MR. DRISCOLL: This is Ed Driscoll for PJ Media.com, and I’m talking today with Diana West, syndicated columnist who blogs at Diana West.net. She’s also the author of the new book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character. It’s published by St. Martin’s Press, and available from Amazon.com, and your local bookstore. And Diana, thanks for stopping by today.
MS. WEST: Thank, you Ed. Great to be back.
MR. DRISCOLL: Diana, your first book was The Death of the Grown-Up in 2007. What made you choose the thesis of American Betrayal as its follow-up?
MS. WEST: Well, in some ways, I suppose, the thesis chose me. I was still puzzling over disconnects between what I looked on as fact and conclusions, which is some of the same issues I was trying to sort through with The Death of the Grown-Up. And I felt like — I felt like the grownup metaphor needed to go — I needed to go a little deeper. And I wanted to find out if I could actually find a historical precedent for what I was seeing as — as a disconnect between amassing facts and making conclusions or making judgments.
And boy did I. I was quite shocked and often appalled by what I found by going back down the rabbit hole into our historical layers.
MR. DRISCOLL: Diana, your new book has a blurb on the back from Amity Shlaes, the author of The Forgotten Man, her brilliant look at the devastating impact of FDR’s domestic policies on America in the 1930s. Shlaes’ book begins with a group of American intellectuals, who would later become FDR’s brain trust in the 1930s taking an ocean voyage to the Soviet Union in the mid-1920s, and believing that, as Lincoln Steffens famously said, “They had seen the future — and it worked!”
You write in American Betrayal that it didn’t take all that long for the Soviet Union to return the favor, is that correct?
MS. WEST: Right, right, yes. Well, it’s a different — it’s a different sort of tranche than the one Amity was mining.
Yes, what I discovered was a very useful way in to understanding what has become of us was the act of recognition of the Soviet Union by Roosevelt in November 1933. This was just about half a year or so after the end — what we consider the end — of the terror famine, the famine in the Ukraine which — by which Stalin was able to murder by forced starvation, some five, six million people, maybe more.
That the United States decided to normalize relations right on top of this — this atrocity, is a staggering — a staggering realization. I mean, imagine if a nation decided to normalize relations — if we play a little historical scrabble — mind-scrabble — with a Hitler, after having killed six million of its own people — six million Jews, say? It’s not thinkable.
And yet this is what we did in 1933 with an agreement that was a set of lies from the start. It was essentially based on promises by the Soviet Union that they would not follow up on their revolutionary declarations to overthrow the United States along with every other nation in the world.
This had been the reason, primarily, why four American Presidents and six Secretaries of State had not normalized relations with the Soviet government that had come in after 1917, after the revolution.
FDR went ahead and made — signed this agreement, this piece of paper. It was a lie the day it was signed, and it certainly was a lie afterwards as the Soviet Union began directing the subversion of our Constitution, the support of cadres of secret agents in our midst. And this indeed was the basis of the agreement. In other words, they promised they would not do this, and this was actually what was going on and certainly what when on, and I think to just tragic, tragic consequences.