Never-ending obsession

I don’t often read the Lawyers, Guns, and Money blog, but today one of its commentators inadvertently pointed me in the direction of something quite striking. In a discussion of gun control, a comment provided a link to a 1981 article in the Finger Lake Times (a local newspaper in upstate New York) by the historian Paul Fussell (who wrote a very interesting book entitled The Great War and Modern Memory). As it happens, on the same page there is also an article by former Under-Secretary of State George W. Ball, famous for having been almost the only person in the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson to have opposed escalating the war in Vietnam. Ball’s article bears the headline, ‘The obsession with Soviet Communism’, and it’s well worth a read. Substitute ‘Soviet Union’ with ‘Russia’ and you’ll understand why. Here are some highlights from what Ball wrote:

John Foster Dulles is alive and well and living in the White House. Once again we hear his passionate charge that the Soviet Union is the anti-Christ threatening civilization with a pernicious doctrine. The Soviets, we are told … are responsible for all our international troubles … Detente … is a deceit … Our only hope is to scar the desert with the MX and mobilize our allies for Armageddon.

So now once more, we shiver in the icy winds of the Cold War. Diplomacy is for sissies, a resolute America must build more and bigger weapons, while meanwhile arming any regime – no matter how corrupt or oppressive – that shouts anti-Communist slogans.

… Such an attitude is not a policy but an obsession. … Our incessant and quite gratuitous hectoring of Moscow is alienating our Western allies and encouraging the emergence of an ominous neutralism.

… The administration seems bent on persuading the Soviet Union that it foresees an unlimited arms race and has lost interest in peaceful working relations. … In its total effect, the administration’s current position denies all hope of a better future. … We have been lucky so far that we have not yet blown up the world but it is statistically absurd to think that such luck can last forever.

Some things never change, it seems!

4 thoughts on “Never-ending obsession”

  1. I was a Midwestern child of the Cold War who graduated from college the same year the Berlin Wall fell. That moment marked the high point of my youthful optimism and hope that my adult years could be lived in a better world. Since then, I’ve witnessed my own government desperately do everything it could to bring back those days of fear and loathing. And now, thanks to the sheer idiocy of so many partisan Democrats, it finally seems to be succeeding.

    I fear now that the terrible prophecy of the last sentence of that Ball quote is going to finally be realized after all.


    1. The Democrats and the Media keep pounding out the anti Russian message.
      The hatred is like a disease. Promoted by Rachel Maddow, Joy Anne Reid, Chris Hayes- to name just a few. It is Russophobia as what are the ideological differences?

      I do hope the Europeans don’t go along with this Although I can see a weak UK ( my country looking to assert itself post Brexit) Ukraine, Poland the Baltic’s and perhaps France

      But Germany, Hungary, Spain, Austria, Italy, those other Eastern Europeans too numerous to mention? I am not so sure.

      The only thing Russia can do is defend, deflect and prepare. As you can’t negotiate with stupid irrational people


  2. Somewhere I have a book written around 1903 about a Russian-French invasion of the British Isles whose ridiculousness would have made Tom Clancy stare with incredulity. The Bad Guys got every break in the most far-fetched way possible, until their final Trafalgar. The Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy (AFPE&P) have used Russophobia to galvanize public opinion & punish internal elite dissent since, like, forever (shortly after 1815 for the Brits and since the early 1880s for the US). So for the life of me I can’t figure out why anyone here is surprised, or thinks the Russian governments ever ‘did anything’ to deserve it, besides continue to exist & defend Russian interests.


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