Reagan was quick to order an air raid on key ground targets in Libya. The strike was a success and many important buildings were destroyed. Reagan addressed the nation shortly after the air raid and made several comments that were illustrative of his firm stance against terrorist actions. He said, “When our citizens are abused or attacked anywhere in this world… we will respond so long as I’m in this Oval Office,” and to terrorist leaders around the world he said, “He [Qadhafi] counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong” (Reagan, “Speaking” 288). With that speech, Reagan imposed his views upon the world and he let the country know that he would not succumb to any foreign national threat. For all practical purposes, nearly all of the military actions of the 1980s were directed in some manner towards the Soviet Union. The preemptive attacks on Grenada and Libya were used as threats against the Soviet Union and were meant to be symbolic of the fact that America would not hesitate to act. Reagan used his strong military presence as a threat against the Soviets and many of Reagan’s naysayers still believe he used force in a manner contradictory to the astute power of the President of the United States. However, the Reagan Administration used their military prowess to instill fear into all Communist threats worldwide. The political philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli, speaks of powerful leaders, he writes, “…it is much safer to be feared than loved…” (Machiavelli 66). Therefore, regardless of what critics may say, it would seem that Reagan’s use of military force throughout the world was effective and that Gorbachev feared his American counterpart. Reagan used his superiority to his advantage when
he met with Gorbachev to discuss the reduction of nuclear missiles. During the 1980s, Reagan increased the defense spending more than any president had done before; it was a part of his “Peace through Strength” foreign policy. During this time, the production of nuclear missiles surged and the United States found itself in a mini-arms race with the Soviet Union. In essence, the Reagan Administration outspent the Soviets in defense and nuclear weapon production. In an effort to compete, the Soviets bankrupted themselves and had no choice but to dismiss their Marxist values. Between the years of 1985 and 1988, Reagan met with General Secretary Gorbachev four times; in Switzerland, Iceland, Washington D.C., and Moscow (Reagan, “American Life” 545). The meetings between the two world leaders were dramatic and Reagan walked out of the meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland after Gorbachev failed compromise. The tensions were high during all of the meetings and many people feared that any mistake could lead to an immediate nuclear Armageddon. Fortunately, no nuclear weapons were launched and the Reagan Administration triumphed over the Soviet Union. In 1987, Reagan visited East Berlin and spoke at the Brandenburg Gate. During his speech, he called for an end to Communism and a strengthening of individual liberty. His speech as the Brandenburg Gate is often viewed as one of the most successful speeches of his presidency. While speaking to a crowd of thousands, Reagan said to the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, “Mr. Gorbachev,
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