Talk:History of the United States (1980–1991)

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Archives: Archive 1, Archive 2, Allende matter

14 Feb 2004[edit]

Why are you ranting on and on about Allende? Don't you think that I've heard all this rhetoric before? The reference to Allende is linked to the article on Salvador Allende. If readers lack background information on the Chilean president, they can utilize the hyperlink. 172 02:52, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)

If you have heard all of this rhetoric before, I would hope that you would be more pluralistic and accomodating of other viewpoints. As I mentioned before, the text stated basically that Allende was overthrown because he was a leftist. I wanted to include a one-word summary of why Allende's ideology was as so radical that he was the victim of a bloody coup. I have reverted the use of the term "Marxist" and if you should find it necessary to change it, please give a better explanation than "I've heard all this rhetoric before" --Hcheney 21:50, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Your statements totally disregard the complexities of South American history. Latin American specialists argue that democratization was especially problematic at more advanced stages of import-substituting development, which made democratic politics an almost-impossible game to play, giving the opening for authoritarian rule under specific circumstances. (If you aren't familiar with what I mean "advanced stages of import-substituting development," look it up online, and you will find a plethora of articles from academic journals.)Chile's coup was part of a wave of authoritarian rule in South America in the 1960s and 1970s. In the Southern Cone region, which traditionally had the best record of democratization in Latin America, you saw military takeovers reverse in Brazil (1964), Argentina (1966), Chile (1973), Uruguay (1973), and Argentina again in 1976 (civilian rule was restored in 1973). 172 06:22, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Moreover, just to give you an idea how ambiguous the descriptor "Marxist" can be, it would technically be accurate - depending on how the term's qualified - to label Brazil's center-right president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1994-2002) a "Marxist," given his methodology as a sociologist. Yet, it would be inaccurate to tag Hugo Chavez with this label, as he is not a member of a political party that proclaims its adherence to Marxist-Leninist ideology. Here's a post-Soviet example. In 2001 Vladimir Voronin of Molodva, who has never renounced Marxism-Leninism, was the first Communist Party chief to win a presidential election in a former Soviet republic. Regardless, there are increasing signs of a stronger US-Moldova alliance. For example, here is a joint statement by Bush and Voronin on US-Moldovan relations from the White House. In contrast, Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus, who is not a member of the country's Communist Party, cannot be accurately called a "Marxist." And check out John Bolton's "Beyond the Axis of Evil," arguing that Belarus is a member of the expanded "Axis of Evil" at this US State Department website: . Finally, you have the late US philosopher Sidney Hook, an avowed Marxist, hardcore anti-Communist, and staunch supporter of Reagan's foreign policy.
You may think there's some sort of "agenda" behind my revisions of your edits. But my concerns lie in how elastic and relative such terms are.
My larger concern, however, is the very simplistic conception of South American history that you want to inflict on this article. It almost seems as if you're under the impression that Allende was bent on setting up a Cuban-style Communist state from day one. However, Allende entered office pursuing an essentially populist strategy in order to expand his base of support. His initial economic strategy owed more to the Southern Cone's homegrown populists in the era framed by the Great Depression and military rule in the '60s and the '70s. Allende's initial strategy was merely freeing prices and raising wages.
Later, the nationalization of the copper industry was more of an outgrowth of the "Chileanization" policy of Eduardo Frei - the preceding Christian Democratic president. Note that the congressional vote on this issue, which was a campaign promise, was unanimous. Yes, you did have hardliners in the Nixon administration arguing that this was "proof" that Allende declared war on private property in the hemisphere. But Allende wasn't really vulnerable until Chile was in the grip of runaway inflation by early 1973, falling world copper prices, and an alarming balance-of-payments deficits in 1971 and 1972. By mid-'72 the political climate was out of control and extremely polarized, with massive pro- and anti- Allende street demonstrations becoming routine. Joao Goluart in Brazil fell amid the same circumstances. Yet in and of themselves, we'd hardly consider his actions that triggered the military takeover so "radical" (e.g., giving the vote to illiterates and enlisted men). BTW, the US had a role in Brazil '64 as well (but not a deciding role, by any means); US Ambassador Lincoln Gordon and the US military attache, General Veron Walters, wertr in contact with opposition actors, both military and civilian, before the bloodless 4/1 coup.
Regardless, Allende's downfall, along with Goulart's in Brazil, was largely the result of the interplay between social classes and political parties. Allende met fierce opposition from a cohesive upper class united by family ties and objective interest. A unified elite was able to gain the allegiance of the middle and lower-middle class activists, such as storekeepers and truckers. In this context, the US had the opening to support conservative groups that were solid allies on all significant issues of Chilean-US relations. Meanwhile, after the copper, coal, steel, and Bank nationalizations, the US retaliated by holding up loans from the World Bank, the US Export-Import Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Private foreign investment, of course, would come to a halt. As a result, in the last year of his administration, Allende sought out not only lines of credit from the Eastern bloc countries, but also from Western Europe.
It is ridiculous to suggest that Allende, who had served decades as a parliamentary politician, wrangling over negotiations to create and maintain coalitions, was bent on setting up a Cuban-style regime and Soviet satellite state from taking office. So, we are essentially dealing with a faltering government struggling to provide services (and needing credit, markets, equipment, and access to supplies), not someone setting up a Soviet puppet and Communist state.
Although the US did work steadily at "destabilizing" the Allende government by passing dollars to the opposition and subsidizing anti-Allende strikes (most notably the truckers' strike), the US role was not the deciding factor. IMHO, any US president would've faced an uphill battle if he wanted to prevent a military coup. Leftwing ideologues may say that US imperialism was the deciding factor in the '73 coup, while rightwing ideologues may say that Allende's "Marxism," the "Soviet ties," and the "ties to Fidel" were deciding factors, but historians laugh at these assertions. 172 09:01, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)

14 Feb 2004 [2][edit]

Due to the poor layout and inclusion of POV material, I am going to prepare a major rewrite of this article. Before I post it, I will make it available on a talk sub page so we can work out all of the kinks together. --Hcheney 21:50, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)


You're just throwing catch-phrases at me regarding Allende. "Marxist" is quite ambiguous; it is utterly absurd to say that he was overthrown "because he was a Marxist."

In addition, tell me what is wrong with the content. You've been getting all worked up over a couple of word choice issues here and there, never really addressing problems of substance in the article. For now, you have made absolutely no case for a rewrite. Really, all you've been doing has been going nuts over whether Allende is called "a leftist" or "a Marxist" - as if these weren't such elastic terms - and telling me your opinions on affirmative action.

In the mean time, do you want me to recommend some college-level survey textbooks on US history? If you did some reading, you'd probably realize that this is quite an innocuous article, maybe barring a handful of word choice issues or typos that have already been spotted. 172 05:23, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)

List those references in the article, please! It should be an embarassment that the near-stub Mount McKinley has eight references, and History of the United States has zero, zip, nada. Stan 06:20, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I agree. This is a problem in almost every history article on Wiki. I'd love to be able to work on that while we're completing the work on (1989-present). Perhaps we can even work on a guide to the historiography. We need to split this article (one article for '80-89 and one for '89-present), and start filling the gaps on the past 15 years. However, my attempts to keep meaningless assertions on South American history seem to be distracting me. BTW, please reenter the fold. When you were here, the discussion was far more substantive and elevated. 172 06:39, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I have decided not to respond to your latest remarks because I feel as though my time would be better spent rewriting the article instead of arguing with a person who by their own admission does not seek to be congenial. Please feel free to make this edition as POV as you wish, because I am in the process of writing a new article covering the 1980-1989 time span that is NPOV and includes references and citations - something you seem to demand of others, but cannot provide yourself.
Please do not remove the neutrality dispute. I do not feel this article is neutral in it's present form. --Hcheney 01:17, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Your attempts to play the victim are disingenuous. I have bent over backwards to respond to your concerns at each step. I have made repeated pleas that you explain your concerns. While I have pointed out flaws in some of your changes, the criticism has always been entirely constructive.
I'd love to be cooperative and helpful. (When I said that I'm not going to be "Miss Congeniality," I merely meant that I wasn't going to be a pushover.) But how can I address your concerns if I don't even know what they are?
First, if you want references, it's just a matter of requesting them. I will take care of the footnoting as I work on a section giving an overview of the historiography. I made this clear a while ago.
For now, however, the neutrality dispute takes precedence over completing the article. In the mean time, if you request references for anything that I've posted on any page (this article, this talk page, any article, or any talk page), I'll provide them as soon as I see them. If you want them, just ask.
Second, I admitted that I may come across as terse, but I have been as cooperative as possible without compromising the quality of the article. You, VV, and Stan raised a number of valid word choice issues, and I have been receptive. At times, I have even taken the initiative to address these stylistic matters on my own. Compare the present version of the article here to the 13:14, 7 Feb 2004 version (the version posted when you first announced the neutrality disptute). The edit summary provides irrefutable proof that I am willing to cooperate with you both.
On that note, I challenge you to dig a single instance in which I did not go to painstaking effort to explain why I reverted or partially reverted changes.
In the mean time, there is no neutrality dispute unless you can tell me what is wrong with my last response and/or the article. 172 04:02, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Since all stated neutrality concerns have been addressed, the removed neutrality msg was removed in light of Hcheney's refusal to discuss the article. The 36K article was also divided. See History of the United States (1988-present) 172 04:59, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

18 Feb 2004[edit]


Since you still seem to be awfully upset about the Allende matter, how about just getting rid of the entire paragraph? After all, we already have articles on the neoconservatives and Kirkpatrick linked to this page.

This paragraph seemed to strike a nerve of yours, perhaps prompting your scramble to provide some sort of backgrounding. However, the more I think about it, I realize that you were doomed from the start when trying to elaborate on the rationale behind these ideas. It's clear now that this article is far too much of a general overview to be able to adequately discuss these foreign policy ideas in their proper context. In and of itself, the substance of the paragraph is fine, but now I see how it's more confusing than informing when you're dealing with a general readership, which will mostly will lack the background on international relations and the knowledge base on the Reagan era to make sense of the paragraph.

So, does removing the following leave you more satisfied?

The neoconservative movement was a strong influence on Reagan's policies in the Third World as well. The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was an especially strong influence. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, known for her anticommunist stance and for her support for rightwing dictatorships, argued that Third World social revolutions are illegitimate and one in the same. She argued that the overthrow of leftist governments (such as the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, a socialist, in Chile) in favor of rightwing dictatorships was acceptable and essential. Under this doctrine, the Reagan administration actively supported the dictatorships of Augusto Pinochet, Ferdinand Marcos and the apartheid regime in South Africa.

172 07:16, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

We should not be attempting to satisfy any one member of this community, we should be working towards consensus and a NPOV instead. I am troubled by your unilateral removal of the neutrality dispute message, which I have restored. Should you find it imperative to removal the message again without the consensus of the other contributors to this article, I would probably be advised to move to Step 2 in the proscribed Dispute resolution.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time to go over the revisions to this article at the moment, however, I will go over it and offer comments as soon as possible. --Hcheney 20:17, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)


I'm not asking for a detailed critique of the article with counter-arguments. I'm just asking for a general sense of what's wrong with the present version of the article in general. And I mean the general feel of the article, not one or two words that can be corrected in seconds. As a whole, this would require you to write several sentences. Once you do this, I won't remove the dispute heading until you, VV, and Stan are satisfied. But for now, the dispute heading's meaningless.

On one hand, I go through painstaking efforts to be as helpful as possible. On the other hand, you outright state your intention to ignore me. Yet, I repeatedly offered to provide relevant ISBN and websites so that anyone check my writing in this entry, any entry, and any talk page. Moreover, solely for the convenience of you, VV, and Stan, I defended my revisions in detail on the talk page, hoping to provide enough information for independent inquiries. However, it would've been far easier for me to merely list dozens of ISBN numbers. Stan may find my "massive verbiages" dull, but it's merely a favor to enable anyone to do a couple of yahoo or google keyword searches (e.g., on "late stages of import-substitution development," which I brought up when criticizing your revisions to the paragraph I eventually removed). Yes, my language can be a bit harsh at times. But I'm attacking reductionisms, not individuals. Keep in mind that in my profession, criticism serves a constructive function. 172 04:23, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

BTW, I'll give you (or the others) roughly a day to at least tell me what this dispute is over. I could be something of which I wasn't even aware. Perhaps I could even correct it on my own. Otherwise, I have strong justification for removing it. 172 04:27, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

18 Feb 2004 [2][edit]

As long as somebody is sufficiently unsatisfied to put the notice up, it is simply dishonest to remove it without their agreement; you have to get positive agreement, not just declare that you think the arguments are without merit.

I simply stated that there were no arguments made against the current version of the article. Now that you have cited some in this posting, a justification for the neutrality dispute has been made. 172 09:01, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I have asked repeatedly for you to add references to the scholarly works upon which the various claims are based, still haven't seen anything.

And I stated repeatedly that the endnotes would be inserted along with a new section outlining the historiography. However, I now finally have some concrete inquiries from you. I'll start you off with the following; ask if you want more. I also took the time to find you some free access articles online if you want quick (and free) overviews. 172 09:01, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The Sunbelt stuff is full of sweeping illogicalities; if the West is conservative, then how is it that California is not? I live in Nevada, and it's actually become more liberal in the past couple decades, because of people moving in from elsewhere - it's certainly not a solid base for the Repuglicans.

Reread the section on the Sunbelt and the New Right. These exceptions are addressed. In other words, the increasingly Democratic voting patterns in California in more recent years are briefly mentioned later in the section. For a discussion of changing voting patterns in the Sunbelt in more recent years, see Paul Starr, "An Emerging Democratic Majority" in Stanley Greenberg and Theda Skocpol, eds., The New Majority (Yale University Press, 1997) for . Starr's article was adapted and reprinted in The American Prospect no. 35 (November-December 1997). On gentrification, the Sunbelt, and cities, see Daphn Spain (1992) "A Gentrification Research Agenda for the 1990s." Journal of Urban Affairs 14:125-134 for a good general overview. For the other side of the coin, see Douglas Glasgow's The Black Underclass (1980), which studies the plight of African Americans in the inner cities. For a more recent journal article see W.J. Wilson's "Studying Inner-City Social Dislocations: The Challenge of Public Agenda Research." American Sociological Review 56:1-14. Going back a generation, the political implications of the rise of the Sunbelt were heralded by Kirkpatrick Sale Power Shift (1975). More recently, you have Lisa McGirr Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (2001) I found you a site with reviews and excepts from at the Princeton University Press website if you want to take a look: For more on the rise of conservative sentiments in the late '70s early '80s, see The Politics of Social Policy in the United States, eds Margaret Weir, Ann Shola Orloff and Theda Skocpol. For your convenience once again, here are more reviews. Abramson, Paul R., John H. Aldrich, and David W. Rohde. Change and Continuity in the 1980 Elections. Rev. ed. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1983 comes to mind for the elections of 1980 as a major political realignment. 172 09:01, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Heh, there's no lack of stupid stuff - but which of these are authoritative? As someone who was personally in the Democratic caucus last week that was so large that it had to move out onto the football field (got to shake Kerry's hand, my wife practically mauled him :-) ), I'll say that people who characterize Nevada as a conservative state don't know what they're talking about. Dem/Rep split in Nevada is very nearly 50/50, and if Bush hadn't come and told baldfaced lies about Yucca Mountain, Nevada would have gone Demo and Gore would be in the White House today. Stan 06:14, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)
They're all "authoritative." They may be writing from one of competing schools of thought or approaches, but if you can recognize this, it's no problem. I can give you more, but this should be enough to give you steer you in the direction of finding other works on the subject matter. BTW, Who's describing Nevada as solidly conservative? No one's denying that there aren't exceptions in "the Sunbelt." Nevada has Las Vegas and the gaming industry. Often forgotten, Democrats can be competitive in Montana as well, given the legacy of a strong union activity in the Western mining region of the state. 172 07:18, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Supply-side economics is still being described as if "everybody knows" it's bad, but I'll bet it has lots of respected defenders today who would take exception to the description here; so it needs to be described neutrally, not negatively.

This shot seems to be coming from nowhere. Where is the article attacking supply-side economics? The debate is over whether to blame either tax cuts or runaway government spending for the deficit. However, this is merely a side note in an article that provides a very general overview. 172 09:01, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC) Thomas Byrne Edsall's The Political Economy of Inequality and Sidney Weintraub and Marvin Goodstein, eds., Reaganomics in the Stagflation Economy (1983), discuss the Reagan administration's economic policies. George Gildner's Wealth and Poverty (1981), deals with the economic ideology of the Reagan revolution. See also Robert Heilbroner et al. The Debt and the Deficit (1989). On the presidency, Ronnie Dugger, On Reagan (1983), is a hostile account. Ackerman, Frank. Reaganomics: Rhetoric vs. Reality. (1982) is another hostile account. Roland Evans and Robert Novak The Reagan Revolution (1981) is an admiring chronicle. Laurence I. Barrett, Gambling with History (1984) is another good source on Reagan in the White House. 172 09:01, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

And of course there's the extreme irony of casual references to "rightwing military dictatorships in Latin America" by the same person who steadfastly resists characterizing certain socialist leaders (Josef Stalin) as dictators. I'm not quoting everything that I think is slanted, just an assortment, because once again I've wasted my WP editing time trying to convey the scope of the problem.

First, the next time I hear this bullshit about me being a Stalinist, I am taking it up to the mailing list. BTW, this paragraph was removed. To go on, LaFeber's Inevitable Revolutions (1983) is still the seminal work on the US in Central America. I found you a site citing reviews here. The articles cited don't come with free access. Raymond Bonner's Weakness and Deceit: US Policy and El Salvador is also a leading work on this subject, though starting off with LaFeber would probably be best. 172 09:01, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
You said "Stalinist", not me, and the sentence "The Reagan administration supplied funds and weapons to rightwing military dictatorships in Latin America." is still there as I write, so that's a pretty definite use of the D-word, plus the sentence after that says "Somoza family dictatorship". I have no problem with the D-word, but it's certainly biased to accept it for the rightwingers and not the leftwingers. Maybe just a word, but given your energy to remove it from certain articles, I assume that you agree it's an important word. Stan 14:12, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Just luck-of-the-draw about Stalin - Mugabe and Jong-il also came to mind, I chose randomly. Stan 06:14, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I don't use the "D-word" arbitrarily. But I am sorry about using the using it inconsistently. However, the biases affecting my usage of "the D-word" go back to Max Weber, not Karl Marx. Let me elaborate. Going back to Weber's concept of "sultanism," comparativists point out regimes resting on patrimonial leadership, rather than rationalized modern bureaucracies with generalized norms and procedures. Consider the Somozas, the Trujillos, Saddam and his sons, Assad and his sons, Papa Doc and Baby Doc, Batista, Ceausescu, the Kims, Macros, Idi Amin, Iran under the Shah, and "Turkmenbashi." Since the defining feature of leadership here is low institutionalization, this concept is not applied to all authoritarian regimes. Among Communist regimes, I've only seen Romania and North Korea classified as personalistic. BTW, for the benchmark work on this concept, see Juan Linz and Alfred Stephan's Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation (1996). Similarly, Michael Bratton and Nicolas van de Walle use the concept of "neopatrimonialism" in their account, which is the most comprehensive work on the subject for Afica. To illustrate my point with an example, I would avoid the "D-word" vis-à-vis China today, while using it more loosely vis-à-vis the Somoza dynasty. Although this isn't the ideological bias that you made it out to be, your post clearly highlighted the confusion generated by the term's usage. Thanks for alterting me to this. I'll try to avoid it all together on Wiki. And sorry for the "massive verbiage." 172 07:13, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I know that this article is not representative of professionally-written US history, because it's not at all like the books I've read - in fact most of this I remember reading in nakedly-biased and poorly-researched articles in leftie newspapers of the period.

Well, what do you expect for a general overview on the past twenty years of recent US history? And what books were those, BTW? For a general outline, however, it isn't at all unorthodox. Do a search for course syllabi on yahoo and google, for example, and you'll see similar outline sketches. If this is too much to ask from you, I'll send you some more links. 172 09:01, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I'm going to have a pretty high expectation from someone who claims to be a professional, reverts changes by others for being "emotional", and has a habit of telling people not to give the "Fox News version". I haven't read any book purporting to be a "general history of the US since 1980", I was comparing to US history in general.
I wasn't referring to solely covering 1980-present. Survey US history texts, however, will give you a brief overview in a single chapter. The more general the better. Keep in mind, e.g., that we're often trying to sum up in a single sentence what's being presented in any several of some of the sources that I provided. In effect, writing such a general overview is a process of summarizing and outlining. 172 07:13, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I don't think course syllabi from the net are authoritative; there are a lot of, shall we say, "less-abled" professors. WP can only be as good as its sources, so we need to rely on the leading authorities, not the assistant prof from Podunk U. Stan 14:12, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
You're still confusing my point. The point is to compare course syllabi. Perhaps I should've been more clear. Downloading about a dozen would enable you to compare the syllabi, giving you a good idea of what's widely published. Moreover, I wasn't saying that my standards are low for this article. The Stalin crack left me a bit irritated, so perhaps I was getting a bit snappy at the expense of clarity. Anyway, let me clarify my point. Given such restrictive space constraints, the article can merely provide an outline sketch of the Reagan years. It cannot be on par with the academic literature; the historiography merely helps you sort out what belongs in such a brief outline sketch.

That's why it's important to know what books are to used as authorities - I'll buy/checkout copies and compare content. Stan 06:25, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the refs - LaFeber was already on my list, am visiting the library this weekend. I note that your Reagan-era books are from during his presidency, which isn't really adequate for perspective - has nobody written anything in the 15 years since? Stan 14:12, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Not all of them are from the eighties. Maybe I forgot to note which texts had new editions. I'll add some more recent stuff, but I'm running short of time now. 172 02:08, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

172, six weeks ago you agreed that it was POV to call rightwing regimes "dictatorships" but not their leftwing counterparts, and yet after all that time your only effort on this article has been to remove the NPOV dispute notice. Since I'm not the sort to revert other people's changes without prior discussion, I'll wait one day to see some changes in content before re-adding the dispute notice. Stan 21:01, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Don't misrepresent me. I said that I tend to use the term more freely when referring to personalistic regimes, irrespective of whether they're dubbed "rightwing" or "leftwing" by some. If you have a problem with some of the diction in the article, change it. That'll work out better than expecting me to read your mind. 172 10:25, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I'm not going to bother touching the text unless you promise to improve on my edit and not just revert the whole change without discussing it first. I'm simply not going to get into an edit war on content here, which means that if you revert me, my effort will have been completely wasted - there are 200K+ articles that I could have been working on instead. Stan 15:56, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)
You're getting really jumpy. Please, just calm down. This isn't a big deal. Make your changes, and I will compare the versions line by line. 172 23:09, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)
"Jumpy"? Not hardly - I'm leaning back in properly bad posture, full of Cherry Garcia and a little drowsy... So, does the "compare the versions line by line" amount to a promise that you will critique on the talk page first rather than mass-revert? You may not think reverting is a big deal, but let me clue you in - the people you revert really really hate it. Stan 05:04, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)
If you insert something like "MUHA PINHEADS YOU ALL R WIERD U WIERDING WIERD WIERDOS," a winner that I found off the deletion log, you'll get reverted. Not having any idea about what you want to do, I cannot say how I'll react to your changes. Really, I don't know what you want for me as of this point. 172 05:26, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Ya know, I've cleared out far more vandalism than you have, turned more junk stubs into useful articles, am #44 among the most active editors on WP as a whole, developed some of the standards by which other people write their articles, and despite all this activity, have been involved in maybe 2 or 3 edit wars at most; it says a lot about you, that you think there's even the remotest chance that I would vandalize this article. What I want is simple; a promise not to revert my entire edit without discussing it here first. Is that really so hard an undertaking? Stan 17:48, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

All a correlation implies causation fallacy! You seem to be suggesting that you're characteristically civil and reasonable, whereas I'm not, as evidenced by your observations that (a) you're a more active user than I am (b) but get into fewer edit wars. Ironically, such assertions really cause arguments to turn personal, accomplishing nothing while generating personal feuds on a daily basis on WP. While I try to brush off these lines of attack more often than not, this time I'll defend myself for the hell of it.
Yes, I get into more edit wars. But the reason I'm more likely to get into edit wars has more to do with the particular articles on my watchlist, and my corresponding practices as a user, than personality, hasty reverts, a lack of civility, or wherever you're pointing fingers. Given my background, I focus on the history and politics articles, which spark the lion's share of edit wars. Although you work in these fields as well, consider your role in, say, the Stamps and postal history of New South Wales article (great job, BTW), and then juxtapose it with, say, the role of Slrubenstein, John Kenney, and me on Fascism for the past couple of weeks. The article on Fascism (a controversial and widely familiar topic), attracts trolls and partisans, extreme POV rants, and scores of arbitrary, poorly written, asinine edits for, say, several weeks running. But the page history of Stamps and postal history of New South Wales is - how should I put it? - very stable. And BTW, notice that I avoid edit wars when working on a relatively obscure subject on WP, say, Li Ruihuan, rather than, say, Karl Marx.
Maintaining encyclopedic standards is an uphill battle when partisans enter the fold in Fascism, Catholicism, East Germany, Red Scare, etc. Since I grapple with this more often, I get into more edit wars. Consequently, you're completing many articles in the time that I spend struggling to remove a paragraph or two, a sentence or two, and even a word or two from a single article. But this is worthwhile, as these are the articles in my fields that generate the largest volume of hits.
Also, I tend to spend a far smaller share of my time on WP proofreading articles for grammar, clarity, and style. Unlike me, you've made thousands of minor edits fixing grammatical and spelling errors. However, I'm simply not the best when it comes to proofreading content online. I need stronger glasses, skim text too fast for my own good, and lack experience using computers. So, we're both doing different things on WP, and hence picking up different habits as users. 172 09:08, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)
All true, although as someone versed in the ways of politics it seems like it ought to be easy for you to negotiate with the people on the various sides, and to find out more about people before dissing them (for instance, in addition to insinuating vandalistic tendencies, you lumped Stan the big Democratic donor and convention delegate in with the Fox News crowd - oops!). Anyway, getting back to the point, I'm still waiting for a promise not to mass-revert without prior discussion. Without it, I won't edit, except to add the POV dispute notice back, which I'll do tomorrow if we've made no progress. Stan 15:10, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)
If you're enticing me to sign a contract before reading it (i.e. promise to get your permission before I make another change), you must think that I'm a real dupe! You've worked in some pretty damn competitive fields, so I'm probably no match to you. But I'm not that bad! Anyway, if you're worried about an arbitrary "mass-revert" (whatever that is), don't worry. Unless it's an accident, I don't make changes arbitrarily.
BTW, if you want to know why you've been having trouble dealing with me, it's the result of attacking my credibility for months. Often, you do this before I have a scant idea about how you specifically want to change an article. This is read as a bullying tactic, i.e. an attempt to seize a rhetorical high ground. One can either fight back or give into bullying. Because I take you seriously, I'm often left having to respond to your attacks on my credibility rather than your concerns with content. I can dismiss the antics of trolls, vandals, and the "Fox News crowd," but it's harder to dismiss you. But I can work with you if I'm given specifics, facts, and sources instead, I can follow the rational give-and-take. 172 10:56, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I just asked for discussion, not permission - as you say, it would be foolish to agree to something unseen in advance. I'd be more trusting except that I have seen you mass-revert good faith changes by other people without discussion. But I think you generally understand me, and that's good enough. Stan 14:07, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Why do we keep going in circles with this? Just make your changes already. I have no idea what you're up to. 172 23:27, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Bleah, first pass done, but what a pain - nothing like going through line-by-line to see the flaws. There is still a lot of redundant material - for instance 1980 election results are more accurately covered in U.S. presidential election, 1980, and this article links to that one. The basic percentages and electoral numbers are more than enough. There is still some leftover junk from the subdivision process - 1991 is not between 1980 and 1988, and this article needs just a sentence to presage 1991 and link to the appropriate article. It's also sort of funny to have a history of the 1980s that doesn't mention the introduction of the IBM PC... one of the reasons to prune ruthlessly is so we can hear about the doings of more US citizens than just the one with the initials RR. Stan 05:18, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Nice job. And that wasn't a big deal. In fact, you could've used the minor change feature. You're changes gave the article a much needed round of copyediting. 172 23:07, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The sentence about Latin America sounds like the beginning to an opinion piece, and while I happen to agree with it to an extent it doesn't have a place in the article. Supreme Moolah of Iran 06:03, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Still Covert[edit]

I note with some amusement that the "largest covert action in the history of the CIA", aid to the Mujahideen rebels in Afganistan remains unmentioned in this article, see George Crile, Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, Pub Group West, April, 2003, hardcover, 550 pages, ISBN 0871138549; trade paperback, Grove Press, April, 2004, ISBN 0802141242. Fred Bauder 12:04, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)

"most severe recession since the Great Depression"[edit]

It is a point of doctrine in the Democratic party that every Republican president is the harbinger of another Great Depression. See e.g. recent talking points from the Kerry campaign, Gore campaign speeches of 2000, Ann Richards's convention speech of 1992. The comparison between, say, the current unemployment rate of 5.4% and the depression rate of 25% is totally misleading, and such political propaganda does not belong in a Wikipedia article. Gazpacho 02:04, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I don't give a damn about the bullshit campaign rhetoric of Kerry, Richards, and Gore. It is an established fact, though, that the deep recession of 1982 was the biggest economic dip since the Great Depression. Since the U.S. Department of Commerce started releasing data on GDP in 1946, the largest decline recorded in any year except 1946 was the 2.2 percentage decline in 1982. (The anomalous 20.6 percent decline in GDP for 1946 was technically the largest, but it is generally not applicable in studies because the enormous percentage decline in GDP associated with postwar demobilization that occurred in that year would distort the scale of the data and obscure comparisons of subsequent years.) In addition, in November 1982 unemployment reached nine million, reaching a rate of 9.7 percent, the highest rate recorded at the time since the Depression. Research the U.S. Commerce Department and Bureau of Labor Statistics records if you don't believe me. 172 02:50, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Trey Stone and 172 edit war[edit]

Rather than simply reverting each other over and over why don't you break the differing versions down paragraph by paragraph and work though these matters a bit at a time. I don't much care for either version, at least parts of each. As it stands you each adopt a posture of all or nothing. Fred Bauder 16:34, Nov 25, 2004 (UTC)

I'm willing to change "put pressure on" to "overthrow" and perhaps alter the Grenada bit a little. As for other stuff I don't see what's wrong with it. a) I gave context in Grenada (as in Reagan overthrew new Prime Minister Coard, not Bishop.) It is well-established that he was a hardline Marxist-Leninist who was openly friendly toward the Soviet bloc. b) The government in El Salvador was technically civilian and military, even if the military dominated, and the government in Honduras was undergoing a transition to civilian democracy. c) If a state is a one-party state it is a dictatorship. It has consolidated control and chooses a chairman as its head, who generally has the most influence (making him the essential dictator -- he makes the final decisions.) Angola and Mozambique weren't governed by autocrats, but they were governed by a dictatorship -- that it was not personalistic does not change that fact. d) "Pro-Vietnamese" is not accurate. Tony Blair is pro-American, that doesn't mean the government of Britain was essentially propped up by us.

Other than that I attempted to rewrite the econ. analysis so that "recovery" doesn't just = deficit spending and defense boost and "tax cuts" don't just = soaring budget deficit, national debt, and worsening financial status internationally. The facts are presented in a POV way typically advanced by Reagan critics. Trey Stone 02:21, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What I am saying is, break it down into managable portions and discuss it with 172. Fred Bauder 12:14, Nov 26, 2004 (UTC)

Marcos was a dedicated anti-Communist. Guerrilla insurgencies like the FMLN and FSLN were primarily made up of Marxists. To 172, the words are needed so that people know what the ideology of people fighting against such military governments was. Trey Stone 04:32, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Reading over the article, I concur that there is a POV present in the description of Reagan's economic policies. Something needs to be said about the tax cuts' possible effects as a fiscal stimulus and the view that they, and not deficit spending, were what ended the Carter recession. Even the most ardent Keynesians acknowledge that tax cuts have stimulus effects and the debate today over Reaganomics is NOT whether the tax cuts stimulated the economy but rather (1) how much they stimulated it and (2) was this stimulus supply side or demand side. That said, going through the article and adding the term "communist" at every possible instance is also inappropriate and could lead to a POV in the other direction. If somebody was indeed communist (e.g. the sandinistas were communists) identify them as that once but anything else is redundant and leads to a POV.Rangerdude 05:33, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I reverted back to Trey Stone's edit. Go nuts with the terms "Communist" and "Marxist-Leninist," as if one can't click on the names of these groups. I don't have the time or the energy to deal with yet another Trey Stone flame war here. 172 06:13, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Considering you have no problem with every military junta and anti-Communist U.S.-supported govt. being labelled "right-wing" (and neither do I) I don't see what you're bitching about. J. Parker Stone 23:22, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)
LOL. I guess not providing an obvious slant for the Latino "freedom fighters" is "Reagan-worshipping POV." Then again, this is wikipedia, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Post-1988 commentary[edit]

The "Changing demographics and the growth of the Sun Belt" section contains various references to trends and events which occured after 1988, the closing year this article is supposed to represent. I would move to the post-1988 article topics such as

  • gentrification and renewal in inner cities, a topic more apropos to the 1990s. The crack cocaine epidemic of the late 1980s for instance was a severe blow to crime, which did not turn until poverty, investment, population, and other indicators also did so in the mid-1990s in most major cities. The riots in Los Angeles and in Crown Heights are often cited symbolically, if not statistically, as the nadir of those cities' development. While some improvements that postdate those events had their root in decisions that predate them, e.g. the Wilson/Kelling broken windows thesis was published in 1982, it remains that their full implementation came after this period, e.g. Bratton was not appointed until 1990 by Dinkins. Other signatures of urban redevelopment like the development of Camden Yards also postdate this era.
  • political developments in the Sunbelt. Pete Wilson, generally the scapegoat for Republican unpopularity among California minorities, did not become so until his 1994 reelection campaign; in 1988 he was merely Cranston's unremarkably moderate Republican counterpart. Indeed, political observations of the Sunbelt described the Bush's election as evidence of a GOP "lock" on the Electoral College. The theory of the lock in fact may deserve an article of its own, but its calculation always began with California-- and again the reversal of the party allegiance of the Pacific states in presidential elections did not occur until well after the period in question ended.

Also, some details I think could be sent to Reaganomics and Reagan Administration, and we can add a few from elsewhere. Since there is no specialized article for them, we also ought to mention health and science events, such as the space shuttle (the Challenger accident being particularly ntoable for its cultural impact on the school-aged generation) and AIDS, intellectual trends such as the dramatic expansion of deconstruction, and possibly notable cultural events such as the yuppie phenomenon or the rise of video games. -choster 23:41, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Recovery - source of economic stimulus.[edit]

I removed the line about the 80's recovery being stimulated by defense spending as opposed to domestic spending in contrast to the Great Society. This is just not true when you take the spending in the context of the overall economy. This site contains historical budget data. If you look at the period fiscal years 1962 - 1969, military spending is never lower than 7.4 per cent. of gross domestic product and goes as high as 9.3 per cent. Domestic discretionary spending during that period ranged from 2.5 to 3.6 per cent. of GDP. On the other hand, in the period from fiscal 1981 to 1989, defense spending ranged from 5.6% to 6.2% of GDP: always lower than the 60's levels. Domestic spending (discretionary only) started at 4.5% and dropped to 3.6% by decade's end. There's no way that defense spending, alone, can be considered the sole fiscal element of the 1982-1988 economic expansion. Ellsworth 21:34, 25 May 2005 (UTC)


This article seems to be focused on Reagan and his administration only. Even the dates line up with his presidency (who decides on the delineation?) The article needs major expansion. I know more happened in the 1980s in the U.S. than just Reagan and his policies. Civil Engineer III 12:19, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

unjustified move[edit]

The move of this content from History of the United States (1980–1991) is incorrect and a corruption of the pattern of US articles. These articles cover periods of US history by important dates, not by decade or any other mechanical measure. The important date here is 1991: the end of the Sovient Union and the Cold War. A cutoff of 1989 has no significance whatever. Hmains (talk) 05:30, 26 May 2008 (UTC)