The SALT Treaties
The SALT treaties were somewhat futile. SALT 1 was not precisely clear on offensive missiles and both sides had the power still to destroy each other several times over. SALT 2 was even worse. It had left out cruise missiles, which the Americans had a substantial lead on, and therefore Nuclear Monopoly. The treaty was also long and detailed, not even understood by the average senator. It is wondered whether Brezhnev, in his frail health, understood the points of the treaty. Ford in 1974 had been under pressure by right-winged Americans who thought the treaty was soft on communis, while Jimmy Carter in 1977 was determined to reduce the amount of Soviet missiles.
Brezhnev was suffering from health problems, which meant he was unable to negotiate fully with the united states. Carter's adminstration in America was chaotic. Carter, despite his Democratic background, had employed Brzezinski as his national security advisor. He was a neo-conservative, who believed the best way to deal with Soviets was to confront them. This was paradoxical therefore to the notion of Detente in the seventies, which is why it came to an end.
The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
In 1979, the Soviets had breached their promise at Helsinki and violated the border of Afghanistan with one thousand tanks and 10,000 troops, killing 50,000 people in the process. This was an act of war, and defined a change in politics. The Cold War had moved to the Middle East and Africa, and if America was secure its credibility and ideology it had to stop the Soviets from expanding their empire. From the Soviets perspective, they were fearful of America gaining an advantage over them, and there was increasing pressure to adopt a harder, aggressive approach the U S A. Detente was over.
New Policy and the Star Wars
Reagan's presidency in 1981 signalled an official end in Detente. His policy aimed at massive rearmament towards the Soviets and rigorous containment. Nuclear weaponry was being built up again, and the Americans had realised that the Soviets gained too much control in developing countries during detente. Furthermore, this was to be the final stage in the Cold War, where either Communism or Capitalism was to survive.