On June 8, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) partnered with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the Ronald Reagan Institute (RRI) to virtually host “Reflections on President Reagan’s Westminster Address: Lessons for Defending Freedom and Democracy in Today’s World.” The webinar featured a discussion between CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine and IRI President Dr. Dan Twining moderated by RRI Policy Director Rachel Hoff.
On June 8th, 1982, President Ronald Reagan delivered his historic Westminster Address before the British Parliament, rallying the free world to mount a global campaign for democracy. At the time, authoritarianism appeared ascendant and the Iron Curtain immovable; less than a decade later, the Soviet Union lay, as Reagan predicted, "on the ash-heap of history."
President Reagan's address built a political and structural framework for American leadership in defense of global freedom that survives to this day. As the COVID-19 crisis strains democratic institutions and emboldens authoritarians, we are at a new inflection point, with democracies and autocrats vying to lead a reshaped world order. On the 38th anniversary of Reagan's historic address, this event reflected upon the enduring legacy of the Westminster Address and its lessons for the challenges we face today.