Part II -- THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IN U.S. COLD WAR STRATEGY AN OVERVIEW

Chapter 8 – Setting the New Cold War Strategy: The First Term - Statements and Decisions

Summary

The Reagan Revolution brought the nation from deep economic recession and malaise at home and from international crises, setbacks and Cold War confrontations abroad to new foundations for prosperity and peace with freedom. At his January 1981 inauguration, Reagan presented a new vision to America and the world that moved from critique to a crusade for freedom, peace, and progress that he reflected throughout his two terms as president.

First Term Sets the Course. Early in his first term, Reagan’s public statements, classified directives, National Security Council (NSC) organization and interdepartmental process and changed diplomacy (including unprecedented public diplomacy), gave him a strong and rapid start in successfully tackling serious Cold War issues. His campaign platform, transition efforts, speeches and NSC-coordinated directives took the moral and strategic high ground on issues long neglected in U.S. Cold War strategy. These included defense modernization, including strategic defense; effective arms control; support to anti-Communist resistance forces; economic warfare; a measure of U.S.-China cooperation against the Soviets; and extensive “soft power” ideological combat to expose and counter Soviet lies, espionage and “active measures” intelligence operations.

A New Strategy and Key Cold War Turning Point. Reagan’s National Security Directive NSDD 75 on U.S.-Soviet Relations issued in January 1983, built on two years of earlier Reagan policy decisions, initiatives, and drafts and became the most authoritative and comprehensive classified document on Reagan’s dynamic new Cold War strategy, the most formidable since Truman’s NSC–68 in 1950. In the Kremlin, meanwhile, 

[Book pg. 169]

Pages