Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Our reality and history challenged President...

Yalta Conference
President George Bush seems to get a kick out of giving historians and teachers heart palpitations. He recently made a statement that equated the Yalta agreement with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth, keyboards went active criticizing the comments as additional evidence that the President is more interested in scoring points with his followers than demonstrating any understanding of history and its role in shaping the present.

A couple responses: Political Animal, Talking Points Memo and Slate Magazine, Arthur Schlesinger Jr..

Those on the Right have already heaped praise upon Bush for "setting the record straight", as they see it. To the Right the Yalta conference was evidence that the "fellow travelers" in the State Department had a tight grip on Roosevelt's foreign policy. While there is irrefutable evidence that there were serious problems with communist spies in numerous government departments, the Yalta agreement reflected a fairly hard reality that the U.S. could not take on the Japanese alone. The prospect of battling both a multi-million man Russian army as well as invading the Japanese home island was beyond reason. This at a time when the U.S. was facing manpower shortages.

The Yalta agreement was certainly not an agreement to be praised, but it was an agreement that reflected the military and political reality on the ground.

The Right has been beating the anti-FDR drum since before the war, the Yalta agreement only gave them an opportunity to make an argument that sounded more convincing. The socialist President handing over the powerless people of Eastern Europe to his fellow travelers the communist Russians.

- Murphy

No comments: