The Right Coast
December 31, 2005
A must read, and I really mean it
By Tom Smith
A marvelous essay from Heritage about how Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. (HT to VC.)
The basic principles that guided President Reagan's foreign policy -- peace through strength, "trust but verify," tyranny is evil, and evil must not be allowed to triumph -- proved more effective, concludes political scientist Andrew Busch, than the rationalizations and moral equivocation offered by many academics and liberal policymakers during the 1980s.28 Margaret Thatcher has recounted a private conversation with President Reagan in 1983 in which he expressed his conviction that if the United States built up its armed forces as far as necessary, the Soviets would have to change their attitude because "they knew they could not keep up the pace."29
There were many important actors -- and actions -- in the 1980s that led to the collapse of communism first in Eastern and Central Europe and then in the Soviet Union, including the leadership of Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, the rise of Solidarity and the impact of the Velvet Revolution, valiant dissidents in the Soviet Union and elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain, but the United States led by President Ronald Reagan was the central player. And a turning point in the decade was President Reagan's eloquent and prescient address to the British Parliament in June 1982, a carefully designed rhetorical volley in a strategy calculated to take full advantage of fundamental Soviet weaknesses and bring an end to the Cold War on terms favorable to the forces of freedom.
Instead, of course, the academics are busy constructing revisionist histories of how the USSR would have collasped anyway, and/or it's bad that it did collaspe, really, or whatever. How odd that Reagan could defeat perhaps the most powerful and evil (as measured by number of victims) empire in human history, and yet not win the battle for favorable treatment by historians and the intelligensia. But then, this is not really so mysterious. A dock worker in Poland has much more to be grateful for in freedom than a tenured professor at Harvard, especially one whose whole discipline has been discredited.