Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Political Climate of the 1980s Essay

Political Climate of the 1980s Essay

The historical role of the 1980s can hardly be underestimated. This was a decade that, to a significant extent, defined the modern development of the world. At any rate, the decade put the end to the Cold War or, at least, to the opposition between two superpowers, the USSR and the US. Also, the 1980s marked the period of serious changes in the US domestic policy, especially in relation to the national economy. At the same time, this epoch may be characterized as the epoch of Reagan, the President of the US who defined the policy of the US and created the basis for the final defeat of the USSR in the Cold War.

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First of all, the end of the 1970s marked the profound crisis of American economy and revealed its dependence on the supply of oil from foreign countries. At the same time, this crisis stimulated the US government in the 1980s to change its policy substantially that targeted the minimization of the US economy on oil import as well as the dependence of the country on foreign supplies. The economic changes implemented by the new President of the US, Reagan, were later known as “Reaganomics.” (Walsh, 1997, p.205). These changes targeted the stimulation of the economic development of the US through the reduction of expenses from the part of the state that was accompanied by the reduction of income tax rates. As a result, the US economy, which was stagnating at the end of 1970s, started to revive and progress after the implementation of the economic changes suggested by Reagan’s administration (Walsh, 1997). The economic successes of Reagan’s first Presidency determined his reelection for the second term.

Nevertheless, his achievement in the national economy was just a part of his work which actually defined not only the life of the US but also the life of the entire world. In this respect, Reagan rejected the policy of co-existence with the USSR and, instead, provoked the aggravation of relationships between two countries and stimulated the arms race. The US started a more aggressive policy in relation to its opponent, the USSR, and widely supported all anti-communist regimes, even though they were undemocratic (Kortunov, 1994). However, these methods were not new and proved their relative inefficiency because they did not lead to the final defeat of the USSR and Soviet bloc. In such a situation, the US focused on the arms race, especially on the famous Strategic Defense Initiative and in such a way provoked the economic collapse of the USSR which could not afford the growing arms race and its economy simply failed to cover the enormous expenses on defense of the country (Matlock, 2004). In fact, the economic collapse of the USSR was the major reason for the failure of the Soviet bloc, which, by the way, was simply torn apart by numerous contradictions between its members, especially in Eastern Europe where Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the dictatorship of Moscow while the local population demanded freedom from the communist yoke (Kortunov, 1994). As a result, by the late 1980s the Soviet bloc was practically ruined from within.

In general, the 1980s may be characterized as the decade of greed, in all spheres of human life, including social, political, and economic life. The US was simply thrown into the arms race targeting the political dominance of the country in the entire world. The economic changes stimulated the growth of wealth and the reduction of social programs and expenses that led to the prosperity of the upper classes and growing need among the lower classes of American society. As a result, the financial prosperity became the major material and moral value of the epoch when practically everything had its own price. Nevertheless, such policy led to the economic growth and the defeat of the Soviet bloc and the USSR.

Obviously, the defeat of the USSR signified the victory of the US in the Cold War and after that moment the US remained the only superpower in the world. Naturally, the US could not fail to benefit from its dominant position in the world. In fact, they continued their aggressive international policy interfering in the international relations in order to gain some economic and political benefits and enhance its position in the world (Jeambar, 2001). In this respect, it is possible to mention a military operation in Grenada, or the Iran-Contra Affair. At the same time, the US amply supported its allies and stimulated the integration of all countries in the new world community based on the principles of free trade and where fiscal barrier were either eliminated or minimized. Obviously, such policy was extremely beneficial to the US which had the largest economic and military potential and which political influence in the world was enormous, if not to say monopolistic, by the end of 1980s.

In such a way, the 1980s marked a dramatic change that occurred in the world. This decade was the period of the end of the bipolar world divided into two opposing camps by the Cold War and gave birth to the new world order where the US dominated economically, politically, and militarily.
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