The Beginning of the End of the Cold War
The Reagan policy in the Cold War was simple enough: we win; they lose. Helped by American Thinker contributors like Herb Meyer in the CIA, Reagan began to identify Marxism as the debris of the past and not the wave of the future, and he dared to call the Soviet Union and "evil empire" -- which, of course, it was.
On October 25, 1983, thirty years ago, President Reagan liberated the first nation that had fallen under Marxist tyranny. Grenada, an archipelago with a left-leaning government already, had been taken over by a Marxist thug who was clearly going to turn his nation into another Cuba. Moreover, there was evidence that American medical students were going to become hostages of this new regime, perhaps creating the same sort of crisis that America under Jimmy Carter had faced after the Iranian Revolution.
Reagan was challenging very directly the "Brezhnev Doctrine," which had been proclaimed by the Communist Party general secretary in 1968 when he ordered Warsaw Pact tanks into Czechoslovakia to end a Marxist government which allowed significant amounts of freedom and replaced it with a totalitarian Marxist regime.
That was similar to what was happening in Grenada in October 1983. Leftists, of course, have always been fine with hard-line and totalitarian Marxists winning power. They also reserved their strongest censures for "anti-Communists" and always lent a sympathetic ear to brutes like Castro and Ho Chi Minh. Throughout the world, in 1983, Marxist thugs were crushing their enemies and installing horrific regimes. This was particularly true in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
President Reagan acted with decisive military force, at the invitation of the other free democratic island nations in the region, and drove the Cuban-backed Marxists out of Grenada. The left, of course, went ballistic. The entire leadership of the Democrat Party condemned Reagan, and so did nearly all the rest of the world. The president didn't give a hoot. He had done what was right. He had protected American students (who, regardless of their politics, kissed the ground when returned to America). He had also repudiated the Brezhnev Doctrine completely.
Had Reagan not acted, there is no reason to doubt that Grenada today would be like Cuba. Instead, Grenada has a standard of living among the highest in Latin America and significantly higher than Cuba's. There are nine different political parties in Grenada -- including one party that supports the very Marxists who Reagan threw out -- and the Organization of American States has monitored Grenada elections and found them free and fair.
Although the liberation of Grenada may seem a small victory today, it was not seen that way at the time. Reagan made it clear that the liberation of peoples enslaved by Communism could be freed and that America recognized what might be called the Reagan Doctrine, which was committed to that very goal.
It was a message to the Polish people, whose Solidarity labor union along with Pope John Paul II were pushing Moscow very hard. What happened in Grenada was hope to the 16 million East Germans separated from their countrymen by a vast system of fortification. The liberation of Grenada meant that the liberation of Nicaragua from the Ortega brothers' Marxist dictatorship was possible. Even within the Soviet Union, in captive nations like Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia -- Baltic States acquired when Moscow was an ally of the Nazis -- there was a candle of promise lit.
Within a few years, the seeds planted by the liberation of Grenada would lead to free elections in Poland (which the Marxists decisively lost), protests in Lithuania (which could not be quelled), and then the destruction of the Berlin Wall (which meant the popular revolution in Eastern Europe against all Communist regimes).
Although the world today is a mess, what happened when Reagan freed Grenada, when he pushed the Strategic Defense Initiative (i.e., "Star Wars"), and when he combined a will to use American military power with a massive buildup of that power was not inevitable. As many problems as we have today, the bloodless end of the Soviet Empire is one of the most remarkable -- almost miraculous -- victories of good over evil in human history. The beginning of the end of the Soviet empire started thirty years ago, in a most unlikely place, and it ought to make us understand that no empire of leftism is ever truly secure, as long as we keep fighting it.