Term Paper: Nixon's Policy Toward the U.S.S.R

Pages: 3 (898 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper

Nixon's policy toward the U.S.S.R. is known as detente and was strongly influenced by the pressing need to end the conflict in Vietnam, which had been lingering for years and through several of his predecessors' administrations. With his national security adviser Henry Kissinger, Nixon helped formulate a truce-like foreign policy with the Soviet Union. Detente involved historic meetings in Moscow with Soviet leaders like General Secretary Brezhnev: the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Central to SALT was the issue of nuclear arms. Serving at the height of the Cold War, Nixon helped ease tensions between the two superpowers and thus set the stage for a global balance of power. His foreign policy was predicated on maintaining stability and balance rather than achieving strategic objectives.

In fact, Nixon's SALT left a legacy for future presidents. When Carter assumed office in 1977 he built on Nixon's work by organizing SALT II: the second phase of the detente policy. Like Nixon Carter sought truce but more openly suggested nuclear arms reduction and anti-proliferation. Carter's SALT II was in many ways less successful than Nixon's because of widespread belief that the Soviets would not fulfill their end of the bargain. Moreover, Carter dealt with more significant challenges than Nixon did during his tenure as President. During the Carter administration, the U.S.S.R. invaded Afghanistan. Carter was forced to respond and he responded aggressively using a variety of tactics including an announcement of the Carter Doctrine. The Carter Doctrine asserted America's right to protect U.S.-held oil interests in the Persian Gulf in light of the Soviet encroachment in the region. Basically Carter's foreign policy became more complicated as the Soviets beefed up their relationships with the leaders of oil-holding countries throughout the Middle East as well as the Central Asian oil regions under Moscow's control. Carter pursued peace in the midst of escalating tensions and increased Soviet aggressions abroad.

President Reagan stepped away from Nixon and Carter's disarmament deals and instead moved toward nuclear proliferation with the Soviet Union. Although Reagan undid much of Nixon and Carter's work with nuclear disarmament, he is widely credited with helping dismantle the Soviet Union. Therefore, Reagan's foreign policy toward the U.S.S.R. is more ironic than any other American president. Reagan also proposed the highly controversial Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which was an elaborate system of military technologies designed to protect the United States against a potential nuclear attack. The SDI was lambasted and mocked, and never went into effect. The mere mentioning of the SDI was enough to stir fears that the Cold War would escalate, drawing the United States and Russia into a World War. Yet it soon became apparent that the Soviet Union was weakening under… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Nixon's Policy Toward the U.S.S.R.  (2008, February 28).  Retrieved July 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/nixon-policy-toward-ussr-known/880122

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"Nixon's Policy Toward the U.S.S.R."  28 February 2008.  Web.  24 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/nixon-policy-toward-ussr-known/880122>.

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"Nixon's Policy Toward the U.S.S.R."  Essaytown.com.  February 28, 2008.  Accessed July 24, 2019.