Nixon and Kissinger micro mindedall aspects of
foreign policy during their tenure. Theybought into treaty building and the like which implied equality to realenemies. The US settlement was an abjectfailure and only provided a flimsy cover for what became congressional betrayalof the South. Vietnam
Instead Reagan eschewed directmilitary power and used direct and indirect confrontation and unbending economicpressure and did not cede equality. Thatsucceeded because the opponents were not equal to the challenge of unrelentingpressure.
There is a remarkably subtlelesson here that few if anyone has properly understood as he did. I do not know if it was instinctual or not. I suspect that both he and the Popeunderstood were to apply levers and did not hesitate to do so. Once applied, the pressure built every dayuntil change started to happen.
This culminated in a resoundingvictory that also triggered reform movements everywhere.
I think that it will be fruitfulto apply these considerations to our ongoing confrontation with Islamicism (Islamicneo Nazism).
I continue to be pleased that heis now been more fully recognized for his massive achievement. I continue to be displeased that thestructural changes made in the financial system in the late nineties that werenever on his agenda for cause and that ended the Reagan bull market are now beenclaimed as an extension of his policies. They were not - they were the contribution of stupid greedy men who committedtreason knowingly.
Ronald Reagan: The Anti-Nixon/Kissinger
Sunday, February 6, marked the birthcentennial of Ronald Reagan. As a Reagan biographer, I’m often asked howReagan was different from his predecessors, Republican and Democrat, andespecially in the area of foreign policy. There were many ways, but here aretwo of the most fundamental:
First, Reagan actually believed he could win the Cold War. He committedhimself to that goal early and unequivocally. To cite just oneexample, Richard V. Allen, his first national security adviser, recalls adiscussion in January 1977, four years before the presidency, when Reagan toldhim flatly: “Dick, my idea of American policy toward the
Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: We winand they lose.”
In this, Reagan stood apart from not only Democrats like Jimmy Carterbut Republicans like Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and their chief foreign-policyadviser, Henry Kissinger.
But there’s another way Reagan was so different from the likes of Nixonand Kissinger in particular. It’s a poignant example involving long-persecutedSoviet Jews. It was recently driven home to me, yet again, when I heard newlyreleased comments by Nixon and Kissinger.
Kissinger and Nixon placed détente with the Soviets above all else.Their approach was pure Machiavellian realpolitik. They did not frame theU.S.-Soviet confrontation as good vs. evil, as Reagan did.Their goal wasn’t to defeat the
Soviet Union.Their prevailing priority was getting along with the Soviets. They pursued thatobjective at almost any expense, whether keeping Eastern Europeans captivebehind the Iron Curtain or keeping Russian Jews from emigrating.
In the early 1970s, pressure had been building on the Nixonadministration to lobby the Soviets to ease up on restrictions on Jews. BothKissinger and Nixon were dismissive.
How dismissive? The latest round of released tapes shows Kissingeroffering an awful assessment to his White House boss on March 1, 1973.
“The emigration of Jews from the
Soviet Unionis not an objective of Americanforeign policy,” Kissinger stated coldly.“And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe ahumanitarian concern.”
Nixon responded: “I know. We can’t blow up the world because of it.”
Alas, here is a painfully instructive example of how Ronald Reagan sodiffered even from intensely anti-communist Republicans of his era. Reaganwould have been aghast at these comments. In fact, Reaganwas willing to “blow up” negotiations with the Soviets over matterslike Jewish emigration.
Reagan hounded Mikhail Gorbachev on this issue. About 10 years ago, theofficial “MemCons,” or Memoranda of Conversation, from the variousReagan-Gorbachev one-on-ones were declassified, from the
Genevato summits. In these, Reagan repeatedly dug at Gorbachev on emigration of Jews, tothe point where Gorbachev snapped at the president Moscow
Such persecuted Russians (Jews and non-Jews) were constantly onReagan’s mind. Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci recalled that the president“would walk around with lists in his pocket of people who were in prison in the
Soviet Union.” Each time Secretary of StateGeorge Shultz prepared to meet with a Soviet official, Reagan pulled outthe names—“some of whom we’d heard of but most of whom we hadn’t,” saidCarlucci—and say, “I want you to raise thesenames with the Soviets.” Andsure enough, said Carlucci, “George would raise them and one by one they wouldbe released or allowed to leave.”
Reagan advisers confirmed this to me, including Shultz. When I askedShultz about it, his typical understated expression widened into a giant grin.“Oh, yes,” he told me. “He always had that list and never hesitated to give mea few names.”
I believe that Ronald Reagan’s feelings for Russian Jews might betraceable as far back as November 1928, when his devout Christian mother, headof theMissions Committee at their little church in
,brought in a Russian Jew named B.E. Kertchman. Kertchman spoke aboutpersecution he faced. That empathy never left Reagan. Two decades later, in1947, I discovered Reagan, as a young actor in Hollywood, a liberalDemocrat, working with Eleanor Roosevelt to find safe havenfor Europe’s “Displaced Persons” (mostly Jews) after World War II. Dixon, Illinois
Again, this is a striking contrast with Kissinger-Nixon, but it’s morethan that.
Reagan was seen as the ultimate Cold Warrior, giving no quarter to the“Evil Empire.” Yet, his care for the everyday lives of human beings languishingin the
went largely unnoticed. That’s too bad, as that concern is a moving testimonyof where this president’s heart guided him. That’s something worth rememberingas a nation remembers the life of Ronald Reagan this February 2011. USSR
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at
and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism,” “God and Ronald Reagan,” and the newly released “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressivesfor a Century.” Grove City College