The Role Ronald Reagan Had In Ending The Cold War

2320 words - 9 pages

The purpose of this investigation is to determine the role Ronald Reagan had in ending the Cold War. This topic is important because now that it is becoming accepted that Reagan had a goal in mind of ending communism when he became president, it is time to determine the way he accomplished the task of ending the Cold War. The research will focus primarily on deciding whether or not it was through exploiting Soviet vulnerabilities, negotiations, or a military build-up. In answering the inquiry question, the main sources that will be used will be a book and National Security Decision Directive 75 (NSDD 75). The book, a biography of Reagan written by Paul Kengor, titled The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, views Reagan’s technique in ending the Cold War as exploiting the vulnerabilities of the USSR and an arms race. The other main source, NSDD 75, was released by Reagan’s Administration to set forth new national security policies. NSDD 75 discusses the policies the United States will use towards the USSR to help them win the Cold War. Besides these two sources of information, research will also be completed using various reliable websites and books.
B. Summary of Evidence
o Exploiting vulnerabilities
 Ronald Reagan always had faith that the West would win the Cold War. “He was so certain, in fact, that he even abandoned the niceties of nearly forty years of diplomatic convention that took it for granted that “containment” was America’s preferred strategy towards the USSR and replaced it with an altogether more aggressive policy that did not merely contest the Communist system more forcefully, but called its legitimacy (indeed its very survivability) into question” (The Debate Continues).
 He had the United States support anti-Soviet uprisings all around the world (Presidential Leadership in the Cold War).
 In January 1981 during a meeting with the National Security Planning Group, CIA director Bill Casey shared his opinions of how the US should take down the USSR and “Reagan agreed with Casey that the administration should launch a concerted effort to play on Soviet vulnerabilities” and started creating a plan on how to do just that (The Crusader).
 Reagan wanted to show the world all the Soviet Union’s vulnerabilities that could be used to take it down. Using their vulnerabilities to our advantage by doing actions such as “covert financial and intelligence support to the Solidarity union in Poland and other opposition groups within the Soviet empire; financial and military support to the Afghan resistance; cooperative efforts with Saudi Arabia to drive down the price of oil, and limiting Soviet natural gas exports to the West, thereby reducing Soviet hard currency earnings; a campaign to limit Soviet access to Western high technology; a technological disinformation effort to help disrupt the Soviet economy; a massive U.S. defense buildup, including the SDI program, to put more pressure on Soviet economic...

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