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Download After the Cold War by Arthur I. Cyr (auth.) PDF

By Arthur I. Cyr (auth.)

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Indeed Reagan, how­ ever derided by some, including Europeans in politics as well as the media, managed to develop extremely good personal rapport with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and, ultim­ ately, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Probably more important than the fate of specific policies was the perception of consistency to Reagan’s overall foreign policy. Whatever his shortcomings, he had the general qualities of decisiveness and ability to inspire loyalty and confidence that are essential to successful political leadership at the most senior level.

Anti-communism remained the motif of the American foreign policy establishment, the main challenge balancing re­ straint and credibility of forces, the main approach deterrence. 5 Reagan had a very powerful influence on US foreign policy, and also arguably on the international system more generally, not always in posi­ tive or beneficial directions, yet his administration also was burdened with a series of specific frustrations and failures. These included early in the administration, for example, an inability to transform hostility to the So­ viet Union, publicly described as an ‘evil empire’, into practical support for an important dissident movement in Poland.

The United States’ unprecedented economic dominance never­ theless did not lead to the sort of control over vast territories that the British were able to achieve at the height of their empire. Rather, interna­ tional stability was maintained in part through the nuclear balance of terror, which was in turn a function of the momentous conflict between the two nuclear superpowers, the USA and the USSR. Now, however, the United States is in a global position which can be compared favourably with that of Great Britain in the earlier age.

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