When Reagan became President he had only one well-defined foreign policy goal: containing the Soviet Union or the "evil empire" as he once referred to it (Reagan 1983). He primarily wanted to stop the USSR from growing larger and to keep other non-Communist countries from becoming Communist. He disliked the decade-long Détente begun by President Nixon and continued by President Ford. Détente is defined as a relaxation of strained relations or tensions between nations, in this case the two nations being the United States and the Soviet Union. Reagan firmly believed that the USSR was using Détente and the SALT talks to take advantage of the United States.
A quote from Ronald Reagan with a conversation with Richard V. Allen says “My idea of the American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic.” “It is this: We win and they lose. What do you think of that?” In his first term as president, both he and Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, put down the Soviet Unions ideas and political thoughts. Other bold statements he has made of the Soviet Union is, “The Soviet Union is an evil empire and communism will soon be but an ash heap of history.” These
The Soviets strived for communism, where everyone, at least in principle, had equal shares and no one was above another, while the United states wanted to spread their values of democracy to re-developing countries across the globe. Communism was seen as such a threat to the United States because they believed the Communist Party wanted to spread and take over the entire world and the U.S. insisted that they were a force that must be stopped. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a key film, made during this time period that reflected greatly on the themes of the Cold War. In the film the protagonist, Miles, is a once sane, intelligent doctor who has been strung out, by many strange events that indicate an alien invasion is happening into a hysterical man. It starts out with relatives and children accusing loved ones that they’re not really themselves, that they have no emotions.
‘Peaceful coexistence' is an ideology enunciated by Khrushchev after the Twentieth Congress which governed Soviet foreign policy during the so-called Khrushchev Thaw. This emphasised the possibility of ideological coexistence of both the Communist bloc and the capitalist bloc which marked a paradigmatic shift from the Stalinist doctrine of antagonistic contradiction and inevitable conflict between Communism and capitalism. Furthermore, it highlighted that countries should be allowed to take ‘different roads to socialism’ thus decreasing the role of the USSR for stringent bolshevisation of states as seen in the dissolution of Cominform. Due to the emergence of brinkmanship politics and development of nuclear weapons such as the H-Bomb, the ideology aims to minimise possibilities of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), alongside ‘military conflict with the West’. ‘Peaceful coexistence’ was argued by revisionist historians such as Alperovitz that it eased political tensions between the two superpowers through modus vivendi such as in the Austrian State Treaty.
Reagan directly impugned the Soviet Union’s faulty reasoning behind their idea of “morality” when he says, “…as good Marxist-Leninists, the Soviet leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is world revolution…” (Reagan 112) and solidified the idea that the Soviet Union had underlying motives towards a nuclear stockpile. Reagan argued that the US should increase its nuclear inventory and scientific advancements to protect in case of an attack. In the end, nuclear warfare is not always the struggle between good and evil and as Reagan puts it, “…but we must never forget that no government schemes are going to perfect man. We know that living in this world means dealing with what philosophers would call the phenomenology of evil or, as theologians would put it, the doctrine of sin.” (Reagan 97) Reagan does not directly point out the Soviet Union’s flaw to eliminate freedom, but instead affirms the main goal of the United States at the time, which was to eliminate communism. During the final summit meeting, Reagan disclosed to Gorbachev that he no longer viewed the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” because of the reformations in the two countries; this demonstrated how far the countries had come as well as how beneficial the four summits were in improving relations between the
Also an unforgettable achievement of Reagans was ending the cold war which had been raging all the way back since World War 2 and America’s fear of communisms quest for world domination. He accomplished this by reversing the policy of détente and stood firm against the Soviet Union and giving aid to the rebels battling soviet-backed Marxists from Nicaragua to Angola which was critical in the ultimate collapse of the Soviet empire and ended the cold war. Despite the fact Reagan was excellent at speeches his belief in peace through strength became a realization and in the long run an important achievement. Basically since the military was diminished during the Carter years Reagan had to think of a way to rebuild and strengthen our military. He accomplished this by reviving the B-1 bomber that carter canceled, starting production of the MX missile, and pushing NATO to push Pershing missiles in West Germany.
While Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy all had the same same Cold War intention of ending communism, their ways of achieving their goal were different.The Cold War was an angry dispute between the United States and the Soviet Union about whether we should spread or contain communism (Ayres 817). According to Edward Ayres in American Anthem: Reconstruction to the Present all three Presidents used some form of Economic Aid, how we help other countries financially; Military Aid, how we help other countries’ militaries; and finally, Military Use, how we utilise our military (Ayres 817). Their end goal was to completely contain, or confine communism(Truman).
Another distinct event where their difference in ideology was clearly shown was during the Yalta Conference where the party declined strictly to have their say accepted about the liberal of the Eastern Europe. Stalin strictly insisted for Eastern Europe to be under USSR as they had given them aid as defeating Germany inwards her land but USA insist for them to have a free election and thus this results in the two superpowers to have a tension between them. Stalin’s continuation taking up action such as the Salami
After the death of Stalin in March 1953, Nikita Khrushchev emerged as leader of the USSR. There was also change in the US Presidency as Harry Truman was replaced by Dwight Eisenhower. Both the USA and the USSR felt secure enough to pursue different approaches to foreign policy, and these changes led to the establishment of a framework for improved relations. Peaceful Coexistence was adopted by Khrushchev during the 20th Party Congress, with aims to reduce hostility between the two superpowers. Despite hostility created by Hungary in 1956 and Berlin 1958-1962, superpower relations after 1953 did generally stabilise, as pressures from the arms race and economic concerns pushed them towards accommodation.
Gorbachev, who was the new General Secretary in 1985, was to a large extent contributed to the break-up of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. Unlike Stalin and his processors, Andropov and Chernenko , he tried to reform Soviet Union by highly promoting democracy among the Soviet satellites through the democratic programs. Among the two democratic programs which he had carried out, Glasnost was the program which led to the break-up of the USSR while the consideration of economic reform led to the break-up of the Warsaw Pact. Glasnost, which means openness, granted the people more freedom. Such as freedom of speech, voting rights, cutting off the power of the communist party, as well as releasing dissidents like Sakharov.