Upon assuming the White House, the Reagan administration set out to challenge Soviet positions in the Third World. In doing so, it was behaving according to a long-established tradition in postwar U.S. foreign policy. Covert and not so covert actions in Korea, Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Angola, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and Nicaragua all have elements of the same underlying rationale. The object of these policies was to teach the Soviet leadership a set of lessons about its external environment, lessons that would deter it, it was hoped, from future foreign policy behavior the U.S. leadership finds objectionable.