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Leveraging The Soviet Union's Economy For Cold War Success: Reagan's Impact, 1981 1989.

3184 words - 13 pages

The surprisingly peaceful implosion of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union is one of the most significant events in history. The world literally went from a nuclear shelter mentality to the rapture of peace in a matter of days, and the credit goes to President Reagan of the United States and President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. Their having come into office at approximately the same time - Reagan in 1981 and Gorbachev in 1985 - and having had much the same world view is a remarkable and historic coincidence, one of those surreptitious and fortuitous accidents of history.President Ronald Reagan, a man most renowned for ending the Cold War - a war that had divided the world for almost 5 decades - assumed a different road to peace than his predecessors. On March 20, 1981, the president claimed: "We've come to a turning point. We have a decision to make. Will we continue with yesterday's agenda and yesterday's failures, or will we reassert ours ideals and our standards, will we reaffirm our faith, and renew our purpose? This is a time for choosing." He wanted to begin an "era of national renewal." He followed a policy of economic pressure in addition to the ongoing deterrence policy*. This paper will address how Ronald Reagan used the Soviet Union's economic weakness in an effort to bring the Communist regime to an end; for when he came into office his objective was "to find the weak points in the Soviet Structure, to aggravate the weaknesses, and to undermine the system."These two leaders were similar in many ways. Most important, each leader saw hope in working with the other. They were both willing to try different approaches to ending the war. Both leaders wanted to change the way foreign policy was handled. They both understood that it was in the best interests of the Soviet Union and the United States to arrive at peace; both wanted to end the war without having to use their nuclear missiles.Among the most beneficial traits that Gorbachev possessed was his reputation as a leader who was not an uncompromising communist and his willingness to restructure his country's government. He is often looked upon as not being a "hardline communist, but a moderate, intent on reform." He came into office not rejecting communism, but instead saying that he wanted to revive socialism. He wanted to open the country's economy and make it efficient. However, the biggest problem he faced was working with a party that did not have any tolerance for change. He wanted to have discussions with the United States, but without taking too fast a pace at reform that his country would not benefit from the reform. Reagan was able to take advantage of this in that he realized that even though the weapons were there, they did not pose as much of a threat as they previously had for the sole reason that the administration had changed. He realized that it had always been "ideology, not nuclear technology, that accounted for the hair-trigger superpower crisis of 40...

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