Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Bush Tinkles on the Shoes of Greater Men

From On High notes the President's comments from the V-E day celebrations in Eastern Europe:
"V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but it did not end oppression. The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history."
That's really galling. The alternative to the compromises of Yalta wasn't for the US to waive it's magic freedom wand to bring liberal democracy to Central and Eastern Europe. It was war. Another war on the scale of World War Two, following immediately in its wake, with the Americans, British, Canadians and what could be reconstituted out of the German, Italian and Japanese forces marching on Russia in an international crusade against Bolshevism. It was a war with perhaps another 10-15 million dead, and, in all likelihood, the use of several atomic weapons. Followed by an Anglo-American occupation of the better part of the globe for perhaps a generation. Basically, what Patton wanted to do.

It's not that there's nothing to say for that idea. It would have prevented the Cold War and fifty years spent under the spectre of total global nuclear annihilation. And Central and Eastern Europe (and Central Asia, and China, and Korea and Southeast Asia, and Cuba) would have been free. But it would have achieved these things at an enormous human and moral cost. Though I think Yalta was the right decision, you certainly could have gone the other way.

But Bush's comments don't address that issue. They're just Monday-morning quarterbacking, sixty years on. If Bush thinks the Western allies should have unleashed a Third World War against the Soviets, he should say so, and make the case. If he doesn't, then his comments about Yalta are just cheap pandering.