American Right, Soviet Union and China: Wrong Lessons for History
For two decades going now, we are seeing American Right continuing to claim credit for the breakup of Soviet Union and to equate the American Democrats with Stalinists and their crimes. Not enough has been done to change and to challenge this line, either in America or outside of America. And it is important that it be challenged, because this line is false.
It's not just that the constituencies that in the Soviet Union became Stalinists - the social conservatives, the military, and most of the country people - in America vote Republican or Tea Party, and the constituencies in the Soviet Union whom the Stalinists saw as pro-American counter-revolutionaries - the highly educated, the artists, the social liberals and the big cities - in America vote Democratic or Green. Nor is it just that the American Right practices the same barbaric and corrupt methods that did the Communist hardliners, from torturing people to slaughtering civilian populations to stealing elections to lying consistently and without consequence. The problem is even bigger, and that is as follows. The American Right does not deserve credit for the breakup of Soviet Union. And its actions following that breakup are doing much to endanger not only the world now, but the world as it stands to exist for however long the world stands to exist.
The Soviet Union was not defeated by the Republican Party. The Soviet Union fell apart because a noble-minded leader came into power seeking to make the country more humane and more democratic, and instead the people who had no similar nobility - including American Right - took advantage of Gorbachev's goodness and of the goodwill that many ordinary people in Russia had toward the United States. The Soviet Union ended in 1991, when the military refused to follow the Stalinist hardliners' orders to shoot at the people gathered in the Red Square after the Stalinist hardliners had arrested Gorbachev. And instead of being celebrated for this feat of nobility, Russia and Russian people instead have been plundered and treated with contempt.
The result of this was no more beneficial to the West than it has been to Russia. America has not benefited from imposition upon it of Texas Conservatism. Europe likewise has not benefited from imposition upon it of bullying and oppressive practices of American Right. The wrong people got the credit for something that was not their doing. And these wrong people have since then been bullying the populations of their own country and of their Western allies under the false claim that they had defeated Soviet Union, when the Soviet Union could have gone on indefinitely if its leadership and population had not decided on its own will and discretion to turn to more wise, more noble, and more humane ways. For which goodness, instead of being rewarded, the Russian people were treated instead to malice, while the wiser, nobler and more compassionate elements in the West - the liberal Democrats - were identified wrongly with Stalinism and treated, ridiculously, as if they themselves had been responsible for Gulag and Holodomor.
In most religions - and in American popular culture - we see such beliefs as "you get what you give." What happened to the Soviet Union is the most glaring example to the contrary. When the Soviet Union, under Stalin and Brezhnev, practiced the most barbaric atrocities, it was treated with respect. When, under Gorbachev and then under Yeltsin, it moved to more humane and more noble practices, it became the toilet of the world. The irresponsible actions of American Right in regards to a nation that had embraced positive change, noble practices and goodwill toward the West and fell apart for that reason has taught history a lesson. And it is not a lesson that is beneficial to anyone except the worst elements in humanity - and, unless anyone is to be mistaken, in Russia itself.
There is a reason why Russia has half of Europe's skinheads and neo-Nazis. However contemptible their ideology, these people see the crime that has been done to their country, in response to actions that should instead have been celebrated and rewarded. The Soviet military could have very easily chosen in 1991 to shoot at the people gathered in the Red Square just as had the Chinese during the 1989 Tiannanmen square massacre. The Chinese are treated by American Right with respect; the Russians are treated with vileness. This shows precisely the character of the people that many ordinary Russians had hailed as liberators and as exponents of a superior way of life.
The Russians have every right to be angry at what was done to them and to their country. The goodness that they demonstrated under Gorbachev was rewarded with ugliness. Their expectations of America, of the West and of capitalism as a better way to do things was met with the nation being plundered and treated like rubbish. The life spans, health coverage and educational levels of population have still not come close to recovering what they were in the Soviet Union. The best of Russia - both minds and products - have gone to the West. And American business, instead of heavily investing in Russia as had been expected, has instead spent the bulk of its economic activity in Russia pilfering the assets that it had taken the Russian people decades of work to produce. The only Russians to see that money have been ex-bureaucrats and mafiosi who took it to buy Swiss bank accounts and villas in Riviera.
For someone who cares about the world and what happens to people in it, the question is not "which country" but "who in which country." If the noble and righteous behavior such as refusing to shoot one's own people gets punished by history as horribly as does the choice made by Soviet army in 1991, while barbaric behavior such as the Tiannanmen Massacre and the corrupt Bush administration policies are rewarded, the lessons learned are the worst for each country involved and, in each country involved, incentivizing the worst possible character and modus operandi. There are miles to go between great Russian scientists and teachers and its plundering bureaucrats and mafiosi; between America's European Enlightenment founders who actually created American nationhood and its Christian Right conmen who have stolen credit for it; between America's vastly Democratic scientific innovators and technology leaders and workers who actually created American prosperity and right-wing shysters who have stolen credit for it; between the inspirational democracy leaders of China's Tiannanmen uprising and its sadistic prison and labor camp guards. On this criterion all three countries have been taught the wrong lesson by recent history. And it will take a lot more than anti-liberal scapegoating and lunatic New World Order conspiracy theories to fix the historical damage that has been done by American Right in these situations.
The behavior of American Right toward Russia and China is important not only for destinies of Russia and China. It is important also for the lessons that posterity stands to learn. If adopting the West's best principles and noble conduct gets one's nation despised and pillaged, while massacring one's pro-American opposition gets one's nation respected, then this sends a very wrong message to both the people presently living and to posterity. And it is a message that many people in many countries and over many generations are certain to learn.