The first-term President is frustrated.
The US is at odds with Moscow.
Americans are eagerly awaiting the third movie in a Star Wars trilogy.
The year is 1983 – what other year could we possibly be talking about? The 1980s were a very different time, after all.
Case in point: On this day in 1983, President Ronald Reagan called the Soviets an “evil empire.” The harshest thing President Donald Trump has said about Russia lately is that it shares the blame for election meddling with “other countries.”
That’s not to say that election meddling and potential nuclear war are the same thing. It simply highlights how conflicts with the same adversary have changed and how these two presidents dealt with those situations differently.
In one of his more famous speeches, delivered to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, Reagan took a hard stance against the Soviets. You can see his “evil empire” line in the video above.
In a speech laced with religious appeals and references – know your audience – Reagan’s comments framed the Kremlin as a threat to American “principles and standards” while pushing a policy of “peace through strength.”
To highlight the dangers of Soviet power in Eastern Europe, Reagan used the words of Christian author C.S. Lewis to warn against “evil” that begins “in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars.”
“Because, like other dictators before them, they’re always making ‘their final territorial demand,’ some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom,” Reagan said.
If Trump does decide that he needs to take a hard line on Russia, he’s got a good case study to work from.