A New World Order

Section Summary

While Ronald Reagan worked to restrict the influence of the federal government in people’s lives, he simultaneously pursued interventionist policies abroad as part of a global Cold War strategy. Eager to cure the United States of “Vietnam Syndrome,” he increased the American stockpile of weapons and aided anti-Communist groups in the Caribbean and Central America. The Reagan administration’s secret sales of arms to Iran proved disastrous, however, and resulted in indictments for administration officials. With the end of the Cold War, attention shifted to escalating tensions in the Middle East, where an international coalition assembled by George H. W. Bush drove invading Iraqi forces from Kuwait. As Bush discovered in the last years of his presidency, even this almost-flawless exercise in international diplomatic and military power was not enough to calm a changing cultural and political climate at home.