Russian tanks pour into a Central-Asian nation. An American President seems disturbingly clueless and passive, unwilling to disrupt the illusion of warm relations. The American economy is sagging and gasping for gasoline. Federal government spending is out of control with daily reminders of the incompetence of its officials.
Welcome to December 1979. That month marked the nadir of America in the world. The Soviet Union was resurgent across the globe, taking full advantage of President Carter’s ineptitude and rosy-eyed worldview. The oil shocks of the mid-1970s were reaping a bitter harvest as the Administration’s fragmentary energy policy stalled in Congress. The US economy was in a steep downward spiral as inflation and jobless rates climbed.
Does this sound familiar? August 2008 is looking a lot like December 1979. Russian tanks are now pouring into Georgia, a sovereign, pro-West, democracy. This is actually worse than the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan as that action was against a Soviet-backed puppet state.
The decline of America in the 1970s was reversed when Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981. The historic rise of Reagan and conservatism took sixteen years from the time Barry Goldwater won the Republican nomination in 1964 to the great election landslide of 1980. America has since enjoyed twenty-eight years of general economic expansion, world dominance, and the growth of freedom.
It has taken less than eight years for President George W. Bush, and his acolytes, to systematically unravel and dismantle this forty-four year conservative trajectory. It is a tragic legacy for America and the world. No one should ever forget or forgive.