I’ve made a concerted effort to ignore most of the anti-Reagan carping from the press and the far Left over the last week. It’s no suprise that the Guardians, New York Times, Ted Ralls and Jeff Cohens and Fidel Castros of the world weren’t sorry to see the Gipper depart. It’s also deeply comforting to know that all of the above still have to wake up every morning realizing that Communism is dead–and knowing in their hearts that Ronald Reagan killed it. In this case, there’s no need to ask, “Why do they hate him?” The answer is self-evident: because he destroyed that which they held most dear.
But even the most dedicated media filter can’t help but let through the media/Leftist meme that Reagan was simply fortunate in his timing; it was really Saint Mikhail of Stavropol who “ended the Cold War.” This quaint fiction ignores the history of the 1980’s, to say nothing of their happy ending. Gorbachev, the last dictator of the Soviet Union, “ended” that conflict by losing it, and his own grasp of empire, in a popular revolution.
Lest we forget, this dictator did not “step down,” or “release” power–he was removed by his own people. Lest we forget, just months after being awarded a Nobel Prize for not invading his neighbors (by those standards, every U.S. President should earn the award for years in which they fail to march on Canada and Mexico), Gorbachev sent KGB black beret thugs into Lithuania and Latvia, where they murdered numerous pro-democracy activists. Noting that Gorbachev was the “least bad” of the USSR’s sordid pantheon of despots comes close to the very definition of damning with faint praise.
As George Bush (41) aptly noted, Communism didn’t fall. It was pushed.
But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the people who were there, most particularly those who were behind the Wall:
I was going to open up the commentary today with the Lech Walesa WSJ column, but Martini Boy beat me to it overnight. Still more than worth the read.
Another Steve re-run, but still relevant for today, is this note from a 2002 Michael Novak column:
“You know what caused the downfall of the Soviet Union? You know what did it?” demanded a senior [Soviet] general, a little flush with vodka.
Some racked their brains with thoughts of missile defense, perpetual shortages of everything from soap to vodka, the U.S. military buildup. The general banged his fist again. “That damn speech about the evil empire! That’s what did it!” The general was standing now, and to the questioning eyes of one American he added: “It was an evil empire. It was.”
Also note these stories, first this about former subjects of the Soviet Union honoring Reagan, and another here, and finally honors from leaders of now-free states liberated by Reagan’s policies. They will not be saying the same things about Gorbachev on the day he goes to his own reward.
Here’s another column from a freed Soviet, who recalls,
On the morning of April 20, 1989, the day my family leaving Moscow, a knock came on my parents’ door. It was our next-door neighbor. Ours being one of the Soviet Union’s cramped, communal apartments, I mean that quite literally. Waving a bottle of vodka, he insisted my father drink a toast. He wanted to celebrate our new freedom, which also meant his: By leaving him our half of the apartment, we were bypassing Soviet restrictions on the sale of state property.
Agreeing, my father suggested they toast to Gorbachev. After all, our neighbor was a common day laborer, unlikely to be up on the complex realities of international politics; and more than likely to have imbibed his fair share of politburo propaganda, which Gorbachev, in his hick Caucasus accent, spouted daily. Our neighbor only laughed. “Gorbachev? You think Gorbachev gave me this apartment? We’ll drink to Reagan. Reagan gave me this apartment.”
He gave you a lot more than that, comrade. And I’m sure you know it today.