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August 31, 2022

Gorbachev Dies, and the MSM Buries Reagan

With the death of the Soviet Union’s last president, our mainstream media tries to rewrite Cold War history.

“Last Soviet leader Gorbachev, who ended Cold War and won Nobel prize, dies aged 91.”

So went the headline of this Reuters obituary, which attempts to rewrite the end of the Cold War as having been unilaterally envisioned and brought about by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Ronald Reagan couldn’t be reached for comment. Nor could Margaret Thatcher, nor Pope John Paul II.

We know what you’re thinking: That’s only the headline. No doubt the article makes up for the omission of Reagan by duly noting Gorbachev’s indispensable Cold War counterpart in the body copy, right? Surely it mentions the five summit meetings held by the two men from 1985 to 1988 — first in Geneva, then in Reykjavik, then in Washington, then in Moscow, and finally in New York City, right? Surely it mentions Reagan’s world-historic 1987 speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Germany — the one where he bucked his senior advisers and electrified the Eastern Bloc by calling on Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” right?

Wrong. There are 817 words in the Reuters article, apparently written by some hack named David Ljunggren, and the words “Ronald Reagan” aren’t anywhere among them. Nor is there any mention of the British prime minister known as The Iron Lady, nor the pope known as Joannes Paulus Magnus.

Sadly, though, the Reuters outrage isn’t an outlier. This article from the Associated Press also fails to mention Reagan — although at least it does so in the caption of a photo of Gorbachev and Reagan that accompanies the article.

Such is the urge among leftists to whitewash — indeed, to bury — the legacy of a great American president and one of the most consequential figures of the 20th century. Heck, not even Soviet cold warriors like Anatoly Dobrynin believe what the American Left has long been peddling about Reagan. Dobrynin was the Soviet Union’s ambassador to the U.S. for a span of six U.S. presidents, but his memoir, In Confidence, gives due credit to our nation’s 40th president in chapters titled “Reagan: The Thaw” and “Reagan and Ending the Cold War.”

If communism was The God That Failed, then Reagan and Gorbachev were the tribunes of that failure — Reagan as captured over decades of his writings as an anticommunist, and Gorbachev as the first Soviet leader who seemed ready to acknowledge the inevitable.

What made Gorbachev so receptive to change, so different than, say, Chernenko or Andropov or Brezhnev or Khrushchev or Stalin or Lenin? Historian Paul Kengor offers this remarkable anecdote:

When Reagan first met Gorbachev at Geneva in November 1985, he was immediately taken by Gorbachev’s religious references, which were plainly remarkable coming from the leader of what Reagan rightly called an “Evil Empire.” Reagan became deeply intrigued at the possibility that Gorbachev might be (in Reagan’s words) a “closet Christian.”

When he arrived home from Geneva, Reagan immediately called Michael Deaver. He said of the new current leader of Lenin’s and Stalin’s atheistic state: “He believes.” An incredulous Deaver responded to his president and longtime friend: “Are you saying the general secretary of the Soviet Union believes in God?” Reagan walked his statement back, but only a tiny bit: “I don’t know, Mike, but I honestly think he believes in a higher power.”

Gorbachev proceeded to suggest that with his stunning overtures on behalf of religious freedom, rolling back his predecessors’ brutal “wholesale war on religion,” as Gorbachev described it. “Atheism took rather savage forms in our country,” he lamented.

Reagan’s role in the collapse of the Soviet Union is undeniable, but there are still plenty of dead-enders out there, both in the media and the academy — those who say Soviet communism was bound to collapse in the late 1980s regardless of whether Reagan or some schlub was in the White House. Remember: Those on the Left hated Reagan with a passion, and they viewed him as a simpleton. One of those elitists, Clark Clifford, even called him “an amiable dunce.”

Reagan, of course, was anything but, and the vast body of his writings and speeches, many of which were made public only after his passing on June 5, 2004, make mincemeat out of such lazy characterizations. As biographer Lou Cannon said, his words were those “of a visionary who saw around the bend in the road of history.” Which prompts a question: In all of recorded history, has there ever been a more wrongheaded and idiotic assessment of a man than the one uttered by Clifford? We think not.

In conclusion, we can state with certainty that the mainstream media is dead wrong, and that its whitewashers are doing violence to history. Mikhail Gorbachev did not singlehandedly end the Cold War. Instead, he followed the lead of a great American president.

Here, we’re reminded of an old Soviet joke in which an exasperated dissident confesses, “In the Soviet Union, we know what the future holds. It’s the past that’s always changing.”

Clearly, the same can be said for our hard-left, history-denying mainstream media.

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