The Reagan Doctrine

At different times in the historical context, various presidential doctrines that were initiated by different presidents of the United States of America have been the milestone in the realm of the politics in the United States and their foreign policy. Of such presidential doctrines, that which was initiated by President Reagan can be thought to be of great importance due to the fact that it played a central role in ensuring there was a lessened supremacy of the Soviet during the era of the Cold war (Scott). It is worth noting that as much as the doctrine lasted for quite a short time, less than a decade, it was still considered as central and acted as the masterpiece of the of the United States foreign policy which was implemented in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The doctrine was also considered important because up to date the impacts of the implementation of the Reagan is still used as the source of debates politically. What this means is that if at all on one hand  the doctrine made the Soviet weak then it must have as well given way for the conflicts that have been long drawn and still significantly upsetting the United States of America foreign policy.

In formulating and enacting of the doctrine, the aim of President Reagan was to size the power of Soviets. Through this doctrine, President Reagan chose to give strength to those nations that were opposed to the ideas and views that were brought forth by the Soviets and the Soviet supported regimes. The presidential doctrine initiated by president Reagan in a very direct way was opposed to the communism that was initiated by the Soviets and instead in a special way proposed “American moral and material support for insurgent movements which were attempting to oust all the regimes that backed the Soviet in many of the Third World Countries”. President Reagans doctrine was a doctrine which in a very disguised way gave way for the United States of America funding of those parties that were rebellious towards the communism ideas that were being fronted by the Soviets. According to President Reagan, those parties or groups which were opposed to the idea of communism were freedom fighters who were keen to ensure their nations were freed from the clutches of communism which were instigated by the Soviets. As a matter of fact, “this policy translated into covertly supporting the Contras in their attacks on the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua; the Afghan rebels in their fight against the Soviet occupiers; and anticommunist Angolan forces embroiled in that nation’s civil war” (“Feb 6, 1985: The “Reagan Doctrine” is announced”, n.d.).

In case one was to give an analysis of the development of the Reagan Doctrine then the findings would be that the origin came into being as a result of refuting the policy of repression by presidents of the United States of America who served before Reagan. That policy of repression that was in existence proved to be a dismal failure due to the fact that in spite of the execution and implementation of the policy, the aggressive approaches of the Soviet Union could not be easily monitored and contained. President Reagan was well aware of the tension and unrest that was slowly but gradually building up between the Soviet Union leaders and their counterparts from the United States of America. Because of this, during his election, he justifiably was interested in ensuring that he focused on the issue, and upon being elected as the president of the United States of America, Reagan became so much concerned with finding a long lasting solution to the Soviet Union problem (Garthoff, 1994). Furthermore, the initiation and the wide implementation of the doctrine that was brought forth by Reagan in a great way was also instigated by invading of Afghanistan by the army of the Soviet Union in 1979.  It was because of the invasion that, apart from the enactment of embargoes on the Soviet Union, the think tank of the United States of America became inclined towards ensuring that the spread of communism through a stringent foreign policy was restricted. The doctrine of president Regan was considered to be the result of the aforementioned inclination. Because of the inclination and restrictions, leaders from the two nations met in New York in a bid to quell the increasing tension that was evident between the two countries. However, the results of the discussion proved to be a total failure with respect to ensuring there are checks and balances put in place on the policies that were embraced by the Soviet Union which were considered to be aggressive by the Americans.

The primary objective of President was therefore to ensure the soviet union was confined and restrained from political power and through coming up with his doctrine, he tried offering support to all the nations that globally that were willing to resist the spread of the Soviet communism, the administration of Reagan tried to ensure that the communist ideas that were being nurtured by the Soviet Union did not spread to many parts of the world. It should be noted that the inclination of Reagan towards forming a presidential doctrine was in real sense the outcome of the various events that were happening in various parts of the world, mainly in Nicaragua and Afghanistan (Greentree, 2016).. Some of the ongoing movements in the said nations against the Soviet Union led to communist hegemony which slowly started attracting the attention of the administration of President Reagan which resulted to the formation of the Reagan Doctrine. It is worth noting that the administration of Reagan was willing to give assistance both material and technical to resistance fighters from Afghanistan who were facing occupation forces from the Soviet Union as well as to Nicaraguan fighters who wanted to have the Sandinista government ousted (Greentree, 2016).

It can therefore be concluded that the need for having the spread of Soviet instigated communism in various parts of the world greatly led to the initiation and being of the Reagan Doctrine. However, as much as the doctrine by president Reagan was thought to have succeeded in ensuring an end is put to the Cold War as well as ensuring the Soviet union is rendered null and void, the implementation of the doctrine opened the Pandora’s box for the coming of some other problems and issues of concern which are still affecting the sphere of the United States of America foreign policy as well as that of other various concerned countries. Basically, it can be mentioned that the initiation and implementation of President Reagans Doctrine made the wrongs in the approaches of the administration of the United States towards the issues affecting other nations to be exposed. After President Reagans regime, the support of the United States of America to the Contras became an issue of concern. It should be noted that the implementation of President Reagans Doctrine imposed a black spot on United States’ administration due to the mere reason that it was later established that President Reagan gave the go ahead for the sale of arms to Iran and the profits realized were channeled to the Contras (Holden, 2016). Selling of arms to Iran as well as the transfer of the profits realized was dealt with through the CIA intelligence network with support from the Director of CIA, William Cassey. The whole idea of exposing of the affair of the Contras and Iran in 1986 led to a major investigation. However, the probe was not the only issue that led to the scandal be3ing full blown, the consequence of involvement of the United States of America and its administration also led to the problem that exists between Iraq and Iran to be as it is up to date. Furthermore, it can be noted that the funding policy of the Afghan rebels by President Reagan against the occupation of the Soviets in Afghanistan at last led to the emergence of terrorist and other militia groups which up to date are a threat to the security and wellbeing of the United States of America (Johns, 2014). It can therefore be said from the happenings that the initiation and implementation of President Reagans Doctrine led to some major issues and problems which are still being experienced both in the United States of America as well as its affiliates. The initiation and the implementation of the Doctrine can also be commended because it is for its implementation that Nicaragua got her freedom. This therefore means that the implementation of the doctrine can be credited for ensuring that Nicaragua acquired self-rule from the hands of the regime that was supported by the Soviet Union. In addition, the implementation of the doctrine is also credited for seeing to it that the Cold War is put to an end by offering motivation to Gorbachev to mend bridges and be in terms with his United States of America counterpart.


In conclusion, President Reagan’s doctrine is still thought to be a very important strategy politically in the sphere of the politics of the United States of America. The doctrine is also considered to be of great importance because up to date, the consequences and impact of the  of the initiation and implementation of President Reagans Doctrine still acts as a reason for political debates not only in the United States of America but also in other parts of the world (Benjamin, 2016). . This is because, if for some reason the doctrine led to the Soviet Union being weak, then, for some reason again, the initiation and the implementation of the doctrine gave room for some conflicts which up to date still have an impact on the domain of the foreign policy of the United States of America.








Benjamin, L. R. (2016). The reagan doctrine in historical perspective (Doctoral dissertation).

Garthoff, R. L. (1994). The great transition: American-Soviet relations and the end of the Cold War (p. 721735). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Greentree, T. (2016). The origins of the Reagan Doctrine War in Angola, Central America, and Afghanistan (Doctoral dissertation).

Holden, C. (2016). US Foreign Policy and the Iran-Contra Affair: Was Oliver North a Patriot, a Pawn, or an Outlaw?. Baltimore County Public Schools. Accessed April24.

Inboden, W. (2018). Ronald Reagan, Exemplar of Conservative Internationalism?. Orbis62(1), 43-55.

Johns, A. L. (Ed.). (2014). A Companion to Ronald Reagan(Vol. 61). John Wiley & Sons.

Scott, J. M. (1996). Deciding to intervene: The Reagan doctrine and American foreign policy. Duke University Press.