Wednesday, March 6, 2019

From Uncle Joe (Stalin) to...Uncle Joe (Biden)?

Friends, you're probably aware that Stalin was a baddie.  You may not be aware, however, just how much he was revered in the West, especially America, before and during World War II.  FDR had something of a crush on the brutal dictator, and leftists the world over admired the Soviet Union for its socialist virtuosity and its rapid industrial and technological progress.  The excesses of the Stalin regime were widely denied by liberals, in addition.  We explore this anomaly in my latest Newsmaker interview with Brian O'Neil.  Even today, while Nazism is universally despised, communism, for some strange reason, continues to be socially acceptable in elite, intellectual, and academic circles.  Perhaps, then, President Trump is right: the battle against socialism/Marxism, which was joined in earnest in 1917, has yet to be won.

Other topics this week include: my recent anti-Cuomo article in the New York Post, the espionage threat posed by China's Confucius Institutes, the first deployment of U.S. ground troops in South Vietnam in 1965, the Rosenbergs and the "Red Scare", Russophobia and the modern Left, the importance of "original intent" in constitutional law, liberal chagrin at the booming Trump economy, and the increasingly wide-ranging Congressional witchhunt against President Trump and his entire family.


  1. Dr. Waddy: A most interesting and engaging broadcast!

    I value the opinion you have informed by contact with Confucius Institutes in many settings. With respect, I'm reminded of the Voice of America, which was a hopeful thing in promoting American values. I'm certainly open to criticism of that view.

    I have a positive perception of China derived from three sources mainly. First, having seen the incredibly positive and dynamic nature of everyday Chinese life in Hong Kong in the '60's (the only place other than Taiwan an American, at that time, could experience real China, both in its urban and rural settings). Secondly, having majored in Asian Studies with an emphasis on China and having learned about its seminal historical influence on East Asia was an eye opener for me. Its culture informed the daily lives of billions over millenia - including several eras in which it was arguably the most advanced civilization of all - surely that affords it very much credit. Third, having lived in a Chinese society in Singapore and experiencing its very positive and constructive aspects first hand I am convinced that what I am confident is a reaffirmation of fundamental Chinese values in today's China (as for the Marxist front - pffffhhht - thank courageous Teng Hsiao Ping for that!)is the essence of an, on balance, positive phenomenom. The commies tried to discredit Confucius - they failed, completely. The Chinese world is not our own but that's no bad thing. It works well for over a billion of people and I can't gainsay them promoting it. We'll never be a Chinese nation but we can live with them and I earnestly hope we do. Spying? That can come from lots of sources (business people, students).

    "Renewable sources" ehh? Hey Cuomo, what's unrenewable about a source, very close at hand for your fief, which guarantees 1000 years of supply, like natural gas? Ok, lets look back 1000 years, I mean, just for ducks. The year 1019. Can you name the English King? Can you enumerate the various warring principalities of your "Italian" homeland?. One thing is for sure, they didn't like abortion or pseudo marriage - I mean, they REALLY didn't like them. Now stick with me: do you really think that 1000 years from now we will not have found, through a rational process, economically sound and free of presumptuous government dictate, some alternative to (yeeeech), natural gas? Perhaps Alpha Centaurian energy generation, yes? C'mon Andrew!

    FDR and Stalin: I'm reminded of an account in the book Crucible of War, of George Washington's first direct encounter with unspeakably hideous frontier warfare and its torturous aftermath, in ,I think 1756. The sight of it was said by the author to have suspended Washington in a temporarily catatonic trance, so unexpectedly horrid it was. Washington was a minor Tidewater swell and such carnal outrage was beyond his experience. FDR's upbringing cannot have instilled in him any true perception of Stalin's sociopathic, carnal, malevolence. The sight of it, once, would have appalled him beyond any measure.
    I think, one like FDR having forgiveably been weaned in the luxury of his Hyde Park haven, which I have seen first hand, cannot have conceived, ever, the consummate sociopathic evil of one like Stalin. It was clearly beyond his ken, clearly. He cannot have pictured the consummate horror of it.

    Look, I can picture what it might have been like. In my NYS prison career I worked closely with multiple vicious murderers in places like Attica. Really, some of them weren't hard to get along with. Some of them were very presently personable.

    Too, FDR knew we had to hold our noses and work with them to beat the subhuman Nazis. So did Churchill, a man who knew Stalin since he himself had also killed humans with his own hand.

    In a real sense it is fortuitous that FDR was succeeded by common sense Harry, who bade the Soviets step off, or he would drop the bomb on them - and they did! That they understood!

  2. Thanks, Jack! We tackled a whole lot of history this week.

    I can't speak to the Confucius Institutes with any great authority. They certainly are an arm of the Chinese government, but that's no crime in itself. Intriguing that your view of China comes from personal experience in Hong Kong and Singapore. Have you ever been to "Red China"? I expect you're right that communism hasn't altered the fundamental Chinese mindset unduly. At least I hope not.

    I see your point about energy usage 1,000 years from now, but are you not aware that the Earth will explode in just 12 years? If climate changes doesn't do it, then the awesome power of self-righteousness could be sufficient to end all human life... I jest, but actually that part may be true.

    Good point that FDR had led a sheltered existence. Perhaps that's a common theme among leftists? It's worth a scientific study!

    Yes, Churchill understood that the alliance with the Soviets was necessary, but he also wanted to fight the war in such a way as to limit their post-war sway, e.g. the "soft underbelly".

    I'm not a great admirer of Truman, but he was infinitely preferable to Henry Wallace, a crypto-Bolshevik who easily could have been our President...

  3. Dr. Waddy: I have been only to the then Hong Kong colony, including its rural territory. Oh well, it was China for 1900 years and it is again.

    I think FDR certainly had good intentions and he was no fool but nothing in his life could have given him adequate comprehension of what it is to look into the very face of hell itself, to stand up to a true monster like Stalin. Truman was much better at that; he was a WWI combat vet,had witnessed horror beyond belief and had proven himself able to deal with it.

    We certainly did dodge the bullet with Wallace. He would have given Western Europe to the Soviets and maybe Iceland too, for dessert.

    Your observation that the death of Stalin marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union was very well taken. Soviet rule, irreparably flawed from its inception by its doctrinal foundation in the most inhuman idea ever tragically misconceived by an airy intellectual, was sustainable only by the remorseless evil of arguably the most depraved man ever to draw breath. Without his unmitigated, frozen, ultrasubhumanity it was "dead man walking". Did Stalin kill Lenin? Consider what it took for a man like Lenin, who could casually order the "hanging of 5000 peasants" in a certain area, to have ominous misgivings about the ruthlessness of any other person. Stalin was capable of any and all harm and only his unparalleled badness suggests any wrong, however very slight, in the possibility that he might have murdered one as reprehensible as Lenin.

    Its well known that Truman was puzzled by Stalin's apparent lack of surprise when Truman told him about the A bomb. Simply put, the Rosenbergs were convicted of helping to put that most decisive of all weapons at the disposal of a proven macro, macro murderer and sadist. History's greatest good fortune was that nuclear force was initially put into the hands of one of the two nations most likely to use it for good. The Rosenbergs almost undid that miracle.

    The concept of the "Red Scare" was vintage Alinsky. He urged radicals to make full use of the power of ridicule to discredit those who had sized them up. It makes perfect sense, both then and now, to beware the most tyrannical form of government ever devised. Accordingly, those who yet believe in the worth of the most ill fated of human governmental experiments dread the light of the common sense day in which this truth is embraced (what a measure it is of the bizarre and counterintuitive era we have experienced since WWII that it should ever be doubted). The present utterly disingenuous Russophobia of the Marxist Dems is now laughably transparent.

    I like what I took to be your observation that the Dred Scott case was as one with the misuse of the Constitution we have seen in the last 50 years or so. President Trump is doing an historic and resolute job of righting that wrong and the left's desperation as he draws ever closer to success,is painfully manifest. They are reaping the whirlwind they have, so presumptuously and willfully, sown.

    You and the redoubtable Laura Ingram are so right to point out the simple truth, amply supported by solid accomplishment,
    that President Trump has proven a strong and beneficial one already. "Just the facts ma'am" are more than enough to put to rout those of his detractors who choose to act like petulant deprived brats. Certainly agree that, having failed at their collusion solution, they descend ever further into desperation, irrationality and unalloyed HATE as 2020 looms, with its prospect of their ruination very plausible.

  4. Dr. Waddy: Let me further belabor you but a little more. In having referred to Washington's appalling introduction to unbridled frontier cruelty (which was in 1755, when he was sent by the Gov. of VA to the now Pittsburgh area, with a small force, to bid the French depart; having defeated a French force by ambush he witnessed the assertion by his "Native American" allies of their perceived post victory sadistic "rights" on a French captive and was temporarily disabled by the shock of it. Soon after, he and but one frontiersman companion hiked all the way back to Williamsburg to make his report to the Governor of VA, experiencing several close calls - just imagine - along the way. It took a hell of a man to endure that and Washington proved to be that and SO MUCH more, as I know we all know!

  5. Jack, I take your point that Truman was clear-eyed in dealing with the Russkies. That was undoubtedly his most important task, and he fulfilled his duty admirably. I'm not so sure that the same can be said of his China policy. What are your thoughts on that? Truman was the father of containment, yes, but he also presided over its biggest disaster/omission.

    It would be interesting to study the bourgeois "rot" (as the Marxist purists must have seen it) that set in among the Soviet elite after the death of Stalin. When did most Soviet leaders are their family members decide that the Bolshevik experiment had failed and life was better in the West? One sees strong signs of it in the 70s and 80s, sure, but as always the undercurrents must have been there far sooner.

    One wonders also how long it would have taken the Soviets to develop the atomic bomb without the assistance of Western spies. And how, if they had lacked the bomb, the Cold War would have went...

    The Constitution has been so thoroughly trashed in the last 70 years that breathing new life into it has become a herculean task. At a minimum, we need four more years of Trump. Without that, I fear our plunge into constitutional oblivion and lawlessness will resume in a flash.

  6. Dr. Waddy: This is good stuff! From what I know I would suggest that the communist conquest of China was simply beyond the understanding of the Truman administration and that that is no way a condemnation. They did the best they could.

    It was CHINA! The west, including America, had intruded over 150 years but it could not begin to understand the essence of this civilization. Indeed, many in U.S. government at the time condemned the expressions at the time of the well informed "China Lobby" (eg. the scholar Owen Lattimore) as having been responsible for the "loss of China" in 1949. Too, they were misinformed by the feckless performance of "Chiang Kai Shek" in WWII and thought China hopelessly dissolute. We found out in Korea, though as always we fought well.

    In my opinion, despite the Korean ordeal, Truman was right in his assertion of the policy of containment, including Chinese communism.

    The book Lenin's Tomb offers the best account, I think,of the progress of Russian experience that communism was simply unworkable.

    In speculating about Soviet ability to build an A bomb, sans western intelligence, one may consider the history of Soviet weaponry in the 20th century. They were known for crude but rugged weapons such as the T34 Tank and their various battle rifles. Then consider their heroic but again, primitive, space vehicles. My guess is that without their espionage, they might have developed on their own some "dirty bombs"capable of spewing stolen radioactive dirt.

    Had this been so and had we known of it, could the Cuban Missile crisis been as it was?

  7. Hmm. Truman "did his best" on China? I'm not convinced. If he'd defended liberty in China with the same alacrity that he did in Korea...surely the Nationalists would have stood a better chance? You can say the Nationalists were bad allies, and no doubt they were, but were the South Koreans any better? That was a pathetic regime, and yet we saved it...

    You make a good point that the Soviets developed plenty of crude but effective weapons in the 20th century, and they mastered many technological arts by dogged efforts. My guess is they would most certainly have built their own atomic bomb during the Cold War without Western "help," but the question is: WHEN? As you say, the dynamics of the Cuban Missile Crisis could have been altered, and in fact the Russians might never have ventured into the Western Hemisphere at all. Then again, strategic/nuclear parity is one of the factors that promoted peace through "mutually assured destruction" in the Cold War. Without a strong Soviet nuclear program, perhaps the resulting imbalance would have made war MORE likely? It's plausible. A cornered animal is a dangerous one.

  8. D. Waddy: In my prolix opinion: Nobody in the west knew much about China until the 19th century and that's when China's 150 year long ordeal commenced. Such periods of national dissolution and anarchy had happened before but essential (not "changeless")China had always resurged, often stronger (eg. Tang and Ming dynasties). But we thought China in extremis from 1820 to 1949 was the definitive China because it was all we had ever seen. For Truman: there had been the dismal performance of the corrupt Kuomintang vs the very effective fighting done by the communists, against our mutual bitter enemy, Imperial Japan. General Stilwell, who had experienced deep China for decades, told him the communists were better soldiers. General Marshall, who Truman trusted like no other man, had failed in his 1947 mission to reconcile Chiang and Mao. He could not have succeeded; Mao was absolutely determined to prevail after all they had been through (eg. The Long March - China's Valley Forge - and WWII against the murderous Japanese). He had Chinese history scholars in the "China Lobby" like Edgar Snow and Owen Lattimore saying the communists were simply "rural reformers" and not the sociopaths and Stalinists Truman thought them (rightly) to be.Support for communists was unthinkable after the Berlin air lift and the imposition of the Iron Curtain and the thought of WWIII was unendurable, especially in the prosperous post war paradise. What could he have done otherwise? He supported "Free China" on a Taiwan guaranteed by our navy and went no further on his own against China until they attacked in Korea.Even then he held back. He knew war (though so did MacArthur, his fierce and very knowledgeable and creditable critic).

    Koreans, from wherever, have a reputation as very good fighters but perhaps the early Korean War setbacks produced understandable doubt in their abilities (even though it was Korean vs Korean for awhile there).

    Great point about MAD but I have to think a non nuclear armed Soviet Union would have hesitated at the prospect of another maelstrom of infernal conflict so soon after their unparalleled ordeal against the Boche. I understand some documents made available after the fall of communism show that Stalin intended a general assault on at least Western Europe after his expected acquisition of thermonuclear weapons. Thank God hell called him home.

  9. Amen to that! It seems even Stalin didn't have the stomach for a direct confrontation with the West. Whether he ever would have attacked Hitler's Germany if Hitler hadn't made the first move is another interesting question. Nukes or no nukes, I think the important thing about the Soviets after 1945 was that they were basically cautious. The last thing they wanted was WWIII.

    What could Truman have done differently in China in 1947-49? Good question. It's far outside my area of expertise, but the same number of US troops committed to Korea in 1950-53, if committed to China instead a little earlier, might have saved a billion people the horrors of communism -- and might even have brought the Cold War to a quicker but equally victorious conclusion. All that would have been risky, yes, but the loss of China, so soon after "containment" was announced, put us at considerable risk too! What DID Truman offer the Nationalists before 1949 in support of their war against Mao? Nothing very substantial, that I'm aware of...

  10. Dr. Waddy: You've made some plausible points here and asked good questions.

    The impression I have is that Stalin feared Hitler but thought Hitler respected and maybe even liked him; maybe, he thought, he had even got over on the putative former Corporal. But Hitler despised him. Also, Stalin was, I think, until he found himself in command of a great conquering army capable of securing for him an Eastern European buffer, devoted to institutionalizing "socialism in one country". Had Hitler not attacked him the Third Reich might have survived and, surely, driven by Hitler's relentless ambition and adventurism, would have come for him in good time. Meanwhile, Stalin,in his insane anxiety, might well have destroyed the rest of his competent General officer corps. The result: a Germanified European Russia under circumstances appalling beyond measure. A conquered Britain and a distant U.S. probably could not have prevented it. Then: a reckoning with the U.S.

  11. Dr. Waddy: I've read anew about Truman's Secretary of State Dean Acheson's "white paper on China" in which he concluded that the "loss of China" was beyond us due to forces we could not control. But you have raised a very considerable disagreement to that conclusion which was, no doubt, much credited in the early 1950's. Its very plausible that had the U.S. force committed to the defense of South Korea been deployed instead to the defense of Nanking and Shanghai against the Marxist horde, that Mao would have succeeded in enslaving only part of China, as did Kim Il Sung in Korea. It would have been hard for Truman to sell to the U.S. public but perhaps no harder than to convince it of the necessity for defending the Korean peninsula and the recently excoriated Japanese nation.Let's imagine: had Truman sent the U.S. Army (undoubtably under the command of General MacArthur, a man with profound understanding of the Far East), into China to stop the conventional onslaught of the theretofore semi - guerrilla communist force which had fought very creditably against the Japanese, he might have prevented the unspeakably tragic triumph of the communist monsters.
    But we would, I think, have faced a relentless Communist assault across the uneasy border between a resulting North and South China. China has endured such division before (eg Sung Dynasty) and the Communists were perhaps ineluctably devoted to restoring their country's eventual unity. But as is so often true, U.S. incursion might have saved millions of the lives extinguished by vicious Marxist dreamers in China.

    Our failure to intercede was perhaps a failure of nerve and of a realization that the U. S. was sick of war (though it came anyway, in Korea and then Vietnam).

  12. Hi Jack. I don't believe Hitler and Stalin ever met, so I'm not sure why Stalin would think Hitler liked him, but I definitely agree that Stalin feared Hitler -- and Germany. He had ample reason to do so, especially after the Blitzkrieg successes of 1939-40. I tend to agree, therefore, that war on the Eastern Front would not have come until Germany initiated it. The question is whether a "victory" over Britain could have been obtained in the interim. A tall order!

    I take your point that intervention in China's Civil War would have been hard to justify to a war-weary American public, and that success would not have been assured. A good halfway measure (ask JFK and LBJ) would be to insert "advisors" and use American airpower. If that doesn't suffice, conjure up an outrage against our advisors, our airmen, or our ships, and -- presto! -- you're at war. I think you're right, though, that a Cold War mentality was just dawning. NATO was about to be born, however, so maybe the gumption could have been found to fight Mao?

  13. Dr. Waddy: First, I think Stalin was a bully and perhaps a coward and that he might have interpreted the Hitler/ Stalin pact of 1939 as a compliment, the rejection of which stunned him. There is ample documentation of Stalin's having relapsed for several days after the Germans invaded into a state of profound depression. Perhaps he was psychologically disposed to this but perhaps also he was prostrate with fear. As a savage he knew the minds of other monsters and dreaded what that might mean for him.

    Had Hitler held back in June, 1941 or before, what? We know now that the Luftwaffe was on the very cusp of victory in the Battle of Britain since the RAF had exhausted all its reserves.Had the Germans realized this and pressed their onslaught on RAF bases instead of on the cities, might it have cleared the way for the invasion barges? The final defense was the fleet and without air cover it might have succumbed. Witness Japanese air power's sinking of the Repulse and the Prince of Wales. If the Luftwaffe prevailed the British carriers would have been irrelevant (not enough planes) and the surface fleet might well have been overwhelmed.

    I think the communist conquest of China came too unexpectedly fast for us and for a NATO with its eye on Russia, For Mao it was of an importance so supreme that we could not comprehend it. Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China documents what almost u nimginable travails the Chinese Reds endured and though their intentions were demonstrably inhuman, they lent them almost unconquerable resolve.

  14. A fair point, Jack: Stalin may have believed he had a bond of understanding with Hitler, or at least with Ribbentrop, who I'm sure plied him with compliments (some of which may have been sincere). Stalin certainly seems to have been aghast at German aggression in June/July 1941. He apparently expected to be overthrown. It's a pity he wasn't.

    Yes, I've read that, if the Germans had pressed their attacks on the RAF, it might have been worn down. The terror bombing of British cities was truly a disastrous policy -- it gave the RAF a respite, it roused the British people, and it turned the tide of US public opinion. (It also failed to demolish those cities.) If the Germans had simply OMITTED the Blitz in 1940 -- forget an invasion -- they might have won the war.

    I don't doubt that Mao and Co. were determined. Perhaps we even admired them on some level, while despising the Kuomintang. No doubt Stalin was supporting the Reds to the hilt, though -- so we should have responded in kind.