Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Reagan in Reverse

“We lived in freedom, we lived lives that were a statement, not an apology.”–Ronald Reagan

Imagine a Hollywood liberal, planning an anti-nuke rally with all his liberal overpaid actor pals while the president is trying to protect the nation. Ho hum–happens all the time, right? It happened to Reagan when he was president. But it also nearly happened to Harry Truman.

Except that time, the anti-nuclear activist was…Ronald Reagan!

“IN DECEMBER 1945, Ronald Reagan almost helped lead a mass anti- nuclear rally in Hollywood, California…”–Paul Lettow, “Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons”

Rich Lowry:

“Paul Lettow has found the purloined letter of the Reagan presidency: the fact that much of his Cold War policy was driven by a desire to eliminate all nuclear weapons. This aspect of Reagan is part of the public record but has so far been hidden in plain view because it doesn’t seem to fit his conservatism and seems so otherwise outlandish.
… Missile defense did not, of course, lead to the end of all nuclear arms, but by contributing to the Soviet crack-up it helped achieve the next best thing: the end of the nuclear balance of terror as we had known it for 40 years.”

Closing Velocity:

*Total cuts in missile defense: $1.4 billion or roughly 15%.
*Cancel second Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft, keep the one remaining ABL prototype as a testbed and revert to pure R&D.
*No increases in Ground-based Interceptor (GBI) deployment in Alaska. Remaining silos will stay unfilled. European GBIs will be decided on later during the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).
*Termination of the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program. As you recall, MKV just recently had a well, awesome, test…”

Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech:

When I took office in January 1981, I was appalled by what I found: American planes that couldn’t fly and American ships that couldn’t sail for lack of spare parts and trained personnel and insufficient fuel and ammunition for essential training.

I know that all of you want peace and so do I. I know too that many of you seriously believe that a nuclear freeze would further the cause of peace. But a freeze now would make us less, not more, secure and would raise, not reduce, the risks of war. It would be largely unverifiable and would seriously undercut our negotiations on arms reduction. It would reward the Soviets for their massive military buildup while preventing us from modernizing our aging and increasingly vulnerable forces. With their present margin of superiority, why should they agree to arms reductions knowing that we were prohibited from catching up?…

But we must not be misled by those who would make defense once again the scapegoat of the Federal budget. …
Wouldn’t it be better to save lives than to avenge them? Are we not capable of demonstrating our peaceful intentions by applying all our abilities and our ingenuity to achieving a truly lasting stability? I think we are – indeed, we must! …

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?

I clearly recognize that defensive systems have limitations and raise certain problems and ambiguities. If paired with offensive systems, they can be viewed as fostering an aggressive policy and no one wants that.

But with these considerations firmly in mind, I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.

The Washington Times:

The United States and Russia have radically reduced their nuclear arsenals, from a peak of more than 70,000 warheads during the Cold War to 3,900 today. However, this drawdown was not accomplished through formal arms control; it was the natural consequence of reduced tensions after the collapse of communism. …

Jonah Goldberg asks…:

Obama says the continued existence of so many nukes amounts to “the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.” I’m not so sure. …
Some might say the military-industrial complex or the national-security state. But not me. To me, the most obvious dangerous legacy of the Cold War would have to be the damage the Soviets did to the world. …
I mean the relentless distortion of the truth, the psychological violence they visited on the West and the World via their useful idiots and their agents. I’m thinking not merely of the intellectual corruption of the American Left (which even folks like Richard Rorty had to concede), but the corruption of reformers and their movements around the globe. Soviet propaganda still contaminates, while nuclear fallout does not. Lies about America, the West, and the nature of democratic capitalism live on throughout the third world and in radioactive pockets on American campuses.

…and Mark Steyn answers:

The wish for “a world without nuclear weapons” is not merely a pacifist delusion but one that obliquely subscribes to the false equivalence so assiduously promoted during the Cold War. …It’s the regime. North Korea and Iran going nuclear is not the same as Norway and St. Lucia going nuclear. …
It’s not just embarassing to hear the so-called “leader of the free world” talking like a 14-year old who’s been up in his room listening to “Imagine” for too long. I fear this presidency has the makings of global tragedy.

Rich Lowry:

The meme in the press was how the test launch made Obama’s disarmament speech all the more “urgent.” It really makes it all the more childish and dangerous. In setting the goal of “Global Zero” (the program of universal disarmament that sounds a little like a new international Coke product), Obama hitched himself to a project as utopian as Pres. George W. Bush’s ambition to end tyranny in the world.

In fact, they are essentially the same goal. The bipartisan congressional Strategic Posture Review concluded in an interim report that to achieve Global Zero would require a “fundamental transformation of the world political order.” All significant geo-political conflicts would have to end, and all untrustworthy governments disappear. The verification regime would have to be so all-encompassing as to constitute a kind of world government.

The Obama administration thinks Global Zero serves a hardheaded purpose against rogue states. The theory is that our arsenal makes us nuclear hypocrites. Only by pursuing its elimination do we gain the moral standing to pressure other nations to give up their nuclear ambitions.

This is a misreading of the calculations that drive states to seek nuclear programs, and of human nature. If we had zero weapons, there would be even more of a premium on other states’ acquiring nukes, for purposes of protection, power-projection, and prestige.


The President went even further in Prague, noting that “as a nuclear power — as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon — the United States has a moral responsibility to act.” That barely concealed apology for Hiroshima is an insult to the memory of Harry Truman, who saved a million lives by ending World War II without a bloody invasion of Japan. As for the persuasive power of “moral authority,” we should have learned long ago that the concept has no meaning in Pyongyang or Tehran, much less in the rocky hideouts of al Qaeda.

The truth is that Mr. Obama’s nuclear vision has reality exactly backward. To the extent that the U.S. has maintained a large and credible nuclear arsenal, it has prevented war, defeated the Soviet Union, shored up our alliances and created an umbrella that persuaded other nations that they don’t need a bomb to defend themselves.


While President Reagan saw SDI as a way to enable us to safely ban nuclear weapons, Obama wants to ban both nuclear weapons AND the SDI program.

Obama keeps falsely calling SDI “unproven”. And he’s bought into the Russian’s terms: a shield is a “weapon”, “aimed” at Russia. Is a bulllet-proof vest a weapon? Obama thinks weapons in the hands of rogue nations make us unsafe–but he thinks America IS a rogue nation.

Even when Reagan announced SDI, critics said he was “weaponizing space”. Obama seems to have adopted this attitude. In fact, Reagan was DE-weaponizing space. Reagan was not able to reach zero–but by defeating the Soviets, he made drastic reductions possible.

Total disarmament would have been extremely hard even in Reagan’s era. Would China have cooperated? Or Israel? Unlikely. And the proliferation since then makes it even harder.

Russia seems more wedded to its remaining nukes than ever–and is helping Iran. That’s what makes the Russian position so outrageous. They know Poland is not going to invade Russia. They simply want to be able to bully Europe, and at the same time, they are enabling Iran to bomb Europe. If Iran is not stopped, we’ll be lucky to avoid an arms race in the Gulf. Ditto for Japan with the Norks. If these countries don’t trust America to keep the peace, they might try to weaponize or simply cave in and appease their rogue neighbors. Not to mention the question of Israel’s security.

When Obama says that America is just as bad or worse than anybody else, that can hardly be reassuring. And while most government programs are getting a 1000 % real increase, Obama is proposing cuts–real cuts–in defense spending. SDI is being cut 15% while 6 Billion is headed to pay ObamaCorps “volunteers”. Nevermind that by definition, if they’re being paid, they’re not volunteers.

Didn’t Obama Democrats say “our army is broken” and “stretched to the breaking point”? And now they’re slashing it?

If Obama was going to bow to anyone, he should bow before his betters in the services, not some Saudi fraud. He owes our troops an apology, not France.

The image of Reagan as an anti-nuke protestor is delicious, though. Ironically, if he had gone ahead with his protest, Truman might have labeled him a left-wing nut and ended his career. Instead, he went on to win Truman’s Cold War. He would have gladly been out marching with those Nuclear Freeze protestors had it not been a phony Soviet Front, designed to impose a Freeze only upon America.

Don’t be fooled: Reagan and Obama both wanted an end to nukes. But Ronald Reagan believed in “Peace Through Strength”, while Obama believes in “Strength through Peace”.


1 thought on “Reagan in Reverse

  1. It is punative isolationism. The world is pure and must be protected from the contagion that is America.

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