He focuses on what Reagan endured and sacrificed in order to reach the end of the Cold War therefore conveying it is the life and soul given to the cause that matters. It is evident that Reagan invested his time and life in and out of office to this cause according to Schweizer. ‘Ronald Reagan is impossible to understand outside his forty-year battle against communism… it consumed more of his attention than any other endeavour and touch the very centre of his life.’ Reagans dedication to the cold war and the demise of communism can be evidenced through the Reagan doctrine, in which he was providing us support to anti-communist ‘freedom fighters’ this ultimately leading to the illegal transactions of weapons and money to Iran which funded Nicaraguan rebels.
While direct evidence between Reagan containing knowledge and the plot could not be found, he still came under criticism, loosing 21% of his supporters in less than a weak, as it was said funds should not have been available had he been appropriately managing his staff. While this could be interpreted to be a limiting factor in the favour of Reagan, it still anchors Schweizer’s line of argument that Reagan was dedicated and determine to fight communism and protect his ideologies. He had to do this despite the opposition he was facing from all directions including family and activists stating ‘the problem you and your friends don’t understand, Mr Wilens, is that soviets are way ahead of us’ it is evident he witnessed a threat many looked passed as Schweizer goes on to say he left understanding Reagan and considering him more reasonable therefore emphasising, the original point that Reagans intentions could be seen through taking time to understand his actions. Therefore, it seems as though those who oversaw Reagan including historian Richard Pipes who also argues in a similar fashion to Schweizer, must praise his efforts and award him in significant breakthroughs.
Schweizer gives the view that Reagans tactics exposed the soviet economy which and therefore weakened ideology domestically therefore gave Gorbachev little choice but to work towards reducing tensions. ‘The key was to play to American strengths – technology and innovation – and exploit soviet weakness in an arms race’ this can been clearly evidenced as at the end of 1981, Reagan restricted soviet access to US-developed energy exploration technology, and while some may argue he was hindering chances of improved relationship, the security of the US while weakening USSR was important in making progression toward the end of the cold, this being further evidence through Reagans 1982 soviet access restriction to oil and gas and related technology, this line of tactic clearly exposed the weaknesses in the soviet economy. It is fair to say, the critical conditions of the economy were a push factor for the USSR to work with the US as they notion of keeping up was unrealistic to obtain, especially in relation to the arms race. Reagan invested heavily in new weapons as it allowed him to negotiate from a position of strength, this being presented through SDI, it wasn’t that Reagan was opposed to discussing arms reduction treaties, this was a tactical decision which could be argued to have made talks more of a pressing matter. It could be seen that this tactic also caused the other favoured viewpoint of people power, as it undeniable the countries with in the iron curtain were unhappy and the higher standard of living of the west only fuelled opposition to the communist government, further putting pressure on characters like Gorbachev.
Historian, Michael Bernard also highlights this lack of leeway in decision that the Soviet Union had even though his viewpoint mostly favours people power ‘They could little afford to subsidize the region any longer and certainly, in their precarious economic condition, did not want to alienate western governments and bankers.’ The on-going decline in the economy could be said to be as a consequence to Reagan’s hard-line approach, therefore causing Gorbachev to work well alongside foreign leaders, even in various interpretations Schweizer’s point can be seen. Therefore, this line of argument is credible and after considerable evaluation it must be said to be a key factor that links to a range of events that led to the end of the cold war.