Values have power


Isaiah Berlin reminded us of a truth about liberal democracy of which the Founding Fathers, they of our checks and balances, were mindful, notes analyst Roger Cohen:

“The best that one can do is try to promote some kind of equilibrium, necessarily unstable, between the different aspirations of different groups of human beings.” That’s not sexy. “Some kind of equilibrium” is not what human beings rush to embrace and die for. It is, however, essential for the discourse of any liberal democracy. It saves lives. The postwar transatlantic architecture was about preserving this gift of freedom.

Writing for The Berlin Journal, Cohen [like Sen. John McCain] is fearful of “a dramatic break with American policy as superbly articulated earlier this year” by veteran diplomat Daniel Fried (right), who had this to say:


“Few believed that Poland’s Solidarity movement could win, that the Iron Curtain would come down, that the Baltic States could be free, that the second of the twentieth century’s great evils—Communism—could be vanquished without war. But it happened, and the West’s great institutions—NATO and the EU—grew to embrace 100 million liberated Europeans. It was my honor to have done what I could to help. I learned never to underestimate the possibility of change, that values have power, and that time and patience can pay off, especially if you’re serious about your objectives. Nothing can be taken for granted, and this great achievement is now under assault by Russia, but what we did in my time is no less honorable. It is for the present generation to defend and, when the time comes again, extend freedom in Europe.”


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