Power and the Idealists: Or, The Passion of Joschka Fischer and its Aftermath

Ever since the parties of the Second International split over the First World War,
national security has divided left-wing opinion as no other issue. The end of the Cold
War might conceivably have marked a resolution to these disputes. I recall hearing
Martin Jacques, then editor of the British Eurocommunist monthly Marxism Today,
put the best face he could on the revolutions of 1989 by pronouncing that they
had expanded the range of left-wing opinion. They had in fact done the opposite,
by demonstrating that the criticisms of one left-wing tradition, Communism, by
Cold War liberals and social democrats had been right all along. But there was a
widespread feeling that, with the demise of Communism in Eastern Europe, an
impediment to left-wing advance in the West had fallen, if only by reducing the
potency of defence policy as an electoral issue. (European social democratic parties
had been severely damaged in the 1980s by their adoption of anti-nuclear policies.
The French socialists were the important exception both in policies advocated and
in electoral successes achieved.)

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