Useful idiots, Obama style

In the new issue of the Weekly Standard out this morning, John Bolton favorably reviews Jay Nordlinger’s Peace, They Say in “Mysteries of Oslo” (the review is behind the Standard’s subscriber wall). Calling the roll of a few of the Nobel Peace Prize’s most ludicrous recipients, Bolton comes to the 1995 award:

In 1995 Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an antinuclear moveable feast established by the pro-Soviet businessman Cyrus Eaton, won [Rotblat had been secretary-general of Pugwash from its founding in 1957 to 1973 and president from 1988 to 1997]. How bad was the Pugwash movement? A former adviser to French president Jacques Chirac said it was “openly manipulated by the Soviets.” Giving the traditional acceptance lecture for the Pugwashers on Presentation Day, December 10 (the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death), was one of its officers, John P. Holdren—subsequently science adviser to President Obama. Maybe Obama doesn’t really need to whisper sweet nothings to Dmitry Medvedev.

Holdren, incidentally, was chair of the executive committee of the Pugwash Conferences from 1987 until 1997, so his tenure predated the fall of the Soviet Union. Here is some of what Jay writes about Pugwash and Holdren:

What made the 1995 prize especially galling, to some of us, was the claim that Rotblat and Pugwash had helped bring about a world of greatly reduced tension and danger–the post-Cold War (and pre-9/11) world. In his Nobel lecture, John Holdren said that neither “hawks” nor “doves” should congratulate themselves: Frankly, we were all a little lucky. An entirely just point. But, as some of us see it, Rotblat and the Pugwashers opposed virtually every step that made this better world possible.

They had nothing but scorn for deterrence, thinking it a snare and a delusion. They were for unilateral disarmament of the West. They thought containment was a joke. They fought like tigers against anti-missile defenses. They opposed just about any attempt to resist the Soviet Union and its aggressive expansion.

As I have pointed out here previously, Obama himself was an absolutely classic “useful idiot.” Holdren is a soulmate.

A final note. Bolton captures the judicious quality of Jay’s book in the penultimate paragraph of the review: “Not only has he said unkind things about the Nobel Peace Prize, he has said them in a devastatingly fair, thorough, and equitable treatment of the institution throughout its history. Had this book been a one-sided screed, the prize’s acolytes would have far less trouble in scoffing or ignoring it. Unfortunately for them, Peace, They Say is irreproachably temperate.”


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