Did President Bush's speech today break new ground??

I’m referring specifically to this comment:

The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history.
It sounds to me like he’s pretty much apologizing for American cooperation with the Soviets at Yalta. And I’d think that’s the first time that POTUS has done this. I would think this is pretty big news, but a quick scan of the net shows no one talking about it.

So two questions: Is this new? I guess if the answer is No then I’m on the wrong board. And, if the answer is Yes, then: Is it news?

It probably sent an orgasmic spasm down the colons of the most extreme of tighty righty troglodytes (“And his real name was Franklin Delano Rosenfeld, but you won’t hear that yer pinko college perfessers!”).

But as long as your asking questions, did he really ever call Vlad the Impaler “Pooty-Poot”, or was that a deranged product of the liberal tedia?

New ground? Nah, they know who we are, we’ll cut a deal with anybody to get what we want, whether its oil, military bases, or a good hard shag. We don’t care, we don’t have to care, we’re the Americans.

Sounds like Bush is another one of those damn blame-America-first liberals!

Once again, an honest question gets spun into an anti-Dubya rant. And an incoherent one at that, because you finished by trashing Americans for a policy that the President just explicitly denounced. In other words, he’s on YOUR side on this one. So you spin it as something only the ‘tighty righties’ will like to hear, then criticise Americans for the same thing Bush did.

If you’re going to hate Bush, at least figure out why.

Back to the OP. Yes, this breaks new ground. It’s also another slap at ‘Pooty Poot’, and I can’t help but think this is a response to Putin’s obnoxious claim last week that the fall of the Soviet empire was a ‘tragedy’.

Again, Bush has changed U.S. policy in a way that the lefties should love, since they’ve always claimed (and correctly) that the U.S. was wrong for jumping into bed with dictators for the sake of ‘stability’ and realpolitik. So Bush comes along and changes that policy, and routinely uses rhetoric in his speeches denouncing it. And this somehow enrages the left. I have absolutely no idea why. Apparently, judging by the incoherence of elucidator’s comment, neither does he.

Well spoken.

Back to the OP…

Given that this week marks the 60th anniversary of the end of active European operations in WW2, Bush is making quite a statement by starting it in the Baltics as opposed to someplace more politically safe (Normandy, for example). Also, don’t forget that he is going to Tblisi, Georgia later this week to celebrate the Rose Revolution, which surely can’t be pleasing to Putin.

Here’s a link to the speech.

Gee, Sam, is it something I said? You seem rather more intent on denouncing Mine Truly than the issue at hand. Would it help if I promise to buy some of that Canadian swill that is euphemisticly marketed as “beer”? Got some garden slugs that need poisoning, and I’ve got a 40-year boycott of Coors going, so, if it’ll help restore our previous condition of genteel comity…

But to the point: public bloviations are not policy shifts, all cynics know this. Few, indeed, are the dewey-eyed idealists in the Kremlin, they know the difference between actual policy shifts and verbal diarrhea. We whip ourselves into a mighty froth over nuclear proliferation, and when we find out Pakistan has been conducting an atomic Amway sale for God-only-knows-how-long, we change the subject. Spend a little time reading about our newest best buddy Uzbekistan, you want a primer on the depth of our committment to democracy and freedom.

“Hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue.” - Menchen

For years I always wondered why the U.S. and England just agreed to split Europe like that with Stalin (who the fuck were they to simply give some countries away to some evil empire, especially after a war fought freeing Europe from an evil empire wannabe)

However, after seeing several WWII documentaries, it seems that the reason they “agreed to split Europe” was simply that Russian troops were already in these countries and Stalin was not budging, and if the U.S. ans U.K. wanted to liberate thes countries, they had to fight another war against the Soviet Union, which was out of the question right after a difficult war against Germany.

Now, since Bush is saying what I was thinking originally, does this mean that it might have been easier to kick Stalin out of Eastern Europe than we think?

I think it’s pretty big news too. FWIW, I saw an article about this on cnn.com

I’m gonna modify that slightly and say he’s saying the right things, and then following them selectively. Look at America’s present relationships with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia if you’re not sure what I mean.

So we’ll be pulling our troops out of Uzbekistan, and reinstating sanctions on Pakistan next week? I think not. Cheap talk about the past is just cheap talk. If Bush means to change policy, he needs to actually change policy.

It was nothing personal - it just seemed that your message was absolutely gratuitous and pointless.

And your criticism about ‘public bloviations’ is baffling. Unless the purpose of it is to give you an excuse to denounce Bush no matter what he says. But I think you’re awfully selective about this. If John Kerry said something you agree with, I suspect you wouldn’t denounce him for it because it was merely a ‘public bloviation’.

President’s speeches have consequences. Presidents should be judged on the content of their rhetoric, among other things. ESPECIALLY when the OP specifically requests discussion on the contents of a speech.

Oh, for Heavens sake! That isn’t Bush-bashing, here…

Whatever Bush knows about Yalta, he got from the History Channel

Now there’s your genuine, pure-D Bush bashing!

As policy? Nothing new about sucking up to “New Europe” in Rummy’s so-adroit phrasing. And there is surely no harm in flooding the media with film clips of GeeDubya being warmly received by whoevertheHell.

The Russians? They have not been working and playing well with others, of late, we are sore vexed at their refusal to see reason. Everybody pretty much knows that. No deal-breaker, just a scolding. If there’s a pipeline in the offing, something along those lines, business is business.

Now if he had committed America to defending the Baltic States from any future aggression, that would have been a policy shift, hooo-doggies!

One issue where it wasn’t helpful: the situation of ethnic Russians living in the new New Europe. There isn’t much evidence of any real plight or danger, but one should remember how difficult it is to stir nationalist sentiment without provoking ethnic tensions. At any rate, I doubt they appreciated this part very much.

Oh, Kerry is sooo last year! Its Hilary now, haven’t you heard?

And I’m not denouncing Bush’s speech, I’m belittling it, to the extent such a trivial excercise can be. There are any number of things that Bush has done and continues to do that I most definitely denounce. Sucking up to the Latvians ain’t on the list. I mean, c’mon! The Latvians?

The Latvians aren’t the point of it.

The Russians are.

Reread my earlier post on the subject.

This also goes along with the speech made earlier this week by the Danish PM. It might be against SDMB policy, but an English translation of the article is hard to find, so here it is:

How does this speech signal any change in policy? Are we going to start distancing ourselves from Musharraf of Pakistan now? I doubt it.

Not the same. Kerry is not in a position to set national policy.

I’d be happier with the criticism of Yalta if Mr. Bush would explain what HE would have done. World War II was winding down, the taste of victory was in the air. At that point, it would have been a hard sell indeed to tell the American people that our Soviet allies were now our enemies and that we’d need our troops to continue marching eastward to drive the Soviets out of East Germany, Poland, etc. Both Churchill and FDR knew they were dancing with the devil but in this game, Stalin held the better hand. Also, FDR was a shell of himself at Yalta. His physical and mental conditions were in rapid decline and he just wasn’t up to the task.

I’d also be happier with Mr. Bush’s criticism if his own foreign policy was based on human rights and that ALL oppressive governments were criticized. But when our allies include the likes of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Bush’s objections to Yalta ring quite hollow.

All three Baltic States are members of NATO. That already commits us to defend them from future aggression.

The other thing people often forget about the Yalta agreement, is that WWII was still in progress at the time. Neither Germany nor Japan had surrendered, and although Germany was all but defeated, Japan was still a big problem. As **Polierius **already noted, we’d would have had to start another war with the Soviets if we wanted to eject them from the countries they had liberated from Germany. Given the all out effort still needed to defeat Japan in the Pacific, this just wasn’t an option-- or at least not an option we thought we could succeed in.

Yes, and I would’ve been happier with Mr. Clinton’s criticism of the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia was based upon human rights and that ALL oppressive governments were criticized. But when we ignore the likes of Rwanda and the entire African continent, Clinton’s objections to the Serbian situation ring quite hollow.

Now that I’ve met your silly reply with one just as silly, do you think it might be possible to discuss the actual topic?

So Bush has the courage to second guess FDR 60 years after the fact and completely out of context, for the reasons pointed out above by BobLidDem and others. Big whoop. Let’s see him take the blame for the failed policies of someone from his own party, say Herbert Hoover, Eisenhower, Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan. Better yet, let’s see him attack his own dad for reneging on the read my lips no new taxes pledge.

Interesting to read all the responses provoked by the OP. So if I heard it straight it sounds like Sam Stone, John T and Polerius are saying it is a step forward and elucidator is saying not really. And a few leftists have gone apoplectic and randed about some stuff that seemed to be related.

One clarification of the OP. I never thought this was a policy shift, I thought it might be seen as a step forward. To me it seems obvious that this is a step in the direction of a longer term plan, i.e. the spread of democracy to all people. My question was whether it was a significant step or just a reiteration of a point that I hadn’t caught before.

To respond to the side issue I don’t think it makes sense to criticize anyone, whether it’s Churchill and FDR on the one hand, or GWB on the other for not doing everything 100% perfectly the first day and then calling them a hypocrite for moving in the intended direction. My feeling about the war on terror from the beginning has been that it’s primarily against the Saudi monarchy, but it makes a lot more sense to do it this way than to have just nuked them on Sept. 12. One step at a time.

BTW, did anyone read Shogun? Even though it’s just a novel it’s really shaped my thinking about the way these things are done. In short, you make alliances when they are in your best interest and you break them when it’s in your best interest. And you attack when it’s in your best interest, often against previous allies. Sort of like Survivor. So I’m not blaming FDR for working with the Soviets, any more than I’d blame the US for working with Iraq against Iran in the 1980s.

There’s nothing silly about that and he wasn’t the first to say it. If you ask me, Bush said something that was true (although I’m not sure what else could have been done in the situation) and very nice and all, but he’s said stirring things about the human freedom before. He likes to do that. So I don’t think this speech breaks any significant new ground. He said the same things to a different audience.