There is an enduring belief system in academic circles that there was little to nothing of significant difference between the two sides of the Cold War, a strain of thought that owes its life to the power of moral relativism. According to those besotted by its influence, there were no real philosophical or moral differences between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies on either side of the divide, just competition for national influence. The people who had to live behind the Iron Curtain know differently, but one of the most famous and fatuous proponents of this worldview hosted the Russian President at the White House last week and offered this drastically revisionist and simplistic view of over forty years of world history:
“Those were the same hopes of another generation of Americans and Russians — the generation that stood together as allies in the Second World War —- the Great Patriotic War in which the Russian people suffered and sacrificed so much. We recently marked the 65th anniversary of our shared victory in that war, including that historic moment when American and Soviet troops came together in friendship at the Elbe River in Germany.
“A reporter who was there at that time, all those years ago, said: ‘If there is a fine, splendid world in the future, it will largely be because the United States and Russia get on well together. If it is in trouble, it will be because they don’t get on well. It’s as simple as that.'”
Mr. President, the decades that followed saw many troubles — too many troubles. But 65 years later, it’s still as simple as that. Our countries are more secure and the world is safer when the United States and Russia get on well together.
Uh, not exactly, President Obama. It wasn’t anywhere near as simple as that. The Soviets held half of Europe under its thumb not because we just couldn’t get along, but because they wanted to keep Eastern Europe enslaved to their bankrupt and tyrannical political system. Steve at No Runny Eggs identifies those who could have given Barack Obama a history lesson or two to correct his thinking:
I think the Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Slavs, Croats, Bosnians, Romanians and Croats (among others) might have a second opinion on that.
The reason that Russia and the US get along as well as we do now is because Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, which collapsed when the US helped Eastern Europe finally free itself from Soviet tyranny by bankrupting the tyrants at the top. The only people who insist on clinging to the idea of moral relativism between the Soviets and the Americans and that the big problem was a simple dislike between the two nations are simply simpletons themselves.
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Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!