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Reagan: Foreign Policy - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Reagan: Foreign Policy. I. Rejecting Carter. Carter: Vowed to reduce Cold War (cut military, slow arms race)& pay attention to 3 rd World concern (no Vietnams) while curbing revolutionary nationalism: “Preventive Diplomacy” Administration divided on foreign policy

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I rejecting carter
I. Rejecting Carter

  • Carter: Vowed to reduce Cold War (cut military, slow arms race)& pay attention to 3rd World concern (no Vietnams) while curbing revolutionary nationalism: “Preventive Diplomacy”

  • Administration divided on foreign policy

    • Sec’y State Cyrus Vance push use of diplomacy, but Brzezinski (NSA) + hawks (Committee on the Present Danger, etc.) win over time w/ rigid Cold War perspective

  • SALT II (1979) attempt reduce tension

  • Détente deteriorates + Cold War deepens: human rights push + Jackson-Vanik Amendment (1974) + military buildup (to build domestic support for SALT II) + invasion Afghanistan (1979)

  •  Carter Doctrine: unilateral intervention defend Middle East

  • Camp David Accords (1978): Israeli-Egyptian peace

  • Panama Canal Treaties (1978)

  • Limited diplomatic relations Cuba (but 1980 Mariel incident)

  • Evaluation:

  • 1) More troops abroad

  • 2) Inconsistent on human rights (pressure on some—USSR, Argentina, Chile—but not allies—South Korea, Iran, Philippines)

  • 3) Successes in Middle East, Africa, Latin America

  • 4) Did not restore economic + political hegemony sets stage for hawkish Reagan

Ii winning the cold war
II. Winning the Cold War

  • Best case: new rhetoric of “evil empire” (belief Soviets could be defeated rather than just contained, reject détente + Realpolitik + 40 years of entrenched bureaucracy) and building up military collapse Soviet Union

  • Worst case: dealt with the devil (Iran, Nicaragua, Bin Laden, Saddam, South Africa) and escalated tensions (Grenada) pointlessly + did harm (massive deficits)

  • Most likely: refusal to negotiate + build up accelerated collapse of Soviets but in such a way that caused post-Cold War instability

  • Or, both lost, US lost less

    • “imperial overreach”; sphere ally unrest; rise of 3rd world; anti-nuclearism

Why not reagan
Why not Reagan?

  • Worse than Watergate?

  • The scandal involved serious legal, constitutional, and moral “improprieties” much greater than the Watergate break in

  • When scandal first broke out, a majority of Americans called for Reagan’s impeachment

  • Why did Reagan survive when Nixon had fallen?

I the contra end
I. The Contra End

A. Support for Somoza

Brutal dynasty of dictators who came to power in Nicaragua in 1934


Anastasio Somoza

B the sandinistas
B. The Sandinistas

  • 1961: Sandinista National Liberation Front formed (FSLN)

    • Communist/nationalist

  • Led by Daniel Ortega


C american reaction

Carter: fait accompli

Rejected request for $75 million in aid (disliked revolutionaries)

Moderate regime but no action

Reagan: 2nd Cuba

Kill the bastards

C. American Reaction

D bay of pigs redux
D. Bay of Pigs Redux

  • Reagan orders CIA Director William Casey to plan overthrow

  • Contras’ small numbers counterrevolutionaries guerilla tactics, assassination, terror

    • Murdered villagers, nuns

    • US secretly mined Nicaragua’s harbors World Court rules US in violation international law

  • Reagan justified support by comparing the Contras to the American Revolutionaries

E ollie north
E. Ollie North Contras:

  • Reagan decides to secretly evade/break the law

  • But how to get the money?

  • Casey delegates to NSC staffer Oliver North

Tactics Contras:

  • Wealthy individuals: “charitable” gifts to Contras

  • State Department approaches foreign countries for $ aid

  • Contras sell drugs in US for $ (with CIA assistance?)

Problems Contras:

  • Illegal for administration to promise something for the $ (quid pro quo)

  • Upsets Constitutional system of checks and balances

  • Contras still unable to win major military victory

Solution Contras:

  • North combines Contra operation with “The Enterprise”: Iran

Ii iran end
II. Iran End Contras:

A. Anti-Terrorism?

  • Reagan publicly a hard-line anti-terrorist

    • Privately a soft touch (met with families)

  • 1979: Iranian Revolution American embassy hostages (50+)

    • Released when Reagan was inaugurated and US unfroze Iranian $ in US

    • Not connected (?)

Problems Contras:

  • Illegal: Congress had passed law against arms sales to Iran

  • Went against Reagan’s public policy

  • Major advisors spoke out against it

     Do it anyways McFarlane goes to North

B one simple deal
B. One Simple Deal Contras:

  • Supposed to be one (1) simple deal: sell weapons (30% markup) for hostages

  • Iranians up ante: 2 plane loads rather than 1, 1 hostage rather than all 7

  • Despite failure Contras: continue to try (120 for 5)

  • Continued failure: McFarlane decides to call it off but resigns John Poindexter appointed

  • ON convinces JP to continue: combine the deals

Iii diversion of funds
III. Diversion of Funds Contras:

  • North: profits from arms sales Contras

  • Problem: unelected bureaucrat funding illegal activity with illegal funds (“Shadow government”)

  • North deals 2 more times

  • At end of arms trade there were MORE hostages in Lebanon

    • The exact reason Bush refuses to deal w/Iraqi kidnappers today

  • North, Poindexter, and Secretary of Defense paper to embarrass ReaganCaspar Weinberger and others convicted of perjury and contempt of Congress

    • Eventually overturned in court based on the 5th Amendment

    • George H.W. Bush pardoned the others

    • [Not the only scandal: 138 Administration officials were indicted or convicted; more than any other Presidency in US history]

Iv comparison to watergate
IV. Comparison to Watergate paper to embarrass Reagan

  • Belief that loss of liberty abroad loss of liberty at home

  • Contempt of Congress

    • Minority Report: Dick Cheney (R-WY)—Reagan did nothing wrong: Congress had no right to pass laws restricting foreign policy (violates Art II unitary executive), therefore the laws were unconstitutional (on Pres’ say so)

      • No court has ever upheld this interpretation of the Constitution

  • Reagan’s guys destroyed the evidence

  • Iran-Contra substantially worse

  • Revelations help lead to greater support for Saddam Hussein, 1st Gulf War, and 9-11

The teflon president
The Teflon President paper to embarrass Reagan

  • Reagan saved by the fact that there was no smoking gun

    • Either didn’t exist or was destroyed

  • Subordinates go on: North runs for Congress, works for FOX News, Poindexter and TIA, Bush President

  • Presidential Records