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Lecture 10

HIS 377 Lecture 10 Week 10 March 21st 2013 - Nixon and Detente.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Professor Candace Sobers

HIS 377 – 20 Century American Foreign Relations Lecture 10 Week 10 March 21st, 2013 The Shock of Global – Grand Designs and the Challenges of the 1970s o Nixon, Kissinger and the Grand Design o Defining Détente: Managing Soviet-American Relations o Early Victories o “The Centre Cannot Hold”: Challenging Bipolarity o Détente Discredited o Conclusion o Nixon, Kissinger and the Grand Design o Sobers wants to argue that the 1970s wasn’t a boring period and that it was a transformative period o The 1968 weren’t a happy year – Vietnam War, Robert Kennedy assassination, civil rights riots, terrorist attacks – it was a bad year o Johnson felt defeated, he had no more energy left to compete o Nixon is elected after LBJ – he is supposed to get America back on track o Nixon is one of the most hated presidents in history, but when he died in 1994 there were positive eulogies  After his death, he was given more credit by historians for managing this changing world  He kept the US in a global leadership role without engaging in another war o Nixon: o After losing to JFK, he also lost the vote for Gov. of California o He begins to make appearances during the Kennedy years – he wants people to know him and to need him o He called for the Americans to look towards Asia, Nixon called the US a Pacific power – strange idea for the time – he called for an engagement with China – this article brought him back as a viable political candidate o Nixon believed Vietnam was America in decline, he thought America had gone off the rails – comparable to Great Britain  He attacked LBJ for using the presidency for legislating social problems o His Vice President was Spiro Aghew o His Secretary of State was William P. Rogers – but he is completely shut out of the process o The real Secretary of State is Henry of Kissinger – he ends up as the National Security Advisor (1969-1975) and Secretary of State (1973-1977)  Between 1973 and 1975 he is both o Kissinger and Nixon hate each other, but they agree that the US is in a bad place and that it needs to be put back on track – they believe communism is a sincere threat in the world – they both fear disorder – they both fear revolutionaries – they both feel congress is for chumps – they believe great powers have their own interests and that they should stick together o They both believe that China and the Soviet Union were great powers like anyone else and they were interested in peace and prosperity as well o Grand Design: o 1. Peace with honour and Vietnamization o 2. Soviet-American Détente o 3. Fixing the Economy o 4. Opening relations with the PRC o Nixon and Kissinger both think he can accomplish this because his Republican credentials warrant it o Want to fix the chaos that the United States is in o Nixon establishes the Nixon Doctrine – he would help his allies and friends, but the US couldn’t do it alone – its friends needed to help out as well  It was the exact opposite of Truman and Kennedy who sought to help everyone out and knew it was the US responsibility to do so o Nixon thought there was 4 powers in Asia: India, China, Japan and the US o Defining Détente: o Nixon wanted his presidency to be a period of negotiation not confrontation o He wanted to relax tensions in the Cold War o American Perspective:  Détente is a serious of steps for managing the international system and mitigating the American decline  They want to work with the Soviet Union – mesh the Soviet Union in a web of agreements and relations in order to discourage them from confrontation  These changes are all about prestige and confidence building – it would be a major accomplishment o Soviet Perspective:  A series of steps for managing the International System and mitigate the Soviet decline  The Soviet Union is dealing with a lot of chaos after 1968 – the crushing of the Prague Spring had caused many problems  Brezhnev establishes the Brezhnev Doctrine which was essentially no weak links in the chain – the Soviet Union would crush all uprisings in their bloc  The Soviets are worried about the arms race and the Chinese  Its also important for them to maintain prestige and confidence building • They want to be recognized as a super power who is equally responsible for managing the system o Détente gave both sides room to breathe – it allowed them time to think and to sort out their own problems o Early Victories: o Nuclear arsenals aren’t symmetrical o The Soviet Unions Empire was more continuous where the Americans interests were more spread out (Japan and Western Europe) o Soviet Union nuclear weapons are more land based and the US nukes are more air and sub based o The idea was to achieve nuclear parity o Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT1) o Talks start in Helsinki in 1969 and close in 1972 o Anti-Ballistic Missiles Treaty o SALT1 wasn’t that impressive as the nuclear arsenals were massive – but it represents a show of good faith on behalf of both sides o Nixon signs SALT1 in Moscow – first US president to go to Moscow o Sino American Relations: o Why would the Chinese want to side with the Americans? o Both the US and the Chinese are concerned about the stability of Asia – they both distrust the Soviet Union and a faction of the PRC wants to have a rapprochement with the US – they can benefit from the technology and ideas from the US  The PRC leader who opposed aligning with the US died in a plane crash and the opposition ideas died with him o Nixon delivered a speech at Congress where he said that they would recognize the PRC as the official China o Ping-Pong Diplomacy:  April 1971 – table tennis teams are in an international tournament in Japan  American athlete misses his bus, gets on the Chinese bus to the competition  This event was blown up – it showed that the Americans and the Chinese can get along – the athletes were trading gear and the event gained a lot of publicity  The athlete was later invited to China, and in a public interview admitted that he would like to go – this opened the door o Panda Diplomacy:  China controls the panda population  They loan pandas to the Washington Zoo  This was a big deal as it showed the developing relations between the US and China o In 1971:  Kissinger was in Pakistan, but he goes to China when he is ill and begins negotiations with them  In October 1971 China gained their seat in the UN – they were officials recognized o Shanghai Communiqué:  China and the US will continue the process of normalization – wont be achieved until 1979 under Carter
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