Wednesday, May 23

Um, Reagan?

I don’t know if anyone else caught Jeff Jacoby’s article “Look in the Mirror, Jimmy Carter” in today’s Globe. In it, Jacoby takes Carter to task for his recent comments to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which he claimed that “as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history,” referring to the Bush administration.

Jacoby argued that it was actually Carter’s own administration that was the worst in history, or at least the worst of the 20th century. He points to Carter’s departure from the aggressive anti-Communism of his predecessors and what Jacoby sees as Carter’s appeasement of Communist leaders, like Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev.

Now I’m not saying Carter was one of our best presidents (and I was too young to have voted for him at the time) but I have a difficult time criticizing Carter’s policy of rapprochement with some of the world’s leading Marxists—heck, didn’t Nixon normalize U.S. relations with China?—especially in light of how many times the U.S. has chosen to support (often covertly) brutal, ruthless, and undemocratic dictators purely on the basis of their anti-Communism.

Worse yet is Jacoby’s criticism of Carter’s response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian Revolution, and the subsequent Iran hostage crisis (1979 – 1981). In what can only be considered a thoroughly cock-eyed analysis of what he terms “the fruits of Carter’s spinelessness,” he concludes (quoting Stephen Hayward, a member of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank):

“The fall of Iran… ‘set in motion the advance of radical Islam and the rise of terrorism that culminated in Sept. 11.’ By doing nothing to prevent the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Carter invited an evil from which grew the jihadist violence that is such a menace today.”
Only the most biased (and blind) individual would reach such a conclusion. Far more accurate is an analysis that looks to the damage done by Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, whose administration funneled billions to Afghanistan in support of the mujahedeen’s jihad against the Soviet Union. Thousands of Arab counterrevolutionaries fled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, among them Osama bin Laden. They were trained and aided by the CIA, who “devised special recommendations ‘for the use of religious movements and groups in the struggle against the spread of Communist influence.’”

Reagan’s shortsighted policy of supporting militant Islam as part of his strategy for winning the Cold War was to have devastating results. In effect, he helped create a threat far more lethal to American security than the Soviet Union. Both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda grew in strength as a result of Reagan’s interference in Afghanistan. His simplistic formula of “the enemy of my enemy of my friend” was a grave miscalculation, the full impact of which was witnessed on 9/11. To ignore the connection between the Reagan administration’s foreign policy and the rise of militant Islam, while placing the blame on Carter’s shoulders isn’t merely bad history. It’s utter foolishness.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous d.c. kostas said...

i just discovered you while searching about rembetiko online.
good to know i'm not the only fag in the u.s. into rembetika.
and you're a musician too. hallelujah!

5:21 AM  
Blogger Marcelo Daniel said...

Anyone defending the current administration is completely delusional. I stopped reading Jeff Jacoby years ago. He writes utter nonesense.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

thanks, boys.

d.c.- nope, you're not the only one. i'm sorry though that many of the links to the song files appear to be broken. i've been meaning to find a new file host.

are you a musician?

12:22 PM  
Blogger The Freelance Cynic said...

I feel like I just had a crash course in American Politics

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your post, but you've got to be kidding about this part, right:

//In effect, he helped create a threat far more lethal to American security than the Soviet Union.//

You must be pretty young not to realize that the Soviet Union could have - at any time - turned the US into a burnt cinder in under 30 minutes.

Islamafascisim is certainly frightening, and at times deadly. But they can't compete with the former Soviets in terms of lethal means. Not even close.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

Hi Anonymous,
To your point:

"the Soviet Union could have - at any time - turned the US into a burnt cinder in under 30 minutes."

Would've never happened.

And BTW, I wish I were younger.

11:13 PM  

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