Monday, April 24, 2006

Point 11: critical openness

I know that some will probably regard this as further evidence of guilt-by-association, but White Sun of the Desert - a righty-blog - says the following (in response to the Euston Manifesto).

....One of the most unattractive parts of left-wing politics to anyone on the right is the willingness of some to view history through the prism of ideology. One of my pet hates is the regularity with which left-wing commentators criticise US foreign policy in the 50 years since WWII in complete isolation of the geopolitical situation in place at the time. It is not uncommon to find a lengthy newspaper column preaching the evils of say, US intervention in Indonesia, with ne’er a mention of the USSR, China, or the Cold War.

Any reader who did not know better would think from what is printed by many left-wing commentators that the US just rocked up in a boat one day and started shelling Hanoi for fun, and they supported Suharto because the US just liked killing Communists. They would have no clue that the US had recently lost 34,000 of its men defending South Korea from an unprovoked Communist invasion from the North, backed and aided by the Soviet Union and China.

Nor would they know that the Soviet Union had in the decade earlier been actively encouraging Chinese forces to intervene in support of Communist revolutions in South East Asia, and that China had done so on several occasions.

That’s not to say that many of the US policies during the Cold War should not be condemned as being counterproductive, often immoral, and sometimes barbaric.

But to remove US actions from the Cold War context is to remove the ultimate aims of the US’ adoption of these policies from the picture entirely, leaving the reader to be appalled at the means only. It is like discussing in detail the RAF’s bombing of Dresden in isolation of the fact that Britain was at war with Germany at the time. Whereas historians do, and should, argue over whether the means of achieving Germany’s surrender by bombing Dresden was correct or morally sound, they at least do so on the basis that Britain’s ultimate aim of Germany’s surrender was real, and it was morally right. No serious historian writes a paper on the bombing of Dresden in the greater context of the UK’s history of military imperialism....."

(via Pootergeek's comments)

No comments: