Monday, April 13, 2009
Chapter 30: "Power and Politics 1974-1992"
The mid 1970's was taken over by president Ford after Nixon resigned from the presidency due to the whole Watergate scandal, in which he was pardoned by Ford. Ford was a good president but came in a troubled time in America where stagnation was high (rising costs and rising output). He only ran for one term due to these many problems as Jimmy Carter won the next election. He was viewed as an outsider and promised to do things differently as he outlawed assassinations, gave back the Panama Canal back to Panama, but seemed to face crisis after crisis. So while he was viewed as a good international man he wasn't viewed as a good politician. Among others the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979 marked the end of his presidency as it went on for over a year and virtually no efforts were made to rescue the hostages. This marked the age of the Reagan era who won the next election and was viewed as a very charismatic man with ideas that even democrats agreed to. He was called the "Cold Warrior," as he was a big advocate on cutting taxes, cutting spending (except on military), and de-regulation. He increased defense spending and really encouraged the idea of "Star Wars" as he thought it was needed to protect the U.S. from the Soviet Union. This enforced his strong anti-communist views which some argue was the closest we ever came to a nuclear exchange besides the Cuban Missile Crisis. For example in 1983 Reagan pushed some very ambitious methods of the Cold War mentality. "He proposed an elaborate defense shield that would protect the United States against any incoming missiles... known as the (SDI) or Strategic Defense Iniaitive, which sought $26 billion, over five years, just in research costs" (Pg. 951).