The foreign policies of ronald reagan
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The Foreign Policies of Ronald Reagan. Background. Career started as a Movie Actor Originally supported the Democratic Party, but switched to Republicans because of Democratic tax policies Former Governor of California Powerful, charming personality; earned nickname Great Communicator.

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The Foreign Policies of Ronald Reagan

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The foreign policies of ronald reagan

The Foreign Policies of Ronald Reagan



  • Career started as a MovieActor

  • Originally supported the Democratic Party, but switched to Republicans because of Democratic tax policies

  • Former Governor of California

  • Powerful, charming personality; earned nickname GreatCommunicator

Background cont

Background (cont.)

  • Wife, Nancy, played a leading role in his administration

    • “JustSayNo!” antidrug campaign

  • Survived an assassination attempt by JohnHinckleyJr. (1981)

The reagan revolution

The Reagan Revolution

  • Became part of a growing conservative movement called the New Right

  • Supported…

    • School Prayer

    • Lower Taxes

    • Small Gov’t.

    • Strong Military

    • Bible-based Human Creation



  • Two Goals:

    • Reduce taxes to stimulate economic growth

    • Cut the federal budget

  • Reagan’s economic theory was based on Supply-SideEconomics

Supply side economics

Supply-Side Economics

  • Tax cuts allow businesses to expand and invest their tax savings

  • Businesses could then hire more workers or build new stores

  • Critics:

    • Rich would become richer, poor would become poorer

    • No wealth would “trickle down” to the working class



  • Before becoming Reagan’s VP, Bush Sr., referred to it as…

    • “Voodoo Economics”

  • Tax cuts combined with increased military spending drove the deficit higher, increasing national debt

Reagan the cold war

Reagan & the Cold War

  • Rejected policies of détente & containment

  • Took a hard-line stance towards communism and the USSR

  • Referred to the USSR as the “evilempire” and wanted to destroy it.

Reagan the cold war1

Reagan & the Cold War

  • “Peace with Strength”

    • Huge increases in military/defense spending

      • 1981-1985 defense budget grew from $150 billion to $250 billion

      • Increased nuclear stockpiles

      • StrategicDefenseInitiative (SDI): shield in space that would protect the US against incoming Soviet missiles

Star wars

“Star Wars”

Reagan the cold war2

Reagan & the Cold War

  • US-Soviet relations warm

    • In 1985 new Soviet leader MikhailGorbachev began talks to reduce nuclear stockpiles with the US

    • In an act of defiance, Reagan gave a speech at a famous BerlinWall landmark called the Brandenburg Gate

      • “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

      • The Berlin Wall officially came down in 1989

      • USSR fell two years later in 1991

Iran contra affair

Iran-Contra Affair

  • Background

    • US supported Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza

    • Sandinistas (Marxist group) with help from Cuba (communist) overthrew Samoza

    • Reagan cuts off aid to Nicaragua and alleges that the Sandinistas were supported by USSR

    • Reagan then secretly approves $20 million for the CIA to train an opposition called the Contras

    • Congress discovered the secret activities of the CIA (without their approval) and immediately cut off all aid to the Contras



The iran connection

The Iran Connection

  • Despite Congress’ ban on aid to the Contras, Reagan remained determined to help them

  • Reagan approves of weapons sales to Iran – a direct violation of a US arms embargo

  • Members of Reagan’s National Security Council secretly diverted funds from the illegal Iranian arms sales to the Contras in Nicaragua

  • Vice Admiral John Poindexter & Lt. Colonel Oliver North carried out the plan

The aftermath

The Aftermath

  • The scheme was revealed to Congress in 1986 followed by an investigation

    • Reagan admitted authorizing Iranian arms sales, but denied knowledge of the diversion of funds to the Contras

    • Other members of the administration engaged in a cover-up

      • North admitted destroying key documents (let off on a technicality)

      • Others lied and withheld evidence

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