I was surprised by all the fawning, amnesiac tributes to Ronald Reagan last night. Speak to someone of my generation and our abiding memory of the period is one of abject fear of imminent nuclear destruction. I can't begin to describe the palpable sense of nervousness that pervaded in Europe at that time, one that persists today with the presidency of GW Bush, aided by many of the same people who were around during the 1980s.
The Soviet Union didn't collapse, as someone suggested last night, because Reagan projected some blinding beacon of democracy, but because they went bankrupt first in response to a dangerous, unnecessary and economically ruinous arms race that used Europe as its hostage to fortune and nearly brought America to its knees, and the rest of us with it.
Everyone celebrates the ends, but who remembers the means?