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Context of 'August 11, 1984: Reagan Jokes about Bombing Soviet Union'

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US President Ronald Reagan says at a press conference, “We are opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and do everything in our power to prevent it.” However, Reagan is aware of Pakistan’s nuclear program and is doing nothing to prevent it. (Levy and Scott-Clark 2007, pp. 88, 90-91, 47)

US President Ronald Reagan publicly claims to end aid to the contras in accordance with a congressional ban. However his administration continues the support, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal. (BBC 6/5/2004; Columbia Encyclopedia. Sixth edition 2005)

During a sound check prior to a radio broadcast, Ronald Reagan jokes into the microphone that he has ordered the bombing of the USSR: “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The gaffe, replayed during news broadcasts for days, cuts heavily into Reagan’s campaign poll lead over Democratic challenger Walter Mondale. (PBS 2000)

While Ronald Reagan publicly compares Iran’s government to “Murder, Incorporated” (see July 8, 1985), he privately authorizes his National Security Adviser, Robert McFarlane, to make contact with Iran. (New York Times 11/19/1987)


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