Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Presidents Day weekend.  I am reminded of the only President I ever loved, probably because I was a kid, and while other things were going on I watched him speaking whenever he was on the tele. I'm talking about President Ronald Reagan.  It was a dark time for America. We were in the middle of a Cold War with the Soviet Union.  The Eagle against the Bear.  Our President, a handsome, charismatic, former Hollywood actor who knew how to work the camera represented our line of defense against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Each one had the ability to launch an all out nuclear war with a single phone call. It should not be forgotten.  Students during this time period were practicing huddling under their desks in schools all over the country. The threat of mutual assured destruction was the only thing holding each side in check.   Each one playing the greatest military chess match the world has ever seen. Whenever they met no one knew what the outcome would be.  They were so much different in ideology, and neither was willing to loose ground giving the other a strategic advantage over the other.  One thing is certain though.  Reagan represented us well.  He didn't back down.  When he spoke the world listened, and those in prison in the Soviet Union because they fought for freedom cheered.  When Reagan was elected our Navy ships were on patrol in the Persian Gulf.  Iranian fighters would buzz the ships, but the former president didn't allow our ships to engage them.  Reagan was elected, and one of the first things he did was give the go ahead to our Navy.  The next time those fighters came around they got targeted with anti air radar. The pilots knew they could be shot down, and they never buzzed the ships again.  Another little known fact was that American hostages were released upon Reagan's election.  The hostages were taken by terrorists, and the former president couldn't get them back.  Well, word went out that Reagan wasn't playing, so they were released immediately.  And, Reagan didn't gloat.  He allowed the former President to meet them as they returned. Reagan never sought credit for it. He took up the business of government very seriously insisting on a suit coat and tie in the White House at all times.  He believed in America, in American people, and American business.  he knew we had everything necessary to be the greatest nation on earth.  And, he wanted to protect it.  Keep in mind that the Soviet Union had hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles targeted at American cities. Mutual assured destruction remember. There is no defense once they are launched.  Not unless you can find a way to shoot them down.  Reagan came up with Star  Wars, the technology hadn't been invented yet.  Reagan tasked the Pentagon think tanks to invent it anyway.  That's what American do.  If it doesn't exist we invent it.  This sent America into a spending war with Russia trying to come up with it first, and it was highly provocative.  We won.  The Air Force now has a satellite capable of shooting down incoming missiles, and both land, and sea base anti missile systems are currently in place.  We are well protected, both sides have reduced their missile supply steadily ever since, the Berlin wall came down.  Remember when Reagan stood at the wall giving a speech, and told Gorbachev to tear it down.  Before that if you tried to sneak across you were shot by Soviet soldiers with machine guns.  At the end of his presidency Reagan fell to Alzheimer's.  His wife Nancy never failed him.  Gorbachev came to Washington to pay his respects to his former chess mate. Will we ever have another President like him?  I don't think so.  It was a different time and America's threats were well known.  The world has changed as it always does.  We've had President's remembered for "Read my Lips", another for infidelity, one who took the fight to the terrorists, I would have nuked them myself, and one who to my knowledge hasn't so much as run a school store now in control of the largest economy on earth. No, I don't think we'll see his like again.