“A Short History of the Department of State” has been retired and is no longer maintained. For more information, please see the full notice.
The World in 1981
President Reagan entered office in January 1981, determined to contain, if not “roll back,” Soviet expansionism in global trouble spots such as Afghanistan and Angola. The United States and its European allies found themselves in frequent disagreement over the western response to Soviet moves against the burgeoning Solidarity movement in Poland and European participation in the Soviet natural gas pipeline from Western Europe to Siberia. The Reagan Administration adopted a two-pronged approach to authoritarian governments in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Central Intelligence Agency provided military assistance for “freedom fighters” to combat left-wing regimes, while the Department of State provided diplomatic incentives for right-wing regimes to allow free elections.