Tag Archives: reagan

MLK, Reagan, Kennedy Music Video: Rx’s "Freedom 101"

Some things just keep getting better and better. The musician Rx is one of ’em.

His mashup of the Clintons and George Bush, Happy Christmas & A Whole Lot of Love, is a classic. His music video of the President singing Sunday, Bloody Sunday is clever. But nothing he has done compares to his new music video: Freedom 101.

“My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountain side, let freedom ring.”

“If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth… We’re at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind since his long climb from the swamp to the stars.”

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.”

Now all Rx has to do is link to the MP3 version, and I’m good to go!

Reagan Doctrine

Overall, A Tough Week for Pyongyang,” by “Joshua,” One Free Korea, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/01/overall-tough-week-for-pyongyang.html, 21 January 2005.

Reagan did essentially all he could,” by “Joshua,” One Free Korea, http://www.haloscan.com/comments/stantonjb/110631347608547128/#80485, 21 January 2005

Great Blog,” by “Joshua,” tdaxp, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/01/21/not_the_reagan_doctrine_but_better.html, 23 January 2005.

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

On the internet, an intelligent and vital discussion has broken out.

One Free Korea‘s Joshua and I are big admirers of Bush’s Second Inaugural Address. One of us even blogged an analysis. But is this new Bush doctrine the same thing as the Reagan Doctrine, and was the Reagan Doctrine abandoned by Bush’s father?

Joshua persuasively argues that Reagan’s doctrine was a aggressive one of liberty

Reagan believed that sovereignty belonged only to the people, and that it was their natural right to take it back, by force if necessary. This was more than war “on the cheap,” and it was not defensive.

OFK‘s author argues that most of Bush’s envisioned enemies are the same as Reagan’s enemies

Reagan did essentially all he could to advance that vision given the constraining power of the USSR and the constraints of time. When Soviet power no longer constrained us, we found ourselves led by twelve years of “realist” foreign policy that would not exploit the opportunity to spread freedom, and which sought a balance of power that no longer had a foundation of reality in post-Cold War geopolitics. … Note also that all of the “outposts of tyranny,” save Iran, are former Soviet client states, and that all were able to remain in power because of the Third World War. [emphasis mine]

in repetition,

After Reagan, we had a 12-year hiatus of “realism,” but it’s interesting to note that today, plus or minus a few exceptions, Bush is going after the very same former antagonists and Soviet client states with which Reagan was already on a collision course. [emphasis mine]

I disagree. The Reagan Doctrine was a defensive attack on Soviet-friendly regimes. While it was not the same as containment, it did argue that the U.S. should only walk toward free societies, but destablize pro-Soviet states. To use the State Department’s summary of the Reagan Doctrine (all emphasis mine)

The “Reagan Doctrine” was used to characterize the Reagan administration’s (1981-1988) policy of supporting anti-Communist insurgents wherever they might be. In his 1985 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan called upon Congress and the American people to stand up to the Soviet Union, what he had previously called the “Evil Empire”:

We must stand by all our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth.”

Breaking with the doctrine of “Containment,” established during the Truman administration—President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy was based on John Foster Dulles’ “Roll-Back” strategy from the 1950s in which the United States would actively push back the influence of the Soviet Union. Reagan’s policy differed, however, in the sense that he relied primarily on the overt support of those fighting Soviet dominance. This strategy was perhaps best encapsulated in NSC National Security Decision Directive 75. This 1983 directive stated that a central priority of the U.S. in its policy toward the Soviet Union would be “to contain and over time reverse Soviet expansionism,” particularly in the developing world. As the directive noted:

“The U.S. must rebuild the credibility of its commitment to resist Soviet encroachment on U.S. interests and those of its Allies and friends, and to support effectively those Third World states that are willing to resist Soviet pressures or oppose Soviet initiatives hostile to the United States, or are special targets of Soviet policy.”

To that end, the Reagan administration focused much of its energy on supporting proxy armies to curtail Soviet influence. Among the more prominent examples of the Reagan Doctrine’s application, in Nicaragua, the United States sponsored the contra movement in an effort to force the leftist Sandinista government from power. And in Afghanistan, the United States provided material support to Afghan rebels—known as the mujahadeen—helping them end Soviet occupation of their country.

It’s clear from this synposis that the Reagan Doctrine was anti-Soviet. It offered nothing to those under nonideological dictators and no pressure on friendly dictators. It did not seek to protect or expand a “sovereignty of the people,” except perhaps in the loosest possible sense. Reagan recognized the great danger of the Soviet Union and sought to end it. He worked towards the Soviets’ destruction even in cases where it meant replacing a peaceful, modern society with a backwards and violent one. Reagan realized that the Soviet Empire was the greatest despotism in human history, and that sacrifices would have to be made to destroy it.

The Reagan Doctrine was aggressive, because it envisioned anti-Soviet activities within the Iron Curtain. But it was not positive because it did not offer a vision of hope. Instead, it merely took away the vision of Soviet Communism. Violent thugs, radical Islamists, international trade unionsts, and Red Chinese could all work together because the Reagan Doctrine sought to destroy a future, not create one. Under the Reagan Doctrine, a thuggish, radical Islamist, trade unionist, or Red Chinese seizure of control of some Soviet satellite was an improvement, because all of these were not Soviet.

Though couched in diplomatic language, Reagan himself implied this. “We must stand by our democratic allies,” he said. But we will also stand by others who “are risking their lives — on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua, — to defy Soviet-sponsored aggression.” The rest of State’s synposis implies that those in the latter categories are “friends” not “allies.”

As the Soviet Union fell, Soviet aggression ceased. Therefore, there was no operative doctrine for George H. W. Bush to abandon to reverse.

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire