When I was a freshman in college, there was a popular club song called "American Soviets" by CCCP. It had a solid baseline and a catchy beat that you could dance to, but that’s beside the point. CCCP, as you may recall, were the initials you always saw stenciled on the side of every nuclear missile the Soviets paraded out there in front of the Kremlin in news clips. If I’m not mistaken (and believe me, I’m not) CCCP stood for "Communists Can Cultivate Plutonium." One of their whacked-out hippie physicists recommended the initials PCP, which he thought was a great inside joke (you gotta hand it to the Russians for their sense of humor), and he told everybody that it stood for "Plutonium Cills People." Unfortunately, he wasn’t intimately acquainted with the rule in English that the letter "c" doesn’t make a hard "k" sound when followed by the letter "i". One of the Politburo said "nyet" to that, so CCCP became the nom de guerre (which, I believe, is French for "we surrender"). At any rate, I digress.
The song "American Soviets" typified the "political climate" on the university campuses across the United States in the late 1980s: Tad and Jenny, clad in argyle sweaters and penny loafers – he in finely pressed khakis, she in a smart denim skirt – walking through campus discussing Dr. Feldman’s hair piece. My point, and I do have one, is that we thought the Evil Empire was as much a part of the landscape as the sun rising over the fountain in the quad – it wasn’t going away so go ahead and write catchy tunes with some sort of hidden agenda, and we’ll go on blissfully with our lives. However, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down; and a little over two years later, on Christmas Day in 1991, the Soviet Union officially ended its existence. Would Tad and Jenny have seen that one coming in 1986 when "American Soviets" was first released? Would you?
In November of 2000, when you were biting your nails and hoping the American election would come to a reasonable resolution, did you think at that time that Saddam Hussein would be found cowering and bewildered in a "spider hole" on December 14, 2003? I sure didn’t.
Speaking of soulless dictators, Hitler was essentially turned loose on Europe by the other predominant world powers because they didn’t want to get involved – the U.S. included. In fact, in 1940 Hitler tried to "make peace" with England, but Churchill would have none of that. Churchill did his very best to keep that "news" from the people of England because he smelled a rat in the plan and knew that without the will of his people, he would not be able to stand against Nazi aggression. Many contend that Churchill’s actions were tantamount to treason and that he should have been removed from office. Good thing he wasn’t!
At the end of World War II in Europe, the major players got together and basically divvied up the "spoils" of German occupation. This was, in essence, the birth of the Soviet Union as we knew it up until 1991. What would have happened if Churchill and FDR had stood up to Stalin and told him "No way, Jose" (Stalin’s pet name for himself) and insisted that he take his toys and go on back to the Moscow sandbox, leaving the conquered countries to govern themselves? At the time, that would have been an extremely unpopular stand because of the added battles and conflicts, but can you imagine the landscape of democracy that would have resulted?
A few months ago, I was driving along the freeway when I came upon a car with a bumper sticker that read, "The French Were Right." Being plastered on the window of a Volvo, I was pretty sure this was an anti-Bush message. Although I don’t personally agree with the sentiment, I thought, "If all you ever do is stand around telling the world that you’re not going to get involved, you’re bound to get it right, maybe, one time in a thousand." But what about the other 999 times, eh Pierre?
It’s hard to argue with history, and I’m sure some of you are beginning to think, "Maybe I should cut George some slack." But then the little devil (Ted Kennedy, possibly) appears on your left shoulder and says, "Come on, the guy uses words like ‘strategery’. He’s a boob!" (If it is, in fact, Teddy on your shoulder, you might want to ask him about his driving skills.) I’ll leave that up to you to decide, ultimately. But remember, the Edsel was supposed to be the car of the future, and Post-It notes were an accident.