Reagan’s Foreign Policy and the Nuclear Threat

An analysis of how nuclear weapons affected US foreign policy under Ronald Reagan.

This paper discusses US foreign policy under Ronald Reagan that was based on the concept of containment and was decidedly aggressive in its demand for ‘peace’. The paper explores the nuclear threat and the impact of treaties with the USSR like the Nuclear Forces agreement (INF) and Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The paper discusses how Reagan created a defensive scenario where the two nations were at war indirectly and the USSR was forced to use its defense budget rather than strengthen its internal economy.
In the past especially in the time of the cold war with the USSR, the US had to have an aggressive foreign policy that was based on the concept of containment. The Communists were seen as a threat and any president that was elected had to ensure that the communist threat did not breach the borders of the US or its allies. The cold war lasted over fifty years and it was only with its downfall that the US could actually create a foreign policy that was progressive. Ronald Regan became the US president in 1981 and stayed for two terms till 1989. His tenure came at the tail of the cold war when the USSR was obviously having problems and the progressiveness of the ‘communist regime’ was breaking down’. Yet, Reagan initially had to ensure that his foreign policy was in lieu with the need of the time that is conceptualized, ‘containment.’ His policy stressed the threat of USSR and the US budget was dedicated to military defense and the threat of attack.