Letters to the Editor: Wrong on USSR

When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, he was determined to change the US Cold War strategy.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Wrong on USSR
In “Propping up the paper tiger: How the West creates the self-fulfilling prophecy of militant Iran” (Comment & Features, March 3), Irina Tsukerman makes the case that the West is greatly overestimating the economic strength and eventual viability of the Iranian theocratic regime.
In her opening sentence, she states: “How would the West have conducted itself during the Cold War had it known in 1945, 1970 or even 1985 what we know now – that the Soviet Union was a paper tiger...? She is quite wrong about 1985.
When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, he was determined to change US Cold War strategy from that of “containment” or “detente” to that of winning. His initial national security adviser, Richard Allen, appointed a staff that devoted the following two years to devising a grand strategy to achieve this goal, including all the elements of statecraft: diplomacy, propaganda, economics, subversion and military power.
In January 1983, National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 75 was issued by the White House in which the grand strategy was set forth in detail.
Five years later, the Soviet bloc collapsed, and two years after that, the Soviet Union itself fell apart.
I was a member of that team.
In 1998, when the official documents had been declassified, I published the monograph The Strategic Plan that Won the Cold War. Inspired by that publication, the book The Grand Strategy that Won the Cold War: Architecture Of Triumph, written in part by several of the people involved in the preparation of the strategic plan, has just been published.
The Soviet empire did not fall because of feebleness or because it stumbled over a rock. It was pushed. The author of its demise was not Mikhail Gorbachev, but Ronald Reagan.
NORMAN A. BAILEY Zichron Ya’acov
The writer is a professor of economics and national security at the University of Haifa’s National Security Studies Center and was a special assistant for national security affairs to US president Ronald Reagan.
Waze daze
With regard to “IDF: We don’t blame Waze for Kalandiya gun battle” (March 2), Waze has a setting to avoid “dangerous areas.” Unfortunately, the single setting has a number of pitfalls.
With it off, Waze once told me there was no way to go to Har Bracha. With it on while coming back from Har Bracha on a Saturday night, Waze decided to route me through the middle of Ramallah! At least Google Navigate (part of Google Maps) seems to know the difference!
SIMON KAHN Jerusalem
Hopes it works
Efforts to revive the peace plan put forward in 2002 by Saudi Arabia (“Think tank seeks to revive Arab Peace Initiative,” March 2) should be widely welcomed.
The fact that there has been no official Israeli response to this initiative throughout the years is hard to comprehend. It is interesting to note that the Arab League has shown flexibility in past years on issues related to land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians, and on the need for an agreed-upon solution to the refugee issue.
May the initiative to revive that initiative prove successful!
Caroline B. Glick hits the bullseye in “Time to draw the lines and defend them” (Our World, March 2).
Knowing when to draw the lines on fundamental principles and defend them is a truism that our Jewish leaders are often slow to learn. Ms. Glick provides several examples of how the violation of this principle has led to the BDS movement. But one can go back even farther in tracing this political headache.
In the 1980s, the US Internal Revenue Service threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Jewish National Fund if it provided services to areas of the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria), which the US has regarded as “occupied territory.”
For pragmatic reasons, such as avoiding the loss of potential donors who might refrain from contributing to the JNF if the IRS disallowed charitable deductions, the quasi-governmental organization acquiesced to the demand.
The political backlash resulting from this concession was irreparable.
Judea and Samaria became the target of international challenges to Israel’s sovereignty over our biblical heartland. Had the JNF stood firm and insisted that the area was as integral a part of Israel as was Tel Aviv and Haifa, BDS might never have arisen.
Totally mystifying
The shortsightedness of our government regarding the 74 Palestinian workers at SodaStream (“SodaStream CEO slams government’s ‘disregard for human dignity’ over lapsed Palestinian work permits,” March 1) is deeply disturbing.
Over 100,000 Palestinian workers are allowed daily to enter Israel. Why the 74, who have been forged into goodwill ambassadors, should be deprived of the unique opportunity to create a “bridge of peace” is totally mystifying.
This policy shows an abundance of callousness, lack of sensitivity and total disregard of Israel’s status among the nations. It presents an image of incomparable stupidity, stunning in the midst of our people, when an unparalleled example of Israel not being an “apartheid state” is being cast aside.
Ultimately, it shows a desperate need to revamp the electoral system to make our representatives responsive to our needs and wishes, rather than having us remain crawling, subordinate minions in the clutches of their masterful, all-powerful parties whose selfish interests take precedence over the interests of the nation.
Perhaps someone in our leadership will awaken to rectify a blunder that cries out to the high heavens.
The writer, a retired rabbi and professor of political science, is father of Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum.
Ignoramus authors
In response to “Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman to edit book on ‘Israeli Occupation’” (Arts & Entertainment, February 22), once again, Jewish-American ignoramuses have the chutzpah to claim that Israel is occupying a land called “Palestine” and are preparing to write a book on what they ignorantly and spitefully claim as being “50 years of the Israeli Occupation.”
How can it be that educated people are ignorant of the fact that the royal tribe of Judah (and other Israelite tribes), led by their patriarch, Abraham, some 4-5,000 years ago, entered the land that God had promised would be theirs for eternity, no matter how many times it might fall into the hands of their enemies? No other nation has had any claim upon this promised land, no matter how long they might have been able to occupy it.
I suggest that Chabon and Waldman read A Century of Dishonor on the dreadful treatment dished out to native Americans by millions of ruthless foreigners who came mainly from Europe.
Gone to the birds
It appears that the Arabs have successfully harnessed the east wind that recently was blowing so strongly over Israel.
On a recent morning, as I sat on my balcony, I noticed the birds being blown out of their perches toward the sea. They managed to nestle lower down in the trees, and after a rest, these stalwart Zionists regained the heights and settled once more in their nests.
We can expect nothing good coming from the east since Joshua brought the children of Israel over the Jordan so many years ago. My conclusion is that despite the Arabs’ attempts to drive us into the sea, their efforts have gone to the birds!