The Dinner Party

John O’Sullivan attended a dinner party way back in the mid-80s. He recounts his conversation in an interest piece and has this thought:

Yet these sophisticated diplomats in Rome, who were paid to think about such matters, could not see what was in front of their noses. They were “amiable dimwits…sleepwalking through crises.” No — that’s not quite right. They were the “prisoners of their own prejudices.”

In their case the prejudice that animated them was anti-anti-Communism which transformed itself effortlessly into anti-Reaganism when the occasion warranted. They did not want to believe that Communism was both oppressive and declining since that would have made their policies of appeasement needless and shameful. They did not want Reagan to be right since that would mean they had been outsmarted by a dimwit and an icon to the great unwashed. And they seized on Gorbachev as a way of denying Reagan or the West any credit for the liberation of half a continent — not grasping, of course, that Gorbachev’s reforms were made necessary by Reagan’s ruthless military and economic competition. (In shorthand, without Reagan, no Gorbachev.)