Saturday, April 19, 2014

Who, Really, Won the Cold War?

As a rule I abhor the modern English language practice of using nouns as verbs. However, given that it is Holy Week and given that it is the perfect allusion, allow me to paraphrase Daniel Henninger: Big Guy just “Pontius Pilated” the Ukraine. It is an accurate, if awkward, construction.

"The White House reiterated that no lethal assistance was planned" to help Ukraine defend itself. The U.S., however, did send ready-to-eat meals. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's comments were antiseptic: "The Ukrainian government has a responsibility to provide law and order." It is fitting that churchgoers the world over this week are hearing the story of Pontius Pilate.

Mr. Henninger’s point is that the Ukraine is about to fall to Russia without much more than a whimper from the West.

The West didn't lose Ukraine, an independent nation of 45 million people. It simply let it go.


Having learned the wrong lesson from history, the really big brains are doomed to repeat it.

The West's intellectuals often diminish the significance of the Cold War. They say it didn't matter much, that the Soviet Union unwound on its own. No small number of these thinkers were half-sorry to see this "flawed" experiment in income-equality fail.


Ah yes, with progressives it’s never the idea of collectivism that fails, butt rather the flawed implementation of that noble idea. Rather than change the ideal, they change the facts.

Now some of the same arbiters of history are saying the conflict in Ukraine is the West's fault, again. What drove Mr. Putin into Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine was the needless historic hurt the West did to Russia's vestigial interests by expanding NATO's membership eastward.



Then Mr. Henninger proceeds to provide a bit of education that certain people of a certain age seem to have missed:

Let's look at what the phrase "expanding NATO's membership" means. In 1999, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined NATO. In 2004, it took in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania. That list is fraught with historic significance. These are the nations that Winston Churchill in 1946 named the Iron Curtain countries. All were communist and all inside—another antiseptic phrase—the Soviet Union's "sphere of influence."

If you tried to leave an Iron Curtain country, you could be imprisoned or shot. It may be that Cold War 1.0 was in large part about the nuclear standoff between the U.S. and Soviet Union, but for the tens of millions who lived in Eastern and Central Europe, it was about 50 years of paranoia, imprisonment, shattered careers, moral compromises and daily obeisance to the Soviet Union, aka Russia.


Now the battle for Ukraine is ending without much more than a yawn in Washington, London, Paris and most ironic of all, the Berlin that the Cold War divided in two. In 1947, President Harry Truman, a Democrat, began a year-long allied airlift to supply Soviet-occupied and isolated Berlin. The Berlin airlift broke the blockade. Nobody running the West would do that now.

Of course not, the West and the U.S. in particular are too busy trying to solve their “income-inequality” issues.


Big Guy wasn’t even born when Nikita Khrushchev said he would “bury” the U.S., and only 7 when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. Yet somehow he managed to learned everything about the Evil Empire. Why is history so hard for other people to master?

Khrushchev_We_will_barry_you-485x800h/t PeoplesCube

And in other politically opportunist news: as Big Guy washes his hands, Nancy P, in perhaps the most cynically crass move of the century so far, “symbolically” washes the feet of an illegal alien at Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church. And then tweets it out.

BldEX10CEAAYT-eEpiscopalian Bishop Marc Andrus photobombs Nancy’s photo op

I should note, approvingly, that the church of Nancy’s own Catholic faith refused to participate in this political theatre of shameful exhibitionism. Yay! Good on them.

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Cross-Posted and Featured on Patriot Action Network