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Obama Flunks History — Again

Liz Cheney calls out the president for another shameless example of historical misrepresentation and denigration of America’s historic global role in defending freedom:

There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week.

Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: “The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.”

Why would Obama fail to explain the reality of the brutal and repressive Soviet regime? Why would he fail to remind the audience of America’s role in wearing down the Soviet war machine, aiding dissidents, and defending our allies against Soviet aggression? Cheney throws out some options:

One wonders whether this was just an attempt to push “reset” — or maybe to curry favor. Perhaps, most concerning of all, Mr. Obama believes what he said.

Mr. Obama’s method for pushing reset around the world is becoming clearer with each foreign trip. He proclaims moral equivalence between the U.S. and our adversaries, he readily accepts a false historical narrative, and he refuses to stand up against anti-American lies.

As Cheney recounts, Obama does this incessantly. Whether it is Cairo, Europe, or Central America, we get a fractured version of history in which the same inaccurate, misshapen myths emerge. In Obama History, America is invariably at fault. In Obama History, America’s role in defending freedom is omitted. In Obama History, America is morally suspect because of prior bad acts and therefore now must either atone for these supposed past sins or remain mute for fear of rekindling anti-American feelings. In Obama History, when things went well in the past, the “world was united” — as in his bizarre recasting of the Cold War during his campaign jaunt to Berlin.

It was this precise modus operandi that many of us found so offensive in the Cairo speech. Then, not only America’s role in the Mideast, but the entire history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (not to mention thousands of years of Jewish history), had to be contorted or edited to fit his intended purpose (i.e. creating an artificial moral equivalence which he can then heroically resolve).

Cheney is correct in observing that this is more than disturbing; it is dangerous:

Perhaps Mr. Obama thinks he is making America inoffensive to our enemies. In reality, he is emboldening them and weakening us. America can be disarmed literally — by cutting our weapons systems and our defensive capabilities — as Mr. Obama has agreed to do. We can also be disarmed morally by a president who spreads false narratives about our history or who accepts, even if by his silence, our enemies’ lies about us.

Conservatives may speculate as to the reasons behind Obama’s rhetoric and peculiar worldview. But what is critical is to call him out for his misstatements and omissions and to insist on fidelity to historical facts. What is essential is to urge the president and those in positions of responsibility in the administration and in Congress to see both history and the present world-situation accurately and to make every effort to bolster, not denigrate, America’s ability to act as a force for good. That we must do so – because the president has a worldview so deeply flawed and lacking in appreciation of America’s vital contributions to freedom, peace and democracy – is deeply troubling. Nevertheless, it is a critical undertaking. For that, Cheney should be commended — and more importantly, emulated.