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POL300 Assignment 1: The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy

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POL300 Assignment 1: The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy PRG211

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POL300 Assignment 1: The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy
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Date Created: 11/11/15
RUNNING HEAD: REAGAN DOCTRINE 1 Assignment 1: The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy Reagan Doctrine Tanya Robinson Ms. Nillab Pazhwak, M.Ed., M.A. POL300­ Contemporary International Problems 7/28/14 REAGAN DOCTRINE 2 The Reagan Doctrine was one of the most important political strategies implemented by  the U.S. administration under the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The doctrine was such a  political strategy that was formulated by the Reagan administration to prevent the spread of the  global influence of the Soviet Union’s political ideology and hegemony during the Cold War era  and “While the doctrine lasted less than a decade, it was the centerpiece of United States foreign  policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991” (“Reagan Doctrine”, n.d.).  The doctrine rendered some particular negative effects but just like any other popular political  doctrine, the Reagan Doctrine also had some positive effects and it was due to the amalgamation  of the pros and cons that the Reagan Doctrine was able to make a place in the history of world  politics.  President Reagan’s primary objective was to restrict and confine the Soviet political  power and through the formulation of his doctrine, the President tried to support those  democratic nations across the globe that were willing to put a fight against the spread of Soviet  communism and it can be said that by supporting the “freedom fighters” (those who, according  to  Reagan, opposed the communism instigated by Soviet Union), the Reagan administration  tried to prevent the communist ideology proposed and nurtured by Soviet Union from spreading  to different nations of the world (“Feb 6, 1985: The “Reagan Doctrine” is announced”, n.d.). But  it must be noted that Reagan’s inclination toward formulating a presidential doctrine was  actually the outcome of different events that were occurring in different parts of the world and  mainly in Afghanistan and Nicaragua. The movements that were going on in these nations  against the Soviet induced communist hegemony, gradually started drawing the attention of the  Reagan administration and one of the result of this was the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine.  REAGAN DOCTRINE 3 It is noteworthy that “Washington was willing to provide material assistance to Afghan  resistance fighters facing Soviet occupation forces and to Nicaraguan contras seeking to oust the  Sandinista government” (Carpenter, 1986).  Reagan Doctrine was meant to substitute and reshape the previous political doctrine of  containment applied to the context of the development of the Cold War. Reagan’s doctrine spoke of a direct opposition to the communist ideology of Soviet Union and the doctrine proposed  “American moral and material support for insurgent movements attempting to oust Soviet­ backed regimes in various Third World nations” (Carpenter, 1986). The political and aggressive  advancement of Soviet Union in different parts of the world including Africa, Central America,  Central Asia, etc was gradually frustrating the U.S. administration and something was needed to  be done. And this something was the Reagan Doctrine which, both directly and indirectly, started supporting the cause of the rebels (both politically and financially) fighting against communist  regimes.  The historical development of the Reagan Doctrine can be traced in the past relationship  between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. If the U.S. administration propelled a policy of  containment against its Soviet counterpart then the latter showed its utter negativity against the  U.S. policies. There was already a tension prevailing between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and  the election of Ronald Reagan did fuel the fire of political differences. The invasion of  Afghanistan by Soviet Union on December 26, 1979 put a nail into the coffin of the political  relationship between U.S. and Soviet Union and the events like the embargoes enacted by the  U.S. on the Soviet Union added to the tension that was already there between these two nations  (“United States Relation with Russia: The Cold War”, n.d.). To minimize this tension even  REAGAN DOCTRINE 4 though Muskie and Gromyko met in New York on September 25, 1980 to agree to begin  preliminary talks on medium range missiles and to affirm their neutrality in the Iran­Iraq War  (“United States Relations with Russia: The Cold War”, n.d.), the tension was hardly minimized.  To minimize further tension the Reagan Doctrine was introduced but this introduction  proved fatal for the U.S. and for the world politics to a great extent. To make his doctrine a  success, Reagan committed some fatal errors. For an example, it was this doctrine of Reagan  which paved the way for the contras to receive financial and political support from the U.S.  administration and the Exposure of the Iran­Contra affair in late 1986 provoked a major  congressional investigation. The scandal seriously weakened the influence of the president”  (“The Reagan Doctrine”, n.d.). The support of the rebels in Afghanistan (as formulated by the  Reagan Doctrine), in a permanent manner, established a state of confusion within the region  which is still persisting and disturbing world peace to a great extent. But it also must be noted  that even though there were some primary negative effects of the Reagan Doctrine, there were  several positive effects too. It was due to the Reagan Doctrine that nations like Nicaragua got  liberated from oppressions of the Soviet­supported regime and it must also be noted that it was  due to this doctrine that a sense of collaboration could be infused in the mind of Gorbachev and  as a result, in the Geneva summit, Gorbachev became much inclined to cooperate with the U.S.  to establish global peace (Farnham, 2001).  In conclusion, the Reagan Doctrine was one of the most important political doctrines ever formulated during the reign of an American president. The doctrine rendered some particular  negative effects but just like any other popular political doctrine, the Reagan Doctrine also had  REAGAN DOCTRINE 5 some positive effects and it was due to the amalgamation of the pros and cons that the Reagan  Doctrine was able to make a place in the history of world politics.  References Carpenter, T.G. (1986). U.S. Aid to Anti­Communist Rebels: The "Reagan Doctrine" and Its  Pitfalls. Cato Policy Analysis No. 74. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from  Farnham, B. (2001). Reagan and the Gorbachev Revolution: Perceiving the End of Threat. The  Eighties Club. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from  Feb 6, 1985: The “Reagan Doctrine” is announced (n.d.). Cold War. Retrieved February 21,  2014, from­day­in­history/the­reagan­doctrine­is­announced Reagan Doctrine (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from The Reagan Doctrine (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from  United States Relation with Russia: The Cold War (n.d.). U.S. Department of State. Retrieved  February 21, 2014, from http://2001­  REAGAN DOCTRINE 6


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