Hungarians in 1956 were very brave, and they might have been good singers, too. Same with the Czechs in 1968. In fact, the Hungarians and the Czechs are two of the most musical peoples in the world. But they were run over with tanks. The Syrians, right this second, are bravely singing. And, just like the Estonians, they’re chanting, “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” Unlike the Estonians, they are being killed, in large numbers. Some 2,000 have died so far. Bashar Assad does not suffer from the squeamishness of Gorbachev.
“But Gorby had no options!” people like to say. Back in the late 1990s, I heard Condoleezza Rice scoff at this assertion, in a memorable way. “Oh, he had options, all right. He had 390,000 troops in Germany” — in Germany alone. He could have done tremendous damage, in many places. He could have squashed rebellious people like bugs, just as his predecessors had. But he did not.