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Donald Regan on Homeland Security

 


USSR motivated to reduce strategic nukes by staggering cost

Gorbachev's motive in seeking a reduction in nuclear arms seemed to me to be almost entirely economic. The Russians were spending a staggering 17% of their gross national product on defense. Even with the huge increases in defense spending put into place by the Reagan Administration, the US was only spending between 6% and 7% of the GNP on its military establishment.

That was why Gorbachev wanted to negotiate--and that is why, in my opinion, Pres. Reagan was holding the trump card.

As a matter of practical politics, Gorbachev could not stay in power without at least the acquiescence of the Red Army, and he knew that reducing expenditures for conventional weapons was not the way to keep the Red Army happy. The President had three limited objectives:

  1. To establish a personal relationship with Gorbachev;
  2. To obtain a commitment from the Soviet leader that their talks on arms reductions would continue; and
  3. To agree on the place and approximate time of the next summit.
Source: For the Record, by Donald Regan, p.298&304 , May 2, 1988

Iran-Contra scandal: consequences for Israel too

An investigation revealed that the Iranians appeared to have paid $30 million for the equipment we had sold them. But the US government had only received $12 million. Where the other $18 million had gone and what had been done to it, nobody seemed to know. But Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North had admitted that he had diverted some of these finds to the Nicaraguan Contras.

[One official recommended] the President should forthwith appoint a bipartisan commission to look into the situation, establish the facts, and make recommendations. [Perhaps] an independent counsel might have to be appointed.

The CIA director itemized the possible consequences of the scandal--a cutoff of funds to the Contras, the unopposed Sandinistas poisoning the rest of Central America with their revolution, outrage in the Middle East over the Israeli role in the affair, the predictable wrath of the Iranians when they discovered that they had been overcharged for their missiles.

Source: For the Record, by Donald Regan, p. 38-40 , May 2, 1988

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014