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« Math isn't over | Main | Why would a liberal talk about Reagan? »

December 04, 2003

Comments

Richard Cizik

What a helpful piece for filling in some of my own understanding of the genesis of this incredible speech, given by a giant of a man, Ronald Reagan. We all ought to pause, say a prayer, and thank the Lord for our 40th President, and the wise staff, who labored on behalf of freedom and liberty.

While the entire nation mourns the loss of Ronald Reagan, those of us who shared his vision, hopes, and dreams, feel that a father-figure of sorts has died. As (Secretary of War) Stanton said at Lincoln's deathbed, "now he belongs to the ages."

Lauren Davinroy

Thank You Mr. Richard Cizik for posting this and we all mourn the loss of President Reagan. Thank you Mr. President Reagan for everything....

Laika's Last Woof

Though I was just a little kid I remember how Reagan's election made us all feel. I was too young to know the word "malaise" as anything but sandwich spread, but I knew something was wrong.
Under Carter we elementary school kids joked about the "Killer Rabbit" and felt our country was weak, helpless, impotent, a perpetual victim. Sappy songs played across the country as a response to the Iranian hostage crisis, "I want a world where I can speak and know that I'll be free," "I want a world that's full of love," "oh, we're the voice of freedom," and so on, while our people rotted in the Ayatollah's newest prison, and I thought how hollow those words would ring to one of the actual hostages, how weak we must be as a nation if facile songs about peace, love, and freedom are the best we could do.
How I hated that song! They forced us to sing that mockery in school throughout the hostage crisis.
Vietnam and Carter robbed us of our dignity, our honor, our safety, our respect, and our credibility.
Reagan gave it back, and you could tell he would bring us back just from the way he spoke. In my Manichean child's mind he was more savior than politician.
Some years later that great and wise President said, "Tear Down This Wall," and down it came. Our instincts had proven right.
The popular song went, "Right here, right now, there is no other place I'd rather be," and this time it fit -- thanks to Ronald Reagan.
Iranian hostage crisis to Berlin Wall are the perfect bookends to symbolize the transformation brought by the Reagan Revolution.

Boratino

And now we have Mr Putin's "Evil USA" Munich speech. USA has become the world policeman and bully, and has lost any moral authority.

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/281620.shtml

[Copyrighted material snipped. Summarizing and quotes would be acceptable.]

jj mollo

Do you realize how silly this all sounds? You sound like a caricature.

... the United States ... is now sweeping the world, scooping up all these other countries in the name of capitalist democracy ... the American press is now cheering it, justifying it in the increasingly ambivalent names of capitalism and democracy. Worse, the American people are cheering it, too, something that's never really happened in U.S. history ... the people support a war that they know is based on lies. ...

For one thing, the American people are not cheering on this war. Even the people who are supporting it are very ambivalent. Most Americans do not like war and it is very hard to talk us into it. The press is mostly negative. Look at the political cartoons that appear in our newspapers every day insulting Bush and condemning the war in Iraq.

Talk about the US "sweeping" across the world is just simple-minded. You make it sound like the Nazi Blitzkrieg. The US spent 12 years warning Iraq to behave and at least a year threatening to take military action if Iraq did not comply with the Gulf War surrender terms. Now, the Afghanistan deal was a little like Blitzkrieg, I admit, but all we did was support one side over the other. The subsequent democratically elected government has asked us to remain.

Maybe you're referring to the way we swept the Soviet Union into the dustbin of history? Or the way that democratic movements sprung up all over Eastern Europe. It only took us 40 years and I think we ought to put at least a little of the blame for this "catastrophe" on the citizens of those countries, seeing that no US soldiers ever put their boots on the ground there.

You read too much nonsense, Boratino. This John Kaminski is a simple conspiracy theorist. He believes that Israel killed Kennedy, King and John Lennon. He believes that, "The greatest evil in human history is material production." Do you believe that? He believes that the Christmas Tsunami was artificially created by a nuclear device. He believes that circumcision is an evil practice that interferes with the "third-eye" chakra, whatever that is. He believes that terrorist beheading videos are staged by the CIA and filmed in Abu Ghraib.

I admit he's a great writer, and writes with passion, but he is not grounded in reality. Try reading some more mainstream history. You'd be better off with the other Kaminski, John P. Kaminski. Better would be The Struggle for Europe by William I. Hitchcock as a good starting point.

jj mollo

Looks like I just swung at a passed ball.

Frank Warner

The link is there if anyone wants to check out the seams.

Boratino

I should give some due credits to maintainer of this site for fre speech is alive in this site.

Mostly, US sites censored heavily, though, i.e., I was banned from US sponsored sites for placing info on misfortunes of journalist R. Sharipov from Uzbekustan in USA. He was apparently beaten, broke his hands, was unemployed, NSA officials snubbed him with racist questions, etc. USA, with Racis Patriot Act (new segregation law), becoming KKK America yet again.

Ruslan Sharipov: The US Administration does not care about refugees from Uzbekistan

http://enews.ferghana.ru/article.php?id=1884

More then two years of immigration behind him, Sharipov decided to go back to Uzbekistan. Official Tashkent’s reaction is not known so far. Uzbek Consulate in New York is taking its time, reviewing the journalist's case. Sharipov claims in the meantime that there is no longer that freedom in the United States that everybody is seeking.

Jazz

this is one of the most inspirational speeches i have ever read it inspired me to get off my keister and play me saxamophone in front of a live audience even know i failed miserably at least i went there and tried my best and now i found my true place in life im an accountent in new york and i couldnt be happier!

Ben Gilbert

All Reagan was good for is give speeches he was an evil man and destroyed the middle class when he broke the unions back and went about deregulating the banks I should know I was of his victims I will hate this man till the day I die and I hope that if there is a hell he is up to his neck in it.

Frank Warner

The middle class only expanded under Reagan, and his economic policies set the stage for 25 years of nearly uninterrupted expansion, with a few minor bumps along the way. His earned income tax credit also encouraged the poor to find jobs and get off welfare rolls.

Sure, the air-traffic controllers lost their jobs under Reagan, but that was only because they went on strike, and striking was illegal for air-traffic controllers.

Reagan's democratic leadership demoralized the totalitarian Soviet Union and helped to chase the Red Army out of Afghanistan. His resolve set the stage for the liberation of hundreds of millions of people in Eastern Europe and, eventually, in the former Soviet Union itself.

Reagan also negotiated the first-ever reduction of nuclear arsenals. And he granted amnesty for the 3 million illegal aliens in the U.S. with a law that was supposed to guarantee secure borders and no more illegal aliens.

Other than that, I can see why you're all upset, Ben.

David Smith

Frank Warner, Are you kidding? Did Reagan's economic policies set stage for 25 years for uninterrupted expansion? Did you forget that the next incumbent lost on the "economy stupid" slogan? Reagan's economic policies only helped to quadruple national debt from $900B to $3.4T, and put the economy on a debt spiral.

On foreign policy, only good thing Reagan did was reduction of nuclear arsenals. It is ridiculous to claim that cold war ended because of his "evil" speech. It simply ended because of the collapse the Soviet economy, just in the same way as of Greece now. Reagan was a mere bystander. Any other President at that time could have claimed that! Reagan, being a Hollywood star, was good in dialogue delivery, that's all. With all the tough talk, he negotiated with terrorists. Wait, it is even worse. He cut a clandestine deal (prohibited by Congress) and it was an impeachable offense. He messed up middle east. He groomed Bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein, and tried to pit one Muslim nation against the other. The 911 is actually his policy chickens coming to roost (as Reverend Wright would put in a coarse language or Ron Paul would put in a refined politically correct language).

George

Let's stick to the facts here. The U.S. debt didn't hit $3.4T until 1991 -- two years after Reagan was gone. The actual U.S. debt when Reagan left office was about $2.7T -- a little over 50% of the U.S. GDP.

Reagan's eight years of spending (which amounted to about 33% of the U.S. GDP) is chump change when compared to Obama's debt run up which is on track to be 100% of GDP if he is given eight years.

Frank Warner

David Smith, you have a lot to learn. Reagan wisely exploited every weakness in the Soviet system, pushed the Communists when a push was needed and softened his approach when that was more likely to hasten the Evil Empire's fall. Reagan also effectively reminded the world of the inherently creative, protective and curative powers of freedom.

He had other notable achievements. He reached a deal with a mostly Democratic Congress to extend the life of Social Security, applying real math. He gave amnesty to all illegal immigrants in exchange for a program that all sides promised would stop illegal immigration and allow robust, but orderly, assimilating legal immigration. And as noted above, Reagan negotiated the first-ever reduction in nuclear arsenals.

To make sure the world's forces of freedom were stronger than the armies of tyranny, he increased defense spending. For that to happen, he had to agree to congressional Democrats' demands for even bigger non-defense spending increases. That added to the national debt, but the debt as a percentage of the economy remained small enough to allow other free-market policies to pay off. And by the way, those economic policies included major curbs on corporate tax loopholes.

It was the start of a golden age of prosperity. Except for a couple of historically mild recessions, the period from 1983 to 2008 was the biggest expansion of wealth for every economic class in American history.

Groomed Saddam Hussein? Pitted Muslim against Muslim? Saddam invaded Iran in 1980, months before Reagan took office. It was a year after the hard-line theocrats took over in Tehran. Almost all of Saddam's weapons came from Russia, and if Reagan's foreign policy tilted slightly toward Saddam, it was only to contain Iran's fanaticism.

As for bin Laden, Reagan had nothing to do with him. Reagan aided the Afghans fighting the Soviet invaders, demoralizing the Soviets and clearly exposing the Communists' fundamentally oppressive goals.

Bin Laden came late to the Afghanistan battlefield, and he was there on the Saudis' dime. He had no help from the U.S. As for the "chickens coming home to roost," Reagan's policies relieved Afghans of Soviet aggression. Among Afghans, that sowed goodwill toward America and all democrats.

Where Muslims in Afghanistan held grievances against the West, these generally were points of contention that pre-dated Reagan. Reagan opened long-locked doors in eastern Europe and western Asia. In a few countries, unfortunately, self-serving leaders shut and bolted the doors all over again.

We'd do well to use Reagan's example, to relentlessly focus our words and deeds on freeing those still suffering the evil that is tyranny. As Reagan knew, a full life begins with a breath of freedom. In large part thanks to him, hundreds of millions more people live free today than did 30 years ago.

Orville

It's rather ironic that Reagan referenced the famous Churchill speech. Reagan was not the first to use the phrase, "Evil Empire". That phrase was published earlier in a Chicago Tribune editorial on Churchill's speech. While the Tribune condemned the treatment of Eastern Europe, they were more willing to criticize Churchill's speech and call for policing the world. The "evil empire" they referred to was the British empire, "representing slavery."
History is ironic. The Chicago Tribune was a voice of Conservative Republicanism then. You'd almost never hear a Conservative Republican talk that way these days. Rather they praise policing the world...and even consider "anti-colonialist" an insult!

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