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Royal Alexander: President Reagan Was Right

by Minden Press-Herald

His ‘Star Wars’ Missile Defense COULD ‘Hit a Bullet with a Bullet’ and Save Israel from Iran’s Missile Attack

From the days of my youth, I recall with great fondness the presidency of President Ronald Reagan.  Full disclosure—my brother Tom was working on the White House Staff at the time, and I was attending The Heights Preparatory School in Potomac, Maryland.  So, on the weekends, I rode the Metro down to D.C. to meet my brother at the White House where we would often remain in his office late on Saturday nights as he wrapped up his work for the week.  

I clearly remember Pres. Reagan’s unbounded optimism about America and its place in the world, his strong domestic record including record employment and an economy exploding with growth, his focus on the traditional family unit and the conservative social values that were its foundation, and his view of the need for America to be militarily strong.

It is in connection with this need for America to maintain a powerful and unquestioned military advantage over our enemies that I write this article.

One of the many defense initiatives of President Reagan—the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)—was based upon his recognition that the most effective strategy against the former Soviet Union’s ever-increasing number and capacity of ballistic missiles was to develop a technology by which such missiles could be shot down from space.  While the U.S. never created a space-based system, the same technology developed because of that initiative has been stunningly successful.

President Reagan wisely concluded that in the nuclear age the traditional deterrence strategy of ‘mutual assured destruction’ (MAD) was, in fact, insane and amounted to a global suicide pact between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Well, as others have also observed, the individual who saved Israel two weeks ago from direct attack by Iran was President Reagan.  

As the Wall Street Journal recounts: “allow me to identify who saved the people of Israel last weekend from Iran’s missile barrage: Ronald Reagan.  In 1983, President Reagan in a televised speech proposed what he called the Strategic Defense Initiative.  Its core idea was that the U.S would build defense systems that could shoot down nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, then expected to be fired by the Soviet Union at the U.S. mainland.”  (WSJ, D. Henninger, 04-18-2024).

Unsurprisingly, liberal members of Congress and the liberal establishment at the time mocked the idea, deriding the program as “Star Wars.” 

I was later working in D.C. in the U.S. Congress for the late Clyde C. Holloway, former Congressman and Public Service Commissioner, and recall having a conversation with a liberal colleague of mine who worked in the same House office building.  He said to me regarding SDI “well, it’s not going to be able to knock down every missile anyway, so what’s the point in having it?”  I remember being astounded and responded that “if we could knock down 98 or 99 out of 100 incoming nuclear missiles, that was still very good and worth pursuing!”

Also unsurprisingly, then-Senator Joe Biden was wrong about this issue as well, saying in a 1986 speech that “Star Wars represents a fundamental assault on the concepts, alliances and arms-control agreements that have buttressed American security for several decades … “ (WSJ, Id.)  Of course, President Biden, who mocked and opposed the program, is currently accepting congratulations from the technology’s recent success in Israel.

How do we prove how correct Reagan was? “By universal acclamation, the hero of last weekend was Israel’s missile-defense systems.  The world watched in real time Saturday night as Reagan’s commitment to shooting down missiles protected Israel’s population from the more than 300 drones and ballistic and cruise missiles fired by Iran and its proxies at cities across Israel.” (WSJ, Id.) 

We should also recall that this initiative of President Reagan so spooked the Soviet Union that Reagan’s unwillingness to abandon the program prompted him to abruptly walk out of a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. 

It is also only fair to mention that President Trump supports and restarted Reagan’s missile defense initiative in 2019.  It will become only more important in time and the nation owes Pres. Reagan great credit for understanding its significance and thrusting the initiative forward.

President Reagan concluded his address to the nation introducing the Strategic Defense Initiative on the evening of March 23rd, 1983, from the Oval Office. 

Thank God for his foresight and resolve.

Shreveport attorney, Royal Alexander, worked in D.C. in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 8 years for two different Members of Congress from Louisiana. 

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