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Jewish World Review Nov. 22, 1999 /13 Kislev, 5760

David Limbaugh

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Architects of victory


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- I just finished reading "Architects of Victory" by Joseph Shattan, published by the Heritage Foundation. It traces the accomplishments of six towering figures principally responsible for the West's triumph over the Soviet Communist Empire in the Cold War.

After arduous study, Shattan came to the conclusion that the ideas and actions of these people were indispensable to achieving victory: Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer, Harry Truman, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan.

The book's six chapters are essentially mini-biographies of these men, emphasizing their major contributions to the West's victory.

You can be sure that this book will not achieve prominence in the mainstream media because it debunks the anti-American conventional wisdom (as portrayed, for example, in CNN's documentary, "The Cold War") that President Truman started the Cold War, Reagan exacerbated it and Mikhail Gorbachev finished it.

To be honest, I expected the book to be a dry, historical work. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Shattan describes the emotions this project evoked. "I had not expected to find the entire experience so moving. Yet, how could anyone not be deeply moved after prolonged exposure to each of these great men?"

Believe me, Shattan's passion in this enrapturing account is quite contagious.

He describes Churchill as the visionary who first recognized as early as 1919 and reiterated in his 1946 "Iron Curtain" Speech in Fulton, Missouri, that the West could not merely coexist with Soviet Communism -- it would have to confront and defeat it. Of Lenin and Trotsky he wrote, "Theirs is a war against civilized society that can never end."

Truman is credited for rejecting FDR's conciliatory policies toward Moscow and for the Greek-Turkish aid package, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift and NATO, all of which were crucial in preserving the integrity and security of Western Europe during these critical years.

Konrad Adenhauer was the West German leader who was instrumental in aligning the pivotal West Germany with the West, over fierce internal opposition from nationalistic and socialistic forces.

During the '70s, America and the West were floundering aimlessly in pursuit of a moral compass and foreign policy to replace the failed strategy of containment. Their answer came from an unexpected source.

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Deep inside the Iron Curtain bellowed the voice of Soviet dissident, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who provided a gut-wrenching first-hand account of the murderous and oppressive practices of the Soviet regime. His courageous words breathed new life into the West's demoralized and slumbering Cold Warriors.

"Gulag Archipelago" and his other works laid the moral groundwork for the third and final phase of the war where the West would resoundingly triumph under the generalship of Ronald Reagan.

Pope John Paul II's work in supporting Solidarity in his native Poland contributed mightily to the implosion of the already overextended Soviet empire. Shattan's tribute is fitting. "It is ironic that the empire built by Josef Stalin -- who had asked mockingly at Potsdam how many divisions the Pope had -- was brought down, in no small measure by a Pope who had nothing but words at his disposal."

Ronald Reagan recognized the truth in what Churchill had trumpeted when no one was listening: The Soviet Union was an evil empire that we should engage and defeat. Accordingly, he adopted National Security Decision Directive 75, which called on the U.S. to take the offensive in the Cold War through "military strategy, economic policy, and political action."

Reagan's ability to see the world clearly and his determination to act on that vision ultimately brought the Soviet Empire to its knees.

What are the lessons?

The Cold War was indeed a war, a war that would have victors and losers. Stalemate and neutrality were not options. Had the U.S. not geared up and dedicated its full resources to fighting this war, we may not have been victorious.

It was a war whose stakes can hardly be overstated. Hanging in the balance was nothing less than the survival of Western civilization and its historically unparalleled experiment in freedom, democracy and capitalism. It was a titanic struggle between the forces of good and evil.

This book and the message it conveys provide a great antidote to our modern complacency, the prevailing mindset that is characterized by a tragic apathy for the liberties we enjoy and the values that undergird them.


JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

Up

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