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Shadow Memorial Diplomacy: The Ronald Reagan Centennial Year in Central and Eastern Europe

Abstract

This article examines the use of the memorialization of Reagan in transatlantic relations – specifically in the commemorations of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Year in 2011 in Central and Eastern Europe. Extrapolating from the case of Hungary, the article argues that because of the contemporary political status of its drivers and its oblique message, the Reagan Centennial’s campaign in Central Europe can be called “shadow” memorial diplomacy, which in 2011 used the former president’s memory to articulate and strengthen a model of U.S. leadership and foreign policy parallel to and ready to replace those of the then Obama administration. This study can serve as an international extension of previous scholarship on the politics of the memory of Ronald Reagan within the United States, as well as a case study of the use of memory in international relations.

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