Reagan and the 'Second Cold War'

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  • Reagan and the 'Second Cold War'
    • The United States
      • Had recovered after its defeat in the Vietnam War, where it had failed to stop the spread of communism
      • Was beginning to develop information technology, especially computers
      • Was prepared to fund anti-communist forces in Central America and Southern Africa
      • Was becoming increasingly determined to stop and even roll back communism
    • The Soviet Union
      • Was in decline, with poor living standards
      • Had an ageing leadership, Brezhnev died in 1982 to be replaced by Adropov and then Chernyenko, all over 70
      • Was struggling to deal with anti-communism protest in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland where the trade union 'Solidarity' was demanding reforms
    • US-Soviet relations deteriorate
      • Between 1979-1984, relations between the US and USSR declined due to:
        • The Olympic Boycotts (1980,1984)
        • The election of President Reagan
        • Increased military expenditure on missiles and the USA's Strategic Defence initiative (SDI), USSR retaliated but couldn't keep up with the US as economy was smaller
        • On-going war following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
        • Breakdown of the SALT 2 arms control negotiations
        • The shooting down on KALOO7 in Sept 1983
    • Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative
      • Before, nuclear strategy was based on MAD
      • President Reagan wanted to win the Cold War, he launched SDI, (known as 'star wars'), in March 1983, was a plan to have satellites, lasers and mirrors in space that would destroy Soviet intercontinental nuclear missiles before they reached the US
      • Badly damaged East-West relations, USSR argued it broke the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and gave the USA a decisive advantage in the arms race
      • In Dec 1983,  Soviet negotiators walked out of arms control talks in Geneva

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