Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s and Trump today

Trump's course of confrontation with China and Islam compares to Reagan and Thatcher vs. Communism. Op-ed.

Rafael Castro ,

British PM Margaret Thatcher in Israel
British PM Margaret Thatcher in Israel
Flash 90

Not all of us are over forty, but if we are, chances are strong that we remember how polarizing Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were as leaders of the USA and Great Britain. Revered by the right and loathed by the left, these leaders drew vitriol from intellectuals and the media only comparable to that reserved today for Donald Trump.

Reagan and Thatcher have been vindicated by history. Their economic reforms and determined opposition to Communism helped their nations flourish and helped free hundreds of millions from the yoke of Marxism. If they haven’t acquired the holy aura of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela (and were never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize) this is certainly not due to their lack of peaceful accomplishments. On the contrary, it just shows the sway of leftist elites in determining who is holy in the court of human history.

The leftist establishment loathed Reagan and Thatcher for one reason: They frontally and unequivocally
The human suffering was real, but instead of explaining how government policies were part of a holistic plan to revamp and rebuild America and Britain, the public was fed the myth that Reagan and Thatcher were callous champions of ruthless capitalism.
exposed Communism and the Soviet Union for what they really were: evil. For leftist intellectuals and journalists enamored of Sartre and Foucault doing so was blasphemous. In their eyes, Communism was a benign system whose mistakes were mostly due to harassment by pro-fascist Western democracies.

When Reagan and Thatcher started deregulating the economy and privatizing state enterprises, intellectuals realized that their dream of building a state-regulated utopia at home was crumbling. In order to discredit Reagan and Thatcher the left resorted to the most underhanded ploys: The media covered day in and out the tragic fate of welfare recipients whose subsidies had been cut or of workers in inefficient industries who had lost their jobs. The human suffering was real, but instead of explaining how government policies were part of a holistic plan to revamp and rebuild America and Britain, the public was fed the myth that Reagan and Thatcher were callous champions of ruthless capitalism.

With hindsight we know that the economic reforms of Reagan and Thatcher paved the way for America and the UK to flourish. Nowadays, thanks to these reforms, tens of millions of immigrants and low-income workers are better off than forty years ago. A cursory glance at the perennial stagnation of a country like Italy that was never blessed by a leader like Thatcher, proves who was on the right side of history.

Even vis-à-vis Communism and the Soviet Union, the policies of Reagan and Thatcher were magisterial. Far from precipitating a nuclear conflict as analysts and academics prophesied, Reagan’s star wars program and bleeding of Soviet finances paved the way for the bankruptcy of the USSR and the peaceful end of the Cold War.

Trump's course of confrontation with China and Islam compares to Reagan and Thatcher's vs. Communism

Let us zoom forward forty years and we see that the same scorn and hatred heaped on Reagan and Thatcher is heaped on adversaries of contemporary threats to freedom: China and Islam. Trump’s course of confrontation with China’s expansionism and with accomplices of Islamist violence was unanimously condemned by the Western intelligentsia. The arguments adduced were pretty much the same my generation heard forty years ago: Our leader’s rhetoric is provocative, insensitive and foolish; he is a dilettante and a third-rate actor; his policies isolate us and make us weaker in the world.

Reagan and Thatcher’s stance was vindicated by history. I have few doubts that historians will also appreciate the boldness of Trump’s strategy: Stalwart support for the Jewish state pushed four strategic Arab nations to make peace with Israel; unremitting pressure on Iran brought the Ayatollahs to the brink of bankruptcy; confronting radical Islam in the homeland of the Prophet of Islam persuaded Saudi Arabia to modernize itself; denouncing Chinese commercial malpractices exposed China’s toxic role in international trade and currency markets. Domestically, corporate tax cuts and drying up the reservoirs of unskilled illegal immigrants boosted employment and wages for working-class Americans.

It is for these reasons that even though Trump risked impeachment and has been blackballed by the cultural, social and mainstream media and academic establishment, his place in the pantheon of great Western leaders is assured.

Rafael Castro is a Yale and Hebrew University educated business and political analyst based in Europe. Rafael specializes in ghostwriting quality texts for entrepreneurs and politicians. Rafael can be reached at rafaelcastro78@gmail.com



top