What does it say when the president of the United States is unable to acknowledge that the United States won the Cold War and broke the bonds of Soviet tyranny for nations of Eastern Europe?
His latest outburst was prompted by this truly outrageous statement from President Obama:
Now, make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.
The nerve of the man! To suggest that Solidarity, Pope John Paul, the ‘Singing Revolution,’ or Mikhail Gorbachev had anything to do with the fall of Communism is downright unpatriotic. Doesn’t he realize that Ronald Reagan was responsible for literally every crack in the Soviet edifice?
From a diplomatic perspective, you needn’t be a latter-day Metternich or Talleyrand to grasp that claiming sole responsibility for ending the Cold War might be a bit off-putting to foreigners. And given Russia’s well-known sensitivities about the issue, I think it’s very sensible of Obama to tread lightly on the world stage.
But beyond the pragmatic case against needlessly pissing off important countries, what I’m truly astounded by is McCarthy’s unthinking chauvinism. Is it really that outrageous to credit the people of Eastern Europe and Russia for helping end the Cold War, particularly when Obama’s generous account actually reflects the historical reality? Is McCarthy so uncharitable that any acknowledgment of the achievements of other countries somehow detracts from his own patriotism?
Many on the Right identify with the go-it-alone mystique of the American cowboy, whose straight-shooting approach is supposedly a guide for foreign policy. But it’s worth remembering that our iconic Western heroes (Shane comes to mind) were strong and silent rather than unthinking braggarts. A patriot should have enough confidence in his country’s achievements to survive without needless reaffirmations of national pride, something McCarthy should remember before his next attempt to insult half the world.