Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A though on Allawi

Roger L Simon writes:

Look, let's start with a little honesty. Ayad Allawi is no saint. Totalitarian societies don't normally breed saints. Survival is Hell. Allawi was once a Baathist and doesn't bear too many resemblances to Mother Teresa.

(via Oxblog)

This is a very worthwhile point, I think especially when you consider another worthwhile point. Who ended the Cold War? Reagan, Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II all had very important roles to play in that process, but one man, perhaps even the pivotal person, tends to be forgetten. His name happens to be Mikhail Gorbachev.

Gorbachev was certainly no saint either. He was the product of the USSR and became powerful in it. Even before he ascended to the leadership he was a member of the Politburo. He ended the Cold War just as much as President Reagan. Yeltsin was no saint either, another product of the USSR. But the USSR that both these men were products of, the USSR of Khruschev and Brezhnev, was a far kinder place than the USSR of Stalin. Compared to Brezhev, and especially Khruschev, perhaps Yeltsin and Gorbachev are saintly. Compared to Stalin, even Khruschev, who was as an enthusiatic butcher in the 1930s as any of Stalins underlings, comes off with a faint shine.

Allawi is a start. It will take generations for the legacy of Saddam Hussein to finally lapse. But you have to learn to crawl before you can walk.

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