12:21 PM, Jun 19, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Today, speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, President Obama paid appropriate tribute to the brave East Germans who rebelled 60 years ago against Communist dictatorship:
"Today, 60 years after they rose up against oppression, we remember the East German heroes of June 17th. When the wall finally came down, it was their dreams that were fulfilled."
But he drew a strange lesson from their uprising:
"Their strength and their passion, their enduring example remind us that for all the power of militaries, for all the authority of governments, it is citizens who choose whether to be defined by a wall, or whether to tear it down."
In 1953, the citizens of East Germany chose freedom. But their uprising failed. It failed because it was repressed by superior power—by armed force, by military might. If you were a 30-year old who sought freedom in 1953, your dream of living in freedom wasn't fulfilled until you were 66. And it was fulfilled in large part because of Western military strength, and in particular Ronald Reagan's military build-up.
So it's not enough for citizens to "choose" freedom or justice. Freedom needs to be backed by strength. Otherwise it loses. Otherwise we see what Leo Strauss called "the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or of justice unable to use the sword.” Contra Obama, the lesson of 1953—and of the Weimar Republic, to which Strauss was referring—is that merely wishing for justice, and seeking freedom, is not enough.
It would pay greater honor to the brave men and women of 1953 to acknowledge this fact.
8:46 AM, Apr 8, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
And now the last of them is gone. Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II—three who won the Cold War and, it isn't too much to say, saved the West (at least for a while!)—are no longer with us. Their examples remain.
Mar 25, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 27 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Good news for a change from Phnom Penh: Ieng Sary, brother-in-law of and cofounder with Pol Pot of Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge movement, died last week. Or perhaps it wasn’t really good news. His heart (who knew he had one?) gave out before the Cambodian-U.N. tribunal had a chance to finish its proceedings and convict him of mass murder.
Why the Bolshevik Revolution wasn't 'strangled in its cradle.'Feb 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 20 • By ANDREW STUTTAFORD
When everything changes, what should be done?
Over 30 years after Ayatollah Khomeini lit the Islamic fire, the West is still fumbling its way to a proper response. Imagine, then, the challenge posed by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. A key partner in the Allied war against Germany had just been hijacked by a fanatical cult intent on remaking the world, and the world had no clue what to do in reply.
Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
In noting the death last week in London of Eric Hobsbawm, The Scrapbook observed its usual doctrine of de mortuis nil nisi bonum.
Beijing is flooding the region with investment. Should America be worried?10:00 AM, Jun 18, 2012 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
China’s interest in South America is easily explained: The Asian giant has a voracious appetite for commodities and raw materials, including Argentine soybeans, Brazilian iron ore, Chilean and Peruvian metals, Ecuadorean and Venezuelan oil, and Uruguayan beef. Therefore, Beijing has expanded trade ties with governments across the resource-rich continent, from Caracas to Montevideo.
4:42 PM, Jun 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Today's the twenty-five year anniversary of Ronald Reagan's powerful Brandenburg Gate address in Berlin, Germany. Watch here:
12:05 PM, Dec 18, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former Czech president Václav Havel died Sunday morning in his home in the northern part of the Czech Republic. Havel was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic, serving in the latter office from 1993 to 2003. But Havel will be best remembered as the leader and soul of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution in 1989.
The dark side of Chinese state capitalism.Oct 24, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 06 • By YING MA
The ongoing persecution of Christians in China.May 23, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 34 • By MEGHAN CLYNE
Communist China has earned praise in the past few years for a perceived thaw in its strict opposition to religious observance—particularly Christianity. A visitor to China will see Christian churches out in the open; a printing facility in Nanjing is the largest Bible publisher in the world. There is the appearance, at least, of a faith that is free and tolerated.