Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy of détente which began in 1979 following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the United States Military and implemented new policies towards the Soviet Union: reviving the B-1 bomber program that had been canceled by the Carter administration, and producing the MX "Peacekeeper" missile. In response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of the Pershing II missile in West Germany.
Together with Britain's prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Reagan denounced the Soviet Union in ideological terms. In a famous address on June 8, 1982 to the British Parliament in the Royal Gallery of the Palace of Westminster, Reagan said, "the forward march of freedom and democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history." On March 3, 1983, he predicted that communism would collapse, stating, "Communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written." In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983, Reagan called the Soviet Union "an evil empire." After Soviet fighters downed Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983, carrying 269 people including U.S. congressman Larry McDonald, Reagan labeled the act a "massacre" and declared that the Soviets had turned "against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere." The Reagan administration responded to the incident by suspending all Soviet passenger air service to the United States, and dropped several agreements being negotiated with the Soviets, wounding them financially.
Under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, Reagan and his administration also provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist resistance movements in an effort to "rollback" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Reagan aided Mujihadeen forces against the Red Army. President Reagan's Covert Action program has been given credit for assisting in ending the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.