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I am not a "Reagan guy," but I have studied the first term extensively as part of my dissertation research on Grenada. I was, therefore, disappointed by Juan Cole's "demythologizing" of Ronald Reagan's political career. It struck me as simply offering counter-mythology rather than analysis. The giveaway to Cole's posting is the use of adjectives like "monstrous" and "mania" and "Sandinista populists" (is he kidding?) -- terms better left to partisans than historians. I would like to take specific issue with Cole's facile analysis of the end of the Soviet Union and the creation of al-Qaeda. In Cole's recounting, Reagan spent vast amounts of money on defense programs that were unnecessary because the USSR was on its last legs. How stupid of that mean and monstrous man. In 1980, did Cole know that the USSR was on its last legs? Did anyone in the United States NOT believe that the USSR remained a significant military competitor? Sure, the CIA got it wrong -- but so did everyone else. Even a cursory review of scholarly work on the USSR from as late as 1990 will reveal a community of academics enamored of Mikhail Gorbachev and predicting great things for the Soviet Union under his leadership. One can hardly blame Reagan for having thought that the USSR might pose a threat to the US. I don't claim Reagan "won" the Cold War. I don't think, however, that it could have been won without him. As to al-Qaeda, Cole claims it is not a "vast" leap to credit Reagan with the founding of that organization. After all, Carter only gave the mujaheddin "tens of millions" of dollars, whereas Reagan gave them much more. Reviewing the history of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and comparing timelines to those of United States presidencies, one observes that Carter didn't have much time to give the mujaheddin more money -- he was replaced by Reagan. Important parts of Reagan's counter-Soviet policy in Afghanistan (i.e., the provision of Stinger MANPAD missiles to the Afghans) came in response to the ebb and flow of Soviet progress on the ground; we can, therefore, only make counterfactuals as to whether Carter would have responded in like manner. Since we see Carter's administration become increasingly hawkish starting in late 1978, it is not a "vast" leap to say that Carter might well have been just as inclined as Reagan to do what he could to bleed the USSR white in Afghanistan. It's far too early in the process to be demythologizing Reagan -- most of the documents we need are still unavailable at the presidential library and there exists at present a generation of academics who came of age in the 1980s, many of whom cannot see beyond the black-and-white imagery of their youth (right or left). As a result, many historians of the Reagan era are trying to relive the political battles of their youth. Was Reagan "canonized" in the week of his funerals? Yes. Was that surprising? No. We have a Republican in the White House, for one. But perhaps more importantly, this is the first presidential death in quite a long time that rated a state funeral. I expect we'll see this event repeated for Carter, the first Bush, and, in time, Clinton and the incumbent Bush. Russell A. Burgos UCLA