Chapter

Moral Democratic Realism and the Endgame of the Cold War

Robert G. Kaufman

in In Defense of the Bush Doctrine

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780813124346
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813134987 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813124346.003.0007
Moral Democratic Realism and the Endgame of the Cold War

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The merits of moral democratic realism can best be appreciated by examining the success of President Ronald Reagan during the Cold War when the country's economy had stalled as a consequence of the Arab oil boycott of 1973 and the oil shocks of 1978–1979. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger focused more on the commonality of national interests than on ideologies, supporting the policy of détente toward the Soviet Union. For his part, President Jimmy Carter worked on controlling nuclear arms in the hopes that the Soviets would reciprocate. Reagan, however, understood that the Soviet regime was a totalitarian state and therefore poses a threat to freedom. Because his views on foreign policy and the national interest are grounded on the virtue of prudence, he was not afraid to use military might despite strong opposition at home and abroad. Reagan's perseverance on the Strategic Defense Initiative and his decision to intensify economic pressure on the Soviet Union tipped the balance of power in favor of the US, ultimately putting an end to the Soviet regime.

Keywords: moral democratic realism; Cold War; Soviet Union; nuclear arms control; détente; totalitarianism; ideology; national interest; prudence

Chapter.  8890 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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