Democrats tried to conspire with Soviets

I’m trying to figure out where that came from myself. I was there and I didn’t hear anything of the kind.

Yeah. Sure they did.

This is actually true. That whole “Amerika” thing was never meant to convey a negative connotation.

Screw meeting with the russians. Teddy was meeting with Sinn Fein (aka the political arm of the IRA) every St. Paddy’s day up until a couple of years ago. All of a sudden a nasty barfight turned to murder and a bunch of greiving wives come over on the 17th of march and Teddy’s not meeting with Gerry Adams anymore…

In the 70s, the left was busy saving the environment, pursuing arms-control agreements, and pushing rights for minorities and women. I don’t recall “surrendering to the USSR” being on the agenda.

Oh, wait, that’s right - in Rimbo-land, not wanting to engage militarily with the Soviet Union at every turn = “surrender”. No doubt, since the left also opposes the war with Iraq, you view that as “surrendering to the jihadists”, right?

The left never advocated outright surrendering to the USSR and embracing the dialectic of the class struggle and all that. They advocated “peaceful coexistence.” The Cold War was a horrible use of resources, warmongering Pentagon generals wanted to blow up the world, if only we would listen to the reasonable Soviets, etc. etc, hearts and flowers.

In the 1950s, peaceful coexistence would have probably resulted in a Europe occupied by the Soviets. (Evidence is good that if Stalin had lived one or two more years an invasion of Germany was on his to-do list, right after getting rid of the Jews.) That was pretty much their high water mark though.

The 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia was a tactical disaster (most tank columns got lost and one memorable tank driver sold his T-62 for a lot of booze) and it’s believed one reason the Russians never invaded Poland in the 1980s to stamp out Solidarity was that they might not be able to actually carry it out in a non-embarassing fashion. By then they were pretty well tied down in Afghanistan, as well. Much like the US in Iraq, they were able to get there fine but leaving proved difficult. Their troops in Europe were there mainly to make sure the puppet European states stayed puppety.

However as always hindsight is 20/20. The USSR did a great job of portraying themselves as a military superpower on a par with the US, and this vision of parity wasn’t dispelled until the West wiped the floor with the Soviet-style Iraqi army in 1991. While there were debates within the intelligence community on how much of a threat the USSR posed, only the most radical analysts espoused what turned out to be the truth - the Soviets were toothless paper tigers. The “Soviet threat” wasn’t seen as an oxymoron, but a real existential threat to the security of Western democracy.

So, the question becomes how did each side of the divide choose to deal with this existential of questions. The Right saw the Soviets as godless Mongols and no sacrifice, be it blood or money, was too much. The Left sympathized with the Soviets; while most leftists weren’t Communist, they felt closer to the Soviet rhetoric than the Cold War jingoism of their own compatriots on the Right. They saw the Right as more of a threat to global security than the Soviets.

That doesn’t mean they advocated waving the red flag and embracing Soviet occupation. It means they found the concept ridiculous and thought the Soviets were just a government like any other.

So - everyone was wrong. BIG SURPRISE, DURRR.

The Left sympathized with the Soviets; while most leftists weren’t Communist, they felt closer to the Soviet rhetoric than the Cold War jingoism of their own compatriots on the Right. They saw the Right as more of a threat to global security than the Soviets.

That doesn’t mean they advocated waving the red flag and embracing Soviet occupation. It means they found the concept ridiculous and thought the Soviets were just a government like any other.

Can you provide specific examples of people on the left holding these views? I mean some people with actual followers, or who were thought leaders. I ask because I, and no one I know, held any views like that; additionally, the only people I’ve read about who held those views were basically communist party members.

Sorry, Google doesn’t cover the 1980s very well what with the Internet not existing yet and all. Mainly the nuclear freeze movement (especially in Europe as a reaction to Reagan’s introduction of the Pershing II) had the worst rhetoric of the time, from folks like Alexander Cockburn and Helen Caldicott. Whether or not you consider them actual Communists or merely leftists is up to debate, but they drove the discussion on the left’s side of the aisle (Mondale if I’m not mistaken advocated a nuclear freeze in the 1984 election - I personally remember an anti-SDI TV commercial).

Again, no one on the left save maybe Gus Hall said “The USSR is peachy! Let’s all move!”. They just simply didn’t see the Soviets as the problem. They saw the Reagan administration (and the Nixon administration before that, and Johnson before that) as the threat to global peace.

So, advocating a nuclear freeze, opposing global military adventures like Vietnam, and trying to stand down from MAD = “sympathizing with the Soviets”?

There was a reasonable case to be made that Reagan’s actions were making us less safe, by cranking up the nuclear stockpiles and by pursuing ABM/SDI (which undermined MAD). In hindsight, it turned out well (although I don’t think it was Reagan’s intention to drive the USSR into bankruptcy, I’ll give him credit for doing the right thing for the wrong reasons).

But that’s a far cry from saying the Left “sympathized” with the despotic Soviet regime.

I didn’t say they “sympathized with the regime”, in fact I said the exact opposite. I said they felt closer to Soviet rhetoric then that of the right, which is unsurprising since it was saying pretty much the exact thing the left was. (American militarism was the “true threat to peace”, a nuclear freeze was the way to go, etc.)

The Soviets wanted a freeze because they were ahead in the arms race and the status quo wasn’t going their way. They wanted to keep the ban on strategic defense because they were so technologically backward there was no way they could compete. These views meshed with those of the left, but for different reasons. But this meant that the rhetoric matched (which by the 1980s became intentional - before that Soviet propaganda was far too clumsy to try to skew their message for Western audiences acceptably).

Again, and returning to the point of the thread, at no point did Democrats, or anyone on the left “conspire with the Soviets” or “advocate surrender”. They had mutual goals for different reasons, and thus their rhetoric, especially during the 1980s, tended to mesh. And starting around the 1970s most on the left did their best to minimize discussion of Soviet atrocities because a rampaging Soviet threat played to the Right’s advantage. And all politics is eventually local.

It’s ironic that we’re seeing the same sort of morality play now, but with “terror”/“Islam”. Ironic and sad because the reaction we’re seeing in response makes the McCarthy era a model of moderation.

Hey explained easily:

The good commies are those who help the usa in the war against terror, drugs, poverty or anything else the president is coming up with…

The bad commies are those who want to be left alone from the usa e.g. venezuela or france… ;)

Lum, the general statement “some on the left thought Reagan was more likely to get us killed than the Soviets” sounds about right. The things I don’t get are these two:

It means they found the concept ridiculous and thought the Soviets were just a government like any other.

The Left sympathized with the Soviets; while most leftists weren’t Communist, they felt closer to the Soviet rhetoric than the Cold War jingoism of their own compatriots on the Right.

Lum’s right. I can only speak for Britain, but there were a few on the left who thought the USSR was better than the US and who weren’t communists. I can’t speak for the left in general, but most of the people I knew, who were pretty left-leaning themselves, thought these guys were nuts. Thinking that the Soviet threat was overplayed, however, was a popular belief. Certainly you couldn’t support unilateral disarmament groups, like CND, which were popular with left-wingers of the time, while equally believing that the USSR was primed to invade Western Europe.

I was thinking of the fringe of the Labor Party in the UK when writing the second para, in the context of the nuclear freeze movement. Only the wackiest leftists in the US thought the USSR an acceptable alternative, but espousing “Euro-communism” wasn’t as much a “third rail” position in Europe (notably, there’s no equivalent “Americo-Communism”).

I stand by the first para you quoted; most on the left in the 1970s and 1980s thought actively opposing Soviet expansionism was misguided and the Soviets should be treated like anyone else in the global community.

Oh, the European left, sure, but we aren’t talking about them. :)

…most on the left in the 1970s and 1980s thought actively opposing Soviet expansionism was misguided

By “opposing expansionism” you mean “ok for them to invade Afghanistan?” I’m not going to buy this until I see some quotes.

Could you provide sources for that? Never heard that before (beyond the general, “Soviet hordes threaten Western Europe,” stuff).

Which, the incipient mass deportation of Jews to the Gulag or his planning to invade Europe? There’s a lot more evidence for the former as it began just before his death (the “Doctor’s Plot” and signs being printed up en masse saying things like “Thank you Stalin for saving the Jewish People!”). Evidence for the latter is mostly from memoirs of Soviet officials and exhumed logs of conversations between Stalin and his henchmen from the Soviet archives (“Court of the Red Tsar” is a good review of those).

Beria in particular was adamant that Stalin was preparing to start a war and only his supposed assassination of Stalin stopped it. Interestingly enough, according to his surviving family, he also wanted to allow East Germany to reunite with the West and de-Bolshevize Russia, some 40 years before Mikhail Gorbachev, and supposedly he was killed because the other Soviet leaders thought his ideas especially on Germany were far too radical. Eh, even mass murderers have a good idea once in a while.

Both, if you have them. You know how he loves to read.

I just want to take the time out to say that Lum’s last post reads like the book of fucking sand.

Apparently you do not share his love of reading!