History essay: The Cold War

Journal Issue: What role did Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush play in ending the Cold War

President Ronald Reagan was sternly opposed to the Soviet Union, describing it as “The Evil Empire”. In 1977, Reagan swore that Americans must win the war against the Soviet Union. The West, he said, would not contain communism. Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada by American troops. The main objective of this move was to liberate Grenada Island from the ruling Marxist dictator.

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Though the tiny Island was of little geographical significance, it was a good signal to the end of Brezhnev Doctrine. The Doctrine stated that a country that chose communism would remain communist, meaning that the Soviet Empire would advance and never lose any territory to the West. The loss of Grenada to the West marked the start of sequential events leading to the fall of the Soviet Empire. In his role, Reagan mainly used American economic and technological predominance to prevail over the union. He strengthened the American military and supported any forces that aimed at bringing down the Soviet Union. The Union and other critics opposed his use of the nuclear weapons. The Union was stunned by his military buildup.

Through his doctrine, America halted the Soviet Union from advancing to the third world. Reagan attempted to negotiate with the newly elected leader, Gorbachev, in 1985, but they would never come to terms. In 1987 Gorbachev signed a treaty and made good relations with the West. In 1989 Soviet Union announced that it would not engage in the internal affairs of Eastern nations; it abandoned the Brezhnev Doctrine. Reagan’s presidency marked the turning point. President Bush came into power in 1991. In July 1991, he signed a U.S.-Soviet Union with Gorbachev, marking the end of the Cold War. Later, Gorbachev announced the end of the Soviet Union.

Journal Issue: How would you evaluate the major steps taken by the Bush administration to address the 2008 economic recession?
Following the 2008 economic recession, the Bush government applied both fiscal and monetary policies to counter the economic downturn. These policies responded well, helping the economy to gradually recover by the mid-2009. This section evaluates the measures taken by his administration to address the recession.

President Bush and the congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. The act involved a 120 billion dollars package, providing tax rebates to the households and accelerating depreciation rules for the country’s businesses. The Bush administration and the congress also took extraordinary measures by enacting the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The Act created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). It authorized treasury to spend up to 700 billion dollars to boost the capital position of the banks directly and clear off the banks’ balance sheet from troubled assets. Several banks and financial institutions, such as Citigroup, were bailed out.

The Federal Reserve, through its application of conventional monetary stimulus, lowered the federal fund rates by expanding its role as the lender of last resort. However, in 2011 it was reported that the Federal Reserve promoted elite bankers secretly during its bailout program.
These measures positively affected the economy. Bailing out the institutions reduced government spending, tax cuts, and the enactment of the above acts prevented the recession from turning into a depression. This is because these sizeable and timely policy responses aided in supporting the aggregate spending and stabilizing the financial system. By mid-2009 the economy started recovering from the recession.

Journal Issue: What was the human cost of war for American troops in Iraqi?

A study carried out by Burnham et al (2006), investigating the human cost of war between 2003 and 2006, found out that the number of persons dying was escalating by each passing year. The study found out that since the American troops invaded Iraq in 2003, the number of persons who had died by 2006 was approximately 654, 965 (approximately 2.5 % of Iraq population). The amount of 601, 027 of these died from violence, the gun being the biggest cause of death (Burnham et al, 2006). The study, also, found out that 2,700 American soldiers had lost their lives in the war within that period. A whooping 20,000 soldiers were injured.

By 2010 more than 4,000 American soldiers had been killed and 30, 000 injured. By 2012 more than 6,600 U.S. troops and 2,871 Pentagon contractors in Iraq have died. Over 18,790 Afghan and Iraqi security, 4,650 Pakistan security forces and 1,384 allied military have lost their lives too. More than 106,000 U.S. troops incurred injuries or fell seriously ill in the combat zones.
Though the number of survivals is appealing, it has its negative implications. It led to the rise of new mental and physical challenges. Those who survived now live, in many cases, as amputees or with brain damage. There were many injuries falling under the categories of broken bones and amputations, brain injuries, shrapnel wounds, blindness, paralysis and third degree burns (Burnham et al, 2006). These emanate from the Iraqis homemade ammunition. According to the 2006 study, 2 out of 3 wounds incurred by American soldiers were serious, with 2% being amputees.

The U.S. hires contractors and other government agency employees to assist its employees and train Iraqi troops how to use the United States weapon equipments. They do not enjoy the protection, recognition and benefits like the military do. Their deaths go unreported, while their families do not often receive compensation for their deaths and injuries. Overall, the human cost of the war in Iraq is so enormous for both Iraqi’s and the American economy.

Journal Issue: What are the differences between the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement?

The Occupy movement is an international movement that protests against economic and social inequality; the main concern is that the global financial systems and large corporations control the world, undermining the democracy of the minority. The movement’s main objective is to make power relations and economic structures in society fairer (Mrquez 2012). On the other hand, the Tea Party Movement is an American-based movement whose main agenda is to advocate for reductions in government spending, strict adherence to the U.S. constitution and a reduction in the federal budget deficit and the US national debt.

There is a common set of values that bind the Tea Party, values based on responsibility, freedom and property rights. Even though, its members hold different opinions on various issues, remain united for a common desire to attain less government, more freedom, and lower taxes. On the contrary, the OWS protesters are united by their hatred towards the wealthy rather than fixing the concerned nations’ problems. Unlike the Tea Party movement, the Occupy Wall Street does not have any logical set of initiatives.
Additionally, the Occupy Wall Street tends to support the minorities; in their demonstrations they grant the minority chances to speak over those considered as from the dominant groups. However, the Tea Party movement is more of a wealthy man’s party, where influence from the wealthy and politically-dominant individuals participates. For instance, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin and other key people in the political industry register and participate in Tea party’s movement activities (Mrquez 2012). The OWS mainly advocates for fairer distribution of wealth using the 99% slogan-meaning; the majority of wealth in the country is owned by 1% of its citizens while the 99% is suffering. On the other hand, the Tea party movement’s concern is that they are overtaxed and advocate for a reduction in taxes.

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