Earlier today, I wrote:
I am so tired of this Yalta debate and the veiled attacks on FDR.
And I still am, because I did not understand why the President would even mention it, and I did not understand the need for people on the left to flay Bush amd people on the right to prove Roosevelt was a treasonous bastard. Matt Welch provides the info I needed:
Italics mine, to drive home a point: It has been official American policy to bury Yalta in symbol and by name for at least a decade now. U.S. diplomats and leaders, many from Central European stock, have become fluent in the language of Munich and Yalta, which also comes dancing freely from the lips of the likes of such moral persuaders as Walesa and Vaclav Havel. I was shocked and appalled, living in Central Europe at the time, that respected American commentators so routinely misunderstood the easy-to-find stated motivations for our European policy. There were more than enough Capitol Hill hearings on the issue; it’s not hard at all to find stuff like “the Clinton Administration adheres to the idea of a NATO club of European democracies, repeatedly emphasizing the compelling importance of ‘righting the wrongs of Yalta.'”
Since I’ve wasted this much space I’ll drive the rest of you away with four last quick points. 1) Bush never mentioned Roosevelt. 2) Note the sentence directly after his placing Yalta “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.” This does not require a decoder ring, does it? 3) The comment was made in the specific and politically charged context of Vladimir Putin refusing to apologize to the Latvians for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. 4) In making the above points, I am not laying out my 12-point program for What Roosevelt Should Have Done Differently. For that matter, neither was Bush. (His November 2002 speech in Prague, which also name-checked Yalta, followed its invocation with these two lines: “We have no power to rewrite history. We do have the power to write a different story for our time.”) I’m just suggesting that those looking for a Stab in the Back or at least a John Birch slap within the remarks of the president may have stumbled onto a plot even more sinister, because the Clintonites are in on it, too…
Filed this under General Stupidity- Mine, for not reading Bush’s speech in its entirety, and for paying any attention to either the Bush-haters or the John Birch society members.
I still think that there was no chance in hell we would have gone to war with the Soviets in 1945 to save the territories, though. The political will was not there, the population would have revolted, and we had our hands full with the Japanese. I fully suspect thatin a few months the last point about the Japanese will be completely forgotten as the usual suspects roll out the annual ‘Was Truman wrong to drop the bomb on Japan?’ debate that must commence every year on the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
At any rate, there are a lot of things to dislike about FDR (for the record, a now deceased relative, whose name shall not be mentioned out of respect, referred to FDR as ‘that hop-legged son-of-a-bitch’ until the day he died), but I just don;t see this as one of them. Would I have liked things to have turned out differently? You bet. But as Bush stated, “”We have no power to rewrite history.”