Foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration - Wikipedia
Ronald Reagan was a strong believer in personal diplomacy – the idea of He wanted to establish a personal relationship and to break what he viewed as the. Ronald Reagan strengthened the military because he was a realist. The U.S. and British were said to have a “special relationship,” perhaps best evidenced by . Jimmy Carter, however, severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, terminated the security treaty, and recognized the People's Republic as the sole legitimate.
Foreign affairs When he entered office inReagan believed that the United States had grown weak militarily and had lost the respect it once commanded in world affairs.
Aiming to restore the country to a position of moral as well as military preeminence in the world, he called for massive increases in the defense budget to expand and modernize the military and urged a more aggressive approach to combating communism and related forms of leftist totalitarianism.
All people aboard were killed, including 61 Americans. Reagan, speaking at the Berlin Wall, June 12, In later years, however, former Soviet officials cited SDI as a factor in the eventual collapse of their country, for it showed that the Soviet Union was politically unprepared for and economically incapable of competing in a new arms race with the United States, especially one led by someone as unrelenting as Reagan.
Although Reagan never abandoned his support for SDI, it was eventually reconceived as a much smaller and more conventional defensive system than the one he originally proposed. Reagan and Gorbachev met for the first time in Novemberin Genevato discuss reductions in nuclear weapons. Although the summit ended in failure owing to differences over SDI, it was followed up in December by a treaty eliminating intermediate-range nuclear forces INF on European soil.
The INF Treaty was the first arms-control pact to require an actual reduction in nuclear arsenals rather than merely restricting their proliferation. Gorbachev, Mikhail; Reagan, Ronald: On the morning of October 23,a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with explosives into the Marine compound at the Beirut airport, killing Marines and wounding others.
Meanwhile, in the Caribbean island nation of GrenadaPrime Minister Maurice Bishop was deposed and executed in a bloody coup by radical elements of his leftist New Jewel Movement. Less than a week later, and only one day after the bombing of the Marine compound in Lebanon, Reagan ordered an invasion, which he justified as necessary to prevent the country from becoming a dangerous Soviet outpost and to protect American students at the medical school there.
Joined by a contingent of troops from neighbouring Caribbean countries, U. Critics immediately charged that the administration had staged the invasion to divert public attention from the bombing in Lebanon.
In March a U. Then, on April 5, two people, including an American serviceman, were killed by a bomb explosion in a discotheque in West Berlin. This policy, which became known as the Reagan Doctrinewas applied with particular zeal in Latin America. Using its influence in international lending agencies such as the World Bankthe United States was able to block most Nicaraguan loan requests fromand in the administration declared a trade embargo.
Ronald Reagan discussing relations with Latin America at a press conference. Only two years later, however, he would become embroiled in the worst scandal of his political career, one that would cost him much popular and party support and significantly impair his ability to lead the country.
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American presidential election, Results of the American presidential election, Source: News of the arms-for-hostages deal, first made public in November only one month after Reagan ordered raids on Libya in retaliation for its alleged involvement in the Berlin bombingproved intensely embarrassing to the president.
The diversion was undertaken by an obscure NSC aide, U.
- Reagan’s Foreign Policy
- Ronald Reagan’s Childhood and Education
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North, as it was later revealed, had also engaged in private fund-raising for the Contras. These activities constituted a violation of a law passed by Congress in the second Boland Amendment that forbade direct or indirect American military aid to the Contra insurgency. In response to the crisis, by this time known as the Iran-Contra Affair, Reagan fired both North and Poindexter and appointed a special commission, headed by former senator John Tower of Texas the Tower Commissionto investigate the matter.
An independent counselJudge Lawrence Walsh, was also appointed, and the House and Senate began joint hearings to examine both the arms sales and the military assistance to the Contras. Reagan accepted responsibility for the arms-for-hostages deal but denied any knowledge of the diversion. MiGs and Mi Hind helicopter gun ships were terrorising villagers in Angola.
I documented numerous atrocities, including the strafing of villages, schools and churches.
Foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration
After a long silence as we wondered if our ears had actually heard what we thought we heard, one of us said: Soviet aircraft were shot down. The bombing and strafing of villagers, schools and churches came to an end.
Without any doubt, Ronald Reagan's policies saved many tens of thousands of lives in Angola. An official observer wrote that there was little UN supervision, thatUNITA voters were disenfranchised and that there were clandestine polling stations.
Savimbi was still ready to continue the elections. Heritage foreign policy analyst Michael Johns and other conservatives visited regularly with Savimbi in his clandestine camps in Jamba and provided the rebel leader with ongoing political and military guidance in his war against the Angolan government. During a visit to Washington, D.
Bushwho promised Savimbi "all appropriate and effective assistance. Savimbi was succeeded by Paulo Lukamba. Parliamentary elections in September resulted in an overwhelming majority for the MPLA, but their legitimacy was questioned by international observers. South Africa under apartheid During Ronald Reagan's presidency South Africa continued to use a non-democratic system of government based on racial discrimination, known as apartheidin which the minority of white South Africans exerted nearly complete legal control over the lives of the non-white majority of the citizens.
In the early s the issue had moved to the center of international attention as a result of events in the townships and outcry at the death of Stephen Biko. Reagan administration policy called for " constructive engagement " with the apartheid government of South Africa.
In opposition to the condemnations issued by the US Congress and public demands for diplomatic or economic sanctions, Reagan made relatively minor criticisms of the regime, which was otherwise internationally isolated, and the US granted recognition to the government. South Africa's military was then engaged in an occupation of Namibia and proxy wars in several neighboring countries, in alliance with Savimbi's UNITA. Reagan administration officials saw the apartheid government as a key anti-communist ally.
Byunder Reagan's successor George H. Bush, the new South African government of F. Reagan sought to apply the Reagan Doctrine of aiding anti-Soviet resistance movements abroad to Cambodiawhich was under Vietnamese occupation after having ousted Pol Pot 's communist Khmer Rouge regime which had perpetrated the Cambodian genocide.
Rummelthe Vietnamese invasion, occupation, puppet regime, ongoing guerrilla warfare, and ensuing famine killed 1. Meanwhile, inthe Reagan administration established a separate, overt aid program for the NCR known as the Solarz Fund. Under Reagan, the U. The letter noted "persistent reports from Amnesty International and other organizations of human rights violations" and asked the president "to add the plight of the people of East Timor to [his] agenda.
The policy of arms trade to Indonesia resumed under Bush and Clinton, and completely ended after the UN-sponsored East Timorese independence referendum. These relations lapsed with the loss of all papal territories in From tothe United States did not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
Several presidents, however, designated personal envoys to visit the Holy See periodically for discussions of international humanitarian and political issues. Taylor was the first of these representatives, serving from to The United States and the Holy See announced the establishment of diplomatic relations on January 10, On March 7,the Senate confirmed William A.
Wilson as the first U. Ambassador Wilson had been President Reagan's personal envoy to the Pope since Potential explanations for this vary; some believe that the CIA was caught off guard, while others suggest that American policy-makers viewed an internal crackdown as preferable to an "inevitable Soviet intervention.
His support for the contras in Nicaragua was controversial, due to the poor human rights record of the rebels. In any case, Reagan administration decisively tilted its support to the British government of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher during this conflict.
Nicaragua[ edit ] The Reagan Administration lent logistical, financial and military support to the Contrasbased in neighboring Honduraswho waged a guerrilla insurgency in an effort to topple the Sandinista government of Nicaragua which was headed by Daniel Ortega.
This support was funneled through the CIA to the rebels, and continued right through Reagan's period in office.
Reagan’s Foreign Policy - Short History - Department History - Office of the Historian
The scorched earth tactics of the Contras were condemned for their brutality by several historians. This incident led to the ratification of the Boland Amendment by the US Congress, and brought an avalanche of international condemnation down on the United States.
The State of Emergency most notably affected rights and guarantees contained in the "Statute on Rights and Guarantees of Nicaraguans". Nevertheless, the Reagan administration continued to arm and fund the contras through the Iran-Contra scandal, pursuant to which the U. Those countries have repeatedly and publicly made clear that they consider themselves to be the victims of aggression from Nicaragua, and that they desire United States assistance in meeting both subversive attacks and the conventional threat posed by the relatively immense Nicaraguan Armed Forces.
The elections had been declared "free, fair, and hotly contested" by election observers such as New York's Human Rights Commission. Political prisoners were still held as it took place, and several opposition parties refused to participate.
Martin Kriele opined that the election was carried out under the Sandinista Directorate, a body "no more subject to approval by vote than the Central Committee of the Communist Party is in countries of the East Bloc," and argued that there should have been a secret ballot to avoid government reprisals.
Several senior administration officials told the New York Times that "the administration never contemplated letting Cruz stay in the race because then the Sandinistas could justifiably claim that the elections were legitimate".
On October 5, the Sandinistas broadened the state of emergency begun in and suspended many more civil rights. A new regulation also forced any organization outside of the government to first submit any statement it wanted to make public to the censorship bureau for prior censorship. They lost power inwhen they ended the SOE and held an election that all the main opposition parties competed in.
The corollary to the idealism embraced by the Republicans in the realm of diplomatic public policy debate was thus political terror. In the dirtiest of Latin America's dirty wars, their faith in America's mission justified atrocities in the name of liberty. In Septembershe charged the agency attacked Puerto Sandino with rockets. The following month, frogmen blew up the underwater oil pipeline in the same port — the only one in the country.
In October there was an attack on Pierto Corinto, Nicaragua's largest port, with mortars, rockets, and grenades blowing up five large oil and gasoline storage tanks. More than a hundred people were wounded, and the fierce fire, which could not be brought under control for two days, forced the evacuation of 23, people. It has since documented 14, cases of torture, rape, kidnapping, mutilation and murder.