Thursday, April 18, 2002

The latest issue of the UK Spectator is out. There's an extraordinary piece by Andrew Alexander entitled 'The Soviet Threat Was Bogus'. It is so wrong on so many levels I am staggered. The article has as its central premise that the formation of NATO was to counteract an expansionist Soviet Union that simply did not exist. It states that:

Had the Russians, though themselves devastated by the war, invaded the West, they would have had a desperate battle to reach and occupy the Channel coast against the Allies, utilising among other things a hastily rearmed Wehrmacht. But, in any case, what then? With a negligible Russian navy, the means of invading Britain would somehow have had to be created. Meanwhile Britain would have been supplied with an endless stream of men and material from the United States, making invasion virtually hopeless.

And even if the Soviets, ignoring the A-bomb, had conquered Europe from Norway to Spain against all odds, they would have been left facing an implacable United States across more than 2,000 miles of ocean ? the ultimate unwinnable war. In short, there was no Soviet military danger. Stalin was not insane.

He then goes on to characterise the invasions of Hungary and Czechosolvakia as safeguarding Russia's territorial integrity. Apparently the Soviets were so afraid of the West's revanchist tendencies that Poland had to be subjugated to avoid revenge for Katyn and to forestall another German invasion through the Danzig corridor. He continues:

The invasion of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968 were brutal acts, but were aimed at protecting Moscow's buffer zone - much as the United States had always protected her interests in Central and South America. The same may be said of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980 (as a result of which, with the help of the CIA, the Taleban came into existence). In none of these cases was there a territorial threat to the West.

The whole article is permeated with that greasy metaphysical taint of moral relativism that passes for rational analysis. Alexander states that the Cold War was not some "Manichaean" struggle between the White Hats and the Black Hats, but merely two lumbering behemoths in thrall to their miltary-industrial complexes butting heads along ten thousand miles of borders and flashpoints, threatening to bring us all to nuclear damnation in their clumsiness.

But it was a struggle between Good and Evil. And to posit that, simply because at the end of WW II Russia could not have promptly invaded and defeated the West, ergo it could never have done so (moreover that it never desired to), is counter to all sensible reading of the subject. What are we to make of the correlation of forces between NATO and the Warsaw Pact? Why did the peace-loving Soviet military build up and field such an overwhelming superiority in men and materiél if not as an invading force? It is an axiom of military affairs that an attacker requires several times the forces of a defender to prevail.

One thing, and one thing only, prevented Soviet tanks from reaching Paris, and that was the knowledge that any such attempt was likely to involve a nuclear conflagration. Alexander does the brave men and women who faced down the Soviet monster a grave disservice by touting them as 'Jack D. Rippers.'


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