Rimbo explains the Cold War

Crazy enough to merit its own thread.

Among many other things wrong with this polemic, Lenin couldn’t care less about America, much less labelling its political figures from the far future names. America was simply one capitalist nation among many.

During the 1910s and early 1920s America was a very hostile place to Communism indeed; the first “Red Scare” was primarily an excuse to arrest and in some cases deport political undesirables (anarchists, socialists and union organizers) under the banner of “communism”. The “liberal/conservative” divide didn’t exist then; the progressive movement was just getting underway and had little to no political clout.

Sorry to inject history into the rantings. Although if you move the clock forward 20 years, there were Communist agitators in the US, some of which may have earned the “useful idiot” label, but the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact broke the will of all but the most ideologically brainwashed; Western leftists weren’t willing to make nicey-nice with Hitler on command.

Wikipedia on the term and Lenin’s almost certainly never coining it, especially as regarding Americans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_idiots

Hmm. As a liberal since the 1970s, I neither love higher taxes nor ever thought that we should “surrender” to the Soviets.

Where do people come up with this laughable shit?

Conservative polemics of the time. “Soft on Communism”, etc.

Ironically, the most ardent cold warriors were Democrats!

Today!

Wow, I must have hit pretty damned close to the mark to get 'em all riled up like that.

By the way, I actually ran that version of events past a Historian before I posted it, and his response was: “Yep, that was it.” He was the one who suggested I add the love of taxes to the list.

To the Left’s (and the Right’s) credit, we didn’t know we were being manipulated by propaganda.

Oh, and last, since this whole thread is an ad hominem attacking the messenger instead of the idea, with no historical data aside from one bit of anecdotal evidence and a hypocritical polemic charging me with polemicism, this’ll be all I have to say on the subject.

Wow. Just wow.
And to top it off, you just called Lum a liberal.

Most of y’all are too young to remember the second: The popular belief among the bulk of the Left throughout the 70’s and 80’s that the USA had no chance of competing with the USSR’s economic and military might, and that surrender was a viable option. Belief in Reagan’s “Lets Make America Great Again” attitude, capped by the fall of the Soviet Bloc and the stunning realization that Soviet Communism actually was a complete failure, is what led to the term becoming dirty.

Today, we now know that the USSR’s economy had been failing for some time. Today, we know that their fall had been telegraphed for decades. Today, we know that images of prosperity in the West were having a dramatic effect on common people there. Today, we know that the outcome was inevitable.

But back then, the Left in both Europe and America was a willing (but unaware) partner in Soviet propaganda about how most people perceived things

I had Russian in my three years of the Danish equivalent to high school. That was from '87 to '89. I actually visited Russia before the wall fell and my Danish teacher (a historian - or even Historian - married to a russian) had no trouble telling us how bad things were in the Soviet Union - that you didn’t discover it before the wall fell says more about you/the American education system than it does about Liberals.

It’s not an ad hominem when you tell your twisted and unsourced version of history (oh, sorry an unknown HISTORIAN signed off on it) and people just tell you you are wrong. Lum even linked a source.

How IS Newt doing?

Historian

Why Did You Capitalize The H?

“Neoconservative.” Not one conservative I know likes the label. Including me.

That might be because it’s not a label, it’s an actual defined ideology. It’s not a matter of you liking or disliking it, you either agree with it or you don’t.

  1. 1987-1989 is, like, the far edge of the time frame I describe.
  2. The fact that the USSR was not an economic/military juggernaut was a fact.
  3. The fact that most Americans thought it was until the mid-to-late 80’s is also a fact.
  4. The fact that I’m now going back on my word not to post here is also a fact.

Hmm. One more thing:

  1. I now know why Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh have job security… y’all really do take this shit seriously, don’t you?

OK, so it’s Lenin’s alleged comment.

I love threads that are all about me!

Error. I was thinking in terms of how one capitalizes the academic subject History.

That might be because it’s not a label, it’s an actual defined ideology. It’s not a matter of you liking or disliking it, you either agree with it or you don’t.

Sometimes, ideologies prove themselves wrong. Neoconservativism proved itself too naive to work. Which is why it’s a perfect analogue to the failure of 1970s & 80s liberalism, and how the term “Liberal” became a dirty word.

You’ll also notice that the current Administration does use the term “neoconservative” to describe its policies. In fact, it never did. :)

I grew up during the Cold War, Rimbo, and I don’t know what bizarro world you were living in, but I remember we used to feel sorry for the Soviets. It wasn’t that hard to get a glimpse behind the Iron Curtain before it fell. One friend of mine went to a Soviet airshow in Murmansk. Another visited Rostock, East Germany, and found one shop with four items in it. Another spent a weekend in Budapest, which at the time was a peeling, smog ridden dump. He recalled people in rags walking the aisles of the Budapest metro, selling bottles of beer for a few cents each from buckets of water.

I don’t think anyone in the UK was fooled into thinking life was good in the Soviet Union. I had two friends who were members of Militant Tendency. One went on to be a red leader of Leicester City Council, the other sold out to become one of the best known music journalists in the UK, and neither of them were under any illusions as to the success of the Soviet Union. They would simply argue that it wasn’t true Communism. Everyone I knew understood that the Soviet Union had a very weak economy, it was only the level of the economic disaster that shocked people.

The Soviet Union at the time was a joke. Everything about it was backward, and you didn’t have to go there to see this. In the UK we were being sold Lada cars since the 1970s. These were the laughing stock of the country, and that from a country with cars as bad as the Austin Allegro. When a Soviet pilot landed his Mig-25 in Japan and we saw it’s electronics were all vacuum tube based, we laughed. A lot. We also laughed a lot at their fake copies of Western technology, like the Tu-144 “Concordski” and the Buran space shuttle.

My childhood was filled with jokes about everything Soviet:

Q. How do you double the value of a Lada?
A. Fill it with gas.

Q. What’s ten miles long and vegetarian?
A. A Soviet meat queue.

Q. What’s the Russian definition of amnesia?
A. Standing outside a shop with an empty carrier bag, wondering whether you are going in or coming out.

And as for what conventional wisdom was at the time, I found this an assessment from the New York Times in 1988, as the first inklings of just how much of a disaster the Soviet Union’s economy was.

Conventional Western analyses of the Soviet economy are hardly
glowing. They depict an enormously wasteful planning system,
declining rates of growth and living standards decades behind the
West’s.

The alternative view holds that even these seemingly unfavorable
assessments are too optimistic–that the true economic situation, on
balance, is substantially worse than estimates by the Central
Intelligence Agency would suggest.

So the two contemporary views of the Soviet economy before it’s true nature was exposed were:

  1. That the Soviet Union was a wasteful economic black hole (CIA).
  2. That it was a total economic basket case (Soviet dissidents).

Where did the belief in the Soviet economic might exist?

Goddammit Glenn, it killed enough of my brain the first time I had to read that nonsense.

That’s what you meant, right?

So, this Historian…he got a name? Published anything? Is it your cat, who you named Historian? Did you misinterpret his confused meowing as you held him up to the computer screen, asking him “AMIRITE HISTORIAN-KITTY?”

So yes, Rimbo, you sure riled us. We’re all of us hopping mad at how you’ve figured us liberals out. Absolutely none of us are laughing at how batshit crazy this thing you posted is.

Lum, you’re my kind of conservative. By which I mean, you are not bugfuck nuts. I just wish you had more company.

Honestly, I think Rimbo’s just trolling to get banned. The new banning registry with the banhammer graphic must have looked so tempting. So, seriously people, less arguing with him, more laughing at him. Someone who posted that ridiculous thing in the first place is not going to be swayed by mere trifles such as facts and logic.

They would simply argue that it wasn’t true Communism.

Oh God! I’ve heard that one.

As for your article… Dude. 1988. That’s like, three whole years after Gorbachev came to power, and well into perestroika and glasnost.

And while we made fun of the USSR’s backwards technology, and while we knew the plight of the common man was poor, it did not appear to us to be the result of a system at the brink of failure; rather, it was, much like North Korea seems to us now, a normal consequence of a regime that’s dedicated all of its resources to its own self-sustenance. There was no indication that the regime would collapse, any more that there’s any indication that Kim Jong Il will ever somehow lose his power base in PRNK.

Hang on, you said that there were people who believed that the US stood no chance against the economic might of the Soviet Union. Now you are saying that “oh yeah, people knew that the economy was shit, they just weren’t aware that it was about to collapse”, which is what I said.

it did not appear to us to be the result of a system at the brink of failure; rather, it was, much like North Korea seems to us now

Rimbo, where and when do you currently exist?