Yesterday, I agreed with Billy’s take on Yalta.
Today I note President Bush’s take seems similar.

V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but it did not end oppression. The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history.

Interesting, and quite correct. I wonder if he’ll get the credit here, he deserves.

John at Powerline, though has problems, and it’s an interesting point;

To my knowledge, the United States was in no position to bargain for the freedom of the Baltic countries.

OK, we were in a comparatively weakened state, but I am unconvinced.

We had a standing army we’ve not had the size and strength of since. If we were not equipped to play hardball with Stalin at that point in history, what in the world made anyone think we’d be more able to deal with him after giving him a chance to re-group, following the war?

George Patton, for all of his problems, had it right when he suggested we re-arm the Germans and beat Stalin back with them, while they still had the military there to in Europe to fight with. As costly as it would have been in terms of lives and material, I can’t help but think we’d have saved many lives, in the following 80 years. Certainly, freedom would have fared better, the world over.

The problem, of course, was the will on the part of Churchill and FDR…. to perform the deed at hand… to strike a blow for freedom, not just in the west.

Understandable, I suppose, for a world already weary with 6 years of world war. But of greater sway, I think, was FDR’s attitude toward socialism…and Churchill’s, as well. They’d found, in Bolshevik Russia, a kindred spirit…. a Fellow Social Democrat… Stalin… that they were less than willing to go up against on philisophical ground, as much as anything else.

But was Yalta the start of it? I think not. Consider the state of social affairs Before, during, and just following VE day. It is instructive that the swing toward collectivism in Great Britain, and here in the ‘States, both occurred as a direct result of the war, the preceeding depression, and the reactions of the respective governments to eeach of these. The people were already conditioned to the demands of a wartime government, following the conditions surrounding those hardships. Theodore Dalrymple notes this trend rather backhandedly in his recent examination of Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”, published in 1944.

Hayek pointed out that the wartime unity of purpose was atypical; in more normal times, people had a far greater, indeed an infinite, variety of ends, and anyone with the power to adjudicate among them in the name of a conscious overall national plan, allowing a few but forbidding most, would exert vastly more power than the most bloated plutocrat of socialist propaganda had ever done in a free-market society.

And here’s the point I’ve been leading to… the constant drumbeat of charges that George W Bush is engaged in this tactic as we speak vis-a-vie the Iraq conflict… That the rights of people will suffer greatly under this president. I doubt it, however. This argument, I suppose to be like like any other; there’s a grain of truth at the middle of the much larger construction around it. The problem in this construction is an utter lack of a historical perspective.

Dalrymple points up:

Collectivist thinking arose, according to Hayek, from impatience, a lack of historical perspective, and an arrogant belief that, because we have made so much technological progress, everything must be susceptible to human control. While we take material advance for granted as soon as it occurs, we consider remaining social problems as unprecedented and anomalous, and we propose solutions that actually make more difficult further progress of the very kind that we have forgotten ever happened. While everyone saw the misery the Great Depression caused, for example, few realized that, even so, living standards actually continued to rise for the majority. If we live entirely in the moment, as if the world were created exactly as we now find it, we are almost bound to propose solutions that bring even worse problems in their wake.

Sounds rather like Leftist politics in a thumbnail sketch, doesn’t it?

And as true as this is, there’s an even more central point against trying to paint GWB with the brush of using the war to kill off freedom here at home; At what point in history have we ever seen an American Presdient in a foreign country , denouncing the socialist tendencies of a predecessor, as we saw President Bush, denouncing the Socialist supporting foreign policies of FDR on the ground that such policies cost freedom in other lands?

Sorry, I don’t think someone capable of such a statement, particularly when delivered repeatedly, has reduction of freedom in mind, for the longer term.

Finally, a note of Irony, and another example about how the American left lacks the historical perspetive needed to correctly discern teh nature of political events; In each case, the historical governments under discussion, here, have swung seriously to the left as a result of the noted conditions.  Is this really what the American left fears, that GWB will go too far left?