But the Democrat-Media-Academic trope about tough talk creating more enemies is old.
On March 8, 1983, in his speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, US President Ronald Reagan introduced the term “evil empire” to describe the Soviet Union. Reagan exhorted the audience to “pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness – pray they will discover the joy of knowing God.”And so many comrades were enticed to march Forward to the Victory of Communism that ... oh, wait.
He subjected the Soviet leaders to criticism, as the embodiment of the “darkness” and reproached the “aggressive impulses of the evil empire.” The Soviet Union, for its part, accused the United States of being the center of imperialism, holding out for world domination; it was the Soviets’ duty to fight this in the name of communism. In Moscow, the Soviet press agency TASS said the use of the words “evil empire” only proved that the Reagan administration “can think only in terms of confrontation and bellicose, lunatic anti-Communism.”
Reagan, however, genuinely believed that all he had done was call a spade, the only right thing to do under the circumstances; any euphemisms would signal the concession of the free world to totalitarianism. His approach to the problem was vastly supported by conservatives, but was showered with criticism by pacifists. The latter viewed such an attitude as perfectly capable of triggering a nuclear war between the two superpowers.
Reagan would explain: “For too long our leaders were unable to describe the Soviet Union as it actually was. The keepers of our foreign-policy knowledge … found it illiberal and provocative to be so honest. I’ve always believed, however, that it’s important to define differences, because there are choices and decisions to be made in life and history.” Few were willing to speak that truth to power, but Reagan was unafraid. He further explained: “The Soviet system over the years has purposely starved, murdered, and brutalized its own people. Millions were killed; it’s all right there in the history books. It put other citizens it disagreed with into psychiatric hospitals, sometimes drugging them into oblivion. Is the system that allowed this not evil? Then why shouldn’t we say so?”Much jihadi thought is also an empty cupboard. What is missing yet is Mr Trump channelling his Don Rickles and making fun of the more outrageous tenets. The only difficulty is that a faith-based political system with no pretense of a scientific basis isn't as easily mocked. Scientific socialism, on the other hand ... and nobody put the hair pins in Poland's five year plan?
To Reagan, this honesty was necessary for eliminating illusions. Reagan said such candor was needed to “philosophically and intellectually take on the principles of Marxism-Leninism.” “We were always too worried we would offend the Soviets if we struck at anything so basic,” he said. “Well, so what? Marxist-Leninist thought is an empty cupboard. Everyone knew it by the 1980s, but no one was saying it.”