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William F. Buckley, Jr. and the Cold War
By William F. Buckley, Jr.
Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa, Contributing Editor

Texts: http://cumulus.hillsdale.edu/buckley/Standard/ downloads/showoriginal/intheendwewillburyhimdotpdf_ 1153700612_buckley/InTheEndWeWillBuryHim.pdf
http://cumulus.hillsdale.edu/buckley/Standard/ downloads/showoriginal/wewonwhatnowdotpdf_ 1153701083_buckley/WeWonWhatNow.pdf

William F. Buckley, Jr., who died on February 27, delivered hundreds of speeches on a variety of topics during his remarkable career. The founder and longtime editor of National Review, host of Firing Line, author of more than 50 books, and widely syndicated columnist, devoted many of his speeches to the Cold War struggle between Soviet communism and the West.

On September 17, 1960, in an address at Carnegie Hall in New York to a rally protesting Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the United States, Buckley decried President Eisenhower's decision to invite the Soviet leader to our country in the wake of the crackdown in Hungary, the shooting down of an unarmed U.S. plane, Khrushchev's repeated threats over Berlin, and his threat to bury us. Eisenhower's decision, lamented Buckley, was “an act of diplomatic sentimentality which can only confirm Khrushchev in the contempt he feels for the dissipated morale of a nation far gone…in decrepitude.” Buckley predicted, however, that Khrushchev would be unable to take “permanent advantage” of this episode, because the ultimate moral resources to win the Cold War resided in the West. “In the end,” rejoined Buckley, “we will bury him.”

Thirty-one years later, on September 18, 1991, in a lecture at Vanderbilt University, Buckley spoke about our Cold War victory and some of those responsible for that victory: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other brave dissidents; the Russian citizens who sheltered Boris Yeltsin from Soviet tanks; and President Ronald Reagan whose rhetoric, military buildup, and diplomacy forced Kremlin leaders to look in the mirror at “their advanced emaciation.” The West, Buckley said, frustrated the long held Soviet desire to overcome Europe “and one after another the nations of Eastern Europe peeled off.”

“We won,” exclaimed Buckley, but the satisfaction of that victory is “diluted by historical humility.” The horrors caused by communist regimes cannot be undone. Could they have been prevented, and at what cost? The suffering, destruction, and death caused by communism, Buckley cautioned, raised “vexing questions” that are still with us today. Can we prevent the mass suffering and slaughters inflicted by rogue regimes and dictators? Is it “prudent to do so? Strategically sophisticated? Historically mature? Politically advisable?...”



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