Sunday, March 24, 2013

A missed anniversary

Once again, I have had a finger-wagging from a regular reader of the blog and I deserve it. How could I forget the thirtieth anniversary of this speech?


 President Ronald Reagan addressing the nation on the subject of defence. puts that seminal speech into perspective. President Obama has just returned from his Middle Eastern tour during which his "achievement" seems to have been to allow Israel and Turkey do what they wanted to do anyway and sort out their differences. Those two countries have been allies for a long time and are both more than a little worried about Iran.
Islamofascist Iran is now, according to the White House, a year away from nuclear arms, and the "Arab Spring" Obama's apologies helped spawn has turned Egypt from a U.S. ally into a possible foe under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Compare Obama's failure to realize the havoc he was wreaking to the astonishing prescience of Ronald Reagan.

Addressing the nation, he asked, "What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?"

He knew missile defense was "a formidable technical task, one that may not be accomplished before the end of this century."

But by committing America to it, Soviet communism was a few years later relegated to "the ash-heap of history," as Reagan had promised the year before.
Read the whole article and weep.


  1. What did Reagan do for the freedom of the tens of thousands of Central Americans murdered by Right wing death squads? And the black neighbourhoods in the US torn apart by the cocaine trafficking used in part to fund those death squads?

    Indeed what has the political Right done for the freedom of those living under military dictatorships across South America?

    By all means, have a go at the Stalinists, but please, don't try to pretend the Right stands for freedom beyond that of a gilded few.

  2. The millions freed from Communism being the gilded few. You take the prize for the most idiotic comment on this blog ever.

  3. Is that the best you have to offer, Helen? Insults?

    You see again, I struggle to understand just what your definition of freedom is. I put it to you that the Reagan government funded and armed death squads which murdered thousands of people in Central America and that the Right wing has maintained military dictatorships across South America and indeed around the world. And yet one hears not a drop of criticism about that. You are rightly skeptical of state interference and yet I can't find any criticism of COINTEL Pro or the FBI's harassment of the Occupy movement.

    As I said in my comment, ''By all means, have a go at the Stalinists''. Really, I support you on that. But why no criticism of the suffering inflicted by Right wing death squads? Not just in the past but now - in Colombia for example.

    I get the feeling that you don't value freedom but Right wing ideology.

    1. Are you suggesting that every horrible thing that happens in every non-leftist country across the world is the responsibility of the US?

    2. No of course not. I'm referring to this blog's myopia and preference for ideology over values.

    3. "...preference for ideology over values."

      How can you decide what to value without some sort of ideology to help you decide what to prioritize? Even the most upstanding and moral amongst us cannot fight all wickedness all the time. They have to pick the battles they can win and where they have difficult choices to pick the less of two evils. Reagan could undoubtedly have done more to reign in the right wing dictators of South America, however if he had done so he would have been strengthening the grip of the leftists over the region which would obviously have been even worse.

  4. Philip, you had better do some research for that, Helen is correct, the last leaders who were not activley working to destroy the west were Reagan and Thatcher, together the civilised Lybia, untill the utter fool kenyan squatting in the whitehouse lit a torch under north Africa! Perhaps you should say sorry!

    1. Not actively working together to destroy the West? What exactly does this mean beyond being a piece of rhetoric.

      Destroy its productive capacities? They did that.

      Hitch it to a parasitic financial sector, the consequences of which we are all living with now? They did that.

      Destroying its moral standing by funneling weapons to their dictators and regimes of choice from Central America to the Middle East? They did that.

      Civilised Libya???? Jesus wept, I've heard it all now. I teach Libyan students on a daily basis - they still remember the ''civilised'' bombing of Tripoli in 1986.

      They didn't dare speak a word about Gadaffi when I first started working with them, indeed we had two ''representatives'' from the Libyan Embassy to ''keep on eye on them''. They might not be happy with the current situation but do they want to go back to the old regime? Please.

      Say sorry? For what? For asking why a monster is praised on a blog which purports to care about freedom? Like Reagan gave a toss about Soviet Citizens.

    2. I teach Libyan students on a daily basis - they still remember the ''civilised'' bombing of Tripoli in 1986.

      Quite old students, aren't they?


  5. Philip,

    I think to start with you might have a look at what really happened with the Occupy movement, who organized it, what the people did to each other and to outsiders like small businesses. That would be a start. Then, perhaps, go on to left-wing dictatorships in South America, which seems to be the centre of your complaints, and see what they did to oppositionists. That would be a useful second step. Cuba? Venezuela? And so on. Then we can discuss matters.

    1. Ah, Occupy is a conspiracy is it? Belonging to who exactly? That Hungarian financier?

      What it did to small business... wow. You mean trading was disrupted for a few days in New York? Didn't hear of any problems here but nevermind - I'm sure you wouldn't be bothered if small businesses were disrupted if it was a right wing protest movement. There would be some lovely justification as to why that would be ok - just as there is a total refusal to engage with the fact that while preaching about ''freedom'' Reagan was funneling weapons to death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Death squads who murdered and raped tens of thousands of civilians. All so a tiny number of oligarchic families kept control.

      But back to the small businesses for a second. How many small businesses were wrecked by the financial crisis - and in particular how many were defrauded by Interest Rate Swaps? Y'know the Interest Rate Swaps sold by the banks whose bonuses you seem to be at pains to defend.

      In what sense are ''left wing dictatorships'' the centre of my complaints? My point here is that this isn't a blog concerned with the value of freedom. It's concerned with right wing ideology which has trampled all over freedom, particularly economic freedom, around the world.

      I don't like what the Cuban government does.

      The idea that Venezuela is a dictatorship is sickening and is again resplendent of your willing acceptance of ''your side's'' propaganda. I've been to Venezuela twice. In Caracas you can buy newspapers of Chavez mocked up as Hitler in the central square. You can turn on the TV and see the majority of the private channels repeating a steady stream of invective against him. Very few of the middle class people i stayed with had anything good to say about him and they were perfectly happy to shout it loudly in the street.

      Some dictatorship.

      Contrast this with Colombia next door, where I lived for a year. Right wing death squads murder journalists, academics, trade unionists, human rights workers and indigenous people with impunity. The Colombian army is recognised as the Western Hemisphere's worst human rights abuser and is still furnished with aid and weapons from the States.

      And before you start, I'm fully aware of what the FARC do. They have become little more than drug dealing bandits.

      Because you see I don't need to support a ''left wing'' government or movement because it purports to be ''left wing'' - I judge it on its merits. But this blog is as myopic as a football fan's blog.

      You are the same as Eric Hobsbawm - defending or ignoring the crimes of your own ideology / chosen heroes.

    2. Oh by the way, one criticism of Venezuela I'll make. The upper echelons of the army are heavily involved in the drug trade. The cartel is known as the Suns - due to the Sun symbols on their epaulettes.

      There. Y'see, wasn't difficult. A deeply destructive action which I believe to be wrong - even though it's happening in a country whose government I broadly support.

  6. Reagan has one great positive legacy, the destruction of communism in Eastern Europe, and the threat this posed to the rest of the World. Much of that good is now being undone by the work of the EU of course.

    He has one toxic legacy, he was the man who escalated the War on Drugs and took it to another level. For just one example of the misery and injustice this is causing in just America see this article Not to mention it is the catalyst which is causing widespread instability in whole regions. Ironically some of the biggest "winners" apart from the American law enforcement agencies are terrorist groups who use the trade as a source of funding.

    I think the old Shakespeare quote:- "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones." would be an apposite epitaph for Reagan.

    1. Great. Balanced discussion. Thank you.

      Did Reagan destroy Communism? The Glasnost and Perestroika reforms seemed to do more than him. He may have ramped up the arms race but at what cost? By funding the Islamic extremists we all know too much of today? By filling the world with more dangerous and wasteful weapons?

      The War on Drugs is a lie. A huge lie. Their friends on Wall St and in the City of London launder the majority of the drug trade's proceeds through their banks - as we have seen from the Wachovia and HSBC scandals. Has any thing really changed though since these revelations? Of course not. Our countries continue to house fast food joints and taxi companies and restaurants which do a roaringly good trade despite very few customers. And somehow those billions of pounds and dollars find themselves being accepted by high street banks which know exactly what is going on. Look at all the branches of a famous Italian bank in Romania - which just so happens to be on the heroin route. Or the branches of a very famous Spanish bank in Ceuta and Medilla - the final stops of the cocaine trail from South America through Africa.

      Without this money these banks would be bust - because all their assets (their loans) are not worth what they say they are. They are propped up by public money, QE and drug money.

      But you'll never find any criticism here because it doesn't fit with the team plan. Even if the team plan is wrecking itself and everybody else.

      We are hosting the ex-Scotland Yard Fraud Squad Officer Rowan Bosworth Davies in Manchester next Thursday. 7pm at the Friends Meeting House. You would be more than welcome to attend.