Amidst the backdrop of increased U.S.-Russian tensions and even talk of war, long forgotten is the time the U.S. actually invaded, explains Jeff Klein.
By Jeff Klein
Special to Consortium News
Amid the bi-partisan mania over the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, fevered, anti-Russian rhetoric in the United States makes conceivable what until recently seemed inconcievable: that dangerous tensions between Russia and the U.S. could lead to military conflict. It has happened before.
In September 1959, during a brief thaw in the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev made his famous visit to the United States. In Los Angeles, the Soviet leader was invited to a luncheon at Twentieth Century-Fox Studios in Hollywood and during a long and rambling exchange he had this to say:
“Your armed intervention in Russia was the most unpleasant thing that ever occurred in the relations between our two countries, for we had never waged war against America until then; our troops have never set foot on American soil, while your troops have set foot on Soviet soil.”
These remarks by Khrushchev were little noted in the U.S. press at the time – especially compared to his widely-reported complaint about not being allowed to visit Disneyland. But even if Americans read about Khrushchev’s comments it is likely that few of them would have had any idea what the Soviet Premier was talking about.
But Soviet – and now Russian — memory is much more persistent. The wounds of foreign invasions, from Napoleon to the Nazis, were still fresh in Russian public consciousness in 1959 — and even in Russia today — in a way most Americans could not imagine. Among other things, that is why the Russians reacted with so much outrage to the expansion of NATO to its borders in the 1990’s, despite U.S. promises not to do so during thenegotiations for the unification of Germany.
The U.S. invasion Khrushchev referred to took place a century ago, after the October Revolution and during the civil war that followed between Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik forces, the Red Army against White Russians. While the Germans and Austrians were occupying parts of Western and Southern Russia, the…