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Ronald Reagan and the Firing of PATCO workers
Unformatted Document Text:  nadir in the late 1970s is traceable to Reagan's actions in 1981--and that PATCO was one of those actions. International: Just as Reagan's strike policy contributed domestically to the image of the President as a force to be reckoned with, it accomplished the same thing abroad. Haynes Johnson of the Washington Post pointed to international financiers who frequently claimed that their confidence in Reagan's seriousness about controlling inflation dated from "when Reagan broke the controllers' strike." 76 Even more crucially, according to several sources, Soviet leaders took lessons from Reagan's response to the strike. Noted Sovietologist Richard Pipes said "The way the PATCO strike was handled impressed the Russians…and gave them respect for Reagan. It showed them a man who, when aroused, will go to the limit to back up his principles." 77 For this reason, George Shultz, who served Reagan as Secretary of State from 1982 through the end of his presidency, said that "The world learned when Ronald Reagan faced down the air-traffic controllers in 1981 that he could dig in and fight to win." 78 Early in his presidency, the crisis set a tone that told foreign adversaries: This is not a man who bluffs. This is not a man who can be rolled. In the turbulent 1980s, in a world filled with well-armed and malevolent adversaries, that impression may have been the single most important prerequisite for the preservation of peace. Conclusion Ronald Reagan entered office in January 1981, having been endorsed by PATCO and having expressed sympathy for its plight. Seven months later, confronted by an illegal strike and union demands that in his view threatened to explode the federal budget, 23

Authors: Busch, Andrew.
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nadir in the late 1970s is traceable to Reagan's actions in 1981--and that PATCO was one
of those actions.
International: Just as Reagan's strike policy contributed domestically to the
image of the President as a force to be reckoned with, it accomplished the same thing
abroad. Haynes Johnson of the Washington Post pointed to international financiers who
frequently claimed that their confidence in Reagan's seriousness about controlling
inflation dated from "when Reagan broke the controllers' strike."
Even more crucially,
according to several sources, Soviet leaders took lessons from Reagan's response to the
strike. Noted Sovietologist Richard Pipes said "The way the PATCO strike was handled
impressed the Russians…and gave them respect for Reagan. It showed them a man who,
when aroused, will go to the limit to back up his principles."
For this reason, George Shultz, who served Reagan as Secretary of State from
1982 through the end of his presidency, said that "The world learned when Ronald
Reagan faced down the air-traffic controllers in 1981 that he could dig in and fight to
win."
Early in his presidency, the crisis set a tone that told foreign adversaries: This is
not a man who bluffs. This is not a man who can be rolled. In the turbulent 1980s, in a
world filled with well-armed and malevolent adversaries, that impression may have been
the single most important prerequisite for the preservation of peace.
Conclusion
Ronald Reagan entered office in January 1981, having been endorsed by PATCO
and having expressed sympathy for its plight. Seven months later, confronted by an
illegal strike and union demands that in his view threatened to explode the federal budget,
23


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