Ronald Reagan and Hosni Mubarak

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  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Good post. Go Steelers.Report

  2. Ronald Reagan freed millions of people. Ask one of them how they feel about him.Report

    • Avatar Rtod in reply to tom van dyke says:

      I’m a fan of Reagan, and I have to ask who are the millions of people you are referring to?Report

      • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Rtod says:

        Black South Africans? No, wait…that’s not right.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to mark boggs says:

          Didn’t the US pass some sort of sanctions against South Africa in 1985?

          Is the problem that he signed the bill for them reluctantly instead of enthusiastically?

          What would you have had Reagan do? Invade? (Would the argument be that, certainly, we’d have been greeted with flowers?)

          There are sooooo many things worth yelling at him about. Not doing enough with regards to South Africa given that he *DID* sign the sanction treaty seems… odd.

          Are there people who consider themselves free because of him? Anywhere? “NOT IN SOUTH AFRICA!!!”

          Yeah, yeah. And Obama’s Peace Prize wasn’t for helping South Africa either. That seems immaterial to what he was actually being praised *FOR*.

          Hey, how’s this? “At least Reagan wasn’t Bush II.”Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            He fought the sanctions. He did not want sanctons or any presure on the Apartheid regime. He did not want to do anything to presure SA towards ending aparthied. He wanted to support them.

            Maybe the El Salvadorans should thank Ronnie for their freedom. His support of various murdering bastards was a sore point for some people.

            Yeah the Soviets feel during his time, which he was part of just like all the cold warriors since the end of ww2. Gorby and some stupid union in Poland might have had a small part to play.

            But to Ronnie’s credit he was willing to sign disarmament treaties. He pushed more for treaties and was more willing to listen to others then his acolytes want to remember. Ronnie was attacked a lot, at times unfairly. But of all the things to defend him on, why his inaction on and support of SA?Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to greginak says:

              How obtuse.

              2004:“As the world paused to remember the sacrifices of Allied troops 60 years ago on D-Day, leaders such as former Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reflected on Reagan’s influence in bringing democracy to those starved for it behind the Iron Curtain.

              “Hungary and Europe do not forget Ronald Reagan’s help and his support for the former communist countries,” Orban, 41, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

              “Mr. Reagan, along with Pope John Paul II, was one of the architects who dismantled communism in eastern Europe and stopped the expansion of the Soviet Union,” said Ivo Samson, an analyst with the Slovak Foreign Policy Association.

              “The fact that today Bulgaria is a member of NATO could happen only after the efforts of this great American president. His name will forever remain in history,” said Petko Bocharov, a prominent Bulgarian journalist.

              http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=35490

              Reagan, 1986:

              “The root cause of South Africa’s disorder is apartheid–that rigid system of racial segregation, wherein black people have been treated as third-class citizens in a nation they helped to build.

              America’s view of apartheid has been, and remains, clear. Apartheid is morally wrong and politically unacceptable. The United States cannot maintain cordial relations with a government whose power rests upon the denial of rights to a majority of its people based on race. If South Africa wishes to belong to the family of Western nations, an end to apartheid is a precondition. Americans, I believe, are united in this conviction. Second, apartheid must be dismantled. Time is running out for the moderates of all races in South Africa.”

              http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1079/is_v86/ai_4517352/

              Disagree if you want, ankle-bite if necessary. The academy and the chattering class will do anything to deny the man his due. But please, don’t be obtuse.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Using the term “chattering class” to mean “liberals” was at least superficially plausible back when George Will could flatter himself that he was a lone, brave voice. It makes no sense in the age of Limbaugh, Hannity, Malkin, Savage, Palin, Levin, Hewitt, O’Reilly, Goldberg, etc. when 90% of the volume of chatter is mindless right-wing bilge.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Oh crimany. Ronnie made speechs about Apartheid being bad but did not want to do anything about it. he had to be forced into.

                Really you are quoting politicians speechs as proof of something. Certainly Ronnie shares credit for the USSR falling, nobody questions that. However the soviets were falling apart by the late 70’s early 80’s. They were going bye bye no matter what. The Reagan military build up started under Carter, but like i said, the soviets were toast. Gorby came in trying to manage their fall as gracefully as he could. Credit to Ronnie yes, but the belief that without him the soviets would have survived is silly.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to greginak says:

                Whatever. I saw this kabuki coming with the open-ended obtuse and leading question. No thanks. Break out your pointy-heads, try to play the race card against him. Reagan’s greatness is beyond anyone’s poor power to add or detract, which is why I said to ask the people he freed. They know.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

                That is, you’re engaged in the same “don’t bother me with facts” hagiography as Bachman.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Great, excellent, excellent points, Tom. I think alot of the folks are still living in Sandinistian fantasyland with their Communist hero, Danny Ortega, (thank God for the Contras) riding in on his white horse to save the world from that Yankee imperialist Ronald Reagan. I think President Reagan is America’s greatest president-and by a very, very, large margin. I couldn’t be happier than to see his visage sculpted into Mt. Rushmore–I’ll happily do the labor for free! And to the intelligentsia, why don’t you, for starters, ask a few citizens of these countries what they think of President Reagan: East Germany, Poland, the entire USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria.

                And Ted Kennedy should have been tried, convicted and executed for crimes of treason (we’ll let Mary Jo Koepechne rest for now–he swam to safety while letting his “date” slowly die a long, painful death). Teddy FatBoy Kennedy used the powers of his good offices to secretly meet with members of the KGP and other Soviet intelligence officials in an attempt to thwart the election of President Reagan by using American media to paint a friendly picture of the USSR and Andropov, while at the same time, painting a picture of President Reagan as a reckless, militaristic, warmonger. These are Kennedy’s plans and words, not the KGBs. If you don’t believe me, read the documents yourself–they were made public, thanks to Yeltsin.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to greginak says:

                The ‘won the Cold War’ narrative forgets too much history. Reagan’s career was one large flip flop in regards to the Soviet Union. In the 70’s the most dramatic development was Nixon’s opening relations with China. This was premised on rejecting a major right-wing meme about Communism, namely that it was monolithic and so fundamentally at odds with freedom that co-existence was impossible. (Basically a lot of commentary by the low brow right in regards to Islam basically is taking the assertion and just changing the names around….’We are at war with Eurasia, we have always been at war with Eurasia!!’)

                The right is pretty good at pounding on an idea no matter how much reality refutes it (see supply side tax cuts), but sometimes when they actually have power they are forced to be realistic. Nixon, who was previously known for his anti-communism, took the opposite premise. The right was ballastic. They argued that you could see the Communist world was never going to cease war against the free world, just look at these quotes from Karl Marx! They argued that China and the USSR were very close, any ‘splits’ were just a ruse to con the US into thinking that we can play the master chess players in the Kremlin…. If only the US did more anti-communism, more playing up to anti-communist 3rd world dictators, more direct fighting, more arms buildup etc. Attempts to cast the world as a bit more complicated were mocked as niave…(including the idea that we might have other threats besides communism, such as, say, radical Islamic terrorists….as a side note, this is why Israel is an issue that crosses party lines. Back then Israel was a mixed bag when it came to the right. With its sometimes explicitly socialist gov’ts coupled with the fact that it made trouble for our relations with explictly anti-Communist but authoritarin Arab regimes like Saudi Arabia the right wasn’t united behind Israel the way it is now. I can recall watching Jimmy Swaggart on the TV preaching if we ‘just got out of Israel’ we’d have no problems in the Middle East, ambivalence on Israel is clearly evident in some paleocons like Pat Buchann).

                History, though, proved the right wrong. While theologically commited to a ‘world revolution’, communist governments had gotten quite comfortable with a status quo of co-existence with the west. The stock character from thrillers, the Russian official who parries with his Western counterparts here and there only to end the day sharing a drink of vodka with them and wax philosophical wasn’t too far from the truth. If the US had surrendered to the USSR they probably wouldn’t have known what to do with it. Likewise communism ceased to be monolithic. On the edge, client states didn’t fear the heavy hand of Stalinism which was dead for decades. They became hungry demanders of welfare from the center (see Castro). In the core divisions were there from almost the beginning. We now know, for example, that the USSR and China almost ended up at war with each other and had multiple clashes where their troops fired on on another.

                What’s ironic about this is that while the right refused to believe this about communism, in a different context if you asked them what was wrong with communism they probably would have predicted it. A system that put so much power in one party or one man would almost certainly not remain true to any philosophical calling (like liberating the working class) but would instead seek first to expand their personal power and then seek to preserve the status quo. How could communism remain monolithic when all of history has shown any authoritarian Empire generates tremendous instability in the top leadership (see Rome & China)…

                Anyway Reagan came into office as a right winger. Out with negotiations and arms treaties, those crafty smart Soviets always outwit our dull negotiators a the table! Try to engage Communism with hot and semi-hot actions at the edge (but then the spectre of Vietnam was still infuential, we’d have to wait till George W Bush before full international adventurism came back). And, of course, continue Carter’s arms build up. And Dems more or less went along. Yea there was some back and forth on the details, debate about various weapons systems like the B1 Bomber and Mx Missile and later ‘star wars’, but the Dems controlled Congress and could have stopped Reagan in his tracks if they wanted too.

                Reagan, though, did an about face with Gorby. Like Nixon, he reassessed the nature of Communism as it existed in the real world. He determined that the system inside the USSR might be able to mellow and reform itself after all. Negotiations started again, and just like with Nixon the right went crazy. Reagan was branded as a fool and a sell out (I recall reading a far right wing Catholic magazine my mom used to get, never be fooled that the left was mean to Reagan, no measure of mockery was spared for Reagan including using his wife’s penchant for astrology against him). But the right was wrong, the USSR was changing for real (remember the right maintained till the end, even after the end, that the USSR was strong and had no real weaknesses….if things looked otherwise it was just well coordinated ruse to make the West feel too comfortable).

                When the end came, I think it took everyone by surprise, including Reagan. But as people forget the facts the construction of a narrative begins. The narrative now is that the USSR was super strong in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Reagan, though, engaged in an arms race with them and that ‘bankrupted’ them….esp. when they saw that round II would be Star Wars which would be even more expensive than round I’s more conventional weapons and nuclear missiles. At some point there’s some fuzzy economic collapse and then communism is dead.

                But this narrative doesn’t really fit very well if you look too carefully. First of all North Korea shows us military states do not really go bankrupt. 80% of the population can be eating grass and the military will not get a single cut. Second, an ‘arms race’ needn’t be that expensive since the entire premise of the Cold War was one giant bluff. The US builds 100 missiles. The USSR announces it will build 200. The right wing in the US helps the USSR by declaring the US is ‘losing’, etc. In reality the USSR claims to have built 200, only really built 130 and of those 60 at any moment are off line due to lack of spare parts or shoddy construction. Ironically in the US, if the claim is 100 missiles were built 100 were probably built and if 5 are offline due to shoddy workmanship the left and the media rakes the administration over the coals for its ‘giveaways’ to the defense industry. Basically the US has to spend real money on its arms buildup because of its free press and competitive political system. The USSR gets to bluff its way around it because they have a controlled press and no political competition. The arms race narrative only works in hindsight. At the time the right wanted an arms race because they saw a war with the USSR as inevitable. The problem with the narrative is that it’s premised on a bluff that’s never called. 200 missile silos appear like the USSR has won over the US, if neither side never actually launches anything from them.

                More importantly if an aggressive military build up was all that was really needed to topple Communism then the narrative does a real disservice to previous history in the name of mythologizing Reagan. The US engaged in a massive buildup after the WWII demobilization ended. The US didn’t just engage communism in bluffs but in hot wars in Korea and Vietnam that dwarfed anything Reagan did with Nicargaria or Grenada. The US was the first to build the hydrogen bomb, the ICBM, the spy plane, the nuclear sub etc. The narrative tarnishes the US by making believe the only time we were serious about military innovation was Reagan’s Mx missile and Star Wars.

                And likewise Star Wars was never much of an economic or military threat to the USSR. At best the US would have gotten a system that could take down 100-200 ICBMS for a few Trillion dollars. The cost to the Soviet Union to build an extra 200 ICBMs, peanuts. Likewise there’s no reason to think the planers in the USSR wouldn’t have viewed Star Wars like most previous innovations. They would let the US spend the serious R&D money and then get the weapons on the cheap by basically copying or stealing the designs from the US, that was basically how they got the nuclear bomb to begin with (Ohhh BTW, it’s often forgotten that Reagan wanted to offer the USSR Star Wars technology for free….another reason the right wasn’t quite so happy with Reagan the person versus the later Reagan the myth).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                However the soviets were falling apart by the late 70?s early 80?s.

                This goes against the conventional wisdom at the time, mind.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                There were peeps in europe who saw the ussr for what is was: a failing empire. But the cold warriors only saw the soviets as immensely strong and on the verge of winning. They were blind to reality and trapped in a mind set. The cold warriors couldn’t see that we had won, which is why they didn’t believe the ussr was gone even when it completely went in the late 80’sReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Sure. Von Mises was asking “if they’re so friggin’ competitive with capitalism, why are we sending them grain? We should stop sending them grain!”

                He was immediately accused of wanting to starve people, of course.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to greginak says:

                Reagan very much supported sending grain. He accused Carter, who embargoed the USSR in reaction to its Afghanistan invasion, of using ‘food as a weapon’Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                The current conventional wisdom is that

                1. The Soviet Union was doomed because of its inefficiencies and internal contradictions, and
                2. It would still be a global threat except for Reagan..

                But you know what Fitzgerald wrote about the test of a first-rate intelligence.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                The idea that the Soviets would still be around today if it wasn’t for Reagan is pure ronnie hagiography. The USSR was simply falling apart and couldn’t be saved. There is often a weird contradiction that those who love Ronnie most and scream the most about the evils of Communism also somehow think it was actually working and could have gone on. Ronnie did a great job finishing out the game, like a good reliever, but we had a big lead.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Orwell’s criticism of Totalitarianism was *NOT* that it didn’t work.

                Indeed, he feared that it would work… forever.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Orwell also believed that capitalism had given way to fascism and democratic socialism was the only acceptable alternative. You no doubt agree with that too.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                You no doubt agree with that too.

                Eh.

                I’m one of those nuts who compares “as close to Marx as humanly possible” with “as close to Libertarianism as humanly possible” and end up comparing the USSR with the US on that basis.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think the Soviets starting falling apart sometime in November, 1917. Forever, but it was a long, long, slog.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

                He also made speeches about abortion being bad but didn’t do much there, either.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

              Dude, I’m not defending Reagan any more than you’re defending the necklacing of Maki Skhosana.Report

        • Avatar mark boggs in reply to mark boggs says:

          In October 1986, the United States Congress overrode President Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (the Senate vote was 78 to 21, the House vote was 313 to 83), despite objections by conservative Representatives such as Dick Cheney, who noted that Nelson Mandela was the head of an organization that the State Department had deemed “terrorist”.[13] In the week leading up to the vote, President Reagan appealed to members of the Republican Party for support, but as Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. would state, “For this moment, at least, the President has become an irrelevancy to the ideals, heartfelt and spoken, of America.”[14] The legislation, which banned all new U.S. trade and investment in South Africa, also refused South African Airways flights from landing at U.S. airports. This legislation was seen as a catalyst for similar sanctions in Europe and Japan, and signalled the end of the constructive engagement policy.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_engagement

          So, it doesn’t sound like he actually signed the bill. The congress basically shoved it down his throat.

          And listen, I know Mr. Van Dyke has us all pegged as Reagan-haters and closet liberals, but just as Jonny pointed out with the example of Reagan’s support of Marcos, isn’t it possible the man was human, thus flawed, and sometimes even acted antithetically to his own stated love and support of “American” ideals? Kind of like Obama claims to want to support the Constitution while continuing policies that actually undermine it?Report

          • The knee-jerk reaction against Reagan speaks for itself. I merely said he freed millions, and you could ask them.

            The subject was promptly changed.Report

            • Avatar mark boggs in reply to tom van dyke says:

              I do think someone asked you to defend the proposition that he freed millions of people. If that’s changing the subject, OK?

              I was merely pointing out that, like all saints of American History (Jefferson had Slaves!!), the truth is less black, less white, and more gray.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to tom van dyke says:

              Changed from what, Tom? Talking about how great Reagan was? It seems to me that Boonton, at least, speaks to the “millions freed.”

              You’re one of those people who’s convinced that he’s right and unbiased, and the fact that his view isn’t more common is the result of bias, which is what anyone who doesn’t share his view is suffering from.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Chris says:

                But Ronald Reagan did free millions of people, and it was quite obtuse to ask which ones. Intelligent people are familiar with the claim, even if they feel driven to deprive Reagan of his due. The rest of course is various ankle-biting.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Where, exactly, were those millions of people?

                It wasn’t until Bush41 got a serious case of the ass at Gen. Efrain Rios-Montt of Guatemala and cut off all military funding to his genocidal little regime that the Guatemalan Civil War came to an end. Ronald Reagan called Rios-Montt a great freedom fighter and totally dedicated to democracy.

                Now I lived through that war, married into it. Rios-Montt murdered tens of thousands of innocent Mayan people, with the complicity of the Reagan regime. I have seen the mass graves.

                Don’t you dare tell me Reagan freed so much as a dog from the pound. I know better. Bush41 had the sense to cut off the military aid to that butcher and six months later the war ended.Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Your timeline seems off, BlaiseP. Rios-Montt was overthrown in 1983, during the Reagan administration, presumably with the US’ OK.

                The millions Reagan freed are in the former Soviet Bloc. You could ask them.

                Now if there’s nothing else [and there always is], I’m not really interested in doing any more remediation of history. You’re going to believe what you want and no amount of evidence will change it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I have asked them, Russians and Poles and Ukrainians, and they remain curiously ungrateful. Ascribing the downfall of the USSR to Reagan is a bit precious. I am on record as predicting the downfall of the USSR in 1983, when I was processing defectors through the Coburg repo camp. Notice you’re not denying Reagan’s praise of Rios-Montt.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Exactly Tom: you’re right, and it’s obvious, so anyone who questions you or your position is just biased. I get it. I love how you argue your position with, “intelligent people are familiar with the claim” (emphasis mine), as though by merely claiming it, questioning it (which is what people here are doing, regardless of whether it means putting ankles in their mouths) becomes superfluous, even absurd.

                This is why I don’t seriously engage you, but just add a quip here and there. You can’t engage people who are convinced that they’re correct and everyone else is just an idelogue with an axe to grind. Or at least I can’t engage such people.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Chris says:

                Chris, was it R.D. Laing who first used the words, “double bind”?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Heidegger says:

                No, he wasn’t the first.Report

              • Right. Dude gets the dates wrong and you attack me. Typical.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Look, dude, I know why Guatemala’s military aid was cut off and I know who cut it off and I watched it get cut off. Bush41 was director at CIA for long enough to know what went on in that den of thieves down in T Town in Honduras, where I spent a good deal of time. Bush41 cut Guatemala’s military aid as soon as he could manage it, knowing what he did about Rios-Montt. Bush41 was a decent man with a sense of honor where Ronald Reagan was just a pitiful, sentimental idiot with a head full of mush and a mouth full of lies.Report

              • Reagan freed millions of people. Rios-Montt was thrown out within 18 months of his coup. You prefer to credit Bush. Fine.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Heidegger says:

                Nice, Tom. You have a myriad of ways of not addressing what people who disagree with you say. It’s impressive in a sad sort of way.Report

              • Actually, I’ve got quite dogged about people not changing the subject. You present evidence; they ignore it, and fasten onto a less important detail. Sophist’s delight.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                To your point: Rios-Montt remains alive and unpunished for all his monstrous crimes. When he was pushed out, he wasn’t pushed far, and remained in the good graces of the fincadores he had armed to the teeth. He’d offended the Army, but not much, and the genocide continued unabated.

                In short, Tom, I’ve been in and out of Central America since 1980. I own a house in Guatemala City and another in Quetzaltenango. You want to go on arguing with me about Reagan and Central America? You’d better have more facts at your command than you’ve presently put on the table.Report

              • Hundreds of millions and the Cold War on one side, a brief period in a small country [with a 30-year leftist insurgency] on the other.

                I understand your dog in the fight, but without a sense of proportion, conversation is impossible. No world leader can pass the white glove test. Clearly when you hear “Reagan,” bells go off. I understand, and no, it’s not me who wants to argue about you re Reagan and Central America: it’s you who wish to argue.

                I said Reagan freed millions; he did. Neither is it clear that if he had done nothing [“null hypothesis”] there wouldn’t be a lot more Cubas in the world.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Look, I soldiered under Ronald Reagan, as I had for many presidents before him. Things were different under Reagan. The lines were blurred, any sense of pragmatism was lost. Reagan backed bizarre and cruel dictators: that troll Jonas Savimbi for godsakes. Rios-Montt. Pinochet. Saddam Hussein. Mubarak. Those murderous swine in El Salvador. Reagan even vetoed the embargo on South Africa.

                I would argue, over the intervening years, Ronald Reagan’s legacy will be Iran-Contra.Report

              • These Cold War replays always begin with a moral inversion: ignoring or downplaying the evil and evils of communism. The rest flows from there, that any choice by the US between the lesser of two evils becomes an affirmative choice for evil.

                Yes, I imagine the minor matter of Iran-Contra will indeed be blown up into a weapon against Reagan’s legacy. But only while those who hated him are still alive.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Tom, if ever there was a boilerplate case of High Crimes, it would be Iran-Contra.

                Let’s just put this in perspective. Benedict Arnold only sold the plans to West Point to the enemy. Ronald Reagan and his merry crew would have sold them the cannon and the ammunition as well.

                I’ve pretty well had it with your excuse-making and po’-mouthing for Ronald Reagan. I soldiered for the man and concluded he was the greatest traitor this nation has ever elected to high office.Report

              • Well, the end result is that we always end up putting you on record, BlaiseP. Your feelings are quite clear now. I will continue to good-mouth Reagan, as I reject the “Sure the Commies were bad, but Reagan…” Peace.

                [Actually, you didn’t stipulate the evils of the Commies, but we shall charitably assume you stipulate them.]Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                (rude laughter) I’ve killed more Communists than you’ve had steak dinners. Now you listen here, Communism is what happens when Feudalism fails. If you want to stop a Communist insurgency, you give the people a little land of their own and cancel their debts to their parasitic hereditary landlords. Stops Communism dead in its tracks, right there.

                This is all theory for you. Communism isn’t the enemy, it’s the totalitarian regimes which supplant it and operate in its name. More of the history of feudalism for you, especially in China and the Tsar’s Russia, where it took hold most vigorously. Supplement your reading somewhat with the news from Nepal, where another feudal regime is plagued with a Communist insurgency.

                Nobody you will ever meet will hate Communism more truly that yours truly. The difference between us is this: I understand it and you don’t. Reagan’s support for thugs and murderers the world over was not anticommunism, any more than Franco’s anticommunism.Report

              • Well, thanks for killing all those commies, I guess. I don’t know what you want from me. You seem to be claiming some moral authority for your political ideas. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

                Your feudalism theory is well-taken, however, it appears to be human nature that one tyranny takes over from another. Arguing Marxism or land reform in its “pure form” is academic, since it doesn’t and never will exist. Further, it’s unlikely it’ll work, even if initiated.

                I said Ronald Reagan freed millions. The rest of this is your riff, not mine.

                “When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can’t be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.—Lech WalesaReport

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Look, here’s what I want from you, it’s quite simple. Ronald Reagan sold arms to our enemies. I can sorta forgive him for bending the rules on the Contra side of Iran-Contra, but I have no patience for anyone who tries to po’-mouth the Iran side of that equation.

                Reagan was a liar, but so were many other presidents. I remember Eisenhower lying about the U2 shootdown. Kennedy lied when the truth would have served him better. LBJ knew Gulf of Tonkin was FUBAR from the minute that poor radar operator started chasing his own wake. Nixon, jeebus, where do you even start with the lies he told.

                There was a difference between Reagan and the others though. Reagan believed the lies he told. That’s scary. What’s scarier is this: despite all the evidence to the contrary, the mountains of evidence, nothing will convince you Reagan was lying to himself and to everyone else. They were such compelling lies, such glittering falsehoods, men like you will continue to believe in them, and in the liar who told them, though the world perish.Report

              • Well, you keep trying to reframe the discussion to a select few pixels. But Reagan did free millions, and as long as you continue write out the Soviet side, you’re shorting the geo-political equation with all your easy condemnations of bad guy dictators.

                Now you’re onto the next thing. I’ll just rest with Lech Walesa here, since he backs up my original claim. The world didn’t perish atall, in fact, it got a helluva lot better.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Heidegger says:

                One of you says white, one of you says black and the answer is gray. As it almost always is.

                But the dialogue has been fascinating.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Rtod says:

        I’m think it’s the Americans who were once again free to wish each other a Merry Christmas in public (a right generally denied them under commie-Dem administrations).Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I tend to agree that offering Mubarak a dignified way to exit the field will be the best way to end the violence. The nomination of a vice president in Egypt creates the possibility for a change of government to a transition that can implement more meaningful democracy.

    Which should not actually happen until the world can be confident that the new democracy will not align itself with Iran and Hezbollah — yes I know the Sunni/Shia split is an issue but it wouldn’t be an insurmountable one — or quietly offer succor to Al Qaeda.

    What we don’t want to see is a “de-Baathification” of the NDP, however; this is where most of the talent involved in running the country is to be found. We should hope for the NDP to be disbanded and its leaders and minions scattered to five or six medium-sized parties. The result would look, in the best-case scenario, like democracy in Mexico, in which as democracy grew more meaningful, the single large ruling party’s internal factions eroded into other parties and eventually gave them enough strength to mount meaningful challenges.Report

  4. Avatar Barry says:

    From ‘Johnny the Fiance’:

    “These occur amid an increasingly uncertain situation in Egypt, where black and white categorizations of the repressive government and the righteous street give way to multiple shades of grey. The Muslim Brotherhood, proud assassin of peacemaker Anwar Sadat, is a major stakeholder of the uprising.”

    From everything that I’ve heard, this is not true (of course, when things finally get shaken out…….)

    ” Mubarak’s Egypt has been a safe and stable, if corrupt, puppet regime. ”

    Actually, it’s been extremely unsafe – for Eqyptians.

    “The Egyptian military, largest ground force in the region with 1.3 million troops, has impeded unrest in Gaza, cut arms smuggling…”

    I.e., help imprison a number of people in a large, open-air concentration camp (in the original sense of the world). They haven’t impeded unrest in Gaza, but have conspired to make the people there even worse off.

    “…and stood alongside the Turkish Army as a bulwark against Iranian or Syrian aggression. ”

    Have you looked at a map of the Middle East?

    “That and they have so far been blessedly restrained with their lethal capacities and seem intent to protect and shepherd the people above all.”

    Well, they have freely allowed Mubarak’s thugs to move in and attack people. Although I guess that not committing mass murder is counts as ‘protecting and shephering the people’, from the viewpoint of a right-winger.Report

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