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Essay/Term paper: President reagan's strategic defense initiative: in relation with the soviet union

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Political Science

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President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative: In Relation With the Soviet

"For the first time humankind has the power to destroy itself." 1 The
nuclear age has changed the world, for the good and the bad. Though the bad, is
far greater than the good. We sometimes ponder to our selves, "what would happen
if we were forced in to a nuclear war ware their are now winners." The way life
would be after such an incident would change life as we know it drastically. In
the event of a nuclear war with the Soviets we would have lost approximately one
hundred and fifty million American lives. 2 The planet would be destroyed to
the extent that even thoughts who survived would have no place to live. No
Government, or persons, can win a nuclear war and as long as their are nuclear
missiles of mass destruction there will always be the risk of someone using them.
Once the first missile is unleashed their is no telling were it would stop.
Our dealings with the former Soviet Union was based on the French word,
detente, that the Russians had defined as a freedom to purchase subversion,
aggression and expansionism any were in the world. 3 The soviets have been, up
until 1990, the U.S's defacto enemies. There goal was too destroy democracy and
imposing communism. 4 This is way it was though to be inevitable for a nuclear
war with the soviets. "The dream of a non nuclear world is a great and notable
one, how ever for the foreseeable future it is unattainable in actuality and
unwise in theory." 5 Because of this harsh the United States is left with a
problem; How can we beet this so called inevitability? The answer is: space
based defense weapons. The program, brought forth by the Reagan administration,
was called the strategic defense Initiative, and some called "Star Wars." 6
Reagan's strategic defense initiative, created in the 80's, was an acceptable
for the U.S; it worked to convince the Soviets not only to reduce there nuclear
arsenal but to halt any chance for a nuclear attack by the Soviets.
" What is the worth of our society as we know it? Right now we hold an
entire population hostage." 7 Ever since the 1960's our main defense against the
soviets has been the MAD policy, Mutual Assured Destruction. Both the United
States and the Soviet Union had enough nuclear weapons at their disposal so that
if one fired at the other the one that was being fired at would fire it's
missiles at the other too. In other words, they would share the same fate.8
Wherever the President goes he carries a small plastic- coated card, and
a military aid is always present. This aid cares a small bag called "the
football," it contains directions for the launching of all our nuclear weapons.
The card carried by the President listed codes confirming that is was indeed him,
the choice to launch was entirely his.9 This should not even be necessary.
"Underneath it all, people don't think there is any hope to avoid a nuclear war,
it has taken away peoples hope."10 That hope was restored in 1983 when President
Reagan announced his commitment to the American people to do what ever it took
to make the SDI fly. For a lot of Americans his commitment to this program was
an alternative to a nuclear holocaust.11 The SDI is a sidelight system that was
to be put in space with large lazier guns attached to it. These lazier would
intercept and destroy nuclear missiles when they emerged from their silos.
Reagan was willing to share this technology with others willing to reduce their
nuclear arsenals. "One day a madman could come along and make the missiles and
black mail all the world. but not if we have a defense a against them." 12 "We
all got together in 1925 and banned the use of poisons gas. But we all kept our
gas masks." 13 Reagan was instrumentally right with this statement. The SDI gave
the United States an opportunity to almost force the world to pay close
attention. If the entire world had the SDI it would make nuclear weapons
obsolete. So what was once "unattainable" yesterday might be, in time to come,
very attainable.
The SDI would end The arms race. Gorbachev "had to know that Americans
military technology was overwhelmingly superior to his." 14 "He also had to Know
that we'(the U.S) Å’could outspend the Soviets on weapons." 15 In 1983 the U.S
spent 34 thousand million on defense technology alone.16 We spent 24 billion
dollars, over a seven year period, on the SDI.17 We have 165 U.S satellites in
orbit right now, each one coasting in excess of one billion each.18
Our economic system, capitalism, is far more superior to the Soviets
system, communism. The proof is that our system our countries system is going
strong, theirs collapsed in 1989 with the fall of communism in eastern Europe.
This is also prop that we did out spend them.
With the deployment of the SDI the Soviets weapons would be no longer a
thereat to the U.S. What leverage they had in the past would die with the SDI.
Their only hope to keep some of the power they had would be to agree to massive
arms reduction, on both sides. Above all it would bring a lasting peace between
our two nations.
The Soviets at first thought our research on the SDI was as an offensive,
first strike capability. This was not the case at all. It was a defense weapon
only. The SDI was not a bargaining chip, opposed to popular belief. Reagan wrote
in his diary in July of 1985, "Made a decision we would not trade away our
program of research SDI for a promise of Soviet reduction in nuclear arms." 19
While the Soviets were "whining" about the research we'd done on the SDI, they
had been conducting similar research for more than twenty years.20 Gorbachev was
adamant that the U.S must cave in on the SDI. 21 Reagan stated that "this will
be a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object." 22) Gorbachev
was not willing to agree to any weapons reductions until we renounced "the
development, Testing and deployment of space-strike weapons," a reference to
SDI.23 Though in late 1988, the U.S and the Soviet Union agreed of a fifty
percent reduction in both their arms, while keeping our research on the SDI.
Before Gorbachev, every Soviet leader had vowed to the pursuit of a
Marxist commitment and world ruled by the communist system; he was the first not
to push Soviet expansionism, the first to agree to destroy nuclear weapons, the
first to suggest a free market and to support open election and freedom of
expression. 24
"The two of us were in a unique situation. Here we were, I said, two men
who had been born in obscure rural hamlets in our respective countries, each of
us poor and from humble beginnings. Now we were the leaders of our countries and
probably the only two men in the world who could bring about World War III.
At the same time, I said, we were possibly the only two men who might be
able to bring peace to the world. I said I thought we owed it to the world to
use the opportunity that had been presented us to work at building the kind of
human trust and confidence in each other that could lead to genuine peace.
Listening to the translation, Gorbachev seemed to nod in agreement."25
Nuclear weapons serve no purpose in tomorrows world. Once nuclear
weapons they power. Today we almost have the technology to destroy them if their
was an attempt to use them. Not only that but the world has come together and
reduced their nuclear capability's. We know that in nuclear war their are no
winners just losers. Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, created in the 80's,
was an acceptable risk for the U.S; it worked to convince the Soviets not only
to reduce their nuclear arsenal but to halt any chance for a nuclear attack.
Gorbachev wrote President Reagan in late 1988: "For the first time in
history, nuclear missiles have been destroyed. Nuclear disarmament is becoming
an established and routine practice.
"In several regions of the world, a process of political settlement of
conflicts and national reconciliation has got under way.
"Our relationship is a dynamic stream, and you and I are working
together to widen it. A stream cannot be slowed down; it can only be blocked or
diverted. But that would not be in our interests. Politics, of course, is the
art of the possible. But it is only by working and maintaining a dynamic
dialogue that we will put into effect what we have made possible, and will make
possible tomorrow what is yet impossible today."26


1.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+

2. Men of the Year, Time- 1983 Highlights (Time : CD-ROM)

3.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

4.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

5.Hodding, Carter, The Reagan Years (New York: George Braziller 1988)

6.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

7.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+

8.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

9.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

10.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+

11.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+

12.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

13.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

14.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

15.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

16.Scott,William B., Major Cultural Change on Tap in Military Space (CD-
ROM: SIRS 1885)

17.Center for Defense Information, A New Cold War Battleground (CD-ROM: SIRS

18.Denny, Jeffrey, Star Struck (CD-ROM: SIRS 1991)

19.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

20.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

21.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

22.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

23.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

24.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

25.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time

26.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time


"Center for Defense Information." A New Cold War Battleground: SIRS.
CD-ROM. Jan./Feb. 1990.

"Denny,Jeffrey." Star Struck: SIRS.
CD-ROM. March/April 1991.

"Kazas,Tom." The World Will Never Be the Same: SIRS.
CD-ROM. July 7, 1985.

Hodding,Carter. The Reagan Years. New York: George Braziller.

"Defense Budget in 1994." World Almanac and Book of Facts. 1996 ed.

"Scott,William B." Major Cultural Change on Tap in Military Space.
CD-ROM. Sep. 18, 1995.

"Men of the Year." Time- The Weekly Newsmagazine- 1994 Highlights.
CD-ROM. January 2, 1984.

"Men of the Year." Time- The Weekly Newsmagazine- 1994 Highlights.
CD-ROM. Oct. 1994


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