An Invisible War
Over the course of his presidency Ronald Reagan used the word freedom over and over again in his speeches and press conferences. He used it as the rationale for a conservative domestic agenda, and he used it to describe his foreign policy. When he announced his desire to sit down and talk peace with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, it marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War. Standing before the Berlin Wall in Germany, Reagan made one of his greatest speeches: "There stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor."
In 1989, when students in China rebelled against their totalitarian government, they marched with a statue called the "Goddess of Democracy," modeled after America's Statue of Liberty. Li Lu, one of the student leaders in Tiananmen Square, spoke about those exciting days: "The old men who rule China could not silence us! The roar of tanks and machine guns can never crush dreams of freedom!"
But dreams of freedom in China were crushed as the student protests in Tiananmen Square were brutally suppressed. And around the globe, instead of ushering in a new era of international peace, the end of the Cold War gave rise to new problems. With ethnic hatreds resurfacing widely, violent wars erupted in places like Bosnia in southeastern Europe and Rwanda in central Africa.