Contemporary International Politics. Reagans Doctrine

Contemporary International Politics: Reagan’s Doctrine

(Author’s name)

(Institutional Affiliation)


The period after World War II saw many presidents of the United States develop a number of policies that were aimed at deterring the effects of the Cold war in various nations. Also referred to as ‘Doctrines’, these policies were specifically aimed at assisting these presidents in combating some of the challenges that came as a result of the cold war. More specifically, they were aimed at reducing the impact of the soviet union’s activities to the United states, as well as, the rest of the world. One such doctrine is the Reagan doctrine, which was established by Ronald Reagan and his administration, and was aimed at contesting the involvement of the Soviet Union in global governance. More specifically, Reagan’s doctrine was aimed at diminishing the influence of the Soviet Union in Latin America, Asia, and Africa (Busch, 2001). This doctrine served to do away with the socialist and communist form of governance in these states, and allow them to develop their own forms of governance such as democracy and capitalism.

This paper examines Ronald Reagan’s doctrine illustrating the situation that motivated U.S diplomatic efforts during his time in office. The paper also explicates the Diplomatic efforts that were carried out in relation to this doctrine, as well as, their effects on the U.S and other countries. Conclusively, the paper will provide the advantages and disadvantages of the doctrine.

Reagan’s Doctrine

After the World War II, the global economy demanded particular attention from the countries that were considered as ‘super powers’. This is because the Soviet Union had gained control over most states, which was slowly taking a toll on the global community. Because the cold war in Europe was on the increase, there was an eminent danger of war between Soviet Union and the United States, and this required immediate response. These two super powers were in conflict because of the Soviet Union’s approach of governance. Primarily, Reagan opposed to communism, which was the government in the Soviet Union (Busch, 2001). With the raise in concern over the start of another war, all superpowers began building up their military defenses and upgrading their weapons. This situation needed diplomatic interaction from the United States to stop what was potentially a disastrous war (Gottfried, 2003). During Reagan’s two-term tenure as president of the United States, his administration developed a doctrine whose aim was to maintain international peace through U.S diplomatic involvement. As mentioned before, this doctrine was aimed at diminishing the effects of the Soviet Union’s interference with the running of other nations and states.

Motivation for U.S Diplomatic Efforts

After the Second World War, the Soviet Union had less superior weapons than those possessed by the American army. With the intense atmosphere and the rift between the United States and Soviet Union, the Soviet Union acquired more weapons for defense, as well as, assurance of power. Gradually, the Soviet Union started feeling the pinch of the increase in the cost of the weapons purchased and the army built up. The Soviet Union also suffered from its unplanned manufacturing and agricultural production, thus driving the country into poverty. Additionally, decreased investments in oil from the United States put a strain on the state’s economy, and the Soviet Union suffered immensely (Edwards, 2005). To lower its oil prices, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to increase the oil output thus improve the economy. The invasion of Afghanistan prompted international assistance to enable the country to fight off the Soviet Union. Accordingly, the United States provided equipment to the rebels in Afghanistan to fight off the soviet invasion. The United States government was not directly involved in the war, thus avoiding conflict with Soviet Union.

U.S Diplomatic Efforts

Reagan’s doctrine was to raid the globe from communism, which would ensure global economic growth. Reagan’s administrative policies were characterized as insurgent supportive policies that favored the anti-communist rebels in the country. The policies facilitated uprisings in the Soviet Union, as well as, the countries that were under attack from the Soviet Union. Essentially, communism was the target of this doctrine. Reagan was focused on reducing the spread of communism by ensuring that Free states were protected from the communist regime that characterized the Soviet Union (Busch, 2001). With the weapon possessed by the country, Reagan’s approach to curb communism in the Soviet Union enabled nations to reach agreements that would peacefully end the cold war. The key discussion that Reagan proposed was the disarmament of the nuclear weapons that the countries had manufactured to prevent destruction of human life and civilization. The doctrine also required the Soviet Union to free the countries it had invaded (Cowley, 2006). Diplomatic efforts by the United States saved the globe from the eminent danger of another world war.

Effects of Reagan’s Doctrine

Reagan’s doctrine had both positive and negative effects on the U.S and other countries. In relation to the positive effects, the cold war ended with the two super powers being at peace with each other. This means that, the doctrine prevented the breaking out of another war from the first two world wars (Busch, 2001). The war that could have emanated from the crash between the US and Soviet Union could have been catastrophic. In addition to this, the doctrine also facilitated global economic growth. As researchers argue, communism affected economic growth, as it did not facilitate global competition. Therefore, most predicted that a global expansion of communism would affect rapid economies, which would, in turn, encourage more wars (Busch, 2001). The diplomatic efforts by the United States also earned the state more allies who were also opposed to communism. These allies were oil producing countries, and trade between the nations enabled the United States to improve its economy. On the negative side, Reagan’s doctrine resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the unification of Germany (Gottfried, 2003). The collapse affected the economy in the nations that made up the Soviet Union, which resulted in a shift of power. Because Reagan’s doctrine caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of soviet nationals lost their jobs, hence increasing unemployment and poverty in the state. However, the most heart-felt effect of Reagan’s Doctrine was the ending of the Cold War that had haunted various nations at the time.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages and disadvantages of Reagan’s doctrine are drawn from the effects of the doctrine on the U.S and other countries. Researchers have identified two main advantages of the Reagan doctrine including ending the cold war and increasing allies for the United States, which in turn improved trade for the nation (Busch, 2001). The only disadvantage identified with relation to Reagan’s doctrine involves stopping the Soviet Union’s expansion campaign, which affected the economy of the Soviet Union (Busch, 2001).


Cowley, R. (2006). The Cold War: A military history. New York: Random House Trade


Edwards, L. (2005). The essential Ronald Reagan: A profile in courage, justice, and wisdom.

Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Busch, A. E. (2001). Ronald Reagan and the politics of freedom. Lanham [u.a.: Rowman &


Walker, M. (1995). The cold war: A history. New York, NY: Holt.

Gottfried, T., & Reim, M. (2003). The Cold War. Brookfield, Conn: Twenty-First Century