After the Cold War by Arthur I. Cyr (auth.)

By Arthur I. Cyr (auth.)

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Criticism of Reagan for sacrificing ‘sub­ stance’ to ‘style’ is highly unfair, for he used his unusually effective gifts at communication over television to promote a consistent policy line in which he strongly believed. Opinion surveys in the 1980 presidential cam­ paign are clear in giving Ronald Reagan high marks for sincerity, consist­ ency and clarity in communicating an understandable, effective political message. 9 Third, though Carter’s defeat was by no means guaranteed, his vulner­ ability was apparent, both abroad and at home, and Reagan was extremely skillful at exploiting the general portrait of weakness associated with the Democratic incumbent.

The inability of the administration, despite strenuous clandestine efforts, to bring down the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, and the bizarre trading of arms for hostages in the Middle East, must also be counted on the debit side of the foreign policy ledger. Yet in spite of all this, the President also enjoyed successes, including especially major arms agreements with the Soviets. Arguably relations with Western Europe, Japan and China were no worse when he left office than they had been at his inauguration, despite a whole series of policy and stylistic frictions.

If failure to go all the way to 16 America and the World the projected ‘Europe 1992’ world of full integration shows that Euro­ peans are unwilling to accept a single central bank which, in de facto terms, would be a mirror image of the Bundesbank, expansion in the number of Union members is a device to reduce the market power of Germany, at least temporarily. If the destructive nationalism of an earlier period was a principal reason – indeed the key reason – for forming the Community of the Six in the mid-1950s, more traditional calculations of power and influence among states that fuelled European diplomacy his­ torically has re-emerged, though this time so far thankfully mainly in economic rather than military terms.

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