President Reagan was elected in November 1980 with the burgeoning strength of the Christian Right, defeating incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Reagan’s message was to rebuild American military strength after the Vietnam fiasco and the Iranian hostage crisis fiascos. His “evil empire” rhetoric increased tensions with the Soviet Union. Reagan initiated covert operations in support of the mujahideen in Afghanistan and the “Contras” in Nicaragua.
With the invasion of Grenada and his surprising announce- ment of the “Strategic Defense Initiative” (critics dubbed it “Star Wars”) in 1983, he seemed to be prepared to embark on a new arms race. Yet at the same time he began to prepare an agenda for improving relations with the Soviet Union, including nuclear disarmament (spelled out in the National Security Decision Directive #75).
An artist’s concept of a Space Laser Satellite Defense System, 1984. (Not any one system specifically, just generalized concept artwork).