Courtesy Reuters

When the Reagan Administration first came into office, it seemed for a considerable period determined to repudiate totally policies that had dominated postwar U.S. foreign policy. Senior officials publicly compared the Soviet Union to Napoleonic France—or worse; they suggested that arms control negotiations should not be convened until Soviet behavior in the world’s trouble spots improved—an unlikely prospect if the Administration’s assessment of the nature of the Soviet regime was even partially correct. The Reagan Administration not only refused to ratify the SALT II treaty, with its limitations on future deployments, but also appeared ready to refuse to honor these restraints even informally. When arms talks did begin, the Administration waited months to develop its proposals, and then tabled suggestions so unbalanced that the only possible purpose could be to ensure that they would be non-negotiable, as then Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Jr., subsequently

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.