"Nineteen eighty-two was not a happy year for freedom. A severe and protracted recession gripped America. Many were beginning to wonder if Ronald Reagan was going to be a one-termer. Unemployment in Britain hit a postwar high. Across the Channel, François Mitterrand was busy nationalizing banks and raising taxes. Daniel Ortega's Sandinistas were firmly in control in Nicaragua. The Soviet grip on Eastern Europe seemed tighter than ever. Solidarity appeared finished in the wake of General Jaruzelski's declaration of a "state of war" against his own country. In the Middle East, Lebanon was descending into anarchy. And just to the north-east, Syria's president Hafez al-Assad -- father of Bashar al-Assad -- was ordering his security-forces to level the town of Hama. Thousands subsequently died. Some things never change."