Robert Frank Agostinelli is an American finance expert and philanthropist. He is a Chairman of the Board of trustees of the National Review Institute USA and member of the Board of governors of the “Ronald Reagan Ranch” Memorial park in Santa Barbara, California, a member of the Council of Foreign Affairs and leading supporter of non-conservative causes, founder of “Friends of Israel” initiative and former Vice-chair Council for USA and Italy (CONSIUSA), member of Investment committee corporative worldwide opportunities of BSI Group. Founder and owner of Rhone Group Investment fund.
We all associate Ronald Reagan with the defense of freedom and democracy and the fall of the Iron Curtain. What do President Reagan’s words mean to you today:
“Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”
Ronald Reagan’s words have been more of a resonant reminder that the threat, tyranny, is never fully extinguished and that evil awaits any opportunity to exploit ignorance and cowardice.
Freedom has not only to be defended but we must be prepared to fight for it if necessary.
In this honourable land of Bulgaria, you brave people know all too well the carnage and cost of the boot. The diabolical nature of communism and the evil empire of the Soviet Union cost millions of lives and still countless carnage to those who were sentenced to exist behind their “Iron Curtain”.
Today we have the heavy reminder of this threat with the ruthless KGB trained Putin and his cronies who are no better than the soulless Lenin and Beria and Khrushchev of the 20th century.
The threat of the gulag remains.
Unfortunately, the voice of reason and strength that was so personified by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher has no natural heirs in a Europe that has lost its will to defend freedom and sadly the United States is struggling with the same where the very same evil that cast its hydra headed shroud over this great land is now infecting virtually every membrane of our being.
We are pre-ordained to fight this fight and be ever present to these threats.
You are a member of the Board of governors of the Ronald Reagan Ranch in California and Chairman of the Board of trustees of the National Review Institute. Tell us a little more about their activities.
I am honoured to be of service to the cause of freedom with my association with the Reagan Ranch and the legacy of William F. Buckley. Both organizations are serving our contemporaries notice of that eternal spirit of optimism and faith implicit in true conservatism.
These organisations are vital chords of truth to maintain the legacy of two men who were intellectually, morally and spiritually connected to “stand athwart history”. Indeed as you know it was the contemporary conservative movement created by William F. Buckley, while a student at Yale in the early 1950s which led the emergence of Barry Goldwater’s failed presidential bid and the ultimate emergence of governor Reagan and his ascension to the Oval Office and the restoration of America as the standard bearer of freedom and the last great hope of all people yearning for their inherent individual right to the “pursuit of happiness”.
The Reagan ranch is a sacred place and anyone with a sense of history who so aspires for what he stood for cannot but be moved by this mountain top retreat where much of his basic values were turned into policy and a voice for so many.
In the continuation of The Young America’s Foundation tradition, actually conceived at William F. Buckley’s home in Sharon, Connecticut in 1960 the ranch and the attendant center under the leadership of YAF Chairman Governor Scott Walker, and (former Chair Ron Robinson) and Reagan Ranch Director, Andrew Coffin has become an incubator of conservative values for students from all over the world who have an innate passion and belief in the values of Reagan and Buckley. They become culture carriers worldwide and spread the spirit of optimism of this God blessed land from sea to shining sea.
At a time when every fundamental tenant of decency and good is being uprooted by the Godless inheritors of ashen grey communism, the Ranch and NR strive to ensure that the flame of decency and freedom will never dim.
At NR, I am proud to have been part of the effort to create and underwrite the William F. Buckley prize which has supported such heroes of the movement as the DeVos’s family, Victor Davis Hanson, Gay Gaines and the late great Rush Limbaugh and Reagan’s long serving Secretary of State, the late George Schultz who was very much at the forefront of the engagement to “tear down this wall”. I am equally honored that the brave men and women keeping the Reagan legacy alive here in Sofia have also been honored guests at these events. Todor Gunchev and his colleagues are bonded to both organizations, particularly the leadership at the Ranch where there has been unyielding support for this effort.
My work started at NRI with Rich Lowry and Jack Fowler both stout supporters of the Reagan legacy in Sofia.
Do you think that in today’s times of crisis, President Reagan’s words “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid”
These words remain a timeless and healthy reminder of the eternal necessity of vigilance against the diabolical. The handmaidens of the devil (and President Reagan understood this all too well) remain ignorance and cowardice. All murderous tyrants from Stalin on down delight in the presence of the “useful idiots” who provide the illiterate cover for the ghouls to carry out their work.
Reagan understood that the fallacy that it would “never happen to me” recalled Kristallnacht when so many assumed if they just avoided confrontation, they would be saved…yet, ultimately the knock on the door in the middle of the night came for them as well.
We are duty bound to defy evil and stand up to the lies even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice to do so – for the cost of freedom is always measured in blood and treasure and all the more so when we are not prepared to do so.
The free people of Bulgaria will always warrant America’s s support for they have lived this reality and understand the cost and the sacrifice.
Translation and edit: Rayno D. Stoyanov and Georgi Nenkov.
📸: Dimiter Chilov