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Cold War

Cold Facts on the Cold War

Defenders of Reagan's militaristic policies sometimes claim that Reagan brought about an end to the Cold War.  They say that by boosting U.S. military spending, Reagan forced the Soviet Union to do the same, pushing the Russian economy into bankruptcy.  However, the evidence speaks to the contrary. 

The Soviet economy actually grew during the 1980's--the years of Reagan's military buildup--although at a slow rate.  It was not until 1989--after the end of the Cold War and the beginning of Russia's economic reforms--that the Russian economy began a ten-year recession.  (From 1989 to 1998, Russia's GNP declined by an unprecedented 42 percent.)

The Cold War's end was spurred by a succession crisis within the Soviet political system itself.  When Soviet leader Brezhnev died in 1982, the Politburo chose the 68-year-old Andropov to succeed him.  When Andropov died two years later, the Politburo chose the 72-year-old Chernenko to succeed Andropov.  When Chernenko died a year later in 1985, the Politburo finally selected a younger man, Gorbachev (54) who began the reform movement in Russia.

Economic Data Source:  Center for Strategic and International Studies (Russia Eurasia Program)

Land of Confusion - Genesis

Land of Confusion

The Ronald Reagan Years - The Real Reagan Record
by Mark Tracy