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Willisms

« Lebanon: The Return Of Aoun. | WILLisms.com | Happy Mother's Day! »

The Cold End To The Cold War.

When the Cold War ended, the world dodged a major bullet. The Soviet Union was dismantled, and Communism was defeated without the often-predicted nuclear holocaust.

But the cold end to the Cold War also meant that, unlike the rehabilitations of Germany and Japan, Russia has been able to skirt the cathartic act of fully owning up to the horrors of Communism.

David Satter, writing in the The Wall Street Journal, asserts that, since the Soviet regime was not repudiated, the Russian government became the Soviet regime's legal successor:

The re-Sovietization of Russia is possible because when the Soviet Union fell, the new Russian state did not break irrevocably with its communist heritage. To do this, it needed to define the communist regime as criminal and the Soviet period as illegitimate; open the archives, including the list of informers; and find all mass burial grounds and execution sites. None of this was done and the consequences are being felt today.

There is still no legal evaluation of the Soviet regime: It has never been declared criminal and no official has ever been tried for crimes committed under communism. The result is that former communist leaders in Russia are viewed as leaders first and criminals second (if at all), no matter how heinous their actions. Russians, thus, frequently lack the conviction, intrinsic to free men, that an individual answers for his actions no matter what the external conditions.

Indeed, President Bush gave a stirring speech in Latvia this weekend on this very matter, which ruffled some Russian feathers. It's highly recommended reading. Here is a glimpse:

As we mark a victory of six days ago -- six decades ago, we are mindful of a paradox. For much of Germany, defeat led to freedom. For much of Eastern and Central Europe, victory brought the iron rule of another empire. V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but it did not end oppression. The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history.

The end of World War II raised unavoidable questions for my country: Had we fought and sacrificed only to achieve the permanent division of Europe into armed camps? Or did the cause of freedom and the rights of nations require more of us? Eventually, America and our strong allies made a decision: We would not be content with the liberation of half of Europe -- and we would not forget our friends behind an Iron Curtain. We defended the freedom of Greece and Turkey, and airlifted supplies to Berlin, and broadcast the message of liberty by radio. We spoke up for dissenters, and challenged an empire to tear down a hated wall. Eventually, communism began to collapse under external pressure, and under the weight of its own contradictions. And we set the vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace -- so dictators could no longer rise up and feed ancient grievances, and conflict would not be repeated again and again.

Fantastic stuff. For a young, idealistic optimist in America today, George W. Bush is the man.


UPDATE:

Mark Noonan has more great thoughts on how Bush "gets it."

Also, Belmont Club looks at the tragedy of Yalta.

Posted by Will Franklin · 7 May 2005 11:16 PM

Comments

WOW! That is powerful!...I really believe that George W. Bush really packs a punch! He is truly our Fearless Leader. I love the way he tells it like it is! He is not your typical Washington partisan politician!...Get-er Done!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 8, 2005 07:34 AM

He The Man. Keep on keepin on GWB! You the man...

Posted by: Max at May 9, 2005 08:06 AM