Chapter

Selling Star Wars

Edited by Andrew L. Johns and Kenneth Osgood

in Selling War in a Media Age

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034669
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038742 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813034669.003.0009
Selling Star Wars

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Ronald Reagan's proposal, officially called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), dramatically illustrates the power of a president to shape the public discourse on issues of war and peace. It grabbed the attention of not only the military establishment, arms control advocates, nuclear strategists, and members of Congress but also the media and the general public. In a 1985 opinion poll, 84 percent of Americans said they had heard of Reagan's proposal. Reagan's nuclear abolitionism, while sincere, also involved wishful thinking, reflecting his tendency to blur reality and Hollywood fantasy. By suggesting that nuclear weapons could be rendered powerless through technology, Reagan played on American fears to manipulate public opinion in his favor.

Keywords: Ronald Reagan; Strategic Defense Initiative; nuclear weapons; U.S. foreign policy; futuristic technology

Chapter.  11816 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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