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Reagan’s Westminster speech was indeed a seminal event. It drew strong opposition from groups who feared an adverse Soviet reaction, and those who could never understand — as Reagan did — the power of ideas. But in the mild language he frequently chose when he laid out bold ideas, Reagan promised an aggressive ideological assault on the Soviet Union:blockquote>While we must be cautious about forcing the rate of change, we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them. We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings. So states the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which among other things, guarantees free elections. p>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. br> […] br> It is time that we committed ourselves as a nation — in both public and private sectors — to assisting democratic development…. /p>
Now I don’t wish to sound overly optimistic, yet the Soviet Union is not immune from the reality of what is going on in the world. It has happened in the past — a small ruling elite either mistakenly attempts to ease domestic unrest through greater repression and foreign adventure, or it chooses a wiser course. It begins to allow its people a voice in their own destiny. Even if this latter process is not realized soon, I believe the renewed strength of the democratic movement, complemented by a global campaign for freedom, will strengthen the prospects for arms control and a world at peace./blockquote>
What all this demonstrates is that Reagan was a neoconservative (or in Krauthammer’s terms, a democratic globalist) before that worldview had been given a name in a foreign policy context. If we go back to Charles Krauthammer’s AEI lecture, we can see in his discussion of the “success of liberty” — more than simply the defense of liberty — the same belief in the power of American values and ideals that can be traced through Ronald Reagan at Westminster to George W. Bush addressing the National Endowment for Democracy.
None of this proves, of course, that Reagan would have invaded Iraq. But it shows very clearly that he shared with George W. Bush the same deep faith in the power of freedom and democracy — as an ideological weapon — that is a major tenet of neoconservatism and seemed to be a key motivating factor in Bush’s actions with respect to Iraq.
If we take Bush at his word, he invaded Iraq for two major reasons — to deprive terrorists of access to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and to create in Iraq a beacon of democracy and an example of an open society in the Arab world. The second of these is clearly the only way to combat and defeat the jihadist movement among the Arab peoples, just as Reagan correctly saw it as an offensive weapon in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.p>It is hard to believe that Reagan, presented with these two objectives, would not have found them — under conditions identical to those that confronted Bush on September 12, 2001 — equally compelling. br> /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?