John Bolton

John Bolton

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Supporting Freedom Behind the "Iran Curtain"

Lessons from the dismantling of the Iron Curtain!

Tom the Redhunter reminds me of these words from President Reagan's first year in office. He delivered this speech from the Oval Office on December 23, 1981. Reflect on them in regard to the current Iran crisis:

PRESIDENT REAGAN: ...As I speak to you tonight, the fate of a proud and ancient nation hangs in the balance. For a thousand years, Christmas has been celebrated in Poland, a land of deep religious faith, but this Christmas brings little joy to the courageous Polish people. They have been betrayed by their own government.

The men who rule them and their totalitarian allies fear the very freedom that the Polish people cherish. They have answered the stirrings of liberty with brute force, killings, mass arrests, and the setting up of concentration camps. Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders are imprisoned, their fate unknown. Factories, mines, universities, and homes have been assaulted.
I urge the Polish Government and its allies to consider the consequences of their actions. How can they possibly justify using naked force to crush a people who ask for nothing more than the right to lead their own lives in freedom and dignity? Brute force may intimidate, but it cannot form the basis of an enduring society, and the ailing Polish economy cannot be rebuilt with terror tactics.
When 19th century Polish patriots rose against foreign oppressors, their rallying cry was, ``For our freedom and yours.'' Well, that motto still rings true in our time. There is a spirit of solidarity abroad in the world tonight that no physical force can crush. It crosses national boundaries and enters into the hearts of men and women everywhere. In factories, farms, and schools, in cities and towns around the globe, we the people of the Free World stand as one with our Polish brothers and sisters. Their cause is ours, and our prayers and hopes go out to them this Christmas.
This wasn't the first time President Reagan had strong words to say on the subject of communist oppression and it wouldn't be the last. His speech calling the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire" is a classic. Liberals went bonkers every time President Reagan denounced communist dictatorship. They said Reagan was a warmonger and claimed his stand for freedom might lead to a nuclear war. They insisted that by speaking out so forcefully Reagan threatened to undo the hopes for an arms control agreement that might end the nuclear standoff.

The liberals who thought this way were wrong then, just as they are wrong now in supporting President Obama's rather lukewarm support for the protesters in Iran.

Today's advocates of the "play it safe" approach in Iran seem more intent on not upsetting the Mullahs who rule Iran than they do in supporting the brave men and women risking their lives and standing up to the brutality and tyranny of the Iranian dictatorship.

Another lesson these liberals failed to learn was the power of Reagan's strong words to those who were being oppressed by the Soviet regime. Natan Sharansky, the dissident and former Soviet Refusenik recalled how Reagan's words stirred the hearts of him and fellow prisoners in the Soviet Gulag. When Reagan spoke, the dissidents in the camp would tap out a Morse code on the plumbing in their cell to spread the news:

“It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell’s Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union. It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin’s “Great October Bolshevik Revolution” and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution–Reagan’s Revolution.”
Reagan also backed up his words with actions. He led our allies in an effort towards a united policy to contain and isolate the Soviet Union at the same time he engaged them in negotiations.

Last year before the election Obama was fond of connecting himself to the Reagan legacy. But what he always missed is that Reagan not only gave a good speech, but the words came from deep core convictions Reagan held regarding American exceptionalism and his belief that we are the last best hope of mankind. And Reagan never accepted the moral equivalence arguments so redolent in Obama's apologias to the world which wrongly suggest we are no better than the rest of the world.

Obama rejects the Reagan philosophy of "Peace through strength." But it was that strength in both words and deeds that Reagan used to launch a revolution which freed millions from tyranny and gave peace and prosperity to a generation of inhabitants across the globe.

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