This week's syndicated column
Whether the Cold War is back, it’s an apt moment to strike up a wider conversation about a couple of central questions from my book American Betrayal. Why did the West fail to claim an ideological or moral victory at the apparent end of the Cold War? Did the West really even win the Cold War?
If we go back in time and listen, we hear no consensus click over signs that an unalloyed U.S.-led triumph over communist ideology had taken place; nor do we find a sense of national thanksgiving for the forces of good – or, at least, for the forces of better – in their triumph over the forces of a non-abstract evil as manifested in Gulag or KGB or famine or purge history. “Mustn’t gloat” was about as joyous as the White House of Bush 41 ever got.
Was the official non-reaction due to that “crisis of confidence” we always hear about – specifically, that “politically correct” failure to believe in the worth of the West? I used to think exactly that and no more. The self-loathing West, failing to see anything of value in itself, was simply unable to take satisfaction, let alone pride, in the demise of its mass-murdering nemesis. “After all,” the PC catechism goes, “Who’s to say the Western system is ‘better’ than any other?”
But there is far more to it. At a certain point, it becomes clear that what we are looking at isn’t a West that fails to appreciate itself anymore, but rather a West that isn’t itself anymore. Decades of subversion by communist infiltrators and American traitors, collaborators and “useful idiots” have helped make sure of that. So, even if the military enemy went away after the dissolution of the USSR on Christmas Day 1991, our ideological enemy never even had to break step. Cold Warriors might have prevailed abroad, but America lost the ideological Cold War at home.
This helps explain why our college campuses are outposts of Marx, our centralizing government is increasingly invasive and dictatorial, and our culture is one of metastasizing decadence – the amoral conditions of “The Communist Manifesto” made manifest.
Indeed, to be “anti-Western” today, as some have noted, is to stand in opposition to the West’s rampant immorality, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointedly claims to do. This is why, as Masha Gessen recently wrote in the Washington Post, Russians look at events in Ukraine and think “the West is literally taking over, and only Russian troops can stand between the Slavic country’s unsuspecting citizens and the homosexuals marching in from Brussels.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. finds itself paying lip service to the constitutional principles it is still somewhat nostalgically known for.
President Obama’s recent speech in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union, reveals the chasm between what we have become and what we are supposed to be. Wearing his “Leader of the Free World” hat, Obama made the case against Russia’s annexation of Crimea by conjuring a Manichaean split between free societies and dictatorships. But does it fit?
According to the president, there are free societies where “each of us has the right to live as we choose,” and there are dictatorships where the rule is “ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs.” Americans confronting government-mandated health insurance would do well to wonder exactly which society they live in.
Obama continued: “In many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas.” That contest, he explained, swerving wildly away from historical fact, was won “not by tanks or missiles, but because our ideals stirred the hearts” of Eastern Bloc anti-communists.
(Omitted was the fact that these revolts were mainly crushed without receiving U.S. aid or encouragement. Omitted also was the decisive role that President Reagan’s “tanks and missiles” – and missile defense – played in the military contest.)
In this post-World War II era, Obama declared, “America joined with Europe to reject the darker forces of the past and build a new architecture of peace.”
Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in sum, is an attack on that “architecture,” and, as such, is bad.
On closer examination, however, that same U.S.-EU “architecture” doesn’t support the free-society paradigm so much as what the president calls the “more traditional view of power” – the one that sees “ordinary men and women (as) too small-minded to govern their own affairs.”
This latter view aptly describes the “soft” tyranny of the EU nanny state, whose early lights, after all, were Belgian Socialists and Nazi sympathizers with visions of a unified pan-European welfare state. In Brussels, their political progeny – unelected bureaucrats – increasingly dictate political and social norms across a “United States of Europe.”
In the U.S., the medical totalitarianism of Obamacare – not to mention Obama’s serial usurpations of power (not enforcing legislation he doesn’t like, making up and enforcing legislation he does like) – makes it all too clear that this president has a dictatorial temperament.
This is unsurprising when you consider that his political baby, his engine of transformative change – state-mandated health care – happens also to have been an early program of the Bolsheviks and had as one of its earliest U.S. boosters a noted Stalinist named Henry Sigerist. This seems like as good a moment as any to remind readers that the U.N. and the IMF, those leading institutions of globalist infrastructure, were fostered into post-World War II existence by a pair of notorious American Soviet agents – Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White. Truly, it’s a Red, Red world.
Somewhere along the ride, our horse switched colors, also tracks. Until we figure out how and why and what it all means, that “free world” of ours is more or less a front.