Posted on May 26, 2022
Was the USSR evil yet?
So we're all in agreement that Russia is evil for waging a war of aggression against a neighboring country that did not threaten it. In fact, the Democrats have been particularly adamant about this, starting with President Biden, who has called Russian president Vladimir Putin a killer and a war criminal. So when will they get around to looking into Russia's history, and concede that Ronald Reagan was right about the Soviet Union being an evil empire?
During the Second World War, Josef Stalin invaded and annexed the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, none of which had been involved in the war or had provoked its powerful neighbor in any way. His Soviet Union also seized parts of Finland, Poland and Romania. This was all done at a time when the Soviets believed they were protected by a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, and thus were free to pursue their own expansionist ambitions.
Nevertheless, when Hitler double-crossed them, they only took that as further justification to devour smaller nations throughout Eastern Europe. Upon formally entering the war, the Soviet Union invaded and occupied the rest of Romania, along with Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. These nations, along with Poland and East Germany, were compelled in 1955 to join the Warsaw Pact, which the Soviets presented as the counterpart to NATO. In reality, the alliance was anything but voluntary, considering that these other nations were still being run by puppet Communist governments, whose authority was maintained by the continued presence of the Soviet military.
After the war, Germany was partitioned into four sections, each of them to be administered by one of the Allies. The capital city of Berlin, though located in the Soviet zone, was divided into four, also. This was never meant to be a division of spoils, but whereas Britain, France and the United States upheld their agreement to oversee their zones until a new German government was established, the Soviet Union took its part of Germany, and of Berlin, as a conquest, dividing both the nation and the city into distinctly free and Soviet-dominated sectors.
In 1961, new Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall, which ironically encircled that part of the city that remained free, to prevent the oppressed Germans in the surrounding Soviet-controlled area from escaping into it. For the next 38 years, the wall stood as the world's largest physical monument to victims of totalitarianism.
The Soviets violently crushed an anti-Communist rebellion in Hungary in 1956. They did the same in Czechoslovakia in 1968, guided by the "Brezhnev Doctrine," by which premier Leonid Brezhnev declared that any threat to socialist rule in any European nation was by extension a threat to socialism throughout Europe, thereby compelling military intervention by other socialist nations. This policy tore away the facade of voluntarism from the Warsaw Pact, and instead declared to all the world that the member states of that coerced coalition were in fact the property of the Soviet Union.
Not that the Soviets confined their ambitions to Europe. Over the next fifteen years, they busily installed Communist dictatorships around the world in the same manner that they had done among the member states of the Warsaw Pact, from Vietnam to Nicaragua to Mozambique, which should have surprised nobody. For the founding principle of Communism ("Workers of the world unite!") requires global domination in order to be realized.
Russian president and nostalgic former KGB officer Vladimir Putin is now giving the world a small sample of the bloodbath in which it had been awash when the Red Menace was on the prowl. Yet American and other Western liberals, who today are treating Putin's actions toward Ukraine as one of the greatest atrocities in world history, actually sympathized with the USSR, and continue to do so to this day. When Reagan made the very plainly objective observation that these serial aggressors and would-be rulers of the world were evil, they ridiculed him as a simpleton, or a dangerous, rhetorical bomb-thrower. To those who smugly called themselves "anti-anti-Communists," the real enemy was not the Soviet slaughter and repression of innocent peoples around the world, but America's repudiation of same.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the liberal fantasyland that is the entertainment industry. If Western liberals were really so outraged by unprovoked aggression, the Soviets would be cast as the villains just as often as their totalitarian twins from Nazi Germany. To the contrary, you could probably count the number of negative depictions of the Soviet Union in television and movies, without even taking off both shoes.
When it comes to Cold War spy stories, the TV series I Spy stands almost all alone in offering any moral clarity in the struggle between collectivist ideology and the Free World. Others present the two sides as equal offenders, often with a third party playing one off the other. In The Man from U.N.C.L.E., American and Soviet spies team up as partners in an international police force. In Secret Agent, a.k.a., Danger Man, main character John Drake supposedly works for NATO, but the nature of his missions is deliberately muddled, often ending with Westerners being the real bad guys.
James Bond movies have gone to extraordinary lengths to create non-Soviet villains, beginning with SPECTRE, an apolitical organization that is self-consciously evil (the acronym stands for Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), and is led by the superficially Nazi-ish Ernst Blofeld. The spoof KAOS agent Siegfried on Get Smart is hardly any sillier at all. Other Bond villains tend to be deranged lone wolves without any ideological loyalties.
At best, Cold War movies tend to draw grotesque moral equivalences, as in Fail Safe, Ice Station Zebra, and even Rocky IV. "If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!" Why everybody, Rock? Why not just the bad guys? In The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, a standoff between a Soviet submarine crew and armed American townspeople ends when both sides spring into action to save an American boy who is about to fall from a rooftop. The message, that the Soviets were people just like we are, deliberately ignores the fact that they were never free to be like we are. Had such an incident actually occurred, they'd probably have all been shot upon returning home.
Other films of that genre do not treat our side so favorably. In the cartoonishly overacted The Bedford Incident, an innocent Soviet submarine is obsessively pursued by a crazed American captain, whose unhinged behavior culminates in a preposterous mushroom cloud finale. America is likewise the aggressor in the comedy Dr. Strangelove, in which an insane US Air Force general launches an unprovoked attack. In Gorky Park, a Moscow policeman falsely suspects the KGB of a grisly triple-murder, only to learn that the true culprit is a filthy American capitalist pigdog, as usual.
Considering the success of liberals in creating a pro-Soviet narrative, it's not surprising that they were able to cast anti-Communist Sen. Joseph McCarthy as America's greatest Cold War villain. Not the Rosenbergs, not Alger Hiss, not even Lee Harvey Oswald, but McCarthy, whose greatest offense was accusing Communists of being Communists in a manner that some found insensitive. Whatever the senator's flaws, he certainly did not give atomic weapons technology to the Soviets, infiltrate the State Department on behalf of the Communist Party, or assassinate the President of the United States. What he did was many times worse, or so everyone seems to believe, after absorbing a decades-long drumbeat on the subject from liberal academics and entertainers.
It was during a Senate investigation of the Army Signal Corps that McCarthy outed lawyer Fred Fisher as a Communist, at which time Army counsel Joseph Welch unleashed the reputedly brilliant but genuinely pointless "have you no decency" zinger. In fact, Fisher belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, which had been correctly identified by the House Un-American Activities Committee as a Communist front group. This was of more than passing interest to McCarthy, considering that Fisher was one of the attorneys assisting Welch in defending the Signal Corps before Congress, and that it was the Signal Corps to which Julius Rosenberg had belonged when he had become a Soviet agent. According to history's disparate treatment of McCarthy and Rosenberg, we are apparently meant to conclude that the latter had more decency.
The liberal media like to refer to the "Red Scare," as if the threat of Soviet domination had been little more than a figment of a paranoid American imagination. This semantic evasion serves as a microcosm of the way they covered up Soviet atrocities all along. In 1933, New York Times Moscow bureau chief Walter Duranty was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on what he portrayed as the success of Stalin's five-year plan, which he could only do by denying the manmade famine that the dictator had deliberately imposed on the Ukrainian people. The Soviet starvation policy murdered at least 3 million people in Ukraine, as a manner of quelling that state's independence movement, but Duranty did his best to conceal it. Referring to reports of a famine as "malicious propaganda," he justified Soviet brutalities with the macabre comparison that, "In order to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs." All the while, he was actually there, witnessing the horrors first-hand, watching the "eggs" get broken by the hundreds of thousands.
So how is it that Russia is so bad, but the Soviet Union was not? Is it only that the Democrats never concocted a phony dossier to accuse a domestic political opponent of "collusion" with the Soviet Union? If wars of aggression and the wanton slaughter of innocents are what really animate them, then Putin's inept effort to reconstruct the USSR cannot begin to compare to the real thing. If the entire population of the Democratic Party contained a singular scruple about hypocrisy, let alone about having facilitated the most murderous and belligerent geopolitical entity of the Twentieth Century, its members would now be climbing all over each other in order to condemn what Reagan rightly identified as an evil empire, and to apologize for not having done so decades earlier. If it wouldn't be too terribly painful for them, they might even concede that the United States is not really so bad by comparison.
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