The Corner

Victims of Communism Memorial

Here’s part of former (Reagan speechwriter) Congressman Rohrabacher ‘s statement on the new memorial:

It is an appropriate time to be dedicating this memorial. It was 20 years ago this week that President Reagan gave his now famous Berlin Wall speech. A columnist in the New York Times recently noted that the foreign policy gurus of that era, as compared to the American people in general, have not acknowledged the significance of that forceful challenge by President Reagan to the Communist Party boss Michael Gorbachov to “tear down this wall.”

The columnist noted that even George Shultz did not mention the speech in his lengthy memoirs of his years as President Reagan’s Secretary of State. Well, let’s set the record straight. George Shultz and the foreign policy elite, including Collin Powell, adamantly opposed that speech. They did everything they could to pressure President Reagan not to take such a tough public stand against the wall. They insisted that it would re-ignite “ill will” and would be taken as an insult to Gorbachov.

They were wrong and President Reagan’s moral clarity and commitment to confronting evil, rather then ignoring it for diplomatic or political purposes, carried the day. Instead of antagonizing the Kremlin leadership, the speech convinced them that the wall had to come down and yes, when it did communism crumbled along with it. The foreign policy elite, smug and arrogant, would have prolonged the Cold War had they had their way.

You can read the full speech here.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.