Andrew Bacevich Politics

Andrew Bacevich: Who Are You Calling Fascist?

Few, it seems, can resist the temptation to press their particular piece of the past into service as a vehicle for interpreting the here-and-now, even when doing so means oversimplifying and distorting the present.
[Alisdare Hickson / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Andrew Bacevich | TomDispatch

Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History at Yale University, is a scholar of surpassing brilliance.  His 2010 book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin chronicles in harrowing detail the de facto collaboration of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union that resulted in the murder of millions of innocents.  On any bookshelf reserved for accounts that reveal essential truths of our past, Bloodlands deserves a place of honor.  It’s a towering achievement. 

I just wish Professor Snyder would stick to history.

According to an old chestnut, the past is a foreign country.  Even so, similarities between then and now frequently interest historians more than differences.  Few, it seems, can resist the temptation to press their particular piece of the past into service as a vehicle for interpreting the here-and-now, even when doing so means oversimplifying and distorting the present.  Historians of twentieth-century Europe, Snyder among them, seem particularly susceptible to this temptation.  Synder’s mid-May op-ed in the New York Times offers a case in point.  “We Should Say It,” the title advises. “Russia Is Fascist.” 

Introducing the F-word into any conversation is intended to connote moral seriousness.  Yet all too often, as with its first cousin “genocide,” it serves less to enlighten than to convey a sense of repugnance combined with condemnationSuch is the case here.

Depicting Vladimir Putin as a fascist all but explicitly puts today’s Russia in the same category as the murderous totalitarian regimes that Snyder indicts in Bloodlands. Doing so, in effect, summons the United States and its NATO allies to wage something akin to total war in Europe. After all, this country should no more compromise with the evil of present-day Russia than it did with the evil of Hitler’s Germany during World War II or Stalin’s Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

For Snyder, therefore, the job immediately at hand is not just the honorable one of assisting the Ukrainians in defending themselves.  The real task — the obligation, even — is to decisively defeat Russia, ensuring nothing less than democracy’s very survival.  “As in the 1930s,” he writes, “democracy is in retreat around the world and fascists have moved to make war on their neighbors.”

As a consequence, “if Russia wins in Ukraine,” he insists, the result won’t simply be the brutal destruction of one imperfect democracy, but “a demoralization for democracies everywhere.” A Kremlin victory would affirm “that might makes right, that reason is for the losers, that democracies must fail.”  If Russia prevails, in other words, “fascists around the world will be comforted.”  And “if Ukraine does not win” — and winning, Snyder implies, will require regime change in Moscow — then “we can expect decades of darkness.”

So once again, as in the 1930s, it’s time to choose sides. To paraphrase a recent American president, you are either with us or you’re with the fascists.

Who Are You Calling Fascist?

Allow me to confess that I was once susceptible to this sort of either/or binary thinking as an organizing principle of global politics. I grew up during the Cold War, when bipolarity — a U.S.-led Free World pitted against a Soviet-controlled communist bloc — offered a conceptual framework that any patriotic adolescent could grasp.  Emphasizing clarity at the expense of empirical precision, such an us-against-them approach allowed little room for nuance.  And as it happened, Americans paid dearly for the misjudgments that ensued thanks to just such thinking, the disastrous war in Vietnam being an especially vivid example.  Ultimately, of course, our country did indeed “win” the Cold War, even if we have yet to tally up the cumulative costs of victory.

With an ample display of moral outrage, Professor Snyder appears intent on resurrecting that framework.  By greenlighting this piece for their op-ed pages, the editors of the New York Times implicitly endowed it with establishment-approved respectability. In this way, the remembered politics of Europe in the 1930s finds renewed relevance as a source of instruction for the present moment. 

How Americans responded then offers a model for how the United States should respond today, albeit with a sense of urgency rather than the foot-dragging that characterized U.S. policy prior to Pearl Harbor.  Put simply, stopping fascism has once again emerged as an imperative surpassing all others in importance.  The climate crisis?  That can surely wait.  Problems on the border with Mexico?  Talk to me later.  A never-ending pandemic?  Just roll up your sleeve and follow Dr. Fauci’s orders.  Recurring school massacres?  Blame the Second Amendment.

“Russia Is Fascist” offers a definitive rebuttal to the Trump-promoted revival of “America First.” It’s a call to action, with a prospective anti-fascist crusade serving as an antidote to the setbacks, disappointments, and sense of decline that have haunted Washington’s foreign-policy establishment since the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11.  

In a broader sense, targeting fascism may fill a vacuum that dates from the very end of the Cold War, one that the subsequent Global War on Terror never adequately addressed. Finally, America again has an Enemy Worthy of the Name.  Vladimir Putin’s criminal aggression in Ukraine seemingly validates the idea that “great-power competition” defines the emerging world order, even if including Putin’s Russia in the ranks of legitimate great powers requires a distinctly elastic definition of that term.  Nonetheless, given the complications that the United States encountered when taking on Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milošević, Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, and sundry other villains, a rivalry with Russia appears not only familiar and straightforward, but almost welcome. 

On that score, the issue immediately at hand is as much psychological as geopolitical.  After all, if the course of the war in Ukraine has made one thing abundantly clear, it’s that Russia’s heavily armed but strikingly inept armed forces pose no more than a negligible conventional threat to the rest of Europe.  Military effectiveness requires more than a capacity to reduce cities to rubble.  So if Putin represents the latest reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, he’s a Hitler saddled with Benito Mussolini’s maladroit legions.  

Yet declaring Russia to be the embodiment of fascism revises the stakes.  For Professor Snyder, Russia’s lack of military prowess matters less than Vladimir Putin’s twisted worldview.  Centered on a “cult of the dead,” a “myth of a past golden age,” and a belief in the “healing violence” of war, Putin’s outlook expresses the essence of Russian-style fascism.  Exposing that outlook as false is a precondition for destroying the Putin mystique.  Only then, Snyder writes, will the myths he has perpetrated “come crashing down.”

This, for Professor Snyder and for many Washington insiders, describes the actual stakes in Ukraine.  Rather than merely regional, they are nothing short of cosmic.  Defeating Putin will enable the United States to refurbish its own tarnished myths, while safely tucking away our own sanctification of violence as an instrument of liberation.  It will restore America to the pinnacle of global power.

There are, however, at least two problems with this optimistic scenario. The first relates to our own ostensible susceptibility to a homegrown variant of fascism, the second to tagging Putinism as an existential threat.  Both divert attention from more pressing issues that ought to command the attention of the American people.  

To the Barricades?

Is Donald Trump a fascist?  My own inclination is to see him as a narcissistic fraud and swindler.  That said, from the very moment he emerged as a major political figure, critics cited the f-word to describe him.  Let the testimony of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman stand in for similar commentary offered by so many others.  Donald Trump “is indeed a fascist,” Krugman wrote in January 2021, “an authoritarian willing to use violence to achieve his racial nationalist goals.” It was obviously incumbent upon Americans to resist him as “appeasement is what got us to where we are. It has to stop, now.” 

While Krugman’s counsel is crystal clear, let us consider the possibility that it may already be too late.  That Trump or some Trump clone could win the presidency in 2024 looms as a real, if depressing, prospect.  Indeed, his supporters may well gain control of Congress (and several statehouses) in this year’s elections as well. 

Should that occur, will Krugman (and Snyder) find that the United States has followed Russia in succumbing to 1930s-style fascism?  If so, with what implications for the legitimacy of the existing political order?  Will resistance to Trumpism then become a civic obligation for righteous citizens intent on exercising their own right to bear arms?  Paul Krugman’s reference to the dangers of further appeasement would suggest that the answer to that question must be yes.  After all, in the American political lexicon few sins are more heinous than appeasement.

Yet down that road lies revolution, counterrevolution, and the end of the American republic.  Recklessly unleashing charges of fascism could inadvertently pave the way for just such an outcome.

As an epithet, fascism retains considerable emotional appeal.  As a term of analysis applied to contemporary American politics, however, it possesses limited utility.  Talk may be cheap, but baseless talk can also be dangerously subversive — a concern equally applicable to those who level preposterous charges about communists and socialists overrunning the halls of government in Washington. 

The truth is that we don’t live in the 1930s.  Our world is not that world.  Whether for good or ill, the United States of that era has long since vanished. 

Professor Snyder’s assertion that “democracy is in retreat around the world” posits a model of history that has two gears: forward and reverse.  In fact, history has multiple gears and moves in various directions, many of them unanticipated and unrelated to the prospects of democracy. So far at least, no algorithm exists to forecast where it will head next.  

What threatens the United States today is not fascism but the continuing erosion of a domestic political consensus without which democratic governance becomes difficult, if not impossible.  Surprisingly few politicians appear willing to acknowledge the extent of that danger. Instead, passions unleashed by issues like critical race theory or guaranteed access to assault rifles take over center stage, shrinking the space left for mutual understanding and accommodation.

Considered in this light, embarking on an anti-fascist crusade on the eastern fringes of Europe is unlikely to restore a sense of the common good at home.  Waging war on behalf of Ukrainian democracy is more likely to serve as a diversion, an excuse to avoid matters of more immediate relevance to the waning health of our democracy. On that score, the tens of billions of dollars that an otherwise gridlocked Congress has appropriated to arm Ukraine speak volumes about the nation’s actual political priorities.

Ukrainians need, want, and deserve U.S. support in ejecting the Russian invader.  But the fate of the American experiment will not be determined in Kyiv.  It will be decided right here in the United States of America. When Joe Biden first announced his intention to oust Donald Trump from office, he seemed to understand that.  He presented himself as someone voters could count on to bring Americans together and reverse our all-too-obvious decline.  With this country having arrived at an “inflection point,” he vowed to guide it along “a path of hope and light” enabling it “to heal, to be reborn, and to unite.”

At some level, Biden surely meant those words, which implied that repairing the domestic disarray Trump had fostered should receive priority attention. But the Biden presidency has not yielded healing, rebirth, and unity – far from it.  Now facing the prospect of major losses in this year’s congressional elections and long odds in the 2024 presidential contest, Biden appears intent on employing a familiar tactic in a desperate effort to salvage his political fortunes: using problems abroad to distract attention from challenges at home. 

Russia poses one such problem, even if one that policymakers and pundits join in exaggerating, as if criminal misconduct automatically connotes existential threat.  Hovering in the background is a much larger problem: China.  Given a sufficiently loose definition, it, too, can be described as fascist. So the Biden administration’s confrontational attitude regarding Russia finds its counterpart in an equally hard-nosed policy toward China.  

Downplaying the realities of Sino-American mutual interdependence and the imperative of cooperation on issues of common concern such as climate change, the administration appears hellbent on conjuring up yet another axis of evil as a rationale for a fresh round of U.S. muscle-flexing.  Once again, as when 9/11 provided a spurious rationale for concocting the previous axis (not to speak of invading Afghanistan and then Iraq), the urge to ignore complexity and downplay risk is sadly apparent.   

In Washington, the conviction that military might adroitly applied will restore the United States to a position of global primacy has tacitly found renewed favor.  The ostensible lessons of an ongoing conflict in which U.S. forces are participating on a proxy basis superseded any lessons of the recently concluded Afghan War where the United States failed outright.  Rarely has the selective memory of the national security apparatus been so vividly on display.  Much the same can be said about the Congress, where a no-questions-asked enthusiasm for underwriting the Ukraine War has provided a handy excuse for simply writing off the entire 20-year misadventure in Afghanistan.

The truth is that neither Russian “fascism” nor its Chinese variant poses a significant danger to American democracy, which is actually threatened from within.  Joe Biden once appeared to grasp this reality, even if he now finds it politically expedient to pretend otherwise. 

Our salvation lies not in flinging around the f-word to justify more wars, but in rediscovering a different lexicon.  To start with, consider this precept to which Americans were once devoted:  Charity begins at home.  Charity, as in tolerance, compassion, generosity, and understanding: that’s where the preservation of our democracy ought to begin.

Copyright 2022 Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His most recent book is After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed.

35 comments

  1. Thank you for this excellent analysis!!! As much as I like Professor Snyder’s work, all that is discussed here needed to be said/written. I admire the depth, insight and careful considerations in this article and only wish they would appear alongside Mr. Snyder’s. Mr. Bacevich’s words sum it up best: “The truth is that neither Russian ‘fascism’ nor its Chinese variant poses a significant danger to American democracy, which is actually threatened from within. Joe Biden ones appeared to grasp this reality, even if he now finds it politically expedient to pretend otherwise.” Mic drop.

  2. Thank you Andrew! Probably the sanest post i have seen so far …
    When terms like “fascist” or “racist” are thrown around with abandon at everyone and everything, they lose all meaning, feed the very things they supposedly decry, and keep us from seeing things as they really are in all their complexity …. In a country that supposedly worships “individuality” – all consideration of actual “individuals” is lost as we lump all sorts of folks together under a label and deal with them thusly … I have grown weary of this – it is not amenable even to discussion, let alone any kind of collective resolution – how sad … when we can lump folks together for purposes of condemnation or even victim hood – but not bring them together for purposes of healing …

  3. An interesting opinion. I do agree with his assessment of Donald Trump. However, Trump the charlatan has successfully roused the fear, hatred, racism, fascist intent, mysogeny and a host of other ills that have festered in the citizenry of this modern day Sparta for centuries. Trump will disappear, but the forces that made him successful will not.

    As for Biden, his efforts have in many ways come to nil. But not, as the author implies, for lack of trying. He has tried mightily, sometimes even to the detriment of the ends he wishes to achieve. The failure of his administration is based on the failures designed into our nation from its first birth pangs.

    1. Oh Please. Bacevich nails it. Biden has half a century of political action and policy that we can all look back on. He has been a major cog in the machine that has driven us to where we are today. Now just a doddering version of his corrupt self, he is exactly what Power wanted him to be. No excuses, no sympathy.

    2. @William Sterr
      Joe Biden is a disgusting pig. The only things he has ever tried to do are evil, like his racist crime bill that put massive numbers of non-white people in prison, and like voting for every war when he was in Congress.

      You Blueanon people are more dangerous than Qanon people, because your representatives fill Congress and the White House, while Qanon people are limited to a very small handful.

  4. Skip Bacevich’s concluding paragraph is honorable and valid. However, with regard to small ‘d’ democracy, the prospects, IMHO, are close to the nature of what our founders knew from their ‘deep reading’ of Roman history — that the “Disease of Republics is Empire”.

    While, the “Disease of pseudo-democracies, may also be Empire” — when the name of the game is ‘Musical Chairs’ and with the number of Empire Chairs being asymptotically reduced to one Global Empire Chair within my scant remaining lifetime — we had better be “bending the long arc of history toward” LOVE, rather than ‘Empire-Thinking’.

  5. Andrew Bacevich—a voice of reason in the madhouse of modern America.
    What’s hilarious is fascism is control by the state and each person wants to use the state to control others.

  6. Bacevich writes a long, confusing and uninteresting article supposedly about fascism, yet manages never to mention that there are actual fascist organizations in Ukraine. What a POS!

  7. Yes, Putin is a Fascist. Russia currently funds the the extreme right-wing parties in Europe and intervenes covertly to attempt to influence elections in favor of its allies. The Fascist alliance in Europe, which calls itself “Identity & Democracy”, is big on Ethno-Idenitarianism but merely fakes the Democracy, and collects Russian subsidies. Hungary is full-blown Fascist with two such parties, Austria voted 26% for the local Fascist party the “Freedom Party” and even peacenik Switzerland gives 25% of its vote to the Fascists in the Swiss People’s Party. And they’re not the only ones. The Atlantic Council reports that Russia is Fascist. Indeed, Wikipedia even has an entry for the new variant of Russian Fascism which is called “Rashism”. Trump is not the only Traitor, his brothers and sisters, heavily sponsored by Putin, are active worldwide.

    1. No, Putin is not a fascist. Russia is conservative, certainly not as far to the right as today’s US. And Putin is no more of a fascist than Biden. Yes, our government declares all viable competing nations and their leaders in terms like “dictator,” “fascist,” “authoritarian” — and dare we say, even Nazi — but people don’t need to be as stupid as that. It would be interesting to hear what you think “fascism” is, and how this applies to Putin and/or Russia.

  8. The impression I get from reading Mr. Becevich is: What by god is he trying to say? Fascism is defined by the classic edition of the Random House dictionary as ‘A totalitarian governmental system led by a dictator and emphasizes an aggressive nationalism.” And totalitarianism as ‘of or pertaining to a government in which authoritarian political control is concentrated in one party.’ Without the dictator part these definitions seem to describe the United States. But this tag is labeled on Russia. I’m really tired of writers referring to the Ukraine situation as Putin’s war. It is a U.S. proxy war. The immortality of the war is that there are means possessed by the U.S./NATO to end it, but they fail to do so.

    1. @robert sinuhe
      The dictionary definition is wrong. “Fascism” means corporatism, first and foremost. Dictionary definitions can and have been changed for political reasons, and this seems to be one of those instances.

  9. These days, I agree with Hunter S. Thompson, who while writing in the early 1970’s in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” referred to then President Nixon as the Seventh Reich.

    America at this point is a Two Party Fascist State. Nobody ever said that fascism had to be a one-party system, although the ‘Does-Not-Play-Well-With-Others’ tag that many fascist where as a badge of honor does tend towards the one-party system. However, now America seems to have successfully moved the ‘Blame The Other Party For Everything’ feature of the earlier, limited Two Party Democracy system over into a Two Party Fascist System.

    Its a very handy feature. Each leader can be horribly unpopular, but the blame is placed only on him/her/etc and their party. Then, the system shuffles in the other fascist party and a new fuhrer as the ‘fix’ to the previous, unpopular fuhrer. Press Repeat every four years …. with the added advantage that the corporate media makes a killing on the adverts of the competing fascists during Two Party Election Season.

    But of course, no matter who you vote for, the fascism never changes. Only the hair styles.

    1. If you ever wish to begin to understand what fascism is (as you clearly have no idea) read Robert O. Paxton’s 2005 “The Anatomy of Fascism.” I knew Thompson, he’d agree with me that your comment is juvenile hogwash.

      1. @C. Kent
        Instead of name-calling, what exactly is your point? I fully agree with Dr. Gonzo’s comment as far as it goes, without opining on whether Hunter Thompson would like it (who cares?). We have a duopoly with 2 factions whose only significant difference is that they represent different factions of the ruling class and their corporations. If you disagree with my comments, please address them, no name-calling.

  10. You can call Putin any name you like but I don’t think he cares. Putin is basically the biggest energy CEO on the planet. He does not like competition. He has taken over the coal reserves in Dunbas and has scared three of the biggest oil companies out of Ukraine. Oil companies that would have served the west. Putin will not stop until he squelches the competition.

    What is truly sad is that the United Nations does not really have a peace keeping force. If nations cannot provide mutual protection then they will fall one by one.

    1. I agree.

      Palestinians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, Somalians, Yemeni, Libyans, Syrians, Serbians, Cubans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Chileans, Grenadians, Panamanians and many more like Donbas republics shelled continuously for eight years should be protected by UN peace keeping force.

      But there is an elephant in the room, the US, that won’t have any of that nice peace stuff and instead unequivocally became the worse warmonger and purveyor of violence in the world as MLK said before he was assassinated in these “peace loving” United States of Political Murder and Genocide.

      True, name is not important deeds are.

  11. My practice is to try to never use “I” in a comment post, as the post becomes about the poster. But I must say here, I read “Bloodlands” a few years ago and thought it superb and heavy hitting. The NYT piece on the contrary left me dismayed and angry, another great writer becomes a paid fool & tool. So obviously this article is cathartic for me.

    I have a very successful dentist friend here in NH, Ukrainian by birth. When I discussed the Maidan coup with him in 2015 and Azov he told me, “Just give us the weapons.” I said to him, “But, you have fascists in Ukraine …” he answered, “You have fascists in Alabama.”

    When people want what they want, words mean nothing, and everybody better read deeply & think for themselves. If they’re not reading, and just taking advice, like ensconced citizens of the flag-happy USA, except trouble, because they will be used by those for whom ideology is bigger than ethics.

    “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

    “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.” – Anders Behring Breivik (Mass murderer, killed 77 people with a gun in one day in Norway.)

    1. CK, You could have suggested: don’t give weapons to any of them in Ukraine and Alabama.

      Horkheimer described the phenomenon as curse of subjective reasoning among opportunists in Nazi Germany especially intelligent people like Heidegger (Hannah Arendt’s lover and PhD advisor) as they devise pseudo reasoning to get them to apriori decided conclusions.

      Horkheimer called it essence of fascist mind, a commonality among little Eichmanns.

    2. @C. Kent
      “I said to him, ‘But, you have fascists in Ukraine …’ he answered, ‘You have fascists in Alabama.’”

      False equivalence. First, the ones in Ukraine are literal Nazis, not just fascists. The fascists in Ukraine have their own military battalions, have people in high places in the military, have people in high places in government like the head of the national police, and have intimidated politicians into doing a lot of what they want. As disgusting as the U.S. is, there’s nothing like that here.

      1. The comparison was not false, it was quite astute and yes they do hold gov positions and have militia. Where the analogy failed is that it’s still fascists, whom we should not arm no matter where they reside. My friend’s error was to presume that his nationalism is an ethical strong point he could apply here.

      2. @C. Kent
        No they don’t. There are no overt Nazis who have a military battalion in the U.S. or have major positions in the military, nor do any hold major political positions. If I’m wrong, please point out exactly where.

  12. I appreciate Timothy Snyder being called out. I don’t know his works extensively, but “On Tyranny” is something I’ve listened to and have been mindful of in my day to day living and teaching in rural California. His support for Ukraine and opposition to Russia has flabbergasted me! As I said, I’ve been aware of what’s written about in “On Tyrrany” as I live my life in America! Putin is not a threat. I promise.

    Perhaps Professor Snyder needs to take a sabbatical from the halls of academia and spend some time (trying to teach) in the trenches of public education (e.g. rural, mostly white, middle and high schools). Then he could apply his advice in “On Tyrrany” here, too.

  13. “Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History at Yale University, is a scholar of surpassing brilliance. His 2010 book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin chronicles in harrowing detail the de facto collaboration of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union that resulted in the murder of millions of innocents. On any bookshelf reserved for accounts that reveal essential truths of our past, Bloodlands deserves a place of honor. It’s a towering achievement. ”

    This is towering bullshit.

    The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, pact was necessitated by the West’s weakness and semi-collaboration with Hitler. It was a defensive move, and brilliant.

    Facts:

    Stalin ‘planned to send a million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed pact’
    Stalin was ‘prepared to move more than a million Soviet troops to the German border to deter Hitler’s aggression just before the Second World War’
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/3223834/Stalin-planned-to-send-a-million-troops-to-stop-Hitler-if-Britain-and-France-agreed-pact.html

    “Papers which were kept secret for almost 70 years show that the Soviet Union proposed sending a powerful military force in an effort to entice Britain and France into an anti-Nazi alliance.

    Such an agreement could have changed the course of 20th century history, preventing Hitler’s pact with Stalin which gave him free rein to go to war with Germany’s other neighbours.

    The offer of a military force to help contain Hitler was made by a senior Soviet military delegation at a Kremlin meeting with senior British and French officers, two weeks before war broke out in 1939.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–

    Brings other covered-up facts to mind:

    Poland, the ever-idiotic and mendacious Catholic clown-state, happily sawed off a piece of Czechoslovakia — hardly ever mentioned by liberal slimeballs today.

    Here’s the glorious record:

    On September 20, 1938, Hitler met with Polish Ambassador Joszef Lipski in Obersalzberg to invite the Poles to participate in the attack on Czechoslovakia and share in the spoils. On the occasion Hitler made reference to his interest in creating reservations for Jews in the overseas colonies of Western powers to clear not only the Third Reich from Jews but also Poland, Hungary, and Romania. The ambassador transcribed verbatim his conversation with Hitler to Polish Foreign Minister Joseph Beck:

    “Hitler told me had in mind an idea for settling the Jewish problem by way of emigration to the colonies with an understanding with Poland, Hungary, and possibly also Romania.”

    Lipski was so impressed with Hitler’s proposal of helping Poland get rid of its Jewish population by sending them off to colonial reservations that he responded enthusiastically to Hitler, as described in the ambassador’s own words in a memo to his superior:

    “I told him that if he finds such a solution, we will erect him a beautiful monument in Warsaw.”

    ————————————————————————————————————

    The Nazi murder of the innocents was aided by Polish and Ukrainian collaborators: some of their descendants populate the glorious Azov Battalion. Looking forward to the hanging of most of the captured vermin from the steel plant, now that the Comedian has tried Russians for war crimes — a really stupid move during active hostilities.

    Like when he publicized ordinary citizens making Molotov cocktails and getting sniper lessons — priming Russian troops to see civilians are potential enemies.

    Hey, it generated some genuine, verifiable war crimes! Mission accomplished!

    Maybe the North Vietnamese should have tried and sentenced American airmen they captured? That was also, like Hitler’s war — an illegal war, based on lies and anti-Communism.
    ————————————————————————————————————

    The Poles stupidly believed the Brits would save them from Hitler, who razed Warsaw flat when they resisted.

    The West hoped Hitler would destroy the USSR, they only recoiled when they realized he meant to KEEP it.

    Tellingly, they only invaded “Festung Europa” after the Battle of Stalingrad.

    Stalin had every reason to outmaneuver the West.

    1. To Baba,
      LOL! I just replied to another post on a different thread related to BDS that I thought the creation of the State of Israel was the “solution” to the desire of European countries to get rid of the Jews – without killing them. Instead of “integrating”, and sharing, with them the land, they exported them to another land – that was already inhabited by a bunch of different folk, the indigenous folk of Palestine – the same bums rush indigenous folk got from the Europeans who came to the Americas – In both cases those indigenous folk were slaughtered, driven out, “given” reservations. Israelis, or more correctly perhaps, Zionists placated themselves with the land “God had given them as the chosen people” – Israel thus considered a win-win for both Europe and Jewish folk. The Europeans did pretty much the same thing in the Americas , – pogroms, slaughter, expulsion, reservations, with a different, cruder, verbiage – “God given” being replaced by “Right of Conquest”, but there was no “win” for the indigenous folk here, nor for the indigenous folk in Palestine ….

      It all comes down to a claim of “supremacy” of one group over another – based on the fiction of “race” – as soon as you postulate the existence of separate races – the inevitable comparisons begin – “superior/inferior”, primitive/advanced”, “civilized/ savage”, etc. …

      1. Yes, there’s a very close resemblance between the US and its little homunculus, Israel. Both nations claim Divine missions, both are founded on genocide, murder, theft and ethnic cleansing of peoples labeled “inferior.” They are both the rotten fruit of five hundred years on European-American imperial expansion, based on an invented racial hierarchy., a major feature of “Christendom” and capitalism — two vile infections. The world will be vastly improved after both are defeated and extinct.

  14. The authors high praises for Snyder’s 2010 propaganda hit book about Soviet relations with Hitler discredits whole author’s argument against another propaganda hit of professor about Russia being fascist.

    No, professor did not change his mind and did not lose his evidence based reasoning faculty in his May issue article condemning Russia. He never had any.

    Quote:

    “Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History at Yale University, is a scholar of surpassing brilliance. His 2010 book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin chronicles in harrowing detail the de facto collaboration of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union that resulted in the murder of millions of innocents.”

    Here is huge red flag of Professor’s historical propaganda.

    It was not USSR but AMERICA and its 100+ top corporate giants that appeased and supported Italian fascists from 1923 and German Nazis since 1933 together with most Europeans governments by 1938 including France and Britain that helped to murder millions of innocents also on their own.

    Stalin in 1939 was the last to join popular among western elites Hitler appeasement and collaborators’ club. US response to Hitler aggression against Poland in September 1939 was.. nothing to talk about. Move on, it is over.

    In contrary Soviets supported anyone, mostly communist parties, who fought fascists every step of the way including in Spanish Civil War.

    During speech on February 24,2022 Putin first time in Russian history ever explicitly condemned Soviet (Stalin) appeasement and collaboration with Nazis between August 1939-June 1941 as main contributing factor to Soviet national catastrophe of WWII that cost them 27 millions lives.

    Also the professor should get his definition of fascism straight as fascism is not only about totalitarianism as a political system but in the core of it is fascist ideology of national superiority and exceptionalism like German or American exceptionalism or British, French colonial exceptionalism and racial and/or ethics superiority.

    Soviet Union was multi racial multi ethic country at highest levels of equality and integration of races and ethnicities into mainstream Russian society unmatched in the rest of the world at that time. In fact Ukraine and Baltic states now made up by the west as mortal enemies of Russia enjoyed highest standards of living in Entire Soviet Union except for Moscow region.

    So is Russia today a conglomerate of various autonomous locally self governed republics and autonomous regions including Muslim majority regions. There is no promoted culture or undercurrent of Russian superiority over other nations or even any significant national chauvinism that existed in Soviet Union in a form of revolutionary Soviet ideological expansion abroad. Soviets believed they lived under better socioeconomic system. Russians live under the same oligarchic capitalism as anybody else. Most of elderly, who experienced it want to return to Soviet system.

    Russians today see war in Ukraine as tragic completely avoidable conflict not with inferior or subhuman race, as Kiev regime proclaimed, but between ethnic brothers instigated by western powers encouragement and military support for alien to Ukrainian history Nazis historically set on regime change in Moscow and destroying Russia as a state.

    Nobody in Russia is talking about bringing progress or culture to Ukraine having 22+ million ethnic Russian population there.

    Those in Ukraine who lament about Russification are representing as sliver of population descendants of political supporters of Austro-Hungarian Imperial security services that inspired, organized and funded modern Ukrainian nationalism around Russophobia as to counter power of Tsarist Russian Empire.

    Incidentally Austrian sponsored Ukrainian nationalists also embedded hatred to Poles for so called Polonization into their fascist agenda as early as 1923.

    The hatred to Poles peaked at 1942-48 Volhynia and East Galicia
    massacres as a revenge among other reasons for Bandera being sentenced to Polish prison for organizing assassination of Polish cabinet minister on Warsaw’s street before WWII.

    The hate for Poles is something that UkroNazis deeply believe in but won’t talk about now as Poland is now seen as useful anti Russian idiot.

    In fact Russian policies were those of integration within world community on principles of political independence and cultural sovereignty amid support for economic globalization of independent states. West wants none of that, only US imperial dictate.

    The fact is that Russia is autocratic country ruled by oligarchic elite and their political puppet class that learned how to control and manipulate pseudo-democratic process. However the US is autocratic as well so is EU,UK and most of western allied countries in the world run by Western oligarchy.

    But Russia is not fascist. The almost entire west with its claims of technological and cultural superiority definitely is. Canceling Mussorgsky or Shostakovich for Bach, Vivaldi, Chopin or Debussy, persecution of Russian artists musicians and their children is the proof positive of cultural fascism.

    Consider Western hero, Solzhenitsyn, who before his death repudiated his own book Archipelago Gulag as historically disproportionate and unjust driven by personal ego and desire for revenge for wrongs he himself experienced while called American culture as trash and Americans as cultural beasts without souls.

    Such ideas of cultural superiority are today alien to culturally conservative but cosmopolitan Russia considering herself as a significant part of world’s common cultural heritage of humanity.

    Similar criticism of American exceptionalism of cultural superiority can be found in Chomsky speeches where he complained decades ago about democratic society sham in US and the west as well as underlying brutal unenlightened totalitarian culture in seemingly open Western society.

    Sheldon Wolin described US political system as inverted totalitarianism so called “managed democracy,” a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control,” form of government that attempts to keep alive appearance of democracy while simultaneously defeating democracy’s primary purpose, self-government.

    Even Tocqueville and Mills identified hidden menacing power structure of fused state and private tyranny [also called Deep State] and its rules of total control that are hidden, subtle unutterable, unspoken about, totalitarian power that denies itself as power under guise of false free choice and propaganda of democratic participation.

    The difference between eastern Byzantine political traditions and western Roman tradition is that former is much more honest and transparent about reality of power than the latter which lies are veiled with democratic fantasies of unreality.

    The worse crime Russia and China committed in modern era is following western imperial path.

  15. I believe Mr. Bacevich might need to read Proust, Hannah Arendt, and Victor Klemperer. Their insights and information about what transpired are invaluable. Anne Applebaum and Bill Moyers are sounding the alarm too. They are qualified historians who have examined facism. We might want to listen.

  16. People need to stop throwing the term “fascist” around for everything they don’t like. It’s fine when kids call their parents fascists; they’re kids and that’s to be expected if they have any sense, intelligence, and rebellion. But “fascism” first and foremost means “corporatism.” Russia is certainly no more corporate than the U.S., probably much less so. Idiotic comment coming from an American.

  17. @C. Kent
    “I said to him, ‘But, you have fascists in Ukraine …’ he answered, ‘You have fascists in Alabama.'”

    False equivalence. First, the ones in Ukraine are literal Nazis, not just fascists. The fascists in Ukraine have their own military battalions, have people in high places in the military, have people in high places in government like the head of the national police, and have intimidated politicians into doing a lot of what they want. As disgusting as the U.S. is, there’s nothing like that here.

  18. “Charity, as in tolerance, compassion, generosity, and understanding: that’s where the preservation of our democracy ought to begin.” I agree 100%.

    Mr. Bacevich, have you read Sheldon S. Wolin’s best-selling book, “Democracy, Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism”? Woldin’s thesis spells out the difference between classic fascism (Hitler, Stalin, and Japan) of the past, and its reincarnation today in what Wolden calls “inverted totalitarianism.” In the classic model of fascism, corporations serve the state. In today’s version, it’s just the opposite: the state serves corporate interests. In classical fascism, everybody pledges allegiance to a single, charismatic personality. Inverted totalitarianism finds it expression in the anonymity of the corporate state, which stays in the background pulling the strings of power to serve their own greed. In classical fascism, the masses are mobilized to serve the state. In the inverted version, the masses are de-mobilized, isolated, and atomised by cheap entertainment like sports, social media, and the latest movies.

    I suggest you read Professor Wolin’s book to get a clearer understanding of the differences between fascism of the 1930s and today’sfascism.

    Yes, there are definitely corolaries between fascism of the past of fascism today. But there are also important and significant distinctions between the two.

    1. @Brad Bailey
      I don’t know who Sheldon S. Wolin is, but you and he have it backward. “Fascism” is where corporations run the government. “Communism” is where the government runs the corporations. They are polar opposites, and Stalin was a communist, not a fascist. Furthermore, Nazi Germany was not a “classic” fascist state; in fact, it was a very odd fascist state. A classic fascist state would be Italy or Spain under Franco.

      The U.S. is not an example of inverted fascism, it’s just plain fascism.

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