Remembering Ronald Reagan

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It was fashionable for a time to consider Ronald Reagan a warmonger and a fool. Perhaps this is the best indicator of his Chuchillian stature; for like Reagan, Churchill was so maligned, and like Churchill, Reagan saved the world.

The left, of course, credited Gorbachev for this, which resembled nothing so much as crediting Hitler’s suicide for the end of World War II. Reagan’s victory — and the fact that we are not now speaking Russian or buried ala Khrushchev under a smoldering ruin — was produced of a vision shared by no president before him, and a fortitude possessed by few.


He refused to accept the left’s received wisdom of “moral equivalence” between the Communist East and the democratic West: he called Russia the “evil empire” it was, and revived the moral courage essential for victory. His opponents, lesser men from Michael Dukakis to Michael Foot, hurled their epithets: “dangerous,” “destabilizing,” “cowboy.” But Reagan understood the real danger was in a nuclear superpower bent on world conquest and in the throes of both economic and ethnic collapses its Western apologists refused
to see.

He repaired a nuclear “deterrent” so badly eroded as to lack credibility and invite blackmail. Side by side with Margaret Thatcher, he stood down the left’s greatest-ever attempted appeasement — the nuclear freeze movement — and not only rearmed America but re-established the deterrent in Europe. The Soviets, playing off the terror of the times, threatened to walk out of stalled arms talks if he did so. In a move that stunned everyone, he wished them fond farewell. He would not be bullied; and when they realized it,
they returned.

His certainty that people everywhere yearned for freedom and that free markets could always out-produce centrally planned slavery drove his strategies where real politik could never go. He replaced both containment and d