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Neo-realism failed to predict the end of the Cold War because it focused on 'high economies' and ignored economic and social reasons which were key in why the Cold War ended.This led to Constructivism becoming a main school of thought in International Relations In judgement, it was a mixture of American pressure, Soviet economic ruin, the breakup of the satellite states and the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the end of the Cold War.
Amongst a group of 500 very bright first-year students, there seemed to be only one correct answer, and that was not Ronald Reagan but, rather, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
By a considerable margin it was the Russian rather than the American who won the overwhelming majority of votes (over 70 percent of the total).
And compete the United States did with increasing determination, most immediately with a decisive military build up in what became known as SDI (the Strategic Defence Initiative).
The United States, some of Reagan’s supporters loudly proclaimed, would, quite simply, spend the Soviet Union into bankruptcy.
Indeed, in a recent class I taught at my home institution—the London School of Economics—I asked a simple question about which policy-maker at the time was most instrumental in ending Soviet control in Eastern and Central Europe.
Reagan was of course high on my list of possible candidates; and you might say that for a European I made a fairly strong case for him—but to no avail.First, what are the main points in favor of the thesis that Reagan, or at least Reagan’s policies, “won” the Cold War?Second, why has there been so much resistance to this thesis—and not only amongst LSE students?Still, for students and teachers of international affairs, the most interesting and difficult question to answer concerns his role in changing the world only a few years after he had assumed the office of president in 1980.Three questions in particular deserve our attention.Into this situation strode the ever-optimistic Reagan.The time had come, he announced, to reverse the tide of history.Indeed, instead of retreating (some even believed declining), the United States should challenge its enemies, including the USSR, to a serious contest with nothing less than the world as the prize.Reagan was always certain that in the end the West would win.Yet amongst other students, and no doubt amongst political leaders in other countries, Reagan continues to exercise an enormous fascination—as political leader of the free world at a critical moment in time; as a transformational president; and of course, as the man whose policies, it has been argued, contributed more than anything else to bringing about the demise of Communism.Few American presidents have complete special issues of devoted to their life and times.