Not the absence of war!
Happened to catch on C-Span a 1987 speech in Berlin from our greatest President of the last 60 years, Ronald Reagan.
No, it wasn’t his “Tear Down This Wall” speech. The occasion was the 750th anniversary of the founding of the city. Two years later, the Berlin Wall would come tumbling down. At the conclusion of Reagan’s speech that day, tiny parachutes bearing candy for the children dropped from the ceiling.
The tiny parachutes recalled a touching detail of the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49 that kept freedom alive well behind tyranny’s Iron Curtain. America dropped food and candy on the besieged city where only four years earlier the Allies dropped bombs to stop Adolf Hitler. What other country does that?
We’re reading a book called The Peacemaker. We’re up to 1982 in a chapter called “The Summer of Freedom.” After meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican and riding horseback with Queen Elizabeth 2, the Republican President spoke to the world at the Palace of Westminster. Echoing Winston Churchill, Reagan said:
“From Stettin on the Baltic to Vana on the Black Sea, the regimes planted by totalitarianism have had more than 30 years to establish their legitimacy. But none has yet been able to risk free elections. Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.” He praised Poland as “being magnificently unreconciled to oppression. .. It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens.”
Wanted: moral leadership
The winners of the Nobel Peace Prize this weekend in Oslo sounded more like Ronald Reagan than Jane Fonda. “People of Ukraine want peace more than anyone else in the world,” said the woman who accepted the peace prize for the Center for Civil Liberties of Ukraine. “But peace cannot be reached by a country under attack laying down its arms. This would not be peace, but occupation.” Oleksandra Matviychuk also said this:
“Stop pretending deferred military threats are political compromises. The democratic world has grown accustomed to making concessions to dictatorships. Fighting for peace does not mean yielding to pressure of the aggressor. It means protecting people from its cruelty.”— “Nobel winners decry Russian aggression.” New York Times
Who is ‘naïve’?
Peacemaker author William Inboden comments, “At the time, Reagan’s imprecation seemed radical, even delusional. … NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw dismissed the speech as ‘naïve.‘ A New York Times editorial complained that Reagan ‘failed … to tie Russians to a plausible range of policy choices.‘ … In Bonn, some 300,000 demonstrators greeted Reagan with a massive protest.”
The average Madisonian, it seems, is stuck in a Jimmy Carter time warp. A panglossian letter to Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal foolishly quotes Blame America Firster Howard Zinn. (“Communist, corrupt teacher, fraudulent historian, and an anti-American agitator,” jn this judgment.) The blissed-out scrivener goes on to whine, “War is everywhere, supplied by an arms industry that gleefully makes more bombs that maim and kill.” As if, they make ’em so we got to use ’em. Go tell that to Volodymyr Zelensky.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Oppression, my useful idiot, also is a form of war. Moral equivalency, dear snowflake, exonerates the oppressor.