The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy
02 September 2012
Summarize a situation that required U.S. diplomatic efforts during President Reagan’s time in office.
The situation that required U.S. diplomatic involvement was the Reagan Doctrine. In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan advocated the elimination of all assistance to the Nicaraguan government. As a candidate, he ran on a platform that condemned the "Marxist Sandinista takeover of Nicaragua" and pledged support for the "efforts of the Nicaraguan people to establish a free and independent government. Once Reagan took over the Presidency, high-ranking policy makers suspended and then canceled economic aid to Nicaragua. The administration began to formulate more coercive measures. President Ronald Reagan took office determined to do something about what he considered a growing tide of Soviet expansionism. To do so, his administration developed a strategy to aid anti-Soviet insurgencies in the Third World in their attempts to overthrow Marxist regimes (Alan Riding, 1980).
In February 1981, when Robert McFarlane (then assistant to Secretary of State Alexander Haig) submitted a proposal for a coordinated political, economic, military, and covert approach to the Central American crisis (El Salvador and Nicaragua), the issue reached the White House. Eventually labeled the Reagan Doctrine, the strategy had matured enough by 1985 for the president to assert that the United States "must not break faith with those who are risking their lives--on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua to defy Soviet supported aggression. In 1986 President Reagan declared, "America will support with moral and material assistance, your right not to fight and die for freedom, but to fight and win freedom in Afghanistan, in Angola, in Cambodia, and in Nicaragua. However, a conflict developed over the application of the Reagan Doctrine to Nicaragua, where rebels known as the contras opposed the Sandinista government, which came to power in a successful revolution in 1979. This conflict reflected the high priority assigned the issue by the president and the intense scrutiny given the policy by Congress. Since the policy making process extended over several years and included many players, the Nicaragua case makes for a splendid study in the American foreign policy making process (Scott, James M., 1997). Explicate the diplomatic doctrine the president followed, with reference to specific actions or events that occurred.
During the Reagan’s first term, the Soviet leadership changed from Leonid Brezhnev to Yuri Andropov to Konstantin Cherenkov. Over that four year period, Reagan maintained his hardline rhetoric about the Soviet Union even referring to it in a Florida speech as an "evil empire." He also launched a massive military expansion program, as President John Kennedy had done twenty years earlier, to impress Soviet leaders that he intended to deal with them from a position of strength in Europe, Asia, and Africa, where they had made significant gains in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. He believed he had a clear mandate from the American people to reverse the trend of the previous decade and make America militarily strong and politically decisive in foreign policy. During President Reagans time in office the Reagan doctrine was in affect, which involved military and material support for indigenous resistance movements struggling to overthrow Soviet-sponsored tyrannies. The Reagan administration supported such guerrillas in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola and Nicaragua in efforts to “rollback” the Soviet empire. In addition, President Reagan worked with the Vatican and the international wing of the AFL-CIO to keep alive the Polish trade union solidarity, despite a ruthless crackdown by General Wojciech Jaruzelski’s regime. During this time in 1983 President Reagan ordered American troops to invade Grenada and liberate the island from its ruling...
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