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Walls of Weekness* and Gardens of Jellybeans

This has been a great week for the remembering of the history of Freedom.
Anyone who knows anything about the History of the Cold War, the Fall of Berlin Wall, perestroika, glasnost and the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union knows about the significance of…
…jellybeans.

The greatest freeing, in shere numbers, of any enslaved and sequestered people in the twentieth century happened in part because some of the Western world leaders at the time refused to blink. “Mr Gorbechev tear down this Wall,” was declared in June of 1987, despite the remonstrations of Ronald Reagan’s own advisors. The wall began to come down in 1989, and then in 1991 balkanization of the Soviet States began with Latvia and Estonia declaring their Independence.
Not only did this mark the end of a great social exile for the people of East Berlin and, in essence, East Germany from family and friends in the West, but it also began the end of a great containment of Polish and Russian Jews, and many other peoples in the former Soviet Union.
Pope John Paul II was defiant and unflinching, in both his statements against the Soviet Union and his actual saying of Mass in occupied Poland.
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were unyielding in their strong NATO presence, and, perhaps most significant were the phenomenal strides that Western Industry and technology were making towards miniaturization. The technological advances that allowed the United States to encapsulate the functions performed by much larger capacitors, resistors, relays and other objects into tiny little electronic components is one of the keys that broke the back of the Soviet Union. They were going bankrupt trying to maintain equal military footing. This strength was evidenced at Reykjavik, when combined with Mr. Reagan’s resolve to continue with the development of the Star Wars missile defense system, despite the Russian complaint that it was in defiance of the current ABM treaties, and despite their attempt to try to get Mr. Reagan to trade this in for a supposed Greater Hope of mutuality.
I think the internal strength may have come from the black jellybeans.
There was no Carter-ish vacillation in the administrations of Thatcher and Reagan. It is not often remembered that in Tehran the Russian embassy was also considered as a takeover target. The students opted for taking over the American embassy. One can’t help but to think that the students had in mind what the Russian reaction would be. The American hostage crisis began,  a 444 day ordeal.
Carter’s crime was not the attempt of a military rescue that failed. His crime was in not showing the implacable resolve a President needs. There is no room for mistakes in that.

The Presidency of the United States is not a High-School Presidency. It is not reasonable to say, “Well, he’s human. Give him time. All people make mistakes.”
This is the real world where every move counts.

We have entered a time period when the President’s vacillation is strikingly similar to that of Mr. Carter. Our new President first distances himself from our only great alliance in the region, snubbing Mr. Netanyahu. He then believes he will garner support from Russia for sanctions against Iran by backtracking on missile placement of defensive missiles in Poland. Prime Minister Lavrov does not reciprocate. This is a lesson we should have learned all through the cold war. It wasn’t a conciliatory posture that caused the Russians to turn tail and abandon the attempt to place missiles in Cuba.
Someone please buy our leaders a jar of jellybeans.

The Iranians, evidently not encouraged to move into a new cooperative and friendly relationship with the United States proceeded to test long range missiles, right in Mr. Obama’s face.

During World War II many people planted Victory Gardens, at the urging of the President of the United States. It was meant to be a statement as well as a morale booster.
I am concerned that the public questioning of General McChrystal’s request for 45,000 more troops in Iran and the seeming lack of solidarity among our American leaders, i.e., the President, the General and the ambassador to Afghanistan, will more greatly undermine our military position, will signal a lack of unity to our enemies, and will thwart the ability to act with any resolve .

Most importantly, I truly hope that we are not going to be asked to Plant ‘Not So Much Victory as Apology, Conciliatory, Self-Blame Even Submittal Gardens.’

-copyright 2009 by Juan Zapatero

*If you’re learning English for the first time, this is not how you spell weakness. I, however, am learning it for the second time.


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