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Ronald Reagan's Presidency Essay

1383 words - 6 pages

Ronald Reagan's Presidency

Truly, when Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the world was changing; his presidency would be one that would set the tone for the coming decades. Reagan had high expectations for his term in office; his "first, second, and third priorities" were his economic plans. His presidency was a remarkable one, but scholars were and continue to be critical of his "hands-off," macro-management of the government. President Reagan surrounded himself with some of the brightest minds in the country: James Baker III, George Shultz .. Often, these are the people who initiated these policy changes, while Reagan is the one who sold them to the country. But for all that he didn't participate in, Reagan had an extreme passion for foreign politics, despite being warned against it and the beginning of his term to focus on the economy and its continued downward slide. His passion showed in his dealings with the Soviet Union, especially after the rise. He was instrumental in the reduction of arms of the world's superpowers and key in the resurgence, in the United States, of military spending.

But, when it came to foreign policy, Reagan had very different views than his predecessors. Reagan did not believe in detente, he did not believe in appeasement, and he did not believe in the isolationist movement that had populated American thought for the better part of the 20th century. He believed that the United States had to defeat the Soviet Union on the grounds that communism was immoral and resulted in a freedomless society. The thawing of Soviet-American relations in the later Reagan years was due to a change in Soviet policy and Soviet leadership and not a drastic change in American policy under Reagan.

Reagan's views on the Soviet Union were in place long before he became president. He viewed the country as a true threat to the superiority of the United States in global politics and even as a threat to the autonomy of the country as a whole. "There was a sense that the Soviet Union was on the move [from 1975 through 1979] and that the U.S. was at great risk if the momentum continued. Reagan felt that and communicated it." His speeches always conveyed this feeling; even before he was president. In 1962, as governor of California, Reagan described the Soviet Union as a "single worldwide force dedicated to the destruction of free enterprise and the creation of a socialist state." Additionally, in a pre-election address to a club in London, he remarked, "Status quo; that's Latin for the mess we're in," referring to the current foreign relations strategy supported by the United States. Journalists called the speech a "strong attack on Western weakness."

The feeling was apparently mutual. The Soviets, before Mikhail Gorbachev, often refused to meet with the Reagan. In fact, the Kremlin viewed Reagan as a "dangerously confrontational figure, whose deeply disturbing animus against all things Russian had created a...

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