Credit The Liberator, Not The Dictator

I’ve made a concerted effort to ignore most of the anti-Reagan carping from the press and the far Left over the last week. It’s no suprise that the Guardians, New York Times, Ted Ralls and Jeff Cohens and Fidel Castros of the world weren’t sorry to see the Gipper depart. It’s also deeply comforting to know that all of the above still have to wake up every morning realizing that Communism is dead–and knowing in their hearts that Ronald Reagan killed it. In this case, there’s no need to ask, “Why do they hate him?” The answer is self-evident: because he destroyed that which they held most dear.

But even the most dedicated media filter can’t help but let through the media/Leftist meme that Reagan was simply fortunate in his timing; it was really Saint Mikhail of Stavropol who “ended the Cold War.” This quaint fiction ignores the history of the 1980’s, to say nothing of their happy ending. Gorbachev, the last dictator of the Soviet Union, “ended” that conflict by losing it, and his own grasp of empire, in a popular revolution.

Lest we forget, this dictator did not “step down,” or “release” power–he was removed by his own people. Lest we forget, just months after being awarded a Nobel Prize for not invading his neighbors (by those standards, every U.S. President should earn the award for years in which they fail to march on Canada and Mexico), Gorbachev sent KGB black beret thugs into Lithuania and Latvia, where they murdered numerous pro-democracy activists. Noting that Gorbachev was the “least bad” of the USSR’s sordid pantheon of despots comes close to the very definition of damning with faint praise.

As George Bush (41) aptly noted, Communism didn’t fall. It was pushed.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the people who were there, most particularly those who were behind the Wall:

I was going to open up the commentary today with the Lech Walesa WSJ column, but Martini Boy beat me to it overnight. Still more than worth the read.

Another Steve re-run, but still relevant for today, is this note from a 2002 Michael Novak column:

“You know what caused the downfall of the Soviet Union? You know what did it?” demanded a senior [Soviet] general, a little flush with vodka.

Some racked their brains with thoughts of missile defense, perpetual shortages of everything from soap to vodka, the U.S. military buildup. The general banged his fist again. “That damn speech about the evil empire! That’s what did it!” The general was standing now, and to the questioning eyes of one American he added: “It was an evil empire. It was.”

Also note these stories, first this about former subjects of the Soviet Union honoring Reagan, and another here, and finally honors from leaders of now-free states liberated by Reagan’s policies. They will not be saying the same things about Gorbachev on the day he goes to his own reward.

Here’s another column from a freed Soviet, who recalls,

On the morning of April 20, 1989, the day my family leaving Moscow, a knock came on my parents’ door. It was our next-door neighbor. Ours being one of the Soviet Union’s cramped, communal apartments, I mean that quite literally. Waving a bottle of vodka, he insisted my father drink a toast. He wanted to celebrate our new freedom, which also meant his: By leaving him our half of the apartment, we were bypassing Soviet restrictions on the sale of state property.

Agreeing, my father suggested they toast to Gorbachev. After all, our neighbor was a common day laborer, unlikely to be up on the complex realities of international politics; and more than likely to have imbibed his fair share of politburo propaganda, which Gorbachev, in his hick Caucasus accent, spouted daily. Our neighbor only laughed. “Gorbachev? You think Gorbachev gave me this apartment? We’ll drink to Reagan. Reagan gave me this apartment.”

He gave you a lot more than that, comrade. And I’m sure you know it today.


19 Responses to “Credit The Liberator, Not The Dictator”

  1. Mike M Says:

    I wonder what was going through ol’ Gorby’s mind as he stood before Reagan. Respect? Jealousy? Bitterness? Satisfaction? Wondering why he wasn’t being mummified and put on display?

    More likely he secretly marveled at our peaceful transition of power and the throngs of mourners who paid their respects without the need for state “encouragement”.

  2. Gut Rumbles Says:

    well said

    Don’t miss this post, especially not today. Ronald Reagan wasn’t perfect, but he was a damn good man and a…

  3. denise Says:

    Mike M — All of the above.

  4. Coffeehouse at the End-Of-Days Says:


    (From a Benson cartoon). Dick Morris on the difference between Reagan and Clinton. Charles Krauthammer on the liberal move to diminish Reagan by attributing everything to his ‘optimism’. A collection of views on Reagan from those who used to…

  5. MBH Says:

    If Reagan doesn’t deserve the win against Communism, he at least gets the save.


  6. Timothy Says:

    Near the end of Reagan’s second term I joined the U.S. Navy. My first deployment was to the Persian Gulf as part of the build-up for Gulf War I. The (combined) battle group was impressive: 2 battleships, 2 nuke cruisers (as well as the conventionally-powered), 2 aircraft carriers, ammunition ships, oilers, replenishment ships, and more than a dozen frigates and destroyers. (Also those “boats” that sink and then re-surface!) In any event, close to the Kamchatka Peninsula one morning, I reported to the bridge to assume the watch and was informed that another ship had joined the formation during the night; a small Krivak, complete with red paint below the waterline. Out on the starboard bridge wing I raised my binoculars and saw a junior officer on the Krivak staring back at me through through his binoculars. I wonder what became of that fellow. I wonder what he thinks of Reagan’s passing.

  7. Paul Says:

    One of my favorite Reagan stories in regards to the Soviet Union is this one of sabotage. Explosion? What explosion. Ha!

    I also blogged it here.

  8. Paul Says:

    oops, I didn’t mean here as in Vodka Pundit of course, but here.

    Whatever, just click on sabotage and enjoy.

  9. Dave Says:

    It’s not “damning with faint praise” to credit Gorbachev with being the best among monsters – it’s more like praising with faint damnation.

  10. dorkafork Says:

    Can’t remember who first said it:

    “At least when Reagan left office, his country still existed.”

    A quick rebuttal to the “Gorby won the Cold War” idea.

  11. ed Says:

    Perhaps fortunate in his timing, but I believe that had it not been for Reagan’s policies of the time, Gorby might have gone with a bang. Measured in megatons.


  12. furious Says:

    PJ O’Rourke summed up “Ol’ Splotch Top” thusly:

    “Gorbachev was a visionary, all right. Like Hirohito was a visionary after Nagasaki.”

    –“Springtime for Gorbachev”, Give War a Chance


  13. Pejmanesque Says:


    Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of…

  14. Pejmanesque Says:


    Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of…

  15. scott holmes Says:

    my new standard-when the assholes hate you, you know you stand on high ground.

  16. Mustrum Says:

    Spent a goodly chunk of my youth in communist Poland, and now I went back to do my PhD there. Most Western academics haven’t a clue. Gorby was a symptom, not a cause.

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