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Robert C. “Bud” McFarlane passed away this week. His resume was long and distinguished – Naval Academy graduate, decorated Vietnam war hero, military aide to Henry Kissinger in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and President Reagan’s National Security Advisor.
But Washington being Washington, commentators have focused on McFarlane’s role in the Iran Contra affair, the scandal du jour of the later years of the Reagan administration, when U.S. officials tried unsuccessfully to reestablish a relationship with Iran.
FILE – Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane, National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, walks through the lobby at Trump Tower, December 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
To focus primarily on the scandal misses the role McFarlane played as an unsung hero in Reagan’s ultimate Cold War victory over the Soviet Union. Many others took the credit, but few deserved it more than Bud McFarlane.
Reagan famously said his policy toward the Soviet Union and the Cold War was simple – “We win, they lose.”
It was left to McFarlane, Reagan’s National Security Advisor, and a handful of others to figure out how