Friday, June 06, 2003

An argument for intervention

Sasha Volokh makes some comments about the Spanish Civil War, in particular that in the Spanish civil war neither side was terribly palatable, and that if the choice was communism or Franco, then Franco might have been the lesser of the two evils. As Sasha says, "Remember that when you have a war between side A and side B, side C (i.e., liberal democracy) is not a valid choice". This may be true, but we do not know how repressive communism would have ever become in Spain. Given Spain's physical location at the west of Europe, it seems unlikely that it could have ever become a satellite of the Soviet Union, so how it would have evolved, I don't know. I doubt it would have ever turned into Stalinism. (Sasha sort of says this too in his last paragraph). We know just how bad Franco was, but with the alternatives we simply do not. Sitting where I am right now, about half an hour from Guernica, Franco doesn't seem especially palatable.

And as for sides A, B, and C, I think that all three options may have been choices in 1945. America at that time allowed Franco to remain in power, and as a consequence, the Spanish were stuck with his wretched dictatorship until the mid 1970s. If the Americans had instead invaded Spain and extended Marshall Plan aid and established a democracy, things would probably have become much better much sooner.

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