The Breakdown Of The 1970

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The Breakdown Of The 1970′S Detente In The Cold War Essay, Research Paper The breakdown of the 1970’s d tente can be attributed to many different issues and events. In researching these events the varying opinions from both superpowers would establish the failure of d tente in history, as a breakdown in communication and talks between the White House and the Kremlin with the collapse of d tente marking the end of the 1970’s. During the 1976 presidential campaign, the tension between the objective of transformation and the importance of coexistence became crucial. Conservatives criticized d tente for not moderating the Soviets involvement in the Third World. In the United States, many saw accumulative series of Soviet interventions which involved military means; Angola,

Ethiopia, Kampuchea, Afghanistan, as a pattern of Soviet expansion, which was not consistent with d tente. Many actually believed that these expansionist moves were encouraged by d tente. Ultimately, the expectations that d tente would achieve more were held by both powers. It was the failure to satisfy these expectations which led to its demise. Kissinger suggested that “d tente, with all its weaknesses, should be judged not against some ideal but against what would have happened in its absence. D tente did not cause the Soviet arms build-up, nor could it have stopped it. However, it may have slowed it down or made it more benign” (Garthoff 1994:1123). Perhaps d tente could be viewed, not as a method of preventing or deterring tension which might lead to war, but as a way of

postponing their effect until the United States could more effectively deal with them. By 1976, d tente was a controversial term with both left and right had criticizing its development. With the new Carter administration a campaign for restoring confidence in government institutions and reforming American foreign policy was implemented (Froman 1991:74). Carter appointed Brzezinski as National Security Adviser and Vance as Secretary of State. Their ongoing differences resulted in turmoil for the Carter administration and his efforts to develop a set of boundaries for the principles of d tente. D tente began to collapse almost as soon as it had begun. Watergate undermined Nixon’s credibility; Senator Jackson’s Amendment in regards to the Jewish community and Angola all

compromised US/Soviet relations. In spite of all this, by 1977 D tente was still a viable option, with a new American initiative needed to get d tente back on track. With the Carter administration no sign of renewed confidence in d tente was evident. His action if anything, impeded progress towards d tente. Brzezinski’s hard line approach resulted in serious problems for the d tente by 1978. The SALT talks established in 1972 were not completed. The Kremlin and the White House were no longer having diplomatic talks with both sides feeling the other was to blame. The US critiqued the build up of the soviet armed forces and the soviet/Cuban involvement in Africa placed extreme pressure on d tente’s success. In the midst of these events the signing of the Helsinki Accords in

1975 placed human rights high on the political agenda. America began to place pressure on the USSR’s domestic policy in regards to the treatment of Russia’s minority groups. Carter’s crusade to liberalize Communist societies through external pressure actually jeopardized American-Soviet relations. The already inflamed d tente was further compromised by the Jackson Amendment of 1974, which fought Moscow to open emigration of Soviet Jews. This event humiliated the Soviet Union by the interference of the US in their internal affairs producing a hostile Kremlin. Carter spoke grandly about his “ultimate goal, the elimination of all nuclear weapons from earth” (Isaacs, Downing 1988:354). Disarmament and arms control were a high priority for Carter and he was proposing to