How President Reagan would have talked to the American people about the Islamic State

Newt Gingrich is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives. He published the following op-ed on CNN.com last week.

Instead of criticizing President Barack Obama’s lack of an effective national security policy as the terrorist threat of the Islamic State grows in Syria and Iraq, it might be helpful to imagine the speech President Ronald Reagan would have given in response to the videotaped beheading of James Foley.

There are many things a great power can do if it has leadership.

This fictional speech is an effort to describe a Reagan-like grand strategy, clarity of moral purpose and emphasis on effective actions. This is not a speech President Reagan could have delivered in the 1980s.

So, this speech is designed to illustrate an alternate U.S. approach and strategy toward this threat if Reagan were president in today’s very different world.


Text of Reagan address 

My fellow Americans:

We have all been saddened and outraged by the vicious videotape of Islamic State terrorists beheading an American journalist. Our hearts go out to James Foley’s family.
However, anger and sympathy are not solutions.

We, the American people, must come together in a righteous determination to defend freedom and civilization from barbarism, savagery and terrorism.

We must calmly, methodically and with the same grim determination we brought to winning World War II, implement strategies that eliminate the growing worldwide threat of radical Islamists prepared to kill us as individuals and our values as a civilization.

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