Oh Nikita, You Will Never Know


Andrew Stuttaford and Rick Perlstein both link to a rollicking Time magazine report on Nikita Khrushchev's 1959 junket in the States. It's eye-opening: Not only did the Soviet premier sit down with journalists and get his rude on with Eleanor Roosevelt (who bought—quelle horreur!—a newspaper ad welcoming him), but he got a white tie dinner at 1600 Penn. Ave. Perlstein puts Ahmadinejad's visit in that context.

Had America suddenly succumbed to a fever of weak-kneed appeasement? Had the general running the country—the man who had faced down Hitler!—proven himself what the John Birch Society claimed he was: a conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy?

No. Nikita Khrushchev simply visited a nation that had character. That was mature, well-adjusted. A nation confident we were great.

We had our neuroses, to be sure—plenty of them. But look now what we have lost. Now when a bad guy crosses our threshhold, America becomes a pants-piddling mess.

Some companion reading: Ed Koch on why Columbia's invite was a terrible, horrible, no-good thing. He gives us the usual litany of Iranian badness then adds:

President Bollinger, as an encore, why not invite Hugo Chavez?

But Koch doesn't provide any reason for putting Chavez on Ahmadinejad's footing. He's not funding terorrists… he's not threatening Israel… he's not denying the Holocaust. None of that. It's a perfect example of Tyrant Creep, when a pundit gets into high dudgeon and starts looking for other enemies to be scared of.

Jesse Walker on Ahmadinejad right here.