Vision And Values: Kasparov On U.S. Leadership For A Free-World:

Por Alejandro A. Chafuén. Publicado el 9/11/14 en:


Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the “Fall of the Berlin Wall.” Thanks to the recommendations of the late Arnold Beichman of the Hoover Institution and President George W. Bush’s acquiescence, in the U.S. it is also officially “World Freedom Day.” Friends of freedom have been celebrating around the globe as well. One freedom champion, however, is spending more time cautioning than celebrating. It is Garry Kasparov—the renowned chess player—but this time, in his capacity as Atlas Templeton Freedom Fellow.

In a speech delivered earlier this year, Kasparov called for a new era of American leadership. He believes that the enemy we confront today might not be as bad and dangerous as communism, but it can still have devastating effects on the U.S. and world economy.

As a typical “classical liberal” Kasparov claims that “freedom is worth defending everywhere.” The American vision implied that “individual liberty was for all, not just those lucky enough to be born into it.”

Forgetting this puts America and the world on a dangerous path. “If it matters at home, it matters everywhere,” said Kasparov. There are several “democratic dictatorships” today, but as an “enemy from without,” he focuses, understandably, on Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But he is equally concerned on the enemy from within, a lack of leadership coupled by a shift towards “Un-American Values.”

“What is lacking today” he said are “leaders willing to stand up to dictators who only respect strength. Ronald Reagan had two things that more recent free world leaders lack: principles and the credibility only principles can provide.”
Kasparov sees most of today’s leaders as “a one or two-move” chess players who have the inability to strategize further. He criticized Bill Clinton, who “decided to celebrate instead of analyze” and Francis Fukuyama’s analysis that liberal democracy had won for good. “Look around the world today. Is history over? In Iraq, in Syria, in Russia, in Ukraine?”

From without “the opponent is less and less old fashion communism.” It is the dictatorship of parties, clans, and in Russia, according to Kasparov, “the dictatorship” of one man. Kasparov warns that Putin’s current rhetoric is an aggressive foreign policy that may grow “like a cancer,” which “will be much harder to stop the further along it gets. And it will not be stopped unless the West, especially America, the leader of the free world, wakes up. You cannot retreat forever and expect your country, your economy, not to suffer.”

Kasparov, in a Reaganesque manner, sees that traditional values such as “excellence, sacrifice, faith, and unity” are also “values of individual liberty, of the free market, of the American dream of providing a better future for your children. They have slowly been replaced by a dream of security without risk, of dependence on the government, of partisan battles over a shrinking pie instead of growth that allowed for win-win negotiations.”

Just as the old communists of the past, “the bad guys” of today, “hate American values and fight against them because a Pax Americana is the end of them.” Kasparov concludes that “retreating will not end the threat. America, as the symbol of global freedom, will always be their target.”

Americans are weary of wars, and rightly so. To avoid new totalitarian empires and walls that constrain freedom, Kasparov promotes an economy refreshed by American values and a foreign policy that avoids the rashness of Bush and the aimlessness of Obama. He wants “leadership guided by principles, knowledge, and common sense.”

It is impossible to know if the totalitarians of today will be as successful as 20th century socialists and national-socialists who for decades enslaved and killed millions. It might very well depend on enough people heeding Kasparov’s call: “A strong America is good for the world and a strong America needs a strong economy. That means a return to risk, to real investment in big and difficult things, and a return to the values of innovation. Aiming high, believing in yourself and the power of your desires to change the world are essential parts of citizenship in a democracy, especially the greatest one of all.”


Alejandro A. Chafuén es Dr. En Economía por el International College de California. Licenciado en Economía, (UCA), es miembro del comité de consejeros para The Center for Vision & Values, fideicomisario del Grove City College, y presidente de la Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Se ha desempeñado como fideicomisario del Fraser Institute desde 1991. Fue profesor de ESEADE.

Tear Down This Wall: Celebrating Victories Over Communism On World Freedom Day

Por Alejandro A. Chafuén. Publicado el 6/11/13 en:

Saturday, Nov. 9, marks the 24th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is an important date in the history of human civilization. President Ronald Reagan’s demand, “President Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” constitute some of the most memorable words spoken in the last century. Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev were not the only two actors in this human drama. Many died confronting Soviet expansionism in the Southern cone of the Americas, in Angola, Afghanistan, and other corners of the globe.

A political leader and a think tank scholar deserve major credit for highlighting the importance of this date.

José María Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, has always been committed to freedom. Several years prior to his 1996 election, he created a think tank, FAES, to help disseminate the ideas of liberty.

Aznar had been so helpful with efforts around the globe that in early 2004 I asked a member of his team, Alberto Carnero, former national security advisor and current ambassador in Austria, if Aznar had a favorite issue that I could help support. Carnero told me, “He would like to celebrate with more emphasis the victories over communism, especially Nov. 9.” A few months after, another Spanish think tank leader, Vicente Boceta, past executive director of the Business Roundtable of  Madrid (Circulo de Empresarios de Madrid), contacted me with the same goal. He was not aware of Aznar’s request.

Neither of my Spanish friends knew that they were preceded by Arnold Beichman, an admirable scholar who, like other luminaries, was working at the Hoover Institution. He was 85 years old during those liberating days of 1989. A native of Ukraine, and longtime educator and activist against communism, Beichman successfully encouraged President George W. Bush to proclaim Nov. 9 asWorld Freedom Day. Beichman was very active among think tanks. He was one of the founders of the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence, in Washington D.C. (with, among others, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Huntington, James Q. Wilson, and Bob Pfaltzgraff) and the former vice president of the Philadelphia Society.

Like my friends above, there are many worthy players who confronted the evils of communism that deserve to be recognized, but there is also a utilitarian argument for commemorating World Freedom Day. As George Santayana wrote, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Today, many young Germans do not have a vivid recollection of those last days of communism.

In addition to remembering those who contributed to the weakening of the Soviet Union and helped to strengthen the free society, Nov. 9 is an ideal day to take stock. One of the first measurements of freedom, developed by Freedom House in 1973, has focused on political aspects of freedom. At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Freedom House listed 68 countries that lacked democratic freedom; today we are down to 47. Measurements of economic freedom began just after 1989.

In recent decades, progress in economic freedom has not been great. The Heritage-Wall Street Journal index rates world economic freedom at 5.96 out of 10 in 2013 as compared to 5.76 in 1995, the year of its first ranking. The Fraser Institute index shows a similar slow progress of 6.87 in 2011 compared to 6.38 in 1995. Around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Fraser calculated world economic freedom at 5.82. The United States, however, scores worse today than it did 1989.

Ronald Reagan’s statement that, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” is clearly a call to action. The fight for freedom needs to go beyond economics. On the field of research, LIBRE, a budding think tank in Argentina, is seeking support to compile a “Black Book of Terrorism” to complement the influential 1999 Harvard University Press book “The Black Book of Communism,” a multi-author work that listed 100 million (dead) victims of communism. Organizations such as The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (run by Lee Edwards), which focuses on remembering the victims, and The Human Rights Foundation which defends current victims of totalitarian governments, also deserve strong support.

Nov. 9 is not all about the past. North Korea and Cuba are still under the grip of communism. The citizens of many other countries, especially those with rulers trying to implement 21st century socialism and other totalitarian models, are also longing to celebrate their own freedom day. Thanks to the encouragement of President Aznar and the late Arnold Beichman, think tanks across the globe keep this day in their agenda. More than that, by continuing to document, advocate, and defend the treasure of liberty, they make a positive contribution to civilized life.

Alejandro A. Chafuén es Dr. En Economía por el International College de California. Licenciado en Economía, (UCA), es miembro del comité de consejeros para The Center for Vision & Values, fideicomisario del Grove City College, y presidente de la Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Se ha desempeñado como fideicomisario del Fraser Institute desde 1991. Fue profesor de ESEADE.