At City Journal Bruce Thorton reviews Jamie Glazov’s book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror
The next generation of leftists in America, the so-called “New Left,” may have become disillusioned with the Soviet Union after Khrushchev validated every anti-Communist charge, but they still clung to the ideology that had justified and driven Communism’s crimes. They simply shopped around for new autocrats to worship. Castro’s Cuba became, and to some extent has remained, the Shangri-La for starry-eyed American leftists, despite its half-million political prisoners—“the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world,” Glazov points out—and its execution of 15,000 enemies of the state. Vietnam for a time inspired pilgrimages as well, lauded by intellectuals like Susan Sontag and Mary McCarthy despite the Viet Cong’s bloody record of torture, forced depopulation, and murder. The bloody dénouement of Saigon’s fall—the purges, executions, refugees, and a holocaust in neighboring Cambodia—soon diverted the Left’s adulation to the next revolution de jour, in Nicaragua. Fans of the thuggish Sandinistas, or the “sandalistas,” as critics dubbed these “political tourists,” did not seem to mind the regime’s 8,000 political executions, 20,000 political prisoners, forced population relocations, or regular use of torture on state enemies. Indeed, about 250,000 Americans went to Nicaragua to work for the Sandinista government.
In 1990, the Sandinistas faced a reasonably fair election and were voted out of power. When China began easing toward greater economic freedom, the only full-blown Communist regime left besides Cuba’s was that of North Korea’s lunatic Kim Jong Il, whose mad dictatorship even American leftists struggled to idealize. However, some found in the resurgent Islamic jihad the next supposed victim of American imperialism and capitalism that, Glazov writes, “would fill the void left by communism’s collapse.” The first stirrings of this unholy alliance between leftists and jihadists were visible after the Iranian revolution of 1979. Again displaying a remarkable myopia about their new heroes’ crimes—the mullahs in Iran killed more people just in the span of two weeks in 1979 (about 20,000) than the hated Shah had in 38 years—Western radicals like French philosopher Michel Foucault indulged both their noble-savage idealization of the non-Western “other” and their usual adolescent worship of “revolution.”
Considering the new ties between Iran and Latin America, once can safely assume the dupes will continue their adoration.