Thursday, 26 November 2009

On useful idiocy

The Economist on former CNDer-turned-EU foreign policy czar Catherine Ashton and the double standard that seems to apply to the former communist fifth column in the West:

The real scandal, though, is the West’s continuing amnesia about the cold war. Given the Soviet Union’s history of mass murder, subversion, and deceit, it is astonishing that even tangential association with Soviet-backed causes in the past does not arouse the moral outrage now that is still so readily evoked by connections with the (undisputedly revolting) regime in South Africa. Most CND veterans see their peacenik days, at worst, as romantic youthful idealism. Warm-hearted but soft-headed, maybe: but better than being cold-hearted and hard-headed.

That is a shameful cop-out. Imagine a 1980s Europe where CND had triumphed, with left-wing governments in Britain and Germany scrapping NATO, surrendering to Kremlin pressure and propping up the evil empire. Her opponents complain that Lady Ashton is ineffective. As a CND organiser, that may have been a blessing.

This phenomenon is hardly unique to Cold War era; witness the continuing relative whitewash of Stalin’s crimes in comparison to Hitler’s for the most obvious example thereof. Or the vague sympathy—rather than outright revulsion—that seems to accompany much writing by western Sinophiles about Mao’s rule of China.


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