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From: STEVEN SCHWARTZBERG <email@example.com> Looking back on my original post, I was needlessly vague. I did not mean to imply, as Prof. Gardner seems to assume, that I thought there was some sort of blueprint for world conquest locked away in the Kremlin. The letter from Stalin which I quoted seems to me striking evidence that--at least in October 1950--he worried that recovery in the capitalist world would significantly worsen the medium-term global position of the Soviet empire and that he was willing to run some risk of a third World War by encouraging the dramatic escalation of a military venture to improve his empire's position after that venture appeared to be turning sour. If he looked at the world in a similar fashion in 1946, it would hardly seem useful to describe him as a counter-revolutionary who was attempting to work things out with an American empire. One could, at least as appropriately, describe him as a revolutionary opportunist who thought that the global correlation of forces provided a temporary window to pursue an expansionary policy, at considerable risk, the limits of which were unclear. Hence my question as to whether Prof. Gardner thought Stalin's basic ideology and ambition had changed between 1946 and 1950 and, if so, what his grounds for thinking this were. Perhaps Prof. Gardner is correct in his suggestion that Stalin ran the risks that he did in encouraging the escalation of the Korean War in the hope that "a Chinese move might forestall any American inclination to move right up to the borders" and also to help maintain his stake in "perfecting coalition unity around an ideal." The analogy that he seems to offer is with Bush's "anti-Saddam coalition." Does he think Bush wished to establish a counter-revolutionary modus vivendi with Saddam? If so, on what terms? In his original post, Prof. Gardner seemed to suggest that the harshness of Soviet rule, and its relative inability to "serve the needs of its clients," was a function of the global position of the Soviet empire and that giving that empire greater resources, more secure borders, and the like, would have helped to mellow it. That, at any rate, is what I made of the set of his assertions which I quoted: "Now, finally, the question of empire presupposes a metropole and surrounding areas. The distribution of benefits depends upon several things: the resources of the metropole, the need for secure boundaries, the cultural affinity of metropole and client, and the degree of flexibility of its leadership, plus others you may want to add. In each of these categories, save perhaps (?) the third, the American Empire was far more able to serve the needs of its clients. That being the case, the harsher the rule in the Evil Empire became." As against this view, I suggested that the harshness of Soviet rule and the treatment that empire accorded its clients was more obviously a function of Stalin's ideology and the antidemocratic traditions of the Bolshevik state. In his reply, Prof. Gardner seems to agree, suggesting only that Soviet experience in the twentieth century had helped to harden Soviet ideology and that there was not much that anyone in the outside world could do "to thaw out such an ideology." The question then turns to the American side of Prof. Gardner's analysis of metropole-client relations. Here my original post was particularly muddled. What I mean to say was that in contrast with the harsh character of Soviet imperial rule, the more generous character of American imperial rule does appear in part to have been a function of the contemporary global position of the American empire. Can one imagine the Marshall Plan being funded if Congress had not seen a Soviet threat? But this more generous American rule was also in part a function of the strength of democratic traditions in both the United States and in Western Europe. By emphasizing the importance of antidemocratic traditions and ideology on the Soviet side and democratic traditions and ideology on the American side I hardly imagine I am saying anything new. But as Prof. Gardner's analysis did not appear to leave much room for such an emphasis, and explicitly suggested that other factors were more relevant, I thought it worthwhile to suggest why that analysis was in need of revision. As to the options which American officials had during the cold war, I think we can expect to see a good deal of helpful material from the Soviet archives in the future. Without such material, historical arguments as to what Soviet foreign policy was about, and what sorts of alternatives might have been successfully pursued, will necessarily remain of fairly limited sophistication and persuasiveness. Steven Schwartzberg -------------------------------------------------------- --Public reply to list: firstname.lastname@example.org --Private reply to sender: See e-mail address under "From" at top of message --To unsubscribe send e-mail to: email@example.com with UNSUB H-DIPLO as the only text in the body of your message --To temporarily suspend your account: send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with SET H-DIPLO NOMAIL as the only text in the body of your message. To reactivate your account, send e-mail to email@example.com with SET H-DIPLO MAIL as the only text in the body of your message --Personal help from list moderators: firstname.lastname@example.org --Visit the H-Diplo web page at: http://h-net2.msu.edu/~diplo/