Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

From Kennan to Trotsky

By Martin Sieff

Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky

Russia and China today both enjoy the same grand-strategic advantage against the United States that the United States enjoyed through the 44 years of the Cold War.

The Soviet Union was then the superpower of the left, as the left had been globally understood since the French Revolution. It was the state committed to the promotion of revolutionary change across the world.

The United States, by contrast, was the superpower of the right. It was committed to the maintenance of stability and continuity in government systems around the world.

The United States won the Cold War. The craving for stability, peace, and continuity among governments and populations alike proved infinitely stronger than the fleeting flashes of revolutionary fervor. The Soviet Union eventually became physically exhausted and globally isolated by its ideological commitment to revolutionary change.

Today, however, the roles of the two great powers have been reversed. Since the advent of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state in 1997, the United States has become increasingly ideologically committed to the spreading of “instant powdered democracy” in every nation of the world, as defined and approved by the United States. Russia and China have become the main “conservative” or “right-wing” powers committed to preserving the status quo.

Ironically, the U.S. commitment to continual revolution around the world is a revival of the discredited concepts of Leon Trotsky. Josef Stalin abandoned Trotsky’s ideas in the 1920s when he took power in the Soviet Union. This gave him the ideological flexibility to create the Grand Alliance with the United States and the British Empire that won World War II—the Great Patriotic War.

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