Originally Posted by M2
Yep, the primary credit the Reaganites give themselves is that they changed the world through internal spending. Circuitous logic at best. In terms of actively doing stuff, there was a lot talk and little action. I give Reagan credit for dutifully standing his turn on Cold War watch just like every President back to Truman, but I think it's a tossup as to whether Reagan's posturing had as much effect on the Eastern Bloc as Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
In his book "Diplomacy," published in 1994, Henry Kissinger criticized Ronald Reagan on certain points, particularly his knowledge of history. However, while stating that considerable credit for the disintegration of communism was due to the presidencies that preceded Reagan's, as well as to that of George Bush, Kissinger stated, at page 764:"Nevertheless, it was Ronald Reagan's presidency which was marked the turning point."
Kissinger wrote that Reagan developed "a foreign policy of extraordinary consistency and relevance" (p. 765).
"Reagan rejected the 'guilt complex', which he identified with the Carter Administration, and proudly defended America's record as 'the greatest force for peace anywhere in the world today.' In his very first press conference, he labeled the Soviet Union an outlaw empire prepared 'to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat,' in order to achieve its goals. It would be the precursor of his 1983 description of the Soviet Union as the 'evil empire,' a direct moral challenge from which all his predecessors would have recolied." (p. 767)
Kissinger then discussed actions, not just words, which the Reagan administration implemented to further his goals, including the support of anticommunist counterinsurgencies, the support of Solidarity in Poland, and the "two strategic decisions which contributed most to ending the Cold War"-"NATO's deployment of American intermediate range missiles in Europe and the American commitment to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)." (pp. 773-775)
At 784, Kissinger writes: "Reagan had transformed what had been a marathon race into a sprint. His confrontational style linked to a risk-taking diplomacy would probably have worked at the beginning of the Cold War....In the 1980s, Soviet stagnation made a forward strategy appropriate again."
At 785, Kssinger concludes: "Reagan's second term coincided with the beginning of the disintegration of the communist system- a process hastened by his Administration's policies."