Life Of Ronald Reagan Essay Research Paper

Life Of Ronald Reagan Essay, Research Paper

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Undoubtedly, the foreign policy of the United States has been marked by its multi-faceted range of purposes, policy displacements, and images throughout the last two centuries. Though it remains a comparatively immature state, it has been a major factor in weighing the balance of power in the universe, during peacetime and in periods of war. Ronald Reagan, possibly more than any other president of the United States, has shifted this balance of power to a point where the international community is no longer divided in two. This makes him, from a foreign policy position, one of the most interesting presidents in the history of the United States.

In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine advocated American isolationism. Then came the Truman Doctrine. A few decennaries subsequently, the Soviet Union & # 8217 ; s atomic capablenesss succeeded that of the United States & # 8217 ; , SALT II was a failure, and the Domino consequence assured the prostration of democracies around the universe. Thus was the state of affairs when Ronald Reagan assumed power in 1981. Immediately, though, the freshly initiated president took a much harder attack to communism. He was incredulous of containment policy ( 1 ) , loath to negociate pacts with the Soviet leaders on the footing of misgiving, and, as opposed to former presidents, regarded the Cold War as winnable. This brought about the infinite plan SDI. His anti-Soviet rhetoric reflected his innate desire to go from vitamin D tente, and embark on a much sterner class. In the first few old ages of his presidential term, military disbursement reached degrees non seen since the Korean War, American-Soviet dealingss were cold so, and the chances of weaponries restrictions seemed dim. Reagan & # 8217 ; s clearest going from 1970 & # 8217 ; s policy was to be found in what some perceivers dubbed the Reagan philosophy. The Reagan philosophy was premised on the premise that direct military, economic and political force per unit area against communist authoritiess, would strive the Soviet Union & # 8217 ; s military and economic system to a point where they could non vie.

The inquiries remain, nevertheless: what were Reagan & # 8217 ; s initial policies towards the Soviet Union, how did he seek to recognize these purposes, and what were the successes and failures that followed in their aftermath. To reply these, probe must be made into the nature of his political character, with peculiar focal point on addresss and remarks made during his presidential term. Furthermore, enquiry will be made into the, in my sentiment, most of import facets of Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s policy toward the Soviet Union: weaponries control ( Negociating With the Soviet Union ) , SDI, and the Reagan philosophy. Together, they give a representative image of his foreign policy, and the agencies by which to reply the above inquiries. Additionally, I will look into whether Reagan really set a new tone in the US-Soviet relationship.

There shall stay no uncertainty, though: when Reagan left office in 1989, the universe was in a province of passage. The break-up of the Soviet Republic would shortly go a world, the United States would be the lone world power in the universe, and the menace of atomic war would be greatly reduced. The whole extent of Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s function in implementing these affairs is, of class, non possible to spot wholly. However, I am convinced he played rather an of import portion the motive for developing this home page.


The perceptual experiences of Ronald Reagan as a political figure and a foreign policy shaper are legion.

He was seen by some, as an & # 8220 ; ideological cold warrior & # 8221 ; , by others such as Margaret Thatcher, as a Jesus, the adult male who & # 8220 ; won the cold war without firing a shot. & # 8221 ; ( 2 ) The overplus of sentiments and thoughts refering the president are, nevertheless, to the full justifiable. There is likely no other president in history who has been accused of, non merely radically altering his stance throughout his presidential term, but besides of being a adult male of dogmatism. Some critics were therefore concerned about the chance of holding a president who had & # 8220 ; biass about the Soviet Union. & # 8221 ; ( 3 ) Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s macro direction of authorities personal businesss and foreign affairs led many of his critics, and even some of his protagonists to badly knock him for sloppiness, and non being able to to the full grok universe political relations. Leslie Gelb described it as therefore: & # 8220 ; the President & # 8217 ; s thoughts about the universe state of affairs are from his life, his personal history, instead than study. & # 8221 ; ( 4 )

He was a passionate conservative, blunt and direct in his political addresss, and more frequently than non, took to using anti-Soviet rhetoric to an unheard-of grade: & # 8220 ; Let & # 8217 ; s non deceive ourselves, the Soviet Union underlies all the unrest that is traveling on. If they weren & # 8217 ; t engaged in this game of dominoes, there wouldn & # 8217 ; t be any hot musca volitanss in the world. & # 8221 ; ( 5 ) Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s dedication to freedom, and his apathy for communism was continuously reflected by his actions and his references to Congress and the American populace. He was, in short, a hard-liner on communism, purpose to & # 8220 ; go forth Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history. & # 8221 ; ( 6 )

His primary ends in respects to communism can be traced back a long manner. In a 1962 address, at which clip he was governor of California, he described the political system of the Soviet Union as & # 8220 ; a individual global force dedicated to the devastation of our free endeavor system and the creative activity of a Socialist State. & # 8221 ; ( 7 ) This attack to the Soviet system is affirmed and consolidated by addresss made throughout his presidential term. The addresss are indispensable to understanding Reagan the politician, and Reagan the ideologist, for they non merely present us with his purposes, but so besides the ideals and the agencies by which he expected to recognize these. Several subjects recur throughout his addresss, and will here be discussed in farther item.


As the Soviet Union acquired the ability to bring forth the atomic bomb in 1949, the security of being the universe & # 8217 ; s exclusive atomic power all of a sudden vanished. The menace posed by two states holding atomic arms would finally take to a policy of disincentive. Basically, the focal point of this policy was revenge & # 8211 ; if one state launched a atomic onslaught, the other state would revenge. The consequence being: common devastation. The eventuality of common devastation, or & # 8220 ; Mutually Assured Destruction & # 8221 ; , held the United States and the Soviet Union in a drawn-out province of & # 8220 ; look into & # 8221 ; , and consequentially, contained the possibility of any one state get downing a atomic war.

Ronald Reagan recognized the policy of disincentive as a feasible solution to the & # 8220 ; stand-off & # 8221 ; between the two world powers. In the address on & # 8220 ; National Defense and Security & # 8221 ; this becomes clear, as he describes the policy as holding promoted & # 8220 ; stableness through violative threat. & # 8221 ; ( 8 ) Even though the policy & # 8220 ; has worked & # 8221 ; ( 9 ) , Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s personal stance on the issue is good expressed by the undermentioned fable, which is likely inspired by his clip in gesture images: & # 8220 ; It was like holding two Westerners standing in a barroom taking their guns at each others heads & # 8211 ; for good. There had to be a better way. & # 8221 ; ( 10 ) His hopes are & # 8220 ; that the human spirit must be capable of lifting above covering with other states and human existences by endangering their existence. & # 8221 ; ( 11 ) Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s strong belief that disincentive was absurd, and his purpose of liberating the universe from atomic menace became one of the centrepieces of his foreign policy. It was a seeable indicant of desiring to take a different attack in covering with the Soviet Union ; a clear renunciation of what every president since World War II had embraced. An embracing which Ronald Reagan would non prolong. In the address on & # 8220 ; Defense and National Security & # 8221 ; , he states:

My predecessors in the Oval Office have appeared before you on other occasions to depict the menace posed by Soviet power and have proposed stairss to turn to that menace. But since the coming of atomic arms, those stairss have been progressively directed toward disincentive of aggression through the promise of revenge. ( 12 )

Military BUILD-UP

Enormous sums of money were allocated for the armed forces in the first few old ages of Reagan & # 8217 ; s

presidential term. In fact, defence disbursement increased by 7 per centum a twelvemonth from 1981 to 1985. The

Pentagon & # 8217 ; s portion of the federal budget rose from 23 to a astonishing 27 per centum. ( 13 ) This monolithic

addition in the defence budget was necessary, in order to & # 8220 ; do America strong once more after excessively

many old ages of disregards and mistakes. & # 8221 ; ( 14 ) This averment by Ronald Reagan was made in the

address on & # 8220 ; National Defense and Security. & # 8221 ; Ronald Reagan moreover justified the necessity to

rearm by emphasizing the lower status of the United States & # 8217 ; armed forces, when compared to the Soviet

Union & # 8217 ; s: & # 8220 ; in virtually every step of military power the Soviet Union enjoys a distinct

advantage. & # 8221 ; ( 15 ) This position marked a alteration of tone in relation to earlier presidents, who were

largely concerned about keeping vitamin D tente at any cost & # 8211 ; much to the defeat of Ronald

Reagan. The build-up and modernisation of the armed forces besides gave credibleness to Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s

desire to dicker from a place of strength: & # 8220 ; With their [ the Soviet Union ‘s ] present border of

high quality, why should they hold to weaponries reductions. & # 8221 ; ( 16 )


Trade understandings, engineering transportation, and economic assistance to the Soviet Union were all advocated

during the age of vitamin D tente. By doing the Soviet Union dependant on American good will and

research, the different disposals had hoped to derive purchase in weaponries control understandings and

exert influence on the Soviet economic system. Unfortunately, this purchase policy was mostly unsuccessful:

at the terminal of the Carter Presidency, small advancement had been made in the manner of restricting atomic

arms ( Carter & # 8217 ; s SALT II pact was proposed to restrict the rate of addition in violative armories,

but was ne’er ratified by Congress ) , and the United States were passing an tremendous sum of

money. Ronald Reagan took an wholly different attack: by denying the Soviet Union

economic ( 17 ) and technological assistance, he believed their domestic state of affairs would be worsened & # 8211 ;

take parting in an weaponries race would so go even more strenuous. Ronald Reagan provinces:

& # 8220 ; How long can the Russians maintain on being so aggressive and disbursement so much on the weaponries race

when they can & # 8217 ; t even feed their ain people. & # 8221 ; ( 18 ) The Russian position of this policy alteration is revealed

by Gorbachev & # 8217 ; s adviser: & # 8220 ; you & # 8217 ; re seeking to destruct our economic system, to interfere with our trade, and

do us inferior in the strategic field. & # 8221 ; ( 19 )


Freedom as an ideological component to counter the immoralities of the universe, was outstanding in many of

Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s addresss. Although the term & # 8220 ; freedom & # 8221 ; as such is instead obscure, it is necessary to

touch upon it here, as Ronald Reagan sometimes used it to warrant the demand to overthrow Communist

authoritiess around the universe. Furthermore, Marxism as a hinderance for staying & # 8220 ; free, secure

and at peace. & # 8221 ; ( 20 ) was frequently highlighted by the president. Ronald Reagan stretches this rhetoric in a

address to the National Heritage foundation, suggesting action to & # 8220 ; travel on the violative with a

frontward scheme for freedom. & # 8221 ; ( 21 ) In President Reagan & # 8217 ; s first inaugural reference, he states: & # 8220 ; We will

once more be the example of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do non now have

freedom. & # 8221 ; ( 22 ) This classification was diagnostic of Ronald Reagan, a

neodymium undeniably suggested

communism as being amoral ( Reagan one time bluffly remarked that there was no word for & # 8216 ; freedom & # 8217 ;

in Russian ) ( 23 ) , and the Western civilisation ( the free civilisations ) as being economically and

politically superior. At the Brandenburg Gate, Reagan says:

In the 1950 & # 8217 ; s, Krushchev predicted: & # 8220 ; We will bury you. & # 8221 ; But in the West today, we see a free universe [ accent added ] that has achieved a degree of prosperity and wellbeing unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist universe, we see failure, technological retardation, worsening criterions of wellness, even want of the most basic sort & # 8211 ; excessively small nutrient. Even today, the Soviet Union still can non feed itself & # 8230 ; .Freedom leads to prosperity & # 8230 ; .Freedom is the master. ( 24 )


As stated earlier, several subjects recur throughout the addresss of Ronald Reagan. Through a close scrutiny of his addresss, I have hereby found four subjects which are highlighted and touched upon more conspicuously than others. The classification of these will let for the drawing of a yarn from each of these political orientations to existent policies, and put his purposes into position: The first concerns President Reagan & # 8217 ; s dislike of disincentive and MAD. This would finally take to the controversial infinite plan, SDI. SDI, as will be discussed subsequently, had far-reaching effects. The 2nd major subject stresses the demand for a larger defence budget. This raised the bets of the weaponries race, forced the Soviet Union into increasing their ain military disbursals, and gave the United States renewed power in weaponries dialogues. The 3rd was the policy of denial. This was commenced to oblige the Soviet Union to take down its defence budget. In an weaponries control context, it bought the United States & # 8220 ; clip & # 8221 ; to construct up its defences. The 4th was the construct of freedom. Freedom as a policy procured the corruption of communist authoritiess, and painted a image of the Soviet Union as inherently evil. This led to the Reagan Doctrine.

These four thematic factors all have two common denominators: to supercharge the Soviet Union, and to bespeak a alteration in policy & # 8211 ; the cardinal pushs of the Reagan disposal & # 8217 ; s purposes.


Weaponries dialogues seemed to hold a really black hereafter in 1981, as SALT II was passed unto Ronald Reagan from the Carter disposal. When questioned about the hereafter of the pact, Reagan responded: & # 8220 ; this bird is non a really friendly bird & # 8230 ; the restrictions in that understanding would let in the life of the pact for the Soviet Union to merely approximately dual their atomic capability. & # 8221 ; ( 25 ) This does non bespeak, as some perceivers have noted, a reluctance to prosecute in weaponries negotiations. Alternatively, it suggests an involuntariness to negociate when the footings were unfavourable or contradicted the way Ronald Reagan was taking & # 8211 ; the Reagan disposal was interested in a pact cut downing strategic arms & # 8211 ; non restricting them. The acronym was hence altered from SALT to START ( Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty ) . In his last address on foreign policy, Ronald Reagan advises, in retrospect:

Trust but verify. It means maintaining our military strong. It means retrieving no pact is better than a bad pact. It means retrieving the agreements of Moscow and Washington summits followed many old ages of standing house on our rules ( 26 )

The policy of denial did nil to further Soviet-American weaponries dialogues. With the proclamation of SDI, the verisimilitude of serious weaponries decreases was even gloomier. When the Soviet deputation walked out of Geneva in 1983, Professor Seweryn Bialer reported that the Soviet leaders & # 8220 ; had concluded that any effort to better dealingss [ with the Reagan disposal ] would be futile. & # 8221 ; He goes on to state that the temper in Moscow was & # 8220 ; really, really negative. & # 8221 ; ( 27 ) The state of affairs in 1984 represented the worst in Soviet-American dealingss during the Reagan Presidency. One perceiver reported that the ambiance between the two world powers was & # 8220 ; every bit bad as it & # 8217 ; s been in my memory. & # 8221 ; ( 28 ) However, 1984 marked a new beginning between the United States and Russia. In the reference on & # 8220 ; The US-Soviet Relationship, & # 8221 ; Ronald Reagan declares: & # 8220 ; We must and will prosecute the Soviets in a duologue as serious and constructive as possible, a duologue that will function to advance peace. & # 8221 ; ( 29 ) Indeed, this sudden alteration in tone toward the Soviet Union represented the most important displacement during the Reagan Presidency. What brought about this displacement in temper is unsure. One possible account is the reinforced place of the US armed forces which, as antecedently stated, were modernized. Ronald Reagan provinces: & # 8220 ; I believe that 1984 finds the United States in its strongest place [ militarily ] in old ages to set up a constructive and realistic working relationship with the Soviet Union. & # 8221 ; ( 30 ) Undeniably, the reference took topographic point shortly before the presidential election ; Ronald Reagan may hold conveyed the message of desiring to prosecute peace dialogues in order to win ballots.

The sequence of Chernenko by Gorbachev increased the possibility of weaponries dialogues. Gorbachev was non a hardline Communist, but a moderate, purpose on reforms. The first acme meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev took topographic point in Geneva. Despite the fact that small success was made in the manner of existent weaponries control, Ronald Reagan seemed purpose on prosecuting serious weaponries dialogues. The acmes between Gorbachev and Reagan, which took topographic point from 1985 to 1988, were mileposts in the Reagan presidential term. The anti-Soviet rhetoric, so common in the beginning of the 1980s, became more and more seldom. Ronald Reagan, nevertheless, ne’er departed from his strong belief that & # 8220 ; no pact is better than a bad pact & # 8221 ; :

the Soviets said they would return to the bargaining tabular array, but merely to speak about censoring infinite arms: when that failed, they agreed to restart START and INF negotiations, but merely if they were linked to a prohibition on SDI ; when that failed, they agreed to & # 8216 ; delink & # 8217 ; the dialogues and make a separate INF agreement, but merely covering Europe ; when that failed, they agreed to censor medium scope missiles world-wide. ( 31 )

The sign language of the INF pact in 1988 became one of Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s permanent accomplishments. For the first clip in history, a atomic pact censoring an full category of atomic arms was signed. This development is a blunt contrast to the anti-Soviet rhetoric used in many of his addresss, and the blue state of affairs in 1984. Still, it is necessary to take into consideration Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s want to dicker from a place of strength, and the displacement in tone which took topographic point when Premier Mikael Gorbachev replaced Chernenko. Ronald Reagan regarded Mikael Gorbachev as sincere ( 32 ) , and Margaret Thatcher described him as a adult male with whom it was possible & # 8220 ; to make business. & # 8221 ; The Gorbachev Doctrine ( Perestroika and Glasnost ) reflected a desire to travel off from the asepsis that had marked Soviet-American dealingss. Therefore, the recognition, if it is due, must be shared by Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan.


The application of the Truman philosophy against Korea and Vietnam was, in short, non really successful. In fact, some perceivers spoke of a & # 8220 ; Vietnam complex & # 8221 ; in the old ages after the Vietnam war. Ronald Reagan inherited this complex, but as already stated, laid the foundation for a renewed sense of assurance in the military and the American populace. The Reagan Doctrine was implemented as an option to containment which had been a failure, and to refute the Brezhnev philosophy ; the Sovietization of the 3rd universe had to be reversed. In 1981, Alexander Haig, Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s first secretary of province, stated that the Soviets had to be convinced & # 8220 ; that their clip of un-resisited adventuring in the Third World was over. & # 8221 ; ( 52 ) In the president & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; February 1985 State of the Union Address & # 8221 ; , President Reagan affirms:

We must non interrupt religion with those who are put on the lining their lives & # 8230 ; on every continent from Afghanistan to Nicaragua & # 8230 ; to withstand Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom combatants is self-defense ( 53 )

This, in kernel, was the Reagan Doctrine: economic and political support for insurrectionist motions in 3rd universe states where Marxism had been instigated. Contrary to earlier philosophies, such as the Truman, Eisenhower, and Carter philosophies which & # 8220 ; were concerned with bar, the Reagan attack emphasized cure. & # 8221 ; ( 54 )

The Reagan Doctrine can put claim to holding had limited success ; when applied against Afghanistan, it was successful & # 8211 ; it sent the Soviet Union & # 8220 ; a warning & # 8221 ; and, one time once more, indicated a willingness to endorse the hard-lined rhetoric with action. In Kampuchea, the Vietnamese withdrew their forces. When applied against Nicaragua, nevertheless, the consequence was a awful blow to the Reagan disposal & # 8211 ; it portrayed the Reagan disposal as undependable, and the inability to subvert the Sandinista government is a standing memorial of failure.


To bring out the full spectrum of Ronald Reagan & # 8217 ; s impact on the Soviet Union, a elaborate analysis of the Soviet economic and political state of affairs in the 1980s would hold been necessary. However, as stated in the debut, this was non my intent. The purpose was, through the constitution of Reagan & # 8217 ; s purposes in respect to the Soviet Union & # 8211 ; and the policies which were a consequence thereof to happen out if Reagan really did put a new tone in the American-Soviet relationship.

Reagan could claim to hold succeeded in conveying about a considerable alteration in policy. He came to the White House thought that his & # 8220 ; predecessors in the Oval Office & # 8221 ; had disregarded the state & # 8217 ; s armed forces, and been excessively idle in the conflict against persisting Soviet expansionism. The deep-rooted policy of containment needed to be superseded by a more decisive and forceful attack & # 8211 ; the Reagan philosophy ; communist governments in the 3rd universe were to be subverted by supplying military and economic aid to zealots sympathetic to the United States. The Reagan disposal therefore played an active portion in countering Soviet influence in Afghanistan. However, when applied against Central America, the philosophy was non successful. This proved to be a awful blow to the disposal: the United States faded in the eyes of the universe. Furthermore, as the Soviets merely understood the linguistic communication of bellicoseness, the United States needed to construct up its defences, non entirely for the interest of rearming, but as a agency of acquiring the Soviet

Union back to the bargaining tabular array on footings favourable to the Reagan disposal. INF is the premier consequence of this, and marked the entry into a new epoch of dialogues ; START was signed in 1989 by President Bush, the foundation of the pact laid out by Ronald Reagan. Two old ages subsequently, the Cold War was officially over. In malice of his combatant rhetoric, Reagan was dismayed by the chances of the policy of disincentive and & # 8220 ; Mutually Assured Destruction & # 8221 ; , and was concerned about the demand of fring the universe of the hazard of atomic arms & # 8211 ; a quandary that finally led him to do SDI, or & # 8220 ; Star Wars & # 8221 ; , the focal point of his atomic scheme. Many critics challenged the judgement of these policy displacements and, as is depicted from the paper, non all of them were to the full effectuated. Nonetheless, touchable motions in the waies taken by Reagan did happen & # 8211 ; motions characterized, non so much by their short-run accomplishments, as by their permanent effects. What I am indicating to is, of class, that a policy alteration did transpire when Reagan assumed power ; this is his most permanent accomplishment, and I have, through an scrutiny of Ronald

Reagan & # 8217 ; s purposes and policies, found that a outstanding change of policy took topographic point in the Reagan Presidency