Reagan Doctrine

The Reagan Doctrine was stated by Reagan in his State of the Union message on February 6, 1985: "We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives--on every continent from Afghanistan to Nicaragua--to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth."[1] It was a strategy implemented by the Reagan Administration to overwhelm the global influence of the Soviet Union in the late Cold War. The doctrine was a centerpiece of United States foreign policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

Under the Reagan Doctrine, the United States provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in an effort to "roll back" Soviet-backed pro-communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The doctrine was designed to diminish Soviet influence in these regions as part of the administration's overall strategy to win the Cold War.


The Reagan Doctrine followed in the tradition of U.S. presidents developing foreign policy "doctrines", which were designed to reflect challenges facing international relations, and to propose foreign policy solutions. The practice began with the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, and continued with the Roosevelt Corollary, sometimes called the Roosevelt Doctrine, introduced by Theodore Roosevelt in 1904.

The post–World War II tradition of Presidential doctrines started with the Truman Doctrine in 1947, under which the US provided support to the governments of Greece and Turkey as part of a Cold War strategy to keep both nations out of the Soviet sphere of influence. It was followed by the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Kennedy Doctrine, the Johnson Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, and the Carter Doctrine, all of which defined the foreign policy approaches of these respective U.S. presidents on some of the largest global challenges of their presidencies.


Carter administration and Afghanistan

Reagan sitting with people from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in February 1983
President Reagan meeting with Afghan Mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office in 1983

At least one component of the Reagan Doctrine technically pre-dated the Reagan Presidency. In Afghanistan, the Carter administration began providing limited covert military assistance to Afghanistan's mujahideen in an effort to drive the Soviets out of the nation, or at least raise the military and political cost of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The policy of aiding the mujahideen in their war against the Soviet occupation was originally proposed by Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and was implemented by U.S. intelligence services. It enjoyed broad bipartisan political support.

Democratic congressman Charlie Wilson became obsessed with the Afghan cause, and was able to leverage his position on the House Appropriations committees to encourage other Democratic congressmen to vote for CIA Afghan war money, with the tacit approval of Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill (D-MA), even as the Democratic party lambasted Reagan for the CIA's secret war in Central America. It was a complex web of relationships described in George Crile III's book Charlie Wilson's War.[3]

Wilson teamed with CIA manager Gust Avrakotos and formed a team of a few dozen insiders who greatly enhanced the support for the Mujahideen, funneling it through Zia ul-Haq's ISI. Avrakotos and Wilson charmed leaders from various anti-Soviet countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and China to increase support for the rebels. Avrakotos hired Michael G. Vickers, a young Paramilitary Officer, to enhance the guerilla's odds by revamping the tactics, weapons, logistics, and training used by the Mujahideen.[3] Michael Pillsbury, a Pentagon official, and Vincent Cannistraro pushed the CIA to supply the Stinger missile to the rebels.[3] President Reagan's Covert Action program has been given credit for assisting in ending the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.[4][5]

Origin and advocates

With the arrival of the Reagan administration, The Heritage Foundation and other conservative foreign policy think tanks saw a political opportunity to significantly expand Carter's Afghanistan policy into a more global "doctrine", including U.S. support to anti-communist resistance movements in Soviet-allied nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to political analysts Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould, "it was the Heritage Foundation that translated theory into concrete policy. Heritage targeted nine nations for rollback: Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, and Vietnam".[6]

Throughout the 1980s, the Heritage Foundation's foreign policy expert on the Third World, Michael Johns, the foundation's principal Reagan Doctrine advocate, visited with resistance movements in Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and other Soviet-supported nations and urged the Reagan administration to initiate or expand military and political support to them. Heritage Foundation foreign policy experts also endorsed the Reagan Doctrine in two of their Mandate for Leadership books, which provided comprehensive policy advice to Reagan administration officials.[7]

The result was that, unlike in Afghanistan, the Reagan Doctrine was rather quickly applied in Angola and Nicaragua, with the United States providing military support to the UNITA movement in Angola and the "contras" in Nicaragua, but without a declaration of war against either country. Addressing the Heritage Foundation in October 1989, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi called the Heritage Foundation's efforts "a source of great support. No Angolan will forget your efforts. You have come to Jamba, and you have taken our message to Congress and the Administration".[8] U.S. aid to UNITA began to flow overtly after Congress repealed the Clark Amendment, a long-standing legislative prohibition on military aid to UNITA.[8]

Following these victories, Johns and the Heritage Foundation urged further expanding the Reagan Doctrine to Ethiopia, where they argued that the Ethiopian famine was a product of the military and agricultural policies of Ethiopia's Soviet-supported Mengistu Haile Mariam government. Johns and Heritage also argued that Mengistu's decision to permit a Soviet naval and air presence on the Red Sea ports of Eritrea represented a strategic challenge to U.S. security interests in the Middle East and North Africa.[9]

The Heritage Foundation and the Reagan administration also sought to apply the Reagan Doctrine in Cambodia. The largest resistance movement fighting Cambodia's communist government was largely made up of members of the former Khmer Rouge regime, whose human rights record was among the worst of the 20th century. Therefore, Reagan authorized the provision of aid to a smaller Cambodian resistance movement, a coalition called the Khmer People's National Liberation Front, known as the KPNLF and then run by Son Sann; in an effort to force an end to the Vietnamese occupation.[10]

While the Reagan Doctrine enjoyed strong support from the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, the libertarian-oriented Cato Institute opposed the Reagan Doctrine, arguing in 1986 that "most Third World struggles take place in arenas and involve issues far removed from legitimate American security needs. U.S. involvement in such conflicts expands the republic's already overextended commitments without achieving any significant prospective gains. Instead of draining Soviet military and financial resources, we end up dissipating our own."[11]

Even Cato, however, conceded that the Reagan Doctrine had "fired the enthusiasm of the conservative movement in the United States as no foreign policy issue has done in decades". While opposing the Reagan Doctrine as an official governmental policy, Cato instead urged Congress to remove the legal barriers prohibiting private organizations and citizens from supporting these resistance movements.[12]

Reagan administration advocates

Frente Sur Contras 1987
The U.S.-supported Nicaraguan contras.

Within the Reagan administration, the doctrine was quickly embraced by nearly all of Reagan's top national security and foreign policy officials, including Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, and a series of Reagan National Security advisers including John Poindexter, Frank Carlucci, and Colin Powell.[13]

Reagan himself was a vocal proponent of the policy. Seeking to expand Congressional support for the doctrine in the 1985 State of the Union Address in February 1985, Reagan said: "We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives ... on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua ... to defy Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense".

As part of his effort to gain Congressional support for the Nicaraguan contras, Reagan labeled the contras "the moral equivalent of our founding fathers", which was controversial because the contras had shown a disregard for human rights.[14] There also were allegations that some members of the contra leadership were involved in cocaine trafficking.[15]

Reagan and other conservative advocates of the Reagan Doctrine advocates also argued that the doctrine served U.S. foreign policy and strategic objectives and was a moral imperative against the former Soviet Union, which Reagan, his advisers, and supporters labeled an "evil empire".

Other advocates

Other early conservative advocates for the Reagan Doctrine included influential conservative activist Grover Norquist, who ultimately became a registered UNITA lobbyist and an economic adviser to Savimbi's UNITA movement in Angola,[16] and former Reagan speechwriter and current U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who made several secret visits with the mujahideen in Afghanistan and returned with glowing reports of their bravery against the Soviet occupation.[17] Rohrabacher was led to Afghanistan by his contact with the mujahideen, Jack Wheeler.

Phrase's origin

In 1985, as U.S. support was flowing to the Mujahideen, Savimbi's UNITA, and the Nicaraguan contras, columnist Charles Krauthammer, in an essay for Time magazine, labeled the policy the "Reagan Doctrine," and the name stuck.[18]

Krauthammer has said of his writing in support of the Reagan Doctrine,

I basically came to the conclusion ... the Soviets had overextended their empire, and they were getting what the West had gotten with its overextended empire decades before a reaction, they got a rebellion, they got resistance. And the Soviets were now beginning to feel it, and the genius of Reagan, although I don't think they had a plan in doing this is he instinctively realized that one of the ways to go after the Soviets was indirect, and that is you go after their proxies, you go after their allies, you go after their clients, or even in Afghanistan you go after them directly. So that's what I called the Reagan Doctrine, it was sort of the opposite of the Brezhnev Doctrine, which was whatever we control we keep. And Reagan was saying, no you don't.[19]

"Rollback" replaces "containment" and "détente"

Jonas Savimbi
U.S.-supported UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.

The Reagan Doctrine was especially significant because it represented a substantial shift in the post–World War II foreign policy of the United States. Prior to the Reagan Doctrine, U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War was rooted in "containment", as originally defined by George F. Kennan, John Foster Dulles, and other post–World War II U.S. foreign policy experts. In January 1977, four years prior to becoming president, Reagan bluntly stated, in a conversation with Richard V. Allen, his basic expectation in relation to the Cold War. "My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic," he said. "It is this: We win and they lose. What do you think of that?"[20]

Although a similar policy of "rollback" had been considered on a few occasions during the Cold War, the U.S. government, fearing an escalation of the Cold War and possible nuclear conflict, chose not to confront the Soviet Union directly. With the Reagan Doctrine, those fears were set aside and the United States began to openly confront Soviet-supported governments through support of rebel movements in the doctrine's targeted countries.

One perceived benefit of the Reagan Doctrine was the relatively low cost of supporting guerrilla forces compared to the Soviet Union's expenses in propping up client states. Another benefit was the lack of direct involvement of American troops, which allowed the United States to confront Soviet allies without sustaining casualties. Especially since the September 11 attacks, some Reagan Doctrine critics have argued that, by facilitating the transfer of large amounts of weapons to various areas of the world and by training military leaders in these regions, the Reagan Doctrine actually contributed to "blowback" by strengthening some political and military movements that ultimately developed hostility toward the United States, such as al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.[21] However, no direct U.S. aid to Osama bin Laden or any of his affiliates has ever been established.[22]

Controversy over Nicaragua

Historian Greg Grandin described a disjuncture between official ideals preached by the United States and actual U.S. support for terrorism. "Nicaragua, where the United States backed not a counter insurgent state but anti-communist mercenaries, likewise represented a disjuncture between the idealism used to justify U.S. policy and its support for political terrorism. ... The corollary to the idealism embraced by the Republicans in the realm of diplomatic public policy debate was thus political terror. In the dirtiest of Latin America's dirty wars, their faith in America's mission justified atrocities in the name of liberty".[23] Grandin examined the behaviour of the U.S.-backed contras and found evidence that it was particularly inhumane and vicious: "In Nicaragua, the U.S.-backed Contras decapitated, castrated, and otherwise mutilated civilians and foreign aid workers. Some earned a reputation for using spoons to gouge their victims' eyes out. In one raid, Contras cut the breasts of a civilian defender to pieces and ripped the flesh off the bones of another."[24]

Professor Frederick H. Gareau has written that the Contras "attacked bridges, electric generators, but also state-owned agricultural cooperatives, rural health clinics, villages, and non-combatants". U.S. agents were directly involved in the fighting. "CIA commandos launched a series of sabotage raids on Nicaraguan port facilities. They mined the country's major ports and set fire to its largest oil storage facilities." In 1984 the U.S. Congress ordered this intervention to be stopped; however, it was later shown that the Reagan administration illegally continued (See Iran–Contra affair). Gareau has characterized these acts as "wholesale terrorism" by the United States.[25]

A CIA manual for training the Nicaraguan Contras in psychological operations, leaked to the media in 1984, entitled "Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War".[26] recommended "selective use of violence for propagandistic effects" and to "neutralize" government officials. Nicaraguan Contras were taught to lead:

... selective use of armed force for PSYOP psychological operations effect. ... Carefully selected, planned targets – judges, police officials, tax collectors, etc. – may be removed for PSYOP effect in a UWOA unconventional warfare operations area, but extensive precautions must insure that the people "concur" in such an act by thorough explanatory canvassing among the affected populace before and after conduct of the mission.

— James Bovard, Freedom Daily[27]

Similarly, former diplomat Clara Nieto, in her book Masters of War, charged that "the CIA launched a series of terrorist actions from the "mothership" off Nicaragua's coast. In September 1983, she charged the agency attacked Puerto Sandino with rockets. The following month, frogmen blew up the underwater oil pipeline in the same port – the only one in the country. In October there was an attack on Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua's largest port, with mortars, rockets, and grenades blowing up five large oil and gasoline storage tanks. More than a hundred people were wounded, and the fierce fire, which could not be brought under control for two days, forced the evacuation of 23,000 people."[28]

The International Court of Justice, when judging the case of Nicaragua v. United States in 1984, found that the United States was obligated to pay reparations to Nicaragua, because it had violated international law by actively supporting the Contras in their rebellion and by mining the Naval waters of Nicaragua.[29] The United States refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The U.S. later blocked the enforcement of the judgment by exercising its veto power in the United Nations Security Council and so prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation.[30]

Covert implementation

As the Reagan administration set about implementing The Heritage Foundation plan in Afghanistan, Angola, and Nicaragua, it first attempted to do so covertly, not as part of official policy. "The Reagan government's initial implementation of the Heritage plan was done covertly", according to the book Rollback, "following the longstanding custom that containment can be overt but rollback should be covert". Ultimately, however, the administration supported the policy more openly.

Congressional votes

While the doctrine benefited from strong support from the Reagan administration, The Heritage Foundation and several influential Members of Congress, many votes on critical funding for resistance movements, especially the Nicaraguan contras, were extremely close, making the Reagan Doctrine one of the more contentious American political issues of the 1980s.[31]

The Cold War's end

As arms flowed to the contras, Savimbi's UNITA and the mujahideen, the Reagan Doctrine's advocates argued that the doctrine was yielding constructive results for U.S. interests and global democracy.

In Nicaragua, pressure from the Contras led the Sandinstas to end the State of Emergency, and they subsequently lost the 1990 elections. In Afghanistan, the mujahideen bled the Soviet Union's military and paved the way for Soviet military defeat. In Angola, Savimbi's resistance ultimately led to a decision by the Soviet Union and Cuba to bring their troops and military advisors home from Angola as part of a negotiated settlement.

All of these developments were Reagan Doctrine victories, the doctrine's advocates argue, laying the ground for the ultimate dissolution of the Soviet Union.[32] Michael Johns later argued that "the Reagan-led effort to support freedom fighters resisting Soviet oppression led successfully to the first major military defeat of the Soviet Union ... Sending the Red Army packing from Afghanistan proved one of the single most important contributing factors in one of history's most profoundly positive and important developments".[33]

Thatcher's view

Among others, Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, has credited the Reagan Doctrine with aiding the end of the Cold War. In December 1997, Thatcher said that the Reagan Doctrine "proclaimed that the truce with communism was over. The West would henceforth regard no area of the world as destined to forego its liberty simply because the Soviets claimed it to be within their sphere of influence. We would fight a battle of ideas against communism, and we would give material support to those who fought to recover their nations from tyranny".[34]

Iran–Contra affair

U.S. funding for the Contras, who opposed the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, was obtained from covert sources. The U.S. Congress did not authorize sufficient funds for the Contras' efforts, and the Boland Amendment barred further funding. In 1986, in an episode that became known as The Iran–Contra affair, the Reagan administration illegally facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo, in the hope that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras.

In February 2002, UNITA's Jonas Savimbi was killed by Angolan military forces in an ambush in eastern Angola. Savimbi was succeeded by a series of UNITA leaders, but the movement was so closely associated with Savimbi that it never recovered the political and military clout it held at the height of its influence in the late 1980s.


The Reagan Doctrine continued into the administration of Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush, who won the U.S. presidency in November 1988. Bush's Presidency featured the final years of the Cold War and the Gulf War, but the Reagan Doctrine soon faded from U.S. policy as the Cold War ended.[35] Bush also noted a presumed peace dividend to the end of the Cold War with economic benefits of a decrease in defense spending. However, following the presidency of Bill Clinton, a change in United States foreign policy was introduced with the presidency of his son George W. Bush and the new Bush Doctrine, who increased military spending in response to the September 11th attacks.

In Nicaragua, the Contra War ended after the Sandinista government, facing military and political pressure, agreed to new elections, in which the contras' political wing participated, in 1990. In Angola, an agreement in 1989 met Savimbi's demand for the removal of Soviet, Cuban and other military troops and advisers from Angola. Also in 1989, in relation to Afghanistan, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev labeled the war against the U.S.-supported mujahideen a "bleeding wound" and ended the Soviet occupation of the country.[36]

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Chester Pach, 'The Reagan Doctrine: Principle, Pragmatism, and Policy" Presidential Studies Quarterly, March 2006. p 75
  2. ^ Message on the Observance of Afghanistan Day by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983
  3. ^ a b c Crile, George (2003). Charlie Wilson's war: the extraordinary story of the largest covert operation in history. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 978-0-87113-854-5., pp. 246, 285, 302, and elsewhere
  4. ^ "Anatomy of a Victory: CIA's Covert Afghan War".
  5. ^ Peter Schweitzer (1994). Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Paperback), Atlantic Monthly Press, p. 213
  6. ^ Rollback!: Right-wing Power in U.S. Foreign Policy. South End Press. 1 July 1999. p. 82. ISBN 0896083454.
  7. ^ "Think tank fosters bloodshed, terrorism". The Daily Cougar.
  8. ^ a b "The Coming Winds of Democracy in Angola," by Jonas Savimbi, Heritage Foundation Lecture #217, October 5, 1989. Archived November 22, 2006, at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  9. ^ "A U.S. Strategy to Foster Human Rights in Ethiopia", by Michael Johns, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #692, February 23, 1989.
  10. ^ Thayer, Nate (1991). "Cambodia: Misperceptions and Peace". The Washington Quarterly. 14 (2): 179–191. doi:10.1080/01636609109477687.
  11. ^ "Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 74: U.S. Aid to Anti-Communist Rebels: The "Reagan Doctrine" and Its Pitfalls" (PDF). Cato Institute.
  12. ^ "U.S. Aid to Anti-Communist Rebels: The "Reagan Doctrine" and Its Pitfalls". 24 June 1986.
  13. ^ Chang, Felix (February 11, 2011). "Reagan Turns One Hundred: Foreign Policy Lessons". The National Interest. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  14. ^ "Jeff Jacoby".
  15. ^ "The Contras and Cocaine", Progressive Review, testimony to U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing on the Allegations of CIA Ties to Nicaraguan Contra Rebels and Crack Cocaine in American Cities, October 23, 1996.
  16. ^ "Savimbi's Shell Game,", March 1998
  17. ^ "Profile: Dana Rohrabacher," Cooperative History Research Commons, September 17, 2001. Archived April 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "The Reagan Doctrine", by Charles Krauthammer, Time magazine, April 1, 1985.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Allen, Richard V. "The Man Who Won the Cold War". Archived from the original on 1 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Think Tank Fosters Bloodshed, Terrorism," The Cougar, August 25, 2008.
  22. ^ Bergen, Peter (2006). The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader. Simon and Schuster. pp. 60–61. ISBN 9780743295925.
  23. ^ Grandin, Greg. Empire's Workshop: Latin America, The United States and the Rise of the New Imperialism, Henry Holt & Company 2007, p. 89
  24. ^ Grandin, Greg. Empire's Workshop: Latin America, The United States and the Rise of the New Imperialism, Henry Holt & Company 2007, p. 90
  25. ^ Gareau, Frederick H. (2004). State Terrorism and the United States. London: Zed Books. pp. 16 & 166. ISBN 1-84277-535-9.
  26. ^ Blum, William (2003). Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II. Noida, India: Zed Books. p. 290. ISBN 1-84277-369-0.
  27. ^ "Terrorism Debacles in the Reagan Administration". The Future of Freedom Foundation. Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
  28. ^ Nieto, Clara (2003). Masters of War: Latin America and United States Aggression from the Cuban Revolution Through the Clinton Years. New York: Seven Stories Press. pp. 343–45. ISBN 1-58322-545-5.
  29. ^ "Case concerning military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), International Court of Justice, Order of 26 september 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015.
  30. ^ Morrison, Fred L. (January 1987). "Legal Issues in The Nicaragua Opinion". American Journal of International Law. 81 (1): 160–66. doi:10.2307/2202146. JSTOR 2202146. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. "Appraisals of the ICJ's Decision. Nicaragua vs United State (Merits)"
  31. ^ A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977–1990, Robert Kagan, Simon & Schuster, 1996.
  32. ^ "It Was Reagan Who Tore Down That Wall," Dinesh D'Souza, Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2004.
  33. ^ "Charlie Wilson's War Was Really America's War," by Michael Johns, January 19, 2008.
  34. ^ "Lecture to The Heritage Foundation ("The Principles of Conservatism")".
  35. ^ Excerpted from The Reagan Doctrine: Third World Rollack, End Press, 1989. Archived 2007-11-08 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ "The Soviet Decision to Withdraw, 1986-1988" U.S. Library of Congress.

Further reading

External links

1985 State of the Union Address

The 1985 State of the Union address was given by President Ronald Reagan to a joint session of the 99th United States Congress on February 6, 1985. The speech was the first State of the Union address of President Reagan's second term, and his fifth altogether. He stated, "Our progress began not in Washington, DC, but in the hearts of our families, communities, workplaces, and voluntary groups which, together, are unleashing the invincible spirit of one great nation under God." He believed that volunteerism was a key element to the American community.

The president proclaimed the Reagan Doctrine and discussed taxes, reducing the federal deficit and the Strategic Defense Initiative, among other things.

The speech lasted approximately 40 minutes and consisted of 4,955 words. The address was broadcast live on radio and television.

The Democratic Party response was delivered by Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas, Governor Bob Graham of Florida and House Speaker Tip O'Neill.Malcolm Baldrige, the Secretary of Commerce, served as the designated survivor.

1990s in Angola

In the 1990s in Angola, the last decade of the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), the Angolan government transitioned from a nominally communist state to a nominally democratic one, a move made possible by political changes abroad and military victories at home. Namibia's declaration of independence, internationally recognized on April 1, eliminated the southwestern front of combat as South African forces withdrew to the east. The MPLA abolished the one-party system in June and rejected Marxist-Leninism at the MPLA's third Congress in December, formally changing the party's name from the MPLA-PT to the MPLA. The National Assembly passed law 12/91 in May 1991, coinciding with the withdrawal of the last Cuban troops, defining Angola as a "democratic state based on the rule of law" with a multi-party system.Observers met such changes with skepm. American journalist Karl Maier wrote, "In the new Angola, ideology is being replaced by the bottom line, as security and selling expertise in weaponry have become a very profitable business. Michael Johns, The Heritage Foundation's primary Reagan Doctrine advocate and a key Savimbi advisor, described the Soviet Union and Cuba's diplomatic initiatives as "a perilous moment" and urged the U.S. to maintain military pressure on Angola's government through escalated support to UNITA in an effort to ensure the withdrawal of Soviet and Cuban troops and the establishment of free and fair elections.

Albert Jolis

Albert Jolis (1912-2000) was an American diamond dealer, head of the international firm Diamond Distributors, Inc, and a fund-raising anti-communist, serving in the 1980s as board chairman of Resistance International.

Blowback (intelligence)

Blowback is a term originating from within the American Intelligence community, denoting the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects, or suffered repercussions of a covert operation that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.

To the civilians suffering the blowback of covert operations, the effect typically manifests itself as "random" acts of political violence without a discernible, direct cause; because the public—in whose name the intelligence agency acted—are unaware of the effected secret attacks that provoked revenge (counter-attack) against them.

Bush Doctrine

The Bush Doctrine refers to various related foreign policy principles of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush. These principles include unilateralism and the use of preventative war.

Charles Krauthammer first used the phrase in June 2001 to describe the Bush Administration's "unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol." After the 9/11 attack, the phrase described the policy that the United States had the right to secure itself against countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups, which was used to justify the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Bush Doctrine became strongly associated with the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.Different pundits have attributed different meanings to the Bush Doctrine. It was used to describe specific policy elements, including a strategy of "preemptive strikes" as a defense against an immediate or perceived future threat to the security of the United States. This policy principle was applied particularly in the Middle East to counter international terrorist organizations and to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Generally, the Bush Doctrine was used to indicate a willingness to unilaterally pursue U.S. military interests. Some of these policies were codified in a National Security Council text entitled the National Security Strategy of the United States published on September 20, 2002.The phrase "Bush Doctrine" was rarely used by members of the Bush administration. The expression was used at least once, though, by Vice President Dick Cheney, in a June 2003 speech in which he said, "If there is anyone in the world today who doubts the seriousness of the Bush Doctrine, I would urge that person to consider the fate of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq."

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer (; March 13, 1950 – June 21, 2018) was an American political columnist. A conservative political pundit, in 1987 Krauthammer won the Pulitzer Prize for his column in The Washington Post. His weekly column was syndicated to more than 400 publications worldwide.While in his first year studying medicine at Harvard Medical School, Krauthammer became permanently paralyzed from the waist down after suffering a diving board accident that severed his spinal cord at cervical spinal nerve 5. After spending 14 months recovering in a hospital, he returned to medical school, graduating to become a psychiatrist involved in the creation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III in 1980. He joined the Carter administration in 1978 as a director of psychiatric research, eventually becoming the speechwriter to Vice President Walter Mondale in 1980.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Krauthammer embarked on a career as a columnist and political commentator. In 1985, he began writing a weekly editorial for The Washington Post, which earned him the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his "witty and insightful columns on national issues." He was a weekly panelist on the PBS news program Inside Washington from 1990 until it ceased production in December 2013. Krauthammer had been a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, a Fox News Channel contributor, and a nightly panelist on Fox News Channel's Special Report with Bret Baier.

Krauthammer received acclaim for his writing on foreign policy, among other matters. He was a leading neoconservative voice and proponent of United States military and political engagement on the global stage, coining the term Reagan Doctrine and advocating both the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

In August 2017, due to his battle with cancer, Krauthammer stopped writing his column and serving as a Fox News contributor. Krauthammer died on June 21, 2018.


Containment is a geopolitical strategy to stop the expansion of an enemy. It is loosely related to the term cordon sanitaire which was later used to describe the geopolitical containment of the Soviet Union in the 1945s. The strategy of "containment" is best known as a Cold War foreign policy of the United States and its allies to prevent the spread of communism after the end of World War II.

As a component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to the Soviet Union's move to increase communist influence in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Containment represented a middle-ground position between detente (relaxation of relations) and rollback (actively replacing a regime).

The basis of the doctrine was articulated in a 1946 cable by U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan during the post-WWII administration of U.S. President Harry S. Truman. As a description of U.S. foreign policy, the word originated in a report Kennan submitted to U.S. Defense Secretary James Forrestal in 1947, which was later used in a magazine article.


Doctrine (from Latin: doctrina, meaning "teaching", "instruction" or "doctrine") is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or in a belief system. The etymological Greek analogue is "catechism".Often the word doctrine specifically suggests a body of religious principles as promulgated by a church. Doctrine may also refer to a principle of law, in the common-law traditions, established through a history of past decisions, such as the doctrine of self-defense, or the principle of fair use, or the more narrowly applicable first-sale doctrine. Some organizations simply define doctrine as "that which is taught", or the basis for institutional teaching to its personnel of internal ways of operating.

Foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration

The foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration was the foreign policy of the United States from 1981 to 1989. The main goal was winning the Cold War and the rollback of Communism—which was achieved in Eastern Europe in 1989 and in the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. Historians debate whom to credit, and how much. They agree that victory in the Cold War made the U.S. the world's only superpower, one with good relations with former Communist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe.As part of the "Reagan Doctrine", the United States also offered financial and logistics support to the anti-communist opposition in central Europe and took an increasingly hard line left-wing governments in Afghanistan, Angola, and Nicaragua.

Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen

The Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen, also known as the Seven Party Mujahideen Alliance or Peshawar Seven, was a Pakistani supported alliance formed in 1988 (see Alliance Formation below) by the seven Afghan mujahideen parties fighting against the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan forces in the Soviet–Afghan War. The alliance sought to function as a united diplomatic front towards the world opinion, and sought representation in the United Nations and Organisation of the Islamic Conference.The constituents of the Peshawar Seven alliance fell into two categories, the political Islamists: Khalis faction (Khalis), Hezbi Islami (Hekmatyar), Jamiat-i-Islami (Rabbani), and Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan (Sayyaf), and the traditionalists: National Islamic Front for Afghanistan (Gailani), Afghanistan National Liberation Front (Mojaddedi), and Revolutionary Islamic Movement (Mohammadi).

All of the groups were Sunni Muslims, and all were majority Pashtun except Jamiat-i-Islami, which was predominantly Tajik. They were called the Peshawar 7 and were supported by Pakistan. Another, smaller but dominant Mujahideen alliance, was composed of mainly Shi'a Muslims. It was named the Tehran Eight – an alliance of eight Shia Afghan factions, supported by Iran.

Although Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen alliance took its formal shape in the mid-1980s, it had de facto existed as a political bloc since May 1979, when the Pakistani government decided to limit the flow of foreign financial aid, mainly from the United States (under the Reagan Doctrine) and Saudi Arabia, to the said seven organizations, thus cutting off monetary supply to nationalist and leftwing resistance groups.

Jamba, Cuando Cubango

Jamba is a town in Angola, located in the southeastern province of Cuando Cubango, just north of the Namibian border along the Caprivi Strip.The town is best known as the former military headquarters of UNITA, a rebel movement supported by South Africa and the United States that fought the Soviet-aligned and supported government in the Angolan Civil War, a Cold War conflict.

Miami (book)

Miami is a 1987 book of social and political analysis by Joan Didion.

Didion begins, "Havana vanities come to dust in Miami." The book is an extended report on the generation of Cubans who landed in exile in Miami following the overthrow of President Batista January 1, 1959 and the way in which that community has connected to America and American politics.

Granta writes, "Miami may be the sunniest place in America, but this is Didion's darkest book."


Joan Didion describes life in Miami for Cuban exiles. She talks about their position in the history behind major events like the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Reagan Doctrine and Watergate. To Didion, Miami is more than just a city in Florida, rather it is a city of immigrants with stories to be heard.

Obama Doctrine

The Obama Doctrine is a catch-all term frequently used to describe one or several principles of the foreign policy of U.S. President Barack Obama. It is still not agreed whether there was an actual Obama Doctrine. Nevertheless, during an interview with the New York Times, Obama briefly commented about the doctrine saying: "You asked about an Obama doctrine, the doctrine is we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities".Unlike precisely-defined policies such as the Monroe Doctrine, Truman Doctrine, Nixon Doctrine, Carter Doctrine, Reagan Doctrine or Bush Doctrine, the Obama Doctrine is not a specific foreign policy introduced by the executive. This has led journalists and political commentators to analyze what the exact tenets of an Obama Doctrine might look like. Generally speaking, it is widely accepted that a central part of such a doctrine would emphasize negotiation and collaboration rather than confrontation and unilateralism in international affairs. This policy has been praised by some as a welcome change from the interventionist Bush Doctrine. Critics of Obama's unilateral policies (such as targeted killings of suspected enemies of the US) including former republican United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, have described it as overly idealistic and naïve, promoting appeasement of adversaries. Others have drawn attention to its radical departure in tone from not only the policies of the Bush administration but many former presidents as well. Some trace the origin of Obama's doctrine to a speech he delivered at West Point in May 2014, where he asserted that the "United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it," but for indirect threats or humanitarian crises, "we must mobilize partners to take collective action." This doctrine of "moral multilateralism," some argue, reflects Obama's interest in philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr, who supported an interventionist U.S. foreign policy but warned against hubris and moral misjudgment.

Powell Doctrine

The "Powell Doctrine" is a journalist-created term, named after General Colin Powell in the run-up to the 1990–91 Gulf War. It is based in large part on the Weinberger Doctrine, devised by Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense and Powell's former boss. The doctrine emphasizes U.S. national security interests, overwhelming strike capabilities with an emphasis on ground forces, and widespread public support.

Presidency of Ronald Reagan

The presidency of Ronald Reagan began on January 20, 1981, when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States, and ended on January 20, 1989. Reagan, a Republican, took office following a landslide victory over Democratic incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. Reagan was succeeded by his Vice President, George H. W. Bush, who won the 1988 presidential election with Reagan's support. Reagan's 1980 election resulted from a dramatic conservative shift to the right in American politics, including a loss of confidence in liberal, New Deal, and Great Society programs and priorities that had dominated the national agenda since the 1930s.

Domestically, the Reagan administration enacted a major tax cut, sought to cut non-military spending, and eliminated federal regulations. The administration's economic policies, known as "Reaganomics", were inspired by supply-side economics. The combination of tax cuts and an increase in defense spending led to budget deficits, and the federal debt increased significantly during Reagan's tenure. Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (which simplified the tax code by reducing rates and removing several tax breaks) and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (which enacted sweeping changes to U.S. immigration law and granted amnesty to three million illegal immigrants). Reagan also appointed more federal judges than any other president, including four Supreme Court Justices.

Reagan's foreign policy stance was resolutely anti-communist; its plan of action, known as the Reagan Doctrine, sought to roll back the global influence of the Soviet Union in an attempt to end the Cold War. Under this doctrine, the Reagan administration initiated a massive buildup of the United States military; promoted new technologies such as missile defense systems; and, in 1983, undertook an invasion of Grenada, the first major overseas action by U.S. troops since the end of the Vietnam War. The administration also created controversy by granting aid to paramilitary forces seeking to overthrow leftist governments, particularly in war-torn Central America and Afghanistan. Specifically, the Reagan administration engaged in covert arms sales to Iran to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua that were fighting to overthrow their nation's socialist government; the resulting scandal led to the conviction or resignation of several administration officials. During Reagan's second term, he sought closer relations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and the two leaders signed a major arms control agreement known as the INF Treaty.

Leaving office in 1989, Reagan held an approval rating of 68%. This rating matches the approval ratings of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton as the highest rating for a departing president in the modern era. Historians and political scientists generally rank Reagan as an above-average president. Due to Reagan's impact on public discourse and advocacy of American conservatism, some historians have described the period during and after his presidency as the Reagan Era.

Resistance International

Resistance International was an international anti-communist organisation that existed between 1983 and 1988. It anticipated and embodied the so-called Reagan Doctrine which took final shape in 1985. Resistance International was set up in France in May 1983 on the initiative of Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky and Armando Valladares, a representative of the Cuban dissident movement.

"Today few traces remain of the activities of Resistance International", writes Galina Akkerman in a memoir describing her work for writer Vladimir Maximov at the organisation's "tiny office on the Champs Elysée" in Paris. "The internet was still unknown and to restore the history of this organisation I must turn to the few things I can recall".


In political science, rollback is the strategy of forcing a change in the major policies of a state, usually by replacing its ruling regime. It contrasts with containment, which means preventing the expansion of that state; and with détente, which means a working relationship with that state. Most of the discussions of rollback in the scholarly literature deal with United States foreign policy toward Communist countries during the Cold War. The rollback strategy was tried, but was not successful in Korea in 1950 and in Cuba in 1961. The political leadership of the United States discussed the use of rollback during the uprising of 1953 in East Germany and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, but decided against it to avoid the risk of Soviet intervention or a major war.Rollback of governments hostile to the U.S. took place in World War II (against Italy 1943, Germany 1945 and Japan 1945), Afghanistan (against the Taliban 2001) and Iraq (against Saddam Hussein 2003). When directed against an established government, rollback is sometimes called "regime change".

Tip O'Neill

Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill Jr. (December 9, 1912 – January 5, 1994) was an American politician who served as the 47th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1987, representing northern Boston, Massachusetts, as a Democrat from 1953 to 1987. The only Speaker to serve for five complete consecutive Congresses, he is the third longest-serving Speaker in American history after Sam Rayburn and Henry Clay in terms of total tenure, and longest-serving in terms of continuous tenure (Rayburn and Clay having served multiple terms in the Speakership).

Born in North Cambridge, Massachusetts, O'Neill began campaigning at a young age, volunteering for Al Smith's campaign in the 1928 presidential election. After graduating from Boston College, O'Neill won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he became a strong advocate of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies. He became Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1949 and won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1952 to the seat vacated by John F. Kennedy.

In the House, O'Neill became a protege of fellow Massachusetts Representative John William McCormack. O'Neill broke with President Lyndon B. Johnson on the Vietnam War in 1967, and called for Richard Nixon's resignation in light of the Watergate scandal. He quickly moved up the leadership ranks in the 1970s, becoming House Majority Whip in 1971, House Majority Leader in 1973, and Speaker of the House in 1977. With the election of President Jimmy Carter, O'Neill hoped to establish a universal health care system and a guaranteed jobs program. However, relations between Carter and Congress collapsed and Democrats lost control of the presidency in the 1980 presidential election. O'Neill became a leading opponent of Republican President Ronald Reagan's conservative domestic policies. O'Neill and Reagan found more common ground in foreign policy, fostering the Anglo-Irish Agreement and implementing the Reagan Doctrine in the Soviet–Afghan War.

O'Neill retired from Congress in 1987, but remained active in public life. He published a best-selling autobiography and appeared in several commercials and other media. He died of cardiac arrest in 1994.

United States presidential doctrines

A United States Presidential doctrine comprises the key goals, attitudes, or stances for United States foreign affairs outlined by a President. Most presidential doctrines are related to the Cold War. Though many U.S. Presidents had themes related to their handling of foreign policy, the term doctrine generally applies to Presidents such as James Monroe, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, all of whom had doctrines which more completely characterized their foreign policy.

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