Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don't Mirror Image Different Societies and Political Systems With Your Own

Regarding the Soviet crushing of Hungary's democratic revolt in 1956:

“At the time it seemed extraordinary to me that the Soviet Union should be prepared to undo all the efforts it had made since the death of Stalin to improve its image by such a crude and barbarous affront to decency. Some years later I discussed my reaction with [Robert] Conquest…whose The Great Terror in the late 1960s first fully exposed the scale of Stalin’s murders. He said that the classic error we all made in dealing with the Soviets was in assuming that they would behave as Westerners would in the circumstances. They were shaped by a very different and much more brutal political culture.”

Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power (London, 1995), p. 90.

How much more true is that of miscalculating regarding the Middle East!

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