Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 12:45 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 12:45 | SYDNEY

Reagan in our banner photo


Sam Roggeveen


9 June 2010 16:27

ABC TV journalist Leigh Sales had some kind words for The Interpreter on her popular Twitter feed:

Every time I see the photo at the top of the Lowy Institute's blog, I'm struck by what an absolute cracker it is.

This prompts some thoughts about Ronald Reagan, seated to Mikhail Gorbachev's right in the foreground of our banner photo. In fact, though, our designers flipped the photo for reasons of balance, and Reagan was actually to Gorby's left when this picture was taken in Geneva in 1985.

After several weeks of publishing The Interpreter, we suddenly realised that, having flipped the photo, we had inadvertently put Reagan's handkerchief and breast pocket on the wrong side of his jacket. Some careful photo-shopping restored them to their proper place, though you'll note that Gorby's flag pin is still on his right lapel, and his watch is just visible on his right wrist.

The other thing to notice is Reagan's upright bearing. Perhaps as a result of his acting and performing work in Hollywood, Reagan was possessed of tremendous physical poise. It is a trait he shares with President Obama.

One final thing on Reagan: Foreign Policy's Think Again column (the home of what you might call 'mainstream revisionism' at that magazine) is this month devoted to questioning Reagan's credentials as a conservative foreign policy hawk. I liked the ending:

Although Reagan boosted the defense budget, he saw the contest between the United States and the Soviet Union fundamentally as a struggle between political and economic systems in which the dynamism of American capitalism was the West's trump card...In that regard, it is not jihadi fanaticism that has taken the Kremlin's place. After all, even in the Muslim world, barely anyone really believes that al Qaeda, the Taliban, or Iran's ruling clerics can build a society prosperous and stable enough to challenge the West. The better analogue is China's 21st-century authoritarian capitalism, which has built a record of political stability and economic dynamism that has captured the imagination of people (and governments) throughout the developing world.