John Lewis Gaddis, author of a half-dozen books on the topic, is the nation's foremost historian of the Cold War. So when in the 1980s he dismissed Ronald Reagan's goal of ending the Cold War, arguing instead that the American-Soviet competition had settled into a stable ''long peace,'' it would have been natural to conclude that Gaddis, the august expert, was right.
He was wrong, of course. Gaddis explains why in his crackling-good, recently published book, The Cold War: A New History. It holds lessons for today in its reminder of how inspired people, armed with truth and morality, can force epochal historical changes.
In short, a former skeptic of Ronald Reagan's perspective on how to best deal with the Cold War, has the guts to say that he was wrong. That's not very prevalent, in the cynical and skeptical world of today's leftists.
Today when a leftist is openly proven wrong, they usually do one of three things:
1. They dig their heels in deeper refusing to acknowledge they are wrong.
2. They change the subject altogether (usually back to WMDs).
3. They get get quiet and wait until the next critical issue arises, one that they can jump on and exploit it to the hilt (just like the one you proved them wrong on).
Rarely do they say anything close to:
1. Oh, I guess I was wrong.
2. Well, I see your point.
3. You make some good points, but I will have to study the matter a lttle further.
I think the the one thing that stands out about this essay, is the statement Mr. Gaddis quotes by Margaret Thatcher:
''I had long understood that detente had been ruthlessly used by the Soviets to exploit western weakness and disarray. I knew the beast.''
Which is the same tactic used by the islamofascists hell bent on destroying western civilization, today. The mere fact that, for a while it appeared that the U.S. and Europe were divided on this issue, speaks volumes about how well these thugs have studied the Soviet techniques used against the west, in the Cold War. Manipulating the leftist elements in the western countries into believing that Islam is by nature a peaceful ideology is the same tactic used by the Soviets.
Who can forget Samantha Smith, the little girl that wrote a troubling letter to the then Soviet leader Andropov asking him why his government sought after world domination, only to get invited to the USSR to tour the nation and see for herself that the Soviets were peace-loving people? Today, we see groups like CAIR and the ISNA lobbying the left with the same kind of subtle manipulations, trying to convince just how benign their ideology is, with the specific intent of softening up the average American.
They say that history is a great teacher. And if that is so, I cannot help but wonder, why the left misses such great lessons. And if that within itself isn't enough, they want to rewrite those lessons to fit their narrow-minded agendas. Why can't they just say they were/are wrong and be done with it (just like Mr. Gaddis did)?