George F. Will

George F. Will

On Jan. 10, 1980, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then in the first of his four terms, delivered a Senate speech pertinent to today’s foremost U.S. foreign policy challenge: China. Casting a cold eye on the Soviet Union 17 days after its Christmas Eve invasion of Afghanistan, Moynihan criticized the preceding decade’s excessive emphasis on detente (citing Samuel Johnson: “the triumph of hope over experience”). He added that increased Soviet stridency and aggressiveness suggested the behavior of “a wounded bear.” He had recently said “the defining event” of the 1980s “might well be the breakup of the Soviet Empire.” And it also could be “the defining danger.”

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