This article debunks three Reagan myths:
Myth #1: Reagan was an actor reading from someone else's script.
Myth #2: Reagan was a nuclear cowboy.
You might recall Reagan's famous gaffe in front of a live mic in 1984: "We begin bombing in 5 minutes." The truth is, Reagan actually hated the burden of nuclear weapons, was deeply fearful of wag-ing an unrestrained arms race, and wanted to abolish nuclear weapons. Critics regarded his announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") in March 1983 as the height of cynicism. Here was a president, they said, talking about a giant shield that would actually make the prospect of nuclear war less unthinkable. The technology behind SDI was highly dubious. But the idea was very real, and very dear, to Reagan. His plan was to share SDI with the Sovi-ets so that both sides could begin to disarm. I know that sounds incredible, yet it is indeed what he pledged to both Gorbachev and his own disbelieving top advisors.
Myth #3: Reagan was a natural leader.