Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The Reaganization of the US “Left”

Below is an old article from the Los Angeles Times in 1986 discussing how the majority of both parties in Congress opposed Reagan’s Central America policy, arming of the Saudi regime, and efforts to undermine detente with the USSR. Nowadays, no one in Congress would oppose any of these except maybe Ilhan Omar or the Greene-Boebert coterie. Only the most marginal members of Congress even oppose the Saudi genocide in Yemen.

My take on the trajectory of US politics is that we’ve moved to the extreme right on economic and foreign policy in recent decades but to the extreme left on cultural questions. For example, the US Marines recently issued a statement celebrating Pride MonthThat every single Democrat in Congress voted to escalate the war in Ukraine shows there really isn’t a US Left of any significance.  The US Left just seems to be a collection of YouTubers and their fan clubs. Literally everyone in Congress today is a Reaganite compared to 1986. The Dems today are basically a Reaganite party only oriented toward the cultural left rather than the social conservatives. We can thank Bill Clinton for that.

Reagan Stalled in Congress on Foreign Policy

Times Staff Writer

Early in 1981, when President Reagan was newly elected and anxious to change the course of U.S. policy, he pledged that whenever members of Congress tried to frustrate his efforts, he would “go over their heads” and appeal directly to the American people.

Now, however, as he nears the middle of his second term, the President whose success at mobilizing public opinion has earned him the title “Great Communicator” is finding it increasingly difficult to persuade members of Congress to accept his legislative program, especially on foreign policy.

And, despite public approval ratings that continue to remain extraordinarily high, Reagan often fails to translate his enormous popularity into concrete legislative results in Congress–even though he still frequently tries “to go over their heads” with speeches and television appeals for public support.

In the last few weeks, Reagan has suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks in Congress on key foreign policy issues.

A large majority of members of both parties in the House have opposed him on his request for $100 million in aid to the Nicaraguan contras. He was able to secure the sale of sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia only by vetoing congressional disapproval of the sale, and an attempt to override the veto fell only one vote short of a two-thirds majority last week in the Senate. And now his decision to abandon the unratified 1979 strategic arms limitation treaty is meeting a groundswell of congressional opposition.


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