Date of Award

Summer 8-1-1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Dale R. Lightfoot

Committee Member

Pia Christina Wood

Committee Member

W. Andrew Ferrill

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45S74


This thesis investigates the implementation of President Ronald Reagan's active counterterrorist policy. The paper attempts to determine why the stated policy of "swift and effective retribution" was not carried out. This paper concentrates on the discrepancies between the numerous statements advocating retaliation made by Reagan and his top officials and the failure of these officials to administer the necessary orders for such retaliatory policies. This research indicated numerous causes, although the primary cause is attributed to the divergent opinions of the reticent Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and the more retributive views of the two successive Secretaries of State, Alexander Haig and George Shultz. Additional causes include public opinion, relations with other states, and military problems. This thesis concludes that poor cabinet officer selection led to inertia in implementation of the policy, although other factors contributed to this inaction.


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