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Lessons from History: The Reagan Legacy

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Lessons from History: The Reagan Legacy

by Peter Huessy  •  Gatestone Institute

  • Even if Reagan believed the Soviets would never fire a long-range missile at the US -- which he certainly did not believe -- what about the long-range missile threats against the United States from China? Certainly, given such threats, the United States had the right to build strategic missile defenses, making any deal to forgo missile defenses with the Soviets an absurd proposition.

  • Even worse, what was described as "arms control" in the SALT 1 and 2 treaties was just an agreement between the Soviets and the United States largely to build-up US nuclear arsenals as it was already planning to do even without the arms treaties.

  • Reagan left an open window of consensus to 1) modernize the US nuclear deterrent, 2) seek future arms control that includes limiting all nuclear weapons, including China's, and 3) deploy more robust missile defenses especially in the near term and refuse to negotiate away America's current and future missile defense capability.

  • If these three "Reagan" factors can be preserved, the US may indeed remain safe from nuclear conflict. As these policies keep the US safe, hopefully its leaders will realize how well Reagan's policy of "peace through strength" worked.

Read more: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15746/reagan-nuclear-legacy