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The “News&rdquo About Eurocommunism

- Abstract

MANY of our leading papers and magazines have lately been spreading the “news” that West European Communists have reached a point of no return in their relations with the Soviet Union, and are on the verge of becoming (or have in fact already become) democratic, pluralistic, and pro-Western. According to this view, “Eurocommunism” is well advanced along the road to independence from the Kremlin, and now threatens Brezhnev and his comrades in the Politburo with something even more menacing than the two great schisms in the history of world Communism, the Titoist defection and the Sino-Soviet split. Moreover, unlike the previous ruptures, this one is held to threaten the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe, and perhaps the very structure of the Soviet Union itself.

This “news,” to be sure, is hardly new. Columnists and correspondents like Tom Wicker and Anthony Lewis of the New York Times, Sari Gilbert and Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post, along with various intellectuals and would-be Secretaries of State, have been spreading it for years from the lofty heights of learned foreign-policy journals and the somewhat lower altitude of diverse op-ed pages. But there are signs that the theory of an impending schism in the Communist world is gathering momentum; and since the theory is false, its rapidly growing popularity with the American press has alarming implications for American political culture and American foreign policy.

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