Stocks and News
Home | Week in Review Process | Terms of Use | About UsContact Us
   Articles Go Fund Me All-Species List Hot Spots Go Fund Me
Week in Review   |  Bar Chat    |  Hot Spots    |   Dr. Bortrum    |   Wall St. History
Stock and News: Hot Spots
  Search Our Archives: 
 

 

Hot Spots

http://www.gofundme.com/s3h2w8

AddThis Feed Button
   

02/17/2000

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Part III

I must admit, reading Solzhenitsyn certainly taxes the brain.
And it can force one to step back and reevaluate some long-held
beliefs. Twenty years ago to the month, he wrote an important
piece for "Foreign Affairs" magazine. Having just plowed
through it myself (and I feel like I was using oxen to aid me, not
modern John Deere equipment), all kinds of thoughts are
swimming through my head.

To begin with, I don''t agree with everything he wrote. And, as
history later proved, he was way too pessimistic about the ability
of the West to elect leaders of substance, i.e., Margaret Thatcher
and Ronald Reagan, who would not be afraid to confront the
abuses of the U.S.S.R. of 1980. Remember, this was February
and the results of the upcoming presidential election in America
were still very much in doubt.

But the real reason for discussing Solzhenitsyn, was to see what
parallels existed today. When you read some of my selected
passages, you will be drawn to the Hott Spotts of today. Why
should the West be on guard at the emergence of Vladimir Putin?
Did we make a big mistake in not being more forceful about
Russia''s actions in Chechnya? Should the U.S. kowtow to
China? I have also included some interesting thoughts on the
behavior of the combatants in World War II.

It would behoove many of the political leader''s of today to read
some of Solzhenitsyn''s works. You don''t have to agree, just
pause for thought.

---

[On the West''s attitudes towards Communism. Potentially,
substitute an authoritarian Vladimir Putin if you desire. And
also think about how the West is handling China.]

"Two mistakes are especially common. One is the failure to
understand the radical hostility of communism to mankind as a
whole - the failure to realize that communism is irredeemable,
that there exist no ''better'' variants of communism; that it is
incapable of growing ''kinder,'' that it cannot survive as an
ideology without using terror, and that, consequently, to coexist
with communism on the same planet is impossible."

"The second and equally prevalent mistake is to assume an
indissoluble [permanent] link between the universal disease of
communism and the country where it first seized control -
Russia."

[On the tendency of the West to dismiss the worst abuses of
communism.]

"Until the most recent times the very existence of the Gulag
Archipelago, its inhuman cruelty, its scope, its duration, and the
sheer volume of death it generated, were not acknowledged by
Western scholarship....In overall evaluations of Soviet history
we still encounter the raptures with which ''progressive'' public
opinion in Europe greeted the ''dawning of a new life,'' even as
the terrorism and destruction of 1917-21 were at their height in
our country."

[On the Russian State before the advent of Lenin...and today,
looking ahead, the potential for Russia if they ever get their act
together.]

"Before the outbreak of war in 1914, Russia could boast of a
flourishing manufacturing industry, rapid growth and a flexible,
decentralized economy; its inhabitants were not constrained in
their choice of economic activities, significant progress had been
made in the field of workers'' legislation, and the material well-
being of the peasants was at a level which has never been
reached under the Soviet regime. Newspapers were free from
preliminary political censorship, there was complete cultural
freedom, the intelligentsia was not restricted in its activity,
religious and philosophical views of every shade were tolerated,
and institutions of higher education enjoyed inviolable
autonomy." [To a certain extent, much of the above has returned
to Russian society. But Putin''s actions will speak loudly over
the coming months.]

[On the role of foreign policy makers. I can''t help but think of
some of the current diplomats the U.S. has, and worry.]

"I note here a tendency which might be called the ''Kissinger
syndrome,'' although it is by no means peculiar to him alone.
Such individuals, while holding high office, pursue a policy of
appeasement and capitulation, which sooner or later will cost the
West many years and many lives, but immediately upon
retirement, the scales fall from their eyes and they begin to
advocate firmness and resolution. How can this be? What
caused the change? Enlightenment just doesn''t come that
suddenly! Might we not assume that they were well aware of the
real state of affairs all along, but simply drifted with the political
tide, clinging to their posts?" [China today? I still like
Kissinger.]

[On reports from Moscow. Long-time readers will recall how I
blasted a "60 Minutes" piece from there back in the spring of
1998 which glorified the "New Russia." Of course this proved to
be the biggest piece of crap that decade. It would seem that
many of today''s reporters continue to have their blinders on.
*There are also some outstanding ones; Michael Wines, David
Hoffman and Michael Gordon come to mind.]

"Moscow has come to be a special little world, poised
somewhere between the U.S.S.R. and the West: in terms of
material comfort it is almost as superior to the rest of the Soviet
Union as the West is superior to Moscow. However, this also
means that any judgments based on Moscow experiences must be
significantly corrected before they may be applied to Soviet
experience in general. Authentic Soviet life is to be seen only in
provincial towns, in rural areas, in the labor camps and in the
harsh conditions of the peacetime army." [All still true in 2000,
except the labor camp comment.]

[On the World War II end-game. The comments are useful when
one looks at the plight of some of the nations in the Caucasus
and their attitude towards the West today.]

"[On the people who immediately fell under the control of
American and British forces]. Such men were in no sense
supporters of Hitler; their integration into his empire was
involuntary and in their hearts they regarded only the Western
countries as their allies (moreover they felt this sincerely, with
none of the duplicity of the communists). For the West,
however, anyone who wanted to liberate himself from
communism in that war was regarded as a traitor to the cause of
the West. Every nation in the U.S.S.R. could be wiped out for all
the West cared, and any number of millions could die in Soviet
concentration camps, just as long as it could get out of this war
successfully and as quickly as possible. And so hundreds of
thousands of these Russians and Cossacks, Tatars and Caucasian
nationals were sacrificed; they were not even allowed to
surrender to the Americans, but were turned over to the Soviet
Union, there to face reprisals and execution."

"Even more shocking is the way the British and American armies
surrendered into the vengeful hands of the communists hundreds
of thousands of peaceful civilians, convoys of old men, women
and children, as well as ordinary Soviet POWs and forced
laborers used by the Germans - surrendered them against their
will, and even after witnessing the suicide of some of them....
At the time, it seemed more advantageous to buy off the
communists with a couple of million foolish people and in this
way to purchase perpetual peace. In the same way - and without
any real need - the whole of Eastern Europe was sacrificed to
Stalin."

[On China. While this statement was made in 1980, when the
U.S. was seen to be using China as a wedge against the U.S.S.R.,
There is much to chew on re today''s environment.]

"American diplomacy has gambled on another shortsighted,
unwise - indeed mad - policy: to use China as a shield, which
means in effect abandoning the national forces of China as well
(Taiwan), and driving them completely under the communist
yoke. Where is the vaunted respect for the freedom of all
nations? But even in purely strategic terms this is a shortsighted
policy: a fateful reconciliation of the two communist regimes
could occur overnight, at which point they could unite in turning
against the West. But even without such a reconciliation, a
China armed by America would be more than a match for
America." ["China armed by America?" Rather prescient.]

Finally, Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote the following back in
1990 for Time magazine. The Wall had collapsed.

"The clock of communism has tolled its final hour. But the
concrete structure has not completely collapsed. Instead of being
liberated, we may be crushed beneath the rubble."

I think it''s fair to say that Russia is having trouble removing it.

---

Today, Russia and China are rather chummy. Next week, I''ll
take a look at an episode in the not too distant past when they
weren''t.

Brian Trumbore








AddThis Feed Button

 

-02/17/2000-      
Web Epoch NJ Web Design  |  (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.

Hot Spots

02/17/2000

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Part III

I must admit, reading Solzhenitsyn certainly taxes the brain.
And it can force one to step back and reevaluate some long-held
beliefs. Twenty years ago to the month, he wrote an important
piece for "Foreign Affairs" magazine. Having just plowed
through it myself (and I feel like I was using oxen to aid me, not
modern John Deere equipment), all kinds of thoughts are
swimming through my head.

To begin with, I don''t agree with everything he wrote. And, as
history later proved, he was way too pessimistic about the ability
of the West to elect leaders of substance, i.e., Margaret Thatcher
and Ronald Reagan, who would not be afraid to confront the
abuses of the U.S.S.R. of 1980. Remember, this was February
and the results of the upcoming presidential election in America
were still very much in doubt.

But the real reason for discussing Solzhenitsyn, was to see what
parallels existed today. When you read some of my selected
passages, you will be drawn to the Hott Spotts of today. Why
should the West be on guard at the emergence of Vladimir Putin?
Did we make a big mistake in not being more forceful about
Russia''s actions in Chechnya? Should the U.S. kowtow to
China? I have also included some interesting thoughts on the
behavior of the combatants in World War II.

It would behoove many of the political leader''s of today to read
some of Solzhenitsyn''s works. You don''t have to agree, just
pause for thought.

---

[On the West''s attitudes towards Communism. Potentially,
substitute an authoritarian Vladimir Putin if you desire. And
also think about how the West is handling China.]

"Two mistakes are especially common. One is the failure to
understand the radical hostility of communism to mankind as a
whole - the failure to realize that communism is irredeemable,
that there exist no ''better'' variants of communism; that it is
incapable of growing ''kinder,'' that it cannot survive as an
ideology without using terror, and that, consequently, to coexist
with communism on the same planet is impossible."

"The second and equally prevalent mistake is to assume an
indissoluble [permanent] link between the universal disease of
communism and the country where it first seized control -
Russia."

[On the tendency of the West to dismiss the worst abuses of
communism.]

"Until the most recent times the very existence of the Gulag
Archipelago, its inhuman cruelty, its scope, its duration, and the
sheer volume of death it generated, were not acknowledged by
Western scholarship....In overall evaluations of Soviet history
we still encounter the raptures with which ''progressive'' public
opinion in Europe greeted the ''dawning of a new life,'' even as
the terrorism and destruction of 1917-21 were at their height in
our country."

[On the Russian State before the advent of Lenin...and today,
looking ahead, the potential for Russia if they ever get their act
together.]

"Before the outbreak of war in 1914, Russia could boast of a
flourishing manufacturing industry, rapid growth and a flexible,
decentralized economy; its inhabitants were not constrained in
their choice of economic activities, significant progress had been
made in the field of workers'' legislation, and the material well-
being of the peasants was at a level which has never been
reached under the Soviet regime. Newspapers were free from
preliminary political censorship, there was complete cultural
freedom, the intelligentsia was not restricted in its activity,
religious and philosophical views of every shade were tolerated,
and institutions of higher education enjoyed inviolable
autonomy." [To a certain extent, much of the above has returned
to Russian society. But Putin''s actions will speak loudly over
the coming months.]

[On the role of foreign policy makers. I can''t help but think of
some of the current diplomats the U.S. has, and worry.]

"I note here a tendency which might be called the ''Kissinger
syndrome,'' although it is by no means peculiar to him alone.
Such individuals, while holding high office, pursue a policy of
appeasement and capitulation, which sooner or later will cost the
West many years and many lives, but immediately upon
retirement, the scales fall from their eyes and they begin to
advocate firmness and resolution. How can this be? What
caused the change? Enlightenment just doesn''t come that
suddenly! Might we not assume that they were well aware of the
real state of affairs all along, but simply drifted with the political
tide, clinging to their posts?" [China today? I still like
Kissinger.]

[On reports from Moscow. Long-time readers will recall how I
blasted a "60 Minutes" piece from there back in the spring of
1998 which glorified the "New Russia." Of course this proved to
be the biggest piece of crap that decade. It would seem that
many of today''s reporters continue to have their blinders on.
*There are also some outstanding ones; Michael Wines, David
Hoffman and Michael Gordon come to mind.]

"Moscow has come to be a special little world, poised
somewhere between the U.S.S.R. and the West: in terms of
material comfort it is almost as superior to the rest of the Soviet
Union as the West is superior to Moscow. However, this also
means that any judgments based on Moscow experiences must be
significantly corrected before they may be applied to Soviet
experience in general. Authentic Soviet life is to be seen only in
provincial towns, in rural areas, in the labor camps and in the
harsh conditions of the peacetime army." [All still true in 2000,
except the labor camp comment.]

[On the World War II end-game. The comments are useful when
one looks at the plight of some of the nations in the Caucasus
and their attitude towards the West today.]

"[On the people who immediately fell under the control of
American and British forces]. Such men were in no sense
supporters of Hitler; their integration into his empire was
involuntary and in their hearts they regarded only the Western
countries as their allies (moreover they felt this sincerely, with
none of the duplicity of the communists). For the West,
however, anyone who wanted to liberate himself from
communism in that war was regarded as a traitor to the cause of
the West. Every nation in the U.S.S.R. could be wiped out for all
the West cared, and any number of millions could die in Soviet
concentration camps, just as long as it could get out of this war
successfully and as quickly as possible. And so hundreds of
thousands of these Russians and Cossacks, Tatars and Caucasian
nationals were sacrificed; they were not even allowed to
surrender to the Americans, but were turned over to the Soviet
Union, there to face reprisals and execution."

"Even more shocking is the way the British and American armies
surrendered into the vengeful hands of the communists hundreds
of thousands of peaceful civilians, convoys of old men, women
and children, as well as ordinary Soviet POWs and forced
laborers used by the Germans - surrendered them against their
will, and even after witnessing the suicide of some of them....
At the time, it seemed more advantageous to buy off the
communists with a couple of million foolish people and in this
way to purchase perpetual peace. In the same way - and without
any real need - the whole of Eastern Europe was sacrificed to
Stalin."

[On China. While this statement was made in 1980, when the
U.S. was seen to be using China as a wedge against the U.S.S.R.,
There is much to chew on re today''s environment.]

"American diplomacy has gambled on another shortsighted,
unwise - indeed mad - policy: to use China as a shield, which
means in effect abandoning the national forces of China as well
(Taiwan), and driving them completely under the communist
yoke. Where is the vaunted respect for the freedom of all
nations? But even in purely strategic terms this is a shortsighted
policy: a fateful reconciliation of the two communist regimes
could occur overnight, at which point they could unite in turning
against the West. But even without such a reconciliation, a
China armed by America would be more than a match for
America." ["China armed by America?" Rather prescient.]

Finally, Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote the following back in
1990 for Time magazine. The Wall had collapsed.

"The clock of communism has tolled its final hour. But the
concrete structure has not completely collapsed. Instead of being
liberated, we may be crushed beneath the rubble."

I think it''s fair to say that Russia is having trouble removing it.

---

Today, Russia and China are rather chummy. Next week, I''ll
take a look at an episode in the not too distant past when they
weren''t.

Brian Trumbore