Ronald Reagan receives an awful lot of unwarranted credit for bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. In fact, just last year Reagan was named, "The Greatest American Ever," in a poll y the Discover Channel. In truth, if any American President deserves any credit at all for bringing down the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe it would be Richard Nixon.
What Ronald Reagan has so far managed to avert responsibility for is contributions to the state of Islamic terrorism, which has turned the people of the United States into a fearful pack of lemmings. Americans are ready to hand over every civil liberty they have to a despot, who uses mostly unwarranted threats of daily terrorist attacks to push his agenda for corporate empire through Congress. Bush aside, to what extent might Ronald Reagan be to blame for the current geopolitical mess?
The Cold War and the War on Terror are two sides of the same coin. The only significant event is the invasion of Afghanistan, by the Soviet Union, in 1979. It was one of those rare moments in history. The decision by the USSR to attack Afghanistan set the stage for massive re-charting of the political landscape in ways that nobody at the time foresaw. Why didn't we notice? Mostly the focus, in 1979, was on Cold War politics, which, looking back, now, seems silly. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan eventually resulted in not only the end of the Cold War, but also the rise of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.
The cost to the Soviets of the long, drawn-out quagmire in Afghanistan, with its obvious parallel to Iraq, today, contributed to the end of the Cold War; much more than anything Ronald Reagan did. The cost, in terms of human life and rubles, rattled the Soviet economy to the very core.
Why wasn't the mighty Red Army capable of overtaking the Afghan "desert rats," who fought them? It's simple, really: Cold War politics dictated that America do everything possible to help those Afghanistan freedom fighters to push back the godless commie hordes. An unintended and unexpected consequence of Cold War politicking was the emergence of Osama Bin Laden.
The Afghan freedom fighters, the mujahadeen, were a ragtag bunch, not unlike the founding colonists in the USA, who pushed those rascally lobster backs across the pond to Britain to their precious and mad king. Yes, these brave mujahadeen were heroes in the eyes of Ronald Reagan - he publicly acknowledged them as freedom fighters - and the rest of the conservatives in power. So precious were the Afghan freedom fights, that the USA sent supplies, intelligence (sic) and aid. The mujahadeen were heroes in the Sylvester Stallone movie, "Rambo III."
In addition to aid from the USA, the mujahadeen also received battlefield aid from another benefactor. You might have heard of him. He goes by the name of Osama Bin-Laden. What's that you say? The US and Osama were on the same side? Yes, just as the US and Saddam Hussein were on the same side once. There is one difference between the US and Osama Bin-Laden regarding the Soviet-Afghan war. Once the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan, much the way the USA withdrew from Vietnam, the mujahadeen freedom-fighters, whom the USA supported, wholly, embraced Osama Bin-Laden as their hero. The mujahadeen turned Bin Laden into the internationally known figure he is, today. In less than the time it took to say, "Tear down the Berlin Wall Mr. Gorbachev," the freedom fighting mujahadeen transformed into terrorists.
What do we learn from this history lesson? Well, in spending billions and billion of dollars to beat back an enemy that never once brought down a single building in the United States, US politician, especially Ronald Reagan, empowered an enemy that has already brought down at least three buildings and killed thousands. Now, the USA must spend billions and billions of dollars fighting Osama bin Laden and the mujahadeen freedom fighters. Unlike the Cold War, the War on Terror has no single enemy resident in geographical boundaries, such as Eastern Europe; the enemy is here, there and everywhere. The threat of terrorism exists potentially on every inch of inhabitable land across the globe.
Way to go, President Reagan! You truly are the "Greatest American Ever." I mean, you know, he is if you happen to be an Islamic terrorist.
Tim Sexton is a writer, living in Florida, at last report.
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