Bruce Walker, at American Thinker, argues that, just as it was no accident that Ronald Reagan armed with conviction and consciously asserting the ideals of Liberty the United States was founded upon was able to bring down Communism and win the Cold Water, it is also no accident that the post-Reagan return to political “realism” has enabled the enemies of Liberty worldwide to regroup.
After Reagan, the candle glowed brightly, then it flickered, then it died. Why? The Old World has always been torn between the remnants of its ancient empires and the bold promise of human liberty. Its elites, its sophisticates, its nationalists have always whispered that America and its promises are lies. German culture, Japanese uniqueness, Chinese civilization, Islamic greatness, French grandeur and Russian tsars of myriad denominations — these were truth, and liberty was a lie.
For a few brief years, the East no longer believed the tale of its political and ideological bosses. Hong Kong, not Beijing, was the future of China. Bricks of the Berlin Wall were solid souvenirs of Marx’s folly. Russians dreamed of a joyful future. Reagan had been Washington again, and when Madison and Jefferson did their work, the world would be well, so it seemed.
Then nothing happened. When Reagan left office, it was like when Lincoln was shot. The keen mind and the wondrous soul which endured everything to emancipate men was gone. Small minds and smaller hearts scurried in. George H. Bush, famously, sacked the men of Reagan and replaced them with more sensible functionaries. …
Anyone could see that the pressure which worked on the Soviets would work on the Chinese Communists as well. Students in Beijing begged the world for freedom in 1989, something unprecedented under the Soviets. The theme of liberty should have permeated every transaction between America and China. Not just government, but business should have resonated with the importance of human rights over commercial profits. If Clinton believed that, he might have been able to rally the nation, but Clinton emphatically rejected the value of liberty over comfort.
The Presidency in eight short years went from being occupied by a moral colossus to a moral dwarf. Clinton sold national security secrets for something as banal as campaign contributions. Although Yeltsin was President of Russia during all of Clinton’s administration, our clever Clinton was unable to prevent on August 19, 1998 – one decade ago – the collapse of Russian financial markets and the destruction of the hope of a Russian middle class. This was the midpoint between the presidential campaign to elect the successor to Reagan and our grim world today — ten years ago.
What was Clinton doing ten years ago? He was on national television, the very same day that the Russian economy collapsed and the rise of Putin was assured, explaining that he had an “inappropriate relationship” with Monica Lewinsky and, by the way, he was ordering cruise missiles to hit aspirin factories in Sudan to combat a terrorist threat.