Table of Contents
I. The Fall of the Soviet Union
II. Reagan and Gorbachev
III. The Fading of the Reagan Revolution
IV. The Election of 1988
V. The Bush Presidency
VI. The First Gulf War



I. The Fall of the Soviet Union
Gorbachev quickly transformed Soviet politics with two dramatic new initiatives. The first he called glasnost (openness): the dismantling many of the repressive mechanisms that had been conspicuous features of Soviet life for over half a century. The Communists Parties of Eastern Europe collapsed or redefined themselves into more conventional left-leaning social democratic parties. Among other things, it legalized the chief black party in the nation, the African National Congress, which had been
Gorbachev
Gorbachev
banned for decades; and on February 11, 1990, it released from prison the leader of the ANC, and a revered hero too black South Africans, Nelson Mandela, who had been in jail for 27 years.
II. Reagan and Gorbachev
At a summit meeting with Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1986, Gorbachev proposed reducing the nuclear arsenals of both sides by 50 percent or more, although continuing disputes over Reagan’s commitment to the SDI program prevented agreements.
III. The Fading of the Reagan Revolution
There were revelations of illegality, corruption, and ethical lapses in the Environmental Protection Agency, the CIA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The most politically damaging scandal of the Reagan years came to light in November 1986, when the White House conceded that it had sold weapons to the revolutionary government of Iran as part of a largely unsuccessful effort to secure the release of several Americans being held hostage by radical Islamic groups in the Middle East.
IV. The Election of 1988
The Bush campaign was almost the most negative of the 20th century, with Bush attacking Dukakis by tying him to all the unpopular social and cultural stances Americans had come to identify with "liberals." It was also one of the most effective, although the listless, indecisive character of the Dukakis effort contributed to the Republican cause as well. Bush won the election with 54% of the popular vote to Dukakis 46%, and 426 electoral votes to Dukakis 112.
V. The Bush Presidency
Bush
Bush

The Bush presidency was notable for the dramatic developments in international affairs with which it coincided and at times helped to advance, and for the absence of important initiatives or ideas on domestic issues. The broad popularity Bush enjoyed during his first three years in office was partly a result of his subdued, unthreading public image. On domestic issues, the Bush administration was less successful-partly because the president himself seemed to have little interest in promoting a domestic agenda and partly because he faced serious obstacles. In 1990, the president bowed to congressional pressure and agreed to a significant tax increase as part of a multi-year “budget package” designed to reduce the deficit.
VI. The First Gulf War
The events of 1989-1991 had left the United States in the unanticipated position of being the only real superpower in the world. The United States would reduce its military strength dramatically and concentrate its energies and resources on pressing domestic problems. America would continue to use its power actively, not to fight communism but to defend its regional and economic interests. In 1989, that led the administration to order an invasion of Panama. On August 2, 1990, the armed forces of Iraq invaded and quickly overwhelmed their small, oil-rich neighbor, the emirate of Kuwait. On February 28 Iraq announced its acceptance of allied terms for a cease-fire, and the brief Persian Gulf War came to an end
VII. Election of 1992
The United States presidential election of 1992 had three major candidates: Incumbent Republican President George H. W. Bush; Democrat Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot. Bush had alienated much of his conservative base by breaking his 1988 campaign pledge against raising taxes, the economy was in a recession, and Bush's perceived greatest strength, foreign policy, was regarded as much less important following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the relatively peaceful climate in the Middle East after the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War. Clinton won a plurality in the popular vote, and a wide Electoral College margin.
VIII. Sources
American History, Brinkley
http://www.brookings.edu/articles/2004/0801russia_talbott.aspx
http://www.slate.com/id/2102081
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123638337001957991.html