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Donald Trump the Republican candidate

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The Republican Party has formally nominated Donald Trump as its candidate for the presidency of the United States, capping a roller-coaster campaign that saw the billionaire tycoon defeat 16 White House rivals. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has officially sealed the Republican candidate to fight for US presidency after months of acrimonious campaigning.

In fact, the billionaire had been expected to cruise past the 1,237 delegates needed on Tuesday to seal the deal on the first ballot. Trump was put over the top by his home state of New York. “It is something I’ll never ever forget,” Trump said on a video feed from New York. “Together we have achieved historic results with the largest vote total in the history of the Republican Party. This is a movement, but we have to go all the way.” His son Donald Trump, Jr., cast the votes for the New York delegation that put the billionaire businessman over the top of the 1,237 delegates he needed to clinch the nomination, as any talk of disruptive protest votes or walkouts dissipated. Donald Trump Jr told delegates at the Republican National Convention, which erupted in cheers and applause. “Congratulations, Dad. We love you,” he said. Now Trump will face Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton former foreign minister of USA and wife of former president Bill Clinton. Donald Jr. was tearing up when he told Bash that putting his father over the top was “one of the more surreal moments of my life other perhaps than the birth of my children. To be able to do that is historic, it’s awesome.” “It’s pretty real.”

Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, was quick to respond after the vote with a challenge thrown to him: “Donald Trump just became the Republican nominee. Chip in now to make sure he never steps foot in the Oval Office”.

The Republican candidate Donald Trump has appeared on screen at the Republican National Convention, telling delegates he is “so proud” to be their nominee for president and vowing to “go all the way” and win the White House in the November election. “This is a movement. But we have to go all the way. I am so proud to be your nominee for president,” he told the delegates. The focus was the economy, with many calls for lower taxes and less government interference, as per the conservative way. However, there was again a clear anti-Clinton theme today, perhaps stronger than yesterday, with NJ governor Chris Christie going pretty hard on the Democratic nominee. He said she was guilty of messing up in her responses to various international incidents.

Trump promised to win the election in November, create jobs, strengthen the military, safeguard US borders and “restore law and order”. The real estate mogul won a thumping victory in a series of state-wide party elections, garnering more than 13 million votes – the most of any Republican nominee ever. The conventions are designed to champion the party candidate, rally the grassroots, and propel the party towards November’s presidential election. “Such a great honor to be the Republican Nominee for President of the United States. I will work hard and never let you down! America first!”

Donald Trump, the business magnet whose outsider campaign has both galvanized millions of voters and divided the Republican Party, is the 2016 GOP presidential nominee.

The New Yorker’s embrace by the Republican National Convention marks a remarkable moment in US political history and validates a campaign that shattered precedent, defied experts and usurped the GOP establishment.

Anti-Trump forces on the floor held out for a final miracle on Tuesday after seeking to convince delegates that their votes were not bound and that they could vote their conscience, but it never came to fruition.

It has been a stunning rise for a man most thought would never make it this far. “After all the predications that he could never do it – the public wouldn’t want someone with no legislative experience, no government experience – they’ve opted for a man who has made his name first of all in business and latterly as a reality TV show host,” reported Al Jazeera. “He will now be on top of the Republican ticket come November.”

An effort to place the name of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for nomination fizzled late Tuesday afternoon. The effort had no chance of success since most of the delegates won by Trump in his GOP nominating victory were bound to vote for him in the roll call under the rules of the Republican primary process. Cruz’s inner circle had adamantly opposed any attempt to involve him in last minute convention floor intrigue, a senior adviser to the Texas senator told CNN. A rebellion would have emphasized the divides in the GOP torn open by Trump’s campaign, which was given little chance of success when he descended a golden escalator in Trump Tower with his wife Melania to set his sights on the White House last year.

An instrumental remix of Frank Sinatra’s hit New York, New York boomed into the arena after the announcement, as delighted delegates swayed in time with the music and waved their arms in the air.

Trump praised his pick as an “incredible man” who would make “a great vice president”.

The state-by-state vote to put forward Trump’s nomination took place a day after opponents staged a failed attempt to force a vote opposing his candidacy and after a speech by his wife, Melania, drew accusations of plagiarism. “It’s unbelievable. It’s surreal. I’m so proud of my father. I’m so proud. We all are,” Trump’s eldest daughter and businesswoman Ivanka, often described as his secret weapon, told CNN.

Smooth vote

The conventions are designed to champion the party candidate, rally the grassroots, and propel the party towards November’s presidential election.

Trump’s name was put into the nomination by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, an early supporter of the businessman, and was seconded by fellow early supporters New York Rep. Chris Collins and South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster. “We have gotten off course and the American people know it,” Sessions said in his speech, warning that crime is rising, terrorist attacks are proliferating, and Congress is deadlocked, arguing that Trump is the only answer. “The American voters heard his message and they rewarded his courage and his leadership with a huge victory in our primaries,” Sessions said, drawing raucous cheers from Trump fans on the convention floor. “He loves his country and he is determined to see it be a winner again,” Sessions said. “Donald Trump is the singular leader that can get this country back on track. He has the strength, the courage the will to get it done.”

Trump’s roll call will be followed by the nomination and vote for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as the vice presidential nominee. Tuesday’s vote passed more smoothly than events on the convention floor Monday when holdouts tried to embarrass Trump by initiating a fight over rules of the gathering.

Trump’s team monitored delegates to quell any kind of rebellion, with a team of whips on the floor and eyes in the sky. The Trump delegate brain trust was holed up in a skybox inside the convention center where they tracked the movement of delegates as the roll was called. Trump whips wore neon green hats to make it easier for them to spot.

Trump carried 36 states and won 13.4 million votes on his way to the GOP nomination, but he took a smaller percentage of primary and caucus votes than Romney in 2012 or Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2008. Yet for all Mr. Romney’s business orientation and Mr. McCain’s maverick streak, neither possessed the potential, ability or inclination to change the Republican Party.

Clinton under attack

A wealthy New York real estate developer and a reality TV celebrity, the 70-year-old was a long shot when he entered the race for the Republican nomination more than a year ago, having never been elected to office. He in fact clinched the nomination nearly two months ago. But relentless controversy over his campaign rhetoric and a simmering movement by anti-Trump delegates to deny him the nomination made it less than a foregone conclusion.

Nonetheless, speaker after speaker at the four-day convention in Cleveland took aim at his rival, Mrs. Clinton, presenting her as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans and the inheritor of President Barack Obama’s “oppressive” government pursuing arrogant foreign policy.

Republican delegates savaged Clinton at the convention, breaking into angry chants of “lock her up” and “guilty” as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie accused her of wrongdoing and numerous foreign policy failures, including on Libya, Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Christie, himself a former federal prosecutor, told the convention as he laid out a case against Clinton and “her selfish, awful judgment…We are going to present the facts to you. You, tonight, sitting as a jury of her peers in this hall and in your living rooms around our nation,” he said.

Outlining what he called “the facts”, Christie slated Clinton’s record as US secretary of state, accusing her of being responsible for chaos and violence engulfing the Middle East and elsewhere, and asking whether she is “guilty or not guilty?” “In Syria, imagine this, she called President Assad ‘a reformer.’ There are now 400,000 dead. Think about that: 400,000 dead. So we must ask this question: As an awful judge of the character of a dictator and butcher in the Middle East, is she guilty or not guilty?” “Guilty,” the crowd chanted in reply. “America and the world are measurably less safe because of the Iran deal Hillary helped cut. An inept negotiator of the worst nuclear arms deal in American history, guilty or not guilty?” he bellowed. “Guilty,” the crowd replied.

In short, Hillary Clinton does not have any positive opinion in the public. Her actions and rhetoric are unimpressive. Trump stands tall. Trump speaks of making America great and is in the process of remaking the GOP, possesses all three, and he takes them into a race essential for the Republican Party, which has been shut out of the White House for eight years.

Observation

After the presidential vote, the convention by voice vote nominated Indiana Governor Mike Pence, 57, Trump’s choice for his vice presidential running mate.

Donald Trump, who has greater chance to be the next president of USA than his opponent Clinton, has secured the nomination of the Republican Party to become the next US president after months of controversial campaigning that has divided the American right of the political spectrum, leading to intense debate on future of US foreign policy. Trump was expected to formally accept the nomination in a speech on Thursday, before facing off against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 8 election battle. Mrs Clinton, 68, is due to be formally nominated at the Democratic convention next week in Philadelphia.

Many Americans oppose Trump’s ascension in US politics, lambasting his controversial campaign statements, including calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers whom he would deport if elected president. He has also called for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. Later he revised much of his harsh rhetoric meant essentially to garner the votes of those who hate Islam.

General scenario is that Donald J. Trump wins in November. But then the Tea Party hardliners would become stronger. If Trump becomes president, he may play the role of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 and Ronald Reagan in 1980, both of whom transformed the demographic profile of their respective parties.

Donald J. Trump may be harsh, but he is being hailed as a remarkable, formidable and possibly transformative Republican presidential nominee. He has the potential to change everything — the presidency, the way aspiring nominees campaign for the job and the Republican Party itself, which this year is celebrating its 160th birthday. Many Republicans swear with Trump brand of politics, the party is going through creative change.

Establishment Republicans and Tea Party conservatives have little in common besides their contempt, part substantive and part stylistic, for Mr. Trump’s brand of politics. Neither group has any affinity for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, but neither group has a stake in Trump prevailing.

While Trump is hawkish, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, Trump’s running mate, is such a balm to the party. Trump partisans like him because their candidate covered him with stardust, the regulars because he has convent. The Pence selection is far more important for the internal politics of the Republican Party than for its external effect. Only one vice-presidential selection since 1988, Sen. Albert Gore of Tennessee, prompted as much as a third of the public to say it was more likely to support a party ticket.

A split personality, Trump is one of those rare presidential nominees who have the potential of winning the White House but also of being defeated decisively. A defeat would warn the Republicans away from nominating a candidate like Trump again. A victory would remold the party in . Trump’s image — and the long-term effect of that cannot be predicted.

Democratic candidate Hillary is now facing a very serious and direct threat from Trump on whom she and her party and incumbent president Obama had high hopes because of his hawkish nature, arrogant character and faulty rhetoric. However, he, unlike Obama and “hopeful” Hillary, clearly said he would review the US-Israel relations and view issue from a neutral viewpoint. This has made a sea change in US policy.

Hillary Clinton is going pursue the same imperialist war agenda of Bush and Obama along with pro-Israel policy encouraging the Zionist criminal regime to advance its expansionist agenda inside Palestine along with genocides of Palestinians, besieged by Israel-Egyptian terror blockades , .

But Trump is likely to revise most, if not all, policies of both Bush and Obama. Thus in order to advance US interests globally if aggressively the republican president is better suited than Hillary Clinton. Unlike Obama, Trump may not obey the Neocons. He has his own ideas.

The Republican-Democratic battle for presidency is yet to begin, Will Trump let Clinton climb the sympathy ladder as a female presidential candidate as she fought the fellow democrat Sanders?

Americas

Trump Lost, Biden Won. Is Joe Biden’s presidency a signal towards Obama’s America?

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image source: obamalibrary.gov

Greek statesmen, Pericles once said, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean the politics won’t take interest in you”. The same is the case of United States politics which knowingly or unknowingly has an impact on world politics. That is why the result of the US elections are of great interest to states across the world. Although, for the United States, the goal is to maintain American primacy, to see a world in which the United States can use its predominant power to get its way, regardless of what others want. However, it is a fact that the political landscape of the United States has mostly been dominated by two parties, Republicans and Democrats, who not only differ in their ideas, policies, priorities but also in their approaches towards addressing the key issues facing the country. 

Comparing the two, we see the Republicans are more conservative in their approach as compared to the liberal Democrats. Therefore, the recent election in the US (2020), with Biden (Democrat) won and trump (Republican) lost is also a signal towards a changed approach in many issue areas The focus is to see, whether the new President, Joe Biden who remained the 47th vice president during Obama’s administration for eight long years is going to follow the same lines as Barack Obama and whether he going to reverse the policies of Donald Trump?

Looking at first the climate change issues, President Joe Biden’s plans to tackle  it seems more ambitious than any of the US presidential candidates so far. Biden during his presidential campaign proposed $2trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in transportation, electricity and building sectors. His public health and environment platform planned the establishment of a climate and environmental justice division. He further intends to make the US electricity production carbon-free by 2035 with achieving net-zero emissions by middle of the century. Apart from all these, the most noticeable is President Joe Biden’s promise to reverse Trump’s plan to exit from the Paris climate agreement that was signed back in 2016 under Obama’s administration. 

As Joe Biden in response to the former President, Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement on 4th-Nov 2020, tweeted “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.” He further stated“Reversing the decision would be one of my first acts as president”. This is exactly what happened as Joe Biden’s first act in the Oval Office was his signing an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement.  Thus, while Trump has taken a strident anti-climate approach, President Joe Biden decision shows his intentions to bring back the policies of Obama towards climate change. 

Considering the health sector, we again find difference in approaches of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, yet similarity between Biden and Obama. As, President Joe Biden in his presidential campaign speech in Lancaster on June 25, 2020 defended the first American healthcare law also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare that was initiated by Obama’s administration. He stated, “I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to helping people with pre-existing conditions, it delivered vital coverage for 20 million Americans who did not have health insurance”. This depicts President Joe Biden’s plans to restore Obama’s health care policies. 

America is known as the land for all, a land of cultural diversity, but we have seen with Donald Trump coming to power, the immigration rules became very strict as he imposed restrictions on foreigner’s visits to the US. An example of this is Trump’s first Muslim travel ban announced on January 27, 2017, whereby five Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, were banned from traveling to the United States. Trump stated, the act is needed for national security and to save the country from terrorism. However, this discriminatory act was opposed by ex-President Obama, who in 2016, stated: “America was a country founded on religious freedom. We don’t have religious tests here”. 

This is what President Joe Biden also believes in, as he called Trump’s actions on immigration a pitiless assault on American values. On November 8, 2020 during the presidential campaign, he said,“My administration will look like America with Muslim Americans serving at every level,” and “on my first day in office I’ll end Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban.”So, President Joe Biden did what he said, as on his first day in office he signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations, including orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and end the Muslim ban

Then racism that increased in the US under former President Donald Trump is now challenged by President Joe Biden as he came up with a very different idea just like Barack Obama’s notion of “A more perfect Union”. Example of which is Kamala Harris, who became the first black Asian America woman vice-president in American history. More can be seen by Joe Biden giving credit to African Americans for helping him win the election. So, his presidency is seen as a sign of hope to end racism in the country. 

Moving further, we know globalization has cut the long-distance short, it has made countries more interconnected in all aspects, especially economic. To name a champion of globalization, obviously no other than the USA comes into the mind of every single person. Under the administration of Obama, we have seen the US convening the G-20 summit, introduced macro-economic policies, signed Trans pacific partnership, and much more. However, the question is, whether the US is going to retain this all under Joe Biden’s presidency? What would be his approach towards the ongoing US-China trade war? 

President Joe Biden from the very start has focused on rebuilding the domestic economy, as the slogan ‘Build Back Better’. Therefore, he clearly stated that the US will not enter any international trade deals unless the domestic concerns of labor and the environment are fully addressed. Moreover, looking at the US-China trade war, which started back in 2018 when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Chinese goods worth more than $360bn, we don’t find much difference except the tactics. As Joe Biden too in his presidential campaign accused China of violating international trade rules, subsidizing its companies, and stealing U.S. intellectual property. He promised to continue with Trump’s heavy tariffs on Chinese imports, but while Trump did this all unilaterally, Biden would continue it together with the allies.

On issues related to national security, we again find President Joe Biden’s approach a bit different from that of Donald Trump. Considering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or p5+1 deal that was signed between Islamic Republic of Iran and 5 permanent members of UNSC along with Germany. It imposed several restrictions on Iran in exchange for sanction reliefs and was achieved by Obama’s administration under his “constructive engagement policy“in 2015 But Trump smashed it by calling it a historical blunder and in 2018 under his “Maximum pressure policy” pulled the USA out of the deal and reinstated sanctions. Iran too after the withdrawal of US from JCPOA and upon Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) commander Qasim Sulemani killing by the US airstrike announced that it no longer adheres to the 2015 Nuclear Deal. 

Now, the hope is President Joe Biden, as he stated in his presidential campaign that the “maximum pressure” policy has failed, emphasizing that it led to a significant escalation in tensions, and that Iran is now closer to a nuclear weapon than it was when Trump came to office. Therefore, he pledged to rejoin the nuclear accord if Iran returns to strict compliance. Here again it shows President Joe Biden’s intention to follow Obama’s approach of constructive engagement towards Iran. 

When it comes to Afghanistan, Trump decided to end the endless war in Afghanistan by having a peace agreement with the Afghan Taliban, according to which the US will withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan. However, Joe Biden has not taken any clear decision on it yet. But he is under pressure as the Taliban wants the new president to follow the same peace accord achieved by the Trump administration. Yet, the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani has requested President Joe Biden to rethink the Afghan peace deal. Therefore, it is too early to say what Biden would do. 

To sum up, the 78 years old Joe Biden who has smashed the election records by securing more votes than any presidential candidate in the history of United States elections, he has not only raised high expectations, but there are numerous challenges on his way as well. This is because his policies would now be a center of focus for many. In most of the issue areas, we see President Joe Biden reversing the policies of Donald Trump and following the path of Obama’s Administration. Something which he promised during his presidential campaign as he said to take the country on a very different path from what it has been in the past four years under former President Donald Trump’s administration. However, it’s just the start of a new journey for America and the future decisions by President Joe Biden will uncover a lot more

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How Uncle Sam views the world by 2040

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How the US is seeing the future world is revealed in a recent report, Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World, published by the National Intelligence Council of the US. This report of political, social and economic estimates is prepared through an integrated process for every incoming President of the USA. For Biden, the report was published in March this year. The world, its politics, economics and societies, is going to change under the forces stemmed in changes in demographic modalities, environmental fluctuations, economic preferences and technological transformations. These together are going to impact on societies, states and international systems which would end in sketching five different futures of the world. Uncle Sam seems to be shaking the world, and this time even more intensely.

Starting off how the forces will interact and intersect, it all begins with the changes in demographics. The developed economies are aging bringing a global slow economic growth whereas the contracting working age will weigh on the economies of these developed countries as Japan and South Korea will reach the median age of 53 and Europe the median age of 47 by 2040. On the other side, in developing countries the converse will be happening as Sub Saharan Africa will reach median age of less than 15 years whereas Pakistan, Egypt and Afghanistan will reach the median age of 30 years. This seems opportunity but these economies will be challenged to meet the demands of the growing working age populace in their economies with the slow global economic growth remaining constant dragging the societies into  social volatilities while testing the performances of states too.

The forces of environment will leave no country unaffected especially the developing countries that lack in adaptations skills and technologies. The occurrence of heat waves, melting of Arctic, land degradation, water misuses, food insecurity, loss of biodiversity, rising sea levels and pollution will erode the ‘human security’ while affecting states and societies, politics and economics coequally. For curtailing environmental threats, countries may apply geoengineering by interacting with the natural system of earth to counteract threats of climate change like releasing the sun’s energy back into space through Solar Radiations Management or Stratospheric Aerosol Injection spraying to cause global dimming. The developed countries especially US and China will see suspicions on sincerely working on environmental threats as this would require economic sacrifices.

In the sphere of Economics, the national debt management will push countries to avoid funding on the issues of environment as they will already be pressed hard for matching the needs of the growing demands of their elderly and younger populations alike. Covid 19 has already left indelible imprints on the economies of the world especially the developing countries two fifths of which, according to 2019 IMF assessment, were at debt distress. Automation and rapidly growing AI will reduce 9 percent global jobs and transform one third by 2040 while at the same time creating massive new technology and automation stemmed jobs which will test the states adaptability to manoeuvring technology. This will have disproportionate effect across the countries and regions. The element of Superstar firms, the new multinationals, will critically affect world economies and make definitive inroads in the affairs of politics.

The technological forces will surpass all other forces in intensity especially with the significant rise of AI and Biotechnology. The US-China rivalry in this sphere will be rampant. AI will disrupt global current workforce while also creating new dimensions of labor compelling the countries to remodel their working force structures. The application of AI in warfare will be on the rise and will be adding a new element to the geopolitical dynamics. AI is well positioned to fly and reach space which will turn the space diplomacy in new form and bring the two global rivals face to face. AI will siphon out the human element of emotions in making decisions having social effects.

As these forces interact, world will see five possible scenarios in which the first three are the prominent.

In the first scenario, it will the US and allies led democracy which will manipulate the world. Being democratic, there will be more space for innovation and the rise of technology with robust public private partnerships will prosperously affect economic growth of the countries. This will enable the states to be responsive to their people’s needs while the same time making adaptations unlike in the repressive regimes of Russian and China whose policies will let them on steady decline.

In the second scenario, it will be China which will be mastering the world arena but not exactly acting like leading it due to its inherent repressive dynamics. This will happen on account of failure of international organizations with least interest paid to them by the major powers. The factors of high national debt, the costs of caring for aging populations, and hazardous environmental occurrences will havoc states’ budgets and keep them away from spending on education, infrastructure, and scientific research. In these circumstances due to the integrally centralist and controlled Chinese centralism will help China gain global attention through its global infrastructure packages and other initiatives. Many countries will thus tilt to the Chinese sidelines.

In the third effectual scenario, it will be a contested coexistence of US and China which will emerge. This will be based on shared economic and growth preferences and agreements.

Much of what is stated in the report must be happening in the world ahead but much of what is left unstated is more critical. Summed up, there will be more instability, pandemics, economic recessions, state conflicts and disorders in the five different worlds that lay ahead.

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Understanding Ronald Regan’s approach to the Cold War

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President and Mrs. Reagan at the 1981 inauguration parade. Image source: Wikipedia

President Ronald Reagan’s ascendency in the political hierarchy of the United States, ending in him becoming the President is often regarded as a triumphant victory by American conservatives. His conception of the world order, domestic and international relations show a reflection of a conservative understanding of issues. His legacy as president remains as having effectively brought down the Soviet Union and the threat of Communism. His policies towards the Soviet Union have a transformative nature, as his understanding and approach to US-Soviet relations changed radically after his first term. Though being a staunch Anti-communist and regarding the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”, he sought to ensure that America and its idea of a “Free World” prevailed and later on, that the two most significant military powers would reach common ground in order to make peace more sustainable.

In studying his approach to tackling the Soviet threat, it’s important to first understand the correlation between the policies adopted by previous administrations and Reagan’s own pursuit of defeating the Communist threat which at the height of the Cold War, threatened to spill into a full-scale conflict between the two regional hegemons. Previous administrations had traditionally approached the threat posed by the Soviet Union with a policy of preventing the collapse of European allies at the hands of the Soviet Union. This included stymieing the spread of Communism across the world and the consistent development of Ballistic missiles in order to deter a Soviet military advance into Europe by providing a “nuclear umbrella” to European Allies.  Before the Reagan administration this policy was in large part accepted as the means through which the Soviet threat could be effectively challenged. President Reagan followed a similar policy by pursuing aggressive military buildup and focusing on development of a vast range of ballistic missile platforms which would act as a comprehensive deterrent in preventing the Soviet decision-making elite to pursue a path unacceptable to US strategists (ARBATOV 2019). Being disillusioned with the far left, his opinions and campaign slogans had strong ideological underpinnings which would later on influence his dealings with the Soviet Union.

 The changes in Reagan’s policy weren’t without the influence of another very important personality, Mikhail Gorbachev. The Soviet leader’s role in Reagan’s change in policy from antagonism to rapprochement is widely claimed by academic scholars as a major contributing factor for the rethink in Reagans approach to Communist Soviet Union. Gorbachev’s revolutionary approach to International Relations was followed by America’s “reactionary response” in the shape of pursuance of arms control and softening of political rhetoric (Fischer 1997). Ronald Reagan second term in office was marked by a change in his policy of pursuing aggressive development of arms and making space-based missile defense systems having the capability of destroying incoming Soviet missiles. The Strategic Defense Initiative was seen by many in the Soviet ranks as a dangerous escalation of arms race which had the potential of transforming into military conflict. (Britannica, T.Editors of Encyclopaedia 2021). Seeing and acknowledging Gorbachev’s new approach as “revolutionary” President Reagan sought to rely on an intense sustained engagement with the Soviet leader in order to achieve what his previous approach had failed to do (Talbott 2004).

Mikhail Gorbachev’s approach to the subject of foreign policy was based on establishing relations with the west and a recalibration of ties with the United States. At the time of the Cold War a large part of the effort by the two nations was to prevent the other state from gaining a definitive edge in the area of technology, military and nuclear weapons. Apart from the ideological conflict the Cold War witnessed many states in the world becoming the conflict grounds in which the US and USSR sought to establish their control and influence. Mikhail Gorbachev’s arrival into the political spectrum and pursuing a policy of peace and prevention of creation of arms was in large part influenced by the domestic environment of his country. The Soviet Union after Brezhnev had a weakened economy due to extensive spending building and maintaining large military industries and sophisticated missile delivery and defense systems. The Russian political elite largely dominated by Russians. Gorbachev’s “restructuring” in order to improve the economic conditions of the state was also followed by a rethink at the foreign policy front. In his famous interview at Harvard University he described how the conditions of repression, arrests and suppression of critical voices against the state were silenced. This led to perestroika which gained support from the Russian masses. (The Harvard Gazette 2004).

The question as to the extent to which the effect of President Reagan and Gorbachev’s relationship caused “reversal” of US foreign policy with regards to the Soviet Union should be considered through different metrics. Firstly it’s important to study how the “Reagan doctrine” which formulated the plan of tackling soviet expansionism into countries across the globe evolved during the time of Reagan’s Presidential terms. Ronald Reagan’s doctrine was a shift from previous administrations approach to the Soviet threat. In what was previously termed as “containment” of Soviet expansionism, Reagan’s approach constituted of a “roll back” of Soviet expansionist forces across the world. From “Afghanistan to Nicaragua” Reagan’s approach was an active effort to subdue Soviet expansionist forces seeking to gain a foothold in important areas such as South Asia and Central Americas. (US Department of State archive 2001). While toning down the harsh rhetoric and signing important arms control treaties, US efforts to prevent Soviet expansionism continued despite a thaw in relations and a warm cordial relationship between the two world leaders. 

Reagan’s original agenda of an aggressive military buildup and development of ballistic missiles saw a reversal during his second term. Both leaders sought to control the arms race and roll back on the creation of such weapons. The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT-1) and other similar treaties was a ‘break away’ from Reagan’s original doctrinal approach. Gorbachev’s willingness to engage in talks was what initiated this change. What is also interesting to note is that despite belonging to radically different ideologies, both leaders shared a similar view on important matters. This is significant as both leaders expressed the desire to regulate arms control and to promote peace.

Another important element is the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which saw an all-out Soviet effort to establish control over the region and reach the warm waters of the Arabian sea. The United States, eying an opportunity and realizing the threat of a possible soviet hold of South Asia, actively supported the Afghan Mujahedeen. Through Pakistan, the US pivotal role resulted in the Soviet forces failing to defeat the guerrilla forces despite huge numbers of troops and highly sophisticated weapon systems. This costly conflict was to prove detrimental to Soviet morale and the economy. After having effectively taken over, Gorbachev became heavily involved in restoring the economy and control over the production of arms between the United States and the Soviet Union. Gorbachev sought to move away from previous Soviet leaders doctrines and open diplomatic channels which would result in the final culmination of the Cold War.

President Ronald Reagan’s presidency was marked with a significant contrast in approaches to the Soviet threat. Having become president, his strong ideological standpoints were the driving forces behind his policies. With the Soviet Union, Reagan’s original approach was that of confronting, condemning and a protectionist mindset. Being a vocal proponent of American values of free speech, liberty and democracy his political campaigns to his televised addresses portrayed the Soviet Union as the principals threat to the very principals that America stood for. Like previous administrations, combating soviet expansionism and attaining global hegemony were prized objectives which defined much of US policies during the first term of President Reagan. His second term however saw a ‘shift’ in part of Reagan’s understanding of greater and more pressing issues at hand which demanded attention. Having originally promoted military spending and development of sophisticated missile weapon systems, Reagan’s view changed by the coming of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Both leaders, seeking initially to control production of arms, sought other means to create an environment more conducive for peace. While motivations differed, there was consensus between the two leaders on important matters which made diplomatic summits productive and resulted in many arms treaties. Both leaders established a relationship of trust and warmth which had largely been unseen since the start of the Cold War. These meetings were then followed by confidence building measures and trips to respective capitals which allowed a further thaw in the relations. Despite continued conflict in other states, both leaders relationship saw a significant reversal in the policies of US under the Reagan administration.

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