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History and truth

August 09, 2008

Re "Losing sight of evil," Opinion, Aug. 5

Jonah Goldberg continues to live in a fantasy land where conservatives (Republicans) navigate the country with moral clarity while liberals (Democrats), wanting for a moral compass, set us adrift toward the shoals. The true history of the Cold War is, not surprisingly, different from his fantasy.

On July 15, 1975, Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave a talk condemning an upcoming meeting in Helsinki in which President Ford was meeting with the Soviets. Ford had declined to meet with Solzhenitsyn because Ford was continuing the policy of detente initiated by President Nixon and Henry Kissinger, and Ford did not want to upset the Soviets.

On the same day that Solzhenitsyn spoke, Kissinger gave a speech, titled "The Moral Foundations of Foreign Policy," in which he downplayed the role of morality in foreign policy.

Nixon and Kissinger were practitioners of realpolitik. They had recognized Maoist China and were believers in dealing with the Soviets, the Chinese, the North Vietnamese and a host of Third World tyrants. Peter Rodman, no matter what his personal views were, was a loyal assistant to Kissinger during the heyday of these policies.

So when Goldberg, in reference to the Cold War, says it is important to remember who recognized evil and who did not, is he calling on us to excoriate those well-known liberal Democrats -- Nixon, Kissinger and Ford?

George Miller

Altadena

I agree with Goldberg that amnesia about historically "important things" is bad.

Just think how much better off we'd be today if the rabid proponents of the war on Iraq hadn't had amnesia about the lessons of Vietnam.

And I'm shocked that he finds "dangerously naive" Barack Obama's statement that "every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday," when one of the main justifications for creating our current quagmire was to bring democracy (capitalism? consumerism?) to Iraq by freeing it from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.

I have had it up to here with the hypocrisy of the right.

Lynn Eames

Los Angeles

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