Iran-Contra Scandal

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Although issues such as the Iran-Contra scandal hurt Ronald Reagan’s presidency, overall, he should be remembered as a great president because he contributed to the end of the Cold War, he shaped a new positive relationship with the American public who found themselves disenchanted with the policies of previous administrations, and he helped bring the economy out of a deep recession. Reagan became involved in the Iran-Contra affair which greatly encumbered the efficacy of his administration. In the fight against global Communism, the government provided covert aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, who were fighting to overthrow the leftist government in their country. That same year the Boland Agreement was passed through Congress which restricted…show more content…
Reagan saw the Soviet Union as the “evil empire,” and made it America’s objective to defend the world against the Soviets and the Communists who posed a threat to other nations. However, there was a “window of vulnerability” as a result of the Carter administration, which had left behind a weak and inept military . This meant that the Soviet Union had the upper hand in terms of military strength. To close the gap, Reagan initiated a massive military buildup. This involved more research and development of technology and weapons systems, some of which were later used in the Persian Gulf Wars, larger training facilities, and wage increases. To fund this defense buildup, Congress doubled spending annually from $142.6 billion to $286.8 billion, and by 1985 nearly a million dollars was being spent every minute on weapons. To add to the increase in expenditures, Reagan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which was a research program aimed at creating an anti-ballistic missile system to defend against nuclear missile attacks from other countries, specifically the Soviet Union. By amplifying military power Reagan was able to take a vulnerable and ineffective military, and generate a more unified and powerful force. This benefited the U.S. by bringing the military industry out of the turmoil and malaise that had afflicted it. It also…show more content…
A combination of the Vietnam War, which ended in defeat for the U.S., and Carter’s lack of leadership and ineffectuality (resulting in a dismal 19 percent approval rating) negatively impacted the public’s relationship with its government and left America feeling abject and despondent. Reagan, however, was well-liked by the public. His approval rating was a 51 percent when he first came into office, and rose to 63 percent by the time his second term came to an end. Additionally, public opinion polls yielded positive results. Gallup, an American research-based company, found that between 1984 and 1988 more than six in ten Americans gave Reagan a positively approval rating. Even during the recession when his job approval rating was low, the public continued to view him favorably. Reagan was able to create this closer bond with the country by rejecting Carter’s idea that America was being held back by “ill-defined limits” . Instead he told people that everything would improve and the future would be better. Moreover, when he spoke to the public, he addressed them directly, which made it personable and conversational. By utilizing his communication skills, Reagan created a “feel good” kind of leadership, which generated a new era of optimism and confidence among the people who had become increasingly dissatisfied with the previous leadership. Reagan’s

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