Monday, April 30, 2012

Hitler vs Stalin Thunderdome Deathmatch

One of my guilty pleasures is the FX animated comedy series Archer, about a private intelligence service named ISIS and its decadent though often effective secret agents.  ISIS is run by Malory Archer  (Jessica Walter), a late-middle-aged alcoholic with a promiscuous sexual history stretching back to WWII*.  She employs, among many other colorful characters, her son Sterling, a wise-cracking self-centered SOB with consummate combat skills and uncertain paternity, the resolution of which is a recurring plotline.

In the February 16th episode Lo Scandalo, (*SPOILER ALERT*) Malory murders the Prime Minister of Italy, “Savio Mascalzone”, with whom she had been having a long-running annual tryst.  It comes to light that the late Savio had had Fascist involvement during WWII and, in the early years of the Cold War, and in the course of assisting the fledgling CIA fight Soviet subversion in Italy, had apparently murdered one of the many possible candidates for Sterling’s biological father.  (Allen Dulles is implicated.)

I was struck by something as I watched this cast of degenerates (not that I’m judging; this is the source of the show’s appeal) fluff their moral feathers at the prospect of using former Fascists to fight communism.  It is a long-standing lore of the Cold War that the U.S. rehabilitated Nazis in various capacities.  Werner Von Braun is the obvious example, although I am unaware of any specific war criminals that were given this opportunity.

Just about every reference to this lore comes with moral condemnation at the tradeoff.  But it is not clear to me why – and indeed I object to the contention – it was so awful to deploy our defeated WWII adversaries in our fight against Soviet expansion, yet just fine and dandy to aid and abet that expansion in our fight against the Axis.  Indeed, I would assert the opposite:  By 1946, former Nazis were hardly a threat, whereas in 1940 there was ample evidence that Stalin’s Russia was not only more barbaric than Hitler’s Germany, but a future source of conflict for the West’s security.

And yet the exact opposite moral lesson is routinely communicated by the media.  I wonder who’s interests that serves.

I will note in passing that the realpolitik case is somewhat different than the moral case.  We armed the Soviets against the Nazis.  We armed the proto-Taliban against the Soviets.  We help the Pakistanis against  the Taliban.  So it goes.

A review of this history can prompt one of two possible reactions:  (1) “All is vanity, and a striving after wind; or (2) “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  Either is defensible.  What is not defensible is jumping back and forth between the two in the service of some hidden ethnic agenda.

* As indicated by the styles and history of the characters, the show is apparently set in the early 1960s, although with a lot of present day technology like cell phones and plenty of anachronistic cultural references.

3 comments:

Professor Hale said...

If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.--Churchill

And so he did, WRT Stalin.

Justin said...

The way FDR bent over for Stalin was disgusting and inexcusible. Tens of thousands of American POWs suffered a lonely, forgotten death because of it, among other outrages.

Dexter said...

it is not clear to me why – and indeed I object to the contention – it was so awful to deploy our defeated WWII adversaries in our fight against Soviet expansion

In fact, it would have been criminally irresponsible not to do so.

"It is possible we might have to fight the Soviets. Should we therefore get advice and assistance from those who very recently fought the Soviets?" is such a NO DUH question that only the diseased minds of late 20th century liberals would even have to think about it, let alone indignantly shriek "of course not, they're Fascists!"