American media played an important role in influencing public opinion on SDI. Soon after being announced, the futuristic, space-based, laser-shooting defense system, earned the nickname “Star Wars” after the popular film trilogy released between 1977 and 1983. SDI technology, ahead of it’s time seemed to be unobtainable and an ambitious feat of engineering by many. Reagan called upon scientists worldwide to contribute research to the initiative. Mixed feelings met the request as 6,500 scientists pledged to withhold research from “Star Wars” and many more scientists eagerly helping to accomplish such an advanced task.
The 1985 Geneva Summit, held in Geneva, Switzerland, turned a new page in America relations with the Soviet Union, the summit represented the first meeting between the leaders of the two superpowers since the 1970’s. Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party and leader of the USSR, agreed that “a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought”, diminishing fears that either country would seek conflict between the nuclear powers. Gorbachev used the statement as a platform to commence Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START). The reduction would include the termination of SDI, which Reagan refused to end. Geneva summit commentators alleged that the USSR would bankrupt itself attempting to produce an SDI alternative. Gorbachev requested the discontinuation of the American SDI program to reduce competition, to avoid the inevitable Soviet debt e...
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...d struggling agriculture created an imbalanced system where the people suffered. The combination of economic woes and rising nationalism contributed to the cessation of the Soviet Union in 1991.
President Ronald Reagan created SDI to force the Soviet Union to spend copious amounts of money to match America’s efforts and eventually bankrupt itself. The collapse of the Soviet Union cannot be attributed solely to SDI, however, SDI played a role in the financial undoing that destabilized the USSR. Misinformation of Soviet leaders on the state of the military budget led to overspending, this proved detrimental as research devoted to finding SDI alternatives proved costly. This is apparent in the spikes in defense spending from 1985 to 1988 where the Soviet budget deficit rocketed from a CIA estimated 25 billion rubles to 80 billion rubles over the course of three years.
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