Missiles and bureaucrats: The Reagan administration and the making of two-pronged security diplomacy

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2023-08

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Weisbrode, Kenneth

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Bilkent University

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English

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Abstract

The crucial turn in conducting foreign policy with the election of Ronald Reagan has been a determinant factor in the late Cold War period. This thesis centers on the role of the foreign policymaking process and its agencies from SALT II of 1979 to the Reykjavik Summit of 1986 and examines the American diplomatic affairs during the Reagan administration with the Soviets and the allies in the Atlantic world by emphasizing nuclear security and arms race as a nexus within these triangular affairs of US, Western Europe and the Soviet Union. The fundamental argument this thesis illustrates is that policymakers of the Reagan administration germinated and followed a twofold nuclear policy agenda, mainly derived from the incompetence of the predecessor administrations and the realities of foreign affairs with Western Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s within the context of potential nuclear catastrophe, and asserts how this security strategy shaped American diplomacy from the missile crisis of 1977, which augmented the perils of nuclear catastrophe, to the negotiations in late 1985 and 1986 that declined tensions and ultimately underpinned the desire for peace at the end of the decade.

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