Friday, August 3, 2012

Percentages agreement



An “issue” (in the legit­i­mate mean­ing of the word) came up at a Churchill Cen­tre schol­arly panel when it was argued that the “per­cent­ages” agree­ment (propos­ing spheres of influ­ences in east­ern Europe) between Churchill and Stalin at Moscow—the “Tol­stoy” con­fer­ence in Octo­ber 1944—proved that Churchill and Britain were no dif­fer­ent than Stalin and Russia—that both sides had iden­ti­cal objec­tives, i.e., their own national interests.

This is a com­mon argu­ment of those who would have us believe that the West­ern democ­ra­cies are no bet­ter than Nazis, Sovi­ets, or Islam­o­fas­cists. We heard the line quite recently at Cairo, from an unex­pected source, the Pres­i­dent of the United States, who sug­gested that the Holo­caust was morally equiv­a­lent to the dis­place­ment of Pales­tini­ans after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Say what?

Leave aside that Churchill saw the Moscow agree­ment as a tem­po­rary expe­di­ent which might end up sav­ing Greece from com­mu­niza­tion (as indeed it did). Did Churchill’s behav­ior prove that “we” were the same as “them”?

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