Ivan Eland


Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and regular contributor to Antiwar.com, discusses the historical revisionists coming out of the woodwork for Ronald Reagan’s 100 birthday; Reagan’s overrated presidency, from foreign policy to the economy; why the Soviet collapse had more to do with a failed economic model than provocative US policy; how Iran Contra dealt a huge blow to Constitutional checks and balances, with the Executive branch doing an end-run around Congress and the Boland Amendment to secretly fund the Nicaraguan Contras; the persistence of Reagan’s “fake” tax cut model (cutting taxes without cutting spending simply hides the costs of government) evident in Dick Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter” mantra; why a better Cold War strategy would have been to let the USSR run amok in the empire-killing money pits of South and Central Asia and Latin America; and the Pentagon’s conflict of interest in making threat assessments (why would they ever not find one?)

MP3 here. (19:41)

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow at the The Independent Institute and a regular Antiwar.com columnist. He is the author of Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World.

10 thoughts on “Ivan Eland”

    1. You can make any system clunk along a few more minutes by keeping the lid on.

      Once the whole think crashes, things won't look good at all and there will be tales of woe all over the place: a burnt-out industrial base, industrial pollution everywhere, a worthless currency, worthless skillsets, the only somewhat functional thing the military, as well as an economically ignorant populace used to overpowering bureaucracy control. You will be happy to avoid either civil war or a powergrab by the well-manicured elites.

      Kinda like a cancer patient who gets one more shot to make it to the next day.

    2. Almost anything will work for a generation or two. Almost nothing will work forever. Anyway, economists are like astrologers: loads of formulas and theories but they can only explain things after the event, not predict things before hand. (Real sciences predict.)

  1. You now realize that your age is such that you are the only one in the office that watched Ollie North live testifying on Iran Contra!

    Anyway, don't go too hot on the Clinton economic record…

    Clinton's Legacy – http://mises.org/daily/590 – Wednesday, January 17, 2001, by Will Anderson:

    "The coming recession, which I addressed in my recent article, "Fall of the Dot Coms," is an especially bitter legacy for Clinton, who managed to bamboozle much of the country into thinking his administration was responsible for good economic times. In fact, what was believed to be a permanent plateau of prosperity (the "New Economy" at work) was nothing more than the classic boom of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory. Easy money from the Federal Reserve System created massive malinvestments, especially in the high technology sector, which are in the process of being liquidated.

    The White House is so desperate to convince Americans that it has given us permanent prosperity that it is blaming the economic downturn on Dubya himself. Yes, he says that, Bush is already "talking down the economy," in the words of Clinton’s economic advisors. Granted, this would be a most incredible feat, as the mere words of the incoming President of the United States could somehow trigger massive downturn in securities prices and an increase in unemployment. This is Clintonesque spin at its very worst, and it is one feature of the current White House that few of us outside the journalism profession will miss."

  2. And furthermore:

    "Reagan," Rothbard wrote, "has been a master at engineering an enormous gap between his rhetoric and the reality of his actions. All politicians, of course, have such a gap, but in Reagan it is cosmic, massive, as wide as the Pacific Ocean. His soft-soapy voice appears perfectly sincere as he spouts the rhetoric which he violates day-by-day."

    "Wherever we look," Rothbard wrote four years later, as Reagan left office for the last time, on the budget, in the domestic economy, or in foreign trade or international monetary relations, we see government even more on our backs than ever. The burden and the scope of government intervention under Reagan has increased, not decreased. Reagan's rhetoric has been calling for reductions of government; his actions have been precisely the reverse.

    During his eight years in office, Ronald Reagan increased federal spending by 53 percent, added a quarter of a million new civilian government employees, escalated the War on Drugs, created the "drug czar's office," and lowered the value of your 1980 dollar to 73 cents. His Republican successor, George Herbert Walker Bush, further increased taxes, further increased federal spending, and "managed to knock thirteen cents off the value of your dollar in just four years."

  3. With regard to the budget deficit (and national debt) that Reagan is criticized for leaving us why has everyone forgotten that he was confronted, through-out his Presidency, with an obstructionist Democratic controlled Congress led by old fashioned pols such as 'Tip' O'Neill and Teddy Kennedy? The Liberal Democrats effectively obsructed Reagan's attempts to limit the size of the Federal Government. Under the American system the President, alone, simply cannot set the federal budget. Congress is a co-equal in craftng budgets.

  4. "Liberal Democrats" may exist in Europe but not in the USA. The US Dems are a conservative party, just slightly less loony-toons than the US Reps, ca. 2011.

    1. if you really wanna blow your mind, check out Australia. Our "Liberal Party" (real name") is the conservative/right wing party (Dubya's lap dog John HoWARd was their leader and Australia's PM for too long). Australia's "Liberals" are usually in coalition with the smaller "National Party" which represents rural areas and old white ppl who love "mother" England! Sigh…maybe one day we'll be free like the Americans….wait a minute…maybe that shouldn't be the goal!

  5. "Under the American system "

    Lyndon Larouche talks about the "American System" when he's not bloviating conspiracy crap about the Magi, the Chaldaeans, Plato, etc.

  6. Since Reagan "didn't know" about Iran-Contra nor its tentacles into drug shipments that flooded cocaine in the US and fueled the crack cocaine epidemic, then I guess we should add that to list of revisions as apparently Mr. Eland has done here.

    And I wonder, since every single person in the USA read about the case, watched the trials and knows about the NSC drug connections which were reported at the time in the SJ Mercury news, why does Scott also fall into the revisionist format of denial of Reagan's role in drug shipments to fund the weapons purchases which devastated the USA? http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaeb

    Interesting, to note that Mr Eland also fails to discuss the assassination attempt and how that changed the presidency power structure, nor that Ron Reagan recently discussed that his father had been suffering from Alzheimers at the time. http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whisp

    These pertinent topics are apparently not discussable on Antiwar.com Revisionist Radio Hour!

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