Alger Hisses Forever

In today’s American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord refreshes our memories regarding the Alger Hiss/Whittaker Chambers controversy that graced the American political scene a few decades ago. At that time, New Deal progressives quickly and vehemently came to the defense of Hiss. That kind of reaction seems not at all unlike the vindictiveness establishment Republicans have recently exhibited by excoriating Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for her straightforward inquiries into the thoroughness of State Department security clearance vetting. As Lord asks in “Is Huma Abedin the New Alger Hiss?“:

Is Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood what Alger Hiss was to the Soviet Union?

Why are Republican Senator John McCain, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rodgers (R-MI) acting in the growing Abedin controversy as Washington Establishment Democrats of the 1940s did in the Hiss episode? Which is to say, writing off the dangers of a foreign enemy whose goal is to infiltrate the U.S. government — because, well, the people in question are part of the Washington Establishment?

And last but certainly not least, why is the Republican Establishment pursuing a losing strategy in the war against Islamic radicalism? Is it returning to the losing strategy it pursued during the Cold War — a strategy that was overturned over Establishment opposition by Ronald Reagan’s victorious “we win, they lose” strategy?

The article is well worth reading in its entirety for both its description of the current brouhaha and as an Alger Hiss controversy primer, including Richard Nixon’s treatment at the hands of the Establishment for his part in the Hiss investigation when he was a young Republican Congressman.

However, left out of the analysis is another major event associated with the Cold War that is not often mentioned nowadays: Nixon’s trip to China. If we consider China’s American-boosted rise as an industrial and military power, the Middle Kingdom’s seemingly incessant hostility towards the U.S. that includes continuing and ubiquitous espionage efforts, and ask ourselves what have the Chinese ever done that’s been to our strategic benefit, another question comes to my mind:

Was Henry Kissinger Richard Nixon’s Alger Hiss?

Just wondering.


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