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« Indoctrination U | Main | The Ford Files »

11 July 2008

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Paul Mitchinson

An excellent article. The ARA is one of those events in US history that never seem to get mentioned in the history textbooks.

Another reason why it tended (and tends) to get ignored on the Left is that the appalling living conditions in Russia were blamed on the ongoing blockade of Soviet Russia by the Entente powers. (Contemporary comparisons with Cuba and Iraq come to mind.) Here’s a priceless quote from a 1921 letter by Bertrand Russell to Henry C. Emery:

“It is impossible to obtain medicines, disinfectants, or soap (except of very bad quality and in very small quantities), because of the blockade; consequently millions of Russians have died of typhus and other diseases, because the comfortable plutocrats of other countries consider every inhabitant of a communist country deserving of death by slow torture .... Meanwhile education is starved, vitality lowered, and civilization imperiled throughout the European and Asiatic Russia, not by the fault of the Bolsheviks, but by the fault of rich foreigners who cause Russia to be blockaded and exhausted by civil and external wars.” (See the Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell)

A foolish argument, perhaps – and one that shows little understanding of the new regime in Moscow. But it is an argument that has superficial plausibility, and which continues to be employed in more recent political fights.

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Washington Decoded