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Ed Driscoll

Interview: Diana West on the Cold War and American Betrayal

July 8th, 2013 - 12:00 am

MR. DRISCOLL:  Let’s jump ahead to the mid-1970s. When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn arrived in America in 1975, he was received with a remarkable coldness by American intellectuals. And even Gerald Ford snubbed him. What was the cause of this?

MS. WEST:  Well, this — this was — this was a seminal moment, really, in terms of the annals, I would call it, of capitulation and appeasement.  There was always — and again, going back to Roosevelt — but pretty much steadily, with the occasional ray of sunshine, such as a Ronald Reagan, there was always a movement or a directive, a policy, to appease the Soviet Union, and more importantly to deny the truth about the system.

And indeed, you could not have such a thing as detente, which of course was the kind of appeasement du-jour in the 1970s, if you actually recognized the depravity of the system.  And here was this man, this absolutely — this force of nature, who had captured the world’s attention inside the Soviet Union.  And here he was coming to America for the first time.

For the — that White House to have acknowledged his achievement and what he contributed to our understanding, would have been to acknowledge that they could not possibly be involved in something like detente with these same people.

So in the urge to put over on the world this — this, really delusional kind of alternate reality of moral equivalence and so on, they had to reject the truth of Solzhenitsyn.  And they did.  And I think it is a real stain in our history.

MR. DRISCOLL:  There’s a wonderfully ironic 1981 quote from R.W. Apple of the New York Times atop the second chapter of American Betrayal: “Some Soviet officials are evidently worried by the possibility that Mr. Reagan will find himself imprisoned by his philosophy.” Could you talk about that quote in the context of your book?

MS. WEST:  I’m glad you like that one, Ed.  I do to.  Oh, gosh.  Well, you know, this is — this is really — you know, shows the power — the mesmerizing powers of Soviet propaganda, that they were able to convince — or it wasn’t just the Soviets of course.  This was the Western elite notion that if you didn’t go along with the alternate reality of a Kissinger and a Ford and the way they dealt with Solzhenitsyn, and you had an actual fairly frank appraisal of the Soviet system by Ronald Reagan, that somehow that was being a prisoner of some kind of ideology or philosophy, as opposed to just trying to make sense and bring reality to what had been absolutely topsy-turvy land.

But one thing I found quite interesting; I cite from time to time — I rely on the wisdom of Robert Conquest, who’s one of the great historians of the Soviet Union of the modern age.  And he — he grappled with a lot of these people in real time, because this is the period where he was doing his most famous work about the terror famine, about the show trials and so on.  And so he was up against it all the time.

And he had some very trenchant observations.  And one of them was that he felt that it was a misnomer — it was a misnomer from the start to portray the Cold War as an ideological struggle, in other words between competing ideologies.  Because he said the Marxist-Leninist program is indeed an ideology.  Everything is preordained according to the ideological dictates, right down to the very words you use and the subjects you even are allowed to talk about.

By contrast, the Western system, the Western evolution of liberty, is not ideological.  It is rule-of-law based.  But there is no preconceived reaction according to ideology in such — in such a system.  The individual — again, the individual liberty versus the collectivist state of totalitarianism.  They are — they are as mismatched as possible.

And yet, we still think of the Cold War as competing ideologies.  And in many ways this is another triumph of sort of the Marxist Leninist outlook.  But I think what Apple is falling for is this notion, this same notion, that Reagan is somehow the ideological captive as opposed to everyone else.

So, yes, it is ironic indeed.

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Top Rated Comments   
COLD WAR - Just like in Vietnam, we won all the battles but lost the war thanks to people like the Clintons. I am only 46 years old, but when I was in high school (1980's) I was taught that communism and socialism (aka: USSR) were "enemies" of America and wanted to do us harm eventually replacing our form of government....not anymore...because the whole American education system is overrun with commies and socialists! It is NO ACCIDENT - They planned it that way. They could never defeat us militarily, so take advantage of weak-minded, selfish a$$holes and defeat us from within.

Remember BENGHAZI!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Of course, McCarthy, as a senator, was not on HUAC.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The HUAC was founded, as an an attack on fascists, by the only congressman known to be in the pay of Soviet intelligence, as per The Haunted Wood. It did continue afterwards to go after both Fascists and Communists.

From this alone I am having a hard time seeing the thesis. Both the US and the UK made a calculated decision to make a deal with the devil in order to forstall a more immediate threat to Western Europe, Nazi Germany. Germany did in fact take over Western Europe, and while it killed far fewer people, given time and opportuntity, the death rate is likely to have been much higher.

As Churchill joked, "if Hitler were to declare war on Hell, I would be inclined to put in a word for the Devil".
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"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?"

What would have stopped them? The nations of the world, particularly Great Britain, did everything they could to make sure as few Jews escaped the Holocaust as possible. Even after it was over and the pictures came out, we have Truman recorded as complaining about the Jews whining about the Holocaust. (Eisenhower was different; ironically their ME foreign policies were reversed.)

For that matter, if we could recognize Mao, we could recognize anyone.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ms West, when you go to write your next book, you might want to look up the Oneida Community. It's American. and socialist. The leftist rot starts early, and is woven in deeply.

When professors teach 'American history of regular people'- they use the book "Way of Duty" about a "plain Connecticut housewife." No, she's not. She's the grandmother of the Oneida founder. As well, some of her children and grandchildren are the first known atheists in America. It's a counter-history, a history of the left, and their families, not the "history of regular Americans."

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
COLD WAR - Just like in Vietnam, we won all the battles but lost the war thanks to people like the Clintons. I am only 46 years old, but when I was in high school (1980's) I was taught that communism and socialism (aka: USSR) were "enemies" of America and wanted to do us harm eventually replacing our form of government....not anymore...because the whole American education system is overrun with commies and socialists! It is NO ACCIDENT - They planned it that way. They could never defeat us militarily, so take advantage of weak-minded, selfish a$$holes and defeat us from within.

Remember BENGHAZI!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I went to grade school in the sixties and early severties, and one of my history books had a section entitled "American Impreialism". No kidding.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maxine Waters Confirms "Big Brother" Database 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIA1lQBqH1s
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
From all indications outside of Dixie the Democrat establishment on the coasts and especially in Hollywood wanted to see Communism succeed so badly they could taste it in 1933. The infatuation of the American left with Communist ideology knew, and knows, no bounds.

FDR may have been playing pragmatic politics by recognizing the Soviet Union (the enemy of my enemy is my friend), but I'm convinced he would have loved to have had Stalin's autocratic power, and would have crushed his opponents in similar fashion had he dared.

It wasn't that many years later Khruhschev was pounding his shoe on a podium in NYC screaming "We will bury you!" I suspect his ghost is smiling at Obama's antics.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The continuing aftermath of the betrayals are deep and beyond imaginable, except in ones nightmares. In fact, ever since Woodrow Wilson, the edifice of America has been steadily chipped away. And Obama Inc is the regime, in place, to complete said destruction aka "transformation" - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/07/08/putin-obama-knee-deep-in-cooperative-efforts-russian-troops-training-on-u-s-soil-what-are-they-up-to-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Shiver America timbers. The entire west too!

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"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."

Of course it's thinkable!

If Nazi Germany had won World War II, all the world's nations would have rushed to established diplomatic relations with it. In fact, Nazi Germany would have become the role model for the Arab Middle East.

This would hardly be the first time in history that a nation achieved diplomatic recognition despite a ghastly human rights record.

For you science-fiction fans: Read the "alternate history" novel "Fatherland," or see the made-for-TV movie of the same name. The time is 1960, 15 years after Nazi Germany won World War II. The U.S. and Nazi Germany are locked in a deadly Cold War-type stalemate. But everyone hopes that the upcoming summit between Hitler and President Kennedy will ease international tensions. And nobody cares to ask what really happened to those Jews anyway.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But everyone hopes that the upcoming summit between Hitler and President Kennedy will ease international tensions."

Bear in mind that the President Kennedy in this novel is President Joseph Kennedy, father of JFK, and known sympathizer of the Nazis when he served as America's ambassador to Britain.

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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