You can tell when people were great by the controversy they engender upon their death from the left. I was bemused by CNN’s coverage of Margaret Thatcher’s death pronouncing how she had put millions of people out of work, while Fox defined how she had privatized numerous industries that were under government control, subsequently making these industries competitive and profitable.
Kevin Foley’s column in the Friday MDJ certainly dismisses Ronald Reagan’s success as happenstance of being at the right place at the right time. I lived through Reagan’s pronounced and defined agenda, having served in West Germany for over seven years. Reagan in no uncertain terms brought the Berlin Wall down by capitalizing on the Soviet Union’s weaknesses, its Cold War militarism, the Arms Race and non-productive labor.
The Soviet Union’s communist expansion following World War II had one espoused objective — world domination. Country after country fell to Communist authority and the Iron Curtain held captive millions and millions of enslaved laborers. Theirs was a real fear that as the Soviets built more and more weapons that they might be able to achieve a military advantage that could overcome Western Europe’s defenses. This was no game. This was the Soviet Union’s objective.
Over time however, the Communist system of government control and redistribution failed. As the Soviet Union brought more arms to bear on the border, the West in turn matched the Soviets’ firepower. This equality of forces preserved and defended Western Europe.
I was there in Europe when Reagan deployed the Tactical Nuclear weapon systems (Pershing and Cruise missiles) dramatically ramping up the arms standoff. Reagan took what was called at that time a “hollow Army,” modernized it and deployed it with such overwhelming swiftness and clear defined objective that the Soviet Union could not compete.
So I would say Mr. Foley is correct in some respects. The Soviet Union’s Communist economics were at the root of their collapse, but it was Reagan and Thatcher that made it blindingly obvious that a capitalist system based on sound economics would not relent. Their strength defined by their bold actions dramatically pushed on the Iron Curtain’s door and opened it. That’s no myth!
Lt. Col. John Woodward
U.S. Army (Ret.)