Reagan's 'tear down this wall' speech still teaches how to confront Russia
June 12 marks the anniversary of perhaps the most memorable moment of the presidency of Ronald Reagan — his famed "tear down this wall" speech, which he delivered in West Berlin 35 years ago today. As moving as Reagan’s words were, their real strength arose from seven years of bold but prudent actions and policies toward the Soviet Union. Reagan’s success in promoting American strength and taking advantage of Soviet weakness arose from his thorough grasp of both world and American history. ATTEMPTED REAGAN ASSASSIN JOHN HINCKLEY SELLS OUT NYC CONCERT VENUE: REPORT
Reagan allowed the lessons of the past to guide his foreign policy, even when he knew he would face wide public criticism for doing so. The result of Reagan’s seven years of prudent boldness was an economically and militarily decaying communist state. Now, however, 35 years after Reagan’s historic speech, Russia — a former republic of the Soviet Union — appears intent on expanding anti-Western sentiment around the globe in ways that the world has not experienced since the Cold War. After Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, politicians of all stripes have engaged in endless debate over how best to respond to its military aggression and predatory geopolitical ambitions.
Reagan used the lessons of the past as his weapon of choice to defeat the Iron Curtain. Have America’s leaders been using the lessons of history to guide their actions toward Vladimir Putin, or are they allowing ideology and gut instincts to drive these decisions? Are America’s leaders learning from the successes and failures of America’s actions and policies during the Cold War as they consider responses to Russia’s aggression, or are they relying on blind intuition instead? While some analysts, politicians, and pundits have argued that Russia is acting contrary to the tide of history, the reality is that it is behaving very similarly to the 20th-Century communist nations that fell before it.
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