Words Americans Live by, Which Russians Should Learn
Time and again over the last two centuries, malignant dictators of every stripe have calculated that Americans will not fight, that they are a soft people used to comfort and will not stand for principle against the determined onslaught of fire and steel.
Each and every time, those dictators have been proved wrong. Each and every time, the United States has seen the dictator into his grave, obliterating his nation and rewriting the history of the world.
In this past century alone, the efforts of the United States have laid low Japan, Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Japan and Germany today are prosperous, happy nations that bear no resemblance to the maniacal dictatorships that challenged the United States and were destroyed by it. And the United States bestrides the world like colossus. Most recently, the United States was able tgo project its awesome military power to the other side globe and crush tyrranical regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan — projection of this kind of military power is something Russia has never accomplished once in its entire history, and cannot even dream of attempting. Little wonder Russia’s autocrats became so nervous about it.
But it now appears that the job in regard to the USSR was not completed. The United States, it now seems foolishly, accepted the surrender of the USSR on highly favorable terms for Russia rather than physically liquidating it’s malignant regime when it had the chance, as had been done in Japan and Germany. Once again, the forces of venal dictatorship, of haughty childish contempt for American values and indeed for the value of individual human life itself, rise beyond a new Iron Curtain. Once again, ignorant gray little men in lonely towers imagine they can bring down the United States with their furious hatred and delusional arrogance. Once again they believe that no nation can stand behind values like freedom and democracy when fire and steel are flying.
Little do they understand the mighty American people and the principles that guide them, which are consistently expressed throughout American history. Let’s remember them now:
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
— Virgina Assemblyman Patrick Henry; March 23, 1775.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
— U.S. President Abraham Lincoln; November 19, 1863.
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end; we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
— British Prime Minister Winston Churchill; June 4, 1940
I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin. There is deep sympathy and goodwill in Britain — and I doubt not here also — toward the peoples of all the Russias and a resolve to persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships. It is my duty, however, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.
— British Prime Minister Winston Churchill; March 5, 1946.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
— U.S. President John F. Kennedy; January 20, 1961.
It was C.S. Lewis who, in his unforgettable Screwtape Letters, wrote: “The greatest evil is not done now in those sordid ‘dens of rime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.”
Well, because these “quiet men” do not “raise their voices,” because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace, because, like other dictators before them, they’re always making “their final territorial demand,” some would have us accept them as their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.
So, I urge you to speak our against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride – the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.
— U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan; March 8, 1983.
I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
— U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama; August 28, 2008.