The Telegraph reports that remarks Jeremy Corbyn made in 2014 have now emerged, which tell us that Nato was ‘founded to promote a Cold War with the Soviet Union’. Where to start with such a claim?
Is it ignorance? Can Mr Corbyn really think that America, Britain and their allies were out to provoke a confrontation with the peacefully minded Stalin? At the time America was flooding Europe with Marshall Plan aid, which was also offered to, but rejected by, the Communists. They were busy themselves flooding the parts of Europe they controlled with secret policemen and all the apparatus of dictatorship.
Does Corbyn not know the role of those two Labour party icons, Clement Attlee and Ernie Bevin, in founding Nato? Is the current Labour Party leader so unaware of a crucial part of his party’s own history? Or does he think that despite their status as giants in Labour’s folklore, Attlee and Bevin were nothing more than evil capitalist warmongers? Has he ever read a history book? Or even stumbled across a Wikipedia page on the basic facts of twentieth century politics? Has he ever considered the long list of Soviet aggressions that preceded Nato’s launch? Or does he simply and chillingly think that Stalin and his henchmen were the good guys?
Nato was founded in response to a clear military threat from a brutal totalitarian regime, always on the watch for opportunities to use its strength to seize whatever prizes it could get away with. How can Corbyn not know this? Has he never heard of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? Of the vicious Soviet betrayal of Poland in 1939, where the USSR acted as the direct military ally of Nazi Germany? Or those many smaller nations, both inside and outside the USSR’s borders, who had their freedom crushed? They make a long and sad list. These are the reasons Nato was founded.
Thank God that at the time, America had Harry Truman as president. He was a resolute man who understood Soviet wickedness and gave us the ‘Truman Doctrine’, the simple statement that America would use its strength to defend the world from totalitarian aggression. Thank God, too, that despite their dismal economic policies, Attlee and Bevin made solid allies for the Americans.
Jeremy Corbyn was born in 1949, the same year as Nato. The year that the Berlin Airlift defeated Soviet attempts to strangle free West Berlin. The year that Orwell’s stark dystopia 1984 was published and the Russians tested the first atomic bomb of their own. Corbyn has lived through virtually the entire Cold War, spent his whole career in politics and hopes to be Prime Minister of one of Nato’s founding nations. What does this history actually mean to him?
Does he think we had no rights to self-defence? Or that the Soviet Union under Stalin and the list of his grim successors was a better society than ours? What does his constant abuse of Nato, his taste for the Morning Star newspaper – the lineal descendant of the old Stalinist Daily Worker – and his employment of a shadow chancellor who cites Lenin as his bedtime reading say about his loyalty to Britain? Can he really not differentiate between democracies and dictatorships? Does he not understand our right to self-defence? These won’t be new questions to readers of The Conservative Woman, but they still don’t seem to register with that fluctuating 40 per cent or so of our electorate who would be happy for Corbyn to lead our country.
Perhaps for those more moderate Labour Members of Parliament still trying to work out what, if anything, will finally push them to follow Frank Field and leave their embarrassing wreck of a political party, these questions might just finally help them on their way.