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HIS344Y1 (120)
Ebba Kurt (12)
Lecture

Lec 15

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Department
History
Course
HIS344Y1
Professor
Ebba Kurt
Semester
Winter

Description
US-Soviet Relations – 1970s decade of negotiations where both US and Soviet Union tried to reduce tensions – regional conflicts and arms race undermined the security at home (esp. financial security) – best way out of Vietnam was to reduce tensions between Soviet Union and US – by late 60s/early 70s nuclear parity was achieved in military terms – had almost as many missiles as US, both had achieved a level of overkill over the other – even if they attacked first they still have enough missiles for a second strike to eliminate the other side (MAD) – no reason to continue the arms race – emergence of China – another compelling factor to seek detente – for USSR had to divide attention from US to China, had to direct meagre military resources to confront the Chinese – are capable of coming to an agreement – three times during the 60s they signed meaningful treaties toward detente – detente was almost a logical conclusion after nuclear parity reached – reduction of tension – did not mean that either party saw the other was a friend, or that conflict would be eradicated – rather conflicts could be settled via diplomacy rather than through direct or indirect military confrontation – era of negotiations of the 70s, esp from 1970-5 – five summit meetings between the leaders of the two superpowers – did reduce tensions, broke through many taboo areas that were seen as unapproachable – American expectations – what they thought would be achieved was the help of the Soviet Union to extricate them from Vietnam – wanted Soviet Union (now recognized as an equal) to pressure Hanoi to the table to bring an end to the conflict – wanted USSR to behave as a normal state to give up its goal of supporting international revolutions or national liberation movements and act through the UN rather than around it – eventually also wanted economic and financial benefits – by improving relations with USSR American industry would be able to sell their products in the areas formerly under Soviet influence – Soviet expectations – wanted to be recognize as equals to the US – a free hand to operate in the world withoutAmerican interference – recognition that they do have solid sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and not be challenged/criticized by US – had a domestic component as well – Brezhnev thought that the minute that USSR was recognized as an equal then they could return to Khrushchev's goal and improve standard of living at home (increase butter now that money doesn't need to go to guns) – historiography – revisionists saw it as a positive sign – for the first time the two superpowers came to the negotiating table and reduced tensions, reduced potential for nuclear war (even by accident) – brought great deal of stability to the world; effort of the USSR to establish peaceful coexistence – it was a great opportunity for US to continue on – traditionalists/orthodox saw an ulterior motive for Moscow – did not give up its goal to spread communism and win the Cold War – what Soviets did during detente was to engage US by other means – while the promised limitation on nuclear capacity and capability, undertook action to further undermine US and Western world – was a mean to challenge US and the West indirectly; ultimate objective is to win the Cold War and spread communism – the moment Nixon was elected, proposal came from Moscow for leaders to come face to face and negotiate a settlement – understood that USSR could never be humiliated in the same way as during Cuban Missile Crisis since they have the missiles now – Brezhnev thought to reduce the tensions – in principle both agreed to meet in Moscow – Nixon-Brezhnev Moscow Summit (May 1972) – Nixon came via Beijing, just signed a treaty with Mao, negotiate with primary communist opponents – was very very successful, had agreed in principle on all major issues before Nixon even touched down – most crucial was military balance of power, number of missiles that each have (Americans had 1500 IBM, they agreed to a higher level for USSR, up to 1600) – limited anti-ballistic missile system to two sites – no more (either protecting the capital, and one of their launch sites) – deliberate decision to keep themselves vulnerable and exposed – whoever gained the upper-hand in the new system would gain the upper hand and could initiate first strike – Americans had far more precise missiles than USSR, had made technological breakthrough and equipped missiles with many warheads, had air force (another means of delivery way superior to the Russians), had medium-range missiles stationed in Europe to strike Russia, and there were also British and French nuclear deterrent – there was a raw parity even though Russians had higher ceiling – joint commercial commission – Russians hoped to buy technological know-how from America and US hoped to sell products in Soviet markets – US also gave Soviet Union most-favoured nation status – major understanding on basic principles that would thereafter dominate and govern relations with the US – the most important was that US publicly recognized USSR as equals and deal with them likewise in international affairs – two would cooperate whenever there is an international crisis – in addition, both promised to involve and inform the other of major international steps that they are going to take – both agreed to never launch a first strike – negotiations and summits continued unabated – June 1973 Brezhnev travels to Washington to break down more doors separating the two states and making their relations more normal – cultural exchanges – agricultural exchanges – how to sew seeds and tell them whyAmerican farmers were more efficient and productive – transportation exchanges – trains etc. – Nixon although initially quite anxious, by 1973/4 Nixon was deeply engaged in scandal back home and could not participate in this, left everything to Kissinger – Brezhnev clearly saw as a great breakthrough for the Soviet Union - “one of the best deals we have ever done” – not fooled by the arrangements, seeAmericans as opponents but saw this as mutually beneficial for both states – Kissinger would see this as the greatest diplomatic breakthrough of all time – detente between the two states was not the only achievement, detente between Western and Eastern Europe – detente between Europeans was a lot longer, deeper and more meaningful than the detente between US and USSR – some of the most important leaders of Europe recognized that the cultural differences between West and East Europe were not enough to prevent them from coming to an understanding (Churchill, De Gaulle) – could have greater influence on non-communist Eastern European states than Soviet Union could keep it close to Moscow – there were many mutual interests between the two sides – mutual balanced force reduction (May 1971-January 1973) – USSR always had greater number of conventional troops – Helsinki negotiations – European security: Western Europe recognized the superiority of USSR in terms of influence in Eastern Europe – Basket No. 1 – borders will remain inviolate – would not challenge the borders of Eastern Europe (gives security reassurance of Eastern EuropeAND USSR) – Basket No. 2 – economic, cultural and political exchange between the two – Basket No. 3 – recognition of human rights – this will become the most important tool to undermine communism – by recognizing human rights agreed to respect every human individual within Eastern Europe, allow free speech, allow Western states to visit Eastern Europe to make sure that these deals were implemented – this allowed dissension from within, became one of the most important achievements – greatest thorn both in the side of the West and the East, West Germany decided to pursue a policy of detente with the East – Willy Brandt and ostpolitik, wanted to eliminate problems, West Germany approaches Eastern Europe offers olive branch, peace, apology for past German mistakes – West Germans travels to Moscow, apologizes for attack of 194
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