Defending Ronald Reagan to the Hard Left
"Reagan and his administration are not above criticism, but Reagan most certainly is not to blame for the financial crisis or for the neoconservative wars for American hegemony," Paul Craig Roberts reminds his fellow CounterPunchers — The Left, Reagan and Cockburn. An excerpt:
- The Reagan administration’s interventions in Grenada and Nicaragua were not, as is sometimes claimed, precursors to Clinton’s war on Serbia and the Bush and Obama wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, with more waiting in the wings. Reagan saw his interventions in the context of the Monroe Doctrine, not as an opening bid for world hegemony.
The purpose of Reagan’s interventions was to convince the Soviets that there would be no more territorial gains for communism. The interventions were part of Reagan’s strategy of bringing the Soviets to the table to negotiate the end of the cold war. Reagan believed that getting the Soviets to negotiate would be more difficult if they were still making territorial gains or gains that the Soviets might perceive in that way. Possibly, Reagan’s advisers were wrong to put a Marxist interpretation on political events in Grenada and Nicaragua, but that is the way Reagan understood them.
When Reagan understood what the Israelis had lured him into in Lebanon, he pulled out. Reagan opposed war as an instrument of American hegemony. It is the neoconservatives who use war to achieve hegemony. Reagan was not a neoconservative.
The left-wing is more interested to blame Reagan for the financial crisis than to understand the crisis. The left-wing accuses Reagan of deregulating the financial system and of setting up a “Plunge Protection Team” to rig financial markets.