From the economic perspective.... the overspending does not seem to me like Reagan's invention...it seem to have been among the primary elements of the Cold War all along, no?
Today, they told me on the radio that he was 'tough' and did not budge.... That's not how I remember it. I remember he met with and supported Gorbachev. I remember him as being far more conciliatory than his predecessors in the end. Where does this stance that he was tough and unbudging come from?
Excerpts from a review that pretty much sum up how I remember that era. (full text: http://www.brookings.edu/views/articles/talbott/20040801.htm
[quote="Jack F. Matlock in "Reagan and Gorbachev"]Reagan himself went even farther. Asked at a press conference in Moscow in 1988, his last year in office, about the role he played in the great drama of the late 20th century, he described himself essentially as a supporting actor. ''Mr. Gorbachev,'' he said, ''deserves most of the credit, as the leader of this country.''[/quote]
During his first term, Reagan denounced the pre-Gorbachev Soviet Union as an ''evil empire.'' ...Then, in 1985, soon after Reagan's second inauguration, the vigorous, 54-year-old Gorbachev ascended to the leadership. He wanted to demilitarize Soviet foreign policy so that he could divert resources to the Augean task of fixing a broken economy. Initially, he expected no help from Reagan, whom he regarded as "not simply a conservative, but a political 'dinosaur.'"...Reagan came quickly to recognize that Gorbachev's goals, far from being traditional, were downright revolutionary. He also saw that the transformation Gorbachev had in mind for his country would, if it came about, serve American interests.
As a result, without much fuss and without many of his supporters noticing, Reagan underwent a transformation of his own. The fire-breathing cold warrior set about trying, through intense, sustained personal engagement, to convince Gorbachev that the United States would not make him sorry for the course he had chosen."
Anyway... From where I sit it seems that Reagan would have liked to bring the Berlin War down... but he couldn't do it from where he was. Gorbachev, who was still a Communist leader, however reformist, was NOT interested in bringing it down. The fall of the communist regimes one after another was not something he desired, although he influenced it far more than any other single person with glasnost and perestroika. I have been hearing about the "Reagan bringing the Berlin Wall down" a lot in the last one month. Why? What the heck? Was this always thought, or is it something new, and why has it crept out right now? How do you remember it and what do you think is going on right now that this is being dragged out?