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Doc Type: 
Historical Study
Lettow, Paul
Full Title: 
Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Language Type: 
Random House
Pub City: 
New York

 (Summary by Holly Decker, Harriman Institute, Columbia University)

               In the section of his book dedicated to Geneva, author Paul Lettow focuses on SDI and its role in this overall plan. Lettow illustrates the internal pressures that Gorbachev, who had just come to power in March 1985, was under, most of which were economic. He explains that there were indications that Gorbachev was looking to decrease military expenditures in order to sustain social spending and that he feared SDI for both its military and its economic implications.

               The majority of the discussions at the Geneva Summit revolved around SDI. Gorbachev brokered for its dismantling and Reagan attempted to convince Gorbachev of its potential to protect the entire world from the threat of nuclear weapons.

               The most interesting facet of this analysis is that it states that Reagan recognized Gorbachev’s fear over the economic implications that continued military spending, SDI and an arms race would have on the USSR. As a result, Reagan began to use different forums, including public diplomacy, to pressure Gorbachev to reduce the USSR’s nuclear arsenal.