The great Ronald Reagan takes his rightful place
As Reagan's statue was unveiled, it occurred to His Grace that the President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister are now preserved for posterity in bronze or marble, the Great Lady even while she is still alive. They were all utterly right for their time, and all survived assassination atttempts within a few years of each other: Reagan just months after his inauguration; Pope John Paul II at the hands of a Turk; and Margaret Thatcher, during the 5th year of her administration, by the IRA. How different history might have been if the assassins had succeeded.
A summary of O'Sullivan's book talks of Reagan, Thatcher, and Wojtyla as being 'strong and individual leaders, perfectly suited to take power when liberalism failed'. It tells of how John Paul's first visit as Pope to Poland in 1979 led to the birth of Solidarity; how the moral undermining of Communism by the Pope worried the Soviet Politburo than any military threat; how Reagan, Thatcher and the Pope all, in their own ways, assisted the growing cultural resistance of the peoples of eastern Europe to Soviet control.
It also discloses an 'extraordinary collaboration between the Vatican and Reagan - who arranged for the Pope to receive U.S. intelligence on developments in the Soviet bloc'; and why 'the Soviet-backed "nuclear freeze" movement's campaign to halt installation of US missiles in Europe failed - despite support from most social democratic parties in Europe and the Catholic Bishops in the US'.
One thing these three had in common was that they called evil evil: they did not compromise with dictators, tolerate oppression, or accommodate terror: they revolutionised the world and 'restored optimism and hope to their people'. Bronze and marble will last for centuries: the liberty they wrought is far more ephemeral.