Ronald Reagan Doctrine





Ronald Reagan Doctrine


Ronald Reagan was the fortieth United President, who tenure is more remembered for his action when he strived to end the cold between his country and the Soviet Union. His rule lasted between the year nineteen eighty one to the year nineteen eighty nine. One of the popular strategies he used to achieve this was the famous “rollback” strategy. From the political science, rollback can be defined as a strategy of ensuring there is change in a certain state by changing the regime on power. It contrasts the containment strategy, which aims at limiting a state from expanding and therefore ensuring continued relationship (Pach 81). “Rollback” strategy tries to ensure that it rids off an enemy regime region. The United States policy towards the Soviet Union before the tenure of the president Ronald Reagan was containment and rollback against most of the third world nations (Leffler 401). However, towards the end of 1970’s, there was continued pressure built up sourcing from network of global rollback. This led to reinstating a belligerent foreign approach. In the late nineteen eighty, the Central Investigation Agency right wing articulated publicly a worldwide rollback doctrine that was solely meant to supersede but not to supplement containment. This was called for after a feeling that the containment was not enough to tame the Soviet Union and its powers. The original idea of rollback came from the Santa Fe Committee since the Union was uncontrollably expanding. Ronald Reagan believed that, it was possible to make the world less nuclear, use of ideas was more effective and powerful as compared to use of forceful army. Moreover, he believed that, autocrats are weaker whenever provoked by people who are seeking freedom.

Ronald Reagan course to destroy the influence of the Soviet Union started with redefining the cold war. Then he adopted an approach that successfully took advantage of the weak point of the Soviet Union. For a long time, United States is known to be mindful about the plight of the oppressed people. As a result, it strives to regain freedom of the oppressed people and their independence. Therefore, countering the Soviet Union domination and communist revolution was not preventable leave alone debatable. At the beginning, Ronald Reagan rhetoric was not more policy based but universal. The support of the United States varied from different cases something even the Shultz admitted. For instance, Washington was ready and willing to give assistance especially materially to resistant fighter in Afghan against the Soviet forces (Corke 149). However, the same Ronald administration appeared to be less responsive to cases in Mozambique and Angola. Ronald Doctrine dismissed the eagerness of conservative policy in the America.

Before then, United States lacked a clear foreign policy that was completed in the past decade. However, after welcoming the tenure of Reagan method and strategies were devised to help nation that seemed to suffer on the hands of endured communist domination. Due to use and enforcement of rollback strategy in contrast to containment strategy that was used by his predecessor, Ronald Reagan made his name on the history books not only as the American twentieth president but as a true planner and reformer. Indeed, most of his ideas are known to be used across different departments of federal government in the United States up to date. It is through his doctrine that the domination of the Soviet Union came to an end in the late cold war, despite the fact that his tenure lasted for less than even a decade and endured a lot of challenges in the course.

Body 1: Shift from “Containment” to “Rollback”

Rollback strategy as discussed earlier aimed at annihilating the army of the opponent totally and then going ahead to occupy the nation. For years, the containment policy was used and upheld by the United States administration. However, it was the act of United Nations soldiers that made the United States rethinks on their policy to use the containment method towards the Soviets. Originally, the rollback method against the dominating Soviet Union was proposed in the late nineteen forties, pioneers being Truman Administration to counter North Korea. The rollback technic was felt to be a better method of countering the spread of communism as compared to containment. During the period between nineteen fifty three and late nineteen fifty six, United States debated on the essence of using the rollback method but later upheld the containment. This was mostly notable during the era of President Harry Truman. However, the rollback strategy was for the first time used by United States under the same regime.

United States joined the war in South Korea to defend it from the invasion of communist. In this war, United States originally used the “containment”, but it was the success at Inchon that inspired the American army and that of United Nations to shift to the rollback system. It is through this method that North Korean communist were overthrown. However, American still upheld the total use of containment in the European region (Genter 619). The use of rollback method compelled the Chinese to join the war in the North Korea where it defeated the United Nation soldiers. This resulted to what was perceived to be failure of the rollback method as a result the United States felt that containment policy was better. After the tenure of President Truman, different people though that his rule was too timid. The incoming president Eisenhower used the rollback technic in attempt to counter the dominative Soviet Union.

Eisenhower and Domino Theory

Dwight Eisenhower reign as the United States President started in the early nineteen fifty three. He worked closely with John Dulles who acted as the “Secretary of State”. It is this man, Dulles who worked, pushed and advocated for domino theory that was more radical. One of his most memorable actions was during the Security Council in the year nineteen fifty three where he produced vital argument around the bloc of communist.After the world war two, the major foreign agenda that concerned the United States was the growth and spread of communism and overall growth of Soviet Union (Leeson & Dean 544).  Despite being allies in the world war two, Soviet Union advocated for communism revolution but Americans felt that it would pose a threat not only to the United States but to the entire world.

The domino theory came into been in the year that followed after Eisenhower assumed to power. The domino theory was all about the fear and precaution that most of countries in Southeast Asia would become victims of communism. After which more countries would follow after the fall on one domino to another. Therefore, United States felt that, by using the Southeast Asia who was still non-communist was an important defensive tool to defend them (Leeson & Dean 549). As a result, even after the end of Eisenhower rules, Johnson and Kennedy tenure still endorsed the domino theory. In the year nineteen fifty four, it was undisputed that French were not making any progress in establishing colonial state in Vietnam. As a result United States chipped in attempt to help the French and more importantly counter communism. After the Indochina fell, Eisenhower accredited that it was much possible to end the continue chain of events in the region. He felt that, if the situation prolonged it could be more expensive to end it in the later stages.

Soviet Gains, Vietnam War and Marxist Governments

For a long time, Vietnamese had fought to resist the influence of countries such as Chinese, Japanese and even the Americans. By the nineteenth century, Vietnam was under the colonial rule of the French. However, this ended after the Second World War a juncture at which they gained independence they had long fought for. This led to the reign of Ho Chi Mihn, who was known to be a renowned communist. As a result of the new rule, there was a divide in the country. Southern Vietnam who was anti-communist differed with the northern Vietnam who supported communism (Ellis 627). This led to the region entering into a long continued battle. Despite fighting from the same side in world war two, the Soviets and Americans later took sides, where United States supported anti-communist South Vietnam while Soviet supported North Vietnam. However, it was through the support of Soviets that United States realized it was fighting in a winless battle and it never achieved its original goal of joining the war. The growth of the communism during the world war two led to development of Marxist government. These were dictatorship driven governments where some people had total power over others. Reagan tenure in power strived to end the communism not only in Asia but across the globe.The five so considered as hot spots were Afghanistan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Angola and Nicaragua.  In Afghanistan the main aim of the United States was to force the withdrawal of forces from Soviet Union who invaded the country in the year nineteen seventy nine. In addition it aimed at reinstalling self-determination of the Afghan people. They used the perception that, even if the Soviet would be somehow stubborn in leaving the country it would be a good lesson to discourage other countries from such an incentive.  In Cambodia, Vietnam was ready and willing for negotiations. But their resistance to withdraw forced the Chinese and Americans to join in pursue to oversee the end of communism. In the year nineteen eighty six, Ronald announced support on any party rebelling installation and growth of communist regime. In Ethiopia, Washington supported “Democratic Freedom Fighters”.

Body 2: Nicaragua and the Sandinista Revolution

As in the other countries, the main aim of Ronald Reagan doctrine in in Nicaragua was to fight communism and advocate for capitalism. Sandinistas one of the Marxist rebel in Nicaragua overthrew the brutal, harsh and corrupt but anti-communist rule of Somoza regime (Rodgers 317). This action presented the Reagan regime with a tough test on the struggle to end communism. Reagan administration aided in consolidating of a force in Nicaragua what was termed as guerilla force. This force ensured the possibility of enforcing USA foreign policy in the country in conjunction with external United States troops.The Contras troop in Nicaragua was funded by CIA, but slowly the money flow started to dry up, especially after Congress implemented rule to limit its funding on less popular wars. It was controversial when a bill was table and later passed by “House of representatives” in the United States to overthrow the Nicaragua government. The United States “National Security Council” acts as the leading president adviser of the matters relating to the security.  It also acts as a body that oversees the interest of the United States across the globe. This acted as the body that advised the president on matters relating to cold war and the action to take after the role was shifted from Central Intelligence Agency.

Body 3: Iran-Contra Scandal

During the war between Iraq and Iran, Ronald regime sold arms secretly to the Iranians. The sale of this weapon was with a hidden agenda. One, it was to try and appease Iranians who until then had some American hostages. The other reason was an indirect way of funding guerilla war against communism. Both actions violated and contradicted congress and United Nations rule. According to Saunders and Alan, the sale of weapons to Iran almost destroyed the most decorate reign of President Ronald in the year nineteen eighty six (289). Repeatedly, he held the statement that the country never traded to rescue hostages. Due to pressure from Watergate scandal and their threats to question Reagan credibility, he was entangled in a crisis that almost prematurely ended his presidency.  On the month of March the year nineteen eighty seven a bill to impeach President Ronald Reagan was tabled. The issue he was accused on was regarding how the state handled the issues in Iran and Contra affairs.Ronald administration failed to have a clear explanation of its involvement and participation in the Iran scandal. On the other hand, Reagan could not explain how major happenings such as trading of arms or funding of a war group went to conclusion without the White House knowledge. Although the scandal didn’t cut short his second tenure or term as president it he did not sign off at a high note as expected.


Despite the Ronald Reagan doctrine lasting for less than one decade, it is believed to be the centerpiece of the Americans foreign policy and its implementation continued up to the year nineteen ninety one when the cold war ended. The doctrine major concern was to diminish the influence of the Soviets, end communism and more importantly usher in capitalism. Due to continued advocacy and influence of the United States, communism collapsed across the Central and Eastern Europe. A year later in nineteen eighty nine, one of the coveted symbol of Soviet tyranny, the “Berlin Wall” was brought down. Soviet Union lost the control and push on communism. Two years later after the retirement of Reagan in the year nineteen ninety eight, disbandment of the Soviet Union led to the end of the cold war (Waltz 36). At last, President Ronald goal of the collapse and end of Soviet communism became a reality. After the cold war two was long over and part of history, another challenge presented itself. This time was the continued production of missiles which were considered as weapons which could lead to mass destruction. As a result, a debate was held in Europe, production of missiles being the main agenda. This debate aimed at countering the use of ballistic missiles. This led to “Missile defensive system”, which was thought to be a reasonable method of reducing use and effect of used missile. It was felt that, without a working defensive method a country could launch a missile by mistake leading to adverse effects not only to its citizens but to the whole world. It was a globe worry and a concern to the super powers that if the continued production and use of missile weapons was not limited, the state would rise to uncontrollable levels in the near future.

In the year nineteen eighty six, Soviet leader Gorbachev Mikhail and the Reagan were almost to striking a deal to burn production and use of nuclear weapons.These two renowned leaders strived to the end of the cold war and more so established a cordial relationship.Soviet Union and United States, for a period of ten years debated for the withdrawal from the ABM treaty.  All along in this period they attempted to bring to an end of space testing of ballistic-missiles.After much discussion with Reagan, Gorbachev came into agreement to first control ballistic missile before setting defensive methods (Lundestad 17). In the year nineteen eighty seven, in Washington Gorbachev and Reagan signed an INF Treaty. This was to reduce the number of possessed nuclear weapons. Later the two nations who had fought for considerably long time in the cold war become friends after Moscow convention. Much is attributed to Reagan and Gorbachev long discussions and meeting that reconciled the Soviet and United States. The relationship between the two regions continued improving with time since the deliberations of the two leaders.

Works Cited

Corke, Sarah-Jane. “History, historians and the naming of foreign policy: a postmodern reflection on American strategic thinking during the Truman administration.” Intelligence and National Security 16.3 (2001): 146-165. Print

Ellis, Joseph J. “Making Vietnam History.” Reviews in American History 28.4 (2000): 625-629. Print

Genter, Robert. “The Cold War Culture of Containment Revisited.” American Literary History 26.3 (2014): 616-626. Print.

Leeson, Peter T., and Andrea M. Dean. “The democratic domino theory: an empirical investigation.” American Journal of Political Science 53.3 (2009): 533-551. Print.

Leffler, Melvyn P. “9/11 and American foreign policy.”Diplomatic History 29.3 (2005): 395-413. Print.

Lundestad, Geir. “‘Imperial Overstretch’, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the End of the Cold War.” Cold War History 1.1 (2000): 1-20. Print.

Pach, Chester. “The Reagan Doctrine: Principle, Pragmatism, and Policy.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 36.1 (2006): 75-88. Print.

Rodgers, Dennis. “The State as a Gang Conceptualizing the Governmentality of Violence in Contemporary Nicaragua.”Critique of Anthropology 26.3 (2006): 315-330. Print.

Saunders, Kyle L., and Alan I. Abramowitz. “Ideological realignment and active partisans in the American electorate.”American Politics Research 32.3 (2004): 285-309. Print.

Waltz, Kenneth N. “Structural realism after the Cold War.”International security 25.1 (2000): 5-41. Print.


Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!

WELCOME TO OUR NEW SITE. We Have Redesigned Our Website With You In Mind. Enjoy The New Experience With 15% OFF