Chapter 8- Second Cold War

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Reagan becomes President 1981

  • "From Stettin on the Baltic to Varna on the Black Sea, the regimes planted by totalitarianism have had more than thirty years to establish their legitimacy. But none has been able to risk free elections." - From a speech to British Parliament in '82: Set the tone for relations with SU
  • No chance that Reagan would consider war to remove SU's ideological, political & economic hold over Eastern Europe - however, he was determined to pursue aggressive policies designed to change Soviet behaviour
  • Reagan convinced Detente had resulted in US trust of SU being misplaced
  • Blamed previous administrations for allowing the US to be taken advantage of & allowing their global power to be eroded
  • March '83 - refers to SU leaders as "the focus of evil in the modern world"
  • Believed he needed to abandon Detente & return to unilateralism & restore military strength
  • Reagan wanted to restore US pride in itself
  • Feared communism would still expand & needed containing
  • Drew line under Detente, returned US to containment & confrontation
  • View of some historians that this was Reagan's contribution of what is innaccurately called a Second Cold War
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Soviet reactions up to '85

  • SU wanted to return to Detente - initally expected Reagan to support this
  • Through 1981-1982 Soviet leadership came to believe Reagan was interested in confrontation & Cold War rather than containment & competition characteristic of Detente
  • November 1982 - Brezhnev dies - replaced by Yuri Andropov
  • He was committed to reviving Detente but he realised the USA wasn't
  • June '83 (soon after Reagan's 'evil empire' speech) Adropov described Soviet - American relations as being "marked by confrontation, unprecedented in the entire post-war period by its intensity and sharpness, of two diametrically opposite world outlooks, the two political courses, socialism and imperialism"
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KAL 007

  • 1st Sep 1983
  • Major blow to Soviet-American relations
  • Korean civil airliner shot down by a Soviet interceptor - they claimed it was on an intelligence gathering mission
  • USA didn't believe this - accused SU of willfully destroying a civil aircraft & killing 269 people
  • Demonstrated growing divide between the superpowers
  • US focused on SU barbarity - SU claimed the incident was one of US espionage
  • 28th Sep - Andropov issues statement evaluating Reagan administration & illustrating Soviet attitudes
  • Reagan administration described as following "A militarist course that represents a serious threat to peace"
  • Soviet leaders not expecting to engage with serious negotiations at this point - they saw the US as abandoning Detente & moving towards a policy geared towards military superiority
  • Also the view that the Reagan administration was trying to undermine the SU & challenge national liberation movements globally
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Militarism & arms control up to'85

  • Reagan's foreign policy focused heavily on restoring US military power
  • Carter's final defence budget proposed $17.4 billion for military spending - '89 Reagan presented his military spending budget as $300billion
  • Aimed to develop conventional & nuclear forces to move the USA's military capacity from a defensive to an offensive level
  • Reagan oversaw biggest growth in US military power in country's entire peacetime history 
  • Approved development of stealth aircraft designed to be invisible to enemy radar systems
  • Also restored programmes shelved by Carter (included B-1 bomber & neutron bomb)
  • Early on he decided the US wouldn't ratify SALT II agreed by Carter in 1979
  • Showed no intentions of resuming negotiations with SU - this deepened with invasion of Afghanistan & the continuing state of martial law in Poland (imposed in response to solidarity)
  • Throughout '81 Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin repeatedly tried to restart SALT II - no success
  • Reagan did begin to accept the need to cooperate by 1981 - in response to pressure from Europe & the nuclear freeze movement becoming popular in the US (they wanted a freeze on deployment of all nuclear weapons)
  • Strategic arms talks named Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START)
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INF Talks

  • Key element of talks was the future of intermediate range nuclear forces (INF) - Reagan administration proposed 'zero option' (the US wouldn't deploy Cruise & Pershing II missiles if the SU removed SS-20 missiles from Europe)
  • Deliberately loaded against Soviet interests
  • SU could do nothing but reject
  • Tougher on SU than US - US would have ended the deployment of 572 missiles, but it required the Soviet Union to dismantle almost 600 intermediate missiles deployed in Europe since the late 1950s
  • Only dealt with land based missiles - US would have been able to expand in air & sea missiles, developing a bigger strike capacity against the SU
  • Plan restricted agreement to Soviet and American systems - all British and French systems excluded - future expansion of these country's system was to be uncontrolled
  • Soviets would have limits on all missiles, not just those in Europe (not happening!)
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START 1982

  • USA only interested in deploying missiles in Europe & proceeded with this in November 1983
  • Deployment of first Cruise & Pershing II missiles led to the SU abandoning talks - for the first time in over a decade, the superpowers weren't engaged in any form of negotiations
  • START talks began mid 1982 - a year later gap between the superpowers as wide as ever
  • Proposed limits of 5,000 missile warheads would mean each side took a cut of around 1/3
  • ICBM cuts would mean SU would lose more than half of ICBMs & more than 2/3 of SS-18 & SS-19 warheads
  • All US modernisation programmes would've continued whilst SU land missiles became more vulnerable
  • Position summed up in '83 as a Soviet general commented "You (the USA) want to solve your vulnerability problem by making our forces vulnerable"
  • START talks stopped as did the INF 
  • SU took the view that the USA wasn't seriously interested in negotiating a mutually beneficial & equitable agreement
  • SU also hoped that by abandoning talks, the Western Powers would put pressure on the US to adopt a more cooperative stance
  • Reagan blamed SU for breakdown
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SDI

  • National Security: Address to the Nation 23rd March '83 - Reagan resurrected another element to arms race
  • By the '80s it was clear that 'missile vulnerability' was a reality - if one side embarked on a first strike it could disarm a counter attack
  • Reagan moved from assured defence to assured retaliation (officially named Strategic Defence Initiative or SDI) that became known as the 'Star Wars' programme
  • USA launched 5 year, $26billion programme - Reagan thought it would end the arms race
  • MAD (Mutual assured Destruction) to be replaced by MAS (Mutual Assured Survival)
  • SDI incompatible with ABM treaty
  • SU responded negatively - Andropov reminded Reagan of mutual detterence that formed the basis of nuclear weapons approach between the superpowers
  • SDI seen as a US plan to devlop first strike capability - dangerous alternative to arms control
  • SU thought it would trigger a new arms race
  • No possibility of an impenetrable missile defence system that could be guarenteed to counter a massive attack
  • Impossible dream that had a serious impact on East-West relations & American - European relations
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USA, Europe & arms control

  • Reagan admin raised lots of basic problems in an already tense US-Europe relationship
  • Europe doubted Reagan's commitment to arms control & feared the development of US' unilateral arms build up
  • British Foreign Secretary (Sir Geoffrey Howe) referred to the ABM Treaty as the "keystone in the arch of security"
  • Any threat to the ABM Treaty would risk an escalation in competition in nuclear weapons
  • Europe thought US detaching itself from its commitment to defend Europe
  • Despite this, the US stayed closely tied to Europe through NATO
  • NATO meeting May 81 - US pushed to remove references to Detente - Europe strongly opposes
  • Eventually, USA agrees to a 'more constructive East-West relationship' - this agreemnent went on to accept NATO allies would 'maintain a dialogue with the SU and work together for genuine Detente and the development of East-West relations'
  • May '82 NATO allies reaffirm these agreements
  • Nov '83 - USA confirms plans for imminent deployment of Cruise & Pershing II missiles
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Poland & the Solidarity Movement

  • 1980 - Gdansk shipyard workers went on strike - Lech Walesa & co demanded independent unions - banned under communism
  • Possibility of Soviet intervention in response reduced by December 1980
  • December 1981 General Jaruzelski & the Military Committeee of National Salvation imposed martial law
  • Western states announced limited economic controls in response
  • USA persued more direct and wide ranging proposals
  • All US shipments of agricultural products banned 
  • Polish fishing rights in US waters suspended, as were landing rights to Polish airline in US]
  • Later in '81 US withdraws Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trade status from Poland
  • USA blocked Poland from aid from the IMF
  • USA went much further than W European states in response
  • US suspended sales of oil and gas technology to the USSR (why did you let it get so bad?)
  • Hardliners in Reagan administration had been advocating policies that would place SU economy under further pressure
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Soviet gas pipeline 1982

  • Sales of equipment & technology for constructing a gas pipeline into W Europe were banned
  • Ban also included sale of US tech made in W Europe under US licence
  • Pipeline was intended to supply about 20% of participating countries' gas needs
  • Project increased employment at a time when it was low (8% in Germany)
  • USA tried to justify its actions in terms of European security - relying on SU for gas made countries vulnerable to pressure in the forms of threats to cut off supply
  • Some Europeans concluded the US actions were meant to undermine European Detente as pipeline was a major economic link between East & West
  • US feared its influence over Western European policy towards the SU would be undermined if this link remained
  • Further fuelled Europe's growing doubts about the benefits of its relationship with the USA while such policies were in place
  • European states strongly rejected what they saw as American attempts to control them - this dispute came to a head when the USA announced it would empose sanctions on any European firm defying its embargo against the SU
  • Late '82 - trade sanctions withdrawn in return for an agreement that no new gas contracts would be agreed with the SU
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Libya 1986

  • USA bombed military targets - Libya's leader (Colonel Quaddafi) one of the targets
  • Reagan said early on he would aim to defeat terrorism - evidence had been mounting since '81 that Libya was a source of this international terrorism
  • All political & economic ties betwen the USA & Libya were severed in 1981
  • Libya had been linked with bombings at airports in Rome & Vienna in 1985 & it was terrorist action against a nightclub in Berlin in 1986 that triggered the US bombing campaign
  • Attack facilitated by Britain - air force bases in Britain used to launch the attacks
  • Widespread opposition throughout Europe - France & Spain refused to allow US air craft to fly through their air space on their way to Libya
  • Europe believed the attacks would generate more terrorism & much of it would be focused on Europe, particularly countries that had supported the US
  • Europe favoured other methods of reducing terrorism & a more united & coordinated approach to anti-terrorist actions within Europe itself
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Reagan - Thatcher relationship

  • 20th January 1981 - Reagan inaugurated as President - British PM Thatcher sent a letter of congratulation
  • Thatcher visited Reagan in February 1981 & began what was seen as a honeymoon period in Anglo-American relations - no question that Britain would be anything other than a friend of the US whilst their current leaders were in power
  • June 1982 - Reagan visits Britain - in a speech delivered to Houses of Parliament he presented an attack on the SU & called for a 'crusade for freedom' - targeted at the SU
  • Thatcher also convinced the Cold War had gone on too long & the SU had been propped up by the effects of Detente
  • Some friction between Britain & the US (Poland & Soviet Gas Pipeline) - but on the whole, Britain was an ally of the US
  • Thatcher allowed the US to launch F-111 bombers against Libya in 1986 - rewarded when the US allowed Britain to extradite for trial in NI suspected IRA terrorists taking refuge in the US
  • Thatcher less willing to support SDI
  • Thatcher repeatedly voiced concerns that W Europe would be defenceless without US nuclear force that would be brought about by SDI
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