The AP reporter Terence Hunt suggests that President Bush's recent speech in Latvia "second guessed" liberal icon FDR on the carving up of Europe toward the end of World War II in Yalta:
"Second-guessing Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Bush said Saturday the United States played a role in Europe's painful division after World War II — a decision that helped cause "one of the greatest wrongs of history" when the Soviet Union imposed its harsh rule across Central and Eastern Europe.
"Bush said the lessons of the past will not be forgotten as the United States tries to spread freedom in the Middle East.
"'We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability,' the president said. 'We have learned our lesson; no one's liberty is expendable. In the long run, our security and true stability depend on the freedom of others.'
"One can almost hear the hysteria as Mr. Hunt quotes historian Alan Brinkley for reassurance that Bush's speech is the fault of the 'far right':
"'Certainly it goes further than any president has gone,' historian Alan Brinkley said from the U.S. 'This has been a very common view of the far right for many years — that Yalta was a betrayal of freedom, that Roosevelt betrayed the hopes of generations.'"
It's almost as if he wants reassurance that "it's O.K." that millions were enslaved and oppressed by the Soviet Union after the war. Or, perhaps, that "it's O.K." that the U.S.S.R. was permitted — by the stroke of a pen — to establish vassal states in Eastern Europe.
Of course, it is possible that Eastern Europe would have fallen into the Soviet orbit anyway given its proximity to Russia. But did we really have to hand over Eastern Europe to Stalin on a silver platter?