November 28, 2016

Castro and the left’s collective denial

Castro and the left’s collective denial

William Walter explores why left-wing extremists escape much of the vitriol and criticism their right-wing counterparts are subjected to.

In January 1992 Robert S. McNamara, who served as US Defence Secretary during the Cuban Missile crisis, attended a meeting chaired by Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba. It was only at this meeting, 30 years after the event, that McNamara learned 162 nuclear warheads, including 90 tactical warheads, had already been deployed on the island at the time of the missile crisis. McNamara was dumfounded. He asked for the translation to be repeated. He then gathered his thoughts and said: “Mr President, I have three questions for you: number one, did you know the nuclear warheads were there? Number two, if you did, would you have recommended to [Nikita] Khruschev in the face of a US attack that he use them? Number three, if he had used them, what do you think would have happened?”. Castro, seemingly irritated by the naivety of McNamara’s questioning, triumphantly replied: “Number one, I knew they were there. Number two, I would not have recommended to Khruschev, I did recommend to Khruschev that they be used. Number three, what would have happened to Cuba? It would have been totally destroyed.” McNamara was astonished. He was sat before a man who was prepared to foment nuclear war between the world’s superpowers, and in doing so sacrifice the lives, not just of his own citizens, but those of untold millions elsewhere. And all in the name of what?  The preservation of a misguided ideology that time and again history has shown to only deliver economic misery and hardship to those living within its clutches.

Besides ushering the world to within a hair’s breadth of nuclear apocalypse, Castro also committed a multitude of other sins, ranging from sponsoring terrorism to ordering the torture and extra-judicial killing of countless political dissidents.

The long list of crimes makes the collective outpouring of grief by many on the left even more repugnant. When asked to comment on the Cuban leader’s death, Jeremy Corbyn heralded Castro as “a huge figure in all our lives”. And when pressed on his human rights abuses, Corbyn was quick to white wash the darker chapters of the Cuban leader’s life, explaining: “There are problems of excesses by all regimes”. Corbyn’s sentiments were echoed by a chorus of other left-wing champions, including: Vladimir Putin, Aytollah Khameni, Gerry Adams and George Galloway.

But the left’s blind adoration extends beyond Fidel Castro to other left-wing luminaries. In 2008, while appearing on the BBC’s This Week, Dianne Abbott argued Chairman Mao “on balance did more good than harm”. No, you’re not mistaken – she’s talking about the same Chairman Mao whose ‘Great Leap Forward’ resulted in the deaths of some 45 million people. Abbott’s remarks were jokingly dismissed by Andrew Neill and Michael Portillo.

The left’s treatment of the likes of Mao and Castro are in sharp contrast to those of their right-wing counterparts. Take as an example former Chilean President, Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet was a dictator, who presided over numerous crimes, including the deaths and forced disappearances of some 3,095 of his own people. But, equally, the structural reforms and economic reorientation introduced by the Chilean dictator led to the sustained period of economic growth, dubbed the ‘Miracle of Chile’ by Milton Friedman, and ultimately helped transform Chile into one of South America’s most successful economies. To be clear, no amount of economic prosperity could ever justify the unlawful killing of a country’s citizens. But while Pinochet’s actions were unconscionable, they are undoubtedly less than the crimes of, say, Mao Tse-Tung. And yet, were someone to dress up as Pinochet they would be widely condemned, whereas if they were to dress up as Chairman Mao nobody would bat an eyelid.

Francisco Franco is another, who, like Pinochet, elicits strong negative emotions, particularly from the left. While this anger and bitterness is unquestionably justified, it fails to explain the collective denial many on the left have towards equivalent communist or socialist dictators.

But the precise explanation for this contrast in attitudes is not immediately obvious. One plausible explanation is that because of the Second World War, fascism has had a more pronounced impact on the national psyche than communism. In post-war Europe, men, women and children were all too aware of the horror and devastation fascist Nazi Germany had visited on the continent. To this day, school children learn how the West, together with communist Russia, were heroically able to fight off the Nazi menace, put an end to the holocaust and return peace and democracy to the streets of Europe.

The Warsaw Pact, together with finer details, such as the pogroms and gulags of Stalinist Russia, form an inconvenient distraction from a broader narrative of the West allying itself with Russia to defeat their mutual German adversaries. Put simply, Pol-Pot’s Killing Fields have less resonance with the West because they had less of a direct impact.

Perhaps our education system needs to do more to remind people that the horrors of communism are no less brutal than those of fascism, and in many cases more so. Maybe then people like Jeremy Corbyn will consider his words more carefully before praising the likes of the Cuban dictator.

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William Walter
William Walter is the Founder and Editor of Comment Central. He began his career in Parliament working for three Conservative MPs — the then Shadow Minister for Universities & Skills, Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Opposition Treasury whip, James Duddridge MP, and former Shadow Pensions Minister, Nigel Waterson MP. In addition to his Parliamentary work he has also written for a range of publications, including: The Daily Telegraph, City AM, Metro and Conservative Home.
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. and

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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