Political Climate of 1980 Term Paper

Pages: 3 (895 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Drama - World

Political Climate of 1980's

The 1980's ushered in a new era of politics, with President Ronald Reagan at the reins. The previous decade had, for the most part, been consumed with ending the Vietnam War and the resignation of Richard M. Nixon and its aftermath. With that behind, attention, once again focused on the Soviet Union, and its presumed threat to democracy.

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Reagan is credited with helping to speed the end of the Cold War, which had preoccupied both nations for over forty years, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, and had resulted in the building of some of the most destructive weapons in history (Hoffman 2004). During the late 1970's and early 1980's, the United States underwent a revolution in technology that left the Soviets behind in the arms race. David E. Hoffman wrote in the June 06, 2004 issue of The Washington Post that the Soviet system was under pressure from "Reagan's defense buildup and deployment of medium-range missiles in Europe, the CIA-backed mujaheddin fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan and Reagan's proposed missile defense system, the Strategic Defense Initiative" (Hoffman 2004). Moreover, Reagan challenged the Soviets on several other fronts, from Nicaragua to Angola, and sided with the dissident movement in Poland (Hoffman 2004). When Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the "focus of evil in the modern world," Soviet leaders became suspicious and concerned, particularly with the U.S. military buildup (Hoffman 2004). Robert M. Gates, former CIA director, has remarked that 1983 was the most "dangerous year of the last half of the Cold War," marked by the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 by the Soviets, and the misinterpretation by the Soviets of a NATO exercise that they viewed as a preparation for war (Hoffman 2004). 1983 was also marked by Reagan's announcement of a defensive shield against ballistic missiles, or Star Wars (Hoffman 2004).

Term Paper on Political Climate of 1980's Assignment

The Soviet economy was stagnant, and as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev recalled in his memoir, Soviet agriculture was a "disastrous picture...with millions of acres wasted, villages abandoned, and soils ruined by pollution" (Hoffman 2004).

Because the Soviets had basically poured all their resources into weapons, they were now a nation who could not feed her own people, nor keep up with the U.S. military technology (Hoffman 2004). In fact, according to CIA analysis, Soviet technology was approximately ten years behind the U.S., and their best scientific computers were twenty times slower than U.S. counterparts (Hoffman 2004). Nevertheless, the Soviet Union was a nuclear-armed superpower, and Reagan understood that an arms reduction between the two powers was imperative. The 1987 treaty on intermediate-range nuclear missiles was the first to eliminate a class of nuclear… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Political Climate of 1980.  (2006, December 28).  Retrieved July 2, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-climate-1980/21785

MLA Format

"Political Climate of 1980."  28 December 2006.  Web.  2 July 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-climate-1980/21785>.

Chicago Style

"Political Climate of 1980."  Essaytown.com.  December 28, 2006.  Accessed July 2, 2020.