The Reagan Reversal
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The Reagan Reversal : Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War

3.63 (11 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

It is often assumed that Ronald Reagan's administration was reactive in bringing about the end of the Cold War, that it was Mikhail Gorbachev's ""new thinking"" and congenial personality that led the administration to abandon its hard-line approach toward Moscow. In this study, the author demonstrates that President Reagan actually began seeking a rapprochement with the Kremlin fifteen months before Gorbachev even took office. She shows that Reagan, known for his long-standing antipathy toward communism, suddenly began calling for ""dialogue, cooperation and understanding"" between the superpowers. What caused such a reversal in policy? Fischer considers three explanations for the reversal. First, it was an election year and public opinion had shifted, thus forcing the administration to become more moderate. Second, new personnel, namely Secretary of State George Schultz and National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, took control of US policy and made changes more in line with their personal views. Third, Reagan himself may have redirected US policy out of his fear of nuclear war. This last option is the explanation Fischer defends as most significant. In the fall of 1983, the Kremlin mistook a NATO military exercise for the preliminary stages of a nuclear strike and prepared to retaliate. After this narrowly avoided nuclear exchange, Reagan began to re-examine his views on nuclear war. This hypothesis, explains why the US policy was reversed, the timing of the shift, and the nature of the changes made. This study challenges the conventional wisdom about the president himself and reveals that Reagan was - at times - the driving force behind US-Soviet policy. ""The Reagan Reversal"" should stimulate new controversy among scholars concerning the end of the Cold War.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 226.8g
  • Missouri, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • bibliography, index, tables
  • 0826212875
  • 9780826212870
  • 1,180,983

Review quote

"A well-written and provocative work."--"Choice" ""The Reagan Reversal" should be on the reading list of anyone attempting to understand the dynamics which led to the end of the cold war."--"Virginia Quarterly Review" "Fischer understands the realities of foreign policy and international politics. She has a political sense which enables her to connect domestic and world politics. I found it difficult to put down the book because of the unfolding story she narrates. She is a superb political analyst."-- Kenneth W. Thompson "Fischer understands the realities of foreign policy and international politics. She has a political sense which enables her to connect domestic and world politics. I found it difficult to put down the book because of the unfolding story she narrates. She is a superb political analyst."-- Kenneth W. Thompson "The Reagan Reversal should be on the reading list of anyone attempting to understand the dynamics which led to the end of the cold war."--Virginia Quarterly Review "A well-written and provocative work."--Choice "This book . . . lets fresh air into the stale atmosphere of the presidency of Ronald Reagan. . . . This is not merely a book to be read; it is a book that can be read."--International Journal "Fischer understands the realities of foreign policy and international politics. She has a political sense which enables her to connect domestic and world politics. I found it difficult to put down the book because of the unfolding story she narrates. She is a superb political analyst." Kenneth W. Thompson" ""The Reagan Reversal" should be on the reading list of anyone attempting to understand the dynamics which led to the end of the cold war." "Virginia Quarterly Review"" "A well-written and provocative work." "Choice"" "This book . . . lets fresh air into the stale atmosphere of the presidency of Ronald Reagan. . . . This is not merely a book to be read; it is a book that can be read." "International Journal"" "A well-written and provocative work."--"Choice"
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About Beth A. Fischer

Beth A. Fischer is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto and is coauthor of The Constitution and American Foreign Policy.
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Rating details

11 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 18% (2)
4 36% (4)
3 36% (4)
2 9% (1)
1 0% (0)
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