I have been thinking for the last three days about what to write on the passing of Ronald Reagan. He was the first President I had the priviledge of voting for in 1984. (I missed being able to vote for him in 1980 by a little over 1 year.) He set into motion a chain of events in this nation that has yet to play out. The "Reagan Revolution" continues to this day.
In thinking about what Reagan did during his Presidency, I began to think about how history would have changed without him. And when I began thinking about what the world would have been like, I realized that I had already seen this movie: Red Dawn. Red Dawn is an alternative history where the plot's "what if" is "what if Ronald Reagan had never been President".
Without Reagan, Jimmy Carter is re-elected in 1980. Abroad, Carter continues his anemic response to Soviet aggression. At home, the Malaise continues; there is no economic boom in the 80s and 90s. Where Reagan aided the Afghan people in their struggle against Soviet tyranny, Carter does nothing more than his boycott of the Olympic games. Nicaragua stays under Soviet control. Grenada becomes even more firmly entrenched as a Soviet satellite. Communist rebels in El Salvador succeed. Honduras falls. Costa Rica falls. Panama falls. Communist revolutions spread through South America like a cancer. Mexico begins to bend under the pressure of refugees fleeing north.
Without Reagan, there is no SDI. Without SDI, the Soviet Union is never pushed to the breaking point. Eastern Europe stays in Soviet hands. There is no Glastnost. Without Reagan's aid to the Afghans, the Soviets hang on and defeat the Mujahadeen. They are left in a position to threaten Pakistan. If they succeed, they can threaten the West's oil supplies in a way that Saddam could only dream of.
Without Reagan, there is no tax cut. The top tax rate stays ridiculously high and the boom of the 80s and 90s never happens. Economies all over the world depended on the Reagan boom to get started. From Asia to Europe, economies would have stagnated. There would be no Internet and thus no "eCommerce". Without Reaganomics, the economies of the West would have been weakend and thus more vulnerable to Soviet aggression.
In short, all of the set-up from the opening minute of Red Dawn would have had a chance to come true. America's allies would have dwindled, one by one, until we would have been left standing alone. And that weakness would have invited aggression from the USSR. Reagan's policies of strength detered aggression and lead to peace.
In 1980, freedom and democracy were on the decline. Today, those ideas are spreading. America is leading that advance rather than a retreat into darkness. The world is getting better; not worse.
Thank God for Ronald Reagan.