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The Cost of the Left-wing's Ongoing Vendetta Against Reagan

By       Message Paul Craig Roberts     Permalink
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This article cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts
In Memoriam:

Alexander Cockburn, co-editor with Jeffrey St. Clair of CounterPunch, has died after his silent two-year battle with cancer. Although he didn't please everyone, his was an important voice. His mother was an English aristocrat and his father was a hell-raising journalist. Alex had the traits of both of his parents. He was educated at Oxford and was an engaging conversationalist.

Alex lived in the US for a long time and became a US citizen a few years ago. He wrote for the Village Voice and in the Reagan years had a column on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, something that would be impossible today.

I will miss him and so will people who do not know who he was. The force has been weakened.

I will have more to say about him at a later time.

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PCR
*****

The Cost of the Left-wing's Ongoing Vendetta Against Reagan



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What causes some people to feel compelled to make uninformed digs at President Reagan? Is it just that they are brainwashed or, if they are thoughtful people, just too involved with other matters to be well informed about Reagan? How many of the digs at Reagan are deflective activity by Clinton/Bush/Cheney/Obama shills diverting attention from the real causes of our woes?

Reagan and his administration are not above criticism, but Reagan most certainly is not to blame for the financial crisis or for the neoconservative wars for American hegemony.

The Reagan administration's interventions in Grenada and Nicaragua were not, as is sometimes claimed, precursors to Clinton's war on Serbia and the Bush and Obama wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, with more waiting in the wings. Reagan saw his interventions in the context of the Monroe Doctrine, not as an opening bid for world hegemony.

The purpose of Reagan's interventions was to convince the Soviets that there would be no more territorial gains for communism. The interventions were part of Reagan's strategy of bringing the Soviets to the table to negotiate the end of the cold war. Reagan believed that getting the Soviets to negotiate would be more difficult if they were still making territorial gains or gains that the Soviets might perceive in that way. Possibly, Reagan's advisers were wrong to put a Marxist interpretation on political events in Grenada and Nicaragua, but that is the way Reagan understood them.

When Reagan understood what the Israelis had lured him into in Lebanon, he pulled out. Reagan opposed war as an instrument of American hegemony. It is the neoconservatives who use war to achieve hegemony. Reagan was not a neoconservative.

The left-wing is more interested to blame Reagan for the financial crisis than to understand the crisis. The left-wing accuses Reagan of deregulating the financial system and of setting up a "Plunge Protection Team" to rig financial markets.

I have found that giving people information that they do not want to hear is a frustrating experience. Heaven forbid that anyone would have to overcome their ignorance or rethink their prejudices. But I keep trying.

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First, however, I want to answer two questions: What is the source of the left's animosity toward Reagan, and "why does Roberts keep defending Reagan?" The latter question is usually answered for me by people who know nothing of my motives but are nevertheless comfortable in answering for me: "He was part of it and can't admit he was wrong."

The left's animosity toward Reagan is a mystery. Consider Reagan's economic and foreign policies. The stagflation that Reagaonmics cured was hurting the poor, not the rich. The rich raise prices; the poor pay the higher prices. There is always a risk of a cold war going hot. Negotiating the end of the cold war did not please the military/security complex, and apparently not the leftwing peaceniks either.

The first business of the new Reagan administration was to complete the Carter administration's plan to save autoworker jobs by imposing quotas on imports of Japanese cars. Reagan did this even though it demoralized his conservative free trade supporters. Reagan got no thanks from the left who denounced him instead for bailing out his Republican buddies in the auto business.

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http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His books, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available (more...)
 

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