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History has played out to show timing was off in 1976

God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform," and we all saw an example of that in 1976, when my father Ronald Reagan failed to win the Republican nomination for president. I thought it was a disaster then, but I now know that God had other plans in mind. It wasn't the right time in His scheme of things.

I thought about this when I was aboard Air Force One flying back to California after my dad's funeral. I was sitting with Lady Margaret Thatcher and we were talking about the events in the 80s when she and my dad, the pope, Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev played such important historic roles. I told her that people often tell me that it was too bad that my father didn't win in 1976 and I said that I have really thought that over and I'm convinced that my dad was not supposed to win in 1976.

I believe that everything happens in God's time and His time and our time is not always on the same plane. We wanted my father to get the nomination and win in '76 but God had other plans. Now, looking back, those plans are clear as they were not at the time.

I asked Maggie Thatcher that if Dad had won in 1976, who would have been in place then to bring about the momentous events in the 80s that saw the Evil Empire destroyed. Think about it, none of the key players in the drama were onstage. In 1976 Mrs. Thatcher was not Britain's prime minister, Karol Wytola was not the pope, Mikhail Gorbachev was not in charge in Moscow and Lech Walesa was an obscure electrician in a Polish shipyard.

Anybody familiar with Ronald Reagan's plans for dealing with the Soviets and their domination of Eastern Europe knows that his determination to bring down the Soviet monolith depended on a number of factors, and having the right allies in the right places at the right times eventually proved to be the key to victory. Those factors were not present in 1976.

In 1980, however, things were changing and it took the entire decade of the 80s to do the job. It was done because Dad was the president, Margaret Thatcher was Britain's prime minister, John Paul II was the Pope, Lech Walesa had risen to leadership of Solidarity and Gorbachev had taken over in the Kremlin. If a single one of those key players was not in place the outcome would have been different and the Cold War would have continued.

Each had a key part to play. After my dad met privately with the pope in 1982, a plan was devised to cripple the Soviet hold on Eastern Europe and Poland was seen as the key. The two men agreed to use the fledgling labor movement known as Solidarity as the means to drive a wedge between the Polish Communist government, the Polish people and the Kremlin.

The pope has already relit the fires of liberty burning in the hearts of the Polish people in June of 1979 when he swept though his native land enheartening his fellow Poles and giving them hope.

Joined by Mrs. Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and the pope secretly financed and supplied Solidarity, which along with covert CIA aid applied so much pressure on the government that by the end of the 80s Lech Walesa had become President of Poland, Eastern Europe was throwing off the Soviet chains and the Soviet Union itself was heading towards a complete collapse.

They all accomplished their missions and they are slowly leaving the scene. My dad is gone, now the pope has died and all the other players are living in their final years. They played the parts God had written for them.

I believe that everybody is here on earth for a purpose. God arranged for them to be where he wanted them to be, when he wanted them to be there – and it wasn't in 1976.

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network. Comments to mereagan@hotmail.com.