February 4, 2005


Sunny Reaganite message greets a freed people (JANET ALBRECHTSEN, 02feb05, The Australian)

LAST year Peter Robinson, a former speechwriter to Ronald Reagan, recounted a conversation in 1977 between Reagan and Richard Allen, who would become Reagan's first national security adviser. Reagan asked if Allen would like to hear his theory of the Cold War.

"Some people think I'm simplistic," Reagan said, "but there's a difference between being simplistic and being simple. My theory of the Cold War is that we win and they lose. What do you think about that?"

"I was flabbergasted," Allen recalled later. "I'd worked for Nixon and Goldwater and many others, and I'd heard a lot about . . . detente and the need to 'manage the Cold War', but never did I hear a leading politician put the goal so starkly."

If Reagan ushered in "Morning in America" (his 1984 campaign theme) with an optimism that was to defeat the Soviet empire, then perhaps, just perhaps, George W. Bush and his coalition partners have ushered in morning in Iraq, offering Iraqis an optimism that will allow them too to succeed. [...]

Perhaps, just perhaps, Bush – and John Howard – understand the big picture here in a way that is beyond the foreign policy experts, the journalists and the reflexive anti-US commentators. Presidents and prime ministers are paid to look for the big picture, for the history-making change. Others, especially journalists, deal in today's minutiae, not the macro movements. They analyse and agonise over tomorrow's fish wrappings. Political leaders must deal with history.

And history suggests that the simple ideas are usually the most powerful.

Let the intellectuals scrutinize the trees, while the simple-minded enjoy the forest.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 4, 2005 6:24 AM
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