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Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane was an unsung hero of America’s Cold War victory over Russia


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Robert C. “Bud” McFarlane passed away this week. His resume was long and distinguished – a Naval Academy graduate, decorated Vietnam War hero, military aide to Henry Kissinger in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and national security adviser to President Reagan.

But Washington being Washington, commentators have focused on McFarlane’s role in the Iran Contra affair, the scandal of the day in the final years of the Reagan administration, when US officials tried unsuccessfully to restore a relationship with the Iran.

FILE – Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane, National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, walks through the lobby of Trump Tower, December 5, 2016 in New York City.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Focusing primarily on the scandal misses the role McFarlane played as the unsung hero in Reagan’s ultimate Cold War victory over the Soviet Union. Many others took the credit, but few deserved it more than Bud McFarlane.

ROBERT MCFARLANE, REAGAN’S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR INVOLVED IN THE IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR, DIES

Reagan said his policy towards the Soviet Union and the Cold War was simple – “We win, they lose”.

It was left to McFarlane, Reagan’s national security adviser, and a handful of others to figure out how to do it.

Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane was an unsung hero of America’s Cold War victory over Russia

Near. Reagan (R) having a cozy conversation at the top with. Soviet ldr. Gorbachev.
((Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images))

At the start of the Reagan administration, they crafted a comprehensive, carefully designed and sequenced series of steps that would make the ultimate demise of the Soviet Union inevitable.

They started with:

* Restore America’s economic health and growth

* Rebuild and modernize the US military

*Revitalize the NATO alliance

* Stopping the transfer of American technology to the USSR

* Blocking Soviet access to the capital and Western banks.

The next step was Reagan’s “Star Wars” initiative. McFarlane was instrumental in Reagan’s proposal to develop a missile shield that would protect us from Soviet nuclear attack.

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With these elements in place, McFarlane and other aides set out to stress the Soviet economy by reducing revenue. They convinced the Saudis to pump more oil into the world market, causing the price per barrel to fall from $27 to $10 in the mid-1980s.

Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane was an unsung hero of America’s Cold War victory over Russia

Ronald and Nancy Reagan welcome Raissa and Mikhail Gorbachev for a gala dinner given at the White House. (Photo by Jean-Louis Atlan/Sygma via Getty Images)

The Soviet Union, already stressed by costly military buildup and bled by proxy wars, suddenly saw its income cut in half.

When the Soviet Union suffered several years of poor harvests in the late 1980s, it was unable to take out loans to buy wheat to feed its people. The Soviet empire collapsed, seemingly overnight.

President Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot. But he didn’t do it alone.

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McFarlane was instrumental in shaping the strategy and defining the steps to get there. But he was too modest to claim credit.

Today, America is consumed by a new economic crisis, and once again faced with powerful adversaries. Few people at home or abroad trust our current group of leaders to turn the tide.

Today, Washington is filled with men and women who refuse to be blamed for the failures they themselves have committed, but are jostling to take credit for successes they have nothing to do with. .

McFarlane was quite the opposite. He acknowledged his mistakes, but let others take credit for his successes. It’s a tragedy that there aren’t a few people like Bud McFarlane in Washington today.

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Although not related, McFarlane has been my mentor and friend for the past 50 years.

I will miss him very much. America too.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT KT McFARLAND

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