Sunday, June 06, 2004

more on Ron

A commentor wants to know more about my crack about Reagan fighting for freedom down to the last European. It’s a combination of things really. The resurgence of the doctrine of winnable nuclear war. The advent of a new generation of tactical nukes. And most importantly the deployment of those nukes in Europe, amid much chestbanging rhetoric.

I can’t look back kindly on a man who would have cheerfully provoked my death, had his tactics been matched by the Russians. Ronnie’s gone, and to hell with him.

And yet, it was wrong to say that I felt in imminent danger at that time. Solemn types expended much hot air over hs supposed unfitness for office at the time of his election: “At this vital juncture of the cold war – the Americans have elected a stone cretin.”

It certainly looked that way. And it was a masterstroke. It said to the Eastern Bloc: “the game’s up, sunshine. It doesn’t matter who we elect. You’ll never catch up.” It was like Muhammad Ali tap dancing round his stricken opponent before delivering the coup de grace. It said to the Chinese: who cares who lost China – make a bunch of cheap stuff for us.

I think most of us had a sense of this back in the 80s, whatever our politics. I bet Ron was aware of it too. He wasn’t a second rate actor impersonating the president. He was a good actor in a second rate role he could pretty much phone in. The joke would be funnier if it wasn’t for the nukes.