I was having an interesting discussion about the legacy of Reagan and the Berlin wall. It started with a post I wrote where I briefly described some interactions I've had with various friends from Germany, Poland, and Russia about the fall of the Berlin wall and communism in general. I've known four people, one German, two Russians, and one Polish immigrant. The Polish guy was my boss for a while and was a mostly far right wing believer who was actually contemptuous of Lek Walenska and the Solidarity movement and the others were girl friends of one kind or another. One was fairly left wing like me and the other two were moderate to conservative. The amazing thing was all these people had one thing in common, they literally LOL'd at the idea that Ronald Reagan was responsible for the fall of communism. They had been there and they knew it was due to the people of the region not some American actor who took credit for it. Here is the thread that got published with the comment from LateBloomer2 that I responded to. (Note: click "Expand Full Thread" to see the whole thread)
Here is my reply which Huffpo deemed inappropriate to post:
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" had NO effect?"
It probably provoked a few laughs. The idea that Ronald Reagan had any moral authority to preach to the USSR about human rights is I'm sorry but just laughable.
Yes, the thugs in Eastern Europe who beat up trade unionists and other people of conscience were evil. But compared to the torture centers and death squads in Central and South America and other parts of the world that were created by US puppets the Eastern Europeans were amateurs. Where the East German or Polish secret police would beat you up the Chileans, Guetamalans, and the Central American "Freedom Fighters" would torture you to death and then kill you and anyone whose name you screamed as you were being tortured.
As just one example look up Jennifer Harbury, a US woman who married a Guatemalan national who was tortured to death. We know his story only because he married a well educated US woman but there are thousands of other victims of US disdain for human rights.
Just to be clear I'm not saying the Berlin Wall or anything done by the USSR was justified because of what the US did. I'm just saying that the idea that the US had any moral authority to critique the USSR is not supported by facts and that certainly Gorbachev (as well as the majority of educated people outside the US) knew that.