The Reagan Doctrine

The Ronald Reagan doctrine was a foreign policy of the United States from about 1980 to 1991 enacted by Ronald Reagan in the United States in the time of his presidency; in order to assist in the elimination of the governments ran by the communists in Asia, Africa and Latin America which had gained lots of support from the Soviet Union. In implementing this plan, the doctrine provided a support that was both open and private to the resistance and guerrilla movements in the countries supported by the Soviets (George).

The doctrine involved the use of covert and overt aid to anti-communist forces, in 1979; the Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union. When the invasion happened, President Jimmy Carter gave aide to Afghanistan through weapons and training in military in order to defeat the Soviet forces. Thus, the Reagan Doctrine was just an expansion to this philosophy and hence it was a direct challenge to the soviets and the communists especially where they were strongly established (George).

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By 1981, the soviets communists entered Africa and they gained power in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Angola. The Reagan administration was greatly concerned with a diplomatic track within Southern Africa through enacting a policy known as the constructive management with the regime of South Africa. Thus, Reagan vetoed sanctions in South Africa and supplied arms and money to UNITA in Angola against the Cuban forces (George).

Latin America became the centerpiece of the Reagan doctrine, as there was an ongoing fear of the rising communism in Cuba. The fear was that if a beach head of communists was established in Central America, the threat would have spread to Nicaragua and such evidence could be seen especially in El Salvador when America became so much involved in the Salvadorian revolution where it sent its advisors in addition to military arms. The aid provided by the Americans contributed to the growth of rightwing militias throughout Central America. Then there was a coup by military forces that replaced the civilian government and there was an ongoing construction on a landing strip which was capable of handling the bombers from the Soviets. This drew large numbers of workers from Cuba throughout the country including 800 American medical students on the Island. After all this Americans invaded Grenada and they emerged victorious despite numerous military follies (Kagan).

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In 1979, Somoza was under pressure to resign and was replaced by the Sandinistas and upon taking the office; Reagan committed himself to overthrowing them. He begins by a military buildup in Honduras to train and support Nicaraguan counter revolutionaries also known as the Contras. With the back up from the Americans, there was a brutal counter revolution against the Sandinistas but both sides committed human right abuses and the contras developed ties to drug cartels. Thus, the congress resolved to cutting American funding for the Contras but Reagan ordered for all efforts to be made in ensuring support was continued to the Contras (Kagan).

The Lebanese Civil War still had been ongoing since 1975 but in 1982 Israeli intervention lead to a dramatic uptick in violence and Israel hoped to minimize Syrian influences in Lebanon and kick the PLO out of the country. The Siege of Beirut convinced the PLO to leave hence generating international concern. United States contributed to a UN force in Lebanon to oversee the removal of Syrian and PLO forces from the capital leading to the Sabra and Shatila massacres in September 1982 generating the need for peacekeepers. More US soldiers were sent to Lebanon and in 1983 the US Embassy in Beirut was bombed as Reagan responded with minimal to attacks on the alleged terrorists locations (George).

Reagan has been the only President who confronted terrorism as a serious issue as most of the US citizens are most often a target of terrorists attacks with numerous of them being taken hostage in Lebanon. In addition bombings are carried out across Europe with many of them being traced back to Muammar Qaddafi but the US doesn’t respond to the majority of them (George).

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In 1984 Reagan begun toning down his anti-Communist rhetoric and began talking of peace and coexistence. His latent anti-nuclear position began to emerge, although he was personally horrified by the thought of nuclear war, he was a dedicated advocate of arms reductions. His goal was survival and not mutually Assured Destruction. And as such the ideal outcome was a world free of nuclear weapons where US was sheltered by the Star Wars (George)

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