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Friday, April 18, 2014

Former Reagan Adviser Urges U.S. to Counter Russia with ‘Strength and Leadership’ -- Calls for Awakening of the West in speech -- By Daniel Wiser, The Washington Free Beacon

Former Ronald Reagan National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane on Thursday called for an awakening of the West in a stirring speech about the Ukraine crisis.

McFarlane, adviser to Reagan from 1983 to 1985, urged U.S. officials to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine with “strength and leadership” during remarks at a Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) event. He was a key architect of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) employed during the Reagan administration to bolster U.S. missile defense and deter the Soviet Union.

McFarlane noted that the United States and its allies were tested several times after World War II. Western allies organized the Berlin airlift in the late 1940s to supply people in West Berlin blockaded by the Soviets, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower later sent 15,000 U.S. troops to Lebanon to prevent the pro-Western government there from falling.

“This kind of strength and leadership has been the glue that has held together this alliance that was founded and based on fidelity to common principles, the rule of law and so forth,” he said.

However, he said the West became complacent after the fall of the Soviet Union and assumed that Russia would automatically become democratic. Eastern European countries that eventually joined the European Union and NATO still relied on the West’s security guarantee.

“There was liberation and hope that freedom, that taste they got, could endure because there was the West—this community of countries devoted to Judeo-Christian principles that had moxie, guts, strength, and leadership and that when challenged, it could be counted upon,” he said.

“You can mark the decline of empires and institutions in various ways but we have seen, since the end of the Cold War, the ease with which the West has taken these [peace] dividends, whistling past the graveyard, wanting to believe that its former adversary was somehow going to morph into us,” he continued.

“We’ve had a very striking, sobering awakening from that I hope.”

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