Wishing for World War III

That’s what Bush’s anti-Yalta ravings amount to. Steve Bainbridge explicates.

Pres. Bush and Prof. Bainbridge are right, of course. We didn’t have to acquiesce in the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe after World War II.

We could have fought World War III instead. With nukes on both sides, of course; unless we were prepared to conquer Russia, nothing would have stopped Sakharov from building Stalin an H-bomb. Doesn’t that sound jolly?

Prof. Bainbridge doesn’t estimate how much longer it would have taken to defeat the Nazis if we had, as he retrospectively advises, started jockeying for position against the Soviets in 1944, by withholding the cross-Channel invasion and pursuing a race to Vienna and Berlin through the Balkans. Therefore he doesn’t have to consider how many more people would have died in the Nazi death camps as a result. Or what would have happened had Stalin switched sides, as he was perfectly capable of doing if Churchill and FDR had double-crossed him.

I’m grateful to Steve for making the President’s meaning explicit. It’s one thing to regret the suffering that resulted from the ratification at Yalta of the facts on the ground. Wishing that WWIII had happened is something else again.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com