Monday, November 09, 2009

The newest Obama disgrace

Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall fell. Ronald Reagan's moral clarity resonated in the four words he spoke in West Berlin in 1987: "TEAR DOWN THIS WALL."

But Obama did not deem the 20th anniversary of the fall of the preeminent symbol of Communist evil significant enough as the president of the country that fought such evil for 44 years to fly to Berlin to commemorate its fall, signifying the practical end of the Soviet Union. That's a disgrace.

Or is it? The Washington Times makes the cogent case that Obama's absence is entirely appropriate:

Some have criticized President Obama for not visiting Berlin to commemorate this historic moment, but he made the right choice . . . Mr. Obama was on the other side of the policy divide during the Reagan years, and if his party had remained in power, we have no doubt the Soviet Union would have lasted longer as a going concern. Mr. Obama should not attempt to associate himself with that historic moment, when a man with vision had the ability to see the future and the courage to realize it.

From Mark Steyn's obituary of Reagan (from his book Mark Steyn's Passing Parade and currently on his website), a distillation of what matters:

. . . politics attracts its share of optimistic, likeable men, and most of them leave no trace – like Britain’s “Sunny Jim” Callaghan, a perfect example of the defeatism of western leadership in the 1970s. It was the era of “détente”, a word barely remembered now, which is just as well, as it reflects poorly on us: the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the free world had decided that the unfree world was not a prison ruled by a murderous ideology that had to be defeated but merely an alternative lifestyle that had to be accommodated. Under cover of “détente”, the Soviets gobbled up more and more real estate across the planet, from Ethiopia to Grenada. Nonetheless, it wasn’t just the usual suspects who subscribed to this feeble evasion – Helmut Schmidt, Pierre Trudeau, François Mitterand – but most of the so-called “conservatives”, too – Ted Heath, Giscard d’Estaing, Gerald Ford.

Unlike these men, unlike most other senior Republicans, Ronald Reagan saw Soviet Communism for what it was: a great evil. Millions of Europeans across half a continent from Poland to Bulgaria, Slovenia to Latvia live in freedom today because he acknowledged that simple truth when the rest of the political class was tying itself in knots trying to pretend otherwise. That’s what counts. He brought down the “evil empire”, and all the rest is details.

No comments: