A Conversation for The Cambridge Spies

Very Interesting

Post 1

Max Conrad

Generally very interesting, informative and enjoyable.

Two minor points to note.

1. Franco was the NATIONALIST leader, who overthrew the legitimate REPUBLICAN Government of Spain, aided by Hitler, Mussolini (and an Anglo-French blockade). Spain's only real ally was Mexico.

2. Some people would see "capitalist ideals" as a good example of oxymoron.

Very Interesting

Post 2

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

Thanks for the input.

1) I know Franco was the nationalist leader I just worded it badly

2) What's an oxymoron smiley - biggrin

This subject has alway's facinated me


Post 3

Max Conrad

an expression, which contatins two, contradictory ideas.

The example my Collins Dictionary gives is "cruel kindness".

A contradiction in terms, if you like, such as "a lot of Radio 3 listerners".


Post 4

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

Ah, I guess talking about Communisum and then talking about Franco in the next breath confused people, did you see the drama series about the Spies that was really good, the actor who played Guy Burgess played him really well.

Bringing Franco back into the discussion, Kim Philby was given a gallantry medel by the General after a shell hit the car he was travelling in, just think if he had been killed how many lives that would have saved


Post 5

Max Conrad

I haven't really time to ponder whether it would have been better for Kim Philby to have been murdered than a whole host of British agents in Eastern Europe. That's a very big question.

The oxymoron, to which I originally referred, was contained in the phrase "capitalist ideals", not in anything you said about the late Caudillo. A capitalist prospers, as the result of other people's hard work and is only concerned about where his next dividend cheque (or rent payment) is coming from.

Many people see a conflict between the fondness of Americans for religion and their adherence to materialism. Coming from a Bible Belt on this side of the Atlantic, I find it easy to explain their hypocrisy: they're trying (a) to appease their conscience and (b) to hide what they're really doing. St Paul wasn't kidding about the love of money being the root of all evil.

The drama was very well made and the actors were superb but the script and the Kindergarten philosophy of the producers and script editors.

"Oh, hello, I'm a CIA Agent, whose sole purpose is to explain the very simple plot to dim wits in the USA."

The huge talent of the actors was wasted. All in all, the whole series resembled an episode of Thunderbirds, which had been shot by a crew, on loan from Merchant-Ivory Films.

However, the scene, which featured the picket fences, and Blunt's subsequent comment, "he's invented an un-American activity all of his own", were hilarious. That moment almost made up for the rest of the script. I'd really, really love a poster, showing Guy Burgess driving over the fences, with his words ["God bless America! Hang dem ni**ers! Fry dem Communists!" etc] above. I liked his comic, "Southern Democrat" drawl too.

One thing has always puzzled me about escaping double agents.

How was it so easy for them to reach the Eastern Block? Travelling to Moscow, in the days before jet aircraft were available, was neither quick nor easy.

Why did the French, Belgians, Dutch, Germans etc never catch any fleeing Soviet spies?


Post 6

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

I used to go to a Gospel church and the hipocrasy was unbelievable, we had a gay member of the youth group who was asked to leave because he MAY have been a corrupting influence, so much fopr loving the sinner and hating the sin.

About the escaping agents, their tracks were ccovered by Philby who was at the top of MI6 by then and there were a lot of other high placed moles, I reckon the soviets must have had more people working for MI5/6 than the Brit's did about that time

What was the Cold War really about?

Post 7

Max Conrad

I get the impression it had as much to do with penny-pinching and incompetence within MI6 and a lack of co-operation between SIS and the agencies of other countries.

With the Americans currently bidding for World Domination (and destroying institutions, which stand in the way of their ferocious anarcho-capitalism), I'm almost nostalgic for the stability that the Cold War brought.

Defending the World against Leninist-Marxist Dictatorships is one thing but trying to take over every economy on Earth is another matter entirely.

I sometimes think that the "enemies" of the United States are merely those states, which won't allow American corporations to control their markets (or have valuable resources), rather than "rogue" nations, which actually pose a threat.

Of course, there is often some overlap (e.g. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan) but the examples of Chile (in the 1970's) and (present-day) Venezuela, show that the Americans are certainly not the guardians of liberty and democracy they would have people believe. Is it really a coincidence that Apartheid collapsed in South Africa, AFTER 1990, when the possibility of the Soviet Navy taking over the Simonstown Naval Base (and potentially threatening most sea-bourne traffic between Oceania/ Asia and Europe/ North America) finally receded?

I don't think so. The United States also needed the gold, diamonds and Uranium that South Africa controlled and had to make sure that these resources did not fall into communist hands (i.e. the hands of the Angolans or a pro-Soviet ANC Government.) Having maintained a slightly milder form of Apartheid in their own country, the Americans wouldn't have had a problem shoring up the National Party regime in Pretoria for almost thirty years.

All this is usually hushed up and a laughable notion (that consumers, who boycotted South African grapefruit, brought down Apartheid) is trotted out instead. The "Left" are hardly likely to disagree with the proposition that people power made PW Botha quake in his boots, as "Left Wingers" [i.e. those who subsribe to the prejudices of Guardian readers and shake their rattles for fashionable causes] organised the boycott and want people to think that they achieved something. As long as the USA needed a right-wing White government in Pretoria, it would have found a way to preserve it.

If Rhodesia had been strategically important to Washington, Ian Smith's UDI government would probably have remained in power until around 1991. As they didn't matter, the Rhodies were abandoned by Henry Kissinger in 1976. Then the West intervened again, to destroy the settlement, which was reached in 1978-79, and install Mugabe as the Zimbabwean leader. Honestly, if the Americans (and the British) didn't create such monsters in the first place, they wouldn't have so much trouble later on, when the time comes to depose them.

I can't remember who made the following statement, which I often quote, but he was a genius.
"Under Capitalism, man oppresses his fellow man: under Communism, it's the other way round."

What was the Cold War really about?

Post 8

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

Oooooook you may wanna post that on the R4 political board,

What was the Cold War really about?

Post 9

Max Conrad

Or perhaps on the spy board. I believe there is one around here somewhere.

What was the Cold War really about?

Post 10

Reefgirl (Brunel Baby)

Yep tap into my PS and click on the link and it'll take you straight there

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