Jonah Goldberg

Two weeks ago, in response to tensions in Ukraine, the president explained that "our approach ... is not to see (events in Ukraine) as some Cold War chessboard in which we're in competition with Russia." This is a horrible way to talk about the Cold War because it starts from the premise that it was all just a game conducted between two morally equivalent competitors.

Similar comments about "Cold War rivalries" and the like are commonplace of late, particularly during the Sochi Olympics, when NBC commentators were desperate to portray the entire Soviet chapter as nothing more than a "pivotal experiment."

My old boss, William F. Buckley, responding to claims that the U.S. and the Soviets were morally equivalent, said that if one man pushes an old lady into an oncoming bus and another man pushes an old lady out of the way of a bus, we should not denounce them both as the sorts of men who push old ladies around.

While America surely made mistakes during the near half-century "twilight struggle," the simple fact is that there was a right side and a wrong side to that conflict, and we were on the right side of it. The Soviet Union murdered millions of its own people, stifled freedom in nearly every form, enslaved whole nations and actively tried to undermine democracy all around the world, including in the U.S. President Putin, a former KGB agent, has said that the collapse of the evil empire was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. That alone should have been a clue to this White House that misspelled reset buttons weren't going to cut it. But they were too stuck in the past to see it.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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