THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Don’t Know Much About History, Don’t Know Much Foreign Policy: Liz Cheney, an expert in Near Eastern affairs who served in the State Department from 2002-2004 and from 2005-2006, takes President Barack Hussein Obama to task in a Wall Street Journal op-ed for being unaware – or worse, lying - about how the Cold War ended:
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 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. …
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.
Cheney fears that Obama is not only disarming us literally, but also morally by rewriting our history to suit his sorry foreign policy strategy of appeasement.
† King Of The Heels: In a particularly perceptive op-ed Lisa Belkin, who writes the Motherlode blog for The New York Times, explains how the nature of a straying politician’s indiscretion provides a touchstone against which to evaluate our own relationship-related fears:
Gossip is how we establish cultural norms. Talking about others is our way to test the social boundaries - to learn what raises eyebrows, what is met by shrugs - without directly talking about ourselves. …
I’m speaking as a woman here, one of those who have watched the cuckold wives (a word that technically doesn’t apply to wives; I can find nothing in the dictionary that applies to sexually betrayed women, though you would think Webster would have added one by now) and mentally placed ourselves in their shoes. It is a game women play - the game of “Which Is Worse?” It probably had its roots in the darkness of summer camp, when children tested their fears by the eerie glow of flashlights: Which is worse, dying of heat or dying of cold? Eating a caterpillar or a locust? Losing your arms or your legs? The grown-up version goes something like this: Which is worse, having him cheat on you with a female prostitute or a male stranger in the men’s room? While you were in remission from cancer, or after you’d given up your own career to make him president? With a prostitute whom he paid extra for odd requests, or an exotic foreigner with whom he danced ’neath an Argentine moon? …
So we watch. And we gossip. … And while we talk about the betrayal of public trust, we know that this is really about the betrayal of her trust. Which one day could be someone’s betrayal of ours.
† Updates To Previous Posts (eighth item, We Fight Them Over There So We Don’t Have To Fight Them Over Here?): The New York Times reports that the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management became a hotbed for recruiting young Somali men to return to the homeland they fled years earlier as civil war refugees and fight for Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-aligned militant Islamist group seeking to overthrow the government:
The students are among more than 20 young Americans who are the focus of what may be the most significant domestic terrorism investigation since Sept. 11. …
An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with close friends and relatives of the men, law enforcement officials and lawyers, as well as access to live phone calls and Facebook messages between the men and their friends in the United States, reveals how a far-flung jihadist movement found a foothold in America’s heartland.
The men appear to have been motivated by a complex mix of politics and faith, and their communications show how some are trying to recruit other young Americans to their cause.
The case represents the largest group of American citizens suspected of joining an extremist movement affiliated with Al Qaeda. Although friends say the men have never thought of carrying out attacks in the United States, F.B.I. officials worry that with their training, ideology and American passports, there is a real danger that they could.
“This case is unlike anything we have encountered,” said Ralph S. Boelter, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Minneapolis office, which is leading the investigation.
Pioneer Press (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN) reports that a third Somali-American who left the Twin Cities to become a jihadi in Somalia is now confirmed dead. The paper describes Jamal Bana, 20, as “‘the man of the house’ - the oldest child who served as point man for the family, breadwinner, chauffeur and caretaker.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, Never Again Or Forgive And Forget?): The Associated Press reports that German prosecutors formally charged John Demjanjuk, 89, with 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II:
Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, welcomed the filing of formal charges.
"This is obviously an important step forward," Zuroff said by telephone from Jerusalem. "We hope that the trial itself will be expedited so that justice will be achieved and he can be given the appropriate punishment."
"The effort to bring Demjanjuk to justice sends a very powerful message that the passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the perpetrator," Zuroff said.
Zuroff will get no argument from Armenians, who have been waiting 94 years for the government of Turkey to acknowledge that its Ottoman forebears committed genocide and to make some gesture of atonement.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on racism and redress on the grassroots level.
In an op-ed for The Washington Times conservative columnist Andrew Breitbart describes the revulsion people of good conscience across the political spectrum felt when they learned of a private swim club in suburban Philly turning away a group of minority campers who had been promised use of its facilities and how – without intervention by the government or intimidation by race-baiters Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - ordinary folks got together to do the right thing:
Whenever legitimate acts of bigotry occur, they should be exposed to the light of day. The media and the legal system - fueled by public outrage - can do the rest. In this case, substantial national and even international news coverage of the Valley Club incident is beginning the process of making the campers whole.
Racism is so unwelcome in America these days, government is no longer the most effective mechanism to thwart it. The common sense of good-hearted citizens is enough to shame culprits to relent. Modern institutions have filled the void where organizations like the NAACP have become more and more irrelevant - and hopelessly partisan - in confronting bigotry.
Facebook and Twitter, powerful social media tools, worked so quickly that Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson didn't have time to book their flights to Pennsylvania. Good Samaritans came out of the woodwork to offer the campers opportunities such as cooking lessons from local chefs and classes from professional filmmakers and other artists. Nearby Girard College has offered its swim facilities to the kids for free.
"So much goodness is coming out of an awful situation," said Alethea Wright, director of the Creative Steps camp. "This is wonderful."
While racism does exist, it is no longer the natural order, nor is it representative of the majority. Otherwise, this story would not have played out the way it did.