The right roars

December 26, 1990

When Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Schevardnaze abruptly resigned last week, we predicted in this space that it would be only a matter of days before the unregenerate old Cold Warriors would "gleefully dust off the old 'warm-smile, iron-teeth' image of Gorbachev that was put to rest when Ronald Reagan put his arm around the Soviet leader in Moscow in 1986." Among those voices, we predicted, would be the New York Times' refurbished old Nixon speech writer, William Safire, who now fulfills our gloomy expectation -- in spades.

In his column elsewhere on this page today, Safire emits a mighty roar from the right. We do not recall having previously seen Safire and his comrades of the right warmly embracing Shevardnadze. Can it be that they believe, as Andrew Jackson did with Indians, that the only good Russian is a dead Russian?

But note well that Safire, in his zeal to expose Gorbachev as Stalin reincarnate, suggests no alternative to Gorbachev.

It is thus hard to avoid the suspicion that the old Cold Warriors have only one desire: They just want to see Russian blood spilled. They seem to be motivated and energized either by ideological hatreds which supplanted the old religious wars that decimated Europe in earlier centuries, or by the old ethnic and national hatreds which still prevail today.

The predicament in which Russia finds itself today increasingly resembles that which existed 80 years ago when the nation was poised for its plunge into the chaos which resulted in the emergence of a communist state which exerted its baneful influence until just five years ago.

If we want to repeat that sorry chapter in history, all we need do is join in the Russian blood-lust of Safire and fellow bear-criers.

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