President Obama got to close to a live microphone on Monday, and let the press overhear a conversation that was supposed to be confidential. In what he thought was a private conversation, Obama asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to stop complaining about America’s planned European missile shield until he, President Obama, has been safely re-elected. The obvious implication was that the US would cancel the program, as Russia has been demanding, once the US President can afford to ignore what the American people think.
“There was one vital factor in the ending of the Cold War. It was Ronald Reagan’s decision to go ahead with the Strategic Defense Initiative.” Margaret Thatcher
March of 1983 was a very bad month for the Kremlin. On the eighth of March President Reagan gave his famous “Evil Empire” speech, which clarified the moral issues of the Cold War and undermined support for the Nuclear Freeze movement the Soviets had been nurturing. On the twenty-third of the month Reagan gave another speech, in which he called for a Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, to shield the American people from the threat of a Soviet nuclear attack.
Most conservatives credit Reagan with leading the Free World to victory in the Cold War, and cite the Strategic Defense Initiative as the most important single factor in achieving that victory. There is ample evidence to support this view.
Unfortunately for Reagan, conservatives don’t get to write college history books.
“The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.” Ronald Reagan
In 1983 President Reagan gave a famous speech in which he outraged American liberals, and warmed the hearts of conservatives, by describing the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.”
College faculties were pretty uniformly left wing in the 1980’s, and reflexively hostile to anything anti-Communist. Professors on campuses all around the nation reacted to the President’s speech with outrage. Dr Henry Steele Commager, a history professor at Amherst College, spoke for many of his colleagues when he said that this was “the worst presidential speech in American history, and I’ve read them all.”
History professors haven’t gotten much more moderate over the ensuing years. They still tend to lean very far to the left, and they still resent Reagan.