Ronald Reagan on Foreign PolicySubmitted by AZJoe on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 21:33
Reagan’s Foreign Policy
Reagan was not the interventionist that the preemptive warfare crowd attempt to mis-portray him as. The only land conflict Reagan ever got involved in was Grenada. It lasted two days. Reagan’s only air strike was the 1986 bombing of Libya, lasting a day.
By contrast Obama-Bush Obushma neocon foreign policy playbook involves ten years of continuous warfare including the invasion and occupation of two sovereign nations without any declaration of war, as well as direct aerial and/or missile bombardment of three other sovereign nations, plus covert activities, training, military armaments and advisory support inducing military conflict in other localities. (Most notably the military arming, training, foreign aid and advisory support of Georgia inducing its leadership to violate its 1993 Sochi Treaty with South Ossetia as a pathway for NATO admittance).
Bill Clinton launched multiple air bombardment campaigns, in Bosnia (1995), Iraq (1998), and Kosovo (1999) which several human rights watch groups condemned as war crime. George H. W. Bush initiated undeclared ground invasions of Panama in 1989 and Somalia in 1992, as well as Persian Gulf War I in 1991.
By comparison with every president since, President Ronald Reagan was a dove, veritable peacenik.
President Reagan took the blessing of peace as well as the potential consequences of war very seriously. Everyone knows President Reagan opposed the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. However when Secretary of State Alexander Haig proposed direct intervention to destroy the Sandinistas including the bombing of Cuba, Reagan responded by alienating Haig from cabinet policy meetings until Haig resigned. Michael Deaver later revealed that Haig’s suggestion of bombing Cuba "scared the shit out of Ronald Reagan.”
After U.S. courts indicted Manuel Noriega in 1988 for drug smuggling, Secretary of State George Schultz and Assistant Secretary Elliott Abrams demanded Reagan invade Panama. President Reagan vehemently refused.
And just look at how Reagan dealt with the Iranian hostage crises. On January 20, 1981, the very day that Ronald Regan was inaugurated as President, he completely reversed the economic sanctions of the Carter administration by ending the economic freeze against Iran. President Reagan released over $8 billion of frozen Iranian assets held hostage, and gained the release of all the American hostages in Tehran.
When Israel preemptively bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, President Reagan openly condemned the preemptive strike, and supported a UN resolution doing the same.
When Israel’s Begin chastised President Reagan for selling surveillance only AWAC planes to Saudi Arabia as early warning detectors against preemptive strikes, Reagan responded that it was "not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy." President Ronald Reagan also called Begin’s 1982 military attack on West Beirut a “holocaust.”
On President Reagan’s last day in the office, he told press secretary Marlin Fitzwater that "the only regret I have after eight years is sending those troops to Lebanon."
It was President Reagan who reached out to the Soviets, even before Gorbachev took office, to restart arms talks. Reagan favored opened lines of communication, diplomacy, dialogue and trade over the neocon methods of sanctions and diplomatic isolation. It was President Reagan who successfully negotiated, obtained Soviet agreement and signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987, the most far-reaching arms-reduction agreement ever to that point with the Soviet Union. President Reagan despised nuclear weapons and the threat they pose to humanity. President Reagan openly declared in 1984, "Nuclear arsenals are far too high," and told the nation "my dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth."
When Gorbachev became General Secretary in 1985, President Reagan reached out diplomatically to Gorbachev repeatedly and arranging meetings. In 1986 when the neocons demanded Regan cancel his summit meeting with Gorbachev in retaliation for the Soviet imprisonment of an American journalist in Moscow, Regan flat out refused.
President Reagan had gone so far as to openly refer to General Secretary Gorbachev, the leader of the “evil Empire” as “my friend” on multiple occasions. President Reagan’s policy of friendship, open communication, dialogue and diplomacy with the Soviet Union produced tremendously successful results and opened the doorway for Gorbachev to begin to roll out internal reforms in the Soviet Union. IT was because of Reagan’s open dialogue and successfully negotiated arms treaties that Gorbachev was able to assuage dissent and gain the upper hand over the war hawks and hardliners within the Soviet Union.
And how did the neoconservative movement of the eighties treat President Reagan? The neoconservatives despised Reagan and vociferously attacked him for being weak and a pacifist, and following a policy of appeasement. According to Reagan’s chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein Reagan responded to the neoconservatives by stating, “Those sons of bitches won't be happy until we have 25,000 troops in Managua, and I'm not going to do it."
Following Reagan’s summit meeting with Gorbachev, Neoconservative Podhoretz accused Reagan of giving away the nuclear store and said President Reagan “shamed himself and his country.” George Will accused Reagan of collapsing “like a punctured balloon,” and described Reagan’s foreign policy as “wishful thinking.” Following Reagan’s successful negotiation of the INF treaty, neocons purchased and ran newspaper ads attacking Reagan’s policy of appeasement and depicting Reagan as Neville Chamberville to Gorbachev as Hitler. Neoconservative Midge Decter (wife of Norman Podhoretz) referred to President Reagan’s foreign policy as one of capitulation and disgusting.
Much thanks to thess Reagan foreign Policy articles: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/07/think_again...
And here is a good narrative by Jack Hunter discussing Reagan’s foreign policy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CBwnO...