As Liz Cheney notes in the Wall Street Journal, “There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week:”
Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: “The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.”
The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not “competition in astrophysics and athletics.” It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet “sphere of influence” was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism.
It is irresponsible for an American president to go to Moscow and tell a room full of young Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended. One wonders whether this was just an attempt to push “reset” — or maybe to curry favor. Perhaps, most concerning of all, Mr. Obama believes what he said.
Mr. Obama’s method for pushing reset around the world is becoming clearer with each foreign trip. He proclaims moral equivalence between the U.S. and our adversaries, he readily accepts a false historical narrative, and he refuses to stand up against anti-American lies.
Of course, Mr. Obama isn’t the first American president to rewrite the history of the Cold War.
(Not that it bought him much respect from Russian bureaucrats, based on this video.)
Update: More from President Obama’s Russian adventures:
Obama had a “Russian style” working brunch with Putin with smoked beluga and black caviar. At present, the commercial production, sale and consumption of beluga or black caviar is illegal in Russia to protect endangered species. It was speculated that Putin served Obama Iranian-made caviar, which is legal (Interfax, July 8). Of course, in Russia, laws do not apply to the top nomenklatura, so the delicacy Obama consumed was most likely Russian-made and contraband. It is not clear what is politically more damaging for a U.S. president: to publicly eat Iranian caviar or Russian contraband. Putin indeed has a peculiar sense of humor.
Man, is PETA going to blow a gasket when they hear…wait, who am I kidding?