the foreign policies of ronald reagan
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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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  • 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
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