Here Pat Buchanan recalls the legacy of Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan believed in the measured response.
He hated nuclear weapons, “those god-awful things,” he used to say, and seized on the idea of a missile defense, SDI. And while he was ready to trade down offensive missiles, when Gorbachev at Reykjavik demanded he throw the Strategic Defense Initiative into the pot, Reagan got up and walked out.
Would Reagan go into Syria? Almost surely not.
On the last day of his presidency, he told aides the worst mistake he made was putting U.S. Marines into Lebanon, where 241 Americans perished in the terror bombing of the Beirut barracks.
He had no problem working with flawed regimes, as long as they stood with us in the cause that would decide the fate of mankind.
The East-West struggle was the top priority with Ronald Reagan, which is one reason he vetoed sanctions on South Africa.
Whatever her sins, Pretoria was on our side in the main event.
But while Reagan would not challenge Moscow militarily in Central Europe, he provided weapons to anti-Communist guerrillas and freedom fighters in Afghanistan, Angola and Nicaragua to bleed and break the Soviet Empire at its periphery and make them pay the same price we paid in Vietnam.
Reagan was an anti-Communist to his core, having fought them in the Screen Actors Guild in the 1940s. But he was never anti-Russian, and wanted always to keep the channels open. He ended his presidency as he had hoped, being cheered while strolling through Red Square with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Ronald Reagan never wanted to be a war president, and there were no wars on Reagan’s watch. None. The Gipper was no neocon.