About the time I was participating in my first graduate seminar on for-
eign policy analysis, the Iran-Contra affair became public news and
grabbed my attention. As I began to explore the twists and turns of that
dubious episode of the Reagan administration, my fascination with
the broader context of foreign policy during President Reagan's terms
grew. That interest, coupled with a general emphasis on the theoreti-
cal and conceptual study of U.S. foreign policy making, particularly on
the subject of legislative-executive relations, served as the foundation
for this book. In the end, the two led me to the Reagan Doctrine and a
doctoral dissertation on its origins, nature, and the processes by which
it was formulated and implemented. After more research and several
stages of revision, that dissertation grew into this book.
As in all projects that evolve over many years, the final product
is quite distinct from its early components. One of the most important
transformations occurred gradually, as I sorted through the second-
ary literature, many previously unavailable government documents, a
wide range of primary material, and the vast public record of the Rea-
gan Doctrine. My initial efforts to comprehend the actions ofthe United
States in Nicaragua, and then Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Mozam-
bique, and Ethiopia, as a function of White House decision making
gave way to a more complex, but I think accurate, incorporation of
policy makers from Congress and the bureaucracy. This shift eventu-
ally resulted in the central argument of this book, which is that the
Reagan Doctrine emerged from the interaction of policy makers from
the White House, foreign policy bureaucracy, Congress, and the pub-
lic, who created it through a messy and complex process. This made
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