Chapter 5 - Detente

  • Created by: AbzzStarr
  • Created on: 03-06-16 12:30

USA's interpretation of Detente

  • Nixon administration saw Detente as a process based on negotiation rather than confrontation
  • Kissinger: Strategy rather than an objective
  • "Detente is a means of controlling the conflict with the Soviet Union"
  • Nixon + Kissinger wanted to draw the SU into a state of interdependency
  • A strategy designed to prevent nuclear conflict as the SU became more powerful
  • About creating a network of mutually advantageous relationships so that it wouldn't be in the SU's best interests to base its policies on confrontation
  •  SU would have more to gain by cooperation
  • USA would be in a position to 'manage' Soviet international power
  • Kissinger summed this up by saying "By acquiring a stake in this network of relationships with the West the Soviet Union may become more conscious of what it will lose by a return to confrontation. Indeed, it is our expectation that it will develop a self interest in fostering the entire process of relaxation of tensions" 
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The SU's interpretation of Detente

  • Brezhnev saw Detente as a means of overcoming the Cold War and the route by which normal, equal relations could be restored. 
  • Disputes would be resolved through negotiation rather than threats of force
  • Legitimate interests of each side would be recognised and respected by the other.
  • Brezhnev regarded Detente as mutually advantageous to both sides 
  • From the Soviet perspective, Detente was only possible due to the nuclear parity established by the late '60s
  • SU reached strategic balance with US in terms of nuclear capability
  • SU in position to cooperate with the USA
  • SU took the view that the USA was no longer the dominant world power - SU could gain by cooperating with them
  • Detente was the means by which the SU could preserve world socialism and protect it from capitalism and imperialism
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Sino-American relations '69-'72

  • USA refused to acknowledge China after communist takeover in 1949
  • Sino-Soviet relations were worsening (by late '60s there were clashes on the border)
  • Nixon prime mover - '68 "We must not forget China"
  • China increasing nuclear power and communist power seperate from the SU
  • July  '69 - trade controls and travel restrictions relaxed as part of'Artichoke approach'
  • '70 - Zhou Enlai wins against those apposed to improved S-A relations
  • Mao Zedong sees SU as bigger threat than USA
  • US action in May '70 (Cambodia) and Feb '71 (Laos) slowed developments slightly 
  • April '71:China invites US to compete in the 31st World Table Tennis Championship (Ping- pong diplomacy)
  • July 71 - Kissinger visits Peking
  • October '71 - Kissinger visits Peking again to prepare for Nixon's visit
  • Nixon visits China - Withdraws troops from Taiwan and gains Chinese cooperation in ending Vietnam War 
  • Reinforces possibility of Triangular diplomacy between USA, SU and China
  • "The week that changed the world"
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Ostpolitik and European Detente

  • 1955 - FRG adopts Hallstein Doctrine under Adenauer (FRG wouldn't recognise GDR or establish relations with any country that did - SU the only exception)
  • Brandt becomes chancellor of FRG in 1969 - aimed to recognise GDR & the territorial changes at the end of the Second World War (particularly Oder-Neisse border with Poland)
  • Brandt's strategy was to negotiate with the SU, settle the frontier with Poland & negotiate with the GDR
  • Brandt's talks with SU led to joint Non-Aggression Pact in August 1970
  • 7th Dec '70 - Treaty signed with Poland recognising Oder-Neisse Border
  • May '71 - communist leader of GDR Walter Ulbricht resigns (replaced by Erich Honecker)
  • Change in leader led to change in relations 
  • December '72 - the two Germanies sign a Treaty recognising eachother (Basic Treaty) - Hallstein Doctrin abolished
  • Kissinger realised the USA must develop its own Detente with the SU to stop W German detente from marginalising US influence in Europe which had the potential to split the western alliance
  • USA's superpower influence was not to be undermined by initiatives taken by the FRG
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Berlin Agreement - Sep '71

  • An agreement over Berlin would greatly advance Soviet - American Detente 
  • Both sides keen to reach a consensus on Berlin's future and status within East-West Relations
  • When Brandt became Chancellor of the FRG, the Soviets expressed an interest in holding talks to discuss Berlin
  • By 1971 Kissinger & Nixon were to use Soviet interest in Berlin as a way of advancing SALT I 
  • Honecker's appearance in 1971 (replacing aging Ulbricht) facilitated an agreement on Berlin
  • The Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin was signed on the 3rd September 1971
  • The Soviets guaranteed Western access & W German presence was reduced 
  • Cultural & economic ties between W Germany & W Berlin were recognised
  • W recognised E Berlin as a part of E Germany, not just the Soviet Zone
  • W Berlin would stay seperate from W Germany 
  • Berlin as a whole would retain the 4 power presence
  • Berlin Agreement neutralised a source of conflict between E and W & opened the way for Ostpolitik to be expanded
  • Created positive climate for American- Soviet Detente
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Basic Treaty

  • Signed 21st December 1972 - Officially came into effect June 1973
  • Known as Grundlagenvertrag in German
  • Important part of the development of Ostpolitik
  • 'Treaty concerning the basis of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic'
  • Attept to normalise relations between the two Germanies
  • Groundwork laid out throughout 1971 and 1972 - Key figures: Egon Bahr & Michael Kohl (under-secretaries of state for W & E Germany) & FRG Chancellor Willy Brandt
  • Within the first 3 articles was the committment to potential economic relations & the recognition of sovereignty of FRG & GDR. 
  • Further articles promised to seek peaceful ways of resolving conflicts
  • Critical point of European Detente - settled relations & paved the way for other countries to establish relations with the GDR (UK, France & Netherlands February 1973, FRG February 1974 & USA Dec 1974)
  • By the end of September 1973, both the FRG and GDR were members of the UN
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Helsinki Accords

  • 1973-1975
  • Conference named "Conference on Security and cooperation in Europe" (CSCE)
  • 35 States took part (all of Europe except Albania, as well as the USA and Canada)
  • Agreements formally called the 'Final Act' - not seen as the last step in European Detente: Plans for follow up meetings laid out (First was due in Belgrade in late 1977)
  • Three baskets, each with different sets of agreements (Security in Europe, Cooperation in the field of economics, of science and technology and of the Environment & Cooperation in Humanitarian and other Fields)
  • Security in Europe included: Respect for sovereignty and equality among states, rejection of the threat or use of force, recognition of existing frontiers & peaceful settlement of disputes
  • Soviet interests: Expand Ostpolitik & develop wider acceptance of the status quo in C and E Europe, Decrease barriers to increase trade & Further E - W Detente (less interested in human rights & some reluctance to acceept provisions on advanced notice of military exercise)
  • American position: Not fully willing to accept status quo, worried that support for NATO would drop as Europe was more secure
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  • 1969-1972
  • Formed of the ABM Treaty & the Interim Agreement (on Measures with Respect to Strategic Offensive Weapons)
  • ABM treaty limited both superpowers to 2 fields of anti-ballistic missiles - one could be around a capital city, the other was to protect ICBM sites
  • Interim Agreement: ICBMs - 1,054 for the US & 1,618 for the SU, SLBMs - 656 for the US & 740 for the SU & strategic bombers - 450 for the US & 140 for the SU
  • Was current for 5 years 
  • No agreements on new technology (particularly MIRVs) or cruise missile systems 
  • These deficiencies were to be addressed within SALT II 
  • Significant step towards arms control (Catalyst within detente)
  • Contributed to a relaxation of tensions that opened the way for more agreements 
  • By accepting SALT, USA accepted nuclear parity with the SU 
  • Meant that both sides could gain from Detente
  • A balance of power had been acknowledged and this necessitated the construction of a new non-confrontational relationship (Detente)
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Nixon - Brezhnev Summit 1972

  • Held in Moscow
  • Finalised SALT and produced agreements to expand cooperation in science, technology, the environment, health and space exploration
  • Set out guidelines for A-S relations. 
  • Basic Principles Afreement - code of behaviour in terms of superpower relations
  • 12 Basic Principles in all - first 3 were the most important ("Normal relations based on principles of sovereignty, equality, non interference in internal affairs and mutual advantage", avoid situations that could damage peaceful coexistance & "special responsibility ... to do everything in their power so that conflicts or situations will not arise which would serve to increase international tensions")
  • Problems included the fact that the principles were not legally enforceable, it relied on the superpowers abiding by the guidelines
  • US saw the principles as a set of aspirations rather than a solid basis for future detente
  • SU reacted differently - saw Basic Principles as very important - SALT and Basic principles recognised parity between the superpowers and this was the foundation of detente as far as the SU was concerned
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Nixon - Brezhnev Summit 1973

  • Held in Washington
  • Both superpowers wanted to develop Detente further
  • Kissinger eager to ensure USA's influence undermined by European Detente
  • He wanted to draw Europe & China into relations with US so they could influence diplomacy
  • He didn't want Europe making unilateral agreements with the SU - this objective failed & European Detente was strengthened during '73
  • Kissinger & Nixon's policy shows that they were mainly interested in protecting US power
  • Summit June '73 (Partly held in Washington & Camp David & partly in San Clemete, California)
  • Agreements made on agriculture, cultural exchanges & transport - also considered the situation in the Middle East 
  • Brezhnev wanted support for a Soviet proposal to make Israel withdraw to pre '67 frontier - US not willing to back this 
  • Brezhnev wanted US to promise Soviet-American relations came before Sino-American
  • Some progress towards SALT II 
  • Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War (main agreement)
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Agreement on Prevention of Nuclear War '73

  • Both sides agreed policies aimed to remove danger of nuclear war & use of such weapons
  • Commitment to avoid military confrontations & the threat of force
  • Urgent consultations would be held if a situation that could cause nuclear war arose. 
  • Amounted to a crisis prevention strategy
  • Built on Basic Principles Agrement
  • USA reluctant to agree to not use nuclear weapons, fearing it would remove a detterent 
  • Many in SU also had reservations - feared it could weaken their defences & lead to divisions within their SOI in E Europe
  • Also the idea that the SU would lose its ability to support countries looking to break free of western control
  • Detente seen as tying the SU down & restricting its freedom to act in socialist interests
  • US went along with it - like the SU they came to see it as a benefit
  • Soviets saw it as a way to ensure that the USA would be unable to threaten the use of force - which would, to some extent restrict their global influence
  • USA saw it as a necessary initiative for the Soviets to keep them commited to Detente
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3rd Soviet - American summit '74

  • June - July 1974
  • An opportunity to make some progress on the SALT II agreement 
  • Neither side could agree on the amount of MIRVs (USA knew they had superiority in these weapons & didn't want to see this undermined by letting the SU catch up)
  • SU rejected the idea that USA should hold a permanent advantage
  • Some desire to keep SALT alive - both sides agreed to reduce ABM missile sites to 1 each
  • Summit produced some agreements
  • One of which was a 10 year agreement on economic, industrial & technical cooperation
  • Consular links also established
  • Despite its limited outcomes, this summit further cemented Detente as the basis of superpower relations
  • Reaffirmed that summit meetings were the way to go to preserve peace
  • Didn't make any meaningful progress on SALT II (next attempt at this was at Vladivostok)
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The Vladivostok Accord

  • November 1974
  • Preceeded by Kissinger visiting Moscow in October
  • Ford succeeded Nixon after Watergate but kept Kissinger as chief negotiator
  • Kissinger spoke with Brezhnev about no.s of strategic missile launchers & MIRVs -some movement from both sides.
  • At the Vladivostok summit, agreement reached on a framework for a 10- year plan (preliminary move towards SALT II) 
  • SU agreed to equal levels of ICBM launchers & SLBM launchers
  • Despite opposition (some thought the SU was being allowed to keep too many weapons), Congress passed resolutions supporting the Vladivostok SALT Accord by Feb '75
  • When negotiators met in Geneva, it was clear a smooth transition from Vladivostok to SALT II wouldn't happen
  • 1 problem was that the US argued that limits on air-to surface missiles only applied to ballistic missiles - SU said it also included cruise missiles
  • Other similar clarification issues emerged
  • Some progress but still a way off an agreement that could be ratified through SALT II
  • New proposals forced on to Kissinger & backed by Ford - Brezhnev not happy 
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Watergate scandal

  • Took its name from the Washington building that housed headquarters of the Democratic Party campaign during the '72 election.
  • Republican Committee to Re-elect the president formed to ensure that Nixon stayed president
  • 5 people associated with the committee found breaking into the Watergate building - they had sophisicated surveillance equipment they used to spy on the Democratic campaign
  • By August '74, Nixon was closely implicated in the affair - he was accused of using his power as President to obstruct the investigation & lying about his involvement
  • Important Washington Post journalists: Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein
  • Dean, Erlichman & Haldeman had details that led to the recommendation to impeach Nixon
  • Alexander Butterfield - Nixon taped conversations in the White House  - these linked Nixon to the cover-up
  • All these factors forced Nixon to resign before he was impeached
  • Watergate scandal weakened Presidency & created distrust of Washington
  • Serious impact on Detente - power of the President to make important decisions on foreign policy significantly undermined
  • Opponents of Detente found themselves in a stronger position as Detente was associated with an undeermined administration
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Carter Administration '77-81 (1977)

  • Jan '77 - Jimmy Carter replaces Ford as President 
  • Began by trying to impose far tighter restrictions for SALT II than was agreed @ Vladivostok
  • March '77 - Carter considered significantly reduced levels of heavy ICBMs, new limits on testing & a ban on ICBMs
  • Ban on cruise missiles >2,500km, Modern ICBMs = 150 (launchers for ICBMs w/MIRVs = 550)
  • Greater impact on SU than US 
  • Brezhnev saw Vladivostok as binding - Carter acting unilaterally & unnacceptably 
  • Brezhnev rejected proposals - USA appeared to be abandoning hard won progress
  • End of '77 - USA modified proposals & differences were resolved - SALT II back on track
  • Jan '77 - US accused Czechoslovakia of violating human rights (remained committed to this)
  • July '77 Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau & FRG Chancellor Schmidt cautioned Carter on persuing human rights against the SU 
  • Carter had conflicting adivice - SOS Cyrus Vance = pro- Detente, saw it as an asset (would stop both sides backing Arab extremists), National security advisor Brezinski - anti-Detente (wanted the US to hold strategic superiority over the SU)
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Carter Administration '77-81 (1978)

  • USA's relationship with China increasingly hindered SALT II 
  • Carter decided to turn to China to retaliate against so called expansionist Soviet activity in developing countries
  • China increasingly receptive to American moves because there were problems with Vietnam & they feared a Soviet-Vietnam alliance in some form
  • Carter intended to develop relations with China (became known as the 'China Card') to counter Soviet and Cuban activities in Africa
  • The aim was to promote the 'normalisation' of Sino-American interests. 
  • Somehow, Carter failed to realise that this would damage Soviet-American relations at a crucial point in the development of SALT II
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Carter Administration '77-81 (1979)

  • Despite the China factor, both superpowers wanted SALT II negotiations to proceed
  • The Treaty was finally announced on 9th May 1979
  • Was to be signed and finalised at the Vienna summit in June
  • This signing was the main achievement of the Vienna summit , but the fact that a summit on this scale could still take place shows that the Soviet and American leaders could talk and communicate directly with each other without the need for intermediares
  • Some historians take the view that the summit just slowed the decline of Detente and the irreversible deterioration between the two superpowers
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