||Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)
On November 1, 1983 The Washington Times did a high profile, full-color article on a space-based anti-missile system, which the Reagan administration had spearheaded. It had high praise for the effort and for one of the project's key supporters, Lieutenant. General Daniel O. Graham.11 In its editorial policy, the Times consistently and rigorously advocated the system's development.12 Indeed, when President Reagan unveiled SDI in a March 23, 1983 TV address, the Times editorialized that this address was "maybe President Reagan's best ever." The March 23 editorial went on to confirm that the idea of a space-based shield has "had our interest and support for months." The editorial also cited SDI potential leverage in future arms negotiations with the Soviets.13
This advocacy can be contrasted with the position of The New York Times, which strongly called for restraints on SDI's development.14 Reflecting the debate of the time, The New York Times further denigrated both the program and Reagan's position on its development and deployment with such terminology as "a pipe dream, a projection of fantasy into politics," "science fiction," and "dangerous folly," and concluded that Reagan had left listeners with the impression that SDI is "a harebrained adventure that will induce a ruinous race in both offensive and defensive arms."15
Regardless of the outcomes of the internal debate on SDI's efficacy, the fact remains that President Reagan's unswerving commitment to this program (and the support for his position by publications such as The Washington Times) played a pivotal role in leading the Soviet Union to abandon the possibility of achieving nuclear superiority or a stand-off vis-à-vis the United States.16 This change in attitude by the Soviet Union, more than anything else, led to the end of the Cold War.
Mikhail Gorbachev and The Washington Times
In November 1987 The Washington Times ignited a nationwide controversy that resulted in rescinding plans to have Mikhail Gorbachev be the first communist leader ever invited to address a joint session of Congress. This privilege had previously only been extended to foreign dignitaries who were strong allies of the United States such as Lafayette, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Francois Mitterand. Nonetheless, the White House and Democratic congressional leaders apparently had negotiated behind the scenes to afford this honor to President Gorbachev on December 9 during the 1987 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Times' breaking of this story (first broached on November 13 and headlined on November 17), and the Times' follow-up coverage and editorials reminding readers of Gorbachev's continuing support of the presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, helped to generate concern and outrage among conservative lawmakers.17 The swelling chorus of opposition led the White House and the congressional supporters of the invitation to begin backpedaling by November 20 and to abandon plans for the address on November 22. Four months later, President Gorbachev announced that Soviet troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan.
The Washington Times' International Impact
That The Washington Times could play such a pronounced role in the Cold War was intuited by some affected parties from the newspaper's inception. In 1982 neither the Soviet nor the Chinese governments allowed the Times to open news bureaus in their capitals. The American radical left newsletter Overthrow in its June/July 1982 issue called for sabotage of The Washington Times18 , and the Times was subjected to frontal attacks in pro-communist publications such as Covert Action and CounterSpy.19 On the other hand, it was reported that Ronald Reagan made it a daily practice to make The Washington Times the first paper that he read every morning.20 The Washington Times was directly credited with certain of President Reagan's responses to critical issues, including the 1985 forced landing and apprehension of the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the hijacking of the luxury ocean-liner Achille Lauro and for the cold-blooded murder of American businessman Leon Klinghoffer.21
The Washington Times influenced reporting practices and news coverage worldwide, even in communist and frontline countries. In 1988 Nobel peace laureate Oscar Sanchez Arias, then president of Costa Rica, a nation with a border on Sandinista-controlled Nicaragua, told the American Society of Newspaper Editors that Costa Rican newspapers dependedon The Washington Times for news of their world. He went on to say that the only American newspaper Costa Rican citizens know exists is The Washington Times, and that if Costa Rican newspapers published something from the U.S. it was from the Times.22 In 1990, future Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro Barrios, owner of Nicaraguan independent newspaper La Prensa, the only daily newspaper which dared to defy Nicaragua's Sandinista government, confided to The New York Times' editorial board that the Sandinistas themselves regarded The Washington Times as "the newspaper of the Nicaraguan opposition."23 Washington Times Editor-in-Chief Arnaud de Borchgrave informed American Leadership Conference attendees in 1988 that by that time, The Washington Times served as the source for more than half of all the news stories broadcasted into the Soviet Union and its satellites via Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.
The World Media Association
From the creation of the News World in 1976 it was always the case that Reverend Moon hoped not only to create an alternative media but also to foster fundamental changes in media ethics across the board. In 1978 the World Media Association (WMA) was created by Reverend Moon to emphasize the media's responsibility to cover news stories based on a commitment to fairness and objectivity. Throughout the 1980s and the early 1990s the World Media Association (WMA) organized fact finding tours to the world's hot spots, providing journalists from a wide range of publications with first-hand exposure to the vortices of the Cold War.
In 1983 WMA brought 155 journalists, from 55 countries, to visit sites on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras, including refugee camps and the roadway known as "Blood Alley." Two days after the Media Association tour was completed, Blood Alley was the site where Sandinista solders killed two American journalists. Journalists were also brought to Europe in 1983 by WMA to have an opportunity to witness and cover the European Nuclear Freeze Movement. They observed the October 22 massive demonstration in Bonn against NATO's planned deployment of Euromissiles. During the same tour, a side visit to East Berlin by the WMA allowed journalists to observe a plethora of East German posters opposing the deployment of US cruise missiles but a total absence of any criticism toward the presence of Soviet SS 20s on East German territory.
In 1984, WMA sponsored a journalist fact-finding tour focusingon the Southeast Asia frontlines, including a trek inside communist Kampuchea to meet with leaders of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front who were resisting the large Vietnamese military presence in their country. Other fact-finding trips included encounters with leaders of RENAMO (Mozambique), UNITA (Angola), SWAPO (Namibia) and Solidarity (Poland). The WMA tours, which normally included meetings with heads of state and detailed government briefings, provided journalists access to first-hand information on the status of communism, largely validating the salience of the Reagan Doctrine.
The International Security Council
In 1984 the International Security Council (ISC) was founded under the CAUSA umbrella to conduct research and develop studies aimed at more accurately assessing the military and geopolitical threat posed by the Soviet Union and its ideological and military allies. Led by the late Dr. Joseph Churba who had served as a member of the National Security Council (NSC) under President Reagan, the ISC gathered top scholars on international security, including Eugene Rostow and Ambassador Charles Lichenstein. ISC monographs had a huge impact among national and international security scholars. Reports from the ISC were monitored at the highest levels of government and detailed security assessments were made by ISC regarding Northeast Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, the Middle East, the North Atlantic, and southern Africa. ISC scholars met regularly with top security experts including those from the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China.
The ISC strongly emphasized the need for the United States to be equipped with the most updated weapons and military technology to contend with the Soviet military threat. The ISC and CAUSA both emphasized the role which strategic international trade and finance policy could play in expanding freedom inside the Soviet Union. Conference speakers such as Russian dissident Mikhail Makarenko and French sovietologist Alain Besançon stressed the alarming extent to which the Soviet Union was being propped up and subsidized by Western banks, which were granting substantial lines of credit to the USSR. CAUSA and ISC lobbied in favor of establishing linkage between the Soviet Union's trade and finance privileges and their human rights record.