When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, he held a firm belief that détente should be abandoned and the problems of Communism be faced head on by his foreign policy. By the end of his second term as president, Reagan and his term in office would be remembered for furthering détente and influencing the peaceful collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991. Reagan's diplomatic strategy ultimately led to this end, but it was not inevitable. Tensions as they were throughout the Eighties could, at any time, prove too completely disrupt the groundwork for the fall of the Soviet Union.
Reagan was not known for his academic ability or historical knowledge. Kissinger himself has been quoted doubting Reagan's ability. Nevertheless, this man, of admitted limited intellectual abilities when it came to the nuance of history would come to form a foreign policy of extraordinary consistency and relevance. Reagan possessed a few core ideas, which enabled him to move through the diplomatic arena skillfully. In the American system, the foreign policy emerges from presidential pronouncements. In his speeches, Reagan put forward a doctrine of great coherence and considerable intellectual power (Kissinger 765).
Although Reagan lacked a historical knowledge, he was a very intelligent president. A prime example of his intellect came in 1973, while serving as governor of California, he had suggested to Kissinger in the National Security briefing sessions that the United States should give Israeli troops the number of planes the Arabs said they shot down. This tactic would both fulfill a promise made by the United States and exact punishment on the Arabs using their own propaganda ...
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... most importantly Soviet armies withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. All of these helped to break the Soviet Union. Reagan had successfully pushed back the Red Tide (Kissinger 773-774). The Reagan administration achieved these successes by putting into practice what became known as the Reagan Doctrine: that the United States would help anticommunist counterinsurgencies wrest their respective countries out of the Soviet sphere of influence.
Reagan's strategic policies helped bring an end to the Cold War. The two most decisive of these decisions were NATO's deployment of American intermediate-range missiles in Europe and American commitment to the Strategic Defense Initiative (Kissinger 774). By sticking to his main points Reagan was able to put and end to the Cold War and crumble the Soviet Union.
Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. 1998
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