Douglas Brinkley: What Reagan Would Do in Egypt

Friday, 04 Feb 2011 07:26 PM

By David A. Patten

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Egypt’s brutal crackdown on demonstrators and the media would have “angered and goaded” the late, great President Ronald Reagan, who would have sided with the people trying to throw off a dictator, best-selling historian Douglas Brinkley tells Newsmax.

“One of the things I learned in editing 'The Reagan Diaries' is to never say what Reagan would do, because he surprised people,” Brinkley told Newsmax in an exclusive interview Thursday night.

However, there’s little doubt how Reagan would have reacted to the mayhem in the streets of Cairo, "The Reagan Diaries” author said.

“If Reagan had intelligence information that showed that the upheaval in Egypt is actually Democratic in spirit, then he would have, I believe, turned his back on Mubarak, even though there’s a long friendship between the United States and Egypt,” Brinkley said. “And [he would have] supported the Democratic movement.”

Brinkley, author of a cover story in Newsmax magazine’s special February edition commemorating Reagan’s 100th birthday, cited the example of how Reagan handled the exit of longtime Philippines strongman Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986, despite the dictator’s previous allegiance to U.S. interests.

“Reagan was a pure liberation, free-and-fair election American. I think he would have been cautious, would have been doing what he could to get Americans out of Egypt like Obama’s done, and to try to embrace this perhaps-Democratic movement that is sweeping throughout the Middle East,” Brinkley said.

Regarding President Barack Obama’s handling of the crisis, Brinkley was not critical and pointed out “I’m sure there’s a lot going on . . . that we’re not privy to.”

The prize-winning historian and author said there were two reasons Reagan handled situations such as the crisis in the Middle East astutely: He listened to his top advisers, and “he was always fighting for one ideal: democracy around the world.”

Seeing journalists being rounded up in Cairo, and the communications blackout, “would have been similar to the [Berlin] wall in Germany, meaning you can never stop the aspirations of people’s hearts when they’re hungry for freedom, Brinkley said.

“Reagan never cottoned to dictators,” Brinkley added. “He was pure in this notion in a true belief that democracy was the best solution in the world because it spoke to people’s hopes and dreams and aspirations, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.

“He dedicated his entire public career to that. Calling the Soviet Union an evil empire would be the same as calling Mubarak’s Egypt evil, in the sense that it doesn’t allow freedom of expression. And this crackdown on journalists that’s occurring would have angered and goaded Reagan,” he said.

Brinkley emphasized it is impossible to precisely say what steps the nation’s 40th president would have taken.

“What we do know is he had a lot of sympathy for freedom fighters, for people that try to throw off totalitarianism,” he said. “And clearly Mubarak’s been running a dictatorship.”

Brinkley added, “The record shows Reagan would have been very vigilant in supporting the street demonstrators in my view.”

Editor’s Note: To get Newsmax’s special commemorative issue marking Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, and choose a FREE gift — Click Here Now.

To read previous parts of special Newsmax.com commemorative series, click below:

Reagan at 100: A Newsmax Tour of Rancho del Cielo

Reagan Recollections: Meese Recalls Clarity, Directness

Gorbachev: Reagan Was Great President, Peace Partner

Michael Reagan: My Dad's Principles Can Restore US Greatness

Historian Brinkley: Reagan Was Rock Star President

Reagan Author Craig Shirley: 40th Prez Was Deep Thinker

Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama's Re-Election?
Vote Here Now!










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