To what extent did President Reagan's Foreign policy initiatives represent a radical change from other administrations since the 1960s?

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Ronald Reagan's foreign policy was, in some sense, a change to a less conciliatory policy toward the Soviet Union than had been seen from previous administrations going back to the 1960s. The change was especially apparent if one compared Reagan with his immediate predecessor, Jimmy Carter.

Reagan made no secret of his belief that Communism was an absolute evil and that he wished to actively combat Communism and the influence of the Soviet Union on the world stage. He accelerated the arms race and did not attempt to be conciliatory toward Mikhail Gorbachev in negotiations with him. Carter's stance had been anti-Soviet as well, but in a reactive mode, rather than the more direct and aggressive manner Reagan was to show. For instance, Carter denounced the Soviets strongly after their invasion of Afghanistan, but before this, his speeches and overall attitude not only toward the Soviets but others had been relatively mild, and had suggested that getting along with countries governed by other systems was a better course than confronting them openly.

In the Middle East, Reagan was a direct supporter of Israel. He was also a realist, pulling the Marines from Lebanon when, after the bombing in October 1983 of the US base, he realized the US position there was unsustainable. Carter had attempted to deal with the Israeli and Arab sides of the conflict on an equal basis. His critics claimed that it was Carter's alleged "softness" that led to the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The situation of the US hostages was resolved when they were released after Reagan took office. Reagan's supporters attributed this to the greater realism of his negotiating team and the stronger stance they took.

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