Stalin’s Great Game

Either Stalin played the Anglosphere like a  cheap piano in World War Two, or something altogether more sinister was going on. Foseti clarifies the conundrum beautifully:

When the US finally joins the war, it does so with – as best as one can decipher – only a few clear war aims: 1) demanding unconditional surrender (of Germany and Japan – aka the only bulwarks against Soviet domination of post-war Europe and Asia); 2) establishing the United Nations; and 3) ending European (excluding Soviet) colonialism.

If you, gentle reader, can come up with a list of war aims that would be more destructive to mankind at the time than those, the next round is on me. Perhaps entirely coincidentally (or perhaps not) these aims would seem to all work towards the direct benefit of the Soviets. It’s almost like Soviets were making US foreign policy.

 

October 2, 2013admin 28 Comments »
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28 Responses to this entry

  • Thales Says:

    It’s almost like Soviets were making US foreign policy.

    Thank goodness those days are over!

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mike Says:

    American involvement was just the cathedral going to the assistance of its best friend – communism. (Is there anyone in DE who hadn’t already figured that out?)

    If any other war had killed 400k+ Americans and consumed 20-40% of GDP for years on end, the cathedral would be livid with statusmongering rage.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    3) ending European (excluding Soviet) colonialism.

    This wasn’t a “clear war aim” of the US. The US only paid some lip service to national independence for propaganda purposes because it was fighting the Japanese who were claiming to liberate Asians from European colonial rule. After WWII, the US even materially aided the French in their war to maintain control of French Indochina.

    The ending of European colonialism was the product of postwar geopolitics. After the war, the US and the USSR were the only remaining powers and the colonial empires weren’t in much of a position to fight Soviet backed national liberation movements. The US reasonably believed that intervening to help the Europeans try to maintain colonial dominance against Soviet backed national liberation movements would result in greater indigenous support for the Soviets and the nationalists and possibly trigger wider conflict and even WWIII. The US thought it’d be better to just ally with some local nationalists and to install them in power and offer them at least nominal independence in exchange for being pro-US and anti-Soviet, serving wider US geopolitical interests, hosting US military bases, etc.

    [Reply]

    Alat Reply:

    Yes, it was such a clear American war aim that it was put in writing BEFORE the U.S. entered the war. See the third paragraph of the Atlantic Charter of August 1941:

    Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them.

    That’s the writing on the wall of colonialism. And the colonized everywhere immediately knew it. Of course the actual implementation of decolonization varied according to the vagaries of the moment, and it’s not like the Cathedralist governments have to follow a perfectly straight line to their objectives. (How do you square “anti-colonialism” and “support for Israel”? You can’t, but the process of unraveling this, to Israel’s detriment, has been taking decades and is not yet fully completed).

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    fotrkd Reply:

    Come on – the whole thing is silly. It’s history through a decontextualised vacuum.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It would help if you were a bit more expansive about your disagreement here. The heart of it is not very clear to me. Given the incomparable horror story of FDR’s domestic policy program, why would we expect things to be basically different in the international relations arena?

    fotrkd Reply:

    Apologies, I wasn’t clear. My objection is to the Foseti piece in general. Not a single reference to Chamberlain(‘s ghost) as a motivating factor, but more specifically:

    – Churchill should have brokered a peace/surrender pact with Hitler whilst isolated (as though German expansion East wasn’t a foregone or known conclusion)
    – (implicitly) why did the US enter the war (with such futile/destructive objectives)?

    So UK peace; US non-intervention. Germany without a second front would have defeated Russia… and all of that would have benefited who exactly (Heidegger?)… Obviously the UK and US got pwned… I just see all of that taking us into Philip K. Dick territory.

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    Good Gnon you’re annoying. Answer me this: do you still believe in chance, even say once in a hundred and sixty million years?

    Anyway – Wake up! There is news.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “… do you still believe in chance, even say once in a hundred and sixty million years?” — That kind of idea can get people thrown out of the Qabbalists’ Guild.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Not really the kind of clarity I was hoping for. But let’s say, momentarily at least, the virtual controls the solid… If we hand on the virtual… is it Ice Cold in Alex? Or is that all nonsense too?

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    Alat writes:

    Yes, it was such a clear American war aim that it was put in writing BEFORE the U.S. entered the war. See the third paragraph of the Atlantic Charter of August 1941:

    It was drafted by the British and the US and agreed to by all the Allies – the USSR, the French, the Netherlands, etc. None of whom were interested in dismantling their empires. If you’re going to assert that this was a “clear American war aim”, you’ll have to assert that this was also a “clear war aim” of the British, the USSR, the French, the Netherlands, etc.

    Here’s some background to the charter:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_charter#Impact_on_imperial_powers

    The problems came not from Germany and Japan, but from those of the allies that had empires and which resisted self-determination—especially Britain, the Soviet Union and the Netherlands. Initially it appears that Roosevelt and Churchill had agreed that the third point of Charter was not going to apply to Africa and Asia.[17] However Roosevelt’s speechwriter Robert Sherwood noted that “it was not long before the people of India, Burma, Malaya, and Indonesia were beginning to ask if the Atlantic Charter extended also to the Pacific and to Asia in general.” With a war that could only be won with these allies, Roosevelt’s solution was to put some pressure on Britain but to postpone until after the war the issue of self-determination of the colonies.[18] In a speech a year after the Charter was published he avoided the issue of whether it applied to the rest of the world even though the Office of War Information draft of the speech had explicitly said it did.[19]

    It’s clear that there was nothing particularly “clear” about it and that it was not some specific “war aim” on par with the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan. Like I said, it had propaganda value and the US more or less stumbled into it out of postwar geopolitical circumstance.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Indeed. Churchill also emphasised the wriggle room. And, really, was the UK still fixated on preserving the Empire by 1941 (if so, we’d kind of fucked up already)?

    [Reply]

    Alat Reply:

    It was drafted by the British and the US and agreed to by all the Allies – the USSR, the French, the Netherlands, etc. None of whom were interested in dismantling their empires. If you’re going to assert that this was a “clear American war aim”, you’ll have to assert that this was also a “clear war aim” of the British, the USSR, the French, the Netherlands, etc.

    Not at all. It was a clear war aim of the Americans, and a nice development to the Soviets. The Britsh, the French, the Dutch, etc. were in no position to say anything. “No, we refuse! We prefer German occupation to the possibility of a future independent Guinea!”. Yeah, right.

    It’s clear that there was nothing particularly “clear” about it

    Your example proves my point. Roosevelt and Churchill may have “agreed that the third point of charter was not going to apply to africa and asia” – but that’s not what the Charter says. Commenter “John” below quotes some of the explaining Churchill had to do. But why did he have any explaining to do? Only because the Charter said what is said. The question becomes: why did the Charter include that paragraph? Did the British put it and refuse to accept its excision? No. That leaves us with the Americans as the culprit. And why did they want the Charter to include those words? The question answers itself.

    Like I said, it had propaganda value and the US more or less stumbled into it out of postwar geopolitical circumstance.

    Of course it had “propaganda value”. It was not a gun. But propaganda value directed to whom? To the colonial empires or to the colonized? Who was being courted by it? If you were a French colonist in Mali or a British one in Kenya, would you read it and think, “excellent, the future perspectives of the empire are ever more assured and I’m even more secure where I am”? If you were a Malian or Kenyan colonized, would you read it and think, “damn, my liberation is ever more distant”?

    Nor was it a “stumble”. It led directly to this (UN Charter, article 73):

    Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:

    b. to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement; .

    Of course this left enough wiggle room not to topple any governments in 1945. But the arrow of change has a very clear and irrevocable direction. Countries which tried to keep part of their empires had to argue, like the French in Algeria and the Portuguese in Angola and Portugal, that these were not colonies but integral parts of the motherland, so the Charter did not apply. An argument which was not believed even by those who made it. And who put this arrow in place? The Americans.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013 at 12:59 am Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    “The ‘Atlantic Charter’ Smokescreen
    History As A Press Release”

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v05/v05p203_Lutton.html

    “[Churchill] explained that “We had the idea when we met there — the President and I — that without attempting to draw final formal peace aims and war aims, it was necessary to give all peoples, and especially the oppressed and conquered peoples a simple rough and ready war-time statement of the goal towards which the British Commonwealth and the United States mean to make their way and thus make a way for others to march with them upon a road which will certainly be painful and may be long.””

    “Any notion that the provisions of the Atlantic Charter might apply to India and other British colonial possessions were quickly dashed. The British government’s position was clarified when on September 9, 1941, Churchill told the House of Commons:

    “The Joint Declaration does not try to explain how the broad principles proclaimed by it are to be applied to each and every case which will have to be dealt with when the war comes to an end. It would not be wise for us, at this moment, to be drawn into laborious discussions on how it is to fit all the manifold problems with which we shall be faced after the war…

    “The Joint Declaration does not qualify in any way the various statements of policy which have been made from time to time about the developments of constitutional government in India, Burma, and other parts of the British Empire… At the Atlantic meeting we have had in mind, primarily, the restoration of the sovereignty, self-government, and natural life of the States and nations of Europe now under the Nazi yoke… so that is quite a separate problem from progressive evolution of self-governing institutions in the regions and peoples which owe allegiance to the British Crown.”

    The Secretary of State for India, L.S. Amery, reported that the government did not consider the Atlantic Charter to be relevant to India and other parts of the Empire. Speaking at Manchester on November 20, 1941, Amery declared that while the Indian Congress “has demanded that India’s future constitution should be settled by a Constituent Assembly, this is an impossible demand,” and went on to deplore “the clamour for the application of the Atlantic Charter to India,” which he described as “a typical example of loose thinking.” /13

    The London News Chronicle pointed out that “What the British Government will gladly concede to Yugoslavia, it will withhold from the jewel of the British Empire.” The paper went on to characterize the Atlantic Charter as a “symbol of hypocrisy.””

    “Another of the British Prime Minister’s Parliamentary critics, Mr. MacGovern, called Churchill “a self-confessed advocate of aggression.” He went on to say that in his estimation “the Atlantic Charter was one of the grossest pieces of deceit in modern times,” because Churchill was prepared to apply it to countries overrun by Hitler “while the independent government which it proposes to give them is denied to territories that have been overrun in the past by Britain herself.””

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013 at 1:26 am Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    A nakedly self-interested power without any concern at all for the Cathedral would also have pursued a decolonization strategy.

    The US is a classic off-shore balancer and maritime power. As such, its interests are usually served by fragmentation and with the trade and financial opportunities it opens up. It’s the same reason the British aided in the original wave of decolonization in Latin America.

    The unconditional surrender of Japan also clearly worked in our national interest, and Germany could be argued. They are both not that far from being American client states, anyhow, and are solid trade partners and participants in the US-dominated national interest.

    It’s hard to look at a war where America took over the international system and smashed the two most immediate threats to it and say ‘America was tricked.’

    But this nakedly self-interested America (or even an America that was true to its own professed ideals) would have had Patton and MacArthur shaking hands at the Urals.

    But even there, having eastern Europe in chains was a huge propaganda and ideological advantage to the US in the Cold War.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:56 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Was the British leaving India actually good for India? I’m going to say it wasn’t good for Sri Lanka. Nor was democracy good for Sri Lanka. Probably not India either.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013 at 3:02 am Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    I’m like Steve Sailer. I judge people’s motives by what they do, not what they say or write.

    The Labor government that came to power in 1945 is described by Wikipedia thusly:

    Francis (1995) argues there was consensus both in the Labour’s national executive committee and at party conferences on a definition of socialism that stressed moral improvement as well as material improvement. The Attlee government was committed to rebuilding British society as an ethical commonwealth, using public ownership and controls to abolish extremes of wealth and poverty . . .

    [Clement Attlee’s] government set about implementing plans for the creation of a ‘cradle to grave’ welfare state . . .

    . . . After the unexpected Labour victory in the 1945 general election, Dalton wished to become Foreign Secretary, but instead the job was given to Ernest Bevin. Dalton, a highly skilled economist, became Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    An important goal for Dalton in 1945-47 was cheaper money–that is, low interest rates. He wanted to avoid the high interest rates and unemployment experienced after the First World War and to keep down the cost of nationalization. Dalton gained support for this cheaper money policy from John Maynard Keynes as well as officials from the Bank of England and the Treasury.[6]

    Budgetary policy under Dalton was strongly progressive, as characterised by policies such as increased food subsidies, heavily subsidised rents to council house tenants, the lifting of restrictions of house-building, the financing of national assistance and family allowances, and extensive assistance to rural communities and Development Areas.[7] Dalton was also responsible for funding the introduction of Britain’s universal family allowances scheme, doing so “with a song in my heart,” as he later put . . .

    . . . Deputy Prime Minister Morrison supervised the major Labour programme of nationalising industry. As Lord President chaired the Committee on the Socialization of Industries, he followed the model that was already in place of setting up public corporations such as the BBC in broadcasting (1927). The owners of corporate stock were given government bonds, and the government took full ownership of each affected company, consolidating it into a national monopoly. The management remained the same, only now they became civil servants working for the government . . .

    And so on and so forth. Communism? No, national socialism, which is obviously a necessary step toward the former.

    Start here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_Attlee#Domestic_policy) and follow the obvious links, many of which quickly disappear down a rabbit’s hole of communist-sympathizing union leaders. (Ernest Bevin, the Foreign Secretary under Attlee, founded the TGWU.)

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    What does this have to do with anything?

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    It doesn’t follow from the fact socialism existed outside of Moscow (and as a central tenet of the Labour Party), and a bankrupt UK embarked on a policy of nationalisation after the war that the UK’s war effort was shaped in any way by, or to further, Communism. It’s not the same thing. You’d be as well to argue that Germany was subject to “communist influence” when he signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – it was in Russia’s interests after all, and look – Hitler led a national socialist party! Those sneaky commies…

    In practice, the only difference between communism and national socialism is that the latter limits the beneficiaries of progressive policy to a carefully defined group. From Wikipedia: In the poor country that was the Weimar Republic of the early 1930s, the Nazi Party realised their socialist policies with food and shelter for the unemployed and the homeless—later recruited to the Brownshirt Sturmabteilung (SA – Storm Detachment).[108]

    And I think we’re arguing at cross-purposes here. I’m just suggesting (as I think are others) that it’s not far-fetched to believe there was communist (little-c) influence among the allied powers. Were there Communists (aka, members of the Russian party) among the allies? No, and I think that’s what you’re arguing against. But why do you find it so hard to believe—especially in light of the progressive policies of the U.S. and U.K.—that among top brass, there were people highly sympathetic to communism (little-c)?

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    And in the end, what does it matter if capital-C Communists were influencing allied policy? Having allied leaders who were sympathetic to communist ideals would have the same effect, in practice.

    fotrkd Reply:

    OK. Can we just say this particular rabbit hole wasn’t one I fancied going down (it’s not like there’s a dearth of them)? I agree with Lesser Bull’s comment:

    It’s hard to look at a war where America took over the international system and smashed the two most immediate threats to it and say ‘America was tricked.’

    And therefore struggle to see the value in taking this more speculative path – which isn’t to say there isn’t any.

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013 at 3:09 am Reply | Quote
  • Konkvistador Says:

    @Thales

    What is the difference between Obama and the ex-KGB agent pictured? One is a communist, the other is Putin. Russia today is probably the least communist (in the Moldbuggian sense) European country.

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    Yes, I know. It was a joke — don’t read it that seriously. Putin may not be a Communist, but I still have reservations about him running US foreign policy…

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    Isn’t your argument against the idea that communist influence existed among the allied powers? It doesn’t seem that far-fetched to me given that immediately after the war the allied powers began pursuing policies that were only a few short steps from communism.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    It doesn’t follow from the fact socialism existed outside of Moscow (and as a central tenet of the Labour Party), and a bankrupt UK embarked on a policy of nationalisation after the war that the UK’s war effort was shaped in any way by, or to further, Communism. It’s not the same thing. You’d be as well to argue that Germany was subject to “communist influence” when he signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – it was in Russia’s interests after all, and look – Hitler led a national socialist party! Those sneaky commies…

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013 at 8:15 am Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    Alat,

    You can’t have it both ways. The Atlantic Charter was drafted by Churchill and the Brits and the US and agreed to by various empires. If you’re going to assert that this was a “clear American war aim”, you’ll have to assert that this was also a “clear war aim” of the British, the USSR, the French, the Netherlands, etc.

    The fact that Roosevelt and Churchill and the Allies talked and behaved as if the third point of the charter didn’t mean what it appears to mean today means that it was far from a “clear war aim”.

    The propaganda was directed at the entire world. It was a “world” war after all. The Germans were claiming to liberate and defend Europe from Soviet domination, and the Japanese were claiming to liberate Asians from European colonialism. While the Allies were claiming that Germany and Japan were actually bad guys after “world domination” and intended to colonize and enslave the entire planet, and that they, the Allies, were good guys who were defending against them. If you’re trying to convince a person that someone else is bad because he’s trying to colonize that person, you can’t exactly turn around and say to that person that you’re in favor of colonizing him.

    It’s good you bring up the postwar colonial situation since historical context is critical here. You can’t just narrowly focus on words or statements completely divorced from historical context. After the war, the French fought an 8 year war, the First Indochina War, to try to keep French Indochina, which was considered the jewel of the French Empire. The US and the Brits backed the French. Towards the end of the war, the US was financing something like 80% of the French war effort. Towards the end of the war when it looked like French Indochina would fall, the US seriously considered direct military intervention to aid the French, and urged the Brits and others to intervene. They were hesitant, however, since they believed intervention might provoke direct Chinese intervention and wider Soviet and Chinese support. This was in 1954, after the Korean War which had just ended in 1953 in a stalemate after Chinese intervention. They also feared that intervention would just trigger greater indigenous support for the nationalists and communists. In these circumstances, the US reasonably believed that intervening would result in wider conflict and a stalemate at best, like it just had during the Korean War, which had cost 40,000 American lives and 100,000 American wounded. The Korean War had also depended on indigenous support, as most of the dead and wounded on the anti-communist side were South Korean. The US had intervened on behalf of Korean independence and anti-communism. Intervening for the French would have meant there’d be less indigenous support hence less indigenous cannon fodder. It would have meant more US casualties after just ending a 3 year war that ended where it started and resulted in over 100,000 US casualties. In these circumstances, the US figured it’d be better to try to just put some local nationalists in power and offer them at least nominal independence so it wouldn’t go communist. Like I said, this was the result of postwar geopolitics.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 4th, 2013 at 4:15 am Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    Comment was aimed at fotrkd, further up.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 5th, 2013 at 3:42 am Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    Oddly enough, in an interesting bit of synchronicity, due to this thread I revisited some histories I hadn’t read in ages last night before bed on the Viet Minh and the Indochina Wars, and I woke up this morning to news of General Giap’s death.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 5th, 2013 at 4:21 am Reply | Quote

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