Tag: Cold War

Dennis Prager on the Self-Righteously Suicidal West and False Morality

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had nationally syndicated radio host, columnist, author of numerous books, teacher, film producer and co-founder of PragerU, Dennis Prager, on the podcast to discuss among other things:

  • How Dennis Prager ended up a conservative as an Ivy League-educated Jewish intellectual from Brooklyn, New York — contrary to so many of his peers
  • How perceptions of human nature divide Left and Right
  • Whether government has filled the void of religion for the increasingly secular and progressive American coasts
  • How the good intentions that underlie Leftist policy prescriptions lead to horrendous outcomes — and emotion versus reason on the Left and Right
  • The false morality underlying European immigration policy with respect to the Muslim world, and Prager’s criticism of Jewish support of mass immigration consisting disproportionately of Jew-haters
  • The self-righteous suicidalism of the West
  • The Leftist bias of social media platforms and PragerU’s legal battle with YouTube/Google

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found, download the episode directly here or read the transcript here.

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I thought it would be fun to have a thread for The Americans, which began its final season this week. It is a great show, tightly written with compelling plot development, characterization, and performances. Certainly this will be a place for spoilers, so those who have not seen it – or kept up – but […]

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Russian fingerprints seem to be turning up everywhere in the news lately and it is more than concerning. Remember Reagan’s famous speech, “Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” The fall of the Soviet Union came with a crashing sound that echoed throughout the free world. The idea of introducing freedom into a major communist offered so […]

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Duck and Cover and Bert the Turtle

 

As Americans, we learned in the 1950’s that it might not be a good idea to take life for granted. In particular, children were deeply affected by the threat of annihilation by a nuclear bomb. The Virginia Historical Society described that period in this way:

Air raid drills. Conelrad. Bomb shelters. Duck and cover. All of these were familiar terms to Americans in the Cold War culture of the 1950s. The future looked uncertain in the new Atomic Age, and there was growing tension between America and the Soviet Union. People lived with the threat of nuclear war as part of their daily lives.

President Harry Truman established the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) in 1950 after the outbreak of the Korean War. As part of the Alert America campaign, the FCDA flooded the public with some 400 million pieces of survival literature that attempted to educate and reassure people that simple civil defense procedures would protect them from a nuclear attack. People received maps showing evacuation routes, families were encouraged to build their own bomb shelters, and countless schoolchildren watched the movie “Duck and Cover” and practiced hiding under their desks when they “see the flash.”

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If you are interesting in an excellent interview that answers many of the confusing questions surrounding all of the Russian investigations on both sides of the aisle, this is worth your time. It’s much deeper and disturbing than you may think. Another headline today is that Putin is dismissing hundreds of US diplomats. Things are […]

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Book Review: Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, And The Most Dangerous Place On Earth

 

The following is a repost of a piece I wrote 3 years ago here. With all of the Russian Collusion kerfuffle I thought it apropos to revist it. You see, “collusion with the Russians” is hardly a new problem, and JFK himself actively and secretly colluded with Khrushchev, using his brother Bobby as a clandestine intermediary. JFK told no one in his cabinet, or in the Secret Service, that he was doing this. Why? Well, for starters Kennedy was not particularly keen on the continuing defense of West Berlin, and had practically no concept of its extraordinary value to NATO as a bastion right in the middle of the Warsaw Pact. In his mind, when he assumed the presidency, it was as best a distraction from his desired rapprochement with Moscow. Kennedy wanted to “reset” Soviet relations after 8 years of Eisenhower refusing to “play ball”.

Secondly, Khrushchev did actually interfere with the 1960 presidential election in his own way by managing international events such that he made Nixon look paranoid against Kennedy’s openness. Khrushchev therefore often claimed that he himself got Kennedy elected (Chicago notwithstanding, of course), and he thus felt Kennedy owed him. The Berlin Crisis of 1961, the precursor to the Cuban Missile Crisis, was in no small part of this mutual dalliance between Khrushchev and Kennedy. The passing of US intelligence secrets to the USSR via Bobby, the feeding of Soviet propaganda and misinformation back to Kennedy, and the dangerous near-loss of Berlin were all JFK’s doing. We should bear all this in mind today when we are so quick to decry what Trump may or may not have done, just as we should remember that JFK learned from his early mistakes. It hardly need be mentioned that many historians today, in their near-saintly portrayal of Kennedy, or in their endless vituperation against Trump, have ignored this episode when the US nearly bungled one of its most valuable protectorates in the Cold War.

Francis Gary Powers, Jr.

 

On May 1, 1960, 1,300 miles into Soviet airspace an American U-2 spy plane was flying at 70,000 feet, supposedly out of range of Soviet missiles. But the CIA’s U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Gary’s Father, felt the thump of an exploding Soviet missile and was shot down over Russia. After being tried for espionage he served nearly two years in a Soviet prison suddenly becoming a key figure in the Cold War’s most infamous spy case that ultimately ended up with a prisoner exchange with the KGB spy Soviet Colonel Rudolph Abel.

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We’ve had a lot of posts here recently regarding the outrage being expressed by the Democrats regarding the real and/or imagined attempts by Russia to interfere with our recent election. Many of those posts have noted the irony involved after the Democrats long-running tendency to downplay any threats from Russia or (way back when) the […]

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Audible has just released my latest narration, “Exporting Security” by Derek S. Reveron. The book covers the changes in US military mission, culture and performance since the Cold War. This is a revised edition, just published this year, so it goes right up through the current administration. Reveron teaches at the Naval War College and has been […]

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We can argue about America’s role in the Cold War era. I happen to think it was one of America’s best historical periods. America’s stand against communism should, for the most part, be a source of pride, not condemnation. There is little dispute about one aspect of the Cold War: it serves as the backdrop for […]

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Ed Martin has been President of Eagle Forum for a while now, and he had the privilege of working closely with a woman who is as responsible for the defeat of Communism as any other human being on earth. He sent me an email this afternoon that Phyllis Schlafly had passed away. I met Phyllis […]

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I’ve recently begun trying my hand at “storytelling” podcasts. I thought this one might be somewhat appealing to my fellow Ricochetti. This is the story of the most important man in the world. Most people don’t know his name, but I’m guessing many of you here will. Preview Open

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The Americans: The Best, Most Subversively Conservative Show on Television

 

The_Americans(Author’s note: Though this review discusses some elements from the show, it is spoiler-free and makes no reference to specific plot points.)

The year is 1981. Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) live in Falls Church, Virginia, just outside the District of Columbia. They are the owners of the DuPont Circle Travel Agency and have two children, Paige and Henry. They’re also KGB agents — but not just any KGB spies — deep cover operatives. Though born in Russia, they’ve lived most of their lives in the United States, were assigned to usurp the identities of American children who died young, and pose as loyal and faithful citizens while carrying out espionage. That is the premise of the FX Network’s series The Americans.

It’s hard to say whether the writers of the show have intended for this to be the message, but what consistently strikes me is how unambiguously good the life in the United States is depicted as in comparison to that in the Soviet Union. The writers put this on display repeatedly through the tensions that develop between the show’s titular couple.

A Conversation with Former Secretary of State George Shultz

 

In this wide ranging interview, Secretary Shultz talks about his time in the Reagan White House, from negotiations with Andrey Gromyko to the meetings between Reagan and Gorbachev in Reykjavik. It’s a fascinating recount of the Reagan years through Shultz’s eyes, ending with what he believes are important characteristics for any future president and leader to have.

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Excuse me for making this my first post here, but I’m looking for some help. During a Richochet podcast I was listening to the other day, Rob, James, and Peter casually mentioned Mikhail Gorbachev and his break with former Soviet leaders. This conversation made me realize that, while I grew up during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, […]

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The Day That Reagan Died

 

90265714_1It was June 5th, 2004. I had been in the Republic of Georgia for less than a month when I heard that Reagan had died. Reagan had meant a lot to me over the years, and I’d followed his political career since I was eight years old. Growing up with the Reagan administration made the 40th president my childhood hero.

What I did not expect was how the Georgian people would react. As I was walking in the bazaar of a small provincial town, a man saw me, quickly crossed the dusty street, took my hand and said, “I am so sorry. Your great man died today. I am so sorry.”

I asked him, “Do you mean President Reagan?”

Scenes From my Front Porch

 

The thing about living in a place with four seasons — bear with me, I spent about 80 percent of my life in California — is that the beginning of spring is inevitably frantic. As the trees bloom, all your rationales for putting off home improvements start to wilt. And so, at the Senik household, there’s been a parade of contractors, plumbers, handymen, and the like ascending the hill in recent days.

After awhile, they become virtually indistinguishable from one another. Each explains, with the thinly-veiled contempt of a teacher that should have retired years ago, highly technical concepts in impenetrable jargon that bounces off my skull like a bird flying into a window. Each next proceeds to request an amount of money that would imply they’ve taken one of my family members hostage. Each then dutifully gets paid because…well, I’m a writer. The odds are pretty good that my death will be premature, but I’ll be damned if it’s going to happen on my roof.

‘Viktor’ was different. Him I’ll remember.