Archive for the ‘Reagan’ Category
Allahpundit’s post about Rand Paul is a fascinating read, though I have a slight difference of opinion with him. Here’s what he wrote that I disagree with:
When I tweeted out my surprise a few hours ago, a dozen people tweeted back, “Maybe Paul’s just saying what he really believes.” No doubt. But the thing that distinguishes Rand from Ron and what makes him a legit contender for the nomination is that he’s willing to temper his foreign policy positions in order to make himself more appealing to mainstream conservatives. Remember when he complained earlier this year, as things got hairy in Ukraine, how certain Republicans (*cough*McCain*cough*) always seemed to want to “tweak” Russia? That was a fine libertarian/paleocon sentiment. A few weeks later, after Putin had gotten more aggressive and conservatives were demanding that Obama show some muscle, Paul took to Time magazine to demand “strong action” against Russia. Remember when he scoffed at the idea of intervening again in Iraq, with the U.S. effectively serving as “Iran’s air force” by bombing ISIS, only to decide a few months later as conservatives rallied for force that he would seek to destroy ISIS militarily as president? Last month he introduced a bill to formally declare war on the group that would even allow ground troops in certain limited circumstances. Remember when he seemingly endorsed containment of Iran on ABC’s Sunday news show, only to come back the next week after the predictable uproar on the right ensued with an op-ed insisting he was “unequivocally” not for containing Iran? It’s not just conservatives who’ve noticed these reversals. Members of Paul’s libertarian base like Jacob Sullum and others at Reason have noticed them too. And everyone understands what it’s about: Rand’s afraid that if he takes a traditional libertarian line on hot-button foreign policy matters, it’ll be too easy for 2016 rivals to convince tea partiers that he’s just like his old man after all and can’t be trusted to protect America. Watering down his libertarian impulses may be cynical, but it’s smart.
First, it isn’t smart staking out that many contradictory positions on foreign policy/national security issues. It makes Sen. Paul look like a reactionary, not a realist. We’re living with a reactionary foreign policy right now. It isn’t working out that well.
Second, offering that many contradictory positions on important national security issues opens Sen. Paul up to charges that he’s a flip-flopper. There’s little doubt that Sen. Paul would say that he changed his mind when confronted with additional information. That explanation won’t play because we’re looking for a president whose foreign policy is undergirded by intelligent underlying principles.
Third, Paul’s foreign policy instincts are exceptionally dovish. It isn’t just that he’s got libertarian leanings. It’s that he’s utterly reluctant to entertain the thought of force when initially figuring out the proper response to national security crises. It’s one thing to think of military options as the last option. That’s proper. It’s another thing to start from a default position that the use of military force is off the table.
I disagree with this statement, too:
Worst of all, perhaps, Paul’s devoted the past year to building the case that, as a “realist,” he’s actually the true heir to Ronald Reagan on foreign policy, not Rubio and the rest of the superhawks.
President Reagan wasn’t a realist. Period. President Reagan was a visionary. When he took office, the conventional thinking was that the Soviet Union was a superpower and that détente was the best policy. When President Reagan called the Soviets an “evil empire”, realists in DC criticized him, saying that he didn’t know what he was doing while accusing him of starting WW III.
Reagan was undeterred. In fact, he then proposed putting Pershing missiles in Europe. Realists tried repeatedly to sabotage President Reagan’s Tear down this wall speech but couldn’t.
The point is that President Reagan had a foreign policy vision. He also had a strategy to implement that vision and turn it into reality. For the last 2+ years, Sen. Paul has shown that he’s a foreign policy reactionary. It’s impossible to detect a President Paul foreign policy vision with the possible exception of him being a pacifist.
That won’t work in a terrorist-filled world.
Technorati: National Security, Cuba, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Libertarian, Flip-Flopper, Pacifist, ISIS, Russia, Iraq, Terrorism, Ronald Reagan, Tear Down This Wall, Soviet Union, Evil Empire, Pershing Missiles, Berlin Wall, Presidential Nomination, Republicans, Election 2016
After watching this video, it’s clear that Jeb Bush doesn’t have a clue about conservatism:
This post shows that Paige Lavender, a reporter/commentator for Huffington Post, is utterly clueless. Before we get into Jeb Bush’s statements, here’s what Ms. Lavender said:
PAIGE LAVENDER: We’ve seen in the last 2 election cycles that the Republican primary tends to favor the more conservative candidate.
In 2008, there weren’t any conservatives in the race. Of the liberals, John McCain was the most liberal. He got the nomination. In 2012, the GOP candidates were marginally more conservative. Mitt Romney wasn’t as liberal as McCain but he wasn’t a conservative, either. He was simply the least liberal of the liberals running.
The good news is that Republicans will have a handful of conservatives to pick from in 2016, starting with Scott Walker, then adding John Kasich and possibly Mike Pence. GOP activists won’t have to hold their noses when supporting one of these candidates. Conservatives will be able to enthusiastically support one of these three candidates.
The last 20 seconds of this video will hurt Gov. Bush:
Here’s what Gov. Bush said:
GOV. BUSH: I kinda know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to, you know, to be practical now in the Washington world, to be willing to lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles.
Jeb Bush, like Mike Huckabee before him, doesn’t have a clue about conservatism. True conservatism has a healthy libertarian streak to it, mixed with a healthy skepticism of Washington, DC-run programs. We prefer smallish programs administered at the local level because that’s the best way to ensure accountability. Gov. Bush enthusiastically supports Common Core, which is federalizing education curriculum and standardizing tests nationwide. It’s even telling school boards which text books fit with Common Core’s curriculum.
Conservatism is about giving people lots of positive options, whether we’re talking about families’ health care decisions or telling parents that they can send their children to schools that aren’t failing students.
For the last 6-8 years, Republicans had to play defense because Democrats controlled the agenda. The next Republican president will work with GOP majorities in the House and Senate. That means they’ll be setting the agenda. Their first assignment must be to fix the messes created by President Obama, Sen. Reid and Nancy Pelosi. That means finally getting the fed to shut off the QE2 spigot. That’ll require the GOP to starting over with health care reform. This time, it’s imperative to get it right. Getting America’s economy requires siding with construction unions while ignoring environmental activists on pipeline projects.
There’s no shortage of things that need fixing. When a Republican governor is elected to become the 45th president of the United States, he’ll have lots of things to fix or to get started on. Hopefully, the 45th president won’t be Jeb Bush.
Ed Morrissey’s post about Hillary’s intellectually dishonest statements about who creates jobs is statistically enlightening. Here’s what I’m talking about:
In June 2007, the Household Survey of the BLS showed that the US economy had 146.063 million jobs in June 2007, just before the increase took place. Last month’s data showed that the US economy had 146.6 million jobs, an increase of less than 500,000 in over 7 years, not “millions of jobs” as Hillary claims here. In fact, the 146.6 million is the highest it’s ever gotten since the passage of that law. In the same period, the civilian workforce participation rate has gone from 66% to 62.7%. On a population basis, there are a lot fewer people working after the last minimum wage hike, not more, and wages are actually down, not up.
Compare this to the “trickle-down” era of the Reagan presidency. When Reagan took office in January 1981, the US economy had 99.995 million jobs and the participation rate was 63.9%. By the end of his presidency in January 1989, the US economy had grown more than 16 million jobs (116.708 million total) and the participation rate had leaped to 66.5%. That covers nearly the same length of time since the last minimum wage hike (96 months vs. 89 months), but both include about five years of technical economic recovery.
At the end of the article, Ed made this statement:
At some point, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that their front-runner is not just a lousy campaigner, but perhaps just as incompetent as the President from which they’re all attempting to run away at the moment.
There’s no doubt that Hillary is a terrible campaigner. That’s a subjective opinion, though. The job creation and labor force participation rates earlier are objective, quantifiable statistics.
Another part of that last commentary is that Democrats will “have to come to grips with the fact that” their frontrunner is just “as incompetent as the President” that they’re running away from. I suspect that they already know that. I’m betting that they simply don’t care whether she’s competent or not. I’m betting that their support for her will be based totally on whether she can win in November, 2016. If the answer to that is yes, they’ll support her. If the answer to that question is no, they’ll try finding a better alternative.
The point I’m making is that today’s Democratic Party is based almost entirely on fulfilling their ideological checklist, not on doing what’s best for America. It certainly isn’t about creating jobs or making life better for the average American.
Republicans everywhere need to repeatedly remind themselves that Democrats are almost totally about gaining, then maintaining control of the levers of government. Public policy is a distant priority that they generally don’t get to.
Here’s the video of Hillary’s boneheaded statements:
It’s terrifying to say but Hillary and Obama are no Bill Clinton. That’s a frightening thought.
Technorati: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, President Obama, Minimum Wage Increase, Workforce Participation Rate, Democrats, Ronald Reagan, Trickle Down Economics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Capitalism, Conservatism, Election 2016
These days there is a lot of “if-only-Obama-could-lead-like-Reagan” talk by conservatives. I’ll leave it to historians to figure out years from now who was the better president. But what I’d argue is this: In several critical areas, Reagan had a much easier world to lead in than Obama does now.
I don’t need years to decide who the better president was. President Obama is the worst modern president, worse than even Jimmy Carter. Friedman’s argument that “Reagan had a much easier world to lead in than Obama does now” isn’t serious stuff. Obama’s world isn’t tougher to lead. It’s that President Obama won’t lead.
It’s shameful, too, that Friedman has forgotten the catastrophe that President Reagan stepped into. During the last half of Carter’s administration, it was fashionable for pundits to talk about how the world had grown too demanding for a president to handle it himself. The fashionable talk then was the need for a co-presidency. Friedman’s column didn’t dismiss this information. Friedman ignored it entirely.
When Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire”, doves like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Joe Biden criticized Reagan as being utterly naïve. Their opinion was that détente was the only way to manage the Soviet Union.
President Reagan emphatically disagreed. President Reagan was right.
The chief reason why Friedman can look back and say that President Reagan had it easy is tied directly to the quality of President Reagan’s decisions. In hindsight, it’s easy to see the wisdom of President Reagan’s strategy. President Reagan’s strategy was revolutionary and contrarian to everything that the establishment thought. The Soviet empire couldn’t be defeated, the realists told us. President Reagan will get us into WWIII with that Neanderthal thinking, they told us.
President Obama’s world is complicated, too, partially because his attachment to a failed ideology has informed him that being liked is more important than being feared. President Obama said that his administration’s first responsibility was to end wars, which sounds great until you think things through.
George Will recently said that the fastest way to end a war is to lose it. President Obama unilaterally repeatedly declared that war will be part of the past during his 2012 campaign. ISIL didn’t get the notice.
Shortly after 9/11, a reporter told Mayor Giuliani that, on 9/11, terrorists declared war on the United States. Giuliani’s response was that that isn’t true, that terrorists had been at war with the US for years, if not decades. It took 9/11 for us to finally confront the terrorists.
This paragraph needs dismantling:
Obama’s world is different. It is increasingly divided by regions of order and regions of disorder, where there is no one to answer the phone, and the main competition is not between two organized superpowers but between a superpower and many superempowered angry men. On 9/11, we were attacked, and badly hurt, by a person: Osama bin Laden, and his superempowered gang. When superempowered angry men have more open space within which to operate, and more powerful weapons and communication tools, just one needle in a haystack can hurt us.
That’s why President Obama’s strategy to pull our troops out of the world’s biggest hotspot was instantly viewed as foolish. That’s why President Bush’s strategy of taking the fight to the terrorists where they live was instantly seen by serious people as the right option. The Commander-in-Chief can’t afford to let “superempowered angry men” have “open space within which to operate.”
President Reagan understood the importance of confrontationalism in fighting the Soviet empire just like President Bush understood the importance of confronting terrorists in their sanctuaries.
It isn’t that Reagan had it easy. It’s that he knew what he was doing. President Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. That’s the chief difference between presidents.
If, God forbid, Rand Paul is elected president, the United States foreign policy will have gone from terrible to utterly incoherent and feckless. After reading this article, it’s clear that the American people know what they want. It’s clear, too, that the American people don’t have a clue what they want. Here’s what I’m talking about:
A majority of the American people is telling pollsters it wants the U.S. government to keep out of other nations’ business, that it does not want America to be at war indefinitely, and that it fears the U.S. government’s growing “homeland Security” powers—including the power to declare any American to be a terrorist and to kill him—more than it fears terrorism. Because Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has explained better than anyone why he shares these majority sentiments, he is halfway home to claiming foreign policy credibility for his 2016 presidential candidacy.
But only halfway, because the very same popular majorities also say they want the U.S. government to be much tougher against America’s enemies. Neither Paul nor any other candidate seems to have thought about what it would mean for the U.S. government to pull back from involvement in other peoples’ business, to make foreign commitments and conduct internal security according to the Constitution, while at the same time being tougher against our enemies.
It’s impossible to make sense of this gobbledygook. That’s why I won’t attempt it. There’s no doubt that Americans are tired of war. Still, they like the fact that we haven’t gotten hit with another 9/11 attack, though that will change if we don’t confront ISIL.
It’s impossible to look out for our self interests and not “meddle in other countries’ affairs.” If the United States wants to protect its interests, it’ll have to meddle in other countries’ affairs. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’d argue, in fact, that applying America’s founding principles is a force for good.
America’s worst days have happened when we’ve gone isolationist. Still, there’s a substantial portion of our population that’s always had an isolationist streak. Sen. Paul will insist that he isn’t an isolationist. He might even believe it. That doesn’t mean he isn’t an isolationist.
The United States goes isolationist when it doesn’t project military force. That doesn’t mean reflexively going to war. Ronald Reagan was a militarist but he didn’t get involved in wars. He jumped in in Grenada early in his administration and he bombed Kaddaffi’s home late in his administration.
Simply put, Reagan showed that a) he meant what he said and b) he wasn’t bashful about protecting US interests. Reagan’s projection of strength impacted the United States before he was even sworn in. In 1979, Iranian terrorists took the US Embassy in Teheran. The jet returning our diplomats didn’t clear Iranian air space until Reagan had completed his oath of office.
Sen. Paul’s live and let live foreign policy doesn’t project strength. I don’t doubt that he’d take foreign policy more seriously than President Obama but that’s a pretty low hurdle.
Simply put, our foreign policy shouldn’t be based on what polls show. It should be based on clear principles. It should be based on protecting US interests. If that ruffles feather in other countries’ capitols, that’s fine. It should start with the promise that we’ll send military aid to our allies. That includes arming the Peshmerga and the Ukrainian military.
It doesn’t mean reflexively going to war. It simply means standing up for ourselves.
Most of the doves who’ve spoken out in favor of the Obama administration’s appeasement policy towards the Russian-Ukrainian war frequently cite the fact that there’s no appetite for the United States to get involved in another war. This isn’t surprising since strawman arguments are President Obama’s specialty.
In this instance, though, it’s a non sequitur argument.
The US can and should use its military to change the equation in eastern Ukraine. It’s just that that shouldn’t mean deploying US troops to Ukraine. It should take the form of putting the military’s most lethal weaponry in the hands of Ukrainian troops.
The Ukrainian military has been asking the US for military support for months now. President Obama has rejected their requests. With there now being no doubt that the Russians are firing on airplanes, it’s time for President Obama to stop being the wimpiest president in my lifetime. It’s time he stopped dithering.
President Reagan took down the Soviet empire. President Obama isn’t doing anything to stand in President Putin’s way to reconstitute the former Soviet empire. What’s most disturbing is that President Obama apparently doesn’t recognize the peril he’s putting our allies in.
Why doesn’t President Obama understand that Russia’s slicing up of Ukraine just emboldens President Putin to attempt to threaten other nations? Doesn’t President Obama care about foreign policy?
President Reagan brought down the Soviet empire by confronting the Soviets whenever they tried meddling in other countries’ affairs. He showed them that he was committed to arming anyone who opposed the Soviets. He forced the Soviets to spend more money on their expansionist goals than they’d anticipated.
Because the Soviet economy was pretty much worthless at the time, he forced them to spend themselves into the dust bin of history. By comparison, President Obama is essentially giving President Putin a free pass with Ukraine, which enables them to spend more money on destabilizing other neighboring countries.
There’s no reason to think that the Russian economy is any stronger today than the Soviet economy was in the 1980s. Similarly, there’s no reason to think that forcing Russia to devote most of its spending on military ventures will endear itself to the Russian people.
While President Reagan was forcing the Soviets to spend tons of money on foreign military interventions, he also undercut the Soviet government in the eyes of its people. President Obama is totally missing that opportunity.
Instead, he’s playing the 98-lb. weakling who gets sand kicked in his face while President Putin plays the part of the menacing bully. That’s why the latest Fox News poll shows people thinking that 75% of people think President Putin is getting the better of things while a pathetic 14% think President Obama is getting the better of Putin.
We need a real president. We don’t need a fundraiser-in-chief. We need a president who rethinks his strategy after it’s shown it’s a disaster.
Unfortunately, instead of having a real president that knows what to do on the world stage, we’ve got President Obama.
Whether he realizes it or not, Sen. Rand Paul sounds frighteningly like President Obama. Sen. Paul’s op-ed sounds exceptionally dovish, starting with this:
President Obama has said he might use airstrikes in the future. I have also been open to the same option if it makes sense.
Notice the qualifier-filled statements from President Obama and Sen. Paul. It’d be surprising if President Obama did anything more than token air strikes. With Sen. Paul, we just don’t know, though his record is fairly isolationist and dovish. That isn’t the worst part, though. Sen. Paul’s intellectual dishonesty is frightening:
Said Perry forthrightly during a Republican presidential primary debate in 2012, “I would send troops back into Iraq.” Obviously, this is something he advocated long before the rise of ISIS. At the time, Perry urged the United States to return troops to Iraq to act as a balance against Iran, a country my colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham says we must work with to help beat back the extremists.
Does Perry now believe that we should send U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the Iranians—or to help Iran fight ISIS?
Why would Sen. Paul ask that question? First, he notes that Gov. Perry made that statement in 2012, when the situation in Iraq was dramatically different. Why does Sen. Paul automatically assume that Gov. Perry’s policy would be the same today as it was in 2012? As intellectually dishonest as Sen. Paul’s assumption is, that isn’t the part that frightens me most. This question is:
How many Americans should send their sons or daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won’t defend for themselves?
First, it assumes that Gov. Perry would send in troops, which isn’t a safe assumption. Second, it’s the wrong question. Why doesn’t Sen. Paul understand that troops deployed to Iraq wouldn’t be there to “die for a foreign country”? Why doesn’t he understand that they’d only be deployed to obliterate a terrorist training ground in the heart of Iraq?
Isn’t Sen. Paul bright enough to understand that a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East is a huge threat to the United States, not just to our allies?
This statement is frighteningly fictional:
Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.
Sen. Paul, it’s time you talked with people in the Reagan national security team. They’d tell you that he didn’t miss an opportunity to talk with dissidents jailed in the Soviet Union’s gulags. They’d tell you that he beefed up Radio Free Europe to tell dissidents that he was fighting for them. They’d tell you that diplomacy didn’t work until Reagan made it clear that he’d counter anything the Soviets would attempt to do.
The negotiations didn’t start until Reagan had frightened the bejesus out of President Gorbachev. Once he’d shown President Gorbachev who was the real superpower, then the negotiations started.
Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.
If Sen. Paul meant that Jimmy Carter left President Reagan with a crappy hand, that’s right. If Sen. Paul means that there was any doubt in President Reagan’s mind that his plan would work and work fairly quickly, the answer to that question is an emphatic no. Reagan knew that the Soviet Union’s economy was on the verge of collapse. He knew that putting pressure on the Soviets would put them on the defensive.
Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t really understand the genius of President Reagan’s foreign policy genius. There’s no question whether Reagan was a hawk. It’s just that his foreign policy strategy was multi-faceted.
Sen. Paul’s op-ed is based on supposition, not fact. It’s based on something Gov. Perry said in 2012, not this summer. It’s apparent that Sen. Paul is as accomplished as President Obama in using strawman arguments. I expect that from this president. From now on, I guess I should expect it from Sen. Paul, too.
It’s sounding more and more like Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), is planning on running for president again in 2016. This op-ed sounds like the first shot against Sen. Paul:
This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa. It’s particularly chilling when you consider that one American has already carried out a suicide bombing and a terrorist-trained European allegedly killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Yet Paul still advocates inaction, going so far as to claim in an op-ed last month in the Wall Street Journal that President Ronald Reagan’s own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion.
The thing Sen. Paul’s supporters haven’t paid attention to is the fact that President Reagan was a confrontationalist. Though he didn’t fire a shot at the Soviet Union, he constantly confronted them strategically. He put in Pershing II missiles into western Europe. Doves like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry howled at the move, saying that this would just provoke the Soviets to become more expansionist.
Gov. Perry understands what President Reagan understood then. Gov. Perry understands that a vibrant, growing economy, coupled with the right strategic vigilance and interventionism, will thwart Putin’s expansionism and ISIS’ attempt to build a caliphate where terrorists can train for their next terrorist attack.
Here’s another shot frm Gov. Perry across Sen. Paul’s bow:
Reagan identified Soviet communism as an existential threat to our national security and Western values, and he confronted this threat in every theater. Today, we count his many actions as critical to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union and the freeing of hundreds of millions from tyranny.
At the time, though, there were those who said that Reagan’s policies would push the Soviets to war. These voices instead promoted accommodation and timidity in the face of Soviet advancement as the surest path to peace. This, sadly, is the same policy of inaction that Paul advocates today.
It isn’t that Gov. Perry is pushing war. It’s that he isn’t pushing for America to stick its head in the sand. Like I said earlier, Reagan brought the Soviet empire to its knees without firing a shot.
The Soviet Union had a terrible economy. Today, Russia’s economy isn’t much better. Putin is flexing his country’s muscles because he thinks he can get away with it. That’ll end the minute the US economy starts hitting on all cylinders and the right president starts inserting itself in the world.
Again, this doesn’t require going to war, though it’ll require beefed up intel operations in the world’s nastiest corners. That won’t matter to Paul’s most paranoid supporters. Paul’s most paranoid supporters will still hear the drumbeats of war.
Sane people, however, will hear things clearly. Far more people will agree with Gov. Perry than will agree with Sen. Paul. Let the jockeying begin.
When it comes to energy issues, Rolf Westgard is worth listening to. Apparently, though, he’s developed a habit of hearing what wasn’t said:
More than 90 percent of Crimeans vote to rejoin Russia, and Russia gets ready to annex Crimea. The West protests the referendum with threats of sanctions.
We have short memories, having forgotten how Texas, New Mexico, and California were “annexed” from Mexico. Then, we didn’t even wait for a vote.
Republican war drums are rolling, accusing Obama of not getting tough. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, has blown his trumpet in stating, regarding Ukraine, that we have a “weak and indecisive president” who “invites aggression.”
He must know there is nothing militarily that any American president could or would have done to deter Putin in this situation.
That’s shameful. “Republican war drums” aren’t rolling, as Westgard accuses. The sharpest Republican foreign policy/national security minds have said that arming Ukraine while reaching missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic would tell Putin that his expansionist ambitions have consequences without going to war.
That President Obama has refused taking that step, instead opting for sending Ukrainians MREs instead of actual weapons proves President Obama is “a weak and indecisive president.” I never thought I’d live to see the say that I’d see a wimpier president than Jimmy Carter. Suffice it to say that I’ve lived to see that day.
That’s only part of how to make Putin rethink his expansionist ambitions. Last week, I heard a pundit say that Putin’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room. That’s BS. Putin’s acting like the 800-pound gorilla, which isn’t the same as being the 800-pound gorilla.
Dramatically increasing American oil and natural gas production would dramatically hurt the Russian economy, which is heavily reliant on oil revenues. Those of us who lived through the 1980s remember that President Reagan used a multi-pronged approach in bringing the then-Soviet Union to its knees. First, Reagan built up the military, which Jimmy Carter had decimated. Next, Reagan made the U.S. economy the envy of the world, ushering in 6 straight quarters of economic growth that exceeded 5% annual growth. Finally, he deregulated the oil industry, which devastated the Soviet economy.
That’s how President Reagan acted forcefully while demolishing the Soviet Union without firing a shot. That’s what mainstream Republicans are pushing for today. That’s the opposite of Dr. Westgard’s accusations. The difference is that I can verify my statements. Dr. Westgard can’t verify his accusations.
Technorati: Russia, Vladimir Putin, Soviet Empire, Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine, President Obama, Jimmy Carter, Appeasement, Democrats, President Reagan, Missile Defense, Economic Growth, Deregulation, Oil Revenues, GOP
After reading Rand Paul’s op-ed about Ronald Reagan, it’s clear he doesn’t understand President Reagan. This part is particularly upsetting:
Many forget today that Reagan’s decision to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan an appeaser. In the Middle East, Reagan strategically pulled back our forces after the tragedy in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 Marines, realizing the cost of American lives was too great for the mission.
There were Reagan supporters who would’ve done anything for him who didn’t have a clue about President Reagan’s strategy. Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t either:
There is a time for military action, such as after 9/11. There is a time for diplomacy and the strategic use of soft power, such as now with Russia. Diplomacy requires resolve but also thoughtfulness and intelligence.
What President Reagan did wasn’t “soft power.” What he did was show the world, especially the Soviet presidents of the time, that he was committed to simultaneously waging war by rebuilding the U.S. military and through showing the Soviets that their economy couldn’t keep pace with a U.S. economy that was growing like gangbusters.
In short, President Reagan’s idea of “soft power” was to scare the bejesus out of Soviets militarily while burying them economically.
As for President Reagan’s conservative critics, they literally littered the landscape. It was 10 times worse with Democrats. As a newly elected senator, John Kerry said that President Reagan’s installing Pershing II missiles in western Europe would destabilize the U.S.-Russian relationship. Six years later, the Berlin Wall was smashed by liberty-loving East Berliners.
Apparently, Sen. Paul didn’t notice that President Reagan didn’t start serious negotiations with the Soviets until his 2nd term. Once, when a reporter asked President Reagan why he hadn’t held a summit with his Russian counterpart, President Reagan replied “Because they keep dying on me.”
Old school ‘experts’ thought it was unthinkable for a U.S. president not to have a yearly summit with the Soviet leader. President Reagan was a master negotiator. He wasn’t worried about doing things for appearances sake. President Reagan didn’t start negotiating with the Soviets until he’d laid the foundation for intimidating Gorbachev.
Another thing President Reagan should be praised for is his fierce insistence on winning and losing. When asked what his strategy was towards the Soviets, President Reagan simply said “We win, they lose.” The world was stunned when they heard that. They didn’t like it, either, when President Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” He was right in calling them evil.
What else would you call an expansionist-minded, murderous empire that throws dissidents into harsh gulags? That’s where Putin got his worldview.
I’ve talked frequently about the Reagan Doctrine, which I describe as President Reagan utilizing the threat of military force and economic superiority to negotiate the USSR into history’s dust-bin of failed ideologies.
It worked in toppling the Soviet Union. It’ll certainly work now in toppling Putin. At this point, we have proof that Sen. Paul and President Obama haven’t grasped that concept, much less unleashed its power.
Technorati: Reagan Doctrine, Ronald Reagan, Tear Down This Wall, Cold War, Strategic Defense Initiative, Pershing II Missiles, Republicans, Rand Paul, John Kerry, President Obama, Appeasers, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, Gulags, Russia, Soviet Union