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Title: The origins of the Reagan Doctrine Wars in Angola, Central America, and Afghanistan
Author: Greentree, Todd
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 3646
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This diplomatic and military history offers a new interpretation of the origins of the three fighting fronts during the final phase of the Cold War in Angola, Central America, and Afghanistan. Vaguely remembered today as proxy wars on the periphery, in fact, these were protracted revolutionary civil wars and regional contests for the balance of power in which millions died, while at the same time they were central to global superpower confrontation. Analysis focuses on the strategy and policy of the United States. The chronology from 1975 to 1982 covers the Ford administration's covert action intervention in the Angolan Civil War, which came to grief at the hands of Cuban troops; Jimmy Carter's effort to conduct foreign policy based on principles, which ran foul of power considerations in Angola, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Afghanistan; and Ronald Reagan's embrace of these wars early in his first term as part of the revival of U.S. strength in its competition with the Soviet Union. The principal argument is that, while generally undervalued as controversial small wars of dubious significance, these wars were in fact integral to U.S. experience of limited war during the Cold War following victory in World War II. In strategic terms, the main conclusion is that the U.S. restricted itself to conducting economy of force contingency operations in Angola, Central America, and Afghanistan as a result of its costly struggles in Korea and Vietnam. Despite declaring these peripheral wars to be central to the Cold War, avoiding the costs of involving U.S forces directly in Third World conflicts and minimizing the risks of escalation with the Soviet Union were overriding political and military imperatives.
Supervisor: Strachan, Hew ; Johnson, Rob Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Military history ; Modern ; Strategic Studies ; Diplomatic history ; United States ; Cold War ; Strategy and Policy ; Civil War ; Irregular Warfare ; Third World ; Revolution ; Reagan Doctrine