Stranger Than Fiction
Sam Rosenfeld and I used to have a joke, based on Gene Sperling's book, about writing a counter-intuitive pro-Stalin tract called The Original Pro-Growth Progressive. It hasn't come together, but according to Andrew Bacevich the world now does have a somewhat different new pro-Stalin tract: "While frankly exploring the full extent of Stalin’s brutalities and their impact on the Soviet people, Roberts also uncovers evidence leading to the stunning conclusion that Stalin was both the greatest military leader of the twentieth century and a remarkable politician who sought to avoid the Cold War and establish a long-term detente with the capitalist world."
This comes via McMegan. Meanwhile, Bacevich unleashes a level of shrillness I was pondering this afternoon at the gym: "In this sense, Stalin’s commitment to 'freedom and peace between peoples' bears comparison with President Bush’s post-9/11 commitment to eliminating tyranny." In some ways, though, I think this may be too hard on Stalin as his plan for Soviet domination of Eastern Europe at least actually did result in decades of Soviet domination. Bush can't even get the oil pumps working in Iraq.