The Tragic Farce of the Bush Administration

            The widely popularized quotation “History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce” actually comes from Karl Marx, the German political theorist and social philosopher who wrote: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice.  He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

            Today, August 21, 2008 is the fortieth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that crushed the democratic reform movement known as the Prague Spring.  Four days later, the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago to riots and tear gas.  The United States, bogged down in a colonial war in Vietnam, was powerless to help the Czechs.  President Lyndon B. Johnson, who turned 60 on August 26, 1968, did not attend the convention.  I predict President Bush will not attend, and will barely be mentioned at, the Republican convention this year.

            Bush and Johnson both came to power by undemocratic means and both started colonial wars.  Johnson became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Bush stole the 2000 election with the complicity of Al Gore and the Supreme Court.  Johnson plunged the United States into a war in Vietnam based on a tissue of lies and Bush lied the country into a war in Iraq.

            Because the United States is militarily stretched in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it is powerless to respond to the Russian invasion of Georgia (not that the Georgians do not deserve to be smacked hard for their attack on the Ossetians.)  Instead, the United States has agreed to install missiles in Poland.  This is guaranteed to restart the Cold War, if not a hot one.

            The Russians have a different discourse on the history of World War II.  The Russians hold the Poles primarily responsible for the failure to stop Hitler at Munich.  France, Britain and the Russians had a mutual defense pact guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia.  When Hitler threatened to annex the Sudetenland, Russia mobilized to send troops to fulfill its obligation to defend Czechoslovakia, but Poland refused to permit the Russian troops to transit its territory. That is why Stalin agreed to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, secretly agreeing to the partition of Poland as the price to get Hitler to attack in the west before turning on the Soviets.

            Even today, the Russians feel that their sacrifices in defeating Hitler are unappreciated in the West.  Vladimir Putin, the former deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg, still takes the sacrifices of the Russian people in that war very seriously.  A really great book about World War II from the Russian perspective, in addition to Volume 1 of Nikita Khrushchev’s Memoirs, is Russia At War 1941 – 1945 by Alexander Werth.  This book is a real eye opener for anyone who thinks D-Day was a big deal.  D-Day was every day on the eastern front.

            So, Bush has bankrupted the country, presided over the first external attack on American soil since 1814, if not 1941, bogged us down in a colonial war, and revived the specter of nuclear annihilation.  Let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks that Bush won the 2000 election.  Bush and NATO are pursuing Hitler’s foreign policy in Europe, recognizing the independence of Kosovo and the dismantling Yugoslavia on one hand, while defending the territorial integrity of Georgia on the other.

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf