Return to Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1981-1999

By Ronald E. Powaski | Go to book overview

1
The Reagan Nuclear Buildup

Ronald Reagan and the New Cold War

In January 1981 Ronald Reagan, like the overwhelming majority of his Cold War predecessors, entered the White House with almost no background in national security affairs. Before entering the political arena in the early 1960s and then serving as governor of California from 1966 to 1974, he had been in movies and television. His only military experience consisted of making training and documentary films during World War II. Reagan's knowledge of communism and the Soviet Union was also limited. It was based almost entirely on personal experience rather than study. In the late 1940s, as president of the Screen Actors Guild, he fought what he believed was a communist effort to take over the motion picture industry. The experience made him deeply suspicious of communism and the Soviet Union, in particular. In 1983 he called the Soviet Union "the focus of evil in the modern world." 1

Not surprisingly, Reagan had little use for Soviet-American détente. He called it "a one-way street" that profited only the Soviet Union. The economic concessions that his predecessors had been prepared to grant the Soviets, Reagan charged, would have propped up an inefficient economic system, an

-14-

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Return to Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1981-1999
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction the Nuclear Arms Race, 1939-1981 3
  • 1 - The Reagan Nuclear Buildup 14
  • 2 - The Reagan About-Face 39
  • 3 - Bush and Start I 83
  • 4 - Bush and Start II 128
  • 5 - Clinton, Start Ii, and the Abm Treaty 165
  • 6 - Clinton and Counterproliferation 205
  • Conclusion the Enduring Nuclear Threat 251
  • Acronyms and Technical Terms 259
  • Notes 263
  • Suggested Readings 283
  • Index 287
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