It all comes down to this basic premise: if you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom and in fact all freedom. Freedom is something that cannot be passed on genetically. It is never more than one generation away from extinction. Every generation has to learn how to protect and defend it. Once freedom is gone, it's gone for a long, long time. Already, too many of us, particularly those in business and industry, have chosen to switch rather than fight."
Ronald Reagan, 1978
The liberal press called upon Reagan to remove the tactical nuclear arsenal from Europe. Europeans fell easy prey to the false theory that a nuclear war between the Warsaw Pact and NATO in Europe would remain inside the continent. Freeze supporters here in the U.S. clamored that the strategic arsenal based inside America was more than enough to stop any attack in Germany.
The Hollywood establishment labeled Reagan a reckless "cowboy" who would press the nuclear button at the drop of a hat. The wide liberal criticism openly insulted Reagan as a senile fool who could carry the world into global nuclear war.
Reagan did not give in. Instead of caving to the political pressure, Reagan went against the polls, against the liberal media and against Hollywood's advice to disarm in the face of the Soviet threat. Reagan opted instead to match Moscow's firepower and up the ante. "
Reagan was made from far sterner stuff than was his Soviet counterpart. His genial grin and wise-cracking demeanor concealed a spine of steel when push came to shove. Yet at their next meeting in Reykjavik in 1986, where Gorbachev would not budge on the "Star Wars" question, Reagan was decisive and unforgiving. He recalls in An American Life how he stood up from the table to proclaim that the meeting was over. Then he turned to his Secretary of State: "Let's go, George. We're leaving." Like any good diplomat, Shultz was crushed by so much roughness, but Reagan was completely unfazed. Later on, he explained: "I went to Reykjavik determined that everything was negotiable except two things, our freedom and our future."