The Cold War and US Diplomacy Essay
As one of the most influential American presidents in the 20th century, Ronald Reagan is regarded as a very enthusiastic cold warrior. In particular, Regan had a major influence in the fight against the evil empire. The war involved toeing line against the Soviet Union eventually leading to its collapse. Ronald Reagan is credited for the imposition of firm stand against the Soviet Union through the Cold War. Soon after coming into power in 1981, Reagan’s highest priority in terms of foreign policy was to ensure that U.S broke out the perceived ‘Vietnam trauma’. The Reagan administration was prepared to go the extra mile into utilizing the U.S military to enhance its diplomacy through coercive means. Reagan’s administration utilized two main forms of diplomatic strategies namely coercive and deterrence diplomacy. One famous diplomatic victory recorded during the reign of Ronald Reagan is the victory of the ‘Evil Empire’.
When Reagan took office, Soviet Union was ruled by Leonid Brezhnev who portrayed immense ruthlessness with Stalinist tendencies. As a way of overcoming Soviet Union’s tendencies, Reagan matched up the hardliner tendencies by massively building up the American armed forces (Schneider, 2004). Both Soviet Union and U.S quickly intensified their arsenals in preparation for possible attack. The death of Brezhnev in 1982 saw a decline of the cold war as weak leaders succeeded him. Particularly, Gorbachev’s new policies were favorable to individual freedoms. He also sought to end the arms race with America. Reagan collaborated with the Soviet leader by becoming very close friends. However, Reagan wisely saw the collapse of the Soviet Union by collaborating with the Soviet leader.
On 8th March, 1983, Reagan delivered a famous speech that left many people inspired, amused and others shocked in equal measure. During the annual National Association of Evangelicals meeting held in Orlando, Florida, the president vehemently discussed the topic of evil and sin in the modern age (Schmertz et al., 1994). Reagan decided to give his personal account about matters of faith and his feelings about the modern world evil. Reagan was deeply convinced that the communism was not based on reality and that it would eventually collapse without much effort. Reagan believed that a society that allowed individual creativity was bound to excel as opposed to communism supported by the Soviet Union.
The Reagan regime was characterized with the famous ‘Reagan Doctrine’ in relation to the diplomatic relations. The doctrine was in support of insurgent groups in favor of seeing the collapse of communism as practiced by the Soviet Union. However, the doctrine was never applied to Cuba. This is despite the fact that the United States injected millions of dollars in aid to Central American countries. The U.S supported many nations faced with Marxist insurgency as well as guerillas associated with anti-communism such as Angola, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Cambodia. However, members of Cuban organizations in exile with an aim of eliminating Fidel Castro were prosecuted and jailed by the Department of Justice of the U.S. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also prohibited television and radio broadcasts to Cuba.
The diplomatic policy pursued by Reagan towards Cuba was very contrary to the expectations of people. In fact, Reagan’s administration was overly friendly towards the Cuban authorities (Jentleson, 1991). This was particularly evident through the Carter administration’s restriction of terrorism activities. In particular, seven commandos from Alpha 66 had earlier been arrested in Florida by FBI on terrorism claims. There was an augmentation of the Carter policy by the Reagan administration leading to exchanges on education matters, sports and culture with those of Cuba. The Reagan administration extended numerous diplomatic kindnesses to Cuba and many other countries with which the U.S government had had a strained relationship.
The Reagan administration encountered advantages due to the diplomatic policies it practiced. Reagan adopted mixed diploma tic strategies which achieved greatly towards the elimination of the cold war (Wagnleitner, 1992). The use of coercive diplomacy was basically aimed at creating a political strategy. Therefore, the application of coercive diplomacy by the Reagan administration aimed at creating reverence from enemies. The use of coercive diplomacy led to the eventual collapse of communism ideologies in Soviet Union. Additionally, many nations with anti-communism ideologies were supported by the United States making them particularly powerful. Such countries also obtained extensive financial support by the United States in undertaking numerous functions at the domestic level.
Although Reagan’s diplomatic strategies are credited for the eventual collapse of the Cold War, there was extensive strain in the world peace. Many nations embarked on acquiring massive weaponry in anticipation of impeding war. Obviously, intensification of collaborative diplomatic measures by Reagan administration led to collapse of the Cold War. The arms race was a major period of intense speculation and fear. However, the end of cold war could not have been achieved without such strategies being applied.
Jentleson, B. (1991). The Reagan Administration and Coercive Diplomacy: Restraining more than Remaking Governments. Political Science Quarterly, 106(1), 57-82.
Schmertz, E., Datlof, N. & Ugrinsky, A. (1994). President Reagan and the World. Westport, London. Greenwood Press.
Schneider, C. (2004). Culture Communicates: U.S. Diplomacy that Works. Netherlands Institute of International Relations.
Wagnleitner, R. (1992). American Cultural Diplomacy, the Cinema, and the Cold War in Central Europe. University of Salzburg, Working Paper 92-4.
The Cold War and US Diplomacy Essay