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Reagan Doctrine

In: Historical Events

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Presidents and Their “Documents”
Reagan Doctrine 1981 – 1989

By: Naomi Reid
Professor Muhammad Sohna
Pol 300
Sunday, July 29, 2012

“The "Reagan Doctrine" was used to characterize the Reagan administration's (1981-1988) policy of supporting anti-Communist insurgents wherever they might be. In his 1985 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan called upon Congress and the American people to stand up to the Soviet Union, what he had previously called the "Evil Empire": "We must stand by all our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives--on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua--to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth." (Reagan Doctrine)
To the naked eye the Reagan Doctrine appears to corresponds with the United States’ 40-year mission for containment of the Soviet Union. The doctrine however is very different. As carried out by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon and Carter, containment is a defensive theory referring to efforts to limit the further spread of Soviet power.
During the initial years of the Cold War, the United States’ official policy towards communism was containment. With the creation of the Reagan Doctrine the focus shifted from keeping communism from spreading to eliminating existing communist governments. In addition to the rollback of these communist governments, the United States also wanted to encourage capitalism and democracy in those places.
The Reagan Doctrine goes over to the offensive. It upholds liberation, the goal of trying to recover communist-controlled turf for freedom. In theory, its reach is universal. In practice, the places to which the Reagan Doctrine has been applied are a particular set of Third World countries where the Marxist grip is relatively recent and therefore presumably light. This puts Ronald…...

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