Reagan Doctrine

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The Reagan Doctrine was, in a sense, a response to the Brezhnev Doctrine of the Soviet Union. First explained in President Ronald Reagan's February 1985 State of the Union Address, Reagan said:

"We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives...on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua ... to defy Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense."

It thus aimed to justify American support of the Contras in Nicaragua, the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan and Jonas Savimbi's Unita movement in Angola, among other groups.

The doctrine was supported strongly by foreign policy analysts at the influential, conservative Heritage Foundation, who helped define and politically advance it.

Critics of the doctrine argued that i