When Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an "evil empire" in 1983, he was articulating in the boldest terms what had always been an American understanding. The Kremlin had long been fomenting communist revolution the world over, and we had long pursued our policy of "containment."
Thus did we fight wars in Korea and Vietnam, facilitate coups d'état against people such as Salvador Allende and support anti-communist rebels such as the mujahedeen in Afghanistan. Of course, plans didn't always come together. There was the Bay of Pigs debacle, and the covert Iran-Contra operation getting front-page exposure. The "police action" in Korea ended in a stalemate and Vietnam just became stale, losing the public and political support necessary for victory.
Many also questioned the wisdom and even the legality of some of these foreign interventions, and other people, often for ignoble reasons, refused to wrap their minds around the fact that there is such a thing as the lesser of two evils and that it is virtually always the anti-communist option. As for any mistakes or moral lapses -- which ever plague endeavors of mortal design -- for now I'll just steal a concept from Otto von Bismarck and say that sometimes foreign policy is like sausage, in that it may look good when it's served, but you wouldn't want to be there when it's made. Other times, though, viewing it in its totality is like being presented with whole octopus. The only way it can be stomached is if you keep your eyes closed.
But although the dishes did vary, American presidents had always served the same cuisine. John Kennedy didn't flinch during the Cuban missile crisis, and, although he stumbled dreadfully, at least could contemplate a Bay of Pigs. Lyndon Johnson might have had a dark heart, but he certainly seemed to have it in opposing the Viet Cong guerrillas. Even Jimmy Carter, the poster-boy for peanut policy and appeasement, signed an order approving aid for the mujahedeen. But now, finally, we may have turned a corner.
Barack Obama's support for the Honduran ex-president who would be king, Manuel Zelaya, is without American precedent. Zelaya is Hugo Chavez' mini-me, as he, like the vitriolic Venezuelan, sought to subvert his nation's constitution and extend and expand his power. And of this there is no doubt. The Honduran constitution prohibits a president from serving more than one term, and Zelaya, aided and abetted by Chavez and a mob of thugs, was using illegal methods to circumvent the prohibition. This is why Honduras' supreme court ruled against him; it's why he was opposed by the nation's congress, the majority of its people and the Catholic Church. It's why Zelaya was removed from office.
In taking the wrong side, Obama has turned what could have been a temporary crisis into a protracted one, a situation that could devolve into bloody civil war. And what's so tragic is that supporting the interim government of Roberto Micheletti likely would have diffused the situation and yielded long-term stability. After all, there was no reason to think that Honduran authorities who enforced the law in removing Zelaya would depart from this and not hold the planned November elections. As for Micheletti, he is from Zelaya's own Liberal Party and shows no strongman tendencies. So what is the bottom line? It's plain that Honduras was bucking the banana-republic stereotype in upholding the rule of law. And now Obama is giving us banana-republic foreign policy in promoting the rule of the lawless.
Yet Obama's actions cannot truly be appreciated without a bit more perspective. It's not just that he has adopted a policy that was unthinkable for most of America's history. There is something far more striking, far more telling and far more alarming: in the current Honduran situation, Zelaya is precisely the man the Soviet Union -- that evil empire -- would have sided with.
Now I want you to let that sink in for a moment . . . .
This reality merely illustrates the obvious in an emotionally gripping way. While Reagan opposed Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega by funding his anti-communist opponents, Obama sides with a reinvented Ortega in supporting Zelaya. In doing so, he also lines up with unrepentant communists, either in name or spirit, such as Chavez and Fidel Castro. Fine company you keep there, Mr. Obama.
Of course, many would scoff at the notion that Obama isn't anti-communist. They may point out that Zelaya's passions seem to lie with socialism and that even Chavez, odious though he is, only claims to be thus disposed. But this is an old song. Note that the U.S.S.R. stood for the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" and that communists such as Mao Tse-tung would often speak of the "socialist revolution." And it's important to understand why. In classical Marxism, there cannot be a communist revolution or a communist state because communism is not a process but an end result that obviates government. The revolution is how you achieve communism, which eliminates the need for a state. And that revolution?
It's called "socialism."
And the state that exists until the communist utopia blooms (don't hold your breath) is called a socialist one.
Thus, within this context, when those we view as communist claim they're socialist, they just may be telling the truth. Only, they may simply mean that they are orchestrators of "The Process," of a transition whose end result supposedly will be communism. How they just may smile on the inside when laymen don't understand the distinction.
Because of this, we should realize that not being anti-socialist can equate to not being anti-communist. And while Obama claims to not be a socialist, he may simply lack self-knowledge or, like the classical Marxists, may be concealing his lupine true self in a pretty fleece. Remember that this is the man who is stimulating us into bankruptcy as he nationalizes banks, insurance companies and automobile manufacturers; whom an analysis showed was the most left-wing member of the Senate in 2007, even surpassing that body's only avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders of Vermont; who made an ally of avowed communist Bill Ayers and an appointee of avowed communist Van Jones; and who seems to have been a member of the socialist New Party in Illinois in the 1990s. As to the last point, it's striking how little coverage this association has received -- even in the alternative (honest) media. If the documents exposing Obama's New Party connections (linked in this piece) are authentic -- and I have no reason to believe they aren't -- it's a front-page story.
But on top of all this, we now have the Obama administration, like the Soviet Union a quarter century ago, seeking to facilitate "socialist" power grabs. So the question is: is Barack Obama turning us into the next evil empire?
An even better question is whether we will be deserving of the label. The implication here may sound harsh, but people do tend to get the government they deserve. Now, sure, "people" doesn't mean everyone; there are always many who stand against tyranny. But it is what we do collectively that shapes the nation. And, collectively, America voted for Obama last year, and approximately 50 percent of us still approve of his performance. Of course, you may say that those who pulled the lever for him didn't know what they were getting, but neither did the Russians who effected the October Revolution. The greater mass of them weren't evil - and they certainly didn't want an evil empire. But that's exactly what they got.
There are a couple of differences between us and the Russians, though. One is that they never actually voted for their "socialist" revolutionaries. Another is that they just might have learned from their mistake, as evidenced by the ironic fact that Vladimir Putin recently warned the West about the perils of embracing socialism.
Americans need to heed this warning, rise up and make socialism into the dirty word it should be. They need to not only attend tea parties and shout a Wilsonian "You lie!" they also need to vote the liars -- all those who aid and abet Obama -- out of office in 2010.
But will they do it? Will Putin's warning against descent into evil empire status fall on deaf ears? So far it doesn't look good. Many young Americans today don't even know what socialism and communism are. This is because the adults in their lives failed to teach them and often don't understand these dangers themselves. They consequently voted for a man who stands against democracy and for socialist revolution in Honduras, a man who recently was praised by Hugo Chavez, a man who Chavez had previously referred to as "Comrade Obama." Let's just hope that, seven years hence, we all won't have to address him that way.