Throughout the Cold War, two of the United States’ most prominent presidents – Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan – played pivotal roles in setting the tone for American foreign policy. By asserting U.S. power both internationally and domestically, each president left an indelible mark on global affairs while using a decidedly different approach to combatting the Soviet Union’s growing influence.
When Nixon took office in 1969, he was presented with a dramatically changed international landscape due largely to his predecessor Lyndon B Johnson’s increasingly assertive foreign policy. To maintain its hegemony during this volatile period, Nixon leveraged his diplomatic skills by introducing several new approaches to traditional foreign policies that involved engaging rival nations on various levels without sacrificing U.S interests or security (Ostermann & Friedberg). This strategy of “strategic restraint” is best exemplified by Nixon’s initiative to normalize relations with China in 1972, which included establishing diplomatic ties as well as ending America’s trade embargo (Ostermann & Friedberg). Establishing such close ties between these two ideologically opposed superpowers represented a major shift from previous decades when such contact was unthinkable and greatly reduced potential tensions between them (Ostermann & Friedberg).
Discuss Presidents Nixon and Reagan as Cold Warriors.
In contrast to Nixon’s moderate approach, Reagan made it clear from day one that he would not be content with simply managing East- West relations but rather sought an aggressive stance towards challenging Soviet expansionism at every turn (Reagan Foundation). His signature hardline policy was encapsulated by Reagan’s 1983 speech at Westminster Palace where he declared: “The march of freedom and democracy … will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history” (Reagan Foundation). This stance against communist aggression manifested itself through a series of political maneuvers aimed at undermining Soviet strength; including championing increased military spending across NATO nations as well as pushing economic sanctions against countries like Libya which had close ties with Moscow (Wahl) . These sorties were complemented by more subtle initiatives such as offering incentives for democratic reforms within Eastern European states while also increasing support for anti-Soviet rebels movements like Solidarity in Poland(Wahl).
Overall Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan remain among the most influential presidents when it comes to shaping postwar policies towards Russia given their divergent approaches towards their common goal; namely stabilizing East -West relations during this tumultuous time period.. While both men may have employed drastically different strategies in achieving this objective ,their accomplishments are equally impactful given their respective contributions in bringing about an end to one of modern history’s longest conflicts .