If ex-Communists and their kids are the avant-garde of the New World Order in the east, what about Western Europe?
Although Tony Blair was never a member of the British Communist Party (CPGB) or any of its Trotskyite rivals, it is striking how all of his most belligerent ministers were one-time Party-members (and that lack of enthusiasm for war is expressed - if only by silence - by non-ex-Communists). Blair’s appointee as chairman of the Labour Party, Dr. John Reid was a Communist and is now the public face of New Labour’s New European-style aggressiveness. (In the early 1990s, Dr. Reid was one of the most vocal advocates of the Bosnian Serb cause and a drinking partner of the indicted war criminal, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, before a volte-face - typical of his career - when he became one of the most vocal New Labour advocates of bombing Yugoslavia in 1999.) Other belligerent Blair cronies with a hardline Marxist past include his propaganda guru, Peter Mandelson, along with Dr. Charles Clarke, Secretary for Education and Blair’s recent appointee as Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Philips, who visited Cuba to show solidarity with Castro before entering the Labour Party.
In the media a similar sociological phenomenon is observable. The Independent’s columnist, Johann Hari, himself a supporter of war, asked what did so many of the most aggressive voices in Britain backing a war against Iraq have in common? “There is an intriguing commonality: almost all of them are former Communists.” The former Communist activist and son of a CPGB stalwart, David Aaronovich, has been a loud voice backing US policy in television debates and in his Guardian column. John Lloyd, well-known to readers of the Financial Times and the New Statesman, explicitly linked his pro-war stance to Marx’s own support for the British Empire against backward nations: “It’s that side of Marx that argues that imperialism was good for India.” This former member of the CPGB’s Central Committee remains loyal to “the side of Marx that disliked soft liberals and said that if you’re going to make the world better, you have to go through a number of necessary evils.” [See Johann Hari, “Whose side are you on?” in The Independent Review (25th February, 2003), 8-9.] As Iraqis are soon to discover the Leninist dictum that “you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs” is still current even if any humane Socialist residue has long since dried up in the New Labour war-room.
While old Lefties cling to utopian visions of social equality and transfers from rich to poor, the Leninist elite from Vladivostok to Vauxhall Bridge has transferred its cynical and manipulative attitude towards ordinary people from the left end of the political spectrum to the right side without losing a moment’s sleep over the shift. In fact this acceptance by the Cold Warrior Right of its erstwhile Leninist rivals into the counsels of the New World Order and as satraps in the media and politics on the ground is one of the few genuinely global phenomena of our time.
The alliance between what Orwell called the “Inner Party” and the American Right is repeated around the world from New Europe via New Labour down into the southern hemisphere. For instance, America has found surviving post-Communist regimes like the Soviet and Cuban installed governments in Angola and Mozambique suitably subordinate allies. Unlike genuine freedom movements in Africa (which increasingly attract U.S. opprobrium for not marching in lockstep with the Pentagon), Angola’s MPLA and Mozambique’s Frelimo regimes learned subservience to Big Brother under Brezhnev and have transferred their fealty to Bush without batting an eyelid.
Democracy good, deference better!
The only prominent post-Communist politician to buck the trend to blind loyalty to Big Brother was the Czech Republic’s pioneer of market reform, Vaclav Klaus, who refused to vote for a resolution backing war with Iraq. But then Klaus was never a member of the Party, and so doesn’t need to prove his pro-Western credentials. Yet to the evident shock of the US embassy he was elected President of the Czech Republic in succession to Vaclav Havel, whose mixture of vague socialism with hardline support for war against Serbia, Iraq, and et al. had made him the darling of the New World Order.
Seen it all somewhere before?
After 1945, America created a Euro-Atlantic ruling class without scrutinising too closely the past records of Western Europe’s younger generation of ex-fascists. Many critics of post-war U.S. policy emphasize the willingness of the Americans to recruit ex-Nazis and Fascists as well as their erstwhile wartime collaborators as tension with the Soviet Union mounted. Certainly the Western Allies were cynical about who could be treated as a “good democrat” in the early Cold War years. But even if Truman and Attlee were none too choosy about which of Hitler and Mussolini’s henchmen made the cut into their service, important differences remain with what has been happening since 1989.
For the last decade the US has pursued the same policy and ideological re-tooling across Eastern Europe. Like the youthful post-war politicians for whom 1945 was treated as Year Zero if they toed the trans-Atlantic line, so now the official biographies of Eastern Europe’s leaders begin in 1989. Spain went through a similar process after 1975. Many US media outlets say that America’s favourite European leader is not Tony Blair, but Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar. Aznar may come from the opposite end of the political spectrum to Eastern Europe’s born again post-Communists, but the mental leap from young Falangist under Franco to free marketeer today is much of muchness with the transformation from eager Komsomolchik to market democrat.
But there were significant differences between 1945 and 1989. Firstly, the United States and its allies were in genuine competition with a military superpower after 1945. The Soviet Union was a rival to be feared - after all it was Stalin’s troops who had captured Berlin and, as Churchill put it, it was the Red Army which “tore the guts out” of the Wehrmacht. Since the end of the Cold War the United States has faced no remotely comparable rival. The recruitment of ex-Communist apparatchiks into the ranks of its most favoured allies is a gratuitous decision. Whereas Stalin had a Manfred von Ardenne working on high-tech weapons in the Urals at the same time as Werner von Braun was carrying on for the Pentagon where he had left off for Hitler in Peenemunde, there is no state in the world today competing with American military technology.
America sponsored real economic recovery through the Marshall Plan rather than the cynical asset stripping which has gone on in the East since 1989. A genuine free market supervised by democratically elected politicians in West German where the top political leaders had opposed Hitler, for instance, produced very different results from the nomenklatura privatization sweetheart deals favoured since 1989.
Today, the recruitment of yesterday’s servants of tyranny as favoured sons cannot be justified by necessity (if it ever could). Sadly, their service to Washington has been promoted because it is useful to U.S. goals to have natural vassals not nature’s democrats running Eastern Europe. Such people will soon provide a Trojan column in the EU where they will link up with the ex-Communists around Tony Blair, for instance. The soft left with their egalitarian and humanitarian illusions so despised by Marx, Lenin and John Lloyd will continue to exist (along with genuine conservatives and liberals) but the commanding heights of the continent will be held by Market Leninists.
Spies who came in from the cold
Some people will ask how could our security services allow this?
The end of the Cold War has seen the convergence of east and west in intelligence and security matters too. George W. Bush famously looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes at their first summit in Slovenia in June, 2001, and saw a soul-mate. Putin has repeatedly emphasized that his KGB past makes him a natural Bush ally: On 26th December, 2001 The Times reported that during Vladimir Putin’s live webcast he replied to a question about how it felt as a former KGB spy to be sleeping in the Bush ranch at Crawford, Texas, “The US President is son of a former CIA director, so one can say that we were in a family circle.” For the moment, Putin may try to play master of a real power, but enough of his type and underlings have swapped allegiances since the late 1980s to make any prolonged defiance of the CIA improbable, or at least risky.
Throughout the 1990s, the US government, media and NGO apparatus was deployed in the EU candidate countries to prevent Lustration - the cleaning out of secret policemen and communist-era informers from the region. Reverting to the anti-McCarthy rhetoric of their own country, American apologists for former KGB officers and their narks denounced “witch hunts” (while gleefully reporting any skeletons discovered in the cupboards of politicians in the region who lacked the imprimatur of the New World Order). The role of the security services in the candidate countries is rarely discussed as the EU‘s Commissioner for enlargement, Gunther Verheugen routinely hands out marks for democratization and human rights as criteria for entry. Contrary to many Western assumptions, the old Communist-era secret services were by no means completely dismantled after 1989. Recurrent scandals about secret police bugging and active measures to discredit opposition politicians or even just to extract economic advantage have occurred in countries as different as the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Lithuania. Five years ago, when Poland boasted that its first wave of NATO officials would be entirely made up of former Warsaw Pact intelligence operatives whose knowledge of the Western Alliance’s bureaucracy, methods and English made them ideal partners for their erstwhile Cold War rivals, no-one in Washington blinked an eyelid. Oceania, you see, had always been allied to Eurasia.
For Washington this gaggle of ex-Communist apparatchiks, secret policemen, informers and Komsomolchiki may just be useful pawns on the geo-strategic chessboard. Buying their cooperation in the New World Order means no more inside the Beltway than paying off warlords in Afghanistan or Saddam’s generals and torturers in Iraq to become the “new democrats” of tomorrow, but for those of us who will have to live in a Europe partly governed by Washington’s new friends the prospect is not so rosy. President Bush’s gun-toting, Bible-bashing constituency will not be subject to a supreme court with judges nominated by ex-Politburo members and KGB agents. We in Western Europe, however, face that prospect imminently. The U.S. Federal Reserve is not going to have members named by a Warsaw Pact secret agent who spied on the IMF and the World Bank before 1989. The European Central Bank, however, will not able to ignore Mr Medgessey’s’s nominations quite so easily.
Sadly, using foreign puppets suits democratically-elected political leaders as much as despots. Domestic oversight simply does not extend abroad. Just as imperial Britain had puppet states despite its own domestic constitutional government so the United States has today. Foreign policy is not democratic; the arcana imperii are in the hands of politicians and professionals. It is just that in societies which are run in a democratic way, the domestic audience is sold the pretence that foreign policy is also subject to popular approval.
Whereas the United States has cajoled the New Europeans into granting U.S. citizens immunity from the International Criminal Court, the Vilnius Ten have not granted any special privileges to the Old Europeans. So America has persuaded or cajoled a phalanx of candidate countries from Estonia to Romania and Bulgaria into granting U.S. citizens immunity from prosecution under the ICC even though they will impose its jurisdiction on their own people, EU citizens and indeed the rest of the world.