The Iran-Contra Affair and the Cold War: A "Neat Idea" and the Reagan Doctrine
Abstract: This thesis analyzes the Iran-Contra affair and the Reagan Doctrine. It moves beyond the trappings of political theater wrought by Oliver North's "neat idea" of diverting residual funds from arms-for-hostages deals with Iran into the coffers of the Contras. It traces the formation of the Reagan Doctrine and examines the doctrine's application in Nicaragua, thereby exploring the covert op... read moreerations producing Iran-Contra. Drawing upon declassified documents, I argue that Iran-Contra was not foreign policy gone awry, but rather the Reagan Doctrine fundamentally in action. The Reagan administration recast containment in confronting the Soviet Union and evaded constraints on executive power to engage the Third World with the Reagan Doctrine, a global counter-revolutionary campaign. The administration privatized foreign policy, used off-the-books covert operations in Iran and Nicaragua, and violated laws to rollback communism. Those within the administration who committed themselves absolutely to defeating the Soviet Union resorted to extralegal methods in achieving their aims. In the process, operations in Iran and Nicaragua intersected and created Iran-Contra, a product of the Reagan Doctrine in harmony with Reagan's policies.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2016.
Submitted to the Dept. of History.
Advisor: David Ekbladh.
Committee: Peter Winn, and Reed Ueda.
Keywords: History, International relations, and American history.read less