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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
The Fall of the USSR, and the Moral of the Story 
19th-Mar-2010 05:31 am
Walter Russel Meade has one of the more interesting foreign policy and history blogs out there, and this post contains three thoughts I'd like to pass on (though I think the whole thing is a really good idea):

1. In other developments from the front lines of global progress, the Cuban government arrested a group of dissidents protesting the recent death of Orlando Zapato Tamayo after an 85 day hunger strike. The increasingly eccentric president of Brazil, whose tender sensibilities and high toned moral standards prevented him from visiting the grave of Theodor Herzl in Jerusalem, has defended the Cuban government against the scurrilous rumors that somehow the hunger striker was a victim of political persecution.

One of the two greatest moral and political evils in human history is slowly guttering out, but even in what one hopes are its last throes, communism is still lashing out, still torturing and brutalizing where it can, still counting on ‘progressives’ to look the other way.

2. Standing in the cellar of the KGB prison, admiring the ingenuously designed torture cells, retracing the final steps of the prisoners on their journey from the condemned cells to the execution yard, it’s impossible not to think of Vladimir Putin bemoaning the fall of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century. Putin made his career in the same KGB that murdered and tortured for decades in Lithuania and its neighboring republics; the longing for the good old days must sometimes grow unspeakable.

3. [W]hat [are] the stakes in American foreign policy.

What we do matters. Developing American power and reinforcing its economic foundations at home, building alliances, promoting democracy, deterring aggressors: when we do these things well, people thrive. When we fail, they die miserably, and in droves.

Those are the stakes. The question, so often, is who we should be making uncomfortable: the elites of Western Europe, or those who would happily watch their blood run in the gutter. And the trick lies in the fact that they blame us for the existence of those who would destroy them.
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