Can We Turn Back the ‘Blood-Dimmed Tide’ on the Potomac?

By James Pinkerton

At a time when chaos seems to be gushing everywhere, it’s nice to think about historical occasions when destruction and evil were defeated.

In fact, it’s more than nice; it’s useful. Why? Because if it happened before, it can happen again. Yes, history is a great resource, as it provides a treasure-trove of examples of what worked in the past—as well as, of course, what did not work. One can learn from both.

One positive precedent is the “Miracle on the Vistula,” when the people of Poland, defending their capital city of Warsaw, repelled the advancing Soviet Red Army.

In fact, the centennial of the battle, fought from August 12 to August 25, 1920, is coming up soon. The Polish government, and Poles everywhere, plan a commemoration; there’s already a video featuring the actor Liam Neeson. Indeed, tourists are encouraged to come and celebrate “a major milestone in Polish history as it saved Poland’s newly regained independence . . . also one of the most important battles in history since the Polish victory over the Soviets stopped the spread of communism to Europe.”

The events of that era were complex, of course, and are subject to multiple interpretations, and so it takes some effort to tease out the precise parallels to today.

Yet this much, for sure, is true: In the aftermath of World War I, four great empires collapsed—German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman—and seven new nations were established, or, we might say, re-established. One of these was Poland, which had been partitioned out of existence by its neighbors in the late 18th century.

Interestingly, even as the Polish nation had disappeared, even as Russian satraps ruled in Warsaw, Polish nationalism grew stronger. And so, during World War I, a submerged Poland saw its chance to re-emerge, as the Russians, Germans, and Austro-Hungarians (as well as other combatant countries) fought each other to exhaustion.

The big break came in 1917, when the Russian tsarist government collapsed, soon to be replaced by Lenin’s Bolsheviks. Civil war erupted in Russia—and that was Poland’s opportunity for liberation.

Led by soldier-statesman Józef Piłsudski (1867-1935), Poland declared its independence on November 11, 1918, the same day that an armistice was achieved in the overall war.

Yet if all was now quiet on the Western front, on the Eastern front—actually, on many fronts—violent turmoil persisted. So even as Russia was convulsed in civil war, just about every other country in Eastern Europe reeled in convulsion, too, regarding its borders, its political regime, or both.

Moreover, in those days, beyond the rivalries of nationalism, communism was a specter haunting Europe. Hungary, for instance, was afflicted by a communist government for a few months in 1919. And Germany, too, suffered from a short-lived communist regime in its province of Bavaria. In fact, communists were taking to the streets, or even to the barricades, in virtually every country in Europe.

In his famously brooding 1919 poem, “The Second Coming,” William Butler Yeats punned on the color red, …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Frankly HBO, We Don’t Give a Damn!

By William Murchison

Frankly, my dear, the real world—the generous world that lives outside our present disturbances—probably doesn’t give a damn what progressive opinion makes of Gone With the Wind and its cinematic legacy.

It’s been instructive, all the same, watching HBO Max fidget over the matter of how to present a 1939 classic in the fevered context of 2020. Only in these topsy-turvy times could such an argument break out, with little credit due the contending parties.

HBO Max’s conundrum was set forth, perhaps precipitated, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed by the screenwriter John Ridley, who won an Academy Award for his adaptation of “12 Years a Slave.” Ridley had noticed in the new streaming service’s catalog the availability of Gone With the Wind, a movie whose historical presumptions run counter to his own. Accordingly, he called for HBO Max to Do Something—not relegate Gone With the Wind “to a vault in Burbank”; rather frame its presentation in such a way as to advantage the Ridley take on slavery over that of Margaret Mitchell—whose viewpoint just doesn’t fit what we now believe.

With American capitalists frantically covering their sitting-down apparatuses amid national explosions of rage over the Floyd murder, what were HBO Max, and its owner, WarnerMedia, to do but distance themselves morally? Moral distance meant, yes, we have here a classic movie; however, one that lies about the way things were, prior to the appearance of “12 Years a Slave” and like instruments of regeneration.

So put down your popcorn, children. The nice lady delivering a newly filmed HBO Max introduction to the movie would like your attention. She is Jacqueline Stewart of Turner Classic Movies. She wants you to know that Gone With the Wind, for all its “cultural significance,” is “a major document of Hollywood’s racist practices of the past.” The film fails to acknowledge “the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery upon which this world is based.” You have to know this before watching. You’ll miss the point otherwise, and HBO Max and Miss Stewart, wouldn’t like that. They want those minds wide open, the better to close them securely.

We’ll see once the re-education lecture is over—I mean, the helpful introduction—whether potential viewers stick around to bathe in the moral pollution they didn’t know they were renting from HBO Max. It will depend on the political-cultural zeal that the renters bring with them to an experience once deemed as entertainment.

A single, unified narrative about the Civil War, and the circumstances that surround it, and the people caught up in those circumstances is shaping up rapidly. Punishment awaits those who contradict or relativize it. We’ll see whether and how well Gone With the Wind stands up in the midst of this mighty gale. If it doesn’t stand, we’ll know we’ve become a different kind of society indeed: a prospect that would delight the current crop of statue-wreckers and defacers. How much more generous, how much kinder we would be is a question I …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Robert O’Brien: National Security Council reforms – President Trump has made people safer, nation stronger

By Robert C. O’Brien Over the past nine months, little-noticed but important changes have taken place at the National Security Council (NSC) under President Trump’s leadership. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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