“It Can Happen Here” Department
2016 Election, Authoritarianism, Bernie Sanders, Communism, Donald Trump, It Can Happen Here
Noah Rothman, in Commentary, is appalled at the fact that we have two fringe candidates risen to prominence who are both willing to praise authoritarian Communism.
Within the span of 24 hours, in equally reprehensible violations of every classically liberal norm for which America stands, two prominent â€œoutsiderâ€ presidential candidates took to national television to rehabilitate and legitimize thuggish and authoritarian communist regimes. …
On Wednesday, Sanders was confronted with his own obsequious praise for the repressive communism practiced in Cuba. Univisionâ€™s anchors asked how he might atone to Floridaâ€™s voters for those comments. Many South Floridians remember life under communism â€” the real thing; not the Potemkin facades with which Sanders is so impressed â€” and they deserved an apology. The Vermont senator declined the opportunity. Instead, he said that the United States was â€œwrong to try to invade Cubaâ€ and to overthrow militant socialist governments in Latin America. â€œThroughout the history of our relationship with Latin America weâ€™ve operated under the so-called Monroe Doctrine, and that said the United States had the right do anything that they wanted to do in Latin America,â€ Sanders asserted.
Either Bernie Sanders is remarkably ignorant, morally obtuse, or he believes his supporters are fools.
In the increasingly socialized American education system with which Sanders is so enamored, the study of American history has surely deteriorated. They do, however, still teach the Monroe Doctrine in public schools. And they teach it as it is: the doctrine that held the United States would oppose European intervention and influence in the Western Hemisphere; not the perverted Howard Zinn version of history to which Sanders and his fellow travelers subscribe.
Sandersâ€™ desire to re-litigate the Cold War is all consuming. Clearly, the manâ€™s formative period as a mock revolutionary in the late 1960s still informs virtually all of his political beliefs today. Sanders is still waging a war against Henry Kissinger, and he is still denouncing Eisenhowerâ€™s CIA, which played an activist role in the ouster of democratically elected regimes in Iran and Guatemala â€“ operations that served the much greater goal of containing Soviet communist influence. But Sandersâ€™ desire to lump together these actions with the ouster of revolutionary, unelected governments in places like Nicaragua and Cuba is the height of irresponsibility. To ascribe to these regimes legitimacy is to consign their people â€“ and future generations imprisoned by authoritarian socialist autarchism â€“ to a nightmarish prison. …
When asked about [comments made in a Playboy interview years ago, criticizing Gorbachev’s lack of firmness, and obliquely praising the “strength” of the Communist government that forcibly suppressed the Tiananmen Square demonstrations], Trump insisted that he was not â€œendorsingâ€ the vile murder of an untold numbers of Chinese democracy protesters. â€œI said that is a strong, powerful government that put it down with strength. And then they kept down the riot,â€ Trump said. â€œIt was a horrible thing. It doesnâ€™t mean at all I was endorsing it.â€
Two observations: First, if you approve of the outcome of these brutal tactics, you do not genuinely believe them to be â€œa horrible thing.â€ Second, the notion that the Tiananmen uprising was a â€œriotâ€ is sickening. These were liberal activists who had erected under the omnipresent gaze of Chairman Mao a replica of the Statue of Liberty. These were men and women willing to lay down their lives for the cause of democracy. Not only did Trump embrace the outcome of the Tiananmen massacre, he wanted to see the Soviets exert the same ruthless force in order to preserve a system that had killed tens of millions and enslaved half the world. That he would dare consider himself worthy of the Oval Office after such repulsive comments â€” or that a significant subset of the American public would endorse his presidential bid â€” exposes a crisis of purpose in the United States like nothing this country has faced in half a century.
Read the whole thing.