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Lessons From Reagan and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Reagan, El American

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By the time Ronald W. Reagan had pronounced his emblematic “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech before Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in 1987, a war of liberation had been waged by the 40th U.S. President against Soviet communism for over six years. Never accepting the defensive strategy of containment—which categorized the Truman Doctrine, as definitive in the Free World’s response to Marxist worldwide tyranny—Reagan replaced America’s foreign policy strategy towards Soviet expansionism and hegemony with one of, not just containing the evil menace of communism, but structurally rolling it back. No one had more to do with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet version of communism than Reagan. 

What became known as the Reagan Doctrine, was much more than a philosophical and moral stance. The 1983 address before the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983, when the Gipper accurately referred to Marxism, to the surprise (and dismay) of many, as an “evil empire”, demonstrated his clear understanding of the inherent nature of socialism. Reagan, an acute studier of history, comprehended the need to apply action to a moral principle, if it was to have any substantial effect. 

Packing his administration with the best minds and the most steadfast souls, Reagan charted from 1981 to 1989 the anticommunist, liberation doctrine that bore his name. This was carried out by way of the emission of three hundred and twenty-five National Security Decision Directives (NSDD). Each from a different angle and covering specific areas, these NSDD’s instructed the pertinent federal agencies and guided government operations to execute freedom-promoting activism, unseen in modern American history. Among the most seminal in rolling back Soviet communism were numbers 12, 17, 32, 37, 66, 75, 77, 124, 170, 235 y 274.

The Berlin Wall typified, since its edification in 1961, communist ruthlessness and repression. John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”) speech, given twenty-four years before Reagan’s Brandenburg Gate address, displayed a condemnation of Soviet aggression and an empathy pronouncement with the captive East Berliners. Kennedy, however, proved to be a failure in his dealing with the socialist war on global domination. The American betrayal at the Bay of Pigs, which consolidated Castro-Communism, bore his direct signature. Almost four months after Kennedy’s retracted decision to not provide the accorded air support for the Cuban liberation 2506 Brigade expeditionary landing, a crucial component of the invasion plan, Nikita Khrushchev started building the Berlin Wall in open defiance of the post-World War II partition of the city. The Soviet dictator correctly read Kennedy’s weakness and capitalized on it.   

Ensuring American presidents continued in similar failed fashion with inadequate and misguided policies in effectively dealing with communism. Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter, all afforded Soviet imperialism, with rare exceptions, a field day. Reagan changed all that. From a flawed defensive scheme, American foreign policy towards Marxist-Leninist was molded into an awesome offensive machine.

The Berlin Wall’s fall came about on the 8th of November, thirty-two years ago. Without a shred of a doubt, this was attributable to Reagan’s liberation strategy. When dealing with Soviet communism’s mutations such as Asian communism (China, Vietnam, Laos), the São Paulo Socialist model, and cultural Marxism, today’s Free World’s leaders should adopt aggressive confrontational plans as Reagan did. Words not followed by effective action are hollow. 

Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.

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