Lecture 16 February 15, 2011
Gravely wounded, détente is not completely dead. In the 70s, SALT II is agreed upon
by Carter and Brezhnev.
The End of Détente
The Nuclear Balance in Europe
No matter how many problems and loopholes, the negotiations still went on. They
achieved a crucial development in international relations: to lessen friction between
the two states and to limit the number of nuclear weapons (especially the ones aimed
at each other) each possessed.
-Intermediate and short range missiles were unaccounted for…thus unlimited. All of
these missiles were based in Europe, targeting each other, employed by the Warsaw
Pact and NATO. These missiles were left outside of discussion, brought the two
military alliances into serious conflict, and initiated a new arms race, adding a great
deal of tension in both Washington and Moscow on the overall direction of détente.
-What’s wrong with these missiles? Russia already had 600 such missiles targeting
West Europe. However they are inaccurate…
-They were replaced by Polaris missiles – employing these weapons, the US and USSR
reached parity in Europe up until the mid-70s.
-“Once you reach an agreement with the USSR, you take them off the hook.”
-1976-1977: huge investments in short/intermediate nuclear system (SS-20) (USSR) –
-The Soviet Union always had conventional arms superiority. The Warsaw Pact was far
more numerous than NATO. What happened in the late 70s? The Russians not only
achieved nuclear superiority in Europe, but superiority in conventional weapons.
Soviet conventional superiority
-Chain of Deterrence: envisages a balance of power on every field. Any time this
equality is breached by either side, conflict arises. Fear that the USSR would use their
military superiority against the US and West Europe (political takeover or at least
decoupling the US and Europe).
-The Russians modernized their missiles, threatening the balance of power in Europe.
-Carter tried to prove his case to the Senate that SALT II was beneficial.
-USSR was oblivious to the fact that their modernization posed a risk to the US and
Western Europe and that the West was not happy with this fact. The Soviets retorted
that the United States never
-Carter’s attitude towards the European attitude was typical of his foreign policy, 2
steps forward, 1 step backwards; inconsistent. What did he do? He immediately
increased the military budget of the US by 5%. He also convinced the European
states to contribute 3% more to NATO. This was a good answer to his critics at home.
He also increased the number of American troops in Europe to 30 000. Finally,
he agreed to create a rapid deployment force with would allow the Americans to
come to the aid of NATO in case the Soviet Union ever attempted to take over/start a
conventional attack. These were all symbolic gesture that the Russian
modernization/military development was unacceptable and would be challenged by
the United States. As a last resort to show his commitment, Carter reluctantly agreed
to the development of the Neutron Bomb (enhanced radiation weapons), a bomb
that would not destroy the material (tanks, buildings, roads, etc.) but would only kill
people through radiation.
-Mass demonstrations against the neutron bomb forced Carter to step down, but only
after the European states would agree to host these bombs.
NATO’s Dual Track
-Europe responds with a new policy: the French, British, Germans and American meet
in January 1979 (NATO Summit) to discuss how they would answer the Russian
development and that it would not reach a nuclear superiority in Europe. They did not
care about conventional forces – just nuclear.
-They agreed to create a policy, and determine what weapon would best answer this
Russian superiority. Furthermore, they decided to approach the USSR and enter into a
discussion about this European balance of power. What came was a dual track
policy. Once the study of the weapons was complete, they decided to eliminate
Russian nuclear superiority by beefing up their own nuclear weapons (to maintain
the chain of deterrence). And second, to engage the Russians into discussions to
include short and intermediate range missiles into SALT II (arms control talks).
-464 Cruise Missiles were decided as the best weapon to answer the Russian
nuclear superiority. This gave NATO as much of a superiority as the Russians
currently had. They were fast, accurate and hard to detect; as well as the 108
Pershing II Missiles. This tipped the superiority back towards the US.
-The purpose of this dual track policy is to promote stability and détente. The USSR
was now the ones facing a stronger opponent. They would have to do the same as the
Americans had just done (modernization to modernization).
-There was a division in the West: the Germans demonstrated (“the shorter the
range, the deader the German”), Poland as well, and Denmark. Mass protests ensued,
dividing Western Europe. Many objected to continuing the arms race - the communist
parties in France and Spain…
-Even though the Soviet Union launched a campaign as to why they should reject
-The linkage between détente and …
-These events demonstrated how weak détente was – how willing the USSR was to
The Iranian Revolution
-1977, Carter publicly stated that in a volatile place like the Middle East, the Shah and
the (***) were an island of stability.
-Islamic fundamentalism…every aspect of Western society.
-How did this all unfold? From 1953, CIA had a lot to do with the coup d’état in Iran,
reestablishing the Shah. From then they had a great deal of work in training their
system and turning it into one of the most despotic and yet stable system. They spent
billions of dollars. The Shah was pretty much the monarch of Iran, and very pro-
American & pro-Israel.
-In Israel, they are banging their heads, because the Israelis helped develop Iran’s
-Iran was the sole supporter of Israel during this time, and after the 6 Day War, was
the only state to supply oil to Israel. After the Yam Kippur War, Israel grossed 10
times the oil revenues, giving an incredible economic boom to Iran.
-The Shah however was overthrown and a new Islamic republic was established. How?
Having so much money and having destroyed most of the oppositions. The problem