’d gotten tired of the internal lies and bullshit. From talking to people who lived through it, I think that was probably a far bigger force than many commentators today would credit.

    Basically, the Soviet regime discredited itself, much in the same way that the current corporatist coprophages are doing right now. Who believes anything they see in the media? Only utter dumbasses that can’t remember what lies they were told last week, and which have been obfuscated and “shifted” into new versions of the “truth” this week.

  8. Altitude Zero says:

    My own take is that, with regard to the Cold War, we won the war, and botched the peace – as usual. But this time, we botched the postwar so badly, it might kill us. In addition, we Reagan conservatives overestimated the overseas communist threat (admittedly, this was hard to see at the time, what with 50,000 Soviet tanks,etc.) and underestimated the domestic communist threat. In essence, Tail-Gunner Joe was right, in spirit if not always in detail.

  9. Kirk says:

    We always win on the battlefield, and then lose at the post-war negotiation stage of things. It’s an American art.

    I honestly can’t think of a single time our negotiations have resulted in a positive outcome, which then leads to the question: Does our State Department really work for the American people, or is it an agency that works for our enemies?

    I would, after observing them in action during the Balkan campaigns and in Iraq, be willing to entertain the notion that they’re actually a more effective enemy than most of our actual opponents are.

  10. VXXC says:

    1. We should have stayed out of Europe’s wars, all of them, the price was too high. We played the Holy fool for the English.

    2. The end result of all our alliances is Empire, and that Empire overthrew the American Republic in 2021.
    That price is too high.

    3. The State Dept’s behavior in the past is highly dubious for even the unquestionably loyal such as Acheson and Kennan, both of whom made it clear that that Korea was to be allowed to be Soviet as the price for us militarizing Japan as our forward base.
    Had we not lost 38,000 dead…but we did.

    4. In 2021 there is no longer any doubt about the State Dept and Norm Eisen, Victoria Nuland, the Kagans, the Deep State, the CIA and their various associated Tech Lord allies: they are enemies to the Republic they threw down, they are mortal enemies of the American people, see 2020 and ‘Erase Whiteness’ as well as the Nov 20 – Jan 21 Color Revolution.
    The violence of 2020 and the shooting of Ashli Babbit constitute levying war against America, for the pedants reading. Treason, yes even when special people do treason.

    5. Control from the top: they control not just the top but the middle, the strivers and the SJW’s and Karens, teachers, media not just in DC but down to every level of govt and esp HR depts and academia, so no it’s not just control from the top. If you have the top 15% and they are dominant you actually have the country, barring extraordinary force majeure leadership of the next 85%. This is possible but it has not happened, more abuse and punishment is needed and it is coming, more electoral fraud, more denied standing in the court, but really the only people who ever DO anything are those who’ve survived something bad being DONE to THEM. The rest of you are a waste of time, you are all talk and even then talk only when it’s safe.

    6. This does not mean all hope is lost, far from it. It does mean that we are not talking, voting, legalizing, fundraising, job growing, tax cutting, small businessing, 501C etc our way out of this…and lacking any organization that acts – action not talk – we don’t get out of it either.

    7. Venezuela like Cuba is a very functional and stable regime, in fact the Chavez/Maduro govt in Venezuela and the Castro regime in Cuba are the most stable govt’s they’ve ever had. Go and look.
    The fact that they don’t deliver the consumer plenty to the ruled form of domestic animal life is a main feature not a bug. Hunger and want among the masses=control. I should mention here I don’t care if my fellow American forms of domestic animal chattel get more consumer crap either. You’re bovine chattel, you chose that fate.

    8. Absent any real challenge – and a real challenge would fold the American govt and elites very fast – but absent that challenge we continue via inertia on our present course, and it will get worse. No such challenge appears, as it would have to magically appear without risk…and we know that ain’t happening, don’t we.

    9. So NO the present American regime won’t fold or implode, it will have to be overthrown.

    10. I wouldn’t count on someone else doing the work for you, domesticus Americanus…but if they do…they’re the new boss. Probably very same as the old boss except younger, competent and far more ruthless. They will have no reason not to reach the same conclusions about Domesticus Americanus that the present regime reached, they’ll just be more effective than the clown show now in effecting a solution.

    If that was all TLDR; FIGHT OR DIE.

    And if you don’t fight, you deserve to die.

  11. VXXC says:

    If that was all TLDR; FIGHT OR DIE.

    And if you don’t fight, you deserve to die.

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