Condoleezza Rice: Reagan's Vision of Liberty Still Guides us Today

Roundup: Talking About History

Condoleezza Rice is a former U.S. secretary of State and is the official representative of former first lady Nancy Reagan at a series of Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Centennial Celebrations in Europe this week.

Nearly 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan spoke to the British Parliament and declared that the march of freedom and democracy would leave the Soviet Union" on the ash heap of history."

Many remember these famous words as much for their boldness as they do for their prescience. Perhaps less well-recalled — but no less significant — was President Reagan's recognition of a shared history between the United States and the United Kingdom premised on a commitment to liberty for all peoples. "For it is remembering what we share of the past," President Reagan said, "that our two nations can make common cause for the future."

That is what we will do this week. As part of a year-long celebration coinciding with what would have been President Reagan's 100th birthday organized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, several hundred of his admirers will gather in London's Grosvenor Square on Monday to witness the unveiling of a newly bronzed statue of America's 40th president. By celebrating the legacy of this visionary leader, the U.S. and U.K. will commemorate our shared past and make common cause to secure the universal desires of every man, woman and child to live in freedom.

President Reagan was a true champion of liberty across the globe. His bold vision in defense of democracy helped liberate millions of people in Eastern Europe. But when he spoke in London in 1982, freedom's triumph hardly seemed inevitable. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan three years prior, reinforcing its desire to expand its influence aggressively beyond Europe. The Red Army vastly outnumbered the conventional forces of the U.S. and its NATO allies...

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