Controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is about to associate herself with one of the most subversive organizations in this country.
On Oct. 3, Omar will present the annual Letelier-Moffitt Awards at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). The IPS is a center of both far-left policy formation and support for the Palestinian socialist cause. The Letelier-Moffitt Award is named after the late Orlando Letelier, a paid Cuban intelligence agent.
With Omar’s strong ties to radical groups such as the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Palestinian socialist cause, she is a perfect fit for the IPS—whose columnists have been defending her regular outrageous statements since her election to Congress.
An IPS press release states:
“We’re excited to announce that Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota’s 5th District will present this year’s Letelier-Moffitt Awards!
“Rep. Omar has made herself a key figure in the progressive movement by working with a diverse group of legislators on the best ideas in politics today; bold, transformative policies like student loan forgiveness, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal.
“We’re thrilled to work with her and delighted to welcome her into our community.”
Omar’s IPS connection should raise all sorts of alarm bells.
For many years, the IPS was the largest and most influential of the far-left think tanks in Washington. From its founding in 1963, it steadily pushed a pro-Soviet line on foreign policy, defense, and the economy.
In a 1978 article in National Review, Brian Crozier, then director of the London-based Institute for the Study of Conflict, described the IPS as the “perfect intellectual front for Soviet activities which would be resisted if they were to originate openly from the KGB.”
The Letelier-Moffitt Award has its roots in Chile’s bloody anti-communist counter-revolution of the early 1970s.
In 1973, at the request of the Chilean parliament, Chile’s generals stepped in to remove pro-Castro socialist President Salvador Allende from office for alleged gross breaches of the country’s constitution. Allende committed suicide in the presidential palace rather than surrender to the military. For several years afterward, the military brutally cracked down on Chilean socialists, communists, and terrorists. Thousands were imprisoned, many were executed, and some simply “disappeared.”
One of the victims of the anti-communist purge was Allende’s former ambassador to the United States, Orlando Letelier. After a period of imprisonment, Letelier was allowed to leave Chile, settling first in Venezuela, then in Washington at the suggestion of IPS staffer Saul Landau, a personal friend of Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro.
In 1975, Letelier became a senior fellow of the IPS, where he soon became a leader of the leftist resistance to anti-communist Chilean President Augusto Pinochet. On Sept. 10, 1976, Pinochet officially deprived Letelier of his Chilean citizenship.
Undeterred, Letelier carried on his efforts to bring down the Pinochet government. He was reportedly responsible for the cancellation of several major European loans to Chile, which made him a major enemy of the government. He was described by one of his colleagues as being “the most respected and effective spokesman in the international campaign to condemn and isolate” Chile’s anti-communist government.
On Sept. 21, 1976, Letelier was traveling to work with an IPS colleague Ronni Moffitt and her husband. As they were driving down Washington’s Embassy Row at 9.35 a.m. a bomb exploded in their car. Within an hour, Moffitt and Letelier were pronounced dead. Moffitt’s husband survived.
It was later revealed that the bomb had been planted in the direction of Chile’s intelligence service, the DINA.
During the investigation into the assassination, the FBI leaked documents to The Washington Times columnist Jack Anderson, and others, which indicated that Letelier had been an Eastern Bloc intelligence operative. Letelier had also apparently been coordinating his activities with the Chilean government-in-exile, then based in communist East Berlin.
Letelier was reportedly working closely with Allende’s daughter, Beatriz Allende, who was married to a senior Cuban intelligence officer. While working for the IPS, Letelier was being paid $1,000 a month (no small sum in 1976) from Cuba’s communist regime.
So in giving out the Letelier-Moffitt Award, Omar is, in effect, honoring the memory of a paid Cuban agent-of-influence.
Today’s IPS maintains strong ties to the DSA and other domestic Marxist groups. The IPS has several DSA comrades on staff, including Ashik Siddique, a research analyst with IPS’s National Priorities Project, and John Feffer, co-director of IPS webzine Foreign Policy in Focus. The Metro DC DSA steering committee even holds its meetings in an IPS office.
Like Omar, the IPS is uncompromisingly pro-Palestine and anti-Israel.
Until earlier this year, Petersen-Smith was a leading member of the now-disbanded International Socialist Organization. According to the Socialism 2016 conference website: “He has written about Black and Palestinian liberation and US empire for Socialist Worker and the International Socialist Review. He co-authored the ‘Black Statement of Solidarity with Palestine’ in 2015, which was signed by over 1,100 mainly communist Black activists, artists, and scholars.”
In April, Petersen-Smith, with his IPS colleague Noura Erakat. held an event with the Tufts University chapter of the far-left Students for Justice in Palestine, titled “Black Solidarity With Palestine.”
Veteran IPS staffer Phyllis Bennis runs the IPS’s New Internationalism Project. In 2001, she helped found the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. She advises several leading U.N. officials on Palestine and was twice in contention to be appointed the U.N. special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory.
Bennis was also a leading member of Line of March, a Marxist-Leninist group that supported first communist China and then the Soviet Union.
The IPS still maintains strong ties to Cuba and played a role in President Barack Obama’s disastrous directive to ease sanctions on Havana, which probably saved the communist dictatorship from imminent collapse.
In July 2015, as the communist flag was raised over the newly reestablished Cuban Embassy on 16th Street NW in Washington, Bennis and her IPS and ex-Line of March comrade James Early “joined in the delirious shouts of ‘Viva Cuba!’,” according to The Washington Post.
“It’s an amazing moment,” Bennis told The Washington Post. “In the decades-long effort to normalize relations with Cuba, to stop the US attacks and hostility toward Cuba, we have not had so many victories. Suddenly we have a victory. The flag going up—that’s huge.”
“For those of us who were committed to the values and the aspirations of the Cuban revolution,” said Early, raising that flag again “is a recognition of Cuba’s right to sovereignty and self-determination.”
Right from the start, the IPS built networks of contacts among congressional legislators and their staff, academics, government officials, and the national media. The IPS’s main aim has always been to influence U.S. government policy in favor of the world socialist movement.
It’s no surprise to see the IPS welcome Omar into its radical bosom.
Feature Photo: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks at a press conference on the Capitol on July 15, 2019. (Holly Kellum/NTD)
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.
Trevor Loudon | The Epoch Times* | August 27, 2019,Updated: August 28, 2019
A recent NBC report criticizing The Epoch Times repeatedly emphasized that the publication is anti-communism, with the clear implication that this stance is anachronistic, paranoid, or unwarranted. Unfortunately, such views are commonplace in today’s West, certainly on the left, but also on much of what is considered the “right.”
The NBC article included this amazing paragraph: “In 2005, The Epoch Times released its greatest salvo, publishing the ‘Nine Commentaries,’ a widely distributed book-length series of anonymous editorials that it claimed exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s ‘massive crimes’ and ‘attempts to eradicate all traditional morality and religious belief.’”
Multiple reputable sources, including the famous “Black Book on Communism,” written mainly by academic ex-communists, assert that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been responsible for at least 65 million deaths during its 70 years of bloody reign. This adds to the full death toll of communism, which the authors show was at least 100 million.
In the first chapter, titled “Introduction: The Crimes of Communism,” academic Stéphane Courtois states that “communist regimes turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government.” By comparison, Nazism, while its crimes were also reprehensible, was “distinctly less murderous than Communism,” with a death toll of 25 million innocents.
Currently, 100 million Chinese citizens identify as Christians, and there are many others who are Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims, or Falun Gong practitioners. These groups are subjected to ongoing, intense persecution under the CCP.
To The Epoch Times’ credit, it is one of the very few publications in the United States that is not just “pro-freedom” but actively anti-communist, a very important distinction, which was brought home recently in a conversation I had with a senior Epoch Times staffer. He related to me how some Epoch Times journalists had attended a conservative gathering in Washington and were surprised to find they were not universally well-received.
There were some comments that the presence of the Epoch Times people, well-known for their opposition to the Communist Party of China, “might damage our trade relations with China.”
Bear in mind that many of these critics were veterans of the Reagan presidency. They had seen how Reagan’s tough anti-communist stance had forced the Soviet Union into a major retreat (not a “collapse,” but a strategic retreat)—something decades of appeasement and East-West trade under previous presidents had failed to achieve.
These “conservative” leaders were all about free trade between nations and liberty at home. However, the thought that they should be opposing “communism” in this day and age was completely foreign to many of them.
What Is Communism?
This view stems from a failure to understand that communism is not just another political system. Communism is a form of organized crime justified by the cult of Marxism–Leninism. It’s basically a combination of criminal inclination coupled with uncontrolled political power.
Like all crime, communism is parasitic. It produces nothing of value itself; it must rely on force, propaganda, torture, intimidation, threats, and espionage to survive. Like cancer, communism consumes its host. Except that in communism’s case, it will only die when the whole planet is consumed.
Must we let things get to that point?
It’s Not Enough to Advocate for Freedom
Most would agree that it’s not enough to merely advocate for a lawful society. A society must also actively work to suppress crime and punish criminals.
Most would agree that it’s not enough to advocate for a healthy population. When cancer appears, for example, it must be starved of nutrients and removed as quickly as possible from its host.
Similarly, it’s not enough to simply advocate for freedom. It is not enough to support free markets, the rule of law, freedom of speech and religion, and private property. Liberty will not be assured unless men and women of goodwill fight against that which threatens it.
As long as we remain imperfect beings, some iteration of communism will always be with us. Communism is the politicized, malignant distillation of the evil that’s in all of us. Marx, Lenin, Mao, and other communist leaders saw this flaw in man and sought to organize and legitimize it, awarding their evil ideas with a scientific veneer.
Communism is the highest expression of organized evil this world has ever seen.
How is feeding this beast going to produce good results?
Before World War II, Nazi sympathizers in the United States and Britain worked to steer their governments away from confronting Hitler. Big business in many Western nations made fortunes feeding the Nazi war machine.
During the Cold War, leftists in the West were constantly pushing for accommodation of the Soviet Union, even as it swallowed up much of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Some Western big businesses were more than happy to line their pockets with blood-stained rubles.
Nazism was ended with a huge loss of life, after years of appeasement had failed.
In the 1980s, Reagan avoided war by pushing the Soviet Union into full retreat through massive economic pressure. Had that pressure been maintained until the KGB was completely removed from power, we might now be friends with a free Russia instead of facing the nuclear weapons of a superior neo-Soviet regime now confronting us.
The United States has a similar choice with China. We can make billions trading with China (while gutting our own industrial base), then spend trillions defending ourselves from the monster we created when the inevitable war comes—not to mention the millions of casualties and the very real possibility of defeat and communist occupation of the lower 48 and Hawaii.
Or we can isolate China economically until the Communist Party is destroyed by internal pressures, and a new government, or governments, arise. That is our only hope for both a free China and a free United States.
Recently, President Donald Trump said in a tweet that U.S. companies “are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”
There is no doubt that Trump has the authority to make such a call.
According to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), signed in 1977 by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, the president has the power to restrict trade once a “national emergency” is declared.
“‘The president can impose a virtual embargo on a nation under IEEPA,’ said John Yoo, director of the public law and policy program at the University of California at Berkeley and a former official in George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel.
“The law has been used in the past to enact sanctions on hostile regimes such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. The Trump administration is now suggesting using it as a trade negotiation tool. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said China was an ‘enemy’ of the United States on trade.”
China is the United States’ enemy on every front, Secretary Mnuchin, not just in trade.
Let’s hope Trump is prepared to use IEEPA not just as a “bargaining chip,” but as the first step in doing to communist China what Reagan did to the Soviet Union.
The only peaceful way to achieve any real change in China, and to curb the regime’s criminal behavior and foreign and military policies of expansion, is to use U.S. economic leverage.
President Richard Nixon and communist China’s “best friend in America,” former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, opened up U.S.–China trade in the 1970s in a grossly misguided attempt to play communist-ruled Beijing against communist-ruled Moscow. That is the moral and practical equivalent of the FBI allying with the Italian Mafia to defeat the Russian mob.
Had the United States and the West economically blockaded Soviet Russia and communist China from the very beginning, both criminal regimes would have collapsed in a relatively short time. Millions of lives would have been saved, and the West could have spent trillions less on defending itself from the monsters they were economically supporting.
The Current State of Affairs
Today, the heavily nuclear-armed and FSB (KGB)-run Russia is in a formal military alliance (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) with communist-run China, which is now the world’s second-largest economy. Communism is closer to destroying this planet than it ever has been.
Communism is the plague of our times. After a setback in the Reagan era, communist and semi-communist parties now rule Russia, China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, Cuba, Nepal, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, the Congo, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and, only half in jest, California.
Communist ideology has deeply penetrated every Western nation, and in the United States, it dominates the universities, organized labor, Hollywood, and the new Democratic Party. And still, most Western conservatives and libertarians refuse to become active anti-communists.
Any force for freedom that doesn’t actively oppose communism is doomed to eventual failure. It is as impotent as a saint who won’t oppose sin, a pastor who won’t condemn the devil, a policeman who won’t arrest criminals, or a doctor who won’t fight disease.
The Epoch Times is one of a handful of pro-freedom publications in the West that actively works to expose and oppose communism. We will never fully defeat communism, but if we refuse to oppose it, it will inevitably defeat us. If you aren’t fighting communism, you are in effect enabling its eventual terrifying victory.
The Epoch Times is proudly and actively anti-communist. All of us who love liberty, regardless of our spiritual beliefs, should support The Epoch Times in this noble endeavor.
Feature Image: Cover of the “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” a collection of editorials that catalyzed the Tuidang movement and outlines its philosophy. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the year in which President Jimmy Carter signed the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The Epoch Times regrets the error.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.
Robert Conquest has died at age 98. He was a gigantic hero of truth and the voiceless.
On a professional note that is also personal, Robert Conquest’s tremendous body of work — and, I would add, the consternation and controversy his work engendered amid the “intelligentsia” — has been and will remain a guiding inspiration.
In many ways, American Betrayal is itself a paean to Conquest.
Some relevant passages from the book follow.
British historian Robert Conquest is one such magnificent exception. Conquest’s special branch of Soviet history might well be called Soviet exterminationism—a new “ism,” perhaps, but one that fittingly encapsulates the history of mass murder Conquest has immersed himself in, cataloging and analyzing the boggling scale of murder and tragedy deliberately wrought by the Communist regime in Russia. His macabre exercise began, most notably, with his history of Stalin’s purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. The book came out in 1968, a time when no other historians were even acknowledging the existence of this hulking wound of a subject, a time when, amazingly, Joseph E. Davies’s twenty-seven-year-old pro-Stalin tract, Mission to Moscow, was still the first and last word on the subject. Noting the Conquest book’s uniqueness in 1968, Andrew and Mitrokhin called it “a sign of the difficulty encountered by many Western historians in interpreting the Terror” (emphasis added).45 When Conquest finally marshaled the available research and put a number on the horror— twenty million killed during the Stalin period—it was as though the historian had additionally become a cold-case criminologist and, further, by implication, a hanging judge. As crunched by columnist Joseph Alsop, commenting in 1970 on a particularly callous review of the Conquest book and its themes, those twenty million souls killed by the regime represented one-eighth of the entire Russian population “of that period, in peacetime and without provoking a whisper of protest.”46
How could that be? Without understanding the extent of Communist pen- etration into the decision-and-opinion-making echelons of the West—and, as important, into the decision-and-opinion-making minds of the West—the question is baffling, a mystery without clues, a historical brick wall. From our vantage point, blanks and all, it is almost impossible to comprehend how it could have been that our relatives and forebears, apparently sentient, apparently decent Americans, could have looked on in neutral silence as the Soviet state, year after year, starved and brutalized and enslaved millions of its own people to death—news of which did indeed spread throughout the West despite Soviet censorship and prevarication, although it remained outside consensus.47 Dalton Trumbo, as we’ve seen, took pride in the silence on the Hollywood front. He’s hailed as a martyr of idealism. Historians, as we’ve seen, looked the other way, strenuously, to protect their precious “basic symmetry.” They remain figures of respect and authority. How—and when—did these and other inversions of logic and morality, common sense and common decency, begin to take place?
On his real-life return to the USSR, [journalist] Eugene Lyons would see and eventually understand. He writes of finding the familiar old mind games, the sifting techniques, no longer effective on his return. “With every week after my return I came to feel more ashamed of my mealy-mouthed caution while at home,” he writes. “Deep under those excuses I had made for myself, I now was forced to admit, had been the subconscious desire to remain persona grata with the masters, retain my job. I was protecting my status as a ‘friendly’ correspondent. And at that I had just about crawled under the line.”60
There Lyons was to stay at least long enough to participate in a seminal event in Soviet crime and Western turpitude: what Robert Conquest would much later identify as the very first successful implementation of the “Big Lie”—the concerted assault on truth to form world opinion, in this original case, to deny the regime-engineered Famine in the Ukraine. It was a Faustian turning point.
On the face of it, this [deception] might appear to have been an impossible un- dertaking. A great number of true accounts reached Western Europe and America, some of them from impeccable Western eyewitnesses . . .
But Stalin had a profound understanding of the possibilities of what Hitler approvingly calls the Big Lie. He knew that even though the truth may be read- ily available, the deceiver need not give up. He saw that flat denial on the one hand, and the injection into the pool of information of a corpus of positive false- hood on the other, were sufficient to confuse the issue for the passively in- structed foreign audience, and to induce acceptance of the Stalinist version by those actively seeking to be deceived.
Flat denial plus a corpus of positive falsehood: Sounds like another black hole of antiknowledge, another corroding attack on the basis of the Enlightenment itself. Conquest describes this concerted effort to deceive the world about the truth of the state-engineered famine, Stalin’s brutal war on the peasantry, as “the first major instance of the exercise of this technique of influencing world opinion.”61
This instance, then, was a seminal moment in the history of the world. The seminal moment, perhaps, of the twentieth century, a moment in which history itself, always subject to lies and colorations, became susceptible to something truly new under the sun: totalitarianism; more specifically, the totalitarian in- novation of disinformation, later expanded, bureaucratized and, in effect, wea- ponized, by KGB-directed armies of dezinformatsiya agents.
More than three decades later, in 1968, when Robert Conquest came along with his testimonies, his figures, and his footnotes attesting to the colossal horror of the Soviet regime, first regarding the Moscow show trials, and then, in 1985, with his testimonies, his figures, and his footnotes attesting to the Terror Famine in the Ukraine, there was no need to meet in a hotel room with a Soviet censor and work out a conspiracy of denial and drink to it with vodka. Nor was there consciousness of such a need. The legacy of denial had become so powerful in the interim as to have become imperceptible and stunningly effective. “The main lesson seems to be that the Communist ideology provided the moti- vation for an unprecedented massacre of men, women and children,” Conquest wrote, but class was incapable of learning.70
“People accepted his facts, but they didn’t accept his conclusions,” British writer Neal Ascherson said to the British newspaper The Guardian in 2003, perfectly crystallizing the intelligentsia’s permanent reaction to Conquest.71 This facts-sans-implications formulation is key. It sounds so reasonable. Come, come, dear boy; no one is rejecting your facts, just your conclusions. There may indeed be extreme “food shortages,” but widespread mortality is due to diseases associated with “malnutrition,” not famine. Facts, yes. Conclusions, no. However, such facts are conclusions because they are crimes. Soviet exterminationism is Soviet exterminationism (emphasis on Soviet), just as Nazi genocide is Nazi genocide (emphasis on Nazi). Reject the conclusion and the facts, the crimes, become meaningless. Indeed, such facts demand judgment, just as such crimes demand a verdict. As Conquest put it:
The historian, registering the facts beyond doubt, and in their context, cannot but also judge. Die Weltgeschischte ist das Weltgericht—World History is the World’s Court of Judgment: Schiller’s dictum may seem too grandiose today. Yet the establishment of the facts certainly includes the establishment of responsibility.72
The Left tried to drive a wedge between the facts as Conquest marshaled them and the conclusions as he drew them, making efforts to taint both due to his evident “dislike” of purges, terror, and death camps—or, as Eugene Lyons might have put it ironically, his middle-class liberal “hang-overs of prejudice” against dictatorship, mass slaughter, and the crushing of the human spirit. Conquest writes:
It was believed that a “Cold Warrior” became opposed to the Soviet system be- cause of some irrational predisposition . . . The idea seems to be that if one can show that opposition to the Soviet threat was in part based on dislike of Soviet actualities and intentions—that is, “emotions”—then the opposition cannot have been objective. But, of course, the Soviet system was indeed disliked, even detested, because of its record and intentions.73
What Conquest’s detractors dismissed as “emotions”—namely, “dislike of Soviet actualities and intentions” (including twenty million killed by Stalin)— was in fact a historian’s verdict of responsibility regarding such crimes. Visceral feelings aside, it is a judgment based on evidence, logic, and moral analysis. These are the same underpinnings of any rational investigation into Nazi “ac- tualities and intentions” and subsequent finding of their detestable nature. No one would pause over the following slight reworking of a Conquest line quoted above: “The main lesson seems to be that the Nazi ideology provided the motivation for an unprecedented massacre of men, women and children”— but insert “Communist ideology” into the sentence and boy, look out.
“No one could deal with this,” he writes of his Great Terror research, “or other themes I wrote of later, unless judgmental as well as inquisitive; and those who denied the negative characteristics of Soviet Communism were deficient in judgment and in curiosity—gaps in the teeth and blinkers on the eyes.”74
To be able to “deal with” the evil of Communist extermination history, then, as Conquest writes, is to be judgmental as well as inquisitive. This suggests a continuum between such fruits of curiosity and academic labor—the repugnant facts of Communist extermination history—and our judgment of them. The gap-toothed and blinkered ones, however, set out to interrupt this continuum, to sunder these facts from their conclusions, to explode the whole logical exercise that begins in facts and ends in conclusions into senseless fragments—to decontextualize it (and everything else while they’re at it). Yes, the Nazi system killed six million people (fact), and yes, the Nazi system was evil (conclusion); and yes, the Soviet system killed twenty million people (fact), but how dare that “cowboy” Ronald Reagan call the Soviet Union the “evil empire”?
Like postmodernism itself, this massive inconsistency on Nazism and Communism doesn’t make a shred of sense. If making sense were the goal, the phrase “evil empire” would have been a trite truism, a hoary cliché long before Ronald Reagan uttered the words, which, like the most potent incantation, drove tribes of intelligentsia the Western world over into fits of mass hysteria and rage—against evil Reagan, not the empire. If the words today no longer conjure the same teeth-gnashing indictment of Old West simplicity they once did, they still manage to strike a spark or two of faux outrage. Also, the quotation marks of irony have yet to fall away.
I went back to the original Reagan speech recently, realizing I’d never heard or read any more of it than that signature phrase. Reagan was addressing evangelical Christians at a time when the so-called nuclear freeze, which we now know to have been a colossal Soviet influence operation,75 was under debate in Congress and Reagan was proposing to deploy Pershing missiles in Europe. Two weeks later, he would announce his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which, even as it became the obsession that would drive the final Soviet dicta- tors to exhaust the Communist system in their futile efforts to compete, was endlessly caricatured in Western media as a “cowboy’s” comic-book ray gun of choice straight from Star Wars—no doubt a Soviet-encouraged moniker.
The speech is surprisingly mild. I was surprised to learn that by the time Reagan gets around to mentioning the “evil empire,” he was not inveighing against the USSR directly but rather against the creed of moral equivalence, at the time the very definition of intellectual chic. It’s hard to convey the intensity of the drumbeat for moral equivalence in those days. It was background noise and op-ed commentary, the premise of debate (“Resolved: There is no moral difference between the world policies of the United States and the Soviet Union,” Oxford Union debate, February 23, 1984) and the endings of movies (Three Days of the Condor , Apocalypse Now , Reds ). The era Reagan was trying to end was one of entrenched belief in “ambiguities” between capitalism and Communism, between liberty and tyranny. It was too much for one man to do, even Ronald Reagan.
“We’re all the same, you know, that’s the joke,” East German agent Fiedler remarks to British agent Leamas in The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, le Carré’s stunningly successful 1963 novel that instituted the le Carré brand. This joke was an old story by the 1980s, the conventional wisdom, the Establishment point of view. It still is. By 2008, le Carré was confiding to The Sunday Times of London, over fragrant, amber-colored glasses of Calvados, as the waves crashed at the foot of the cliffs below the author’s Cornwall home, that he had himself been tempted to defect to the Soviet Union.76
“Well, I wasn’t tempted ideologically,” he reasserts, in case there should be any doubt, “but when you spy intensively and you get closer and closer to the border . . . it seems such a small step to jump . . . and, you know, find out the rest” [ellipses in original].
The rest about the twenty million killed? Heavens, no. The Times explains:
This is maybe less surprising than at first it seemed: we are in true le Carré territory, nuanced and complex, where the spying is sometimes an end in itself and where there is rarely an easy, Manichaean split between the good guys and the bad guys. Defecting was a temptation the writer resisted, to our good fortune [em- phasis added].
To each our own. What is remarkable here is less the “news” about le Carré than the ease with which the reporter absorbs this point of moral cretinhood, conveying the author’s view as a beguilingly piquant eccentricity even as it skirts the charnel houses the man found himself fascinated and not repelled by. Such enthusiasm would not have greeted a thriller writer who expressed a temptation to “jump . . . and, you know, find out the rest” about, say, the Third Reich.
If an unhealthy attraction to the Soviet Union was still respectable as re- cently as 2008, imagine how outrageous the phrase “evil empire” sounded twenty-five years earlier. This is what Reagan actually said:
In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunder- standing and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.77
Reagan’s exhortation to face “the facts of history” was a broad challenge, his reference to “the aggressive impulses of an evil empire” an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment. The cataclysmic histories of Ukraine, Finland, Bessarabia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Korea, East Germany, Vietnam, China, Cuba, Angola, and on and on were not the shining raiment becoming an empire of peace. Reagan was challenging us to acknowledge the implications of this fact, to fight the paralysis of “moral equivalence,” and see not two bullies in a playground, as the East-West struggle was repetitiously framed, but one aggressor seeking to impose a totalitarian system over as much of the world as possible. Good and Evil. Reagan may have had to struggle to explain this to the West, but the Soviets, as Robert Conquest reminds us, looking back from the vantage point of 2005, were never unclear, morally or otherwise, about their intentions:
The Soviet Union, right up to the eve of its collapse, was committed to the con- cept of an unappeasable conflict with the Western world and to the doctrine that this could only be resolved by what Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko de- scribed, as officially as one can imagine (in his 1975 book The Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union) as world revolution: “The Communist Party of the Soviet Union subordinates all its theoretical and practical activity in the sphere of foreign relations to the task of strengthening the positions of socialism, and the interests of further developing and deepening the world revolutionary process.”78
As Conquest added, “one could hardly be franker.”
And he is gone from us now. A permanent loss. R.I.P.
President Barack Obama’s disastrous deal with Iran paves the way for this totalitarian regime to attain nuclear weapons, ones which Iran’s dictators could then aim squarely at the United States, Israel, and our allies. But the complicit media repeatedly join the administration in championing the deal, which both falsely claim is the only viable alternative to war.
In order to stifle opposition to this narrative, the mainstream media have mostly offered the public misleading information and punditry. After an estimated 12,000 people gathered in New York City’s Times Square on July 22 to fight the Iran deal, the media did what they do best in the face of inconvenient truths—marginalize the opposition, or ignore the facts.
“Speakers, including Republican politicians, called on Congress to throw it out, whipping up the crowd that included supporters of right-wing Jewish and evangelical Christian groups,” reported AFP about the Times Square rally. Similarly, the widely distributed Associated Press article reported that “The event…consisted mainly of pro-Israel supporters, though organizers said it represents Americans of all faiths and political convictions.”
In other words, move along, nothing to see here but a bunch of right-wing crazies who want war with Iran. There’s no popular protest against the Iran deal, we are told, and opposition to the deal is not actually bipartisan. Yet notable Democrats who spoke at the rally included liberal Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and former CIA Director James Woolsey.
David Brog, Executive Director, Christians United for Israel
Monica Crowley, Political Commentator
U.S. Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Steven Emerson, Founder of The Investigative Project on Terrorism
Frank Gaffney, Founder of the Center for Security Policy
Caroline Glick, Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post
Kasim Hafeez, Christians United for Israel’s Outreach Coordinator
Pete Hoekstra, Former Chair of the House Intelligence Committee
Richard Kemp, Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan
Tony LoBianco, Actor and Activist
Herbert I. London, President London Center for Policy Research
Clare M. Lopez, Center for Security Policy
U.S. Navy Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons, Former Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet
Kevin McCullough, Radio Host from WMCA and 970 The Answer
Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan District Attorney from 1975 to 2009
George Pataki, former Governor of New York
General Paul Vallely, Chairman of Stand Up America
Col. USA (Ret.) Allen West, former Congressman
Genevieve Wood, The Heritage Foundation
Mortimer Zuckerman, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News & World Report
The New York Times’ decision to report on a minimum wage protest with far fewer attendees, and to splash that article onto the front page, reflects the cursory, feigned ignorance adopted by many in the media about this protest. The thousands of attendees apparently weren’t “enough people to catch the attention of The New York Times, who feature a $15 an hour minimum wage protest of a couple of dozen people on the front page, but not thousands rallying against the Iran deal,” notes Rick Moran for The American Thinker.
Clearly, the media aren’t going to tell the public the truth about the Iran deal—which is actually between the P5+1 nations and Iran—or why people oppose this debacle.
The many speakers at the rally provided compelling insights into why this is such a bad deal, and the video of this three-hour-plus rally can be viewed online. Speaker after speaker explained why this deal with Iran is inherently flawed and should be rejected.
One consistent theme throughout this powerful and emotional rally was urging people to contact their congressmen and women to try to get them to vote against the deal when it comes time for Congress to vote. Congress has 60 days to consider their vote, and that period began on July 20th.
The main focus of the event was on Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). Schumer hasn’t committed either way, and is in a difficult position. He hopes and plans to succeed Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as the Senate Minority Leader (and eventually Majority Leader), and wants to be loyal to President Obama, and the party. But this conflicts with his longstanding support for Israel, which strongly opposes this deal.
The message from many of the speakers was that this is a moment of truth for Schumer. It won’t be good enough, they said, to wait until enough Democrats are lined up to assure that President Obama’s anticipated veto won’t be overridden, and then be able to make a safe vote against the deal. This crowd expects Schumer to lead the fight against the Iran nuclear agreement, which may be the only way for Congress to be able to defeat it. Even then, with the United Nations having already voted to lift its sanctions on Iran, based on certain conditions, it may not matter anyway. But it would definitely send a message.
There were too many great speeches to document here. I attended the event to be there in person, and to support my fellow members of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB). Below are the speeches of the six CCB members who spoke there, providing the story that the media refuse to tell.
“The reality is this arrangement, this deal with Iran is the worst negotiation the United States has conducted in history. … This agreement will actually free known terrorists who have killed Americans, Israelis, Europeans, Westerners and Muslims. An agreement that doesn’t give anything to the United States except the fact that it levels the playing field for Iran to dominate the Middle East, equate itself as a superpower, and ultimately become a power that has the ability to destroy all of its neighbors in the Middle East.”
“We stand united in believing that this is a bad agreement for America and the rest of the world, and we stand united knowing that America is strong. And in our history when we see evil we will confront it, contain it, and we will defeat it. … We have never, and we will never, accommodate it.”
“We know what’s in a good agreement, and people and this president say, ‘But it’s all we could get.’ It’s a sign of weakness.”
“This is the simple message that we should be sending to Iran. When Iran stands up and they chant, ‘Death to America!’ all we need to say is, ‘You first!’ … Well let me tell you something, the United States of America is about victors. The United States of America is about champions. The United States of America does not surrender to a bunch of black-robed crazed clerics that want to see us destroyed.”
“This traitorous group traded our national honor. … They humiliated this great nation before our friends, our allies, and most importantly our enemies. This surrender document must be thoroughly rejected by Congress, and then Congress must exercise its authority to start impeaching executive officials, starting with Secretary Kerry and following [with] President Obama for his illegal and unconstitutional acts.
“There’s only one sure way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon capability and that’s with a military strike—and you can take that to the bank.”
“And, oh by the way, we just learned there are two new side deals to this deal with Iran, and those deals have to do with a place called Parchin, where Iran was testing explosives for its nuclear warheads, says the IAEA. And the other one [is] about the ‘possible’ military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear weapons programs. These two side deals—not going to be made public, not going to be shared with Congress, not going to be shared with the American people or anybody else.”
“The last thing that Iran gets to keep, they’re keeping four American citizens hostages. … Until these hostages are set free we should not be having one word of negotiations with this Iranian regime.”