Author Topic: Continuation of "Is communism expansionist"  (Read 386 times)

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Offline Person012345

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Continuation of "Is communism expansionist"
« on: June 08, 2019, 06:03:12 PM »
Original thread:
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=10386.60

The Soviet Union in WW2 taking the Baltic States and chunks of Poland and Finland
So lets be clear what I mean by aggressive expansionism. I mean the aggressive conquering for the primary purposes of taking land and resources to benefit your nation.

So lets dispatch with Poland and Finland: Both of these were primarily done in order to establish a buffer against the Germans. The Finnish were sympathetic to Germany and the Nazis and there was very little room between the borders of Finalnd and an extremely strategically important port city, St. Petersburg (Leningrad). The Soviets tried to find a peaceful resolution to this trading the pretty unimportant areas of southern finland so they could have a buffer from potential attack, but the finnish wouldn't do it. You can argue the morality then of the soviets invading, but the strategic decisions that led to the soviets invading finland wasn't just "I want more land" and ultimately it turned out to be the correct decision so y'know.

The same is very much true for poland. The poles were offered a pact where the soviet union would defend them from german aggression, but they refused it. So the soviets really had no choice, strategically, but to do the molotov-ribbentrop pact in order to get that buffer area between them and the Germans. They didn't want Germany to conquer all of poland and be right up in their face. Again, a decision that very well could be seen as the only thing that saved europe from being completely controlled by the nazis. It wasn't a case of "I want more land". If you're referencing the wars before WWII, these places were largely all part of the russian empire before anyway and borders weren't well defined. It can just as easily be seen as russian successor states fighting over their borders (remember the russian-polish was fought over areas in ukraine and belarus). I mean maybe you can bring me information about the wars in the baltic states to convince me it was just the evil soviets conquering everything though.

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following WW2 forcibly establishing and maintaining control over Eastern Europe
"forcibly" the same way the US "forcibly" established control over western europe. That was a defensive war in which they set up friendly/puppet governments number of states in the peace treaty. That's not aggressively expanding. In fact, the fact that they set up ideologically aligned states (the same way the allies did in western europe) fits far more into what I said about trotskyist thought than direct expansion.

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China taking over Tibet
Will admit I don't know a great deal about this however from what I have read, tibet was never recognised by the chinese, that is the chinese republic which was then replaced by the People's Republic of China. This wasn't a case of two existant sovereign states and then the evil commies one day just said "I want that land". It's an area that had been ruled over by the mongols or the chinese for a millenia which declared it's independence in the early 1900's but was never recognised by china. It was considered part of china before the communists and was still considered part of china after the communists.

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North Korea invading South Korea
If you seriously think this was a simple land grab then holy hell. Korea was a unified nation and had always been so until it was torn apart in the aftermath of WWII. On one side you had US backed fascists who had frequent rebellions and committed horrendous crimes against the people of the country trying to supress them, massacres and so on. On the other side you have a popular guerilla fighter who was presumably born in a unified (if occupied) korea and fought for his country (all of it) and his people against Japanese occupation. The South had also been conducting raids and attacks on the North prior to the outbreak of full hostilities. The reasons for the korean war, again, were far more than "I want that land". Now sure you could allege that actually kim il sung was just out to conquer more land and become more powerful and none of what I said matters but that's something you can't really prove to me. The korean war was more about unifying a broken country and also an ideological one (obviously it's desirable for china and North Korea not to have hostile capitalist states right up in their face).

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North Vietnam invading South Vietnam
lmao. Do you know the history behind this conflict at all? Even if you didn't quite understand my point, saying vietnam is an example of northern aggression against the south is kinda crazy.

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the many, many Soviet funded and supported rebellions and revolutionaries throughout the world, often with the express purpose of establishing a government supportive of and subservient to the USSR...
Not relevant, though there weren't as many as you make out.

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No, communist countries have never been expansionist.
What you have to understand is that I was not talking about whether communist countries have done wars or whether those wars were justified in any way. In many cases I don't think they were. The entire point of my comment originally was to say that it seemed that earth had a trotskyist outlook (specifically a belligerant attitude that required all nations to become communist, this was opposed to for example the stalinist idea of socialism in one country where the soviet union could hold out even in the absence of global revolution). I was putting forward simply being aggressive expansionist as an alternate reason for their behaviour but not one that would be particularly congruent with historical communist states. Many/most of the wars fought by communist regimes weren't just "I want that land over there because it will benefit me" they were about either spreading the ideology or they were strategic decisions made to counter an existential threat after diplomacy had failed.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 06:07:39 PM by Person012345 »
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Continuation of "Is communism expansionist"
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 07:09:24 AM »
So lets be clear what I mean by aggressive expansionism. I mean the aggressive conquering for the primary purposes of taking land and resources to benefit your nation.

Which admittedly the Soviet expansionism was not. It was more about securing the USSR's own borders as much as possible. Of course, that doesn't mean that when you are securing your own borders by taking land beyond your borders as a bufferzone you are not being aggressively expansionist. It's just that the reasons are different from 'more land, more people, more resources.'

So lets dispatch with Poland and Finland: Both of these were primarily done in order to establish a buffer against the Germans. The Finnish were sympathetic to Germany and the Nazis and there was very little room between the borders of Finalnd and an extremely strategically important port city, St. Petersburg (Leningrad). The Soviets tried to find a peaceful resolution to this trading the pretty unimportant areas of southern finland so they could have a buffer from potential attack, but the finnish wouldn't do it. You can argue the morality then of the soviets invading, but the strategic decisions that led to the soviets invading finland wasn't just "I want more land" and ultimately it turned out to be the correct decision so y'know.

Ehm, no?

The Finnish weren't exactly interested in German support, during the Winter War they courted the British and French instead. Only for the Continuation War did the Finnish offer the Germans support out of revanchist sentiments, in exchange for retaking the lands ceded to the Soviet Union with the Treaty of Moscow. And those areas were hardly unimportant to the Fins, and the Soviets knew it. The areas demanded by the Soviets included the entire Finnish defenses against a Soviet attack, the second biggest city in Finland (Viipuri, now Vyborg), Finland's islands in the Bay of Finland, a total 10% of Finland's land area, and the strategically critical base of Hanko between the Baltic Sea and the Bay of Finland would be taken as a 30 year lease.

While it's true that Leningrad was vulnerable to an attack from Finland, Finland itself was such a military non-entity compared to the USSR and uninterested in a war for any purpose except defense following its secession from collapsing Tsarist Russia twenty years earlier that any attack from Finland would be trivially crushed while any attack over Finnish territory by another power that could not be trivially crushed would have to be telegraphed substantially.

The same is very much true for poland. The poles were offered a pact where the soviet union would defend them from german aggression, but they refused it. So the soviets really had no choice, strategically, but to do the molotov-ribbentrop pact in order to get that buffer area between them and the Germans. They didn't want Germany to conquer all of poland and be right up in their face. Again, a decision that very well could be seen as the only thing that saved europe from being completely controlled by the nazis. It wasn't a case of "I want more land". If you're referencing the wars before WWII, these places were largely all part of the russian empire before anyway and borders weren't well defined. It can just as easily be seen as russian successor states fighting over their borders (remember the russian-polish was fought over areas in ukraine and belarus). I mean maybe you can bring me information about the wars in the baltic states to convince me it was just the evil soviets conquering everything though.

You realize that Poland's borders prior to WW2 greatly confirm to the shape and extent of the German-Russian border prior to WW1? Not in full, of course, the various wars on the Eastern front following the collapse of Tsarist Russia and the treaty of Versailles did shift the borders following WW1, but roughly?

Poland had no interest whatsoever in returning to any degree of Russian influence over Poland, and that's the minimum extent of what would've happened. The Poles knew very well they were between a rock and a hard place with little in the way of options, and they would've have greatly resisted whomever of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany struck first. Besides, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact actually did result in the Germans and Soviets ending up right up in eachothers faces, even if it was a bit extended from the previous borders. In fact, in some ways the pact and Soviet conquest of Poland weakened Soviet defenses, as units previously assigned to the Soviet-Poland border fortifications were ordered to move up to the new border, away from the hardened defenses and into the much weaker field constructed defenses of the new border. They were relatively easily overrun in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa as a result.

Oh, and if your argument is 'yeah he's an asshole, but he protects us from another asshole' your argument is terrible because you are still having to deal with an asshole. And also wrong in this case, because the nazis were strategically and long term massively incompetent. That is not to say that the Soviet Union did not contribute massively to the war against the nazis, they did, but Nazi Germany would've eventually been defeated by the Allies anyway.

Or not, but in that case their economy would've eventually collapsed due to terrible mismanagement, stoking revolution and rebellion and the eventual overthrow of their government.


Finally, regarding the Baltic States, there was no war of conquest. Rather, following the conquest of Poland the Soviet Union put great pressure on the Baltic nations to let Soviet troops in to secure their independence. Wary, but aware that they'd be in an even worse position than Finland to resist either party at their borders they acquiesced. When with the troops came Soviet directives in how to run the three new Soviet Socialist Republics the annexations had been completed.

"forcibly" the same way the US "forcibly" established control over western europe. That was a defensive war in which they set up friendly/puppet governments number of states in the peace treaty. That's not aggressively expanding. In fact, the fact that they set up ideologically aligned states (the same way the allies did in western europe) fits far more into what I said about trotskyist thought than direct expansion.

Except that outside of Italy and especially Germany that's not true because all countries that were conquered by Nazi Germany and ended up in the USA sphere of influence were already aligned with USA ideology, much more so than any of the nations conquered or allied by Germany were aligned to the USSR's philosophy.

Will admit I don't know a great deal about this however from what I have read, tibet was never recognised by the chinese, that is the chinese republic which was then replaced by the People's Republic of China. This wasn't a case of two existant sovereign states and then the evil commies one day just said "I want that land". It's an area that had been ruled over by the mongols or the chinese for a millenia which declared it's independence in the early 1900's but was never recognised by china. It was considered part of china before the communists and was still considered part of china after the communists.

So, like Taiwan?

If you seriously think this was a simple land grab then holy hell. Korea was a unified nation and had always been so until it was torn apart in the aftermath of WWII. On one side you had US backed fascists who had frequent rebellions and committed horrendous crimes against the people of the country trying to supress them, massacres and so on. On the other side you have a popular guerilla fighter who was presumably born in a unified (if occupied) korea and fought for his country (all of it) and his people against Japanese occupation. The South had also been conducting raids and attacks on the North prior to the outbreak of full hostilities. The reasons for the korean war, again, were far more than "I want that land". Now sure you could allege that actually kim il sung was just out to conquer more land and become more powerful and none of what I said matters but that's something you can't really prove to me. The korean war was more about unifying a broken country and also an ideological one (obviously it's desirable for china and North Korea not to have hostile capitalist states right up in their face).

Korea wasn't a nation at all from 1910 until the conclusion of the Second World War. It had been conquered and then annexed by the Japanese.

While it's true that the South Korean government was brutal (if not necessarily fascist. Fascism is a specific ideology, not a buzzword for things you don't like) in suppressing its opposition, and especially the left wing opposition. However, North Korea is such an information hole that it's hard to tell much about its own internal struggles, especially from so long ago. That does not mean we don't have some information, and the information we do have paints a very unpleasant picture, a government that is just as if not even more brutal and abusive than the South Korean government of the time, and that has now transformed into a brutal, absolute, hereditary monarchy. The sort of thing you usually see communist revolutions opposing.

Also, that popular guerilla fighter was just as prone to raiding over the demarcation line while also supporting guerilla forces in South Korea. He was also the one to seek to provoke a further, more extensive conflict to take the South's territory while the South... pretty much was utterly unprepared to do anything but suppress internal strife and cross border raiding, despite the stated desire to also unify the country.

It's also interesting that you appear to be calling 'not having a hostile capitalist country on one's border' an ideological ground for conflict, because it's not. It's a national security issue that does not necessarily require outright conquest as a solution to the problem.

lmao. Do you know the history behind this conflict at all? Even if you didn't quite understand my point, saying vietnam is an example of northern aggression against the south is kinda crazy.

Looking into it, Vietnam was a fine mess of conflicting goals and deals on all sides, but the First Indochina War concluded with an uneasy peace that could've answered the final disposition of Vietnam in a peaceful manner by referendum. There was disagreement as to whom was to observe and administer the election but that could've been negotiated at length. It was the North that decided to take up arms again when the referendum fell through.

And yes, while the South was not a bunch of good or pleasant people, the North and the guerilla and militias supported by the North weren't exactly unwilling to commit atrocities of their own.

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What you have to understand is that I was not talking about whether communist countries have done wars or whether those wars were justified in any way. In many cases I don't think they were. The entire point of my comment originally was to say that it seemed that earth had a trotskyist outlook (specifically a belligerant attitude that required all nations to become communist, this was opposed to for example the stalinist idea of socialism in one country where the soviet union could hold out even in the absence of global revolution). I was putting forward simply being aggressive expansionist as an alternate reason for their behaviour but not one that would be particularly congruent with historical communist states. Many/most of the wars fought by communist regimes weren't just "I want that land over there because it will benefit me" they were about either spreading the ideology or they were strategic decisions made to counter an existential threat after diplomacy had failed.

Except that the only existential threats faced by communist countries where diplomacy failed was Nazi Germany. And in that case it wasn't even that it failed; both the Nazis and the USSR were under no impression that the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact would last any longer than their own convenience, followed by a war of aggression they themselves initiated. The USSR actively pursued an aggressive expansionist policy in Europe and as far as can be determined sought to subvert or at least gain influence over foreign communist parties to further USSR goals even to the detriment of the nations those communist parties were part of and would rule.

Hell, the Third Indochina War followed the Second Indochina/Vietnam War on its heels, and it was a free for all conflict between the communist countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with the Soviet Union delivering arms and China delivering arms and performing military actions, and as far as I can determine it wasn't about ideology or to deal with existential threats. That conflict at least looks to be very much a conflict on the basis of ethnic and territorial disagreements.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 09:40:28 AM by Hazard »
 
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Continuation of "Is communism expansionist"
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 09:05:02 AM »
I don't want to bash communism in general here, but some of your claims are extraordinary so allow me to butt in:

Both of these were primarily done in order to establish a buffer against the Germans.
Not just Nazi-Germany but the capitalist countries as well. Stalin's worst fear was always a Nazi-Capitalist alliance aimed against the Soviet Union.

The Finnish were sympathetic to Germany and the Nazis and there was very little room between the borders of Finalnd and an extremely strategically important port city, St. Petersburg (Leningrad). The Soviets tried to find a peaceful resolution to this trading the pretty unimportant areas of southern finland so they could have a buffer from potential attack, but the finnish wouldn't do it. You can argue the morality then of the soviets invading, but the strategic decisions that led to the soviets invading finland wasn't just "I want more land" and ultimately it turned out to be the correct decision so y'know.
Unfortunately, this is wrong. This is the line that Cold War Soviet propaganda pushed and, in a very worrisome development, modern Russian schools once more adopted, after having accepted the consensus during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Finland was not sympathetic to Nazi-Germany. Finland had some ties with "old" Germany, in this case meaning both Imperial Germany and the Weimar Republic, but the Nazis were not seen as a stable force for good. Finnish political circles across the board were abhorred by the violence inherent in the Nazi system and Hitler was not seen as a great man. In fact, the 1930s made Finland seek much closer ties with Great Britain, exactly because of Hitler. Nazi-Germany also racked up a pretty massive debt with Finland, which didn't make anyone in Finland happy either. Neither had Finland any territorial ambitions towards the Soviet Union. The AKS - which advocated annexing Eastern Karelia - was a fringe group in the 1930s with no political power, and the home-grown fascist movement of Lapuan Liike (and its successor, IKL) was neutered by 1933. This is an important point to make because Soviet historiography makes much ado about nothing in trying to justify their 1939 invasion. Moving the border was pointless because war, in general, had evolved since the Napoleonic times - and in 1941 the Germans proved that Leningrad was vulnerable regardless of how far the border was and they didn't even use Finnish territory nor make amphibious invasions! Without the 1939 Soviet invasion - known as the Winter War - Finland would NOT have joined Germany in 1941. Please do not repeat the upside-down justification that Russians invented post-1941.

Furthermore, the Soviet plan was not to just move the border a little bit. Their plan was the full occupation of Finland, installation of a puppet government, and then later the complete annexation of Finland into the Soviet state like was done with the Baltic States. There is no controversy or doubt about it because when the Soviet archives were opened in the 1990s during Yeltsin's era, Western historians got access and found documentary evidence. Finns were absolutely right in resisting in 1939.

The same is very much true for poland. The poles were offered a pact where the soviet union would defend them from german aggression, but they refused it. So the soviets really had no choice, strategically, but to do the molotov-ribbentrop pact in order to get that buffer area between them and the Germans. They didn't want Germany to conquer all of poland and be right up in their face. Again, a decision that very well could be seen as the only thing that saved europe from being completely controlled by the nazis. It wasn't a case of "I want more land". If you're referencing the wars before WWII, these places were largely all part of the russian empire before anyway and borders weren't well defined. It can just as easily be seen as russian successor states fighting over their borders (remember the russian-polish was fought over areas in ukraine and belarus). I mean maybe you can bring me information about the wars in the baltic states to convince me it was just the evil soviets conquering everything though.
And much of the same goes for Poland. Poles had good reason to be suspicious of Russian motives. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ensured that Germany would invade Poland and be victorious, so your claim that Soviets did not want Germany to conquer all of Poland is weak. Yes, it did push the Soviet border ahead significantly - yet as was shown in 1941 that wasn't enough. Stalin bought time for the USSR by stabbing Poland in the back and bribing Hitler with resource deliveries, while at the same time gobbling up as much land as possible. Yes, you can rationalize this by claiming that it was in self-defence for the eventual Germany-Russian showdown - but that's a pretty weak argument. No court in the world would let you take over your neighbour's house just because you want a better position to fight a murderer two houses down the road.

"forcibly" the same way the US "forcibly" established control over western europe. That was a defensive war in which they set up friendly/puppet governments number of states in the peace treaty. That's not aggressively expanding. In fact, the fact that they set up ideologically aligned states (the same way the allies did in western europe) fits far more into what I said about trotskyist thought than direct expansion.
This is blatantly false. The Soviet Union ensured that non-Communist resistance movements in East-Europe received as little support as possible and, in the case of Warsaw, made sure that they were squashed by the Germans before they moved in. Then they placed Communist parties in power and these parties were encouraged to use voter suppression, election fraud, imprisonment and even torture and murder to ensure their power. Yes, this was done to ensure that another invasion against the Soviet Union could not get as close to succeeding as the Nazis had been, but the end does not justify the means. The fact that free elections were never held and anti-Communist dissension and uprisings were violently crushed through the Cold War should be evidence enough of this. When did the Americans send tanks on the streets of Paris or Bonn or Copenhagen?

EDIT: I realized that I should clarify my argument a little more. I do agree with you that Communism isn't inherently expansionist. Where I disagree with you, is your general approach to the Soviet Union, that their expansionism under Stalin was only motivated by self-preservation under impossible conditions and thus not only understandable but also acceptable in both moral and legal manner. While self-preservation was one motivation, it was not the only one and there is plenty of evidence to back this up.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 11:36:15 AM by Garfunkel »
 
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