Losing What Reagan Won
As Americans consider who ought to lead us out of the despair of Obama's misrule, we ought to go back twenty-five years. That was when the fruits of Ronald Reagan's crusade against Communism gave us a world that ought to have produced peace and prosperity leading, over time, to more freedom and more hope for all mankind. George H. Bush was president, but the fight had been waged and won by Reagan, one of the few who saw that the Evil Empire could be defeated without firing a shot.
The Warsaw Pact began disintegrating in early 1989, and the nations within the Soviet Union, beginning with the Baltic States, peeled off the Great Russian hegemony of the Soviet Union beginning in January 1991. Before the end of 1991, the Soviet Union itself would completely dissolve.
American military power exercised in Desert Storm showed what had been obvious except to doctrinaire anti-American leftists since Vietnam: America can easily win any way it decides to win, and do so with almost no loss of life at all. Overwhelming victory in Desert Storm, along with the end of the Warsaw Pact, showed the Russians that all the sacrifices made to compete in a global cold war with America were worse than wasted.
Aside from winning the Cold War, Reagan's work left America with the greatest fiscal windfall in our nation's history: the "Peace Dividend." Defense spending could be dramatically cut with no risk to our national security at all. The economy was strong already as a result of Reagan's pro-growth policies, and now federal spending could be cut without affecting any entitlements or domestic programs.
What happened? Why are we today facing a sinister web of Islamic terrorism, a renewed Russian empire, a menacing China, and a dangerous North Korea? Why are we facing a second recession – a serious economic spiral downward, global in scope, with no good way out? Why is Western Europe, which stood pretty firm against the Soviet Empire, unable to stop an army of angry refugees?
Reagan inherited an America as wretched as America is today. Carter no more feared communism than Obama fears radical Islam. Carter preached austerity as blithely as Obama's flacks soothingly tell Americans that we are really in good shape economically. Carter, like Obama, leaves an America despondent and unsure. What will the next president, as the revitalizer of our nation, need to do? What did Reagan do?
First, we must call our evil enemies "evil." This is not a question of being smarter or winning or showing finesse. This is straightforward moral courage. This means, also, identifying the greatest victims of this evil, the wretched people forced to live in the lands these control. The Poles, the Balts, the Czechs, and all the other victims of Soviet Communist tyranny became our best allies.
Second, we should champion the true liberation of the various nationalities trapped in the wicked empire of Iran. Recall when Obama took office that the Iranian subjects agitated for relief. Obama made the same mistake that George H. Bush made in 1989, when the Chinese people sought freedom at Tiananmen Square. Liberate the Syrians, by their own hands, not our hands, just as we liberated Hungary by the will of the Hungarians. Few of these evil regimes have true legitimacy. These are thugocracies, and we ought to destabilize the power of the thugs who rule them. Create regimes that treat their people humanely and want our friendship and support.
Third, we must reclaim the mantle of Judeo-Christian superiority. It was not "religion" that defeated the Soviets (after all, Marxism is nothing if not a religion itself) – it was showing which moral system deserved to win the Cold War. If we are ashamed to say that the religions and moral systems of Jews and Christians are better than radical Islam, then how can we win? Moreover, we are building our battle plans upon lies, because the religions of Jews and Christians are, quite clearly, better than Marxism and better than radical Islam.
Instead, we watch while Israel is driven into increasingly desperate straits and while Christians are driven from their historic homeland in Asia and Africa.
We can win this new cold war, and we can recover, out of the savings we now make for defense and the stabilization of the global economy, a new and happier world. This requires, more than anything else, clear moral vision and courage. Whichever candidate can give us that, can recover the victory of Reagan, should be our next president.