The end of detente - the roots of the Second Cold War
Suspicion in the US
- Critics of detente in the US argued that there was a pattern of Soviet adventurism in the Third World. They felt that the USSR had consitently used client states such as Cuba to replace moderate governments with radical socialist ones.
- The invasion of Afghanistan seemed to prove them right and drove a wedge between Carter and the Soviet leadership.
- The successes of the early 1970s were brought about by strong leaders who had the authority to tackle difficult issues.
- However by the mid 1970s this was no longer the case:
- Brezhnev's health declined and he was less able to provide a clear lead.
- Nixon's resignation following the Watergate Scandal tarnished the US gov't.
- There were serious divisions in the Carter administration regardin detente leaving Carter in a weak position.
- Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State, was keen to improve relations with the USSR whilst Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor, advocated confrontation.
- Weak leadership contributed to the end of detente as neither side was willing to make the tough decisions necessary to sustain the policy.
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