Goldberg: Obama’s been wrong about the Cold War for at least 30 years

Jonah Goldberg explains for National Review Online readers why the Obama administration’s ineffective response — so far — to the growing Crimean conflict fits well with Barack Obama’s attitude about the Cold War.

Throughout this crisis — indeed, throughout all of Barack Obama’s presidency — the White House has been eager to insist that our long, unpleasant history with the Russians is behind us. …

… Fresh starts are fine. But when Obama came into office, his administration implicitly blamed our poor relationship with Russia on Bush, as if Russia’s misdeeds were provoked by America.

In 2012, Obama mocked Mitt Romney for his claim that the Russians are our “No. 1 geopolitical foe,” and scoffed: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”

That scorn looks embarrassing enough given recent events. But the truth is Obama’s hostility to Romney’s policies had little to do with their being outdated. Obama didn’t like America’s Cold War policies during the Cold War.

In 1983, then–Columbia University student Obama penned a lengthy article for the school magazine placing the blame for U.S.–Soviet tensions largely on America’s “war mentality” and the “twisted logic” of the Cold War. President Reagan’s defense buildup, according to Obama, contributed to the “silent spread of militarism” and reflected our “distorted national priorities” rather than what should be our goal: a “nuclear-free world.”

Of course, it’s unfair to put too much weight on anyone’s youthful writings. Except there’s precious little evidence his views have changed over the years.

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