Jeffrey Lord is unhappy that everyone made fun of Gingrich’s ridiculous moon colony idea:
This appallingly timid and backward response is a decided signal of another GOP Establishment mortgage presidency. It is a flashing red light that signals a complete and utter failure in possessing the conservative ideology and imagination that drives conservatism and drove the Reagan White House. Indeed, it was Reagan’s ability to visualize the Strategic Defense Initiative — Star Wars as his critics quickly tried to derogate it — that resulted in the end of the Cold War.
Lord is beginning to sound a bit like Gingrich. Romney’s response to the moon colony idea isn’t just wrong–it’s “appallingly timid”! If conservatism is what Russell Kirk had in mind, it isn’t an ideology, and it has nothing to do with enormously wasteful, fantastical schemes to inhabit the moon. Talking up SDI was fine as a sort of bluff, and for that reason it had some importance, but as an actual defense system it remains as far-fetched as ever. A 2009 paper by Kathryn Stoner-Weiss and Michael McFaul reviewed the arguments about its significance and concluded:
Although, therefore, SDI and US arms build up under Ronald Reagan in particular may have helped to bring Gorbachev to the negotiating table, the scholarly consensus seems to be that it most certainly did not single handedly bring down the Soviet Union.
So, no, “Reagan’s ability to visualize” SDI did not result in the end of the Cold War, and it isn’t timidity to ridicule an absurd proposal to establish a lunar colony within the next ten years.