Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Time To Remember Ronald Reagan Again!

The following quotes come from the newt.org website and an e-mail I received from that website today. If only our next president could be the leader that Reagan was!

In two powerful speeches that took place twenty-five years ago this March, President Ronald Reagan dealt what would ultimately prove to be lethal blows to the moral and material foundations of the Soviet Union.

On March 8, 1983, Reagan described the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and as “the focus of evil in the modern world,” and fifteen days later, on March 23, Reagan unveiled his vision for the research, development, and ultimate deployment of a missile defense shield that would one day end the vulnerability of America and her allies to Soviet nuclear attack.

While both speeches were widely ridiculed at the time, they are today rightly hailed as having made decisive contributions to bringing about the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union a little less than nine years later.

In 1980, the United States was losing the Cold War. Under President Jimmy Carter, the American economy had become a disaster -- featuring 13% inflation, 22% interest rates, gasoline lines and shortages, and the beginning of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Our national security situation was verging on the catastrophic. The anti-military left had cut the Defense budget. The Soviet Union was subsidizing massive appeasement marches in Western Europe (secret documents released after the fall of East Germany confirm that Soviet front-groups were behind the demonstrations). Soviet forces were on the offense in Afghanistan, Angola, Mozambique, Grenada, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

The most public humiliation was the illegal seizure of the American Embassy in Iran in 1979. Iranian militants held American diplomats as hostages in total violation of international law for 444 days. In the face of this assault on America and American citizens, Carter's policy was one of weakness and appeasement. The result was a national sense of humiliation and impotence.

The only political leader who understood how big the change needed to be was Ronald Reagan.

Before Reagan took office, the national establishment favored a policy of "reasonableness" -- that is, they accepted the existence of the Soviet Union as a given and believed it had to be accommodated.

In contrast to the "realpolitik" of the national establishment, Ronald Reagan outlined a simple, clear alternative. When asked by a reporter of his vision of the Cold War, Reagan said simply, "We win, they lose."

On March 8, 1983, Reagan offered his most forceful moral claim for this new strategy of victory in the Cold War. In a speech calling the Soviet Union an "evil empire," he defined the illegitimacy of the Soviet dictatorship. It was a speech that Natan Sharansky, then a prisoner in the Soviet Gulag, said galvanized the hopes of the prisoners and raised their morale while demoralizing the Soviet guards and undermining the authority of the Soviet system.

Two weeks later, on March 23, President Reagan outlined in a second speech the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that was designed to begin a science-and-technology race that the Soviets could not win.

America's elites were shocked by these two speeches. They ridiculed and attacked them. The State Department professionals and the foreign policy elites opposed Reagan. They were all horrified that an American President could be so bold and provocative.

They would be almost as unhappy four years later when President Reagan went to Berlin and demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Less than nine years after Ronald Reagan's "Evil Empire" and "SDI" speeches, the Soviet Union disappeared.

The scale of this strategic victory and the role of President Reagan in defeating the Soviet Union are ignored by most of academic America and much of the news media.

The 25th anniversary of these two speeches is a good time to set the record straight.

They were wrong, and Reagan was right.

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