Re: Was the Soviet Union an idea ahead of its time? (Boston Globe)
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Dear Roger -- I don't think the criticisms by folks on this list of the Soviet Union is because we are "liberals" --- some come out of the Trotskyist movement -- some (like me) are red-diaper babies (Communist parents) who have become disillusioned ---
I will give the Soviet Union credit for defeating the Nazis -- even though there were terrible blunders before the German invasion which left the Soviet Union horribly vulnerable --- and for developing a strong enough military (including atomic weapons) to "deter" American imperialism from using nuclear weapons against the Vietnamese and the Koreans --- and from invading Cuba with US regular army troops in 1962 ---
That said, the REALITIES of what the Soviets called "actually existing socialism" were so negative for the people of the Soviet Union that it set back the cause of socialism world wide for generations ---
Maybe the ability of European socialism to survive depended on a successful German Revolution after WW II -- when that was defeated, the necessity of building up an industrial base in the fledgling Soviet Union necessitated the authoritarianism of Stalin --- MAYBE --- but if so that meant the "socialism in one country" was doomed from the get go --- IF there were an alternative (whatever Trotsky would have done if he had beaten Stalin in the power struggle) that would have "worked" --- well --- then the triumph of Stalin is a double tragedy ---
AFter WW II, the Soviet effort to "win" the competition with capitalism failed miserably --- but luckily they were there long enough to protect the Koreans, Vietnamese and Cubans from total American conquest ....