Skip to comments.It Wasn't Inevitable: Reagan's military and economic policies won the Cold War.
Posted on 06/12/2004 1:33:46 PM PDT by quidnunc
Ronald Reagan was the most popular American president since FDR. He was also the most hated president since FDR. The reason he was hated was that his policies were often trans-partisan in bewildering ways. The reason he was popular was that his policies worked. This fact is still a puzzle to most American intellectuals, academics, and journalists, who are more comfortable talking about the personal sources of his popularity than about his policies.
It is generally conceded even by Senator Kennedy! that Reagan's Cold War militancy helped bring about the collapse of Communist Russia. But that's a deceptive statement. He didn't help bring it about. He brought it about. It is tempting to see the Soviet collapse, in retrospect, as inevitable for internal reasons, while allowing that Reagan's policies hastened a predictable end. But that end was not predictable. Throughout Reagan's eight years in office, the Soviet Union remained a major military power a major nuclear military power. The governments of Western Europe were sufficiently impressed by this power to consider occasional appeasement as a suitable option. And the people of Western Europe were subject to intermittent panic at the possibility of nuclear war on their territory.
No one but Ronald Reagan thought that the goal of American foreign policy should be victory in the Cold War. How naive, how simple-minded that idea seemed! But though Reagan was indeed unsophisticated by State Department (and European) standards, he did understand the American people as diplomats and foreigners did not. He knew that the people would support a war only if victory was the goal of their leaders. Europeans, and highly educated Americans, are habituated to think of "the people" as counters in a complex and competitive game of war and peace. Americans, by tradition and temperament, are unused to such games. They want to know who the enemy is and what we are doing to crush him.
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RONNIE gave all = We have it all