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4th July - A Presidential Celebration

BBC News - Why London is getting a statue of Ronald Reagan

A statue of Ronald Reagan will be unveiled near the US embassy in London on Monday. How did this come about?

Inevitably, the effort to "preserve and promote" Reagan's legacy comes with a big injection of political spin. A quotation attributed to Lady Thatcher, "Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot," is etched on to the Reagan statue's plinth.

The epitaph glosses over the pair's good fortune in arriving in power just as the rot inherent in the Soviet system had fatally weakened the whole structure of the society.

On the domestic front, both succeeded in reining in the unions but ultimately failed in the larger goal. The welfare state in America and Britain remains in place and politicians tamper with it at their peril ....

Enough of that mean spirit....


Something often ignored by historians is that Jimmy Carter was intent on making the U.S. a third world power. He made cuts in our military and ceded power around the world. The Soviets began a massive military buildup seemingly in response to this opportunity. Then came Reagan who stopped and modestly reversed the military decline. The Soviets continued to try to gain an advantage but had lost the momentum and couldn't catch up. They finally spent themselves into bankruptcy. Who was responsible for the Soviet collapse? If you hate Reagan and conservatives then you will think it was just bad luck. If you like Reagan and freedom then you believe he called their bluff and won. Whatever! The more important point was that in the time since then we have squandered the opportunity. The Russians are rebuilding and want to resume their former position in the world. China is building a stronger military and two or three small countries seem committed to becoming agressive world powers. Maybe we will all see nuclear war break out and maybe not. I don't see how it can be avoided. It is just a matter of when and where.

We take our victories when and where we can, both large and small...Well done President Reagan.

At least the statue does a little to counter the EU propaganda machine's claims that the Cold War was "won" by the EU and not NATO.

It's a funny thing but I cannot remember a single one of the Western commentators, Kremlinologists and "experts" who prophesied the downfall of the Soviet Union. I guess that it was inevitable with hindsight. The only people who did get it right were people like Solzhenitsin and nearly everybody thought that was just wishful thinking by nutty Russians who just weren't properly attuned to the modern age and the blessings of "progressive" government (even if it was a tiny bit extreme at times).

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher may just have been lucky that they took their respective and joint stands when they did - but there was no great wave of support from supposedly informed opinion.

Whilst it was something I always thought would be nice, I never expected to see Leningrad replaced by St. Petersburg.

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