Monday, July 04, 2011

Ronald Reagan Honored In Britain

One of the characteristics of true greatness is that it's recognized in unlikely places.

Today in Britain, a statue of President Reagan is being unveiled outside the American embassy in Grosvenor Square, London. It will stand next to the statues of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Westminster City Council has a rule that a statue like this can only be erected ten years after the death of the person honored, but they made an exception in Reagan's case. That's quite fitting, since he was such an exceptional man and leader.

A ceremony is planned around the unveiling of the bronze statue. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to attend, along with a few British dignitaries. It's uncertain Baroness Margaret Thatcher will attend because of her health, but she'll be there in spirit. Her quote, "Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot" will be etched on the statue's plinth, along with a piece of the Berlin Wall. It's a good quote from her, but I would have liked "Don't go wobbly now, Ronnie" just as much, simply because he almost always took her advice.

It's interesting to speculate on how Ronald Reagan would have reacted to our current situation. I can almost hear the ghost of that voice now as I write this, excoriating failed policies in Washington and inspiring Americans that our best days were ahead of us as he led the clean up of the shambles his predecessor Jimmy Carter had made of America's economy, its foreign policy and our faith in ourselves.

In his time, President Reagan was mocked by the Left as a has-been, a grade B actor, a dunce, an idiot. They tried to bring him down by whatever means necessary and called him senile, a warmonger, and a fool. Even today some of the same nonsense survives. But try as they might, they're unable to obliterate his achievements, his simple decency or his faith in G-d, freedom, America and his fellow countrymen.

That's his true legacy, the challenge to us to live up to the best in us. And that's what's being honored in Grosvenor Square today.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

"Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot." When Mr. Reagan entered office the Soviet Union was expanding. It was the most powerful military force on earth in all areas, enjoying full spectrum dominance over all, bar none. The only thing keeping the US and its allies free from its dominion was the American nuclear arsenal. The fact that the US and its allies were able to not only thwart this entity but to turn it back entirely was one of the most amazing feats in world history.

Now with that said did we really win the Cold War? I'd say no. Due in large to the failure of Mr. Reagan's successors to finish the job we did not. At best, we achieved a temporary cease fire. Russia has regrouped and is now stronger than it was before the fall of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, while the new Russia may not go by the name "Soviet Union", it has very nearly regained control over all of the areas that the Soviet Union controlled

In contrast, the US military is worn thin from its continuing operations, the nuclear deterrent has been allowed to erode, it lacks the necessary industrial capacity, America's infrastructure is crumbling, and its economy is in the tank. Essentially there is barely any conceivable way for it to expect to contain modern Russia.

I also would have also preferred the statement "don't go wobbly now Ronnie" inscribed on the statute rather than the one about the Cold War. The "loss" of the Cold War is a sore spot for virtually all Russians and a majority of Europeans who feel the wrong side won. Given current geo political realities, the Europeans and the Britons need to have at least cordial relations with the most powerful nation in Europe. Also, the US will need to have such relations as well. As such, is it wise to rub salt into an old wound? I'd say no. Again, a better choice for the inscription would have been "don't go wobbly Ronnie" or something to this effect.