PS about many pages of history that one can turn to rationalise any noble or malign goal

Only if looking to the future one can unshackle oneself from the past deeds and misdeeds.

Daniel Gusev
2 min readApr 16


Rationalising course of action through history alone is loop-sided and wrong in the long-run. Denying one’s agency solely based on past rituals is malignant. The very course of human progress is built on breaking up with past norms.

While researching and studying articles about US — Soviet Russia cooperation I’ve rediscovered a potent review of policies that lead to Cold War by a famed historian Arthur Schlesinger: the brewing process that still fuels the poorely grasped facts into a pot of myth-making. So many sides can be applied to define a unique root cause for the inevitable clash:

For orthodox American viewers and moralising atlanticists — “the Cold War was the brave and essential response of free men (and free world) to communist aggression”.

For geopoliticians the roots go as deep as imperial Russian Empire’s strategic ambitions “which in the nineteenth century led to the Crimean War, to Russian penetration of the Balkans and the Middle East and to Russian pressure on Britain’s “lifeline” to India. Ideologists traced it to the Communist Manifesto of 1848 (“the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat”).

Thoughtful observers concluded that classical Russian imperialism and Pan-Slavism, compounded after 1917 by Leninist messianism, confronted the West at the end of the Second World War with an inexorable drive for domination.”

Realism of sphere of influence accepted by Truman and Kennan was at odds with idealism of Roosevelt (borrowing from his time during Wilson’s Administration) to govern and deal with all major events via 4 major nations presiding in the UN (US, UK, USSR, China) — and so the perennial ebb and flow of atlanticist ideas (often propagated by those who personally suffered from tyranny) and realpolitik (who came through or go from practical and achievable objectives) govern the world.

The moral of this short note is that one shall always fight hard to dispel the moralising (and debilitating) narrative of destiny or past history — as the very fabric of history is woven of past context. One shall rather empower modern mind about best outcomes in the future — and build win-win scenarios. Some are able, yet some are forever held hostage by the tides of time.


Schlesinger, Arthur. “Origins of the Cold War.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 46, no. 1, 1967, pp. 22–52. JSTOR,



Daniel Gusev

14 years in global payments and ecommerce. 3 exits. VC at @gauss_vc