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Edited by: CQ Press

In: Congress and the Nation, 1985-1988, Vol. VII: The 99th and 100th Congresses

Chapter : Foreign Policy

Edited by: CQ Press


Subject: Congress

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Foreign Policy
Foreign policy

The Reagan administration's foreign policy was marked by zeal and pragmatism. When it was zealous, as in trying to rid Nicaragua of communism or to save Lebanon from its warring factions, the administration overextended U.S. power and influence, and it failed. When it was pragmatic, as in negotiating over conflicts in Afghanistan and Southern Africa, it set realistic goals and cooperated with its allies, and it achieved a greater degree of success.

While seemingly contradictory, zeal and pragmatism were central features of President Reagan's personality, and so they became hallmarks of his administration's approach to the world. Reagan took office in 1981 with a few unshakable ideas about foreign affairs. The most important of these was that the Soviet Union was bent on world ...

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