Communism

The romance of Soviet stooges

Featured image Vivian Gornick is the author of the 1979 book titled The Romance of Communism. It’s a romance with which many readers of the New York Times are familiar even if the thought of it is revolting to anyone who knows the relevant history. Earlier this year in anticipation of May Day the Times turned over valuable real estate in its Sunday Review section to Gornick to celebrate the time “When »

Lessons from Hong Kong

Featured image Twenty years ago, Great Britain handed over Hong Kong, with its 6 million residents, to Red China. Keith Richburg of the Washington Post recalls the prevailing wisdom among Western reporters who covered the region at the time — acquiring Hong Kong would transform China: Beijing desperately wanted — needed — what Hong Kong had: wealth, stability, good relations with the world. What did Beijing have that Hong Kong wanted? Nothing. »

Recalling Max Eastman

Featured image I often grab an old, forgotten book to take with me on overseas trips, and for my current trip I grabbed Max Eastman’s Reflections on the Failure of Socialism. Eastman is one of those mostly forgotten figures from the first half of the 20th century who left Communism and became a conservative of a kind. Eastman had been, for a time, the editor of The Masses, and later The Liberator—both »

Speaking of turkeys

Featured image Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar begs to disagree with President Trump’s modest curtailment of Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba’s Communist regime. CNN gives Klobuchar’s column the jarring headline “Trump, we need Cuba’s business.” I don’t think Senator Klobuchar would ever address the president as “Trump.” I seriously doubt that the form of address was supplied by her for the headline. It’s just not her way. I also don’t think we »

The Times revisits the old-time religion

Featured image Vivan Gornick exudes nostalgia for The Romance of Communism, as she called her 1978 book documenting the memories of old members of the Communist Party USA. Marion Magid’s unamused review of Gornick’s book for Commentary performs an expert anatomy on a reeking carcass of a book. Anticipating May Day today, the Times turned valuable real estate in its Sunday Review section yesterday over to Gornick for a rerun of her »

When reason goes on holiday

Featured image In chapter 3 of Patriotism Is Not Enough, Steve Hayward describes how inadequately American political scientists responded to the rise of Fascism in the 1930s. That inadequacy helped cause Leo Strauss to push political science in a radically new direction on the theory that “a social science that cannot speak of tyranny with the same confidence with which medicine speaks, for example, of cancer, cannot understand social phenomena as what »

Two worlds of a Soviet spy

Featured image The great Harvey Klehr is best known as a groundbreaking historian of the Cold War, having authored or co-authored over a dozen books on the subject of American Communism. He was one of the first researchers to get into the Venona Papers after the fall of the Soviet Union. His dive in the archives produced Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America in 1999. (These were the Soviet documents that proved »

A fitting end: Castro’s hearse breaks down

Featured image The vehicle carrying Fidel Castro’s remains during his funeral parade broke down yesterday. Soldiers had to push it through the streets. How symbolic! What could be more fitting, given the broken down nature of the antique Cuban state produced by Castro? There have been plenty of choice comments on Twitter. Here’s the obvious take in the form of an old joke: NOTHING in Cuba works. Except the prostitutes. Here’s my »

Gott im Himmel

Featured image In the video below (about 8 minutes), former Guardian literary editor Richard Gott debates Gatestone Institute senior fellow Douglas Murray regarding the legacy of Fidel Castro. Why Sky News thought it was a good idea to call on Gott to advocate the case for Castro is not immediately clear. Gott faithfully spouts the Communist Party line on Castro, but it’s a line that Justin Trudeau and useful idiots everywhere share. »

Stalin? Whodat???

Featured image I think the study of ancient history extends to the advent of the first Clinton administration in 1993 or so. As we all know, and as former Latin students might say, ancient history has fallen into desuetude. I think this may explain the finding reported in Jamie Gregora’s Daily Signal story “This is the percentage of millennials who believe George W. Bush killed more people than Stalin.” I’m sure millennials »

The Rosenberg File revisited

Featured image Tomorrow night 60 Minutes will broadcast a story on the Rosenberg spy case featuring the Rosenbergs’ two sons, Michael and Robert Meeropol. 60 Minutes has posted a preview of the segments here. According to the preview, Michael argues that Ethel Rosenberg was “collateral damage” – framed by prosecutors for a crime she did not commit in an effort to get their father to cooperate with FBI investigators. Robert asserts: “Our »

Bech in Czech

Featured image Paul Mirengoff’s tribute to the courage and the sacrifice of the Czech Olympic champion Vera Caslavska brought to mind one of my favorite passages in the works of John Updike that I have managed to read. Updike was a voluminous and accomplished writer in every literary form, though I think he was a master of the short story in particular. Updike wrote enough stories to fill three small volumes about »

The Cold War Never Ended

Featured image A lot of conservatives have expressed shock and disorientation at the revival of enthusiasm for socialism, not to mention the shattering of the consensus for free trade, low taxes, open markets, freedom of expression, and so forth. It is clear—and I wrote a long memo about this at AEI about five years ago that I cannot now find—that we all made a major mistake in the early 1990s when the »

Obama on freedom vs. totalitarianism — whatever works

Featured image President Obama didn’t just tango during his visit to Argentina. He also addressed a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative meeting. During his remarks, Obama stumbled through an embarrassing discourse on “capitalism vs. communism.” The would-be leader of what used to be called the Free World treated the issue as just another false choice, sort of the way he used to speak of Red States and Blue States before he »

Che chic, Obama edition

Featured image President Obama is proud of his visit to Cuba this week. He’s enjoying himself immensely. I bet he even enjoyed the group photo that captured him standing in front of a mural of Che Guevara in Havana this morning (below). My God. pic.twitter.com/rZYgnTi3dh — Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) March 21, 2016 As Jay Nordlinger has never tired of reminding the ignorant, this was Che: He was an Argentinian revolutionary who served »

Homage to Catalonia, Washington Post style

Featured image In this obituary, the Washington Post celebrates Delmer Berg, the last known living U.S. volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. The Post’s Emily Langer informs us that Berg served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. This unit “was named in honor of the 16th president,” she adds helpfully. The Communist Party’s appropriation of the Great Emancipator’s name was one of the most cynical public relations stunts ever. Other than Adolph Hitler, »

A diverting move

Featured image If you, like me, are looking for something completely different, you may want to check out Bill Kristol’s just-released conversation with former world chess champion and human rights activist Garry Kasaparov (video below). In the conversation Kasparov reflects on his upbringing in the old Soviet Union and his journey from questioning whether Communism could be reformed to his ultimate conviction that the Soviet Union had to go. Kasparov recalls his »