Nation: Meet the Real Ronald Reagan

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staff, also seems correct when he says, "I see less change in him than in any political figure I have ever known. He has a set of values, and everything stems from those values."

If one checked a list of the 13 or 15 most important and most emotional issues that are susceptible to left-right delineation, Reagan would not have changed on a single one since 1976. The list would include the Panama Canal, abortion, gun control, SALT II, prayer in public schools, dealing with southern Africa, gay rights.

Reagan's world view is nothing if not clear cut. Because the Soviet tiger will not change its stripes, it must be caged, or at least tamed, by American might. He thinks that little has changed since the most frigid days of the cold war except that the U.S. has surrendered the strategic superiority and thereby tempted Moscow into adventurism.

Harry Truman, he thinks, was wrong to stage the Berlin airlift. The U.S. should have sent its trucks overland and called the Soviets' bluff; Moscow would have backed down and might have been better behaved thereafter. Douglas Mac-Arthur was correct about Korea. Had the general's view prevailed, Reagan speculates, "I don't think there would ever have been a Viet Nam." And Solzhenitsyn is correct today in his dark vision of what will happen tomorrow if the West fails to pull itself together.

Occasionally Reagan's extemporaneous musings on the subject run to the absurd. While campaigning in New Hampshire last winter, he suggested that the expulsion of Western journalists from Iran might be connected to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and might also have been a prelude to a Soviet army move into Iran. But his considered rhetoric tracks more logically. In a pair of long, painstakingly prepared speeches to veterans' organizations two months ago, he provided the essence of his policy: a large military buildup, which he defined as "whatever it takes to be strong enough that no other nation will dare violate the peace. That is what we mean by superiority—nothing more, nothing less."

Reagan has not talked about other phases of foreign policy in great detail during the campaign, but his general ideas come through plainly enough. He thinks little of the way Jimmy Carter's human rights policy has been applied. He feels that approach has been feckless and hypocritical because it undermined loyal allies like the late Shah of Iran. Preventing "additional Cubas" in Central America must take priority over moral preachments.

What Reagan calls "our alignment with Israel" must be continued. Concerning the Middle East, Reagan takes what might be termed the obligatory candidate's position: strong support for the Jewish state, sandwiched between generalities about enhancing peace in the region and improving relations with all parties. His stated ideas about NATO also run to unexceptionable generalities.

One of the few fresh ideas he has offered is small bore: creation of a "North American accord" to enhance relations among Mexico, Canada and the U.S. The suggestion implies some kind of European Community approach, but Reagan has not developed it. In fact, Reagan's thinking and staff work have been much more concentrated on domestic economic affairs. That is where the votes are next month.

As Reagan swept to the

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