Otto Reich and Socialism

Otto Reich ends a long and nonsensical National Review post whining about Barack Obama’s refusal to conduct Latin America policy through shopworn Cold War clichés with this observation:

In varying degrees, Chávez, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Honduras’s Manuel Zelaya, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa are abusing their presidential powers to change the rules of the game. They are all allies of Chávez in what he calls “21st-century socialism” which is what. So far, this socialism recalls nothing less that the beginning stages of the socialism which was established in the first half of the 20th century in Russia, Italy, and Germany. I doubt a U.S. president would have given a warm handshake to any of those leaders.

The sleight of hand here so that the fascist regimes of Italy and Germany are now “socialists” is pretty neat. In reality, the German socialist party was the main bulwark of opposition to Hitler, who took over because the Catholic and business-oriented parties decided that they preferred to ally with the Nazis than to join forces with the socialists. A similar story can be told about Italy where, again, the establishment decided to embrace Mussolini as an antidote to socialism and trade union activism. And, again, something similar happened in Spain, though this time to the thunderous applause of the National Review.

Otto Reich himself, it should be added, is not much of a friend of democracy in general. He has a good name for a movie villain, and a background in government to match it.