Monday, May 09, 2005
Hmmm...Wonder What the Chechnyans Think About This?
"We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability. We have learned our lesson; no one's liberty is expendable. In the long run, our security and true stability depend on the freedom of others," George W. Bush, Riga, Latvia, May 7, critiquing the U.S.-Britain pact at Yalta with the Soviet Union.
Maybe Roosevelt and Churchill can be criticized for the deal that permitted the Soviet Union to consolidate its hold on Eastern Europe. They made the deal they felt they had to make. Sixty-year old hindsight isn't exactly the best. Considering that Churchill made the speech that created the term "Iron Curtain" little more than a year after Yalta, it seems evident that he understood early on the harsh compromise that had been made.
Still, neither Churchill nor Roosevelt, ever said this about the Russian leader they were sitting down with:
"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. . . . I wouldn't have invited him to my ranch if I didn't trust him," George W. Bush June 16, 2001, on his first meeting with Vladimir Putin.
For that matter, considering how democracy has been marching -- backwards -- in Russia in the last four years, perhaps the question that should be asked is: Will the West still consider sacrificing "freedom" when an autocrat says that it is part of the "war on terror"?
(To my snarky friends on the left who might be visiting here, let me be clear: I'm talking about Putin in the last sentence, not Bush.)