Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

“Especially frightening to Soviet officials was Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a plan to develop a system to defend against ballistic missiles, which he announced in a nationally televised address two weeks after the “evil empire” speech.” (p. 393)


Not only the two empires were fighting each other on foreign countries’ territories, but also they were in constant rivalry developing arms. SDI was the escalation point in the Soviet-American relationship. Reagan was excited to create a system to defend against ballistic missiles (antiballistic missile defense system). Even though it was portrayed as a defense system, the Soviet Union saw SDI as a “prelude to an attack”.

In 1986, three years later, Mikhail Gorbachev and Reagan would try to negotiate an agreement on strategic nuclear arsenal, cutting their intermediate-range missiles in Europe; and would try to reach a consensus on a certain SDI restrictions. This proves that existence of SDI was essential for both countries. And the fact of trying to reach a negotiation would be a powerful sign of the Cold War coming to its end.