Sunday, June 14, 2009

On The Wrong Side Of History

The president and Vice President Joe Biden met last Friday with former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, according to a Gorbachev who did not elaborate on what was discussed.

Presumably, President Obama wanted Gorbachev's input on how to deal with his current successor, Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, who has become increasingly confrontational toward the West.

Ex-President Jimmy Carter grins as he leaves the White House after talks with President Obama’s top security adviser.

Ex-President Jimmy Carter grins as he leaves the White House after talks with President Obama’s top security adviser.

Earlier in the week the worst president of the 20th century, one James Earl Carter, spent an hour and a half in the West Wing of the White House, reportedly for a private briefing from Obama national security adviser Jim Jones.

(Uh oh — is Carter planning another meeting with the leader of an Islamist terrorist group, like the one he had last year in Syria with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal?)

The president is said to have "briefly greeted" Carter during his visit. But if it had been more than that, no one could blame the White House for covering it up. Carter's legacy includes the fall of the shah and the consequent Islamist revolution in Iran still in power and seeking nuclear arms.

Add to that the fact that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan on Carter's watch, after he repeatedly made it clear in public statements that he did not believe the United States had much ability to influence events in the world anymore.

After just a couple of months in office and a serious economic downturn to deal with, it's doubtful our new president wants Americans to think he was spending any time meeting with a predecessor who gave the country 21.5% interest rates, stagflation and long lines at the gas pump.

Considering the faith that both Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama seem to place in government over the private sector, and conciliation over American assertiveness in foreign policy, would it be unseemly to wonder if the two did share more than a "brief greeting" last week?

Both Carter and Gorbachev are remembered indelibly as being on the wrong side of history. The answer to Soviet aggression was not to kiss Leonid Brezhnev on both cheeks at Vienna, then be shell-shocked to discover he had lied as Red Army tanks rolled into Afghanistan.

Instead, the answer was to announce to the world exactly what the Communists were — an Evil Empire — and rebuild our defenses.

The way to deal with the Berlin Wall was not to learn to live with it permanently, but to go there and demand that Mr. Gorbachev tear it down. Can any American imagine Jimmy Carter going there and saying such a thing? The crowds would have barely stifled their laughter.

And the solution to mutual assured destruction (MAD) by nuclear missiles was not to talk to the Kremlin's professional liars at the negotiating table. It was action, in the form of building and deploying missile defense.

As Gorbachev insisted that a human face could be put on the murderous tyranny of the USSR, and preserve it and the Communist Party that ran it, Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, exposed it to the light and killed it.

It could indeed even be said that both Gorbachev and Carter were fooled into accepting the invincibility of Soviet communism. Reagan never was, just as Gorbachev's successor Boris Yeltsin never was.

All these years later, missile defense remains important in confronting Russian imperialism. Like during the 1930s, and at the end of World War II, the great nation of Poland is hoping that the free world will not abandon it to a monstrous tyranny next door.

Polish leaders today fear Obama will renege on U.S. plans for a missile shield deployed on Polish territory to defend against former KGB operative Putin's aggression.

It isn't too difficult to surmise what Carter and Gorbachev's dovish advice to the president on the matter would be — as with matters regarding our other adversaries, from al-Qaida to Iran to North Korea and China.

Barack Obama would do better hosting a visit from the ghost of the Gipper.

Read More: Europe & Central Asia

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