While Americans are distracted by the presidential campaign, which has focused more and more on jobs and the economy, President Barack Obama has stealthily abandoned one of the cornerstones of Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy: Radio Liberty.
The Obama administration claims the station was driven from the airwaves by a new law pushed by Russian President Vladimir Putin that bars foreign-owned media from broadcasting on AM radio frequencies.
Does this mean it was legal for Radio Liberty to broadcast to the Soviet Union back at the height of the Cold War, and the Russians just got around to realizing all they needed to do was change the law and we’d give up?
Of course not.
The real reason, as NewsMax quoted one Radio Free Europe source putting it somewhat indelicately is, “because they don’t want to piss off the Russians.”
As the NewsMax source also observed, “Putin is very sophisticated and knows how to work the Americans… The reaction [by the Obama administration] has been too limp.”
This is nothing more than capitulating to Putin, and the contrast with Ronald Reagan couldn’t be starker.
Reagan understood that to defeat the communist enemies of freedom, we had to engage them on every battlefield of national power: cultural, economic and military. That is why he pumped up Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, supported the Solidarity labor movement in Poland, deployed America’s technological and industrial prowess in merciless military competition with the Soviets and made liberating the captive people of the Soviet empire the foundation of his foreign policy.
As Reagan said so eloquently in his second inaugural address, “America must remain freedom’s staunchest friend, for freedom is our best ally and it is the world’s only hope to conquer poverty and preserve peace. Every blow we inflict against poverty will be a blow against its dark allies of oppression and war. Every victory for human freedom will be a victory for world peace.”
Radio Liberty and the Voice of America were important parts of Reagan’s strategy to let the world know that America was “freedom’s staunchest friend,” in spite of the fact they would “piss off the Russians.”
Radio Liberty and Voice of America were, and are, important to something that Ronald Reagan did so well, but that Barack Obama seems utterly incapable of understanding, let alone doing – selling freedom around the world.