Reagan Then, The World Now

While surfing the internet I came across an interesting site. The Miller Center for Public Policy. What makes it so interesting???? Ronald Reagan that’s what!

Chopped partially out of context, a hack move I normally would avoid, but the point leads you to see where Reagan would have stood on the issue of Iran and the recent statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad(as if we really questioned how Reagan would stand on today’s Iran). This is taken from a speech before the UK’s Parliament on June 8, 1982.

“There is first the threat of global war. No President, no Congress, no Prime Minister, no Parliament can spend a day entirely free of this threat. And I don’t have to tell you that in today’s world the existence of nuclear weapons could mean, if not the extinction of mankind, then surely the end of civilization as we know it.”

Reagan goes on later in the speech referring to Winston Churchill and his thoughts:

Sir Winston Churchill refused to accept the inevitability of war or even that it was imminent. He said, “I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines. But what we have to consider here today while time remains is the permanent prevention of war and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy as rapidly as possible in all countries.”

And in critiquing the Soviet Union he lays out the case against Iran’s leadership:

The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.

This is not cultural imperialism, it is providing the means for genuine self-determination and protection for diversity. Democracy already flourishes in countries with very different cultures and historical experiences. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy. Who would voluntarily choose not to have the right to vote, decide to purchase government propaganda handouts instead of independent newspapers, prefer government to worker-controlled unions, opt for land to be owned by the state instead of those who till it, want government repression of religious liberty, a single political party instead of a free choice, a rigid cultural orthodoxy instead of democratic tolerance and diversity?

And finally right before closing his speech Reagan quotes Churchill one more time:

During the dark days of the Second World War, when this island was incandescent with courage, Winston Churchill exclaimed about Britain’s adversaries, “What kind of a people do they think we are? “Well, Britain’s adversaries found out what extraordinary people the British are. But all the democracies paid a terrible price for allowing the dictators to underestimate us. We dare not make that mistake again. So, let us ask ourselves, “What kind of people do we think we are?” And let us answer, “Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well.”

Personally I see alot of similarities between Iran’s current leadership and the former Soviet Union. A knack for scape goating as a lever for building their own international cadre of dictators. Watch the future as Iran will attempt to buy itself legitimacy from failing communist regimes around the world. I see Iran’s current tactics of reaching out to Cuba and Venezuela being very similar to how the Soviets did before Reagan called their bluff.

I usually avoid the Iraq debate because there is no middle ground to discuss but let it be said now that for us to fail in Iraq is to give that much more legitimacy to racist, genocidal dictators.