Evening in America

It’s politics as usual for people to see two Bushes - conservatives see Good!Bush and liberals Evil!Bush - but with President Bush the judgment of history is not yet in. Hindsight is supposed to be 20/20, yet we’re still seeing double with Ronald Reagan.

Charlie Stross remembers him as the man who nearly killed us all. I also remember living in the shadow of nuclear war twenty years ago - it was a fear not peculiar to those trapped between two superpowers. Natan Sharansky remembers the man who spoke truth to evil, and no one has a better right to testify in the case than the victims. But the question remains: did Ronald Reagan bring down the Evil Empire or merely bait the bear?

Since we’re all still here and the Soviet Union is gone, we’ll never know whether a different foreign policy in the 80’s would have wiped out mankind or brought on that still-elusive Golden Age. It’s not that hindsight is 20/20, but that nothing succeeds like success. To the dead we can only give the benefit of the doubt: he was an optimist and his glass is now forever half-full.

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