Posted On: Monday - December 3rd 2018 9:03PM MST
In Topics:   The Russians  Trump  Americans  US Feral Government
(continued from Part 1)
The two Presidents, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, presided (and is presiding) over almost opposite situations in the history of US foreign policy. President Reagan came into office as the Cold War had been going along for > 3 decades already. There was no reason, during most of the years of his presidency, to think it would ever end. Left or Right, most Americans, still a much more united people than they are now, wanted wished it would end though*. The Soviet invasion/occupation of Afghanistan was in progress, so, though it wasn't in as hot a phase as during Viet Nam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Korea, or the Berlin Airlift days, let me put it this way: The Cold War was THE foreign policy issue, and had been for a long time already.
That's not to say that some of the neoconnery hadn't already started up by the 1980's. However, not very much of it was seen as just in defense and promotion of Israel, even if the Middle East was the battleground. There were proxy wars all over the world that both sides of the Cold War waged to keep each other in check or test the other side. If they're aligned with Iraq, well we've got Iran (till we didn't, that is). If they're in Angola, then we need more bases nearby in Africa. This was going on in about every damn continent but Antarctica and Australia ('cause it's only one country, and we already had those blokes!). There was the Grenada, and Panama (but the latter was during George H.W. Bush's term). That was America's backyard, just as Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were the USSR's backyard. The deal was, the big power would not itself go to war over fighting going on in the other's backyard. Now, you could send all the weapons you wanted to ...
Mr. Reagan was inaugurated, not coincidentally, on the day that the 52 Americans that had been held for over a year in Tehran, Iran were released. There was definitely some Deep-State involvement in that deal, a subject for another post. The biggest foreign policy failure during Reagan's term was the killing of 220 US (mostly) Marines in Beirut, Lebanon by suicide bombers with two truck bombs in the fall of 1983. This was definitely a portent of things to come, and NOT seen as part of the Cold War. President Reagan did the right thing and pulled Americans out of the place. (Yes, Lebanon did go to hell, before and after that, from one of the most decent places in the Middle East to what other Presidents might call a shithole. Still, Reagan was right - Lebanon was NOT OUR PROBLEM.) I'd read somewhere that these deaths affected Mr. Reagan more than any other horrible occurrence during his terms.
Well, the world is a different place for President Trump in the mid-10's. Instead of getting us out of Salvador, Nicaragua (our backyard), and getting missiles out of Germany and Turkey being the mantra of those on the Left wanting to wind down the Cold War via unilateral retreat from encroaching Communism, we have those on the conservative right now being the ones saying "we can't be the world's policeman". (It's true, and this police department is BROKE.) With the Cold War long over, just about 3 decades now, almost all of the foreign adventures are of no benefit to America (sure, maybe to SOME Americans, but not to America). The American military is NOT defending against the threat of an Orwellian totalitarian system closing in on us.
President Trump's job, as specified by most of his voters that heard his campaign promises, is to extricate our military from their 100's of foreign entanglements on every continent (except, yeah, Antarctica and Australia). That seems a much easier thing than trying to shore up local forces in every potential Communist-infested hot spot, doesn't it? I believe his job is much easier than President Reagan's job was, on foreign policy.
For 30 years, America has had an overwhelming advantage over every army/navy/air force in the world. (True, that's changing.) We've shown off all of the fancy gadgets, and it's time to bring them and the men all home. It's not like you need to raise the budget for this sort of thing. As a friend said to me the other day, it'd be best, the way things are going, if countries just started kicking us off of our bases, like the Filipinos and various other nations have sporadically done over the years. That would require no thinking or planning. "OK, they don't want us here. Shut it down ... they'll ... sniff, sniff ... be sorry." (Some might even, but it's not the Cold War era - none of what we do for them is helping America.) In the current era, we've had 30 years to try to be friends with Russia. It's not your Daddy's Soviet Union, people would be wise to realize. You don't go about this by expanding NATO right up to their damn border, when, in fact, the organization has long outlasted its charter and usefulness. The NATO enlargement is not President Trump's doing, but he's not been undoing it either, which was another promise of his.
I think that the foreign policy round of this contest between these two Presidents, only brought up by President Trump in the first place, has just been overwhelmingly won by Ronald Reagan. Let me summarize: Mr. Reagan, with lots of help from Maggie Thatcher of the UK, the old non-Commie real-Pope J-Paul II, Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, Lech Walesa of Poland, and MILLIONS of American soldiers/sailors/airmen, engineers, and technicians, WON the Cold War. Without President Reagan, and his stalwart opposition to the evil empire, it wouldn't have happened. President Trump has so far failed badly at stopping American aggression around the globe. He has not curtailed our terrible antagonistic "diplomacy" with Russia. We are antagonizing China now, militarily. Our problem with China is only economic, so I'll give him credit only on the work on import tariffs.
Ending the threat of the scourge of world Communism vs. NOT winding down wars around the globe? This round is a lopsided victory by Ronnie over Donnie.
* The exceptions lay on both the right and the left. The extreme Left (for the time) wanted to believe the Soviet Union was, and tried to make it out to be, this economic powerhouse to prove that, yeah, Communism is great, or something. On the Right, there were definitely many in the Military-Industrial Complex (Ike's term) who had a big stake in seeing the USSR as a big powerful enemy, worthy of new weapons systems and higher military manpower.