Twenty years today the Berlin Wall came down. Anthony R. Dolan in Four Little Words explains the difference between a leader like Reagan and an appeaser like Obama. Excerpt (emphasis added):
Reagan had the carefully arrived at view that criminal regimes were different, that their whole way of looking at the world was inverted, that they saw acts of conciliation as weakness, and that rather than making nice in return they felt an inner compulsion to exploit this perceived weakness by engaging in more acts of aggression. All this confirmed the criminal mind's abiding conviction in its own omniscience and sovereignty, and its right to rule and victimize others.
Accordingly, Reagan spoke formally and repeatedly of deploying against criminal regimes the one weapon they fear more than military or economic sanction: the publicly-spoken truth about their moral absurdity . . . . This was the sort of moral confrontation, as countless dissidents and resisters have noted, that makes these regimes conciliatory, precisely because it heartens those whom they fear most—their own oppressed people. Reagan's understanding that rhetorical confrontation causes geopolitical conciliation led in no small part to the wall's collapse 20 years ago today.
The current administration, most recently with overtures to Iran's rulers and the Burmese generals, has consistently demonstrated that all its impulses are the opposite of Reagan's. Critics who are worried about the costs of economic policies adopted in the last 10 months might consider as well the impact of the administration's systematic accommodation of criminal regimes and the failure to understand what "good vs. evil" rhetoric can do.