Whenever I try to give credit to Ronald Reagan for participating in the fall of the Soviet Union, I often hear that its fall was an inevitability, and it just so happened to occur on Reagan’s watch. I have to point out to them that Reagan was the first President to come along with an intent to defeat communism, not just contain it. And then to have the Soviet Union defeated “on his watch”, with nary a nuke dropped, is one of those “coincidences” you don’t often see in politics; where the effect so closely mirrors the cause.
Interestingly, some of those who say the fall of communism was inevitable weren’t around when it happened. I was. And so was Lech Walesa.
Lech Walesa said that there would not be a free Poland without Ronald Reagan, during the unveiling of a statue in Warsaw of the late American president on Monday.
The former Solidarity leader said that “as a participant in these events,” it was “inconceivable” that such changes would have come about without the last American president during the post-1945 cold-war era.
Walesa added that thirty years ago, it seemed that the fall of the communist system would not be possible without a nuclear war.
Reagan stood strongly, and very publicly, with Poland against the Soviets. This was not an appeasing President. The Soviet Union was wrong and evil, and Reagan was not afraid to call it that, to the consternation of so many American liberals. (Just ask if, after Reagan walked out of the Reykjavik summit, if they thought nuclear war was a distinct possibility.) Lech Walesa agreed, and understood that history could just as easily played out very differently, if Reagan had not believed that victory was possible.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Poland certainly is.
Doug Payton blogs at Considerettes.