Ronald Reagan's Role in Ending the Cold War Essay

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In the minds of many Americans Ronald Reagan is the president that ended the Cold War, but is this view accurate? They claim Reagan's unprecedented military spending forced the Soviets to crumble. However, many critics of the president's outspending theory claim that the Russian economy would have imploded without such spending, and a military buildup of that kind did nothing but delay peace. Although, Reagan's willingness to negotiate was a clear factor in ending the Cold War, his aggressive arms race may have done more to forestall peace than abet it. The ascendance of Mikhail Gorbachev to power, the stagnating economy of Russia, and the personal friendship forged between Gorbachev and Reagan were the clear factors that contributed to …show more content…
What would happen if the cash stopped flowing to the defense industry giants? Well, we will never know because since the Reagan Era, the United States government has never stopped pouring billions into the defense industry, and today spends almost a quarter of its annual budget on defense. On the other hand, Reagan supporters will contend that this sent a message to the Soviets that they would be hard-pressed to compete and that it had a psychological impact on the Russians, but it was still not the most effective means of collapsing the Soviet Empire. Reagan's infamous aggressive, but to-the-point rhetoric was both a positive and a negative in bringing about the demise of the Soviet Union. Combined with the massive arms race that Reagan had ignited (with the United States doing most of the racing), the president's harsh words scared Russian leaders of an eminent attack. Constantly referring to the USSR as an "evil empire," was somewhat counterproductive. But Reagan's challenging rhetoric served mostly as a positive factor in ending the Cold War. He was not one to beat around the bush, and demanded results. Perhaps his most famous line was when he went to Berlin and commanded, " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Reagan also new that only taking the hard-line approach would not succeed in bringing about peace and he was willing to tone down the brashness of his remarks in return for results. This is most evident in his summit meetings