The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy Essay

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The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy

President Ronald Reagan’s Doctrine was supposed to sponsor anti-communist guerillas who were trying to overthrow pro-Soviet regimes (Roskin 58). President Reagan supported anti-communist groups, and Reagan argued that the American economy was on the move again, while the Soviet Union had become stagnant. President Reagan had morally opposed nuclear weapons since 1945, and he quietly worked to make the world safer from the threat of nuclear war. Under Reagan’s administration, the Reagan Doctrine was implemented by the United States to oppose global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War. The Reagan Doctrine was designed to diminish Soviet Union’s influence in Asia, Latin America, and Africa as part of the Cold War’s strategy.

The Reagan Doctrine called both for challenging communism and extending freedom, and administration policy makers had trouble reconciling those goals. Most of the “freedom fighters” that the administration supported were allies of convenience, more appealing for what they opposed than for the values they espoused (Pach 2006). During President Reagan’s time in office, there was a situation that required U.S. diplomatic efforts, the diplomatic doctrine was followed by President Reagan, there were effects of the diplomatic efforts for the U.S and other countries, and there are advantages and disadvantages to The Reagan’s Doctrine. Summarize a situation that required the United States diplomatic efforts during the president’s time in office.

One of the most diplomatic issues during President Reagan’s time in office involved negotiations regarding his missile proposal. President Reagan hoped that defensive missiles designed to shoot down offensive missiles would allow for a huge reduction in the number of offensive missiles possessed both by the U. S. and by the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan first proposed his Strategic Defense Initiative or “Star Wars” initiative, and the Soviets and critics in Europe and America lambasted it. The “Star Wars” initiative at its best threatened to destabilize the nuclear equilibrium, and at worst it, the “Star Wars” initiative provided the U.S. with a first-strike capability.

However, in conjunction with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, President Reagan succeeded in eliminating an entire class of nuclear weapons (Freeman 2005). Although the USSR could not match the buildup of weapons, President Reagan’s massive buildup of weapons, along with Gorbachev, helped usher in a new era of openness which eventually caused a breakup of the USSR into individual states. Explicate the diplomatic doctrine the president followed with reference to specific actions or events that occurred.

The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War, and the Reagan Doctrine was the centerpiece of United States foreign policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Under the Reagan Doctrine, the U.S. provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in an effort to roll back Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The doctrine was designed to serve the dual purposes of diminishing Soviet influence in these regions, while also potentially opening the door for capitalism in nations that were largely being governed by Soviet-supported socialist governments.

Within the Reagan administration, the doctrine was quickly embraced by nearly all of President Reagan’s top national security and foreign policy officials. Seeking to expand Congressional support for the doctrine in the 1985 State of the Union Address in February 1985, Reagan said: “We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives…on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua… to defy Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense” (Carpenter 1986). As part of his effort to gain Congressional support for the Nicaraguan contras, President Reagan labeled the contras “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers,” which was controversial because the contras had shown a disregard for human rights.

There also were allegations that some members of the contra leadership were involved in cocaine trafficking. President Reagan and other conservative advocates of the Reagan Doctrine advocates also argued that the doctrine served U.S. foreign policy and strategic objectives and was a moral imperative against the former Soviet Union, which Reagan, his advisers, and supporters labeled an “evil empire” (Weinberger 2004).

Describe the effects of the diplomatic efforts for the United States and other countries. The Reagan Doctrine had an impact in Chile and Nicaragua. One of the first places that President Reagan turned his attention to was Chile, a country that imposed military and economic restrictions upon. By 1984, Reagan’s administration formulated a new policy toward Chile and made the restoration of democracy Chile’s main objective, as a way to prevent Chile from having to come under Soviet influence. The Reagan administration viewed the installation of democracy in Chile as necessary to ensure that Chile was not affiliated with communism. In addition, President Reagan took the communist threat in Nicaragua seriously as well. President Reagan became involved with Nicaragua out of fear that the Soviet Union was attempting to take over the country and spread communism throughout its country.

By the early 1900’s, Nicaragua was on a steady path with advancing its relationship with the Western world, Nicaragua distanced itself from the Soviet bloc and Cuba, Nicaragua improved its relationship with the United States, and Nicaragua stabilized its economy. President Ronald Reagan’s dramatic economic policies are influencing the United States and world growth. President Reagan steered the country toward free markets and away from government controls. President Reagan’s negotiations with Canada were the predecessors of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and he expanded the scope of international agreements and helped expedite trade talks. President Reagan transformed the Republican Party’s economic policy from its traditional fiscal conservatism and fear of deficits, to one in which the key thing was cutting tax rates, getting taxes lower and not worrying too much about deficits. His biggest impact was strengthening corporate power at the expense of decent working people, promoting the rise of fundamentalist religious intolerance and the breakdown of church-state separation. Access, in conclusion, the advantages and disadvantages of the particular doctrine that was followed.

The Reagan Doctrine has its advantages as well as disadvantages. One advantage to the Reagan Doctrine is President Reagan is known for his diplomatic dealings with Soviet Union. He was known for his hardline rhetoric and his firm dealings with then Soviet leader Gorbachev. He also used the economy of the U.S. to cripple the Soviet economy by increasing military spending. This sudden rise in arms was tough for the Soviet’s to follow, and strained their economy; therefore, aiding in the fall of the U.S.S.R. The major advantage of President Reagan’s foreign policy was the end of the Cold War and freedom for millions of people previously trapped behind the “Iron Curtain.”

A disadvantage to the Regan Doctrine is that policies such as our support of the fighters in Afghanistan created possibilities for “blowback” because the people armed by the United States did not necessarily share the interests of the United States beyond resisting Soviet influence. In addition, another disadvantage to the Reagan Doctrine is that it antagonized some other countries because it seemed like the diplomacy that seemed like “cowboy diplomacy.” Lastly, the machinations instigated by the Reagan doctrine in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, and Nicaragua all either backfired and gave us more death and destruction, or were contrary to democracy and peace. Summarize events between the U.S. and at least one of the countries that you wrote about in the first paper since the end of the Cold War.

Well before the Cold War, the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union had been hostile. Although in the early 1920s, shortly after the Communist revolution in Russia, the United States had provided famine relief to the Soviets, and American businesses had established commercial ties in the Soviet Union. By the 1930s, their relationship had soured. By the time the United States established an official relationship with the new Communist nation in 1933, the oppressive, totalitarian nature of Joseph Stalin’s regime presented an obstacle to friendly relations with the West. Americans saw themselves as champions of the free world, and tyrants such as Stalin represented everything the United States opposed. At the same time, the Soviets, who believed that capitalism exploited the masses, saw the United States as the oppressor.

Despite deep-seated mistrust and hostility between the Soviet Union and Western democracies such as the United States, an alliance was forged among them in the 1940s to fight a common enemy, Nazi Germany, which had invaded Russia in June 1941. Although the allies eventually defeated Germany, the Soviet Union had not been completely satisfied with how its Western Allies had conducted themselves. Tension between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies continued after the war.

The United States and the Soviet Union both became involved in the third world to expand their spheres of influence, but for different reasons. The Soviets, unable to control Europe, sought to spread their ideology and expand their sphere of influence elsewhere. The United States involvement in the third world was more complex because the Soviet exploitation of decolonization created a painful dilemma for the United States. Regarding itself as freed colony, the United States was empathetic toward third world nations seeking self-determination and independence from colonial powers, and it also viewed many of the regimes as anti- American.

Indeed, the leaders of these third world coups and revolutions were often rebelling against increasing U.S. dominance in world affairs. Moreover, revolutionary leaders, inspired by Communist philosophy and weary of years of oppression at the hands of capitalist, democratic powers, were often attracted to the Soviet economic model. In consequence, the United States found itself in the uncomfortable position of opposing nationalist revolutions in order to contain the spread of communism.

Identify and describe the current relationship between the United States and one of the countries that you wrote about in the first paper. Post- Cold War became a more moderated approach to the Soviet-United States relations during and following the Reagan years. Ronald Regan with his aggressive tone towards his Soviet counter-part Mikhail Gorbachev set the stage for a global democratic movement even in states who viewed the Unite States foreign policies as unfair and cruel. Ronald Reagan crushed communism with the help of Russia invasion of Afghanistan and Russia’s strained economy. Russia was unable to recover to its former military, political, and economic might that dominated Europe and the Post Second War era since Stalin was its leader. Another event that signaled the end of the Cold War was the fall of the Berlin Wall and United States involvement in the Middle East.

The Soviet and United States relations over the years have improved a little especially after the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and prior to 9/11. Russia’s government and citizens needed a change from the old authoritarian rule to a more free democratic government, which would allow it to become more competitive in the global market. The Cold War may have paved the way for a new system called “Globalization.” Another example of Russia and United States relations occurred during the turn of the twenty-first century was, when the Moscow Treaty was implemented, which allowed new bilateral commitments and agreements from areas ranging from politics and economics, to international security.

The key elements that altered the Soviet and the United States relations may have started a year or more before Reagan became President, when Russia decided to invade Afghanistan due to the blunder and the opposition from other nations, including the United States. Russia’s prestige and power began to tarnish and with a weakened military and a defective economy, and Russia’s food crisis worsened while trying to uphold its might under communist rule. One of Reagan’s strategic moves was the installment of the Star Wars Programs, which would allow America to accelerate in the nuclear arms race and this proved to be too costly for the disintegration Soviet economy. After leaving the Presidency in 1989, Reagan would leave a legacy of greatness and became a historic figure until his death. Select a country that you did not write about in the first paper, and describe the current United States diplomatic approach to the country.

The coup de grace for détente was the decision to intervene in Afghanistan, December 1979. Russia invaded the capital of Afghanistan, which was engulfed in a civil war. The Russian troops were outsmarted, outmanned, and over powered by the Mujahidin forces, and the Soviet Premier Brezhnev invasion was considered a historical blunder. In fact, the Mujahidin was aided financially by neighboring Islamic nations and they gained the support from the United States and their CIA operatives. By 1982, the Mujahidin controlled 75% of Afghanistan despite fighting the World’s second most powerful military. The Mujahidin was motivated by their morally beliefs and with the Unites States assistance that annihilated Russian troops.

By 1989, Russia was demoralized economically and physically, leaving nearly 14,000 Soviet troops dead causing the military to weaken and a major collapse in its prestige. Now twenty years later the United States has taken the position that Russia took nearly thirty years ago and it may potentially lose its position as a super power due to the failed promises to the Afghanistan government to help rebuild its nation while Russia would find itself in a vulnerable situation to the United States. They began reeling from an unstable economy and the lack of support from other nations especially its allies who were in opposition to the Afghanistan invasion. Contrast and compare the two relationships.

The first test of the post- Cold War era and the new relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States, involved the U.S. anxiety to attack Sadaam Hussein and the Iraqi regime if he decided to invade Kuwait and whether or not the Soviet Union would support a U.S. attack in Iraq. President Bush 41 had decided to send 200,000 troops to Saudi Arabia; meanwhile, Moscow sent a letter to the White House stating its opposition to any United Nation resolutions and it asked for clarity on whether or not Iraq refused to comply with Resolution 600. Another crisis that made it hard for the Soviet Union and the United States relations to improve was the situation in the Baltic and this crisis led to the bashing by U.S. official against Gorbachev, which Robert Gates quoted “good czar gone bad” and “Now that Gorbachev has screwed it up, it’ll be all the harder for some subsequent leader, more determined and skillful than Gorbachev, to get his countrymen ever to support reform again” (Beschloss & Talbott, 1993). So, when Boris Yeltsin became President of the new Soviet Union his views were more appealing to the United States and for the first time in their historic relationship it may have been the smoothest transition.

Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, left the United States stunned and the world shocked even to this very moment. The single most tragic event in U.S. since the assassination of President Kennedy, showed President Vladimir Putin and Russia willingness to assist President Bush and the America people at any cost. He followed these rhetorical pledges with concrete policies, including military and humanitarian support to the North Alliance in Afghanistan and Russian acquiescence to American troops in Central Asia. This situation was similar to the United States decision to invade Iraq in 1991 at the end of the Cold War era and Russia withholding their support to aid the U.S.

Therefore, NATO remained suspicious as to whether Russia would fully be a democratic state, and on the other side of the coin, Russia wondered if the U.S. has established a real interest in their domestic affairs. The U.S. must assist a battered Soviet economy in order to establish a real partnership by installing democracy in a transformation of the new Soviet system. Success will only follow if this process speeds up in the favor of Russia. Using the two countries as examples, summarize how the United States has changed the way it relates to other countries in the past 20 years.

The Moscow Treaty came about when President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin agreed to reduce nuclear warheads levels of “1700-2200 by 2012”. Bilateral talks on the reductions of strategic missiles included a more cooperative relationship in politics, economic and military areas. This Treaty encourages both nations to limit its nuclear warheads by December 2012 and the ratification of the Treaty was presented before the United States Senate and the Russian two Chambers of the Federal Assembly.

By 2002, Congress removed fifty of its ten warhead Peace Keeper ICBMs. However, President Putin stalled on the SORT agreements in 2003 citing his disapproval of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq; thus once again proving that when a crisis escalates involving either party, it effects the potential growth in their relationship. The Moscow Treaty was another opportunity for Russia and America to exercise its Cold War demons and create a new political paradigm that will guide other nations.

In conclusion, during President Reagan’s time in office, there was a situation that required U.S. diplomatic efforts regarding his missile proposal, also known as the “Star Wars” initiative. The diplomatic doctrine was followed by President Reagan when dealing with the Soviet Union. There were effects of the diplomatic efforts for the U.S and other countries such as those effects in Chile and Nicaragua. In addition, there are advantages and disadvantages to the Reagan’s Doctrine. After all, the Reagan Doctrine was the centerpiece of United States foreign policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991. In addition, in order for one to dominate the globe the other must completely become non-existing.

Although Russia and the United States has made strides on improving their relations, it appears that each time both nations takes a step closer to trusting the realization of east/west relationships, a crisis occurs which stalls its progress and takes Russia and America a step back into the Cold War. Russia desperately needed financial support and stronger alliances after being annihilated by Mujahidin forces for nearly ten years and losing its military might and international prestige. Russia leans on the U.S. for their support and in return the U.S. wants to bury communism by establishing democratic government in communist states.


Beschloss, M. R., & Talbott, S. (1993). The inside story of the end of the Cold War: At the highest levels. Canada: Little, Brown and Company. Carpenter, Ted Galen. ( 1986, June 24).U.S. Aid to Anti-Communist Rebels: The Reagan Doctrine and Its Pitfalls. Retrieved from Freeman, Jay (2005, January 01). Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Booklist, (9/10), 790, Retrieved from Pach, Chester (2006, March 01). The Reagan Doctrine: Principle, Pragmatism, and Policy. Presidential Studies Quarterly, (1), 75, Retrieved from Roskin, M.G. & Berry, N.O. (2012). IR: The New World of International Relations. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Weinberger, Caspar (2004, July 05). Ronald Reagan;. Forbes Magazine, (1), 041, Retrieved from

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