28 / March
28 / March
Freedom Betrayed

Barack Obama told a Russian leader one thing on the security of Eastern Europe and told the American people something else. This isn't the first time an American president's private and public positions on Eastern Europe clashed. Franklin Roosevelt's did at Tehran and Yalta--just not into a hot mic. Roosevelt's betrayal of Eastern Europe at Tehran is the climactic point of Herbert Hoover's posthumous Freedom Betrayed. The former president turns World War II upside-down. Rather than celebrate the victories over Japan and Germany, he laments the war's multiplication of one Communist nation into several dozen. Published 48 years after its author's death, the president's book about another president's policies is something unique in American history. Read my review of Freedom Betrayed @ FrontPageMag.

posted at 08:33 AM
Comments

I will resist the temptation to make a comment (beyond this) on the implied parallel between Obama's bending over the Russians, and FDR's bending over to Stalin - and to agree with Romney's recent comments on the subject.

However, at Yalta and Tehran, I'm not sure that continuted pressure on the Germans in the East was in any way guaranteed unless you threw them the territory they took. We traded those countries for less firepower directed against our invasion. I'm not sure we should have done anything different - this is what happens when you make deals with the Devil.

Posted by: Homer J. Fong on March 28, 2012 10:32 AM

Maybe we're talking about a consortium of Devils.

BIO is not that far removed from Putin in the evil department.

Posted by: asdf on March 28, 2012 10:42 AM

I'm no fan of the Obama presidency, however, I see no real problems here other than not making sure the mike is not "hot." During an election season the media spotlight shines brightly on the actions of all American leaders and want to be leaders.

Given the propensity of media officials to always take the side of America's adversaries or potential adversaries, any attempt to negotiate on missle defense or any other issue of consequence with a a power like Russia was going to be problematic at best. Mr. Obama or any one else would have faced tremendous pressure to make concessions to the Russians and it would have been much more problematic to get any kind of a deal that might be favorable in any way to America. Understanding this dynamic the Russians were very likely pushing the Americans to negotiate an agreement right now. Mr. Obama understanding this as well and understanding it was going to be problematic at best to get any kind of favorable agreement now that would remotely represent American security interests asked the Russian leadership to give him some space.

After the elections the media spotilight on him and America's leaderhsip, while still bright, will not be as intense. As such, he or anyone else will have much more flexibility to reach an agreement favorable to America. As such, asking the Russians to hold off on negotiations right now was a good move on the part of Mr. Obama. Not making sure the mike was not "hot" before speaking up was not a good move.

Posted by: B.Poster on March 29, 2012 10:32 AM

Well, if Russia's the enemy, I guess Reagan didn't end the Cold War.

Posted by: John on March 30, 2012 09:03 AM

What dictator or strongman’s a$$ has this guy not kissed?

Even without the hot mic, you have to get that the guy who will lie to, disrespect and otherwise spit on colleagues and officials in this country but will go out of his way to degrade the United States by humbling himself beyond reasonable presentation to prove to other nations that we really don’t think we’re so hot.

And Reagan did win the Cold War. But this is round two with an economic twist and now that the Communists have fellow travelers in very high positions in our government they might just win this one.

Posted by: asdf on March 30, 2012 11:20 AM

"What dictator or strongman’s a$$ has this guy not kissed?"

Bin Laden's? Gadaffi's? Pakistan's?

Posted by: John on March 31, 2012 10:10 AM

John,

I'm not sure if Russia is the enemy. The United States does not want to be an enemy of Russia. I think Russia may feel it has a score to settle after what it feels was a defeat in round one of the Cold War. Now Russia has emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union far stronger than it was at the time the Soviet Union collapsed while the United States is much weaker relative to adversaries and potential adversaries now than it has been at any time since some time prior to WWII.

"I guess Reagan didn't win the Cold War." Did the Cold War ever really end? I'm not sure that it did.

Posted by: B.Poster on March 31, 2012 01:58 PM

"The white race can not survive without dairy products." - Herbert Hoover

(Well said, Mr. President!)

Posted by: John on March 31, 2012 02:56 PM

What should be the criteria in deciding what countries are allies vs. enemies. Certainly there is a continuum between the two opposites. Where do you draw the line?

Posted by: John on April 1, 2012 09:50 AM

I think if you look at the agenda of the former Soviet Union where the same players are in control as were during the Cold War (or have the same philosophy), you’ll find that they consistently undermine U.S. policy as much as they can either directly or indirectly through their surrogates around the Globe. I would not look upon this as the actions of a friend or a benign power.

Posted by: asdf on April 2, 2012 11:04 AM

True to form, O and his surrogates "get" the former Soviet Union but will always put America and Americans second. Can you says "Marxists"?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/01/us-usa-campaign-romney-russia-idUSBRE8300FK20120401

Posted by: asdf on April 2, 2012 11:38 AM

John, you draw the line by identifying the countries that are actively designing their military capabilities with you in mind. While we can't ever forget that today's allies may be tomorrow's adverseries (y'all remember that, ok?), aside from hypothetical war games, does anyone think the UK is structuring its defense capabilities to deal with a conflict with the U.S.? But we can see clear examples of entities that are either doing that, or building proxy armies of terrorists or other tools to use against us. Those folks are clearly our enemies. In addition, the friends of our enemies should be held suspect, just as a matter of common sense. Using those criteria, Russia is not only an entity that prepares to war with us, both nuclear and conventional, but befriends others who are doing the same (China, one of the largest Russian arms markets, for example), and supplies our direct enemies (Iran, for example) with equipment and techologies that threaten us. In the case of Iran, Russia has provided the terrorist state with a nuclear program (almost exclusively trained by Russian nuclear scientists), nuclear fuel, and surface to air missiles and other equipment to defend the nuclear facilities. And that's JUST the nuclear program. Russia, and China, have continually thwarted any attempt to reign in the Iranians in the UN Security Council.

So, what do you call a ocuntry who 1) prepares for war with you; 2) arms and assists your sworn enemies; and 3) consistently opposes every attempt to bring a peaceful resolution to conflicts with such sworn enemies?

Posted by: Homer J. Fong on April 2, 2012 12:03 PM

John,

That's a very good question. I'm not sure I know the answer to this. I have heard it said that a nation does not have permanent allies, only permanent interests. I think this is largely right. I think realizing this is a good starting point. We should begin by ascertaining just what our core interests are. Unfortunately American foreign policy is to often directed by ideology and not by interests. For example the very centerpieces of US foreign policy are as follows: 1.)working tirelessly to prevent Israel from responding to an existential threat posed by Iran. Given that Iran's calling card is "death to America" is this a wise move on our part? 2.)Trying to create another Arab state that would just become another terrorist supporting entity and trying to carve the land out of Israel to do it. Given that Israel is the most important buffer between us and Islamic terrorists who wish to harm us, is this wise? If Israel is weakened, it means that it is much harder and much more costly to defend America. Furthermore if Israel is weakened, this means the "red line" where Israel would have to use its nuclear arsenal becomes much smaller. This means nuclear war in the middle east becomes more likely if Israel is weakened. Given that one of our core interests is or should be to ensure that we have stable and reliable source of oil, is pushing a policy that makes nuclear war much more likely wise?

The answer to both questions are a resounding no. These two most important aims of US foreign policy are what happens when ideology is allowed to govern actions rather than our interests.

Posted by: B.Poster on April 2, 2012 08:17 PM

Homer,

I think you are largely spot on here. I don't think I could say it any better. Russia is definitley not a friend.

However, I'd take it a fes steps further. Given the massive national debt, crumbling infrastructure, struggling economy, lack of an industrial base, a military that faces a backlog of tired and worn down equipment to the point where even basic national defense is problematic is problematic at best, and the lack of funds to address any of this means the US currently cannot expect to engage Russia, China, or any of the up and coming powers and is unlikely to be able to do so at any time in the near to mid term.

Essentially Russia and China are the world's dominant powres and will likely be so for at least the next 30 to 40 years. There's nothing we can do about it. With this in mind, we are going to need to have at least cordial or at least no hostile relations with the world's top powers. In other words, having the two most powerful nations on earth as our enemy is untenable.

There may be a way to address these issues through diplomacy. The missle defense system as curently proposed is a dumb idea. It is not even designed with Russia in mind and would have no chance against a country with the advanced and numerically large nuclear arsenal that Russia has. At best, it would only work against a nation with very limited nuclear weapons capabilities.

Essentially we have a system that has no chance against Russia and it only serves to antagonize Russia. Recognizing this the peoples of Eastern Europe where the system is supposed to be in operation are largely opposed to this system. As such, this idea should be scrapped immediately.

Given Russia/s propensity to invade its neighbors and as Mr. Putin recently pointed out the propensity of Russia's neighbors to invade it, there is no reason for us to even be involved in this area of the world at all. Essentially it is thousands of miles from the US mainland, serves no US interests, and, even if it did, the US cannot be in conflict with the most powerful nation on earth. By withdrawing from this region this may help to lessen tensions between the US and Russia.

Also, given the position the US is in, it cannot expect to be able to compete with Russia, China, or the up and coming powers in conventional forces. The gap is already huge and will only get larger. Given the myriad of problems the US faces and the fact that its education system has neglected hard sciences such as math, chemistry, and physics all of which would be necessary to build a first rate military worthy of the 21st century in favor of politically correct dogma such as gay marriage, man caused global warming, native peoples studies, and the like for so long it seems unlikely we are going to be able close this gap at any time in the foreseeable future.

Given this reality, the US should invest heavily in upgrading and expanding its nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver it. These weapons should help to counteract the lopsided conventional edges held by Russia and China. These weapons also should be cheaper than the conventional ones currently in use.

With the right management good outcomes for America are possible. Having the world's most powerful nations being hostile to us does not seem to be a good idea.

Posted by: B.Poster on April 2, 2012 08:37 PM

I think you overestimate Russia. They are a political and social basket case. Their population is dwindling, they have one of the lowest birth rates on the planet along with one of the highest rates of abortion and as the future belongs to those who show up, over time they could devolve and be consumed by bordering Muslim states.

But, what they have that we don’t have is will. They will exploit their military might and their natural resources and are unapologetically power hungry and have picked their allies well (i.e. – countries that are feared). In that regard, they have an edge over a sensitized America run by people who are more interested in getting re-elected than maintaining a strong standing in the world.

Posted by: asdf on April 3, 2012 08:46 AM

Homer J Fong writes or strongly implies that an enemy "supplies our direct enemies (Iran, for example) with equipment and techologies that threaten us."

So when the Reagan administration (Ollie North et al.)sold weapons to Iran, he was clearly operating as an enemy of the U.S., correct?

Posted by: John on April 3, 2012 09:03 AM

I have often said that arguing with liberals (which I assume you are, John) is like a Catholic arguing with protestants. You start out calmly discussing the Virgin Mary, and after a few minutes he starts throwing purgatory, statues, papal infallibility, "call no man father", the Eucharist, and Jesus' "brothers" in your face, demanding you answer for all of them at once. If you're lucky he stops there.

Which is why the thought of arguing with either group just makes me want to take a nap.

So, yes, John. You got me. Reagan was an enemy of the United States.

Posted by: Homer J. Fong on April 3, 2012 11:03 AM

B. Poster, hilarious that you argue against polices you deem to be bringing the world closer to nuclear war (and they don't), while advocating a nuclear-tipped, defeatist-driven isolationism that actually will.

Posted by: Homer J. Fong on April 3, 2012 11:08 AM

Sorry, using the word "hilarious" impiled that I thought your argument was outlandish. I should have used a different word. I didn't mean that to come across as insulting, but did mean to express a fundamental disagreement.

Posted by: Homer J. Fong on April 3, 2012 12:24 PM

Mr. Fong:
Not sure if I'm a liberal or conservative. I don't think we need a Department of Education at the Federal level. I think starting with a modest surplus, then doing tax cuts, then launching two wars, then doing Medicare Part D - and paying for none of it - is shear madness. I guess that makes me a conservative.

The terms "liberal" and "liberty," as you know, have the same Latin root word: liber. I like libety, so I guess that makes me a liberal.

Posted by: John on April 3, 2012 12:52 PM

Modern Liberalism is closer to Totalitarian Marxism than it is to invoking "liberty". In fact, the Liberal Dims who are currently in power, as we speak, are working very hard to stop and take away anything resembling liberty.

You might want to explain yourself in different terms. Unless of course you agree with what O and his Corruptocrat crew are doing to destroy any semblance of the liberties we enjoy.

Posted by: asdf on April 3, 2012 01:33 PM

asdf:
It seems to me, based on your comments, that it is you, not me, mis-using the term "liberal." If you think they are "totalitarian Marxists" why refer to them as "liberals."

Just a cautionary note, though, regarding the use of hyperbole. In a totalitarian Marxist system there would be no private property. Not even the clothes on your back. Not even the skin on your back.

Posted by: John on April 3, 2012 02:31 PM

Liberals are not interested in liberty. On the contrary. Just sayin'.

Posted by: asdf on April 3, 2012 03:13 PM

Homer,

The policies we are currently following do make nuclear war much more likely. Pushing Israel to give up land that is vital to its defense means Israel is much more likely to need to resort to ueing nuclear weapons. Thwarting Israel from dealing effectively with Iran has the same result. As a very small country, Israel's margin of error is already slim any way.

The ridiculous Start treaty whereby the US reduces its nuclear arsenal makes an attack by another power much more likely. Russia already had an edge here or at least were equal to us. Now we propose to give them a bigger edge.

By less interference in Israeli/Arab affairs and by upgrading our nulcear arsenal we have a much better chance to promote our interests than what we are currently doing. As such, the policies ar enot defeatists.

Nor is what I propse isolationist. By developing our own oil and gas reserves and getting regulators out of the way to build a manufacturing base we'd actually have something of value to trade. If we do things right, we might even be able to find an alternate source of oil for some of those who rely heavily on Iran. We might even be able to leverage this along with meaningful trade to get other NATO members to carry a larger load.

Timer permitting I will respond in more detail to where I will lay out a point by point plan to deal with the issues America faces. Good outcomes for our country are still possible but it will require good leadership and the window of opportunity to address every thing is closing rapidly.

Posted by: B.Poster on April 5, 2012 01:38 AM

There's a few old guys around here who think we're still fighting "the Japs."

Posted by: John on April 5, 2012 08:19 AM
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