Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

Ah…those teary eyed worshipers of Ronald Reagan, spouting his greatness.

Worse president ever?? I can hear the screams now, especially those who actually desire to put him on Mt. Rushmore right next to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

So how could I even remotely think that he is the worse president ever?

Because his actions and words almost killed us all. Thermonuclear war and the destruction of the world.

To explain, lets go back in history….

KGB director Yuri Andropov, then chairman of KGB, was one of the “ole school” cold war warriors and he was convinced that Reagan and the United States were preparing for a “first-strike” nuclear launch.

To determine if this was true, as chairman of the KGB he instructed all his KGB spies to be on the lookout for telltale clues when this strike was to occur. Known as Project RYAN, these KGB agents took on a tremendous surveillance program to gather information from the United States and NATO.

The United States were installing Pershing II missiles in Europe that were designed to be launched from road-mobile vehicles, making the launch sites very hard to find. The flight time from West Germany to European Russia was only four to six minutes (approximate flying time from six to eight minutes from West Germany to Moscow), giving the Soviets little or no warning.

Not even giving time for the Soviet leaders to see a counter attack, much less time to respond to it.

Then on March of 1983, Ronald Reagan publicly announced development of the SDI program. In addition, he ordered the increase of PSYOP operations against the Soviets. These operations consisted of bombers flying as close to Soviet Airspace to test their response times and naval ships stealthily going into Soviet waters near the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom known as the GIUK gap, and the Barents, Norwegian, Black, and Baltic seas.

Soviet leadership felt that the use of SDI technology was to render America invulnerable to Soviet attack, thereby allowing the US to launch missiles against the USSR with no fear of retaliation from the first strike scenario.

This concern about a surprise attack prompted sudden expansion and final step of the RYAN program. Reagan had dramatically stepped up his rhetoric, calling the Soviet Union the evil empire. Also Reagan, not knowing that the microphone was on, jokingly at one press conference declared the Soviet Union was illegal and they begin bombing in 5 minutes. Ha Ha…what a kidder.

In September of 1983, the Soviets shot down Korean Airliner KAL 007 near Moneron Island and the United States really laid on the international pressure, condemning the Soviets with unusually harsh wording on the diplomatic world. Relations with the Soviets were at an all time hot level.

Another incident in September caused by a flaw in a new Soviet radar system caused a false alarm that required lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov to second guess about a glitch showing missiles launched from the United States. There has been a couple of posts here on MMA about this incident later known as “The man who saved the World”.

So that is the situation, the Soviets think that a first strike plan is in it’s final stages. Diplomatic relations are at a all time low because of Reagan rhetoric about the Evil Empire. Reagan also refuses to stop the Pershing II missile program in Europe and Star Wars SDI program.

The KGB were ABSOLUTELY convinced that a first strike was going to happen in the next few months. All that was left were a certain sequence of events to occur that Project Ryan had determined would be the final indicators needed.

When those indicators occurred, the KGB would recommend the Soviets do a “Use them or lose them” first strike before the United States destroyed their country.

These indicators started to occur when NATO began one of the largest military exercises and simulations in history.

Known as Archer Able, this was an exercise to use all US and Nato forces to simulate as close as possible a war that went from DefCon 5 to DefCon 1.

In other words, simulate a nuclear war with the Soviets just when they were expecting a real one.

During the exercise, procedures and communications methods were used that had previously never been monitored by the Soviets.

One of the major indications defined by Project Ryan was a huge increase in coded messages defined as “nuclear consultation” between the United States and Great Britain. Soviet analysts started picking up a huge increase in such coded messages between the United States and the UK starting in October, 1983.

But in reality, the burst of communication regarded the US invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983, which caused a great deal of diplomatic traffic as the sovereign of the island was Queen Elizabeth II.

Upon learning that US nuclear activity mirrored its hypothesized first strike activity, the Moscow Centre sent its residencies a flash telegram on November 8 incorrectly reporting an alert on American bases and frantically asking for further information regarding an American first strike. The alert precisely coincided with the seven- to ten-day period estimated between NATO’s preliminary decision and an actual strike.

While these phases were simulated, alarmist KGB agents mistakenly reported them as actual. According to Soviet intelligence, NATO doctrine stated, “Operational readiness No 1 is declared when there are obvious indications of preparation to begin military operations. It is considered that war is inevitable and may start at any moment.

The Soviets went into condition Orange, a level of preparedness for nuclear attack that was expected to occur within the next 36 hours. Believing its only chance of surviving a NATO strike was to preempt it, the Soviets started to ready its nuclear arsenal, preparing for launch.

Meanwhile the CIA started reporting activity in the Soviet Union, especially in the Baltic Military District, in Czechoslovakia, and it determined that nuclear capable aircraft in Poland and East Germany were placed “on high alert status with readying of nuclear strike forces”.

The perfect storm of events and words that created the possibility of mankinds destruction.

But on November 11th, the Archer Able military exercises completed. All operations went back to normal and the Soviets returned to normal military operations.

The United States and NATO were completely unaware of what really caused the event until later, when a KGB double agent, Oleg Gordievsky, informed British Intelligence on what occurred.

Informed of this information, Reagan responded with “genuine anxiety” in disbelief that a regular NATO exercise could have led to an armed attack. To the ailing Politburo—led from the deathbed of the terminally ill Andropov, a man with no firsthand knowledge of the United States, and the creator of Operation RYAN—it seemed “that the United States was preparing to launch … a sudden nuclear attack on the Soviet Union”.

In his memoirs, Reagan, without specifically mentioning Able Archer 83—he states earlier that he cannot mention classified information—wrote of a 1983 realization:

Three years had taught me something surprising about the Russians: Many people at the top of the Soviet hierarchy were genuinely afraid of America and Americans. Perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did … During my first years in Washington, I think many of us in the administration took it for granted that the Russians, like ourselves, considered it unthinkable that the United States would launch a first strike against them. But the more experience I had with Soviet leaders and other heads of state who knew them, the more I began to realize that many Soviet officials feared us not only as adversaries but as potential aggressors who might hurl nuclear weapons at them in a first strike.

Here was our “leader”, a man in charge of the most destructive force in the world, creating one of the most heated political situations against a paranoid adversary with the same destructive potential.

Reagan’s grandstanding and his famous “Great Communicator” sound bites that made him so popular, served him well during his political career. A skill that got him elected president.

But words have meaning and create actions on the international stage that he never fully understood as the president. Reagan created a political situation with a couple of years of “baiting the bear” and narrowly escaped by just days, perhaps by hours even… unparalleled nuclear disaster that only luck prevented.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a learning curve and hindsight when it comes to nuclear war.

So that is why I think that President Reagan was the worst president ever.

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Posted by on February 6, 2011. Filed under Commentary,NEWS I FIND INTERESTING,War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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31 Responses to Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

  1. oso Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Wow Krell, what an excellent post.I appreciate the detail provided.
    I think what Reagan said was all part of the American exceptionalism belief, that we’re a force for good in the world and nothing but evil opposes good, by default we can do no wrong.

    • Krell Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks, Oso. Even after Reagan got briefed on this “incident” that could have essentially destroyed this country, he still didn’t let up on his nuclear posturing.

      But months later, he did ease up on the rhetoric. The reason? He had watched a TV movie of the week.. “The Day After”. A fucking movie of the week!!

      After his movie of the week “inspiration”, the Reykjavik, Iceland summit talks with Gorbachev were scheduled.

      • me Reply

        February 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm

        Wow, are you guys going to be upset in 2012. I on the other hand look forward to some balance. 12 years of center-right should be able to undo 4 years of uncontrolled spending and (despite Clinton efforts) surprisingly bad foreign policy.

  2. Anonymous Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    WORST president ever…not WORSE. if you’re going to insult somebody, do it properly.

    • Krell Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Correct on that one, should have been worst.

      Wrong use of words, similar to calling something an insult when you are just reporting facts.

    • Jerry Critter Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      When you can’t dispute the facts, try to find anything you can to fault what was written. Worse or worst…who gives a shit!

      • Krell Reply

        February 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm

        Thanks, Jerry.

    • Leslie Parsley Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      Hey, there’s not a person who writes who doesn’t make an occassional mistake. Just look at the newspapers these days. Or read right-wing posts. Oh, I said occassional. (From my FB comment.)

      But what I didn’t say is that Anonymous types are nonentities. They simply don’t exist.

  3. Bee Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    TG he watched that movie though, wouldn’t you say? I remember it scared the shit out of me, but I was…dunno, 12?

    • Krell Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      I remember that movie as well. Don’t know if it affected me enough to be a policy guide, but seem to be a real mood changer.

      Reminds me, the movie was made in Lawrence,Ks. I’ll have to ask the Lawyer if he was one of the stand-ins. He is an old rock chalk Jayhawker.

      Believe it or not, I was in a movie at about that time. Filmed in Salina, Ks and Manhattan, Ks. Originally titled “Up the Academy”, it was a real stinker. I was one of those no-line stand-in extras. Got a free meal out of it and when you are in college, a free meal is very important.

  4. Dusty Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Brava Krell! I shall include this in the Feast of St Ronnie extravaganza. 😉 Gawd what a douchenozzle and yet the rightwingtards worship at his feet.

    You have hit upon a part of his presidency that few have talked about fact I do not recall reading about this part of it at all. Kudos m’dear! Very in-depth.

    • Krell Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      Ya, Reagan was quite the piece of….work. The subject matter is a bit off the beaten path. I consider it an honor to be part of the
      “Feast of St Ronnie extravaganza”

  5. Gwendolyn H. Barry Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Our Krell… another Jack Ryan – but in the flesh!
    Great post, I learned something I hadn’t known and I’m delighted. Ta.

    • Krell Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      LOL! I’m afraid I would be more like that Dustin Hoffman character that gets his teeth worked over while the dentist keeps asking “Is it safe?”

  6. Jess Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Ok, so I’m over at the Rude Pundit earlier, see his take on Zombie Reagan and he linked to when old ZR passed away what he had written about him. Damn that man was an evil prick, with the draconian cuts he made. Not tRP, but zombie Reagan.

    • Krell Reply

      February 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      He did a lot of things that seem so over the top of evil, but any accusations just slipped right off the Teflon Don.

  7. Michael John Scott Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I reluctantly listened to James Baker as he gushed over God Ronnie at the California memorial thing. Incredible bunch of bull sh*t!

    • Krell Reply

      February 7, 2011 at 10:58 am

      Incredible amount! I just don’t understand the worship of the guy. The funny thing is.. If a person ran with exactly the same platform that he had today, the Tea-Baggers probably would reject him.

      They seem to gloss over his political record on some things.

  8. Stella by Starlight Reply

    February 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Krell, another brilliant post… thank you. I HATE ray-gun… always have, always will. It started with Nixon, but at least Nixon created the Shafer Commission intending to legalized marijuana.

    You hit a nerve with me, Krell. (You can always tell by my lengthy rants…)

    When ray-gun was California Governor, he practically bankrupted the UC and Cal State university systems. He infamously responded to Berkeley protesters, “If they want a blood bath, let’s get it on.” I have no doubt that the beginning of California’s economic woes begain with that SOB.

    He did not end Communism: that was President Gorbachev. The following partially sums up my outrage:

    Reaganomics was a smoke screen for a hidden agenda. Taxes were cut, only in the first year of his presidency, to keep the American public happy while a plan to increase the national debt by $2.5 trillion was being concocted… It took Reaganomics only 8 years to increase the national debt from $1 trillion to about $3.5 trillion

    Then, there’s the closing of mental health hospitals in California and across the United States. Is it any wonder that California seems to have all of the crazy homeless people? [Well, not all. There’s enough pee party members to disprove that comment…] State mental hospitals were taken away by Governor Reagan in the 70s and federal mental health programs were later taken away by President Reagan in the 80s.

    When Ronald Reagan was governor of California he systematically began closing down mental hospitals, later as president he would cut aid for federally-funded community mental health programs. It is not a coincidence that the homeless populations in the state of California grew in the seventies and eighties.

    The people were put out on the street when mental hospitals started to close all over the state. The next time you pass by a homeless person in downtown San Francisco screaming to themselves at the top of their lungs, remember Reagan. And if your kids need to go out and get jobs at age 9 to pay down the national debt, be sure to tell them that they can thank Ronald Reagan, and now President Bush, for their misfortune.

    UCLA now has the “Ronald ray-gun Memorial Hospital.” Why anyone or any entity, particularly in California, would want to remember him is beyond me. Perhaps I am cold in my perspective that he had Alzheimer’s… it seems poetic justice. Although he never suffered like the increasing number of homeless Americans without health care.

    • Krell Reply

      February 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Thanks Stella. I wasn’t too familiar with his past as Governor of California but I knew that he had developed a following of loathers.

      Another thing on the vast list of despicable items for Reagan.

      He was a snitch for the House Un-American Activities Committee,(HUAC), when he was the President of the Screen Actors Guild way back when. Remember when they were “black balling” all those people during the McCarthy hearings?

    • Omahwalkan Reply

      February 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      X 100~! eh, Stella? Good for your indignity… a reminder of the damage done. Keep up the good fight!

  9. mbarnato Reply

    February 7, 2011 at 9:30 am

    It’s hard to overestimate the damage that Reagan did to this country (and earlier, to Cali). I didn’t know the particulars of the Able Archer exercise, so many thanks for putting together that information, Krell.

    I well remember Reagan and Co’s misplaced faith in the SDI and its “Brilliant Pebbles”. That was an expensive piece of hogspit that we all knew would fail if it (and we) had the misfortune to be tested. I was doing research contracting at Cal at the time, and SDI defense contracts started appearing on campus. None of the research was classified and much was still theoretical, but that didn’t make some of us feel better about participating to some extent in furthering SDI.

    • Krell Reply

      February 7, 2011 at 10:49 am

      It was an expensive piece of hogspit. Reagan had this stupid notion of a protective umbrella to save us from the fear of nuclear weapons.

      Not only was it technically impossible but it would have been easily defeated by countermeasures before it was even finished. Additionally, it completely disrupted the balance of terror that seemed to work for all those years.

      If I remember right, the initially lobbying and SDI “ideas” came from a theoretical physicist at Cal-Tech and Edward “WormTongue” Teller.

      • me Reply

        February 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

        You too have some issues with writing about things you know nothing of. I really have to wonder how old these posters are…….

  10. Stella by Starlight Reply

    February 8, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I am not just a loather, Krell: my rancor towards him is nothing less than visceral.

    Ray-gun’s complete lack of regard for Californians caused even moderate Republicans to loathe him. You all may wonder why I admire Governor Brown (hurray!) so much. He was the guy who cleaned up ray-gun’s mess, restored the health program cuts, and augmented funding for the California university and Community College systems. He also championed the development of wind-powered turbines.

    Yes,and possibly anti-Semite, dizzy-nee and ray-gun (possibly not…) were strong and and active, advocates of McCarthyism. They chased invisible “commies” and promoted their democratic “moral high ground.” The most obvious backlash to their fear of Communism is Fascism.

    Ray-gun (SAG president at the time), testified that the threat of Communists in the film industry was serious and Americans should cower at the Red Scare. (Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!) With ray-gun at the helm, SAG made its members take an oath stating they were not members of the Communist party. Is it too much to conclude that ray-gun created this oath?

    The not-so-dynamic duo’s reactionary tactics in their strong support of McCarthyism sounds a little too much like the following quotes for my comfort:

    Even in peacetime didn’t the press inspire the minds of the people with doubt in the right of their own state, thus from the outset limiting them in the choice of means for its defense? … Did it not belittle the army with constant criticism, sabotage universal conscription, demand the refusal of military credits, etc., until the result became inevitable? The so-called liberal press was actively engaged in digging the grave of the… people

    Our whole public life today is like a hothouse for sexual ideas and simulations. Just look at the bill of fare served up in our movies, vaudeville and theaters, and you will hardly be able to deny that this is not the right kind of food, particularly for the youth…Theater, art, literature, cinema, press, posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral, political, and cultural idea.

    Sound familiar? That’s from Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf. [ (I don’t think it’s a neo-nazi site…)]

    Many, if not most, Americans, mistakenly equate Communism and Fascism, which are 180° apart. Without the participation of dizzy-nee and ray-gun, I wonder if McCarthyism would have been relegated to an obscure corner of history. One can draw her/his own conclusions.

    Yet, the propaganda machine still hums along…

  11. Burt Reply

    February 10, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Pres. Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Guess which Pres. said “Jigaboo loudly and carry a basketball.”

  12. Gwendolyn H. Barry Reply

    February 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    with ever thing that is happening today… i caught the troll comment in my email and it brought me round to thinking about Presidents “going down” Ronnie almost did. i actually remember the day. o i feel like most of you, Reagan was a horses’ ass of a leader… but I think down to it, he loved his country, in his way which gives all of us much of a fit. but today, my friends, we saw history made… much through the concourse of these tools we use and know each other by… the kinship we have have flown back and forth through bytes of binary electric magic that makes the words we are thinking a part of some other(s) consciousness and the blogs and FB and “the” twitter… all of it… well, it brought a despot of a President down. back to the thought, Ronnie walked into a hospital under his own steam but he might have died for being President. and thinking of Presidents’ and my anger / disappointment with Obama…. I think it’s important to remember and say….
    if Bush had been attacked I would mourn
    if Obama is attacked I am devastated as an American.
    We are not where Egypt is… we are where they want to be.
    It’s up to us to make good use of it beyond the twisting of corporate greed and Republicans and greedy politicos.
    we are not asshats like bat shit bachmann who think revolution is something manageable …
    sure it is,
    if the whole effn’ country is with you.
    but just saying…
    as I notice the troll who stopped by….

    • me Reply

      February 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      You’ve got some serious growing up to do real quick. Yet another reason people shouldn’t be able to vote till they’re 45.

  13. me Reply

    February 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Sorry, but even a brain-dead liberal should know that J Carter was by far the worst president of the past century. Even the current president, Carter 2, can’t top him unless he tries really hard.

  14. Gill Bates Reply

    September 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

    You have to cut ol’ Ron a bit of slack, after all he had Alzheimer’s while in office. Nancy was President at the end of his term, maybe SHE was the worst President ever.

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