Saturday, June 05, 2004

Thinking about Reagan, Part One I feel the need to mourn Reagan's passage as a fellow human. Many midwesterners where I was raised, really loved him. But at the same time, I can't think of someone whose life was probably less tangental to mine. He was a disaster as governor of California. It came as a horrible surprise when he successfully ran for president. Unlike Nixon, a conservative with some intelligence, Reagan ushered in an era of much more direct serving of the rich for its own sake, and refused to accept any responsibility for looting the nation, disguising accountability in predigested Morning in America everything-is-alright-all-the-time sound bites. He dangerously destabilized the world by pushing the arms race during the 1980s, bringing us to the brink of war during that decade. He's responsible for throwing Eastern Europe into an economic-political mess, where idiots from the Harvard Business School were then called in to fan out across Russia invoking "shock therapy," when the USSR could instead have humanely been transformed into a form of democratic socialism instead. This then plunged Russia into at least a decade of looting and criminality that paralled that in the United States on a larger scale. Now think about the folks involved, now some readers of the Rising Hegemon may not remember they were involved in Reagan's presidency, the names are still familiar, George H. W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, Negroponte, Eliot Abrams, for starters. Historical trajectories pass through critical sites where the switchmen, with little effort, can direct a pattern in a way that might have great consequences. Carter, a decent enought guy, perhaps better suited for a Baptist pulpit than the bully pulpit of the presidency, would not have allowed the kinds of criminal scum in his administration as happened under Reagan. Can we imagine?? A world w/o Bush I let alone Bush II and the rest of the Neo Con cast. One of the bedrocks of contemporary right-wingers is that Reagan was responsible for the break up of the USSR. Any of us who know diddly about statistics knows, coincidence is not causality, its break up was foretold by many commentators. I will not go into it here, but the collapse had nothing to do Star Wars, military build up, or the open mike performance of the bombs fall in five minutes. It's amazing that this "Readers Digest" president was elected governor, much less president. We may mourn the man, but need to gasp with horror at the public servant.
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