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The Reagan EraA History of the 1980s$
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Doug Rossinow

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169882

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169882.001.0001

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Strength Through Peace

Strength Through Peace

Chapter:
(p.224) Twelve Strength Through Peace
Source:
The Reagan Era
Author(s):

Doug Rossinow

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231169882.003.0012

This chapter discusses how Reagan salvaged his faltering presidency through peacemaking abroad. Even as the Iran-Contra scandal engulfed some areas of his foreign policy, he made history by pressing forward towards peaceful relations with the Soviet Union. Together with Mikhail Gorbachev, who took the helm in the Soviet Union in 1985, Reagan effectively ended the Cold War. The USSR under Gorbachev also negotiated an exit from the arms race, leaving America an unmatched power in the world. The irony of Reagan’s Cold War triumph is that he gained his historic achievement by renouncing some of his own longstanding positions and agreeing to return to diplomacy and détente. By consenting to the idea of strategic parity between the superpowers—an idea Reagan always had resisted previously—he gained strategic primacy for America. The formula for success was strength through peace, more than peace through strength.

Keywords:   Iran-Contra scandal, peacemaking, Cold War, Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, strategic parity

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