POL300 Assignment 1: The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy
POL300 Assignment 1: The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy PRG211
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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 http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa074.html Farnham, B. (2001). Reagan and the Gorbachev Revolution: Perceiving the End of Threat. The Eighties Club. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id404.htm Feb 6, 1985: The “Reagan Doctrine” is announced (n.d.). Cold War. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.history.com/thisdayinhistory/thereagandoctrineisannounced Reagan Doctrine (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Reagan_Doctrine.html The Reagan Doctrine (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=2&psid=3369 United States Relation with Russia: The Cold War (n.d.). U.S. Department of State. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://20012009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs REAGAN DOCTRINE 6
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