The Impact of President Reagan's Foreign Policy Efforts in Chile and Nicaragua

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Virginia Tech

This thesis explores whether President Ronald Reagan's policies on Chile and Nicaragua met his intended goals of promoting the spread of liberal democracy and countering Soviet influence in the region. Using a case studies approach to analyze Reagan's foreign policies in Chile and Nicaragua, the thesis seeks to inform conclusions about his success and failure in U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. The study examined whether Reagan achieved success in these two countries by using the key tenets of the Reagan Doctrine, the principal expression of the campaign to gain public support for the strengthening of governments and anti-government forces on the side of free democratic capitalism and the weakening of governments and anti-government forces on the side of Marxist-Leninism. The tenets of the Reagan Doctrine include: regimes that were not aligned with communism; national economies that did not rely upon the Soviet Union and that had open trade with the U.S. and stronger private sectors; and regimes that cooperated with the U.S. government. This thesis is both relevant and timely as U.S. presidents continue to involve themselves in the affairs of other nations. It seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate on the necessity and practicality of influencing affairs in countries around the world so that they will align themselves politically and ideologically with the United States and to provide lessons for future U.S. presidents as they create their own foreign policy agendas.

U.S. foreign policy, Reagan Doctrine, Reagan, Chile, Nicaragua