Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Those Who Ignore History Are Doomed To The Hollywood Remake With Better Special Effects

HP archive-worrier Michael Ezra unearths the following snippet from screech-crazy wingnut boobyhatch National Review, 1957.  Money quote...

If the Soviet threat is primarily a Russian threat, then it can be handled by civilized men as the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries handled their disputes—by diplomacy, by pressures, by limited warfare conducted by enemies who nevertheless share a universe of moral discourse. Then it is possible to fight, and live at peace, and fight again, if need be, for limited objectives. That is, then it is possible to coexist with the enemy. Then it is, indeed, deeply immoral to think in any other terms than those of coexistence.

If the essential dynamic of the enemy is an ideology directed towards the destruction of religion, of freedom, of the very kind of moral being we regard man to be; and if those who hold that ideology are pledged by its very nature to a crusade to make the world over in its image—then it is immoral to base long-term policy on anything less than the destruction of that ideology by all means in our power.

It's ironic that to Michael, the piece is an interesting relic of a bygone age.  I'm actually grateful that he found it since to me, it's a stark illustration of how the perpetual War on Terror is simply the Cold War with an amateurish slap of fresh paint on the backdrops.  Minarets for onion domes; mad mullahs for commissars and fellow-travelling pinkos for, uh...

Reader, how many nouns would you switch in the piece before it could credibly pass for the farting inanity of National Review Online, circa 2011?  I make it four, maybe even three at a stretch.  Chuck in a South Park reference and it'd be indistinguishable from the output of Jonah Goldberg.

And I have to admit that, when the great post-Soviet threat to all of humanity finally reared its ugly head after a mere decade of bush league superpower-pipsqueak smackdowns, it was pretty lucky that we could call on the very same actors, retool the same scripts, don the same costumes and remix all the old scores.  Hand the balalaika player an oud and ah-one, two, three four...

Well, it's not quite the same.  Some gullible Yorkshire fuckheads with homemade nailbombs are a mite less intimidating than the total nuclear annihilation of all life on Earth.  During the Cold War, it was the baddies who bled their armies white while achieving exactly nothing in unwinnable wars. We actually produced some decent thrillers back in the day, rather than the sorry naughties parade of shaky-cam, woe-is-us bollocks about how much it sucks to face an enemy who doesn't have an air force and won't fight fair.

Still, you have to admit, it does look like something of a coincidence.  Lucky us, eh?

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