Skip to comments.The collapse of communism: Reagan, Thatcher and the Pope
Posted on 11/09/2009 2:30:05 PM PST by doug from upland
The collapse of communism: Reagan, Thatcher and the pope
By Joseph A. Cannon
Deseret News Published: Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009 12:12 a.m. MST
Twenty years ago, my wife, Jan, and I were in what was then called West Berlin for a conference. One pleasant afternoon we walked along the Berlin Wall from the Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie. During that time, there were significant rancorous anti-Communist demonstrations in East Germany, primarily in the southern part. A German friend, with typical Prussian hubris, dismissed them. "Nothing will come of this, these are just the ineffective rumblings of a bunch of Bavarians."
Three weeks later, the wall fell.
Like many of you, I remember when the wall was built. I remember President John F. Kennedy's speech. The wall coming down seemed impossible. The Cold War seemed to be a permanent condition. The Soviet empire and the West were deadlocked.
But not everyone believed that.
Next week, we will celebrate the fall of the wall, to the astonishment of the world.
How and why did it happen?
Though success has many fathers, three people deserve enormous credit: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. I do not mean to shortchange Mikhail Gorbachev. He played an important role, but mostly in reaction to the affirmative moves of the troika.
Reagan was ridiculed by the conventional-wisdom crowd for his quaint anti-communism. He embarrassed many, including some in his administration, with his talk of the evil empire. He was thought naive in his persistence in seeking nuclear disarmament. He was considered rude and unsophisticated when negotiations with Gorbachev collapsed at the Reykjavik summit because of his refusal to abandon his Strategic Defense Initiative. Yet a year later, Reagan and Gorbachev signed the first nuclear-arms reduction of the Cold War.
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I just referenced those three names — Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul II in another post and added Lech Walesa (spelling) too. Those are the heroes who took down Communism.
Today Martha McCallum and Marvin Kalb made me sick on Fox giving all the credit to Gorbachev. Martha was probalby in elementary school when it happened and she was just taking the lead from that old Commie sympathiser, Kalb.
No thanks to the Democrats.
Here's what Jim Wright, Speaker of the House at the time had to say about Reagan's Berlin Wall speech:
Wrights face hardened. Reagans declaration had destroyed any chance of the wall coming down, since Gorbachev could not appear to bow to him. Wright fumed, It just makes me have utter contempt for Reagan. He spoiled the chance for a dramatic breakthrough in relations between our two countries It bespeaks his pettiness and self-centeredness. He just couldnt bear Gorbachev doing it of his own volition.
Reminds me of a Reagan quote:
It isnt that Liberals are ignorant; its just that they know so much that isnt so.
Don’t forget Lech Walesa
Some other names: Helmut Kohl, Vaclav Havel.
April 14,1988, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afganistan. U.S. and Soviet Union agree not to interfere in Pakistani and Afgan affairs.
May 27, by a vote of 95-3 the senate ratifies the INF Treaty.
May 29 - June 1, Fourth summit meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev.
June 1, the INF treaty goes into effect. Reagan and Gorbachev formally exchange ratification documents. The two leaders issues a joint statement which for all practical purposes ends the Cold War. The key line: both countries were determined "to prevent any war between the United States and Soviet Union, whether nuclear or conventional," and disavowed "any intention to achieve military superiority."
November 28, 1988, Margaret Thatcher announces The Cold War is already at an end.
I was going to say "those were the days", but that would be putting on the old 'rose colored glasses'. These are the days, by God, and we have a lot of work to do. It's good to be an American.
What does that mean?
Someone earlier mentioned that Walesa should be added to the list. He was indeed a hero by standing up to the commies in Poland. My friend, Peter Paul (the guy from HILLARY UNCENSORED) arranged an event honoring him.
A great documentary film — IN THE FACE OF EVIL: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed