Clare M. Lopez: Recognizing the Wrong People ****

It is high time we stopped empowering those who wish us ill: not just to recognize a blood-soaked regime, but to keep on recognizing it.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt [FDR], reversing the policy of four presidents and six of their Secretaries of State not to recognize the Soviet government, in 1933 extended “normal diplomatic relations” to the Soviet Union, the totalitarian slaughterhouse of Josef Stalin. As meticulously researched by Diana West in her new book, “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character,” the reasoning behind Roosevelt’s decision was never made clear; what was clear, however, since the 1917-1919 Bolshevik seizure of the Russian government by force, was the Soviet reign of blood and terror. According to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, by the late 1930s, Stalin’s regime was shooting tens of thousands of people per month. Yet, for reasons that remain murky, FDR was influenced, inspired, or somehow persuaded to normalize U.S. relations with Stalin, in exchange for a page of Soviet concessions, not worth the paper they were written on, which pledged that the USSR “would not attempt to subvert or overthrow the U.S. system.”

What West documents is the subsequent process of infiltration, influence, and “occupation” by an army of communist agents and fellow travelers; here, however, the focus is on what that original 1933 decision has meant for future generations, most especially our own, when confronted with decisions about whether or not to recognize enemies who make no secret of their enmity and intention to destroy us.

Whatever FDR’s thinking, West points out that this decision — not just to recognize the blood-soaked communist regime, but to keep on recognizing it — fundamentally transformed what Robert Conquest, the great chronicler of Stalin’s purges, called “the conscience of the civilized world.” And perhaps not just our conscience: as West writes, “[b]ecause the Communist regime was so openly and ideologically dedicated to our destruction, the act of recognition defied reason and the demands of self-preservation.” In other words, quite aside from the abdication of objective morality represented by FDR’s decision, there was a surrender of “reality-based judgment,” the implications of which on the ability of U.S. national leadership to make sound decisions involving the fundamental defense of the Republic resonate to the current day.

FROM VIN IENCO Remembering the Beslan Massacre, Nine Years On Remembering the Beslan Massacre, Nine Years On: Thousands of people are taking part in three days of remembrance ceremonies to mark nine years since the Beslan school siege in north Ossetia – Russia’s deadliest terrorist attack. Local people are expected to flock to the site of the […]

THE AMANDA LINDHOUT STORY: KIDNAPPED, STARVED AND RAPED IN SOMALIA Beaten, starved, gang-raped and ‘forced to give birth to a child in captivity,’ horrifying story of woman who was held hostage with her boyfriend in Somalia for 15 months’ Amanda Lindhout naively flew to the impoverished and volatile African nation in 2007 She and photographer Nigel Brennan were taken hostage after three days A […]

DAVID HOROVITZ: OBAMA UNLEASHES HORROR IN JERUSALEM Israel wants to believe the US will yet intervene to stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, undoing some of the damage caused by the president’s zigzag. For the leadership here, the alternative is too awful to contemplate he Israeli political and security leadership is privately horrified by President Barack Obama’s 11th-hour turnaround on striking […]

40,000 LONGSHOREMEN QUIT AFL-CIO CITING OBAMACARE: WARNER TODD HUSTON In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation’s largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation. In […]


This month the Council on Foreign Relations released a “Policy Innovation Memorandum” titled “A Strategy to Reduce Gun Trafficking and Violence in the Americas.” The memo was authored by the CFR’s “Senior Fellow for Latin American Studies,” Julia F. Sweig.

According to Ms. Sweig, the “policy” that needs “innovation” is U.S. gun laws.


In brief: because too many people are shooting each other in Latin America. “The flow of high-powered weaponry from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean exacerbates soaring rates of gun-related violence in the region,” asserts her memo.

“[R]ecent federal gun control measures have run aground on congressional opposition,” laments Ms Sweig.

“[T]hough the Senate rejected measures to expand background checks on firearms sales, reinstate a federal assault-weapons ban, and make straw purchasing a federal crime, the Obama administration can still take executive action to reduce the availability and trafficking of assault weapons and ammunition in the Americas[.]“


President Obama Saturday laid out the case for a military strike on Syria. He evoked the same rationales Secretary of State Kerry and others, including some conservatives, have been articulating for the last week. We’ve heard of “international norms,” “common understandings of decency,” the “international community” that codified a “normal prohibition against chemical weapons” in the Chemical Weapons Convention, the need to act to deter other rogue states like Iran, and the imperative to punish “crimes against humanity.”

Almost as an afterthought, the necessity of putting teeth into America’s credibility and prestige in order to defend our interests was mentioned by the President. And he vaguely asserted that the gas attack was a “serious danger to our national security,” though it’s hard to see how “making a mockery of the global prohibitions on chemical weapons” endangers our security. Terrorists and their state enablers like Iran and North Korea don’t abide by such “prohibitions.” But that fuzzy national security argument was swamped by the waves of delusional internationalism and dubious psychologizing about the motives and calculations of ruthless dictators and autocrats. The fact is, the only reason to use American military power and risk American lives is to advance our interests and defend our security. Evoking some fantasy “international community” complicates and confuses that critical criterion.

Start with the chimera of “international norms” and “common understandings of decency.” Such statements imply a universal moral standard shared by all peoples, one which international agreements and institutions codify. The proscription of torture, the protection of non-combatants, the humane treatment of the wounded and prisoners of war, and the ban against using certain kinds of weapons are the sort of presumably universal beliefs that are enshrined in international law.

But where is the evidence that such norms exist in fact rather than in language? Certainly not on the pages of history or your daily newspaper, which are filled with serial violations of such norms, including by signatories to these various conventions and agreements. What can be found is the eternal truth that nations pursue their interests by whatever means they can, and different peoples have different attitudes towards the legitimacy of violence and its acceptable victims, particularly in Muslim Arab lands. Thus nations sign treaties and join transnational institutions because they think doing so will serve their interests, not because they share some “international norm.” Their participation is based not so much on shared values, as on treaties signed because of perceived utility.

BRUCE BAWER: THE TERRORIST AND THE BILLIONAIRE On September 9, Norwegians will vote either to keep the government in the hands of a socialist coalition led by Labor Party Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg or to turn the reins over to non-socialists. The campaign has drawn an unusual degree of international media attention. I wrote the other day about Time Magazine’s report, […]


Any attempt by President Barack Obama to bomb Syria amounts to him “saving political face,” says former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a blog post on Facebook, criticizing his intent to wage war without a strong rationale. Titling her post “Let Allah Sort It Out,” Palin, a Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008, railed […]

RED MONDAY-DOWN WITH LABOR DAY- KEVIN WILLIAMSON We don’t need this quasi-Canadian, crypto-Communist holiday. There isn’t much good to say about Labor Day, except maybe that it could be worse — it could be on May 1, which would make it a full-on Communist holiday instead of a merely crypto-Communist one. For that we can thank Grover Cleveland, the last pretty-good […]