When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

June 08, 2004

On Reagan

Charlie Victor Echo

This is the second time I've tried to write this one. The Net ate the first one, so I'm trying again. Maybe itís a Net reaction to a Democrat saying nice things about a Republican?

By sheer coincidence, I was talking to a college freshman about the presidency of Ronald Reagan a couple of weeks ago. She, an aspiring young Democrat, was asking what the big deal was about Reagan. After all, she reminded me, Reagan was responsible for the huge deficit, a useless invasion of Grenada, and the corruption of Iran-Contra.

Besides, she added (and I could tell that this was the important), he's a Republican!!

I kind of stared at her for a while until I remembered that she's only 19, so she was only 3 or 4 when Reagan left office. More importantly, it also meant she had no meaningful recollections of the Cold War.

I tried to explain the degree to which the Cold War weighed on the minds of everyone who lived through it. From The Day After, to Twilight 2000, and even Mad Max we were confronted with images and stories of nuclear holocaust. Even the ones that didn't end in nuclear war like Red Storm Rising or Team Yankee still accepted the inevitability of war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, with only the courage of certain leaders averting the exchange of nuclear weapons.

Even away from fiction, a certain feeling of doom hung over us. I've always thought that the material excesses of the '80s were a reflection (maybe only subconsciously) of thinking among the young business types that there wasn't going to be a long term so you needed to get as much as you could get right now.

World War III was coming...it was going to kill us all...and there was nothing we could do about it.

And Ronald Reagan somehow won the Cold War and saved us all.

I'm well aware that, factually speaking, he didn't precisely. That the Soviet structure had been teetering for a while due to the corruption and inefficiencies inherent to their system. That, rather than being soulless expansionists we demonized, the post-Stalin and post-Khrushchev Soviet leadership were much more concerned with trying to maintain their own positions rather than dreaming of conquering the world. And that ultimately, the shambles they'd made of their economy made that maintenance impossible.


What Reagan did, though, was give that teetering wreck the push that knocked it over. Between Star Wars and the MX forcing the Soviets to make expenditures on strategic weapons they really couldn't afford to supporting the Muhajadin in Afghanistan to bleed their conventional forces. No one can tell if the Soviet Union would still have fallen, or if it would have anyway when that would have happened, but to an extent, it doesn't matter.

From an emotional standpoint, Ronald Reagan won the Cold War, and that's why he'll be remembered as one of our great presidents...at least by those of old enough to actually remember him.

Launched by Charlie Victor Echo at June 8, 2004 06:44 PM

Retaliatiory Launches

Bless their little hearts, these young democrats are like sheep to the slaughter when they go to university to be indoctrinated by tenured marxists.

But remember--a lot of people have come through the brainwashing and gone on to achieve enlightenment and liberation of mind. Perhaps the ignorant young woman will accomplish this eventually.

Reagan went through a lot of living in his time, and grew from being a liberal democrat to being a limited government conservative. He understood the slavery that half the world was living under, and he did what it took to free a large number of them.

Young democrats will not understand that until they have time to mature and gain perspective. And the truly dumb ones will never understand.

Posted by: Conrad at June 8, 2004 07:30 PM

So basicly your response to my non-partisan comments about how a president could be good or even great even if we don't agree with his politics is to decry "indoctrination" and "brainwashing" in schools as the source of being a Democrat?

Oy.

Posted by: CVE at June 9, 2004 09:42 PM

You didn't respond to her main point: that Ronald Reagan's domestic & foreign policies went against the Republican core principles. He increased the size of government (outspending Jimmy Carter by a longshot); he did not provide leadership and let his CIA/Pentagon step into some dangerous territory (funding Afghani/Taliban in Afghanistan, plus selling weapons to the contras in Nicaragua. He also let his boys sell WMD to Iraq and other stuff to Iran).

I apologize for that ugly block of text. I've gotta run & I'm trying to get my ideas across at the speed of 45 WPM typing. :)

Reagan may have ended the Cold War but only by outspending the Russians on arms and this is one of the reasons the terror networks were able to grow to such a large size. In order to maintain this frenetic pace of defense expansion, his government lost focus and ignored terror. That's why George W. Bush has to clean up the mess these days.

Posted by: Jeremy Brendan at June 12, 2004 05:26 PM

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