Detente: The end of detente - the roots of the Second Cold War


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.

Weak 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.

Human rights


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