Former US president Ronald Reagan passed away on June 5 and the following day was the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Two major news items, but a single theme: freedom.
Reagan was a hero in the battle against communism; during his two terms as president in the 1980s, he led the free world in a determined fight against communism and bravely declared the Soviet Union to be an "evil empire." He also called on former Soviet presient Mikhail Gorbachev, saying: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this [Berlin] wall." He did not shrink from shouldering the moral burden of being a leader of the free world. He was resolute in the face of threats from the communist camp and undeterred by the obstruction of the political left in the West. He upheld his principles and ideas, emerging as a victor of the Cold War, and impelled the collapse of communism in Europe and around the world. As for the Normandy landings, they were the beginning of the end of World War II and a means of destroying the Nazis.
After the imbecilic Democratic president Jimmy Carter established diplomatic relations with China, Taiwan found itself facing hard times. Not long after, Reagan defeated Carter by a wide margin and took over the White House.
The resolute anti-communist was concerned for Taiwan's safety and in his second year as president (1982), he gave the famous "six assurances" to Taiwan, in which he promised to set no date for the termination of arms sales to Taiwan, and that the US would not consult with China over such sales; that the Taiwan Relations Act would not be altered; and that the US would not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. These principles have long protected Taiwan's safety. That subsequent US administrations have been able to assist and protect Taiwan is largely the result of the policy foundation established by Reagan.
It was Reagan's unwavering adherence to his principles, his insistence on moral values that won him the love of the American people. And it is not just the American people. The people of Eastern Europe freed from communist tyranny after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and those all over the world who were freed with the rollback of communism, all feel gratitude to this leader of the free world. He was not only a "guardian of Taiwan," but he was also a "guardian of liberty," and in this role he will be remembered and missed by freedom-loving people all over the world.
Cao Chang-ching is a writer based in the US.
TRANSLATED BY Ian Bartholomew
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