The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy – Research Paper

Presidential doctrine definition and a summary of regional/global events during the Cold War leading up to the formation of the presidential doctrine 

(you wrote about in Assignment 1 (Reagan Doctrine))

A doctrine or presidential doctrine refers to stances attitudes or goals that are outlined by the United States presidents for the country’s foreign affairs (Brands, 2006). There exist many presidential doctrines, for example the Bush Doctrine, Reagan Doctrine, the Monroe Doctrine and Truman Doctrine. Although many doctrines were related to the cold war, the main purpose for issuance of a doctrine by the president is to shape the country’s foreign policy.

The Reagan doctrine was crucial strategy adopted by United States president in resisting and fighting the influence of the Soviet Union. The Reagan doctrine strategy involved giving backing to anti-communist guerrilla wars against the communist governments in the states that were backed by the Soviet Union (Brands, 2006). Initially adopted as a response to the Brezhnev Doctrine, the Reagan Doctrine would later become the cornerstone of the American foreign policy in mid 80s until the end of the cold war in 1991.

The Relationship between Russia and the U.S during Cold War

The relationship between Russia and the United States was driven by a mixture of ideological, political and economic factors (Hager, 2016). According to the author, the interplay of these factors led to a shift in the nature of corporations between the two countries, which often resulted in superpower rivalry. The U.S was predominantly democratic country, while Russia was a communist nation that led in a dictatorial manner. This differences in political systems between the two countries often resulted in misunderstandings on key policy issues.

Initially, American government has a history of supporting other countries in their struggle for independence, freedom and democracy. The administration of president Regan felt that going back on this old tradition was like giving in to the Russian communist revolution. Moreover, the Soviet Union acted with its proxies to advance the communist dictatorships. Russia under the Brezhnev Doctrine backed insurgencies in various countries that aimed at advancing their ideologies, for example in Nicaragua (Hager, 2016). In response, the United States under Truman administration adopted the strategy of containment.

The U.S strategy led to a tense relationship between the country and the Soviet Union. A series of nuclear tests were performed by the U.S and Russia (McDonnell, 2012). Many Americans got involved and many people built anti-nuclear walls, while many war drills were being conducted. The stakes of the Cold War heightened. These tensions would soon be subverted under President Nixon’s diplomatic strategy.

The Impact of Reagan Doctrine on Regional or Global Affairs during Cold War

The early years of the Presidency of Reagan were marred by intensified tensions of Cold War between Russia and United States (Ambrose & Lagon, 1994). Reagan began his presidency with suspicions of Russia as being an evil empire. His view of the regional conflicts in form of Cold War paradigm led to his determination in preventing the communist takeover in the Western Hemisphere. The invasion and takeover of Granada by Marxist government fueled the “Reagan Doctrine”.

The Regan Doctrine was the instrumental strategy upon which President Reagan intended to end communist revolutions (Ambrose & Lagon, 1994). The Reagan Doctrine was instrumental in forcing the communist withdrawal from Nicaragua. Moreover, the doctrine was easily employed in Angola, providing support to the UNITA movement. The doctrine was also instrumental in ending the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan and its actions against communist proponents, for example sanctions against Poland were instrumental in ending communist revolutions. Eventually, the Reagan Doctrine succeeded in ending cold war, which later saw new Russian leadership under new reforms and policies led by Gorbachev.

The Relationship that Exists Currently Between the U.S and Russia

Although communism has rapidly faded in Russia after the end to the Cold War, the shared leadership between the United States and Russia ended after the end of the Cold War (Heuser, 2014). However, according to (Moraru, 2013) the end of the Cold has been followed by curious policy thoughts between the two countries.  According to the authors, after the end to the Cold War, the United States did not and has not shown any urgency in embracing Russia into the Western political, security and economic circles.

Most of the bilateral relationships between the two nations are highly dependent on the personal relationships of the presidents of the two countries (Heuser, 2014). This was evident in the escalation in relationships between the two countries prior to the 2016 presidential elections. There were increased tensions between the two countries when it appeared that the Democratic presidential hopeful Ms Clinton was going to win the general elections. Russia viewed the Democratic presidential hopeful as an enemy. However, the tensions reduced when the Republican presidential hopeful won the presidential elections.

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