Dick Cheney’s daughter jumps into political fray with attack on Obama, Russia
In the United States, where unemployment is hanging around the dicey double-digit neighborhood, media coverage of the hot crisis is being replaced by cold war chatter. A lot of this has to do with the Obama administration’s not-so-stunning revelation that Bush and Company had been organizing a secret CIA assassination ring that would report directly to Cheney himself.
So it should be little surprise that Liz Cheney should choose this particular moment to take up the mighty pen against U.S. President Barack Obama’s Russia trip.
Liz Cheney, who served as deputy assistant Secretary of State under George W. Bush, lectured the American “commander-in-speech” for cuddling up to the Russians, as well as preaching a “false historical narrative” by telling “a room full of Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended” during last week’s visit. As if the Russians need an American leader to teach them their own history in the first place.
“Mr. Obama’s method for pushing reset around the world is becoming clearer with each foreign trip,” Cheney wrote in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal. “He proclaims moral equivalence between the U.S. and our adversaries, he readily accepts a false historical narrative, and he refuses to stand up against anti-American lies.”
Here is a perfect example of American exceptionalism at its most virulent: Nobody, according to the Liz Cheney narrative, should ever hope to reach the high level of moral standards that naturally exists in God’s Country.
This leads directly to the next Neoconservative fallacy, which states that it is beyond the duty or status of the (superior) United States to sit down and have a chat with our enemies, as Barack Obama (gasp!) has proposed to do. Instead, we should turn up the rhetorical thermostat in our diabolical little think tanks; we should build up our military-industrial complex; we should frighten our enemies to such a degree that they will be forced to acquire weapons of mass destruction before they too have democracy rammed down their throats courtesy of an aircraft carrier. After all, only the United States should own weapons of mass destruction.
In the Neoconservative political script, anybody who challenges the inherent goodness of America’s actions is immediately labeled “anti-American,” or even worse, a full-blown terrorist. You are either with us or against us, as George W. Bush reminded the world after 9/11, simple as that.
“The approach was evident in his (Obama’s) speech in Moscow and in his speech in Cairo last month,” Cheney continues. “In Cairo, he asserted there was some sort of equivalence between American support for the 1953 coup in Iran and the evil that the Iranian mullahs have done in the world since 1979.”
Cheney is banking her comments on the fact that few Americans fully appreciate the lessons of history, partially due to a bankrupt public education system, another legacy of the slash-and-burn Bush years. To suggest, as Cheney most certainly does, that the United States is not at least partially to blame for its devastated relations with Iran is simply a classic case of self-delusion.
The fact is, in 1953 the CIA embarked on its first covert operation against a foreign government, helping to bring down the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, replacing him with an authoritarian monarch. The despot was knocked off his throne only in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution, a major event in Iranian history that was celebrated by the hostage-taking of 52 American diplomats for 444 days.
But more to the point, there is tremendous irony in Ms. Cheney’s arguments against Barack Obama and his Russian trip.
Cheney is furious that the American president shared the victory over the Soviet Union with “the people of Russia and Eastern (who) stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.” It’s important to realize that many in the U.S. believe that the collapse of the Soviet Union was solely due to the intervention of the other superpower, the United States.
Of course, this is missing a huge chapter of a very complex story. As Dmitry Babich, a political commentator with Russia Profile, told me, “It’s as if Liz Cheney never heard of the name of Mikhail Gorbachev or perestroika.”
This is not simply explained as a case of the “victors writing history” because “the victors” were not limited to just one people. The victors over the 70-year mistake known as communism hailed from the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, as well as (yes, Liz, it’s true) Russia. The fact that the Soviet Union died a quiet death i.e. without bloodshed underscores the fact that the Russian people, as much as anybody, helped to peacefully eliminate a system that had run its course.
Okay, quiz time: what do the following two sentences in Cheney’s smokescreen article immediately bring to mind?
“The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime,” writes Cheney. “The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag.”
Uh, maybe Guantanamo Bay, the 21st century equivalent of the Stalin gulags? Or maybe the “black hole” prisons that the Bushies had built in Eastern Europe. Incidentally, isn’t it funny, so to speak, that historians can say the exact locations of the Stalin gulags, or even Hitler’s concentration camps, but these terrorist detention centers have never been placed on the map? Or maybe the above sentences bring to mind the inexorable loss of liberties that the fruitless war on terror meant for Americans.
Or maybe these two sentences from Liz Cheney bring to mind exactly what Liz Cheney wants the world to forget: that her father, Dick Cheney, may be the central figure of a covert CIA program, which was hidden from Congress and the American people, and designed to eliminate bad guys around the world.
So maybe Liz Cheney’s stress on gulags and authoritarian regimes was not such a bad choice after all, all things considered.