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Tensions in Europe Konstantin Chernenko ( after Andropov died)Possible return to Brezhnev politics Reagan and GorbachevNov 1980- Ronald Reagan elected-He was a film star; not a particularly good actor, mostly in cowboy movies.-He brushed up against a lot of radical left-wingers in Hollywood and he was not endeared to them.-1964, He switched from Democrats to Republicans. He said the “democratic party left him”.-“New Conservative Movement”. Rejected welfare state, ardent anti-communist, extreme fiscal. Ardent libertarians.-Reagan was an evangelical Christian and this contributed to the rise of Christian republicanism in the USA-Reagan was opposed to nuclear weapons. Saw USSR as a “moral threat”-Critical of both sides in the Cold War. He criticized Kissinger and Nixon for their a-morality in their handling of USSR. He also blamed Carter for “the demise” of the American position. Carter was at a time a hapless president, prone to embarrassing gaffes, cardboard personality. Lots of inconsistencies in Carter’s policies: emphasizing human rights in Latin America, but didn’t apply this to other countries.-Carter boycotted 1980 Olympics, and moved forward from SALT II to NATO tract 2 talks.-Reagan’s position in 1981: he saw the USA had gambled away its predominance in the cold war since early 1960’s, they allowed USSR to gain military parity. The SALT process was inheritantly flawed because of “reinforced mutual destruction” – reassuring the other side that you won’t use nukes by putting up your own citizens as hostages.-Reagan was deeply afraid of nuclear war. Deeply religious. Late 70’s and early 80’s = books, movies, TV emphasized the kind of damage would come from nuclear war and this deeply affected Reagan-He campaigned the idea that USSR was not a moral equivalent of the USA. Soviet ideology is dead by 1968 – worldwide appeal after Prague spring is gone.-He didn’t have grand strategy to end the cold war but he believed the USA should try to overcome the most dangerous aspects and restore US strength in the long-term. Negotiate from a position of strength instead of a position of weakness. This means undermining the USSR’s relations with its “client states” in Eastern Europe
-1980: SALT II was withdrawn by Carter, as a result of Afghanistan. USA rearmament during this time goes well beyond the cap that SALT asked for.-Reagan opposed the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty. -Reagan does offer to negotiate START: Strategic Arms Reductions Talks to address ICBMs. Its an emphatic break with the logic that is in SALT.-Economic policy: Throughout 70s the eastern countries could take bank loans to keep their countries running. Reagan decides to cut off their access to try to damage USSR economy as hard as it could. Leads to Polish crisis. -Devastating impact on eastern bloc countries – running out of food, Soviets couldn’t handle all the demand-Oil Diplomacy: prices remained very high in western world. USSR benefitted very well from this arrangement – sell oil to get cash to buy goods and infrastructure