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DURING the years 1920 and 1922 there was much discussion in Europe of possible "advances" toward Soviet Russia -- or rather of Russia's advances toward capitalistic Europe. At that time one heard much the same arguments for the "normalization of relations" with the Red Empire that are being put forward in the United States today by people who believe it an opportune moment for giving new impetus to the movement for a Soviet-American rapprochement. In those days too there were people who took "the world view" and suggested the advisability, not to say the necessity, of "laying less stress on points of difference." Lloyd George urged several European chancelleries to strive for some relationship with the Soviet Union which would "take account of economic facts" and be determined by "considerations of common sense." The German Republic, for its part, actually "turned East" and negotiated the Rapallo Treaty at the Genoa Conference--the first definite manifestation of a trend (then more or less general in Europe) toward readmitting Russia to full participation in European life. The year 1924 saw several formal recognitions. France, Italy and England hurried to get there first. The Soviet Union had already been in existence seven years. The chancelleries of Europe regarded it, economically as well as politically, as "comparatively stable." Ministers and representatives were sent to Russia, duly accredited, and were introduced with all ceremony to the President of the Soviet Union, Kalinin. The Soviet Union was just as punctilious. It sent its diplomatic spokesmen, and they made their regulation bows before kings and presidents. "Normalcy?" What could have been more normal?
Just a year before de facto relations became official (in 1923, that is), the British Government had had occasion to send an ultimatum to the Soviets on the subject of the revolutionary propaganda emanating from Moscow, which was causing unrest in India and Afghanistan. And now in December 1924, at the very time when an English Labor Government had recognized the Soviets, Stalin was at Tiflis, outlining a great plan of campaign for the Third International to promote a world revolution. Economic Europe, he there contended, had reached a stage of stability, though, of course, only for a limited time. Locarno was in fact on the horizon, as well as the Dawes Plan, and in the economic sphere signs of recovery from the Ruhr crisis were everywhere apparent. It was therefore necessary, Stalin proceeded, to attack England by an indirect route, for the cornerstone of the capitalistic system must be shattered first of all. China was ripe for revolution. The upheaval, once launched from there, would spread to India. English business, at the very least, would forthwith be thrown into confusion. Capitalistic Europe as a whole could be reached only in that way -- by a detour through the "colonial and half-colonial world." As soon as the center of capitalism had been shaken, the direct attack, as prosecuted between the years 1918 and 1923, could be resumed.
Down to the spring of 1927, when the Kuomintang shook off Bolshevist influence, Moscow assiduously pressed its ideas on China; toward the end of 1926, indeed, they seemed to have become the preponderant force in that country. This was all the working out of the Soviet plans announced by Stalin. It is accurate to call them Soviet plans and not only plans of the Third International, because Borodin, and the military representative of the Soviet Union in China, Bluecher-Galin,[i] had been receiving their orders from various sources, among them a committee made up of Chicherin, a member of the G.P.U. named Jagoda, the chief of the Far Eastern Department of the Foreign Commissariat, and, finally, an officer of the General Staff. Karakhan, the Soviet representative in China, openly preached revolution in Pekin. During the summer of 1925 the principal cities of China were stirred with well-organized and often bloody demonstrations on the part of native Chinese, which tended, according to a unified plan, to rouse uneasiness in the whole country. In all this the initiative came from Moscow.
In England itself a general strike broke out in the summer of 1926. It soon collapsed; but it was shortly followed by a more protracted miners' strike. In both episodes Moscow took ardent and unconcealed interest, both with money and encouragement, and Soviet agitation in England was pushed untiringly and intensively. The British Government broke with the Soviet Union in May of the following year. The rupture was based on irrelevant issues, but it was unavoidable in view of all that Moscow had been saying and, in its own peculiar ways, doing. In 1929, exclusively under pressure of internal political circumstances, the newly elected Labor Government resumed relations with the Soviet Union. On the English side it was explained that this was done in consideration of a Soviet promise to abstain from revolutionary agitation in India, an explanation which the official Soviet press at once hastened to deny.
So much, briefly, for the English experience with the Soviets after the resumption of "normal" relations.
The treaty signed at Rapallo in 1922 between Germany and Soviet Russia involved (to judge by what the signatory governments themselves said) not only a restoration of "regular relations" but a political rapprochement in answer to the situation created by the Treaty of Versailles. In January 1923 the French marched into the Ruhr. Moscow at once saw itself in danger. But this was a purely political point of view, and it lasted only for a few days. Shortly the policies of the Third International, the "will to world revolution," recovered their position as the center of interest. The Russian Communist Party now foresaw that the result of the French invasion would be the collapse of German industry and a period of economic depression all through Europe. It was convinced that, provided the situation were properly handled (handled, that is, from Moscow), there were genuine prospects for a revolution in Germany. In the Ruhr area itself the Kremlin did everything possible to sharpen acrimonies between Germans and French, and actually fostered Communist outbreaks (with the connivance of the French garrison). At Moscow, during August and September 1923, a personnel was designated for the taking over of the more important industries in Germany the moment Communism should triumph there. In Russian schools the history periods were devoted exclusively to "the history of the Class Struggle in Germany." An official of the Foreign Commissariat, Kopp by name, went in the autumn to Warsaw -- a very striking fact at just that moment, in view of the strained relations between Poland and her neighbor to the East. It was Kopp's errand to secure permission for the transport of Russian munitions (and, by intimation, of Russian troops) through Polish territory over a period of a few days; and, in exchange for such permission, he stood ready to give Poland a free hand in East Prussia.[ii] The munitions and troops, of course, were destined to help the expected German revolution on to victory.
During the Ruhr crisis, the German Government kept protesting privately to Moscow against the presence in Germany of numerous Russian agents of the worst type. It especially deplored two attempts made upon the life of General von Seeckt by a G.P.U. man named Sokolov, a veteran of the revolutionary army, who stood very close to Stalin. Stalin procured the man's release by securing the conviction for premeditated murder of two undoubtedly innocent German students in Moscow.
In the same year Germany reached a commercial agreement with Soviet Russia by which she supplied the Soviets with a credit of 75 million dollars. Numbers of German engineers and master mechanics went forthwith to Russia. Three years later (1928) came the so-called Schachty trial, a prosecution of Russian and German engineers who were alleged to have committed sabotage. The whole case was a "frame-up," made with a definite purpose. The importance which German industry had come to assume in Russia through the work of its representatives there was now regarded as a possible danger to the prestige of the party; and a hue and cry against it was all the easier to raise since a deep hatred for everything German had existed since the year 1923, when the German people had betrayed Russia by not proclaiming a Soviet republic!
In August 1928 the Congress of the Third International which met at Moscow announced its now famous findings: that the "period of stabilization" in capitalistic industry and commerce had come to an end, and in particular that American prosperity was on the verge of a serious set-back. The logical inference from this was that the time had come for resuming revolutionary activity in Europe itself. A number of "starting points" for provoking clashes between the proletariat and the civil authorities the world over (the United States included) were suggested. Instructions were sent to all countries in which there were parties affiliated with the Third International, calling for demonstrations of the unemployed on March 6 and for active celebrations on May Day ("World Proletariat Day") and on the first of August ("World Peace Day").
The direct bearing of all this was made clear by the following episode.
On the first of May, 1929, Voroschilov, the Soviet War Commissar, shouted loud enough to be heard by the sixty thousand people gathered in the Red Square that the proletariat of Berlin had resolved to defend its rights with its blood and to make a demonstration for the world revolution on that very May Day. May Day assemblies had been forbidden in Germany in order to avoid clashes between Communists and National Socialists. Voroschilov, therefore, was evincing unusual disregard for the German Government, since the speech was made in the presence of the German Ambassador and the whole diplomatic corps, which had appeared, as a usual show of courtesy, at the great Red festival. In all this, Voroschilov was directly reflecting the conclusions reached by the Third International during the previous year. Violent demonstrations against capitalistic Germany straightway broke out in all Russia, and the instructions issued to the party explained that in view of the prospects of a determined revolutionary effort in Germany the question of maintaining diplomatic relations with that country had dwindled to insignificance. In the economic field some damage was to be expected, but this would be offset by the imminent reconciliation with England and by improved commercial relations with the United States. It was evidently the idea of Moscow that the necessary commercial support for a vigorous revolutionary offensive on the Continent, where the nations might have recourse to commercial counter-attacks, was to be supplied by the Anglo-Saxon countries.
By the autumn of 1929 Moscow came to see that it had pushed the "Red Front" forward too far and too fast. There was a show of retreat; but the negotiations which have since been resumed with Berlin (at the instigation of the Soviets) indicate that the Soviets are as persistent and stubborn as ever; for these negotiations have proved a failure, though this is denied by both parties. How closely the Soviets' political and revolutionary activities abroad are still associated -- how, in fact, they depend the one upon the other -- may be seen by the appointment as secretary at the Berlin Embassy of a certain Dr. Goldstein, a man already celebrated in Soviet circles for his achievements as an agitator, and whose doings in the Balkans are so interestingly described by Bessedowski. According to a recent press report, three members of the Soviet delegation in Berlin have just been arrested for revolutionary intrigues.
The experiences of England and Germany in dealing diplomatically with the Soviets have been sketched here merely as representative of the outcome of many similar experiments. Much the same would have to be said of France, for example, or of Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. Especially interesting are the cases of Mexico and some South American countries, but it would take us too far afield to describe them here. It is always the same story: impeccable formal relations with the Soviet Government, accompanied by a continuous revolutionary agitation by the party, either directly or through the Third International -- this agitation unembarrassed by the Government or else directly inspired by it. All diplomatic representatives have to consider themselves as instruments of the party as well as of the official Soviets. The duplicity of Soviet diplomacy as regards the "bourgeois" states is indeed apparent.
This duplicity has various aspects in reference to the actual character of the normal relations which the Soviet Union is supposed to entertain with the "capitalistic" states. We shall not dwell too long on the moral factor, though the states which have to put up with Soviet double-dealing undoubtedly lose dignity. As social questions play a considerable rôle in most of those states this fact cannot be considered unimportant.
There is a second and more practical question. To what extent is the security of the bourgeois states endangered by Soviet double-dealing? This is a favorite subject of political discussion the world over; and, indeed, it is not an easy matter to decide.
The problem has two aspects. It is a question not only of security in the absolute sense -- in the sense of danger to the existence of the present capitalistic régimes; but also of security in a relative sense -- to what extent is a nation exposed to economic mishaps and losses in assets and credit by reason of the economic disturbances which Moscow is always trying to provoke by way of gradual preparation for an eventually decisive blow? The fact, for instance, that there were four million Communist votes cast out of a total of almost twenty million voters in the last national elections in Germany gives no positive gauge of the actual power of the revolutionary party in that country at the present time, or of the power it might have at some future time were special circumstances to open up real prospects of success for revolutionary action. England, to take another example, is today free, or virtually free, of Communism. But that country has good reason to study the situation in her Asiatic colonies with the closest attention, because recent happenings in China have shown that Communist influence there, though denied by great authorities, must be regarded as endemic, since it raises recurring waves of popular excitement and disturbance to business. Present economic conditions the world over have increased the inflammability of political opinion among the masses. Efforts to overthrow the present social system may prove abortive. Nevertheless the effect of them on the economic situation might well be to make existing conditions worse and to hamper recovery.
In none of the conversations about the future of Communism which the writer has had recently with European and American observers has he heard reference to a third point which considerably complicates the two just mentioned. "Complicates" is perhaps too mild an expression. This third factor is really important enough to give the whole problem an entirely new setting. It is as follows.
At the decennial celebration of the Soviet Republic in November 1927, it was first suggested, with full official responsibility, that the Red Army expected to play a decisive rôle in future Communist revolutions in foreign countries. It was explained at that time that the Red Army was designed to go to the support of nascent revolutionary movements abroad and, combining with these, to set up new Soviet states and assist in overthrowing existing capitalistic régimes. That the powers at the Kremlin had long had this in mind is attested by such events as Kopp's mission in Poland; and Stalin expressed himself to the same purport in a conversation with the author of this article toward the end of January 1923. Not till 1927, however, did the Soviet Government feel itself in a position to impart this idea to the Russian masses, regardless of diplomatic consequences with countries which might consider themselves menaced thereby.
Ever since that 1927 pronouncement the concept of a "strategic unity" prevailing between Red Army at home and Red Revolution abroad has been constantly kept in the public eye in Russia, besides being assiduously cultivated in the minds of the General Staff and among the directing members of the Third International. There exist several scientific treatises on the strategic problems involved in this idea of military and revolutionary coöperation. The Soviet régime evidently has a very low opinion of the capacity of the bourgeoisie abroad to grasp the significance of the plan. The Soviets, indeed, operate systematically on the principle that the ruling classes in bourgeois countries -- far removed, as a rule, from Soviet fanaticism or, if you will, from Soviet idealism -- will not take them seriously.
The chances of revolution unquestionably become much more serious in view of this plan for military coöperation. Despite the country's exhausted condition, the Red Army is always being strengthened; no sacrifice is too great. The Soviet public is constantly fed reports about the alleged dangers of war -- a well-known tactic on the part of those who desire war. The younger generation is being reared in a strictly militaristic fashion. One of the now sanctified dogmas handed down by Lenin teaches that inevitably war must one day be waged by the capitalistic countries against "the only socialist state in the world." One must have breathed this atmosphere, have watched develop this mixture of warlike spirit and revolutionary enthusiasm, in order to grasp just what it means for the Red Army to be officially connected, and designed to join forces, with all revolutionary movements of the Communist variety in Europe, and for the Red General Staff to be coördinated with the leaders and agents of Communist parties abroad. The notion of coöperation rests on the premise that the chances of any particular Communist upheaval, especially in countries in the neighborhood of the Soviet Union, become immeasurably greater if they are not to depend on themselves alone. Without the Red Army they might amount to nothing -- with it, everything. The idea supplies, furthermore, a strong stimulant to Communist parties in other countries (even ones far removed from Russia), especially to enthusiastic young elements. In 1928, just outside Berlin, the Communist Party maintained a boys' camp which actually bore the name of the Soviet Commissar of War.
This situation must be taken into serious account in judging the prospects of a Communist revolution in Europe. It makes the question of propaganda from Moscow a matter of the first importance, even though, in the eyes of a diplomacy which either ignores it or faces it gingerly and reluctantly, it seems little more than an inconvenience to the daily routine. The strivings of the members of the League of Nations for security and peace are brought to downright absurdity by the presence in their midst of preparations for this new and extraordinary kind of war -- a war fostered by unofficial forces and to be waged by official forces when the time is ripe.
One might ask why it is that the Soviets have so long been allowed to maintain a two-faced foreign policy; sometimes, indeed, after having shown their true face, they have even been allowed again to mask it (as in the case of England). The answer must be that political and especially commercial rivalries keep the European Powers, great and small, which are at present enjoying "normal relations" with the Soviet Union, from giving decisive expression to their annoyance at the Communistic agitation emanating from Moscow. Profits within limits are still possible in Russia, and a few of the specialized industries of certain countries have made enormous profits there. Still more important, in this connection, is a widespread belief in the great potentialities of commercial relations with Russia. It is interesting to note, however, that though Germany sends more goods than any other country into Soviet Russia, yet these exports represent only 3 percent of her total export trade as against 12 to 15 percent before the war; and this 3 percent is less than Germany exports to Denmark and Austria! The fact is that present conditions in Soviet Russia make her an interesting subject for speculation and discussion, but that from a national business point of view she is a client of very uncertain value for Europe.
In the diplomatic sphere an important influence is doubtless exercised by the idea, of which the chancelleries of Europe can never be cured, that the doings of the Third International are the private affair of Russia, whereas diplomatic relations are always and everywhere what the phrase implies. This idea is reënforced by the feeling that after all the danger of revolution at the present moment is not very great. Moscow's own opinion in this matter is perhaps worth considering. Moscow says that it is a question of a long struggle; that genuine class-consciousness can spread through the world only gradually, a little at a time; that already the efforts which have been put forth have brought unexpectedly large results in important countries like Germany and France; that the evolution of capitalism, with its huge trusts and the progressive elimination of small and middling enterprise, verifies the predictions of Karl Marx as to the causes of the coming revolution. It should be added, further, that to the extent of their ability the Soviets have intensified their agitation from year to year. The fact that they may have abandoned a few revolutionary objectives is of no significance -- quite the contrary!
The presentment here made runs counter to the hopes that were set glowing at Genoa; but it corresponds to the course of actual events. At the Genoa Conference there was much talk of the "fresh air" which improved business relations were to let in upon the stuffy dogmatism of the Reds. But the fact -- a mere fact, but as "hard" a fact as one could desire -- is that during the years since Genoa the ruling party in Russia has wholly escaped the influences which the importers of Western methods were supposed to set in motion. Not only that. With the greatest energy and purposefulness it has succeeded in imposing its doctrines on 156 millions of Russians, and has kept them from being in any way trained by Western ideas in spite of a considerable increase of economic relations abroad. From the very outset the Red leaders were perfectly aware of the dangers of contact with Western capitalism. They were much quicker to grasp the threat that capitalism held for them than was the bourgeois West to understand the dangers inherent in contact with the Soviet Union. They all along have understood that they can keep in the saddle only by pursuing a radically Bolshevist policy, that any concessions to the capitalistic system would spell their own ruin, that if any heterodox forces were allowed to grow up in Russia the Red régime would soon be overwhelmed.
We still are not in a position to draw any conclusions as to the effects that American recognition of the Soviets might have in Europe. We must first describe more explicitly the situation existing in the Soviet Union, and the effects which, given that situation, recognition would produce there.
We have already said that the ruling party in Russia is determined to go forward energetically along the road prescribed by its platform, that this, indeed, is a matter of life and death to it. Its object is not merely to promote world revolution -- after all, this is only one part of its general program. In Russia itself the party has worked relentlessly to bring into being as quickly as possible the "pure, proletarian, one-class state." After reducing the Russian bourgeoisie to a mere shadow, it has in the last two years begun to annihilate the economically independent peasantry, even at the cost of serious economic sacrifices.
It is important to observe the exact circumstances under which this policy has been worked out. Its leader, fighting in the front line, has been Stalin. Against him stands arrayed a large number of party comrades, marshalled by Rykov, the President of the Soviet Cabinet, famous for his recurring half-yearly "recantations." This opposition explains itself by saying that the present tempo of socialization in Russia is too rapid and involves serious economic and political dangers. Its leaders are not any the less earnest in their Communism than the people in Stalin's "Center" -- they merely differ with him as to tactics. They also attach greater importance than the Stalinists to the perils inherent in too open and too vigorous a promotion of the Third International's program for world revolution.
An article in the last number of FOREIGN AFFAIRS described the delicacy of the situation in which Stalin finds himself as the result of this opposition. It is really much more serious for him than official reports and the censored newspaper articles of foreign correspondents betray. Suffice it here to remind ourselves that in this struggle over tactics the Stalinists make much of the fact that neither the agitation conducted abroad nor the extremist domestic policy of the Soviets, each of which disturbs so profoundly the economic unity of Europe, has had any perceptibly untoward consequences in Russia's diplomatic relations with foreign countries, excepting the transient rupture with England. Stalin has availed himself of this argument most effectively. There can be no doubt that the resumption of relations with England, for example, strengthened Stalin's position in every respect. There followed the Communistic excesses of the winter of 1929--30.
In Moscow the United States is always referred to as "the greatest capitalistic state." This emphasizes the commercial aspect of the question of American recognition. But the political aspect is far more important. Suppose, for example, that the Soviet Union were to obtain a loan from American financiers. The important question would then be as to what influence this loan would exercise on the conduct of Soviet foreign policy. It is plain that in the domestic field the Soviet leaders would carry on their policy of socialization at a more rapid tempo; it may well be, indeed, that Stalin's plan is unrealizable without such financial buttressing. But have we the slightest grounds for believing, after watching the Soviet Union in action during these past thirteen years, that such a loan, or any kind of economic assistance, would weaken, let alone break down, the revolutionary program of the Soviets abroad? Have we the slightest indication that the Soviets would repay "good will" with similar coin, and not continue to regard such phrases merely as a hypocritical disguise for capitalist greed? Has the existence of commercial relations with bourgeois countries in any way changed the policy of the Communist Party, either at home or abroad? Has it not, rather, served as a basis for military and revolutionary preparations, often against the very countries with which such friendly relations had been established?
We ask these questions because many people are inclined to expect political miracles to grow out of economic relationships.
Any contract which a "capitalist" makes with the Soviet Government is looked upon in "class conscious" Moscow as an obeisance on the part of that capitalist before the all-conquering proletariat, and it is so interpreted to the Russian people. This would be true, par excellence, of recognition by the United States. For some eleven years now the American Republic has refused recognition on ethical grounds. Moscow would infer from a change in the American attitude that economic considerations had forced the United States to give up its opposition to the Soviet Government; for no one knows better than the people at Moscow that the ethical argument against recognition is as well substantiated and valid as ever. They would promptly attribute the change of policy to America's economic weakness and would joyfully repeat for the thousandth time their well-known slogan: "The most effective ally in the battle of the first socialist state for existence and for final victory will be the greed of the capitalists."
But more important than all this would be the consideration that Moscow, in view of the peculiar mentality that prevails there, would see in diplomatic recognition the de facto recognition or acceptance of its principles and of the activities which flow from them. Moscow would attribute America's change in attitude to the growing power of the Soviet Union, or at least to its growing prestige, and to a progressive weakening on the "bourgeois front," of which there is nowadays much talk in Russia. When the great impulse toward recognition swept over Europe in 1924 the inner character of Soviet policy was still in doubt. But now, after all that has taken place in the past six years, it is unmistakable. From the Moscow point of view, then, it would be a very different thing for America to accord recognition today than it was in the case of the governments which, between 1922 and 1924, belonged to the optimistic school of Lloyd George and could still claim a right to entertain illusions. Recognition, especially by America, would be taken as a certificate of freedom to continue in the same old way.
Under these circumstances recognition by America could only provoke Communist Russia to greater aggressiveness and enterprise in its attacks on the bourgeois European countries and their colonial points of weakness: in other words, upon those very European governments (also commercially important to America) which maintain official relations with Moscow. But we must not consider that this would be exactly an act of bad faith, for Moscow itself says quite frankly that such relations are only "provisory," that they are nothing but makeshifts designed to serve till all such expedients are rendered unnecessary by the outbreak of Communist revolutions.
Most of the moral and economic profit which would arise out of recognition by America would accrue to the Red Army. We have already seen what, in the eyes of the Soviet rulers, that might mean for the peace of Europe. War with the bourgeois Powers is to them as inevitable as the world revolution itself. Recognition by the United States would convince them that they are relatively secure against untoward results of revolutionary activity. They would conclude that they are even more able than they thought to choose unhampered the moment for the "inevitable."
There is nothing speculative about the policies here described. They belong to the realm of fact. They already have left traces in history. They are not to be brushed aside or overlooked in deference to any vague belief in the omnipotence of what we call "common sense," or in the softening, suasive influences of "good will" and "fresh air." They would all acquire greater significance, greater activity, through American recognition.
Turning to the direct effects which American recognition might have within the Soviet sphere itself, we may say that it would be regarded as a personal victory for Stalin, and just the sort of victory he needs. It would be taken as confirmation of his claim that his ruthless policies really do no very great harm abroad. The next five years, so far as can now be seen, will decide the fate of the gigantic overturn which he and his partners are now trying to force through. They will likewise decide whether the cultural and social unity of Europe as we know it is really to pass away. The fate of the Russian people, today delivered over to a group of violent dictators, can thus be affected to a very material degree by America's decision to give or withhold positive approval of Stalin's measures. In Russia itself that is the principal significance which would be attached to American recognition.
And it would have an identical significance for the uncertain masses in Europe. Their attitude toward the proletarian régime in Russia has been largely determined according as the situation of the Red experiment was favorable or unfavorable. The acceptance of official relations by the United States probably would not raise Soviet prestige very much in the eyes of the European bourgeoisie; but it would raise it enormously among the masses, silencing many criticisms and removing much skepticism. It would give fresh energy to the influences which Moscow exerts in revolutionary circles in Europe. And certainly the effectiveness of these would be the greater at a time like the present, when the economic situation of Europe -- and indeed of the whole world -- is a matter of such concern and when the future is still so doubtful. The current depression, in Europe as well as in America, accompanied by grave unemployment and a fall in commodity prices, was foreseen by Moscow as early as 1928 at the Congress of the Third International, and the Soviets have based their calculations ever since on a long duration of present conditions. Moscow's orders today are to do everything possible to make the crisis continue and to make it worse. The German Communist Party fought the simultaneous reduction of wages and industrial prices in Germany on this ground alone -- and this was the reason for the breakdown of the plan.
Not since the days of President Wilson has America been confronted with a decision fraught with such consequences for Europe as is involved in this question of Soviet recognition. If America decides upon recognition, it may hereafter be necessary in history to say that in 1931 she made her deliberate choice between bourgeois Europe and the Soviets.
I must not be left in the position of saying that it is altogether a one-sided affair. In the event of recognition, the American Government might not be satisfied to carry on "normal relations" in the abnormal manner that other countries have had to put up with. Such a refusal would presuppose America's willingness to go to any lengths in the protection of her rights against the familiar Soviet tactics. If America did not evade the facts, if she refused to tolerate the existence in her midst of the Third International under the protection of Moscow, or if she insisted on the same freedom of movement for her representatives in Russia that agents of the Soviet régime enjoy in America (to mention only two among many points), recognition might have effects opposite to those of the similar experiments tried by other nations. Moscow would find it difficult, perhaps, to give the nationals of other countries worse treatment than that accorded Americans. To this extent all would profit, and in this possibility lies the reason why so many Europeans who do business in Russia (and particularly German business men) would welcome American recognition.
But the United States could adopt this stern sort of policy only if she grossly underestimated the difficulties of applying it. This is a type of error, to be sure, that often results in great things. But error for error, it would be much more dangerous to believe that Russian Bolshevism is not resolved to go on its way as it has been going, regardless of all external or hostile forces. It must do so if it is to survive. All the devices of the "capitalists" to tame it and "make it fit into their system" are well known in Russia. Moscow yields to them momentarily when it thinks them dangerous. When it judges them harmless, it laughs at them and turns them to its own purposes. In its own eyes the Soviet Power is already victorious. The fact that it has been of the same opinion during each of the thirteen years past is one of the secrets of its greatest strength, and one of the reasons why it is so dangerous to reason about its future as though it were governed by every-day laws of probability.
[i] The same who commanded the Red armies on the Manchurian frontier during the Russo-Chinese conflict of 1929.
[ii] The facts of the Kopp episode first became known to the author of this article while he was in Moscow, and he received confirmation of them in London last autumn. Meantime, Bessedowski, sometime counsellor to the Soviet Legation in Paris (the same who escaped by way of the garden wall when his life was threatened by an agent of the G.P.U.), has told the story of Kopp's mission twice, once in an article in a French newspaper and a second time in his book.