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jerryking : soviet_union   4

Why Putin Doesn’t Respect Us - NYTimes.com
MARCH 4, 2014 | NYT |Thomas L. Friedman.

The Soviet Union died because Communism could not provide rising standards of living, and its collapse actually unleashed boundless human energy all across Eastern Europe and Russia. A wise Putin would have redesigned Russia so its vast human talent could take advantage of all that energy. He would be fighting today to get Russia into the European Union, not to keep Ukraine out....I don’t want to go to war with Putin, but it is time we expose his real weakness and our real strength. That, though, requires a long-term strategy — not just fulminating on “Meet the Press.” It requires going after the twin pillars of his regime: oil and gas. Just as the oil glut of the 1980s, partly engineered by the Saudis, brought down global oil prices to a level that helped collapse Soviet Communism, we could do the same today to Putinism by putting the right long-term policies in place. That is by investing in the facilities to liquefy and export our natural gas bounty (provided it is extracted at the highest environmental standards) and making Europe, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, more dependent on us instead. I’d also raise our gasoline tax, put in place a carbon tax and a national renewable energy portfolio standard — all of which would also help lower the global oil price (and make us stronger, with cleaner air, less oil dependence and more innovation).
Crimea  communism  disrespect  long-term  natural_gas  oil_industry  Russia  Soviet_Union  strategic_thinking  Tom_Friedman  Vladimir_Putin  weaknesses 
march 2014 by jerryking
Bret Stephens: The Fog Over Katyn Forest - WSJ.com
APRIL 13, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By BRET STEPHENS. The
Fog Over Katyn Forest. Poland's struggle of memory against forgetting..

'The struggle of people against power," Milan Kundera famously observed, "is the struggle of memory against forgetting." Is there any place that better captures that truth than the Katyn Forest, or any metaphor more apt for Katyn's place in our historical memory than fog?

It was, of course, a very mundane kind of fog that (along with some apparently reckless piloting) brought down the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and an entourage of political notables as they attempted to land for Saturday's commemoration of the Katyn Forest massacre's 70th anniversary. Still, one can be forgiven for wondering whether the physical and metaphysical worlds didn't conspire in this latest cycle of Polish tragedy. Fog makes the known world unseen; cutting through it is what Poland's long quest for freedom—itself so often dashed to pieces—has always been about.

Today, the facts about Katyn are not in doubt. In the spring of 1940, 22,000 Polish prisoners of war—most of them army officers, but also thousands of leading members of the Polish intelligentsia—were systematically murdered by the Soviet secret police on direct orders from Joseph Stalin. Comrade Stalin, who was then carving up central Europe as an ally of Adolf Hitler, worried that some future Polish state might someday oppose him. "Under those circumstances," observes historian Gerhard Weinberg, "depriving [Poland] of a large proportion of its military and technical elite would make it weaker."

In one of history's richer ironies, the massacre was first discovered and publicized by the Nazis in 1943. That made it that much easier for the Soviets to dismiss the revelation as German propaganda to cover up a German crime, a line the U.S. and Britain were only too happy to adopt to propitiate their wartime ally. The behavior of the Roosevelt administration was particularly disgraceful: As Rutgers Professor Adam Scrupski has noted, the U.S. Office of War Information "implicitly threatened to remove licensure from the Polish language radio stations in Detroit and Buffalo if they did not cease broadcasting the details of executions."

Thus was the cause of a free Poland—the very reason the West had gone to war against Germany in the first place—sold out on the altar of realpolitik. It would not be the only sellout.
Bret_Stephens  Poland  tragedies  history  historical_amnesia  WWII  Soviet_Union  denials  revisionism  realpolitik  massacres  Joseph_Stalin  deprivations  Nazis 
april 2010 by jerryking

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