In the book "Oil Money - Middle East Petrodollars and the Transformation of US Empire, 1967 - 1988" by David M. Wight which covers the US policy and decisions dealing with world events specifically related to military, oil, and finance there is a noticeable shift in reference to studies when President Reagan comes to office . Were studies something that President Reagan was known for? If so were they actual studies or a play on words? Or is it just coincidence?

Example: Chapter 9 page 228

"Many Reagan officials focused on the need for Saudi aid to Pakistan. An interagency study declared in late February there was "agreement that Pakistan is key to US efforts to resist Soviet aggression in Afghanistan and beyond and in constructing a viable security framework in Southwest Asia"

- Author uses the word study to reference an interagency study.

Another use of study - Chapter 9 page 229

"... the White House publicly announced that it had approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of Sidewinder missiles, additional fuel tanks, and aerial refueling tanker aircraft, had decided against the sale of the multiple bomb racks, and would continue to study the possibility of selling AWACS."

- Author's summary of a statement from the White House.

Chapter 9 page 238

"The NSC decided to further study this line of action and, as a preliminary step, have the US government call on US citizens and corporations in Libya to voluntarily leave the country ..."

- Author's summary of President Reagan and his team's actions.

For the previous presidents the word "study" or the activity of having others assess and report back was not mentioned much. Author shift in writing style or did Reagan like to have teams analyze things and report back was what I wondered.

Follow On: This Thesis considers Reagan's Grand Strategy. "Yet, the necessity of a grand strategy does not always mean that they take the form similar to the one the Reagan administration created. While documents roughly analogous to NSDD-75 ... can be found in the Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Carter and Bush administrations, it does not appear that a written, interagency-approved statement of America’s strategy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union was ever created for the Kennedy, Nixon, or Ford administrations". Page 276 last paragraph.

The Intellectual Roots of Reagan’s Strategy

  • 4
    Reagan's famous "Government is the problem" philosophy would suggest he wasn't in favor of bureaucratic research. Mar 24, 2022 at 0:34
  • 1
    Saying "the White House ... would continue to study the possibility of selling AWACS" doesn't suggest a large-scale formal study, it just suggests they hadn't made their mind up and might reconsider it in future. Similarly on Libya when it could just mean that the NSC continued to monitor interactions with Libya (you'd be surprised if they didn't).
    – Stuart F
    Mar 24, 2022 at 11:35
  • 1
    The question seems to be based on selection bias. The executive branch has commissioned many research reports for a very long time. Over the years the volume of such research will tend to increase with the complexity of gov't. I see no data to show whether or not Reagan was an outlier.
    – Brian Z
    Mar 25, 2022 at 11:30


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