Thursday, June 7, 2018

Terence Corcoran: Why Justin Trudeau shares his dad’s love of murderous communist despots like Castro

Terence Corcoran: Why Justin Trudeau shares his dad’s love of murderous communist despots like Castro

A plausable conjecture is that both Trudeaus share an abiding faith in the power of the state

An image of Cuban longtime leader Fidel Castro is seen through flowers displayed at the entrance of the Cuban embassy in Beijing on November 29, 2016, four days after Castro's death.
There should have been no surprise at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s colossally disingenuous statement on the death of Fidel Castro. The Trudeaus have been at this for six decades, fascinated and flirting with the murderous icons of communist oppression since the 1950s when Trudeau the First expressed his admiration for elements of Stalin’s Soviet Communism. In the 1960s, a 41-year-old Pierre Trudeau visited Communist China during the great famine and co-wrote a book hailing Mao and Maoism and denying the existence of a national food policy that killed over 40 million people. He never retracted his China views. But, in the 1970s, he cozied up to Fidel Castro, who until his death Friday has held the Caribbean island in a form of political slavery.
Why would juvenile  Justin find it necessary to sidle up to the Castros — and, recently, Chinese Communists and their brand of totalitarianism ? His self-involving comments on his family’s links to Castro follow recent revelations of his personal pay-for-access sessions with Chinese Communist officials and oligarchs. The connections apparently generated $1 million in contributions by a Chinese businessman to Trudeau-related institutions.
That the old Soviet Union, Communist China and Castro’s Cuba were brutal regimes that collectively murdered tens of millions of innocent people via ruinous and oppressive economic and political policies needs no exposition. We all know what happened and why. What remains a mystery is why first Pierre and now Justin Trudeau have been so willing to embrace the leaders of these three glaring catastrophes of 20th century murderous communist rule. Why would they do it? To a rational person this would be insane. No positive explanation seems possible.
One plausible answer is that Justin Trudeau finds it necessary to maintain and protect the murky family legacy of being soft on leftist/fascist authoritarians. He can hardly repudiate the record of a father on whose coattails he rides. Also plausible, though, is that both Trudeaus share an abiding faith in the power of the state.

Colby Cosh: Obviously Trudeau’s no Reagan, but Good God this is awful
The dictatorship admiration was obvious just last week when Justin stopped off in Havana, hoping to meet Fidel on his death bed for a final photo op/media scrum, giving the CBC reason to again rerun footage of Pierre’s triumphal 1976 open-car parade through the streets of Havana. Pierre’s biographer Richard Gwyn described the crowds Castro had ordered out for Trudeau as “five deep at the curbs, larger than for any other foreign visitor except Leonid Brezhnev,” the Soviet leader who sent billions to Cuba to keep Castro in power.
Gwyn, like other writers, washed over Pierre’s intellectual flirtations. “Trudeau is less at home with Canadians than with John Lennon, or Fidel Castro, or among Tibetan monks.” To Gwyn, this was all part of Trudeau’s “magic.” Along with others, Gwyn brushed off this fetish with Communist dictators as a minor quirk or as a reflection of a rebellious nature. Trudeau enjoyed being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. He especially enjoyed kicking a little sand in the face of America. It was an act of intellectual and political independence.
But that’s not good enough. The Trudeau flirtation with some of the world’s worst dictators cannot be explained away as youthful rebelliousness or written off as temporary lapses of judgment. John English, in his formidable first-volume biography of Pierre Trudeau, Citizen of the World, says it is “fair to ask a broader question: Was he generally too sympathetic to authoritarian-fascist regimes of the left?”
English waffles into a non-conclusion. “Trudeau was willing to give the Soviets, the Chinese, and, later, the Cubans much credit for getting their ‘social priorities’ correct. While acknowledging the limitations on civil rights in these cruel authoritarian societies, (Trudeau) emphasized their social achievements.” In another summary, English looks at Trudeau’s fascination with Stalinism and concludes he was not a “duped fellow traveller” but someone who knew that “liberty was the most precious individual good.”
If so, why did he never repudiate his glaringly insane and wrong-headed 1961 claims that Mao Zedong’s catastrophic Great Leap Forward counted as an international social achievement and that China as a nation that had its social priorities straight?
During his visit to China, Trudeau and other Quebec intellectuals were guests of Mao’s regime, dining in splendor and eagerly swallowing massive dollops of propaganda as they toured the country. In Two Innocents in Red China, a 1961 book Trudeau co-authored with Jacques Hebert, Communist China emerges as a global force for good and saviour of the world. Under Communism, they wrote, the small-wage earner “is no longer just a speck of dust in the proletarian mass … The genius of Mao is to have persuaded hundreds of millions of people — by astonishingly effective methods — of the grandeur and nobility of their task.” The Struggle is good, and poverty, noble. [Persuaded] might not be the right word to describe Mao’s methods.
Trudeau met Mao, and called him “one great man, a hero of the century.” Trudeau wrote of his “powerful head, an unlined face, and a look of wisdom tinged with melancholy. The eyes of that tranquil face are heavy with having seen too much of the misery of men.”
It was the face and eyes of a mass murderer. As Mao shook hands with Trudeau, millions of Chinese had already died across the country as part of a national “Superpower Programme” to industrialize and modernize China. The malevolence of the agricultural and production reforms, their cruelty and abusiveness, are documented in horrific detail by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday in their monumental book Mao: The Untold Story. The resulting 40 million deaths were what Chang and Halliday call “the greatest famine of the 20th century — and of all human recorded history.” Mao, they say, “knowingly starved and worked those tens of millions of people to death.”
Over the decades, Trudeau failed to acknowledge his massive lapse in judgment
Chang and Halliday singled out Trudeau’s “starry-eyed” book among other Westerners complicit in denying Mao’s atrocities. Instead of searching for the truth, Trudeau claimed to have seen the benefits of Mao’s policies. With Hebert, he wrote that “China’s methods are going to be imitated by the two-thirds of the human race that goes to bed hungry every night. And the moral indignation of the West will be powerless to stop it.”
Over the decades, Trudeau failed to acknowledge his massive lapse in sanity and judgment. In a 1997 article in Saturday Night magazine, editor Kenneth Whyte reviewed several of Trudeau’s works published during the 1990s. “Two Innocents in Red China may well be the worst book ever published in Canada,” wrote Whyte. “Certainly no significant Canadian public figure has ever been so dreadfully wrong about a major event as Trudeau was — and, perversely, continues to be — about Mao and the Great Leap.” More than three decades later, Trudeau was still talking up the thrills Mao gave him. “There is no acknowledgement (in any of Trudeau writings) of Mao’s murderous tyranny, or Trudeau’s error,” wrote Whyte.
Some give Trudeau credit for having predicted — as did Mao—that China would one day become a global industrial power. Today China appears to be on track to “become one of the richest, most advanced and powerful countries in the world,” as Mao anticipated, but only because it abandoned Maoism in 1978 for quasi-capitalism.
So what on earth do the Trudeau's see in authoritarian dictators and fascist regimes? Maybe it is all summed up in Justin’s 2013 tribute to the role of big government in forcing people into living more environmentally. “There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say we need to go green, we need to start, you know, investing in solar. There is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about: having a dictatorship where you can do whatever you wanted, that I find quite interesting.”
It’s a world view that is, if nothing else, consistent with Trudeau’s brief statement on the death of Fidel Castro.

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