Appeasement became a dirty word in the 1930’s. It had been, for centuries, a perfectly clean, even a virtuous term. How could a word that had meant peace and conciliation turn into its opposite? The transformation came when it began to be used in connection with the concessions to and deals made with the fascist dictatorships in the 1930’s. The turning point was probably the speeches by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons on October 3 and 6, 1938. Just back from Munich, where he had agreed to tear off a vital part of Czechoslovakia and hand it over to Hitler’s Germany, he spoke exultantly about “our policy of appeasement,” of which the Munich agreement was to be only the first step. He looked forward to “the collaboration of all nations, not excluding the totalitarian states, in building up a lasting peace for Europe.” The “real triumph,” he said, was the execution of “a difficult and delicate operation by discussion instead of by force of arms.”

A year later, force of arms instead of discussion made it almost impossible to say the word “appeasement” without shame and loathing. The word, of course, was not to blame. But why had it been misused? Why did it turn into such a ghastly mockery? Clearly—though this is not the whole story—because appeasement could not appease the unappeasable. In those circumstances it was betrayal and capitulation on the installment plan. The stench of the Munich agreement might not have been so sickening if it had been recognized for what it was. What made it so unbearable was its glorification, such as this memorable tribute in the London Times: “No conqueror returning from a victory on the battlefield has come home with nobler laurels than Mr. Chamberlain from Munich yesterday.”

Détente is another one of those perfectly good words that, misapplied, gets a bad name. It appears to be a relatively recent importation from the French. The first citation in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated 1908. The word is usually defined as a “relaxation of tension,” which may mean much or little depending on what kind of tension is being relaxed by how much. At the 1974 hearings on détente of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, speaker after speaker complained that the word was hard to pin down. Former Ambassador George F. Kennan said that he had “never fully understood the use of the word ‘détente’ in connection with” Soviet-American relations. In response, former Senator J. W. Fulbright remarked that “détente is a difficult word to have inherited in this connection, but I think we are stuck with it.” Former Senator Eugene McCarthy commented that “the meaning has changed every time it is applied.” Professor Marshall Shulman referred to “the ambiguities of the word ‘détente,’” and Professor Herbert Dinerstein pointed out that “everyone has a different notion about what détente is.” Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk said it was a “process,” not a “condition.” Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger agreed that “it is a continuing process, not a final condition.”1* An academic definition has made it into “a logical spectrum of relations along which conflict either increases or decreases.”2

Not only is it difficult even for experts to define détente but, whatever it is, it would seem to be fluctuating and ambiguous. In theory, it has been situated somewhere between cold war and rapprochement or even entente. Since détente moves uneasily between these two poles, it occupies a purely relative position, without a definite profile of its own. This conception of détente is always moving away or moving toward something else.3 No wonder, then, that détente according to this theory has been so hard to pin down; it is by its very nature transitory and volatile.

In practice, however, the current Soviet-American détente should have a much more positive and recognizable character. The materialization of détente was supposed to be the main achievement of the summit meeting in Moscow in May 1972 at which the new phase of Soviet-American relations was formally inaugurated. It consisted of three agreements—military, commercial, and political. The military agreement took the form of SALT I, providing in principle for quantitative parity in antiballistic missiles. The commercial agreement set up a U.S.-USSR commission to promote trade and development of economic resources. The political agreement was embodied in the “Basic Principles of Relations Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” These three agreements gave this détente some substance and delineation. Détente could not be all that vague and ambiguous if it had “Basic Principles,” no matter what they might be or whether or not they were lived up to.

Most of the debate on détente has made it appear that the only alternatives are détente and cold war. Any criticism of the current version of détente is sure to bring forth in tones of incredulity the horrified challenge: “Do you mean to say that you want to go back to the cold war?” That the cold war may not be the only alternative to détente seems to have escaped notice. It might also be asked, with equal incredulity and horror: “Do you want to go back to ‘appeasement’?” In fact, an even more incredible question to some might be: “Do you realize that appeasement was built into détente?”

Let us see.




Détente has been so confusing not because there is a lack of definitions and interpretations but because there have been too many. There is not only an American version but different American versions. There is not only a Soviet version but different Soviet versions.

The original American theory of détente was developed, largely by Henry Kissinger, in 1972. The main concept behind it was the “linkage” of the military, the economic, and the political. The idea, as he explained it, was “to move forward on a very broad front on many issues” in order to create many “vested interests” on both sides.

After the Moscow “linkage,” Kissinger was euphoric. He extolled SALT I as an “agreement without precedent in all relevant modern history.” The summit meeting had been so successful, he reported, that the American side had achieved all that it had planned and had expected to achieve, “give or take 10 per cent”4—an extraordinary record for any diplomatic conference. For Prime Minister Chamberlain, Munich had brought “peace in our time.” For President Nixon, Moscow had made possible “a new structure of peace in the world.”

The second thoughts were not so ecstatic. It became increasingly clear that SALT I had been little more than a promissory note. In 1974, Secretary Kissinger himself said that, if a more far-reaching follow-up nuclear agreement were not reached “well before 1977, then I believe you will see an explosion of technology and an explosion of numbers” of fearsome proportions.5 In that same year, Professor George B. Kistiakowsky, one of the most eminent and experienced experts in the field, testified: “The SALT I agreements do not inhibit or limit the strategic-arms race. They merely channel it into such directions as each side perceives to be militarily most advantageous to it.” He characterized the antiballistic-missile treaty as “to a large degree another agreement not to do something that neither party wants to do anyway.”6 Despite the onrush of 1977, SALT II shows no signs of coming through in time to stop the technology-and-numbers explosion.

Salt I may have been oversold, and, to that extent, may have made the “linkage” with the commercial agreement even more expensive than it needed to be. But even if SALT I had been all that Kissinger had hoped for it, its linkage with the commercial agreement would still have been based on a theory that built appeasement into détente. It is this aspect of détente that should be more clearly understood.

On the American side, it was always recognized that the Soviets were mainly interested in détente for economic reasons.7 The basic Soviet reason flowed from a declining rate of growth and productivity. According to official Soviet data, this rate fell from 10.9 per cent in 1950-58 to 7.2 per cent in 195867 to 6.4 per cent in 196773; Western recalculations of the Soviet figures show the actual decline to be from 6.4 per cent in 195058 to 5.3 per cent in 195867 to 3.7 per cent in 196773.8 By 1966, the problem was already so troublesome that Prime Minister Aleksei Kosygin had called for abandonment of economic isolationism to prevent the Soviet economy from falling too far behind. A key reason for the Soviet dilemma was the failure to keep up with the advanced technology of the West. At first the Brezhnev regime had tried to overcome this weakness through earlier détentes with France and Germany. But by 1972, the American-Soviet détente made the United States the main source of scientific-technological transfer.

There was, however, a hitch. The Soviets were unable to pay for what they wanted. They demanded large-scale, long-term U.S. government credits at abnormally low interest rates. They sought most-favored-nation status without being able to reciprocate. They wanted the delivery of entire factories and plants on terms which meant that the Soviet Union would do all the owning and the Western donors would take all the risks. If anything went wrong, the Soviet Union and a few favored capitalists could not—and only the American taxpayer would—lose.*

This situation was made to order for one of Kissinger’s beguiling theories—at least, enough people were beguiled to put it across. It was the theory of “incentives.” According to Secretary Kissinger, the Soviets were advised in 1970 and 1971, in advance of the agreement on détente, that they could get paid off in credits and most-favored-nation treatment “if they engaged in what we considered responsible international behavior.”9 A Kissingerian formulation of the incentive-payment theory went as follows:

We see it [economic relations] as a tool to bring about or to reinforce a more moderate orientation of foreign policy and to provide incentives for responsible international behavior and, therefore, it has to be seen in this context.10

An academic exponent of détente explained for popular consumption that trade, technology, and investment “would serve to offer a continuing incentive to Soviet leaders to accept the constraints of a low-tension policy.” These incentives could be “regulated,” he assured his readers, so that “our resources are not used to strengthen Soviet military capabilities”—as if it were possible to draw a line between the civilian and military uses of natural gas, petrochemicals, computers, and truck factories-and so that “the political competition is conducted with restraint”—as if restraint were not as much in the Soviet as in the American interest without incentive payments.11

The most important American incentive payments to the Soviets have been economic. This relationship has been inherently unequal. If all went well, Americans could benefit through profits and jobs. So far, many deals have failed and a few have succeeded, so that the profits from increased Soviet-American trade have gone to a few favored or fortunate entrepreneurs. The Soviets, however, have an altogether larger stake in the relationship. They want to get out of it a structural change in their economy and a bail-out mechanism for their agriculture. This economic exchange is not an ordinary one; the Western contribution to the Soviet economy is heavy with political and military significance.

The most recent study by Professor Marshall I. Goldman of how the economic détente has worked is not reassuring. Professor Goldman is not an enemy of détente or of Soviet-American trade—quite the contrary. Yet his cautionary analysis of what has been going on in the name of détente is most disturbing:

The types of goods and the types of negotiating tactics the Russians tend to use in purchasing goods from the United States make it possible for the Russians to obtain high technology products for bargain prices that no other buyers could cajole. Moreover, much of the technology and sometimes the products themselves have been heavily subsidized by the American taxpayer. The initial subsidy for development and production, the bargain prices, and the subsidized interest rate of the Export-Import Bank means that the Russians are often able to obtain a triple subsidy on their American purchases.

These advantages, Professor Goldman adds, have an important political component built into them.11a One does not have to believe that the Soviets obtain all the benefits to see that the incentive theory works mainly in the Soviets’ favor.

Curiously, the Soviets never bothered to develop a similar theory or practice vis-à-vis the United States. In fact, the Soviets have pursued a contrary course, at times most inconvenient for the United States. For example, until March 1974, months after the Arab-Israeli war was over, the Soviets urged the Arab oil producers to continue their embargo against the Western states and Japan.12 This Soviet exhortation was not a mere peccadillo; it was a potentially deadly attack on the economic lifeline of the Western powers and Japan. The incentive theory seemed to work only one way.



Kissinger had another theory which should have made incentive payments unnecessary. It was the theory of “marginal advantages.” He first produced it during the 1972 summit meeting in Moscow and kept repeating it until events proved it to be a conceptual breakdown instead of a conceptual breakthrough. In one of his clearest formulations of this embarrassing memory, he maintained that “to the extent that balance of power means constant jockeying for marginal advantages over an opponent, it no longer applies.” He explained why:

The reason is that the determination of national power has changed fundamentally in the nuclear age. Throughout history, the primary concern of most national leaders has been to accumulate geopolitical and military power. It would have seemed inconceivable even a generation ago that such power once gained could not be translated directly into advantage over one’s opponent. But now both we and the Soviet Union have begun to find that each increment of power does not necessarily represent an increment of usable political strength.13

This theory made the whole Kissingerian system of détente seem absurdly easy to operate. It was, in fact, a “self-regulating mechanism”—the diplomatic equivalent of perpetual motion. It ruled out “marginal advantages” and “increments of usable political strength” in the nuclear age by making them inherently “unrealistic” and catastrophically “dangerous.”14 Unfortunately, the Soviet leaders again failed to respond with a similar theory. Only a year later, their policy and actions in the Middle East were clearly based on an altogether different theory of what the nuclear age permitted in the way of struggling for “marginal advantages.” Kissinger himself must have recognized that his theory, not “marginal advantages,” was unrealistic and dangerous or he would not have bothered to respond to Soviet actions in the Middle East or Angola. After all, he should have reasoned, the Soviets were going after unusable and intangible “increments of power.”

As if all this were not troublesome enough, Kissinger produced another, contradictory theory. In his testimony at the Senate hearings on his confirmation as Secretary of State, he delivered himself of this rule:

But assuming the present balance holds, and granting the strategic significance of what we had both agreed upon, the increasing difficulty of conceiving a rational objective for general nuclear war makes it, therefore, less risky to engage in local adventures.15

One theory said that the nuclear age made “marginal advantages” unnecessary to worry about and, therefore, local adventures for such advantages less likely. Another theory said that the same nuclear age made local adventures “less risky” and, therefore, more likely.

What it all came down to in the end was an understanding of the political implications of the nuclear age. But before we get to this point, let us see what the Soviet view of détente has been.




In the “Basic Principles” of Soviet-American relations of May 29, 1972, the Soviets seemingly committed themselves to an interpretation of détente which fitted in with Kissinger’s theory of “marginal advantages.” These principles contained the following mutual restraints on engaging in “local adventures”:

Prevention of the development of situations capable of causing a dangerous exacerbation of Soviet-American relations.

Doing the utmost to avoid military confrontations.

Recognition that efforts to obtain unilateral advantage at the expense of the other, directly or indirectly, are inconsistent with these objectives.

Special responsibility to do everything in their power so that conflicts or situations will not arise which would serve to increase international tensions.

These principles implied that there were two sides to détente—political and nuclear. The former was designed to prevent situations from developing which might bring on the danger of nuclear war. On ceremonial occasions, such as his speech at the Helsinki conference at the end of July 1975, Brezhnev has paid lip service to the combination of military and political détente.16

The “Basic Principles” also signified that détente applied not only to relations between the United States and the Soviet Union but also to the relations of each with the rest of the world. Kissinger has assured us that “we consider Soviet restraint in the Middle East an integral part of détente policy”17 and “the principle of restraint is not confined to relations between the U.S. and the USSR, it is explicitly extended to include all countries.”18

There seemed to be agreement, then, on two constituent elements of a true détente—it must apply to the political as well as to the nuclear realm, and it must apply to the relations of the United States and the Soviet Union with the rest of the world as well as to the relations between themselves.

However, there are Soviet theories underlying détente which, like the American, must be taken into account to find out what it really means. For example, a basic Soviet theory is that of the “new relationship of forces.” It was expressed by Brezhnev not long ago in the following formula: “International détente has become possible because a new relationship of forces now exists on the world scene.”19

What is this “new relationship of forces”? The short answer, spelled out in all Communist propaganda, is that the “new relationship of forces” now favors the “socialist world” led by the Soviet Union. The point here is not whether the theory is right or wrong. The point is that, for the Soviet Union and its followers, détente is not an abstract, ahistorical condition; it is the product of a concrete, historical “relationship of forces” which determines not merely what détente is but—far more important—what it does.

A second Soviet theory in this connection is that of the “two spheres.” An authoritative exposition of this theory was recently given by Professor Georgi Arbatov, a high-level Soviet spokesman and present head of the Institute of the USA of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR:

What is involved here [the policy of détente] is essentially different spheres of political life in our time (though they may influence one another in various ways). One of them is the sphere of social development, which steadily makes headway in any international conditions—whether détente, “cold” war, or even “hot” war. . . . The other is the sphere of inter-state relations, in which other extremely important questions are resolved—questions of war and peace, methods of resolving controversial foreign-policy questions, and possibilities for mutually advantageous international cooperation.

The drawing of a clear line between these two spheres is one of the basic premises of the Leninist foreign policy of the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems. . . .20

In the pro-Soviet Communist movement, the theory of “peaceful coexistence” has been promulgated somewhat more clearly and starkly. It is now said that peaceful coexistence

refers exclusively to the domain of inter-state relations between socialist and capitalist countries. It rules out just one form of struggle between socialism and capitalism—the form of direct military collision.21

Formerly, as we have seen, détente was supposed to cover anything of a political or military nature which could exacerbate Soviet-American relations, give one side unilateral advantage at the expense of the other, or serve to increase international tension. The theory of the “two spheres” eliminates a huge political area—under the trade name of “social development”—from the domain of détente. By reducing détente to the avoidance of “direct military collision” between the United States and the Soviet Union, it leaves everything else wide open.



This tendency to shunt détente out of the political sphere into a narrow military sphere has now come to a head with the need to rationalize large-scale Soviet military intervention in Angola and the use of Cuban troops as Soviet proxies. A writer in Izvestia of November 29, 1975 insisted that it was impossible to bring “the sphere of class and national-liberation struggle” within “peaceful coexistence.”22 On November 30, an Izvestia correspondent reported that détente “gave a powerful impulse to the national-liberation movement of colonial and oppressed peoples.”23 On December 2, an Izvestia commentator held that “the process of détente does not mean and never meant the freezing of the social-political status quo in the world” or could prevent the Soviet Union from giving “sympathy, compassion, and support” to those whom it chose to represent as “fighters for national independence.”24On December 6, a writer in Pravda boasted: “Détente created favorable conditions for the new successes of the cause of national liberation.”25 On December 8, a report in Pravda of an “international anti-fascist conference” brought these glad tidings: “The thought that runs all through the documents of the conference and the speeches of its participants is that the strengthening process of détente creates favorable conditions for the struggles of the popular masses against imperialism and neocolonialism, against all forms of fascism and internal reaction.”26

These thoughts were not entirely new. The Soviet Union has long claimed the right to support “national-liberation movements.” In the heyday of détente, however, this motif was muted in favor of emphasis on avoiding international friction. Now almost any action which the Soviet Union chooses to take that could cause a dangerous exacerbation of Soviet-American relations, obtain direct or indirect unilateral advantage, or increase international tensions is being conveniently classified as “class and national-liberation struggle.” That the Soviet political line should be turned around to provide a propaganda smoke screen for military intervention on the west coast of Africa is something new and ominous. If this sort of intervention can be justified in the name of détente, almost anything short of direct conflict with the United States can be made to fit the “Basic Principles.”

There are indications, too, of a general “left turn” in the line which the Soviet Union is pressing on the world Communist movement. One telltale sign was an article in Pravda of August 6, 1975, by K. Zaradov, editor-in-chief of the official pro-Soviet Communist organ, Problems of Peace and Socialism (World Marxist Review in the English version). Zaradov’s article was clearly aimed at the French and Italian Communist parties rather than at the Chinese. He called them “present-day conciliators” whose “logic is the same as that of the Mensheviks”—storm signals in Communist political meteorology. Why this sudden outburst? Because, according to Zaradov, the present-day conciliators and quasi-Mensheviks “would like to dissolve it [the proletarian party] in an ideologically amorphous organization, in any alliance created according to the formula ‘unity for unity’s sake.’“27 The point was not lost on the Italian and French Communists who protested against this onslaught in the official organ of the Soviet Communist party. How high up the inspiration for Zaradov’s article had come from was soon made clear by an item in Izvestia of September 19. This unusual social note reported that General Secretary Brezhnev had received Zaradov and had congratulated him for his fine work.

Another indication has come from the American Communist party, the most slavishly pro-Soviet of the Western Communist parties. At its recent national convention, its General Secretary discovered that “in the U.S. in the 1970’s monopoly capital is preparing the climate in which fascism can come to power.”28 Various roles have already been assigned—Governor George C. Wallace as the “leading fascist demagogue”; William F. Buckley, Jr., as an “adroit exponent of ‘intellectual’ fascism”; a curiously promiscuous company—William B. Shockley, Arthur Jensen, Richard Herrnstein, H. J. Eysenck, Christopher Jencks, Edward C. Banfield, Robert W. Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman—as “leading exponents” of “Nazi-like poison.”29 Since everyone knows that monopoly capital rules the United States, and now we know what monopoly capital is preparing, it does not take too much foresight to see where the Communist propaganda line is heading. The Soviets may soon be saving the entire world from the menace of American fascism.

All these aspects of Soviet policy—military intervention, political theorizing, Communist propaganda—are intimately related to the changing Soviet view of détente. Fundamental to all of them is one simple rule—that what always counts most is the relationship of forces, not the arrangement of words.




The Arab-Israeli war of October 1973 proved to be the first real test of the Soviet-American détente. It provided so clear a violation of the “basic principles” by the Soviet Union that even Secretary Kissinger had to admit as much, albeit in the relative obscurity of a Senate committee hearing. The violation concerned the message sent by Brezhnev to Algerian President Boumédienne and apparently to other Arab leaders telling them that it was their Arab duty to get into the war against Israel. Pressed by Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., Secretary Kissinger agreed, “Yes, I would say this was a violation.”30***

Nothing more was heard of this awkward admission. All concerned would have benefited if more attention had been paid to it. Kissinger himself had testified that Soviet “restraint” in the Middle East was “an integral part of the détente policy.” If it did not hold there, it was unlikely to hold wherever American and Soviet interests seriously clashed. In that case the détente relationship was relegated to taking care of relatively minor matters, leaving the major ones to a nuclear alert or rival military interventions. It can now be seen that the Middle East crisis of October 1973 was a dress rehearsal for the Angola crisis of 197576.

After the Middle East crisis, however, the American line on détente underwent some changes. The concept of détente is like an accordion; it can be stretched out or pulled in. It can be as broad as it seemed after the summit meeting of May 1972 or it can be as narrow as it became after October 1973. To take care of all possible contingencies, Kissinger began to stress the schizoid character of détente. It was, he explained in March 1974, “composed of both competition and cooperation” with “profound ambiguities at every stage of this relationship.”31 Later, he spoke of détente as if it were merely an improved method of communications, “a means by which a competition which is inevitable—in the nature of present circumstances—is regulated while reducing the danger of nuclear war.”32 It had become a means to an end which was contradictory and ambiguous, a regulatory system without an agency to do the regulating.

Above all, détente was now largely reduced to limiting “the risks of nuclear war,” as Kissinger put it.33 Former Senator J. William Fulbright could think of nothing better than: “Détente, in its essence, is an agreement not to let these differences [between the two superpowers] explode into nuclear war.”34 Professor Marshall Shulman instructed us that the main business of détente was “to reduce the danger of nuclear war.”35 The case for détente after October 1973 came essentially to rest on its relationship with nuclear war and on little else that was unambiguous and uncontradictory.



We have now come to the heart of matter. It is right here—the relationship between détente and nuclear war.

Was there a meaningful “linkage” between nuclear war, economic-incentive payments, and political restraint? The American—or Kissingerian—theory and practice of détente was fundamentally dependent on a positive answer to this question. If the answer was negative, the entire American policy rested on a dubious foundation.

For the past thirty years, during hot wars, cold wars, and détentes, nuclear weapons have not been used. They were not used by the United States when it had a nuclear monopoly, even when its forces were decimated by Chinese Communist troops in Korea, even when the United States suffered defeat in the longest and most humiliating war in its history in Vietnam. There is obviously something about nuclear warfare that has set it apart from all other forms of warfare in which we still engage. There is something about nuclear weapons which cannot be fitted into hot wars, cold wars, or détentes. The nuclear war, as much as any type of war can be, must as yet be regarded as sui generis. We still have no experience with it; we cannot fathom its bottomless depths of pure nihilism; we cannot imagine a rational use for it.

With the nuclear weapon we reached the reductio ad absurdum of all warfare—a weapon that was too destructive. This was already the lesson when the United States still had a monopoly of it. As soon as the Soviet Union became an atomic and then a nuclear power, we achieved a higher stage of military “absurdity”—a weapon that was too mutually destructive. This second stage was reached by the mid-1950’s, so that we have been in it for about two decades.36 The third stage came in the late 1960’s when the United States realized that the Soviet Union would achieve rough nuclear parity. The “absurdity” had now arrived at its final destination—the power of mutual annihilation.

In exasperation, Secretary Kissinger once dramatically exclaimed:

And one of the questions which we have to ask ourselves as a country is what, in the name of God, is strategic superiority? What is the significance of it, politically, militarily, operationally, at these levels of numbers? What do you do with it?37

It was, as the saying goes, a good question. It implied that on the level of mutual annihilation it mattered little how much more annihilating a nuclear power could or would become. It also implied that there was no political “significance” to be attached to those incomprehensibly high levels of destructiveness. Nuclear warfare cannot be weighed in political scales or translated into political terms. Politics, so to speak, is sub-nuclear. Thus Kissinger himself inferentially cut the ground from under the nuclear-political linkage.

The control of nuclear warfare, then, is of an order so different from the control of “conventional” warfare, let alone the control of political and ideological rivalries, that the former must be dealt with as something apart. Just as nuclear warfare has resisted every calculus of political or economic usefulness, so, too, it is not amenable to political blandishments or economic payoffs. The enormity of the nuclear problem defies all past human experience. This is not to say that the human race need or should resign itself to the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation; it means that the threat must be faced on its own terms, without pretending that it can be got around through “linkages” of an altogether different order of magnitude. Economic incentives and political phrase-mongering—the tools of détente—are not in the same league as nuclear arms.

The promoters of détente sought to save it by reducing it to a hard core of avoidance of nuclear warfare. They were in fact exposing its essential hollowness. They were giving it the selfsame function that the cold war of unblessed memory used to have—as an alternative to hot war. They were giving détente undeserved credit for an impasse that had been brought about by the mutual destructiveness of nuclear warfare. The linkage of détente with nuclear war betrayed a misunderstanding of both.

The trouble with the narrow nuclear interpretation of détente is that it puts all the rest of the world’s troubles and all the other possible forms of conflict outside détente. If détente is as schizoid as both the latest American and Soviet versions make it out to be, one must constantly ask what belongs and what does not belong to the sphere of détente. If, as the Soviet spokesman Arbatov has told us, détente belongs exclusively to the sphere of “inter-state relations” and not at all to the sphere of “social development,” the question arises whether the war in the Middle East or in Angola belong to the former or the latter. In the Soviet view, the latter is decidedly the case, which tells us how broad the category of “social development” is and how narrowly détente has been confined. If, as Secretary Kissinger has told us, détente is composed of both “competition and cooperation,” the question arises: What pertains to competition and what to cooperation? An even more awkward question must be asked: If cooperation is the real essence of détente, what is the nature of the competition? Isn’t it the bad old “cold war”? Kissinger has also begun to talk of “moderating competition,” a formula combining “accommodation and resistance.”38 Does this mean that when we get “accommodation” we have détente, and when we get “resistance” we have cold war? If we can have “accommodation and resistance” together, why not détente and cold war together? These semantic games are hopelessly muddling and contaminating all discourse on world affairs today.

How far one can go to equate détente with the avoidance of a Soviet-American nuclear war was shown by Professor Herbert Dinerstein at the 1974 Senate hearings on détente. He set out to demonstrate that “détente makes for a unique stability in the ultimate issues of war and peace, but permits, nay, encourages movement and change in all issues of lesser moment.” Next, he explained that this unique stability of détente was based on the conviction that “nuclear war would be an act of mutual destruction.” This line of reasoning led him to his grand climax: “Détente means that the two countries will not make war on each other.”39

If that is all détente means, it is accomplishing exactly what the fear of “mutual destruction” was able to accomplish with or without détente. One would like to be as sure as Professor Dinerstein is that détente in this sense possesses a “unique stability.” If it does, it is only because the mutual destructiveness of nuclear war possesses that same “unique stability.” In any case, we have gone very far from the détente of 1972 which, according to Kissinger, had moved “on a very broad front on many issues.” Those who have tried to save détente by moving it on to a very narrow front on the single issue of nuclear warfare have unwittingly been administering the last rites to it.




Therefore, critics of détente must answer: what is the alternative that they propose? What precise policies do they want us to change? Are they prepared for a prolonged situation of dramatically increased international danger? Do they wish to return to the constant crises and high arms budgets of the cold war? Does détente encourage repression—or is it détente that has generated the ferment and the demands for openness that we are now witnessing?40

Such was the angry challenge that Secretary Kissinger hurled at critics of détente last July. He seemed to think that the answers to his questions were crushingly obvious. I, too, think that the answers were so obvious that it was a mistake to ask the questions.

1) What is the alternative that they propose? One alternative would be to cease and desist from the unconscionable exploitation of the word “détente,” or at least to stop waving it as a banner. It has now become an obstacle to thought. It is of little or no use in relation to nuclear war. It is a mockery in relation to such wars as we have, as in the Middle East and Angola. It admittedly does not apply to ideological conflict. It has been defined and redefined virtually out of existence. If it continues to serve as a political shibboleth, it must surely suffer the same fate as “appeasement,” if it has not done so already.

2) What precise policies do they want us to change? One policy that was misconceived from the outset and should be changed without delay is that of “incentive” payments to the Soviet Union. It is this policy more than any other which has opened the door to appeasement in the guise of détente. Arbatov and other Soviet spokesmen have stormed against the idea that the Soviets are expected to make any “payments” to the West.41The theory and practice of American incentive premiums are especially ruinous in connection with nuclear-weapons negotiations. If the threat of mutual annihilation is not persuasive enough to bring one or the other side to its senses, and here I do not point an accusing finger only at the Soviet Union, immeasurably lesser incentives are at best superfluous and at worst irrelevant. Advance payments to the Soviet Union for services in the common interest that may or may not be rendered have never worked and even make matters worse. They merely serve to convince the masters of the Soviet Union that the famous “relationship of forces” has so changed in their favor that payments must be made for nothing more than a piece of paper.

3) Are they prepared for a prolonged situation of dramatically increased danger? Let us recall that this question was flung out with much unction and indignation only a half-year ago. Since then the level of tension and danger has increased dramatically. The question was plainly addressed to the wrong parties. The Angola crisis is hardly the work of the critics of détente. Some of them may even have seen such dramatically increased danger coming since the last Arab-Israeli war. The real question is whether the leaders and fellow-travelers of détente were prepared for a prolonged situation of dramatically increased danger.

4) Do they wish to return to the constant crises and high arms budgets of the cold war? To answer this question, it is useful to recall Secretary Kissinger’s answer to another question put to him at the end of 1974:

Senator Byrd: Is it not correct that since 1972, in a period of so-called détente, there has been a methodical improvement and expansion of nuclear and conventional power in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, that is correct.42

At least we have it from Secretary Kissinger that détente, in its heyday, did nothing to discourage the Soviets from improving and expanding their military power. Whether the same can be said of the United States seems more doubtful, but let us assume that both sides have improved and expanded their nuclear and conventional power in the détente years between 1972 and 1974. It may be argued that the situation would have been worse without détente. Perhaps—but it certainly did not get better, and it is most unlikely that more intercontinental missiles and more megatonnage would have significantly changed the nature of the problem. The obvious answer, then, to this question about crises and arms budgets is: No. But what does it have to do with détente? Has détente saved us from constant crises and high arms budgets? Could Secretary Kissinger tell Senator Byrd that détente had prevailed on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe not to improve and expand their nuclear and conventional power? More to the point, the answer, unfortunately, again is: No.

5) Does détente encourage repression—or is it détente that has generated ferment and the demands for openness that we are now witnessing? This is the most incredible question of all. It reveals how much Kissinger’s understanding of the Soviet system has changed since he took up residence in Washington. In one of his major works, The Necessity for Choice, published in 1961, he discussed this very question at some length. He frowned on those who thought that “Western diplomacy should seek to influence Soviet internal developments.” He scoffed at “the tendency to base policy toward the USSR on an assumed change in Soviet society.” He reproached those who saw “in every change of tone a change of heart.” He decried “the persistence with which it has been claimed that the economic needs of the Soviet Union would impose a more conciliatory policy on it.” He severely disapproved of the fact that, “whatever aspect of the Soviet system they have considered, many in the West have sought to solve our policy dilemma by making the most favorable assumptions about Soviet trends.” He instructed us sagely: “The tendency to justify negotiations by changes in Soviet attitude makes us vulnerable to largely formal Soviet moves.” And this: “The possibility of evolution of Soviet policy in a more conciliatory direction may be jeopardized by the eagerness with which it is predicted.”43



Nothing could illustrate more aptly the timeliness of these warnings than the connection between détente and Soviet repression. By the time Kissinger asked the question, “Does détente encourage repression?,” in July 1975, repression was already in full swing. The most open period in recent Soviet history came in 196771, before the American-Soviet détente. The official crackdown on the underground samizdat movement took place in 1972, the very first year of that détente. The orchestrated vilification of Andrei Sakharov, the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, started in August 1973. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was arrested and deported in February 1974. Hedrick Smith of the New York Times has by chance answered Kissinger’s question in his new book, The Russians, an account of his experiences in the Soviet Union in 197174, dealing with precisely the years of détente, and an ideal corrective to much of what correspondents in Moscow have to send out while they are still there:

The technology of Soviet repression had become more sophisticated and more effective as détente proceeded. The unexpected irony was that détente, instead of spawning more general ferment among the Soviet intelligentsia, as the West had hoped and the Kremlin had feared, became a reason for tighter controls and sometimes provided new techniques for quieting disaffected intellectuals.44

This reflex on the part of the Soviet leadership is not new. The precedent had been set by Lenin in 192021. At the same time that he introduced the New Economic Policy or NEP, liberalizing the Soviet economy, and as he began to make deals with Western powers, he liquidated every vestige of dissidence in both the country and the party. The two went hand in hand in order to prevent present and potential dissidents from taking advantage of “decreased tension.” Stalin combined the Popular Front outside Russia with the Great Purge inside Russia. Yet Kissinger has assured us: “Changes in Soviet society have already occurred, and more will come. But they are most likely to develop through an evolution that can best go forward in an environment of decreasing international tensions.”45 The trouble with this line of reasoning is that the Soviet leadership has known what to do about it for the past fifty years. Whenever there is danger that decreasing international tensions will foster changes in Soviet society unwanted by the party, repression is increased. That is why détente has been accompanied by more rather than less repression. There may be other reasons for pursuing a policy of détente, but discouraging repression is not one of them.

One wonders why Secretary Kissinger thought that his questions were so crushing and the answers to them so self-evident. Had he forgotten so much?




Secretary Kissinger, former Senator Fulbright, and others have insisted that the only alternative to détente is cold war. Since they seem to think that a return to cold war is unthinkable, or at least unbearable, that would leave us only with détente. The reality is far more confused and disagreeable. Détente, cold war, and appeasement have all been mixed up together, with appeasement given the least consideration.

One of the ways appeasement was built into détente has already been noted. The whole theory and practice of giving “incentives” to the Soviet Union to do what it should do in its own interest or not at all was the entering wedge of appeasement. We tried to buy with gratuitous and unreciprocated favors what is not for sale, especially not in the one field that is supposed to matter most in détente—nuclear warfare.

But a humiliating climate of appeasement had also been created. It was symbolized by the presidential refusal to receive Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn because the gesture might displease Leonid Brezhnev. Had Brezhnev ever refused to meet with an anti-U.S. personage in order not to displease Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford? This type of appeasement is not new and not limited to the United States. West Germany, whose détente with the Soviet Union goes back to 1970, has practiced the same kind of appeasement at the expense of one of its own foremost writers. The German incident shows that present-day appeasement takes certain characteristic forms in more than one country.

In the summer of 1973, the eminent German writer Günter Grass was invited to give a private reading from his works at the home of Ulrich Sahm, the German ambassador in Moscow. Grass made indirect contact with Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn in preparation for his visit, and Solzhenitsyn intended to give him a manuscript to take back. Meanwhile, both Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn issued statements warning against the risks of détente. This situation so frightened Ambassador Sahm that he sent a private letter to Grass withdrawing the invitation. Grass refused to let the matter remain private; he published the letter and discussed its implications on television and in the press. A former upholder of Ostpolitik, he now renounced it on the ground that its restrictions meant the betrayal of culture in general and Russian writers in particular. Grass was thereupon publicly and offensively rebuked by a spokesman of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.46

The Solzhenitsyn and Grass incidents were symptomatic of a moral flaccidity that always goes along with appeasement. The Soviets consider culture and ideology to be outside the boundaries of détente, but they seem to be the only ones to think so or to act on this premise. Indeed, cultural appeasement was also built into détente by virtue of how the different political systems work.

A well-known American specialist in Soviet studies has told how the systems work in the case of the scholarly-exchange program. The Soviet scholar who comes to the United States can see anything he asks for in American universities and libraries. He goes back and writes about America’s most painful contemporary problems—ethnic conflicts, student riots, unemployment, crime, black nationalism, and the like. The American scholar has had to accept a different set of rules:

Indeed, and the best illustration of that is the simple fact that for American scholars the most interesting subject of study in the Soviet Union is Soviet political history—for example Stalin and Trotsky, the history of the party, the relationship between party and government, the purges of the 1930’s, Soviet foreign policy, Soviet economic policy, and so forth. We have never been able to send a single American scholar to the Soviet Union to look at any of these problems.

When the exchange visits first started there were applications on our side for the study of these areas, but the Russians resolutely refused to allow for applicants into their country. Then, realizing how applications in these fields of study would be treated by the Russians, our young scholars shifted their applications to the study of less sensitive questions, such as local government which hardly exists in the Soviet Union or 19th-century political history and problems of that kind. In others words, the Russians turned us away from the issues which are most central to us, and we are now doing their job for them, because our professors tell their young students not to bother with subjects that would prejudice their chances of being allowed into the Soviet Union. . . .

Soviet control over opportunities for study in the USSR has so influenced some of our more timid colleagues interested in going or returning to Russia, that they will not join other intellectuals in protests against the Soviet treament of dissidents, minorities, etc. and will even refuse to participate in conferences that may be distasteful to the Soviet government. The Soviet government has in fact acquired some influence both over the direction of Western scholarship and over Western political attitudes.47

In effect, appeasement was built into détente whenever we adapted ourselves to them but they did not adapt themselves to us. In these circumstances, appeasement worked silently, automatically, almost unthinkingly. It was the most insidious kind of appeasement because the cards were stacked in the Soviets’ favor without any overt effort on their part.



Such have been the acrid fruits of détente. They did not burst forth because there was anything wrong with the ideal of détente. They flourished because too much appeasement was built into détente. Appeasement did not work in the 1930’s; it has not worked in the 1970’s and for the same reason—appeasement cannot appease the unappeaseable. We now have it from Secretary Kissinger that this is precisely the position we are approaching today.

The latest Kissingerian theory was foreshadowed by Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor for the State Department, in an address on “The Meaning of ‘Détente’” at the Naval War College in the late spring of 1975. Sonnenfeldt described the Soviet Union in terms which had not been heard previously in the era of détente:

Its power continues to grow and its interests to expand. Indeed, it can be said that in the broad sweep of history, Soviet Russia is only just beginning its truly “imperial” phase: its military forces have acquired intercontinental reach only fairly recently; its capacity to influence events in remote areas is of relatively recent standing; and it is only just acquiring the habit of defining its interests on a global rather than a solely continental basis. For us, therefore, the problem is that of building viable relationships with an emerging world power.

One reads these lines with astonishment. “Only just beginning”? “Only fairly recently”? “Of relatively recent standing”? Unfortunately, Sonnenfeldt did not give any clue to how recent his “recently” was. The unwary reader might imagine that all this had happened during the past three years of détente. Let us take just one of these astounding statements—that the Soviet Union “is only just acquiring the habit of defining its interests on a global rather than a solely continental basis.” A quarter of a century ago, North Korea could not have carried on its war if the Soviet Union had not trained and equipped its army. Continental or global? The major supplier of North Vietnam was the Soviet Union. Continental or global? In one way or another, as Communists, the Soviet leaders have defined their interests on a global basis for almost six decades. They have had much more experience in this respect than the Americans have had. This patronizing view of the Soviet Union as a global power tells more about the Counselor’s historical awareness than it does about the Soviet Union.

In any case, if this is where the broad sweep of history has taken us, it should have had some bearing on the state of détente. But Sonnenfeldt was not yet ready to go that far. Instead, he gave the fact that the Soviet Union “continues to grow in power, weight, and reach” as a reason “why we must persist in the basic policies we have been pursuing over the past several years”—incentives and all.48

Secretary Kissinger himself went public with the new theory in an interview with Flora Lewis which appeared in the New York Times of December 21, 1975. He explained that the Soviet Union had become an imperial superpower in an expansionist phase that must run its course. The Soviets, he warned, will exploit every opportunity to enlarge their dominion, unless the risks are made too great for them. The Soviet move into Angola demonstrates how far afield this expansionist momentum had carried them. Unless the United States answered in kind in Angola, the next stage of Soviet expansionism would be even more dangerous and costly.

By this time the official line had clearly gone beyond the Sonnenfeldt version of early 1975. It went even further at Secretary Kissinger’s news conference on December 23. It also began with a strange history lesson:

The basic problem in our relation with the Soviet Union is the emergence of the Soviet Union into true superpower status. That fact has become evident only in the 1970’s. As late as the Cuban missile crisis, the disparity in strategic power between the United States and the Soviet Union was overwhelmingly in our favor.

In this broad sweep of history, we jump from the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 to the 1970’s. This leap makes it appear as if we had to wait until December 1975 to discover what was going on. The missile crisis convinced the Soviet leadership that it was necessary to catch up with and overtake the United States in strategic arms. The Soviets caught up much more quickly than the Americans had counted on; in fact, back in 1965, the top American leaders did not think that the Soviets had any intention of catching up. By the time the SALT I talks were started in late 1969, the Soviets had made such progress that the Americans were ready to settle for freezing both sides at a level of rough strategic parity. Despite SALT I, if we may trust Paul H. Nitze, who deserves to be heard respectfully as a SALT negotiator from 1969 to 1974, the Soviets have not been satisfied with parity and have been aiming at strategic superiority, a position which Nitze thinks they began to achieve in 1973.49

One cannot, therefore, jump historically all the way from 1962 to the 1970’s. Something was happening within two or three years of the Cuban missile crisis that brought us to the present balance in strategic power. The shift has been going on for about a decade, and its implications have been apparent throughout the course of détente. It is rather late in the game to discover that the Soviet Union possesses “true superpower status.”

And what, in the name of God, is “true superpower status”? At least as long ago as 1964, Henry Kissinger referred to the Soviet Union as a “superpower.”50 In 1968, Kissinger noted that the Soviet Union was one of the two powers which possessed “the full panoply of military might.”51 Does the new status mean that the Soviet Union in 1964 was an “untrue” superpower? Or does “true superpower” mean a “super-superpower”? How much more of the full panoply of military might, circa 1968, was it necessary for the Soviet Union to possess to be promoted to the rank of “true superpower”? If the United States is also a “true superpower,” why the special emphasis on this new classification?

This broad sweep of history is more a political than a historical operation. The new status of the Soviet Union has been discovered just in time to explain a crisis in American détente policy, as if the crisis were a result of immanent historical forces instead of a misconceived policy. That the crisis for détente may be a mortal one was made plain by Secretary Kissinger in his December 23 news conference. These were fighting words:

We do not confuse the relaxation of tension with permitting the Soviet Union to expand its sphere by military means and that is the issue, for example, in Angola. . . .

If the Soviet Union continues action such as Angola, we will without any question resist. . . .

Unless the Soviet Union shows restraint in its foreign-policy actions, the situation in our relationship is bound to become more tense, and there is no question that the United States will not accept Soviet military expansion of any kind.

Thus Kissinger has now been forced to give up in fact, if not in name, one of the underlying myths of détente—the theory that the Soviet Union had become a status-quo power. This notion was actually the implied premise of the “Basic Principles” of May 1972. It has been a costly myth, made all the worse because it was implicitly fostered by official U.S. policy.



This is not the place to discuss at length what the U.S. should do in Angola, a large and difficult subject by itself. I wish to restrict myself to the implications of the Angolan crisis for détente. The first thing that needs to be said, in my view, is that the Angolan situation represents two problems—one immediate and tactical, the other long-range and strategic. It is necessary to differentiate between them, for what may be good in the long run need not be good in the short run. Angola may not be the best place for the United States to face the issue tactically; it is the right place to understand the issue strategically. On the tactical level, the United States need not permit the Soviet Union to decide the time and place of every confrontation of this kind.

As I write, it is too early to tell what the full story of Angola is. Whatever the truth may be about the various foreign interventions, the Soviets clearly outbid all the others by bringing in thousands of Cuban proxies, the nearest thing to using their own troops, and by arming their side with far more, far more costly, and far more advanced weapons. In terms of the political significance of the Angolan situation for détente, however, it matters less what each side has done than that such a faraway Soviet-American contest should have taken place at all. For if, as Secretary Kissinger has maintained, the United States must react as strongly as he has urged it to react in Angola in order to discourage the Soviet Union “from taking advantage” of favorable opportunities, we are faced with the paradox that it is necessary to wage cold and not-so-cold war in dangerous situations in order to save détente for non-dangerous situations—in short, that détente works when and where it is needed the least. If détente is so restricted, fluctuating, ambiguous, and paradoxical, it can hardly be taken as seriously as we had been led to believe.

Tactics aside, Kissinger is finally right on the strategic problem: the Soviet Union is in an imperial, expansionist phase. We are faced strategically with a long-term Soviet imperial pressure, now gathering momentum and based, as Soviet spokesmen like to say, on a “new relationship of forces.” If the Soviets can get the world to accept their version of this “new relationship of forces,” the consequences will be cumulatively disastrous.

This renewed Soviet pressure was building up while the United States was beguiled by détente. It is imprudent and implausible to conduct a foreign policy based on holding back the new Soviet expansionism while still officially enmeshed in the doctrine of détente. The new and the old theories and policies cannot coexist peacefully. One of them must go.

1 Détente: Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, August-September 1974, pp. 61, 67, 102, 147, 208, 239, 301.

2 Walter C. Clemens, Jr., “The Impact of Détente on Chinese and Soviet Communism,” Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1974, p. 134.

3 “If tensions mount, the parties may move toward cold and then hot war. If tensions diminish, the parties move toward détente (whether short- or long-lived); from détente they could move further toward rapprochement or even entente” (ibid.) .

4 May 29, 1972.

5 July 3, 1974.

6 Détente: Hearings, pp. 16162.

7 Robert Ellsworth, Department of State Bulletin, November 23, 1970, pp. 64243. Also: “The condition of the Soviet economy is clearly the primary determinant of present Soviet foreign policy” (Marshall Shulman, Foreign Affairs, October 1973, p. 43).

8 Détente: Hearings, p. 32.

9 Emigration Amendment to the Trade Reform Act of 1974: Hearings before the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate, December 3, 1974, p. 106.

10 Ibid., pp. 9697.

11 Marshall Shulman, New York Times, March 10, 1974.

11a Marshall I. Goldman, Détente and Dollars (Basic Books, 1975), pp. 27576.

12 Marshall I. Goldman, Daedalus, Fall 1975, p. 137, and Note 35, p. 143.

13 June 15, 1972.

14 U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970's: A New Strategy for Peace, A Report to the Congress by Richard Nixon, President of the United States, February 18, 1970, p. 232.

15 Nomination of Henry A. Kissinger: Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, September 11, 1973, Part I, p. 101.

16 Pravda, August 1, 1975, p. 1 (in The Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Vol. XXVII, No. 31, p. 13).

17 Emigration Amendment to the Trade Reform Act of 1974, p. 77.

18 September 19, 1974.

19 Information Bulletin, issued by the World Marxist Review, Vol. 13 (1975), Nos. 1213, p. 14.

20 Izvestia, September 4, 1975 (in The Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Vol. XXVII, No. 36, p. 3).

21 World Marxist Review, September 1975, p. 59.

22 N. Polyanov, Izvestia, November 29, 1975, p. 4.

23 V. Kobysh, Izvestia, November 30, 1975, p. 2.

24 V. Matveyev, Izvestia, December 2, 1975, p. 4.

25 Oleg Skalkin, Pravda, December 6, 1975, p. 5.

26 O. Kitsenko, I. Shchedrov, A. Arkhipov, Pravda, December 8, 1975, p. 3.

27 K. Zaradov, Pravda, August 6, 1975 (in The Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Vol. XXVII, No. 31, pp. 15, 17).

28 Gus Hall, The Crisis of U.S. Capitalism and the Fight Back (International Publishers, 1975), p. 44.

29 Political Affairs, November 1975, pp. 3, 6, 16.

30 Emigration Amendment to the Trade Reform Act of 1974, p. 89.

31 March 28, 1974.

32 Henry A. Kissinger, interview with William F. Buckley, September 13, 1975.

33 November 12, 1973 (interview in Peking).

34 Congressional Record, Senate, November 9, 1973, p. S-20136.

35 New York Times, March 10, 1974.

36 Samuel P. Huntington, The Common Defense (Columbia University Press, 1961), p. 88. In 1950, U.S. policymakers had expected the second stage to be reached in 1954 (p. 60). But even if Huntington is right, and it did not come about for another two years or so, the difference is hardly significant now.

37 July 3, 1974.

38 Flora Lewis, New York Times, December 21, 1975.

39 Détente: Hearings, pp. 301302.

40 July 15, 1975.

41 Arbatov and Polyanov, op. cit.

42 Emigration Amendment to the Trade Reform Act of 1974, p. 76.

43 Henry A. Kissinger, The Necessity for Choice (Harper & Row, 1961), pp. 195201.

44 Hedrick Smith, The Russians (Quadrangle, 1976), p. 439.

45 September 19, 1974.

46 The story is told by François Bondy, Survey, Spring-Summer 1974, p. 43.

47 Robert F. Byrnes, Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Russian and East European Institute, Indiana State University, Survey, Autumn 1974, pp. 5253.

48 Naval War College Review, Summer 1975, pp. 38.

49 Foreign Affairs, January 1976, p. 226.

50 Ibid., July 1964, p. 539.

51 Agenda for the Nation (Brookings Institution, 1968), p. 587.

* Numbered notes are to be found at the conclusion of this article, on page 38.

* Hedrick Smith, the former New York Times corresponddent in Moscow, has told of a “joke” that circulated within the Soviet establishment on the eve of Brezhnev's visit to the United States in June 1973: “Brezhnev . . . asked his advisers what he should seek in America. ‘Ask them to sell us cars,’ suggested one. ‘Ask them to build us computer factories,’ said a second. ‘Ask them to build atomic-power stations,’ said a third. ‘No,’ replied Brezhnev thoughtfully. ‘I'll just ask them to build us Communism’” (Atlantic Monthly, December 1974).

*** The exchange just before this one is worth pondering: Senator Byrd: On the question of harassment, which is one of the key points of the Jackson amendment, is not the entire system of government in Russia based on harassment and terror, as a practical matter? Secretary Kissinger: Well, I think the government is more obtrusive than in our country (p. 88). Obtrusive!

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