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March 30, 2006

Anniversary of the Reagan shooting

The Washington Post has a piece about the events of March 30, 1981, 25 years ago, the day on which John Hinckley Jr., shot President Reagan and three others. It's actually a rather unsatisfying piece, missing the big issue of what might have happened differently in history had Reagan been killed. (Perhaps that's why it's relegated to the Metro section.)

Here's what easily might have been different: The single most significant event of the second half of the 20th century -- the collapse of the Soviet Union -- might not have occurred. There isn't time for me to flesh out the reasons I think this. All I will say for now is that for those of us who grew up while the Cold War was being waged, the fact that there's no Soviet Union now is still something that seems miraculous 15 years later. Reagan did not accomplish that feat alone, but he was one absolutely critical part of the force that brought the Soviet Union down.