Since Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, the global community has witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the integration of Europe, the War on Terror and the Arab Spring, a hot Chinese economy and a major international recession. Reagans Legacy in a World Transformed brings together scholars from diverse disciplines and persuasions to assess the fortieth presidents policies and their ongoing impact today, and to offer a timely retrospective on his complex legacy.
The authors consider the influence of Reagans free-market ideas on economic globalization, showing how deregulation succeeded in spurring economic expansion. In foreign policy, Reagan favored significant increases in military spending (peace through strength) and an assertive agenda abroad. His break with dtente in dealing with the Soviet Union, notably expressed in his 1982 March of Freedom speech, effectively restored the early Cold War strategy of rolling back communism. More than twenty years later, President George W. Bush invoked this speech in describing his goals in the Middle Easta striking example of how Reagans ideas affected the post-9/11 world.
In contrast with his hawkish stance on defense, Reagans efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals, negotiated with Mikhail Gorbachev, constitute one of his enduring contributions to stability. Although Reagans policies soared on rhetoric rooted in ideological conviction, the president engaged in pragmatic internationalism when a multilateral approach served Americas interests. He believed that America had a special mission as a moral leader and beacon of freedom, a view that continues to inform U.S. foreign policy.