On this date in history: The fruits of engagement

On this date in history, November 16th, 1933, the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt established diplomatic relations with the communist totalitarian dictatorship of the Soviet Union:

Soviet leader Maxim Litinoff

On Nov. 16, 1933, at 10 minutes before midnight, the United States and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a telegram to the Soviet leader Maxim Litvinov, expressing hope that United States-Soviet relations would “forever remain normal and friendly.”

The United States had broken off diplomatic relations with Russia in December 1917, after the Communist Bolshevik Party seized power and refused to honor its debts to foreign countries. The United States remained hostile toward Russia and the Soviet Union (founded in 1922) until President Roosevelt took office in 1933 and sought to establish relations with the Soviets, in part because the United States was the only major power yet to recognize the Soviet Union.

The main issues surrounding the establishment of relations included the settling of Soviet debts, Soviet involvement in American domestic affairs (like supporting the American Communist Party), and the legal status of Americans living in the Soviet Union.

As history now tells us, engaging the Soviet dictatorship through diplomatic relations in order to settle disputes turned out to be an utter and complete failure. The Soviets never settled their American debts with Roosevelt, and they continued to instigate and support communist groups in the U.S. whose aims was to destroy our freedoms and turn the U.S. into another dictatorship.

In spite of the historical failure that “engagement” with brutal dictatorships has proven to be, there are still those who want the U.S. to follow the same failed and useless policy with Cuba’s totalitarian dictatorship. One cannot say it enough: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

1 thought on “On this date in history: The fruits of engagement”

  1. Ah, but FDR followed fashion and did the “correct” thing, which, presumably, pleased that inveterate whore known as “international opinion.” I expect that was good enough for him, and maybe that’s all he was really aiming for. JFK, also worried about “international opinion,” would later commit betrayal and cause failure at the Bay of Pigs invasion, which set up the Missile Crisis, which was “resolved” by trading Cuba’s freedom and future in exchange for JFK being able to look good to national and international opinion, even though the Russians got the better of him. If he had lived and won a second term, there’s no telling what else the Soviets would have pulled on his watch, since they obviously had his number.

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