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Reader comment on item: Unleash the Iranian Opposition[, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq]
in response to reader comment: Fact or Fiction

Submitted by Pat (United States), Jul 21, 2007 at 13:55

Point taken. A rivalry developed. By the time the Russian Revolution occurred, Americans were already turning against Wilsonian policies. You cannot call the fear of communism in the US neurotic unless you think there was no danger posed. Western Europe had been gravely weakened by the first world war and the Soviets had very real aspirations toward global dominance at a time when America was very much isolationist, for which America was roundly criticized by Europeans who themselves wouldn't deal with the dictators on their own doorstep. The pogroms in Russia and the nationalization of industries cannot be overlooked or brushed off. Hitler and Stalin had a non-aggression pact and Stalin stood by as Hitler overran the rest of Europe. America didn't cause any of this.

The Russians' primary rival was Britain. FDR saw himself as the friendly mediator and was more trusting of Stalin than was Winston Churchill. The commander of the allied forces, General Eisenhower, believed there was a "special bond" between the US and the Soviet Union and that "there was no cause to regard the future with pessimism".

There may have been a fear of Communism in the US but it didn't affect FDR in the slightest. He brushed off those who came to him with proof of Soviet treachery. He disregarded those who came to him with what they considered to be evidence that the Soviets had massacred 15,000 Polish officers in the Katyn Forest. Just two weeks before he died, FDR suppressed the publication by a naval officer of an article suggesting that Russia might turn out to be a greater menace than Nazi Germany. The admiral who wrote the article was shipped off to Samoa. At Yalta, FDR allowed Stalin to make agreements he had no intention of keeping, such as "free and unfettered elections" in the eastern countries (when such elections had never even been held in Russia) and made it known to Stalin that he was "determined that there shall be no breach between ourselves and the Soviet Union". FDR told Stalin that the US most likely would withdraw its troops within two years of the end of the war. He felt Americans would not sanction their extended presence in Europe and he was unwilling to repeat Wilson's experience.

That's a heck of a way for the US to start a cold war.

There are always a few military commanders who want to keep a war going. Some Americans wanted to go into Iraq after routing the Iraqis from Kuwait. They were held back by their own generals and by civilian commanders. MacArthur wanted to go into China. Harry Truman pulled him back. To blame America for the Cold War is silly. Soviet diplomacy is a direct descendant of Bolshevik diplomacy and both had one overriding principle: hostility toward the West.

Stalin was threatened by capitalism itself. He needed "friendly governments" as a buffer between Russia and Germany. FDR and Churchill wanted free countries. The resulting conflict was inevitable. It became a cold war for one reason: nuclear weapons made WWIII inconceivable.

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