November 18, 2019
Politics

Trump Follows in Reagans Footsteps in Confronting Communism

WASHINGTON—On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, President Donald Trump showed that hes keeping President Ronald Reagans fight against communism alive.

In a presidential message to honor victims of communism on Nov. 7, Trump referred to Reagans memorable speech in June 1987 in Berlin, where he called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagans policies indeed were instrumental in leading to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, followed by the eradication of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, and eventually, the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Trump said that 30 years ago, Germans put “Reagans words into momentous action, tearing down that symbol of totalitarianism and sending a message to the entire world that democracy and the rule of law will always triumph over oppression and tyranny.”

In 2017, the Trump administration declared Nov. 7 a National Day for the Victims of Communism on the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. This year, Nov. 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The presidents message recognized “communism as a current challenge, not just a historical fact,” said Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

According to Smith, both Reagan and Trump “made a connection between the ideology of Marxism and communism and systematic human rights abuses.”

“President Trump has been very clear on identifying this ideology—Marxism, communism, socialism—as the thing we must name and try to prevent from spreading. And he did that including at the United Nations,” he said.

At the U.N. General Assembly in September, Trump warned world leaders about the “specter of socialism,” calling it one of the most serious challenges facing the nations.

There are many lessons to be learned from Reagans policies, according to Roger Robinson, a former member of Reagans National Security Council and president and CEO of RWR Advisory Group, which tracks Chinese investments worldwide.

As with the Soviet Union in the past, he believes communist China represents an ideological threat to the United States.

“Its useful to remember the role economics and finance played in the takedown of the Soviet Union,” he said. “We had been to this rodeo before.”

Reagan “put clamps on the life-support tubes,” Robinson noted, by going after the “hard currency cash flow” of the Soviet regime. And that was the most effective strategy, he said, adding that similar pressures could be applied to Beijing to fix ongoing human rights and national security issues.

Survivors of communism speak to the press after visiting U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington in recognition of the National Day for the Victims of Communism on Nov. 7, 2019. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Stories of Survivors

On the National Day for the Victims of Communism, Trump hosted five survivors of communist regimes at the White House and listened to their stories.

“It was a great personal and very intimate meeting,” said Smith, who was also there.

The victims who lived under the communist regimes of Poland, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea spoke in private with Trump for about 30 minutes at the White House on Nov. 7.

Like Reagan, Smith said, Trump seemed to take a genuine interest in listening to personal stories of people who suffered under communist dictatorships.

“I think he was moved by all of them,” he said.

Among the survivors who attended the meeting at the White House was Grace Jo, a NortRead More – Source

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