The Reagan doctrine: an analysis of the President's role in the formulation and execution of American foreign policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, 1981-1989

Ryan, Ciaran John (2010) The Reagan doctrine: an analysis of the President's role in the formulation and execution of American foreign policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, 1981-1989. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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This thesis examines American foreign policy towards the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and seeks to determine President Ronald Reagan’s relationship to the guiding principles of this policy, both in their formulation and execution. It is proposed that America’s strategy towards the USSR during this period could be encompassed by five key ideas, which this study names ‘The Reagan Doctrine’. These are: 1) Peace through Strength—the need to restore military parity with the Soviets, both in terms of conventional and nuclear power; 2) That the Cold War was a moral struggle, and needed to be articulated as such by the President; 3) That reliance on the theory of Mutual Assured Destruction was not a sound basis for national security, and hence the need to build a missile defense system; 4) That the Superpowers should negotiate not just to limit, but rather reduce extant nuclear stockpiles, with the ultimate goal of total nuclear abolition; and 5) that the Superpowers should diminish reciprocal distrust, and ultimately achieve not a détente, but a lasting peace.

This study, more so than any other to date, has incorporated recently released archival material from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to help determine Reagan’s beliefs relating to and management of American Soviet policy. Furthermore, interviews were conducted with some of the key surviving figures of the Reagan Administration, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz. Finally, a complete review of published work on this topic, both academic and popular, including books and journal articles, was undertaken by this researcher. The result is an original study on the Reagan Doctrine that cuts across the multi-disciplinary fields of international relations, and presidential and diplomatic history, and provides a revised perspective on both the Reagan presidency, and the end of the Cold War conflict.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Supervisors: McMillen, Don
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2011 05:14
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2016 01:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: America; American; foreign policy; Ronald Reagan; Soviet Union
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160607 International Relations

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