Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Obama’s Revisionist History of the Cold War

From Liz Cheney, writing on the Wall Street Journal.
There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week.

Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: “The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.”

The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not “competition in astrophysics and athletics.” It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet “sphere of influence” was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism.
But, one might ask, why not revise history a bit in the interests of getting along? Why be so pro-American?

The problem is deep-seated, and it’s in the way Obama looks at the world.
Mr. Obama has become fond of saying, as he did in Russia again last week, that American nuclear disarmament will encourage the North Koreans and the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions. Does he really believe that the North Koreans and the Iranians are simply waiting for America to cut funds for missile defense and reduce our strategic nuclear stockpile before they halt their weapons programs?

The White House ought to take a lesson from President Harry Truman. In April, 1950, Truman signed National Security Council report 68 (NSC-68). One of the foundational documents of America’s Cold War strategy, NSC-68 explains the danger of disarming America in the hope of appeasing our enemies. “No people in history,” it reads, “have preserved their freedom who thought that by not being strong enough to protect themselves they might prove inoffensive to their enemies.”

Perhaps Mr. Obama thinks he is making America inoffensive to our enemies. In reality, he is emboldening them and weakening us. America can be disarmed literally -- by cutting our weapons systems and our defensive capabilities -- as Mr. Obama has agreed to do. We can also be disarmed morally by a president who spreads false narratives about our history or who accepts, even if by his silence, our enemies’ lies about us.
Of course, this is not just “Obama’s way of looking at the world.” It’s the liberals way of looking at the world. It’s the way the average student is taught in the average political science or history class in the average university today.

In spite of this, it doesn’t always prevail under Democratic administrations. It never did in pre-Vietnam Democratic Administrations, and it didn’t really prevail in the Clinton Administration. But it did prevail under Jimmy Carter -- at least until he learned a hard lesson about Communism when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Will history teach a hard lesson to Barack Obama, or will be luck out with him leaving the presidency before that happens?

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Blogger Matt Wion said...

Yeah those lefty Liberals talking about Nuclear disarament and trying to find common ground with Soviet Leaders. You know, like that radical leftist Ronald Reagan. He was a huge proponent of disarmament and finding common ground with Moscow. Man I just can't stand such Liberals like Ronald Reagan .. why are they so weak?!

And that awful liberal Barack Obama. Maintaining the Bush Policies on detention of prisoners overseas, escalating the war in Afghanstan and Pakistan, telling Africa that it's responsible for its own problems. These policies are ultra-liberal! I mean, my God, only killing people in one or two countries ... he might as well admit that he's a total pacisfist! We can't have it!

Clearly Reagan and Obama are just too liberal for their own good and ours.

11:16 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

You know, like that radical leftist Ronald Reagan. He was a huge proponent of disarmament and finding common ground with Moscow.

Reagan was the fellow who built up the military and called the Soviet Union an "evil empire."

After it became clear that he was not going to appease the Soviets nor accept any notions of moral equivalence, it became possible to deal with them on issues like nuclear disarmament.

That was how he was different from Carter and Obama. He believed in dealing from strength. That's always a better policy when you are dealing with evil regimes.

And I know that you are the sort that doesn't like to talk about "evil regimes" (unless it's the U.S. government). That's a failing Reagan didn't have, and Obama does.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Matt Wion said...

It would be wonderful if I fit your conception of a "liberal Lefty" wouldn't it.

But the problem is you don't bother to think things out, you just make bigoted assertions.

So for the record.

I do not call the United States and "evil regime." I have some criticisms of American Foreign Policy - obama's, Clinton's, Reagan's, Bush's and Carters," But this does not mean I find American evil. The United States, for all its flaws, has done much good in the world and has always stayed a Democractic country. These are not the features of an "evil regime."

Now ... I have no problem calling the Soveit Regime "evil." It was. It was a Fascist and totalitarian regime. And it would be silly to think the United States was every anything like the soviet union.

I don't know what you want Obama to say about that .. I suppose he could wag his finger at the Russians and get us back in a cold war with them. Not very wise.

As for other "evil regimes:" North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran ... oh yes my friend they are all most vile and I have no praise for them.

You may want to say that all us liberals hate the united states but love Iran and the soviets. But that is just proganda and nonsense.

Furthermore, you lambast Obama for seeking Nuclear disarmament. Reagan sought this too, and you fail to address that.

yes he called Russia an "evil empire." That is good; it was an evil empire. but Reagan never ceased to work with the Soviets .. which was a good thing.

Finally, I have no interest in defending Obama. I think his foreign policy so far is lousy .. but not because it is weak. It is standard American imperialism and exceptionalism, just with nicer language. He has not changed any American Policy regarding anything about foreign affairs. He's just said nice things about some Muslims and other groups.

12:25 PM  
Blogger pst314 said...

Matt Wion seemed to be utterly unable to understand the point that John McAdams made about Obama's view of the Cold War, but his later comments show that he merely cannot think. And this is a college philosophy instructor and PhD candidate??

12:28 PM  

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