Streams

Reagan and the Cold War

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Was Ronald Reagan a Cold Warrior, a peace maker or both? Even 20 years after he left office, questions still remain about what role the 40th President played in ending the Cold War. James Mann tries to answer those questions with new interviews and previously unavailable documents in his book The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan.

Guests:

James Mann

Comments [6]

Andrew Morris from Brooklyn

A meme is the cultural/political equivalent of a gene in genetics. It is information that becomes accepted wisdom as it sweeps through the culture.

Mar. 18 2009 01:41 PM
Walter Ellis from Brooklyn Heights

It ain't "erb," it's "herb," with an "h". The French say "erbe," but what do they know?

Mar. 18 2009 01:36 PM
James B from NYC

Reagan, having actually studied economics as an undergraduate, understood better than Nixon, the 'lawyer' (or other conservatives) the superiority of capitalism or market economies to produce wealth & prosperity. And he apparently recognized that Gorbachev & the current Soviet leadership (of his time) had finally recognized that & were prepared for a transition away from their fatal statist experiment, with it's obvious failures & inability to keep up with the capitalist West - particularly in the crucial areas of modern technology, upon which military strength is so firmly built. In this understanding, he was perhaps further assisted by Margaret Thatcher who having met with & gotten to know this new Soviet leadership became aware of this new internal dynamic in the Eastern bloc. Reagan, though perhaps already modestly impaired by his problem with Alzheimers, was nonetheless much smarter than many of his leftist critics (& less bright cold war conservative detractors) give him credit for. He understood better than most conservatives the true nature of the ideological conflict between the democratic free market & totalitarian, statist economies of the twentieth century. And like those who had such understanding (Hayek, Mises et al) he understood that the inevitability of the market's triumph was merely a matter of time - during which containment was the best, though merely temporary policy. So, when the cracks within the statist systems became sufficiently great as to undermine the faith of their own leadership class - he was quick to recognize the moment's arrival & it's import, & equally quick to change course to accomodate these changes. Future gennerations who better understand the conflicts & dynamics of the twentieth century will be better positioned to understand his genius & leadership in assisting one of the greatest peaceful transitions in history.

Mar. 18 2009 12:29 PM
Harvey Bernstein from Yonkers, NY

Jimmy Carter authorized the Pershing II missile. This missile was designed to burrow into bunkers before detonating. This particular weapon seemed to scare the Soviets. Reagan was able to use it as a bargaining chip.

Mar. 18 2009 12:27 PM
hjs from 11211


did the USSR collapse under it's own weight and due to corruption (ie the black market economy)

Mar. 18 2009 12:14 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper West Side

Using the historical present tense is confusing and pretentious.

Mar. 18 2009 12:09 PM

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