Wednesday, May 11, 2005

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Thanks for Clarifying, Pat

In the Yalta posts, I kept wanting to say, "This is the kind of argument Pat Buchanan would make," but I thought it would be unfair.

Not anymore.

Obviously, Buchanan's views are not Bush's views, and Bush is not responsible for what Buchanan says. But Buchanan articulates starkly the ideas in the distinct and self-conscious historical tradition with which Bush, wittingly or not, aligned himself:

If Yalta was a betrayal of small nations as immoral as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, why do we venerate Churchill and FDR? At Yalta, this pair secretly ceded those small nations to Stalin, co-signing a cynical "Declaration on Liberated Europe" that was a monstrous lie.

As FDR and Churchill consigned these peoples to a Stalinist hell run by a monster they alternately and affectionately called "Uncle Joe" and "Old Bear," why are they not in the history books alongside Neville Chamberlain, who sold out the Czechs at Munich by handing the Sudetenland over to Germany? At least the Sudeten Germans wanted to be with Germany. No Christian peoples of Europe ever embraced their Soviet captors or Stalinist quislings.

[Love that throwaway line about "Christian peoples." -- Ed. Don't get me started. ...]

posted by on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM


What historical tradition would that be? That England should never have bothered to fight Hitler?

Whatever Bush said was in service of his Wilsonian belief that we must scatter Democracy throughout the world. Nothing could be farther from Buchanan's neo-isolationism.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

I caught Pat on Imus this morning -- his main spiel was that Britain and France should not have guaranteed the security of Poland since neither had the military capacity to fulfill their promise and neither had an important stake in Poland.

As dark as Pat's world views seem at times, its nice to realize that he is an optimist when it comes to Hitler's ambitions. It's Spring time for Hitler and Germany . . .

posted by: PD Shaw on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

So now George Bush is responsible for the rantings of Pat Buchanan (exiled from the Republican party, I might add).

Is this all Yalta all the time ranting an example of the liberal superiority in nuance?

posted by: Matthew Cromer on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Anne Applebaum has an excellent article on this topic in today's WaPo. For East Europeans, Yalta was not far from memory, and not a term reserved to paleo-conservatives. If you had to live with the consequences, it was not an abstraction.

posted by: Stan T. on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Buchanan misses the point, I think. Churchill thought it was worth fighting Hitler because a Germany in control of most of Europe would have been a deadly threat to the UK.

By 1945 the western allies had what they imagined would be a longish monopoly on nuclear weapons. It was worth it to them to let Stalin control Eastern Europe because they would have had to fight a second conventional war to prevent him, but if he controlled Eastern Europe, their nuclear weapons ensured that he could not take over Western Europe.

They were mistaken about how long it would take the USSR to develop/steal nuclear weapons, but thems the breaks.

posted by: jon livesey on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

This is more crap. Pat Buchanan does not have a monopoly on the tradition of criticizing Yalta, nor does the right wing. I remember reading somewhere that Michel Foucalt, of all people, was critical of Yalta as well (actually, not that surprising if you think about it). Does this mean that Bush has, wittingly or not, aligned himself with Post-Structuralism, deconstruction and homosexual sadomasochism?

Jeez, if this was a class on logic, or any class where logical argument is expected of students you'd be getting a big fat F. Ok, maybe a -D with present day grade inflation.

posted by: radek on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Stan T., you got a link to the Applebaum article? I have trouble finding it.

posted by: radek on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Stan must mean this article (via Pejman).

posted by: Alan K. Henderson on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

This is indeed more crap from Mr. Greenberg. Buchanan's views on WWII are distinctly his own and has zero support from any mainstream conservative thought.

This once again shows how superficial the Left's understanding of conservatism is in this country. From the promotion of a non-existent "constitution in exile" movement from Cass Sunstein to a "dominionism" movement promoted in the swamp gas lands of Lewis Lapham's Harper magazine, we see parts of the Left (notice the qualifier) becoming increasingly unable or unwilling to discuss issues.

Let's not debate these; just call them remnants of McCarthy or followers of Father Coughlin or adherent to some oddball religious sect. Serious debate?

Please, Dan, come back soon.


posted by: SteveMG on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

So now it's guilt by association? Are you seriously trying to argue that 50 years of Stalinist domination of Eastern Europe was preferable to their having a free choice? I'll tell you what. Lyndon LaRouche frequently says things that Democrats also say. That evidently makes Democrats LaRouchies, right?

Also, Noam Chomsky still refuses to admit that the Khmer Rouge committed genocide on their own people. Let's tar the Left with that brush, then.

Get the point?

posted by: JorgXMcKie on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

I'm a little annoyed at the bum rap that Neville Chamberlain gets from the American incognescenti. I mean, he is the guy who led Britain into war with Germany. He is the guy who forced the French to stop waffling and stand up for the documents they had signed. Moreso, he is the guy who managed to buy Britain and France a vital year of rearmament time. (And by agreeing to allow Hitler to repatriate the Sudetenland, he forestalled Hitler's desire to seize all of Czechoslovakia, which he would have done in the absence of the Munich Pacts.)

Even with the benefit of hindsight, what would have been a better plan for the couple of years preceding September 1, 1939? Going to war in 1938 would have been suicide, and if Churchill had been in power and had made that choice, he would likely be remembered as the man who presided over the loss of Britain to the Nazis.

posted by: Barry P. on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

...[Chamberlain] is the guy who led Britain into war with Germany."

From Wikipedia:

On September 1, 1939, the armies of Germany invaded Poland. Many in the United Kingdom expected war, but the government did not wish to make a formal declaration unless it had the support of France. France's intentions were unclear at that point, and the government could only give Germany an ultimatum: if Hitler withdrew his troops within two days, Britain would help to open talks between Germany and Poland. When Chamberlain announced this in the House on September 2, there was a massive outcry. [...]

As far as "the guy who forced the French to stop waffling and stand up for the documents they had signed" is concerned, well, I suggest you read this-

posted by: rosignol on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

This discussion isn't about the details of the Phony War. The simple fact is that Britain, under Chamberlain, declared war on Germany, predicated on an agreement signed by Chamberlain on the heels of Hitler's betrayal of the Munich Pact. Chamberlain had to know that a Nazi attack on Poland was imminent. So Chamberlain signed a document he knew would lead the UK into war with Germany.

Yes, Chamberlain went to great lengths to avert the war. This was a popular position it Britain at the time. The Great War was too fresh in the public memeory, nobody wanted another one to start. It's difficult to lambaste a politician for adhereing to the public sentiment.

Also consider that at the time, the idea of reconstituting a greater Germany, similar to that that existed before 1914, was also a reasonably popular idea all over Europe at the time. Bringing the Sudetenland, Alsace and Danzig back into Germany was seen as an inevitability. As it was, nobody really had a good idea of how to deal with the "German Problem."

Seizing the rest of Czechoslovakia and launching an attack on Poland that exceeded simply seizing Danzig were the first true signs of something more than reuniting all Germans.

It is true that the run-up to (and first few months of) the war were fraught with mistakes (see AJP Taylor's book on the subject), but the post-hoc criticism of Chamberlain is a case of Monday-morning quaterbacking. Because we all see Hitler as such a monster after-the-fact, we assume that the politicians of the 1930s should have seen it before the fact. This a fundamentally unfair stance.

And if Britain had not declared war on the Germans, the French would not have.

posted by: Barry P. on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Okay, I've finally figured this out.

In months ending in "r", Bush is an idiot chimp manipulated by the neocons who run the Republican Party and Right into promoting policies that overextend American resources in some sort of crusade to install democracies and, of course, do whatever Sharon and Israel tell him to do.

In months not ending in "r", Bush is a palecon Machiavellian genius manipulator sending secret messages and codewords to the McCarthyites still running the Republican Party and the Right.

Here's some more codewords: tendentious scholarship, faulty historical analogies, guilt by association, double standards, non seqiturs, tu quoque fallacies.

Get your secret decoder ring to uncover the message. You get one with a yearly subscription to The Weekly Standard. Or is it Commentary? Or National Review. Or is it The American Cause? Never mind, to Mr Greenberg, they're all the same.


posted by: SteveMG on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Whaaat? Bush is talking about Yalta in 1945. Buchanan is talking about the merits of Rooseveltian near-alliance with the UK from 1940-41 that provoked Hitler into war. It is very possible to complain about Yalta and still think WW2 was worth it up to Yalta.

This is the first I've heard of anyone equating Roosevelt's capitulation at Yalta (partly engineered by Soviet agents like Hiss, btw) to opposition to getting to that stage in the first place. I expect that from the DU - not from Drezner's blog.

As one David to another, please find a way off the Moonbat Express while it's still charging up its engines.

posted by: David Ross on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Pat was making the point that vindication of 6 million Jewish lives was not more important than protecting the lives of over 20 million who were killed in the Soviet terror. Pat, of course, doesn't understand that, indeed vindication of 6 million Jewish lives is more important than protecting 20 million meaningless Gentiles. What a warped man.

posted by: Rick Oliver on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

" Pat, of course, doesn't understand that, indeed vindication of 6 million Jewish lives is more important than protecting 20 million meaningless Gentiles. What a warped man"


Thanks for the anti-semitic comments. It's always nice to know that there are true anti-semites out there. Of course, you'll deny you are an anti-semite and just say it's more Jewish paranoia.

Not that it's going to penetrate, but let's try to deal with your comment. First, apparently, you think that staying out of the war and allowing the Nazis to defeat the Soviets would somehow have resulted in "liberation" for the Russian (especially gentiles, I guess) people. How do you draw that conclusion? How many Russian gentiles were killed by the Nazis who invaded the USSR? Do you seriously think the Nazis intended to liberate the Russian people whom they considered Slavic subhumans?

As for the 20 million killed by the Soviet terror, there is no evidence, of which I'm aware,supporting that figure. Stalin killed millions of people (a lot of whom were also Jewish) and most of whom were Communists. You probably don't really care much about Communist deaths since they were atheists anyway. There were, however, about 27 million Russians (Jewish and non-Jewish) killed by the Germans in World War II.

The true idiocy, of course, is your implicit assumption that the US entered the war to save the Jews. If so, FDR had a pretty funny way of going about it, since he took absolutely no action to stop the Nazis from killing Jews.

Rick, please answer me one question: are you as indifferent to the loss of Jewish lives as you appear? Do you hate Jews that much?

posted by: MWS on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

are you as indifferent to the loss of Jewish lives as you appear? Do you hate Jews that much?

It's clear that Buchanan is. For him to write an 800-odd word cost/benefit analysis of U.S. involvement in World War II without mentioning the words "Jews," "Holocaust," "Auschwitz," or "concentration camps" should eliminate any shred of doubt anyone's ever had that he's an anti-Semite.

posted by: Steve on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Rick, please, please, go fuck yourself.

posted by: radek on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

Actually, Pat's viewpoint on WWII was also advocated by Harry S Truman, and even by John F. Kennedy. Buchanan believed that once we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, and Germany declared war against us, we had to defeat the Axis powers. However, he also said that we should have avoided an alliance with Russia.... And that if Britain and France had not guaranteed Polish boundaries, then Germany would have attacked Russia, a fight which would have been of benefit to the Allied Powers. He asserts that it would have been better for us to have entered WWII after Germany and Russia had decimated each other.

Other scholars and historians have made this same argument. In fact, after Germany attacked Russia in mid-1941, Harry S Truman, who would later become President, urged that instead of intervening in Europe, we should encourage those two regimes to battle against each other, thereby weakening themselves as much as possible, while hurting the causes of both Nazism and Communism.

(This is just an explanation... I am not saying that I agree with the aforementioned position.)

For more information on this, from a balanced perspective, here is a book review from the Brothers Judd, and one from Professor John Pafford, and an article by William F. Buckley.

posted by: Aakash on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

He asserts that it would have been better for us to have entered WWII after Germany and Russia had decimated each other.

Sure. I've had a couple of libertarians express this idea to me- it's not exclusive to the Paleocons (tho their isolationism is a common theme... hm).

The problem is that the Germans and Russians weren't decimating each other- Russia was winning.
Maybe it would have worked out the other way without Lend-Lease, but having Nazi client states from the Channel to the Urals would have been about as good of a thing for the US as having Soviet client states from the Urals to the Channel. And besides that, I can't see much support in the US for 'liberating' all of Europe after the Soviets and the Nazis had exhausted each other, which would have been necessary for that strategy to work.

File under 'pipe dreams'.

posted by: rosignol on 05.11.05 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

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