This article first appeared in the Libertarian Forum, Vol. XVII, Nos. 7–8, July–August, 1983.
The world is in very dangerous waters. The "true" or rhetorical Ronald Reagan, the second Reagan of the conservative "Let Reagan Be Reagan" slogan, has functioned only in the world of rhetoric since the beginning of his misbegotten Administration, or arguably since he embraced the Rockefeller Republicans at the convention of 1980. The rhetorical Reagan, the "Get Big Government Off Our Backs," free market, war-with-Russia stance, has been particularly eclipsed since the end of the first year of his Administration. In economics, quasi-libertarians, monetarists, and supply-siders have been elbowed aside since 1982, and replaced by the same kind of quasi-conservative Keynesians who brought us the Nixon and Ford Administrations. In foreign policy, however, while the war fanatics like Richard Allen and Richard Pipes were booted out after a year, there has recently been a recrudescence of war-hawk domination by a troika of old Reagan buddy Judge William P. Clark, national security adviser whose admitted total ignorance of foreign affairs seems especially to qualify him for a top foreign policy post; Cap Weinberger of Bechtel Corporation and the Defense Department; and neo-conservative hatchet-lady and political scientist Jeane Kirkpatrick, whose contribution to political theory was to distinguish between "good" authoritarian and "bad" totalitarian torture.
The war-hawk troika signaled its accession to power by booting out Thomas Enders (one of the people most responsible for the Vietnam War) and Deane Hinton from their key State Department posts in Central American policy, for the sin of being too dovish and soft-nosed. This was a shock to those knowledgeable in foreign affairs, since it was roughly equivalent to Hitler’s firing Goebbels for being soft on the Jewish Question. Clearly, we were in for a lot of trouble. Since the rise of the troika, and the relative eclipse of the "dovish" George Shultz in foreign policy, the following events have occurred as the Reagan Administration heats up the Cold War and marches, step by step, toward World War III.
Great article! Your thoughts.