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Of course, the atheistic Communist press was not quite so sentimental. It was enraged by Spasowski’s request, calling him a “slanderous, dirty traitor.” The slightest American invocation of God’s side set the Soviets seething. “What honey-tongued speeches are now being made by figures in the American administration concerning God and His servants on earth!” fulminated a correspondent from Moscow’s Novoye Vremya. “What verbal inventiveness they display in flattering the Catholic Church in Poland. Does true piety lie behind this?”
The Soviet press, maybe because it was never driven by religious piety itself, doubted that such could be a sincere Reagan motivation. The next day, on Christmas Eve, propagandist Valentin Zorin dashed before the Soviet TV cameras to question the “rather doubtful Christmas gift” Reagan had just given to Americans.
UNDETERRED BY SOVIET RAGE, Ronald Reagan and a core group of cadres — some of whom passed away this past year, such as Caspar Weinberger and Jeane Kirkpatrick — remained committed to liberating the people of Poland and all of the Soviet empire. Without going into the debate over where and how they succeeded — that’s another article — suffice to say that the world changed dramatically by the end of the decade, and in precisely the way they had hoped.
In 1980, according to Freedom House, there were 56 democracies in the world; by 1990, there were 76. The numbers continued an upward trajectory, hitting 91 in 1991, 99 in 1992, 108 in 1993, and 114 in 1994, a doubling since Reagan had entered the Oval Office. By 1994, 60% of the world’s nations were democracies. By contrast, when Reagan lamented the lack of freedom in the mid 1970s, the number was below 30%. Few presidents got so much of what they wanted.
There has been an explosion in freedom worldwide since the 1980s. This democratic transformation is one of the great stories of modern humanity, and one of the least remarked upon, as high-school texts — among numerous other sources — are completely silent on the subject.
This is a truly global blessing that transpired in the lifetimes of most of us. Unfortunately, many of us Americans are not good at counting our blessings or remembering our history. A look back at 25 years ago this month can help us to be grateful for what we have, especially at Christmas time, when we pause to remember the ultimate source of light that conquers the darkness.
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?