From Reagan to Trump, the Evil Empire & protesting to survive

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2016 by kmflett

From Reagan to Trump: The Evil Empire is back


Donald Trump’s tweet of 22nd December that he planned to increase the US’s nuclear capacity, reversing 30 years of reduction in the nuclear arms race was, rightly, viewed with concern. Some felt it might mean the end of days is nigh.

While this could of course be the case, particularly with someone who appears as mercurial as Trump, some historical context is required.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan, a veteran right-winger and anti-Communist was elected President. He joined Margaret Thatcher who had been elected as Prime Minister in 1979 in a sort of nuclear weapons partnership which focused on labelling Russia as the ‘evil empire’

Tactical nuclear weapons- cruise missiles- were deployed in Europe notably in the UK at Greenham Common. At the same time the then USSR deployed SS20 missiles.

Those with very long memories may recall the ‘Gone With the Wind’ poster which featured Reagan and Thatcher  with the words ‘she promised to follow him to the end of the earth. He promised to organise it’.

This of course is the point. There was mass opposition to the upgrading of nuclear weapons, with in the UK a surge in CND membership and the popular pamphlet and slogan ‘protest and survive’.

And it worked. By 1987 with Gorbachev as Russian leader agreement had been reached to reduce nuclear weapons.

That is why Trump’s tweet may signal the reverse of 30+ years of nuclear de-escalation after the agreement was signed with Russia by those very same politicians Reagan and Thatcher who had earlier engaged in nuclear warmongering. Or it may not. Protest now









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