It's been fashionable on the Left to argue that the end of the Soviet Union came about not because of Reagan, but Gorbachev. This would suit their version of the world that Reagan was either an amiable dunce and therefore incapable of bringing down the most powerful military empire in the world, or that America is so deeply flawed, that the world changed without any help or assistance from us. Delusion is so much fun, isn't it?
The truth is that there wouldn't have been a Gorbachev if there wasn't a Reagan. After the death of Brezhnev, the Soviets followed the usual Republican method of leadership selection by finding the oldest still breathing member who had loyally served. No one really remembers Kuznetsov, Andropov, Chernenko, Gromyko were the leaders in the interregnum of Brezhnev and Gorbachev. While all seemed to have the nasty habit of dropping to sleep at a meeting and never waking again, (God only know where their poor atheistic souls went to) Gorbachev was actually young enough to last more than a few weeks. But his world had already been preordained.
Gorbachev could do nothing but react, no matter how brilliant he may have been, at least according to our friends on the Left. But having to deal with the residue of the Afghanistan invasion, the inability to maintain military supremacy in the face of US qualitative improvements in their military and tactics was more than anyone could handle in the time allotted to him.
But I don't want to disparage Gorbachev for one thing. That is the death of the Soviet Union could have been a violent thrashing resulting in nuclear destruction. Instead, and I do give him credit, Gorbachev presided over the orderly dismantling of a force which had been designed, built and equipped to rampage from the Elbe to the English Channel in only two weeks. And they were never used.
So, while Gorbachev needs to get credit for preventing a disaster, the dismantling of the Soviet Union credit can only go to Ronald Reagan.
Happy 100th birthday Mr. President.