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Regarding the May 24 article “Reagan thought Nakasone ‘best’ Japan leader“: It might be noted that in the early 1980s, Reagan also admired Saddam Hussein (fighting the Iranians) and even Panama’s little drug-dealing dictator Manuel Noriega, who is now sitting quietly in a Florida prison cell after being arrested and convicted on related criminal charges.

And Reagan had nothing but the highest praise for the former bloody dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, who was forced to seek asylum in Hawaii after being ousted from office during the “Corazon Aquino people’s revolution” in early 1986. A cancer-ridden Marcos was later indicted for embezzlement in the United States, and criminal charges were brought against him. Reagan called him “Ferd”!

So what can be concluded from Reagan’s assessment of his buddy Yasuhiro “Yasu” Nakasone? As I recall, having been a resident in Japan during the Bubble Economy, politicians in Washington were smashing Toshiba cassette players to protest the growing trade imbalance between the United States and Japan. In Detroit there were auto workers smashing Toyotas with sledgehammers! How times have changed — for the better. Today there are eight Toyota production plants across the U.S. and Americans think of Toyota as a fine “American” brand. . . . So who cares what Reagan thought about Nakasone?

robert mckinney

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