18 June 2011

Ronald Reagan: "Evil Empire" Speech - 1983

Speaking to the National Association of Evangelicals
Orlando, Florida - March 8, 1983

The phrase 'evil empire' was first applied to the USSR and Soviet "captive states" by President Ronald Reagan, who had been calling for a far more aggressive posture towards the communist enemy since the early Sixties.

Once in office, Reagan put into action a plan that called for matching and/or exceeding the Soviet Union's strategic and global military capabilities worldwide, rolling-back relentless Soviet expansionism, and in doing so helping to write the final pages in the history of the Soviet Union...
"So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil."
With this speech, Reagan made the case for deploying NATO Pershing II missiles in Western Europe as a response to the Soviets installing new medium-range missiles in Eastern Europe. 

As we all know, Reagan won the argument and NATO missiles were indeed installed -against vehement protests from the misguided American and European "anti-war" Left. But once the USSR brought in reformer Gorbachev under heavy pressure from the Reagan arms buildup, he then was able to utilize them as valuable bargaining chips in arms talks at Geneva and Reykjavik.

Ole Dutch wasn't so keen to nuke the Kremlin as Sam Donaldson would have you believe... but Reagan was indeed a man who knew how to deal with the Russians:

Previous Gipper's Greatest features -here-