Detente under pressure

  1. Arab-Israeli conflict: The October War, 1973
  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 19-04-14 20:43

Arab-Israeli conflict: The October War, 1973

  • summit meeting, Washingtonm June 1973 - detente seemed healthy
  • conflict erupted in October 1973, Egyptian president Sadat was determined to end Israeli occupation of Egyptian Sinai, taken after six day war, 1967
  • Sadat embarked on a limited war against Israel to bring international pressure against Israel
  • 6th October 1973 - Egyptian and Syrian forces attacked the Sinai
  • U.S + S.U shared objective of remaining out of war and preserving their detente relationship
  • both sides supplied their client states with arms
  • S.U helped Egypt and the U.S backed Israel
  • S.U + U.S were able to persuade both sides to call a caesefire by 22nd October
  • U.S wanted to emerge as the driving force in brokering peace in middle east. Kissinger - "demonstrate that the road to peace led through washington"
  • S.U wanted to retain Arab confidence and be a part of peace process
  • By the time of caesefire, Kissinger commented "we had created the conditions for a diplomatic breakthrough. We had maintained a relationship with key Arab countries and laid the foundations for a dominant role in post-war diplomacy"
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superpower confrontation

  • within hours of caesefire it was violated. Israel launched attack against Egyptians
  • S.U suggested sending U.S and S.U troops to enforce caesefire
  • U.S aim was to reduce soviet influence in the area, not encourage it
  • Kissinger even willing to use military force to stop S.U influence in the area
  • Kissinger used threat of Soviet intervention to put pressure on Israel to accept the caese-fire
  • U.S presented as prime mover in Middle East and S.U influence increasingly marginalised
  • Kissinger called a national security council meeting and DEFCON-3 military alert declared - U.S battleships were moved to meditteranean
  • agreed that a UN force excluding U.S and S.U troops would be sent in to enforce ceasefire
  • crisis ended without any serious disruption to U.S-S.U relationship
  • raised issues about S.U and U.S perceptions of detente
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impact of middle-east crisis on detente

  • Kohler, Goure and Harvey(1973) - "there is no doubt, on the basis of the evidence, that the Soviet Union violated both the letter and the spirit of the agreements signed at the Moscow and Washington summits" - However, each suerpower supplied a side with arms,and each power did as much as it could to defuse the middle east situation
  • each side broke Basic principles by seeking to gain unilateral advantage
  • neither S.U or U.S accused the other of breaking detente
  • Kissinger - "our policy to reduce and where possible eliminate soviet influence in the middle east was in fact making progress under the cover of detente
  • since 1971 Russian saw detente as building cooperation with U.S
  • The U.S perception of detente(removing soviet influence in M.E) caused the S.U to question if detente with U.S was serving their interests
  • many arab states questioned if U.S-S.U detente was compatible with S.U claim to support progressive and national liberation struggles facing many developing countries
  • December 1973, Geneva - S.u+U.S bought the warring states together, was the final effort to work together to achieve a settlement
  • from this point U.S resumed diplomatic efforts among arab states and the Israelis. - became known as "shuttle diplomacy"
  • 1974-5 Kissinger aranged number of disengagements and withdrawals of Israeli's from Egypt and Syria
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impact of middle-east crisis on detente

  • 18th March - U.S oil embargo imposed on Arab's was lifted
  • Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy gave U.S a pivotal role in middle east and excluded S.U from diplomatic action
  • S.U strategy was to develop relationship with Syria and Iraq
  • S.U also fostered relations with libya and the Palestine Liberation Organisation
  • PLO officialy recognised August 1974
  • October war fueled opposition to detente in U.S
  • fear grew that S.U-U.S cooperation would lead to agreements that could result in trading Israeli occupied territory for peace between Israel and its arab neighbours
  • U.S-S.U detente had been a success during october war, and this alarmed the anti detente lobby
  • war generated a large body of opponents who feared U.S-S.U cooperation would be harmful to Israel
  • detente about to be undermined by events in Africa and West Asia
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Angola, 1974-6

  • critical challenge to the integrity of detente came through instability in developing countries during 1970's
  • S.U believed the instability caused by U.S neo-colonialism 
  • U.S doubtful of detente saw S.U in a similar way
  • fundamental issue in developing countries = nationalism and independence from external control
  • Angola crisis revealed the nature of U.S-S.U competition
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The Angolan Civil War

  • 1974 - revolution in portugal led to creation of left-wing military junta taking power
  • new gov. announced decision to grant its colony of Angola independence one year after getting in to power
  • May 1974 - end to all offensive action against the Angolan nationalist opposition
  • Nov 1974 - scramble for power by 3 main nationalist groups under way
      • MPLA - popular movement for Liberation of Angola
      • FNLA - National Front for Liberation of Angola
      • UNITA - National Union for Liberation of Angola
  • MPLA led by Agostino Neto - Marxist Leninist ideology
  • FNLA led by Holden Roberto - support fromm Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia
  • UNITA led by Jonas Savimbi
  • Alvor Accords, Jan 1975 - three groups agreed to a transitional gov
  • external powers began to intervene
  • June 1974 - China sent 120 military advisers to aid FNLA
  • July 1974 - U.S increased funding to this group - further increased after Alvor Accords
  • October 1974 - S.U sent MPLA funding and arms, and a civil war quickly flared up
  • January 1976 - 12,000 Cuban troops supporting MPLA and allowed them to reach victory March 1976
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The Angolan Civil War

  • November 1975 - MPLA proclaimed creation of People's republic of Angola
  • Feb 1976 - PRA recognised by Organisation of African Unity
  • Oct 1976 - S.U ratified 20 year friendship deal with Cuba
  • Cuba removed troops in early 1977 but promised military aid should the PRA need it
  • June 1976 U.S vetoed Angolan application for U.N membership, November abstained
  • Cuban troops used to support suppression of attempted coup by Nito Alves, Pro Soviet rival
  • Cuba's role reinforce Angolan-Cuban relations and weakened Angolan-Soviet links
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The USA's position

  • Until Cuba+S.U began large scale military intervention in Angola, Nov 1975, U.S didn't regard involvement of superpowers as compatible with detente
  • Summer 1975 - clear that FNLA was not going to win
  • U.S had the option of not getting involved - significant given position in Vietnam at the time. Would also avoid international criticism
  • by summer 1975, U.S began to question if S.U aid to MPLA was consistent with detente
  • Nov 1975 - U.S did not regard Angola as a direct threat to economic and strategic interests
  • Kissinger - "The United States has no national interest in Angola"
  • December 1975 - Direct of Central intelligience, William Colby - there was little difference among the competing groups - when asked why U.S had backed FNLA - "because the soviets are backing the MPLA is the simplest answer"
  • U.S interests in Angola were not threated by S.U + Cuban intervention, they were created by it. This reality placed increasing strain on detente
  • Kissinger, 1975 - "cannot be indiferent while an outside power embarks upon an interventionist policy - so distract from its homeland and so remove from traditional Russian interests" - Ironic, as U.S had been supplying FNLA
  • catalyst trigger U.S response was increased Cuban military aid and how this was linked to S.U
  • U.S could not continue its own aid for FNLA because this would have aligned it with South Africa who were also aiding them. Apartheid still in S.Africa - U.S didn't want to be associated
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The USA's position

  • Kissinger - "it is the first time that the United States has failed to respond to Soviet military moves outside the immediate Soviet sphere"
  • Kissinger worried about international perception of U.S failure to take action in Angola
  • could be seen as indication of lack of determination to counter communist interventions in the future
  • the biggest threat to detente. If either side gained an advantage then detente could not survive
  • Kissinger convinced S.U was using Cuban forces as a proxy
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Soviet Union's position

  • S.U didn't begin supporting MPLA until after U.S started support for FNLA in July 1974
  • S.U priority was to make sure China did not gain at their expense in Angola
  • S.U could not be seen as less able and less willing than Chinese to support national liberation movements in developing countries
  • S.U compliance with detente had forged a link between S.U and U.S and that weakened S.U credibility in Angola
  • S.U interpreted U.S + Chinese to FNLA as part of a Sino-American collaberation aimed at gaining influence in developing countries - Angola a springboard to launch collective influence
  • December 1975 - Kissinger - U.S and China had "parallel views" but there was no "coordinated" joint action
  • S.U had a legitimate right to aid 'peoples fighting for their liberation'
  • July 1976 - Castro - "we have fulfilled our international duty with our brothers of Angola and we are proud of it"
  • wanted to avoid exposing themselves to the accusation that they would not support progressive and Marxist liberation movements
  • expand influence in developing world and undermine influence of U.S and China at same time
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Afghanistan, 1979

  • April 1978 coup led to overthrow of Muhammed Daoud
  • April 1978 coup ultimately led to S.U invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979

Soviet Union and Afghanistan 1978-9

  • PDPA regime was an ally of S.U, but it began to fragment and an inner faction led by Hafizullah Amin took control
  • began anti-islam campaign + radical land reform
  • S.U concerned alienating so many people would lead to instability
  • they also feared Amin may realign Afghanistan with U.S+China
  • Afghanistan would become a threat on Soviet borders
  • Amin was unreliable as an ally and was unable to control the Islamic opposition he was facing
  • Soviets were in danger of losing their strategic, ideological, political and economic influence in Afghanistan
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what were S.U interests in Afghanistan?

  • shared border stretching 2,500km adjoiing the Muslim Central Asian Republics of USSR
  • Afghanistan socialist and regional ally of USSR. If it allied with U.S it would strengthen them geo-strategically in the are at expense of S.U
  • seemed as if S.U was aiding a socialist state and protecting it from misogvernment of Amin - reality = S.u needed to protect its own security
  • Brezhnev believed Afghanistan could be turned into "an imperialist bridgehead on our southern border" it would be "a seat of serious danger to the security of the Soviet state"
  • Afghanistan had to remain a buffer, so S.U undertook military intervention in Afghanistan in order to restore a stable socilist state that was a loyal ally to Moscow
  • late 1979 U.S-S.U relations at all time low
  • NATO was going to install new missiles in Europe, SALT II was under strain and U.S closely linked with China
  • any further int. relations damage for S.U would be outweighed by the benefits of pro-Soviet and stable Afghanistan
  • The S.U certainly viewed their actions in Afghanistan as being consistent with Basic Principles of detente agreed in 1972
  • For the S.U, it was designed to preserve, not destroy, the status quo
  • Afghanistan was in Soviet spehere of influence and therefore could not ben seen as a Soviet challenge to the west and its vital interest
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U.S reaction to Afghanistan, 1978-9

  • events in Afghanistan became more important when the Shah's pro-U.S regime was overthrown in Iran by Islamic fundamentalists
  • U.S feared Khomeini's regime would collapse and leave Iran vulnerable to leftist and even Comm. influences. Would further increase S.U regional influence
  • Brezhnev+Carter Summit Meeting - Carter: "the United States has not interfered in the internal affairs of Afghanistan" and that "we expect the Soviet Union to do the same"
  • 27th December 1979 - Soviets killed Amin aqnd increased troop numbers
  • Carter referred to the intervention as a "blatant violation of accepted international rules of behaviour" and "a grave threat to peace"
  • detente was dead
  • 3rd January 1980 - Carter asked U.S Senate to postpone indefinitely any fiurther consideration of the SALT II Treaty because of soviet invasion
  • The U.S did not consider the range of S.U motives
  • Carter's narrowing thinking and his response has been percieved as a major factor in damaging future of detente
  • 4th January 1980 Carter set out series of measures aimed at S.U:
    • deferall of action on cultural and economic exchanges
    • major restriction on S.U fishing in U.S waters
    • ban on sales of technology and strategic items to S.U
    • embargo on sales of grain to S.U
    • U.S military + economic assistance to pakistan to enhance its security
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The Carter Doctrine, 1980

  • 23rd January 1980 Carter Doctrine unveiled for defence of Persian Gulf
  • 8th january 1980 - "The soviet invasion of Afghanistan is tghe greatest threat to peace since the second world war"
  • part of detente has always been controlling S.U expansionism - by 1980 this was the dominant aim
  • Carter Doctrine = American commitment to prevent any further S.U advance in to Persian Gulf and South-West Asia
  • emphasised military solution to any expansionism - focus on building up U.S strategic forces
  • reinforced the need to expand relations with China
  • Carter tried to persuade NATO to suspend East-West detente
  • However, European detente was working beneficially - Europe's trade links with S.U were expanding. Europe didn't see its interests being served by becoming a pawn in U.S geo-political strategy
  • 1981 - Carter announces increases in defence budget
  • Carter linked U.S relations with S.U and future of detente to S.U decision to maintain military presence in Afghanistan
  • S.U would have to submit to U.S demands for withdrawal
  • S.U took view that U.S leadership used intervention in Afghanistan as a prextext thay enabled them to disable detente
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The Carter Doctrine, 1980

  • U.S was simply waiting for 'an Afghanistan' to happen in order to fulfil its real aim of bringing detente to an end
  • S.U invasion of Afghanistan was final blow for detente
  • West-invasion demanded international condemnation and a policy of containment to prevent further expansionism
  • Carter admin believes its relationship with S.U relied entirely on S.U withdrawal from Afghanistan
  • Carter made a funamental shift in S.U-U.S relations
  • U.S moved from Nixon-Kissinger cooperation with, and management of, development of Soviet power, to a position of containment associated iwth Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy. Became enshrined in Carter Doctrine.
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