Clarity of language is the first casualty of authoritarianism. Robin Morgan
First World – countries that were generally aligned with NATO and opposed to the USSR during the Cold War. This construct had changed sine the fall of the USSR and now generally refers to western democracies, highly developed and industrialised.
Second World – countries of the eastern bloc, or Warsaw Pact, more fully the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance. Now defunct as the USSR collapsed and the seven Warsaw Pact countries outside Russia each joined NATO.
Third World – countries that were neither of the first two, out side those blocs and could be seen as aligned with one or the other, or neutral. In later years used to denote a developing country. Some now see the term as demeaning as it might denote poverty or some kind of backwardness whereas I prefer to see the term as pre-industrial, a State in a growth stage.,
Fourth World – populations of people in isolation to other cultures, indigenous or sub cultures excluded from global society. In some definitions the term has also been used to denote failed States, basket cases who cannot develop without assistance of some kind.
These terms did not develop in one instance, they have grown and changed with the developing socio-political realities over the past sixty years as the reality has changed such as the end of the USSR.
But it was easy at the end of the second world war. It was binary West and East, Democracies and Communism, with the non-aligned States standing on the sidelines sometimes cheering on one or the other, sometimes trying to keep their heads down.
As a construct it was simple although by its simplicity it caused untold problems. ‘If you are not with us you are against us’, which is still used to persuade others to choose a side where the perception is that neutrality is not an option and the terrible Domino theory.
A child of its time and born of the binary choice of the Cold War the domino theory was used to prove to doubters that Communism was a rolling tide taking in anything before it. If a State would fall under the influence of Communism then the neighbouring States would be so infected. It was a big thing in the late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. After Dien Bien Phu it seemed that the whole of South East Asia would fall, one State at a time to the scourge of Communism.
It was the reason that the US, in the guise of John F Kennedy, intervened in Vietnam. To stop that domino from falling. In effect it accelerated the issue and the subsequent 15 years are used as proof that the Domino Theory was correct. There certainly was a wave of Communist ideals across the area but the atmosphere which had set up the conditions were a direct result of either the West misreading the situation or causing issues which led to the development of socialism. If the French had helped Ho, or Nguyễn Sinh Cung, his real name, rather than dismiss him would the Việt Minh have turned from a nationalist force opposing the Japanese back into a nationalist force opposing the French and then a Communist one. Ho tried for help from the West, was rebuffed so approached the Soviets who were only too happy to provide materiel to assist in the satellite humiliation of the US and the rest is history. Except as a result of the economic and material damage cause to the area by the war Laos fell to Communism as did Cambodia. A self fulfilling prophecy, trying to stop the spread of Communism but actually causing its spread by depriving the people of economic and societal growth, undermining governments and leaving a vacuum which the Communist ideals happily filled with promises of equality and tolerance.
The liberal idea of tolerance is more and more a kind of intolerance. Slavoj Žižek
This was certainly a domino effect as in one thing happening after the other but only because of the mistaken and misguided ideal of the Red Wave. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, although the Communists tried the dominoes didn’t fall. The Malayan Emergency or the increasing Red influence in Indonesia which stalled in 1967 when Sukarno was deposed. The Hukbalahap Rebellion in the Philippines, another one born out of an independence movement which turned to fighting the Japanese during the war and then when back to a nationalistic ideal, but the circumstances were not right to replicate Vietnam. A major power not carpet bombing the place and no land border with a Communist State probably helped. All of these were unsuccessful Communist attempts to take over Southeast Asian countries which stalled for one reason or another.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever. George Orwell
The Cold War and the divisions it caused is over, but the scars remain. But I think that the results in Southeast Asia speak more towards the nationalism from whence these organisations developed rather than overwhelming adherence to Marxist-Leninism or Trotskyism. True, Vietnam is a totalitarian State, but in the original ideal of that term being a State which strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible, and they seem to be getting a better life from it, certainly better than being carpet bombed.
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were not totalitarian States, not by that definition, they were authoritarian States having a single point of power in a person, a committee or a junta that monopolised political power and by extension social power.
But Carl Joachim Friedrich a German-American political theorist sees totalitarian States as being a party reinforced by a secret police, and monopoly control of industrial mass society. If you take that view then they both were totalitarian, and authoritarian.
Regardless of whatever political spin that they tried to put on it both regimes were despicable and murderous. Neither of them had much in the way of empathy for human life. Hitler was responsible for the deaths of millions, so were Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot. There is nothing admirable or exemplary in using some twisted logic to kill millions of people, your own people, people that the State is supposed to protect.
The other thing that these regimes had in common is the suppression of thought. Book burnings, imprisonment of intellectuals and summary execution of dissidents happened in both, all the time to anyone who had the temerity to question, to hold a contrary view point or express an opinion. Being the wrong person at the wrong place. Ask the 26,000 Polish officers that Stalin had killed at Katyn how benevolent Communism is, or ask the same question of the inmates at Auschwitz how much fun Nazism can be, all that marching and flashy uniforms.
The ability to allow dissent or listen to an opposing view without having someone killed is a major factor in Western Society, in Eastern Society, African, South American anywhere in fact where murdering despots or mindless mobs are not in charge. To be able to stand up and say, having listened to someone ‘Actually I think that is rubbish, and here’s way’, without needing to club someone to the floor for holding an opinion is a sign of tolerance and modernity.
I started this with a comment about juvenile name calling and that is all the political discourse is today. It has been watered down to a moronic level. To the left anyone who disagrees with them is Hitler, this is the 3-4 years colouring book of political theory, it is what you get when there is no reason and where everything if reduced to the lowest common denominator, mindless thuggery.
ANTIFA are anti what? Fascists, OK what is a fascist? Or do you mean Nazis? Similar but not the same.
Are we generalising here and deciding to fight any one who disagrees with our viewpoint, who holds a different opinion, who were the wrong colour shirt, who actually want a discussion rather than a brawl? What has it become when rather than listen and argue it is far better to kick the crap of someone or beat them with a stick or drive a car into a crowd of opponents.
I do not want to be ruled by a murderous despot, a committee or Junta regardless of what colour shirt they wear. Dead is dead and it is irrelevant if the bullet came from a Nazi gun or a Communist gun.
The stupid thing is I watch reports of groups of gangs marauding through the streets smashing shop windows, beating people up for wearing the wrong hat, destroying, vandalising, harming and I do not see brave warriors fighting for social justice, I just see 9–10 November 1938 and Kristallnacht or post revolutionary pogroms all over again.
Intolerant fools gladly marching to a despotic drumbeat throwing seeds of the red weed where ever they go, as insidious as H.G.Wells’ version, while not realising that what they are sowing is the means of their own destruction.