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However, Gorbachev's radical reforms were the most crucial as they all made it easier to attack the Soviet machine and bring it down by those who resented it, such as Lech Walsea in Poland.For a British professor with more than a passing interest in US foreign policy and the role of the United States in ending the Cold War, it is indeed fascinating to observe how deeply divided opinion still remains over the part played in the making of 1989 by one very special American: President Ronald Reagan.
The Cold War ended as a result of internal factors such as Gorbachev's reforms, the weak economy of the USSR and the Satellite States breaking away from the USSR, and external factors such as US-Soviet diplomacy, and various treaties being signed that limited arms.
The problem was that "a disproportionate share of the wealth went to non-productive military budgets, or disappeared in the floundering economies” Competing with the 'supply side' Reaganomics which saw the USA spending up to 5% of its GDP on weapons, meant the USSR had to spend 50% of its GDP on weapon to keep up in the arms race This was not possible and the economy collapsed. A major problem was the lack of technology in areas such as farming that led to the USSR, with the largest tillable land, being unable to feed its people.
First, what are the main points in favor of the thesis that Reagan, or at least Reagan’s policies, “won” the Cold War?
Second, why has there been so much resistance to this thesis—and not only amongst LSE students?
But in early 2011 Reagan did: forty-eight pages of it from the cover title—“Reagan: An American Icon”—through the back page where we find out that it was no less a corporation than General Electric (a company for which Reagan worked as spokesman between 19) that had in fact sponsored that very important “Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration.” Reagan, I suspect, would not have been dismayed.
Indeed, according to one account, he later admitted that working for GE was “the second most important eight-year job” he ever had!It could be argued when comparing the USSR to a human living standard index it would show it as being a third world country.The breakaway of some satellite states form the USSR was a substantial factor in ending the Cold War.He was so certain, in fact, that he even abandoned the niceties of nearly forty years of diplomatic convention that took it for granted that “containment” was America’s preferred strategy toward the Soviet Union and replaced it with an altogether more aggressive policy that did not merely contest the Communist system more forcefully, but called its legitimacy (indeed its very survivability) into question. The USSR, he opined in 1982 before the British Parliament, did not represent the wave of the future.On the contrary, it was, he insisted, condemned like all totalitarian systems to that proverbial “ash can” of history. Marx was right—there was a crisis unfolding—except it was not happening in the capitalist West, according to Reagan, but rather in the communist East.America’s European allies were mired down in a politically bruising effort to deploy a new class of missiles at home.And, as many felt at the time, the United States stood on the cusp between one highly debilitating decade (Reagan later called the 1970s a “decade of neglect”) and another whose prospects looked anything but bright.Nor was Reagan content just to point out what was wrong with planning—though he did so in some detail.A few months later he spoke of the USSR in almost religious terms.Neo-realism failed to predict the end of the Cold War because it focused on 'high economies' and ignored economic and social reasons which were key in why the Cold War ended.This led to Constructivism becoming a main school of thought in International Relations In judgement, it was a mixture of American pressure, Soviet economic ruin, the breakup of the satellite states and the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the end of the Cold War.