Histoire CS2 - American involvement in world affairs (1980-1991)
How did the USA win the Cold War?

1. The USA from confrontation to negotiation with the USSR (1980-1988)
• President Reagan’s ‘military build-up
- More than containment: President Reagan resumed the arms race to destroy the USSR he labelled the “evil empire”.
- A new deterrent: the 1983 Strategic Defence Initiative used US military & technological supremacy in the space and arms race to shield the USA from Soviet missiles. Although dubbed ‘Star Wars’ (fiction > science), it ended the arms race as the USSR couldn’t follow up.
• ends the arms race (1985-1991)
- Reagan initiated the talks to reduce US and Soviet nuclear arsenal & signed the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty to eliminate medium & short-range missiles.
- paving the way for the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaties signed by his successor President G.H. Bush in 1991 (START I) and 1993 (START II) reduced the number of long-range nuclear weapons.
• and the Cold War?
‘America is back’ using its:
- powerful potential hard power to end Soviet totalitarian model and nuclear deterrence, so ending the Cold War (according to Reagan who forgot Gorby’s contribution)
- inspiring soft power to spread its liberal model worldwide and call for the destruction of the Iron Curtain, symbolized by the Berlin wall (built in 1961).

2. The collapse of the Soviet model (1989-1991)
• The official end of the Cold War (Malta Summit 2-3 December 1989)
US new president George Bush & Soviet leader announced the shift from confrontation to co-operation and reduction in troops and nuclear weapons (STARTs) => end of hot & cold wars & new era of world peace
• The collapse of communism 1989-1991
- Thanks to new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who initiated domestic (political transparency = glasnost, & economic opening = perestroika) & foreign (non-intervention) reforms since 1985,
=> communism collapsed in Eastern Europe in 1989 and in 1991 Soviet Republics became independent: USSR collapse => weakened Russia.
=> US victory by Soviet self-destruction
=> A worldwide US soft power
American model, way of life (capitalism, democracy, consumer society) spreading in former communist countries of Eastern Europe which enthusiastically -or not, shifted to market economy and multiparty systems.