Not since World War II has there been such an era of ill feeling between Western Europe and the United States as there has been in the past year. No sooner had the then Presidential Assistant Henry A. Kissinger issued his call in April 1973 for a new Atlantic Charter to reinvigorate “shared ideals and common purposes with our friends” than it appeared that our friends had begun to change places with our enemies. Six months later, in October, Dr. Kissinger, now Secretary of State, was overheard saying, no doubt in pique, that he didn't care what happened to NATO because he was so disgusted with it. Two months after that, in December, he privately described the behavior of the Europeans during the Arab-Israeli conflict as “craven,” “contemptible,” “pernicious,” and “jackal-like.” In March of this year, he unguardedly expressed his disgruntlement by publicly complaining that getting our friends to realize our “common interests” was a bigger problem than “regulating competition” with our enemies.1* Others have observed this extraordinary topsy-turvydom of friends and enemies. According to so experienced and respected a student of international affairs as George F. Kennan, the United States “now has relations with the Soviet Union fully as cordial as those with most of the European NATO members”—which is another way of saying that we are no more cordial with the latter than with the former.2
This is a peculiarly disturbing state of affairs for a country whose leaders, including Dr. Kissinger, have never tired of protesting that NATO, the Atlantic alliance, or Western Europe, is the very “cornerstone” of U.S. foreign policy. A profound change has obviously taken place, going far beyond the problems and provocations that have presented themselves in the past year. If it continues much longer, the 1970's are unlikely to produce the “structure for peace” pursued by President Nixon; they are more likely to resemble the 1930's in the breakdown of a fragile international order.
“Concepts” and “conceptual” have long been among Dr. Kissinger's favorite terms. Almost ten years ago, he drew up an indictment of U.S. policy which, in part, sounds strangely familiar today: “In recent years this promise [of a partnership between a united Europe and the United States] has been flawed by increasingly sharp disputes among the allies. The absence of agreement on major policies is striking. On the Continent, the fear of a bilateral United States-Soviet arrangement is pervasive.” And what was the basic trouble? It was, he wrote, the existence of an open challenge “not just to the technical implementation of American plans but to the validity of American conceptions.” In June 1968, after a long silence, Dr. Kissinger finally pronounced on what had gone wrong in Vietnam. He traced many of our difficulties in Vietnam to “conceptual failures” and decided that “almost all of our concepts, the military ones as well as some of the traditional ones, have really failed.” A few months later, he flatly asserted that “the basic problem [in Vietnam] has been conceptual.” More recently, in connection with his visit to Moscow in March 1974, Dr. Kissinger let it be known that he was looking for a “conceptual breakthrough.”3
It is all the more surprising, then, that concepts may well be the most vulnerable aspect of Dr. Kissinger's tenure as Presidential Assistant and Secretary of State. He has lived such a charmed life since he went to Washington in 1969 that far more attention has been paid to his personal tactics than to his conceptual strategy, although he used to warn against the danger of “being mired by the prudent, the tactical, or the expedient” and was wont to inveigh against the lamentable disposition of American leaders to act, during periods of détente, “as if a settlement could be reached by good personal relations with their Communist counterparts.”4 Indeed, one of the most intriguing aspects of the Kissinger phenomenon is the curious difference between Professor Kissinger and Presidential Assistant-Secretary of State Kissinger.
Professor Kissinger had devoted himself almost wholly to Europe and to European-American relations. In book after book and article after article he had taught that the fate of the United States was bound to be decided in or with Europe. In this view he had not differed from official American policy, at least until the Johnson administration, which had departed from it in deeds if not in words. Yet Presidential Assistant Kissinger went to work for a President who, not long before taking office, had downgraded Europe as secondary in future American policy. This position had been taken by Mr. Nixon in a well-known article in Foreign Affairs of October 1967, which has been so distorted in the retelling that one suspects more people have referred to it than have actually read it. The article has been recalled mainly for its alleged foreshadowing of President Nixon's later China policy because in it he had urged that “our long-range aim is to pull China back into the family of nations” and “into the world community” on condition that it give up the role of being “the epicenter of world revolution.” These phrases were subsequently taken to mean that Mr. Nixon had served notice of his intention to establish friendly relations with the People's Republic of China. But there was both more and less to it than that.
The leading Nixonian concept at that time had to do with a question of fundamental importance: What area of the world would be most dangerous to the United States in the final third of the 20th century? Mr. Nixon's answer in this very article was: “Asia, not Europe or Latin America.” He saw the United States as “the greatest Pacific power,” propelled westward, as “partners,” to be sure, not as “conquerors.” Asia was where “the greatest explosive potential is lodged.” The rhythm of history, as he put it, had dictated that “the focus of both crisis and change is shifting” from Europe to Asia. Europe having been rebuilt and the Soviets “contained,” he urged that we should reserve our main energies for Asia “to reach out westward to the East, and to fashion the sinews of a Pacific community.”
It was in this context that Mr. Nixon discussed what to do about China. There was no indication in this article that he thought of using China as a counterweight against Soviet Russia. Rather, he saw China as the “clear, present, and repeatedly and insistently expressed” threat in Asia. In order to meet that threat more effectively, he advocated coming “urgently to grips with the reality of China” by pulling China “back into the family of nations” and into “the world community.” At this stage in his rethinking of U.S. foreign policy, Mr. Nixon seemed oblivious to the contradiction inherent in his desire to concentrate American energies in Asia, which could only threaten or disturb China, and his inclination to make some sort of friendly overture to China, which could come to fruition only if America showed signs of leaving Asia alone. Nixon's formula was still so vague that it did not attract much notice at the time. When Dr. Kissinger later said that it “really foreshadowed the Peking initiative”5 he was hardly justified by anything in the 1967 article itself, since it contained little more than the germ of the idea of establishing some sort of new relationship with Communist China.
Mr. Nixon has had it both ways on the Vietnam war. During the period of the main U.S. build-up in 1965-67, he protected President Johnson's Republican flank and, if anything, out-Johnsoned Johnson in his pro-war fervor. Mr. Nixon would have had U.S. troops in Vietnam as early as 1954 when the French were facing defeat at Dien Bien Phu. On the eve of the massive U.S. intervention in 1965, he went all out for President Johnson's policy. He was one of those who thought the war was being fought primarily between the United States and Communist China. An extreme exponent of the “domino theory,” he foresaw Chinese Communist aggression as far as Australia in four or five years if South Vietnam fell. No one in the Johnson administration was more convinced than Mr. Nixon that the only way to end the war was “by winning it in South Vietnam.” Nevertheless, by the end of 1967, in his Foreign Affairs article, Mr. Nixon drew back somewhat from his previous bellicosity. He now recognized that “the role of the United States as world policeman is likely to be limited in the future,” that there was no more “room for heavy-handed American pressures,” and that “the central pattern of the future in U.S.-Asian relations must be American support for Asian initiatives.” Asia had by far the highest priority in his scheme of things. After he was elected, President Nixon repeated and repeated and repeated that he was not the one who had sent more than 500,000 American boys to fight in Vietnam. That was true; it also was true that he was the one who had done everything a Republican leader could do to make it possible for a Democratic President to send them.6
It is more difficult to know what Professor Kissinger thought about Asia and the Vietnam war. His 1965 book, The Troubled Partnership, was devoted to the European-American relationship, but in connection with it he made some interesting references to Southeast Asia. He was mainly concerned with getting across the thought—which figured prominently in his “new Atlantic Charter” speech eight years later—that our European allies had “ceased to think of themselves as world powers.” For this reason, he warned that the United States could not expect “meaningful support for such United States policies as the defense of Southeast Asia.” At the same time, however, he ventured the opinion that “over the next decades the United States is likely to find itself increasingly engaged in the Far East, in Southeast Asia, and in Latin America,” in none of which our European allies were likely to see any vital interest of their own.7 The book was written before President Johnson decided on large-scale U.S. intervention in Vietnam, but judging from Dr. Kissinger's expectation the decision could not have come as a surprise. In 1965-66, Dr. Kissinger made two trips to South Vietnam at the invitation of Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge—who later recommended him as Presidential Assistant to President Nixon. In 1967, he acted as the American go-between in conjunction with two Frenchmen in an abortive “peace feeler.” Nevertheless, he published nothing about the war during these three years. His biographer, a close friend for many years, tries to explain this puzzling silence on the ground that Dr. Kissinger “had nothing to say” because he “did not know enough about the issues.”8 Since he knew more and was privy to more than all but a relatively few in the highest official circles, there would have been little protest against the war if his modesty or reticence had been more contagious.
In the spring and summer of 1968, Dr. Kissinger finally found his voice on the entire range of American foreign-policy questions, including the Vietnam war—the voice of former Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who was running for President and who, we are assured, spoke what Dr. Kissinger wrote.9 Fortunately, however, we do not have to depend wholly on such indirect evidence. In June of that year at a conference in Chicago sponsored by the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs, Dr. Kissinger spoke for the first time in his own name on the Vietnam war and its lessons. His main contribution, as previously noted, was the concept of our “conceptual failures.” Ironically, in view of the later insistence on his alleged infatuation with “balance of power,” he then lamented that the epidemic of rebellions in the world, “cannot be encompassed at all by traditional theories of balances of power.” His comments did little more than to communicate his disenchantment with the war, with U.S. policy, and even with “the American philosophy of international relations.”10
By chance, Dr. Kissinger's last published article dealt with “The Vietnam Negotiations.” Written before President Nixon asked him to serve, it appeared in January 1969, just as he was going into the White House. His criticism of U.S. policy was again “conceptual,” though it clearly showed that he had a great deal of inside knowledge about what had gone on militarily and politically in Vietnam. For an inveterate conceptualizer, however, he seemed to give inordinate importance to what he called the “choreography” of negotiations—the way they were carried on. A fascination with tactics, maneuvers, and symbols appeared to preoccupy him as much as grand concepts and large historical movements. After pages on the proper tactics to pursue vis-à-vis North Vietnam, he bethought himself to caution: “The over-concern with tactics suppresses a feeling for nuance and for intangibles.” This advice seemed to make the statesman or diplomat a conjurer of the ineffable and the impalpable. One would have expected that an over-concern with tactics would suppress a sense of essence and substance. Concepts and nuances, the philosopher and the fixer, were already struggling for the mind and soul of Henry Kissinger.
The Vietnam war produced another more tangible and immediate conflict. On the one hand, Dr. Kissinger had clearly come to the reluctant conclusion that the war was a bad job and needed to be ended as soon as possible. On the other hand, he held on to the conviction that it had to be ended “honorably” at all costs.11 The key concept here was “honorable”—although he never made clear how a dishonorable war could be ended honorably. The closest he came to condemning or repudiating the war was a comment that it was open to “the charge of bad judgment.” He hastened to add that such a “charge” could not be removed by “a demonstration of incompetence” in ending the war. Another concept mobilized in favor of ending the war “honorably” or not at all—for it came down to this in the end—was a variant of the “domino theory.” What was now at stake in Vietnam, Dr. Kissinger argued, was “confidence in American promises,” on which the stability of much of the world—the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, even Japan—allegedly depended. He apparently could not envisage anything worse than “unilateral withdrawal,” though the settlement which he eventually arrived at was admittedly a bilateral withdrawal only on paper. We have heard ever since that the North Vietnamese have never withdrawn. Judging by President Nixon's own criteria—“honor, a peace fair to all, and a peace that will last,” and “with no misunderstandings which could lead to a breakdown of the settlement and a resumption of the war”12—this “peace” has already failed the test, at least so far as the Vietnamese themselves are concerned. Long before the end of the Asia-first century once envisaged by Mr. Nixon, it is safe to say, it won't make a particle of difference how the United States got out of Vietnam; all that will matter is that the United States was forced to pull out and that the war between the Vietnamese went on.
There was also at this stage a curious historical disparity in the thinking of Mr. Nixon and Dr. Kissinger. The former went into office with the concept that American destiny would for the rest of the century move westward to Asia; his view of the Vietnam war and relations with China was governed by this grand, if highly dubious, proposition. Dr. Kissinger did not go anywhere as far afield in his outlook; he seemed to worry most about the more immediate consequences, mainly outside Asia, of how the Vietnam war would come to an end. Though their reasons were somewhat different, both were prepared to fight as long to end the war without victory as President Johnson had been prepared to fight for victory. Yet they were luckier than he was. Enough people seemed to think that the war had gone on for so long that it might never end; anyone who could bring it to a close at all, no matter how long it took and at what frightful cost, was entitled to eternal gratitude.
What concerns us here is not so much the Vietnam settlement as the decision which led to four more years of war until the settlement was reached. That decision was made by President Nixon, with Dr. Kissinger's concurrence, early in 1969, in the first weeks of the administration, and it may well be the most critical one that they made. Once they decided on a course which put American interests all over the world at the mercy of such an intangible nuance as “honor” in Vietnam, their freedom of action and even their field of vision were hopelessly restricted elsewhere. That this is exactly what happened as a result of the Vietnam war is not open to question. We have it on the authority of President Nixon himself: “Now, in terms of our world situation, the tendency is, and this has been the case for the last five to six years, for us to obscure our vision almost totally of the world because of Vietnam.”13 In January 1973, he remarked that “it just happens as we complete the long and difficult war in Vietnam, we must now turn to the problems of Europe.”14 The price of the Vietnam war was paid not only in Vietnam; it was paid all over the world. It is with the other price that we must now reckon.
Another major related decision was made at the outset of the Nixon administration.
Apart from the Vietnam war, the great question before U.S. policy was whether the problem of our friends was more important and deserved priority over the problem of our foes. Was it better or safer to let Western Europe go its own way and further weaken its ties with the United States, or to concentrate on working out a détente with Soviet Russia and a rapprochement with the People's Republic of China? The decision went in favor of the latter course. Western Europe was put on the waiting list, after China, Russia, and Vietnam. 1971 was the year of China; 1972 was the year of Russia; the Vietnamese agreement came at the end of 1972; and Europe was scheduled for 1973. The stage was thus carefully prepared for a crisis in European-American relations.
This order of priorities was based on several considerations: China and Russia could do far more than Europe to help end the Vietnam war. Russia was North Vietnam's main supplier, and China was supposed to be the chief inspiration of North Vietnam's hardliners. If outside pressure was to be brought on North Vietnam, it clearly had to be brought through them. Thus the Vietnam war was itself partially responsible for the choice of priorities.
Other factors undoubtedly entered into the calculation. By 1969, it was apparent that the Russians were heading for nuclear parity with the United States. For some reason, U.S. officialdom has been prone to underestimate Soviet military intentions and capabilities. It was surprised by the rapidity with which the Soviets achieved the A-bomb, the H-bomb, advanced jet engines, long-range turbo-prop bombers, airborne intercept radars, and large-scale fissile material production.15 In the mid-1960's, the Americans did not expect the Soviets to be willing to pay the exorbitant price necessary to achieve numerical equality in missiles. In 1966, the United States decided to build no more nuclear weapons and to limit itself to improvement of existing weapons.16 By late 1964 or early 1965 at the latest, however, the Soviets set out not only to equal but to surpass the United States, at least numerically, in intercontinental missiles.17 The publicly announced Soviet military budget rose from 12.8 billion rubles in 1965 to 13.4 in 1966, to 14.5 in 1967, 16.7 in 1968, 17.7 in 1969, and 17.9 in 1970—an increase of 40 per cent. The real resources devoted to the Soviet military, including secret and hidden allocations, amounted of course to much more.18 The point here is not whether the world has changed for better or worse because the Soviet Union decided to catch up with the United States in nuclear power. The Soviet decision and achievement faced the incoming Nixon administration with the unpleasant choice of accepting Soviet-American strategic parity or of engaging in another, probably futile arms race. From a strictly military point of view, Europe was out of this contest, and the Soviet Union preempted the fullest attention.
If China and Russia were the pressure-points on North Vietnam, China was obviously the pressure-point on Russia. By 1969, it was commonly believed that the Russians were more worried about the Chinese menace than about the American threat. Despite the protestations of President Nixon and his officials that nothing was further from their minds than the idea of trying to play off China against Russia, no one else could be prevented from seeing a Chinese-American rapprochement in this light. Again, Europe as well as Japan was out of the contest; they watched from afar, with pleasure, consternation, or indifference, the Soviet-American strategic-arms-limitation talks and the Chinese-American tête-à-tête as both proceeded in 1971.
In his incredible interview with the Italian journalist, Oriana Fallaci, Dr. Kissinger volunteered the information that, from 1969 on, he had wanted to achieve three things: peace in Vietnam, rapprochement with China, and a new relationship with the Soviet Union.19 The “troubled partnership” between the United States and Europe was significantly missing from the list.
But there was a consolation prize for Europe. The catchword was “partnership.” In one of his first Presidential speeches in April 1969, President Nixon pledged the United States to “deep and genuine consultation with its allies” whom he referred to as “partners.”20 In his report to Congress of February 1970, a key document of administration policy, Mr. Nixon said that the nations of Western Europe and North America made up “our partnership”; he also called for both a “genuine partnership” and “a new and mature partnership.” To make the Europeans acutely conscious of what a good deal they were getting from him, Mr. Nixon took to telling them how badly treated they had been by his predecessors. Anyone who wanted to demonstrate that the United States had run NATO and the Atlantic alliance as if they were plantations with a master and slaves had only to cite the President of the United States, who now confessed: “For too long in the past, the United States had led without listening, talked to our allies instead of with them, and informed them of new departures instead of deciding with them.” All this was going to change as the United States moved “from dominance to partnership.”21 A year later, in February 1971, Mr. Nixon announced that the move had successfully been made: “In Western Europe, we have shifted from predominance to partnership with our allies.”22
By 1971 the main concepts of the Nixon-Kissinger foreign policy seemed to have crystallized—rapprochement with China, détente with Russia, partnership with Western Europe. Perhaps because he would not leave well enough alone or because his adviser on national-security affairs was an inveterate conceptualizer, Mr. Nixon could not resist the temptation to bring forth his own grand conceptual structure. In the summer of 1971, he took a group of news-media executives meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, into his confidence and gave them a glimpse of the world in the next five to fifteen years. He characterized the United States, Western Europe, Soviet Russia, mainland China, and Japan as the “five great economic superpowers.” The emphasis was clearly on “great” rather than on “economic.” These five, he said, “will determine the economic future and, because economic power will be the key to other kinds of power, the future of the world in other ways in the last third of this century.23 Six months later, in January 1972, Mr. Nixon elaborated on this theme. He fitted the new era of the big five into the traditional theory of “balance of power,” which he extolled as having been the only basis for an extended period of peace in the history of the world. “It is when one nation becomes infinitely more powerful in relation to its potential competitor that the danger of war arises,” he explained. “So I believe in a world in which the United States is powerful. I think it will be a safer world and a better world if we have a strong, healthy United States, Europe, Soviet Union, China, Japan, each balancing the other, not playing one against the other, an even balance.”24
Until he became President, Mr. Nixon had belonged to the school of thought which believed in making the United States incomparably stronger than its enemies. If that policy had been good before, however, the decline of the United States in relative strength was apparently even better. And was it really true that the danger of war arises if one nation becomes infinitely more powerful than others? One had imagined that the danger increased as the gap closed. In any event, this Presidential analysis of the world in 1972 seemed to make the “balance of power” official doctrine, with each of the five so strong in relation to the others that they could play independent roles and constitute “an even balance.”
Other officials, especially in the State Department, made exegetical discourses on the new dispensation. One of their favorite commentaries concerned the displacement of bipolarity by multipolarity. The President had at least qualified the five superpowers as “economic,” though he had implied that all other kinds of power flowed from economic power. This distinction somehow dropped out of the exegeses. One official simply spoke of “multiple power centers” emerging in the final quarter of this century.25 Another expounded on the “new power centers”—Western Europe, Japan, and China—which “by definition relates to the decline in the bipolar structure of the world.”26 A third went into more detail: “First, we are entering a world in which the bipolar pattern dominant in the last quarter century has given way to multiple centers of power and influence. Power, defined in political and economic as well as in military terms, no longer is the near-exclusive province of ourselves and the Soviets. The dominant relationships in this decade will not be between two centers of influence, but among five. Western Europe, Japan, and China have moved to the front of the world stage.”27
How much Dr. Kissinger had to do with all this higher theorizing was not at first clear. Some seemed to think that if President Nixon had an idea, let alone an entire theory, it must have come from Dr. Kissinger. The mere mention of balance of power set off an epidemic of amateurish historical analogies between Kissinger and Metternich, about whose diplomacy he had written his doctoral thesis fifteen years earlier. A minor annoyance connected with the Kissinger phenomenon has been the excruciatingly bad books that it has inspired. One of them claimed to know that he was already plotting a “conceptual blueprint” for U.S. policy in his doctoral thesis.28 Dr. Kissinger himself was evidently not amused. He saw fit to tell Oriana Fallaci that “There can be nothing in common between me and Metternich” and that it was “childish” to associate the two of them.29 He did not say who benefited the more from this offer of disengagement.
The licensed experts pounced joyfully on President Nixon's pastiche of ideas about balance of power and the five superpowers. As one heartlessly put it: “Of the so-called major powers, one (Europe) does not yet exist, one (Japan) has not found a role, and one (China) happens to be neither a superpower yet nor a very likely practitioner of the balance of power should it become one.”30 For a while, the foreign-affairs journals were filled with the higher criticism on such urgent matters as the balance of power in the 19th as compared with the 20th century.
By the end of 1972, the theory had been put out of its misery. President Nixon himself distinguished between the Soviet Union, which “is a superpower,” and China, which “has the potential in the future.”31 A potential superpower was obviously not yet ready for the role which he had assigned to it. Early in 1973, Dr. Kissinger pleaded innocent. He made known that he had been on his way to China when Mr. Nixon had given birth in Kansas City in 1971 to the five-superpowers-balance-of-power theory and that he had not read the speech or known what was to be in it before it was delivered. He assured his listeners that “what this administration has attempted to do is not so much to play a complicated 19th-century game of balance of power” as to do something else evidently less complicated, which was “to try to eliminate those hostilities that were vestiges of a particular perception at the end of the war.”32 Once the word went out that the line had changed, Deputy Secretary of State Kenneth Rush carefully explained why the original theory could not have been right: “For one thing, the principal participants have different capabilities. Bipolarity still persists in the strategic relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Europe is still in the process of developing the voice and organization to fully reflect its international economic position. Japan is still exploring the meaning of its phenomenal economic growth in terms of its international role. China's international position primarily reflects her potential, her great size, and her potential military strength.”33
Such was the short, unhappy life of the most ambitious concept put forward by the Nixon administration. It was far less important as an intellectual exercise than as a sign of the times. The year of the Kansas City speech. 1971, was also the low point in the fortunes of the dollar that brought about the collapse of the international monetary system. The overall U.S. balance-of-payments deficit had reached the astronomical figure of $9.8 billion, the seemingly inviolate U.S. trade surplus had disappeared, and the convertibility of the dollar into gold, a basic principle of the post-World War II monetary order, was abandoned. The same year seemed to be the high point of European economic and financial strength. It was the turn of Europeans to tell the United States to “put its economic house in order.” When former Secretary of the Treasury John B. Connally tried to bully the Europeans, he told them it was now their duty to be philanthropic and their task to correct the imbalances that had developed. If they could have done what he wanted them to do, the implication was inescapable that Europe was more than able to hold its own against the United States. The trade and monetary shocks of 1971 undoubtedly contributed to the elevation of Europe and Japan to the august status of “economic superpowers.”
It is also fair to add that the idea of putting Europe on more or less the same plane as the United States was not altogether original. The thought was already in the air, particularly in neo-isolationist circles. One such confident pronouncement in 1970 went: “The Europeans are our best friends in the world; they are also our equals.”34 One year later, the “best friends” quarreled fiercely because the Europeans seemed to be more than equal, and three years later, they quarreled even more ferociously because the Europeans realized that they were much less than equal.
Precisely in this period détente became an active issue in policy.
If anyone should have been prepared for the pitfalls of détente, it was Dr. Kissinger. For about a dozen years before he went to Washington to serve President Nixon, he had been a stern and unsparing critic of anything that smacked to him of “illusions” about détente.35
In the first book, published in 1957, with which he attracted widespread attention, Professor Kissinger expressed a certain distaste for, or anxiety about, “peaceful coexistence,” the term then in vogue. He twice found it necessary to instruct the reader that “peaceful coexistence” meant for Soviet leaders nothing more than “the most effective offensive tactic” and “the best means to subvert the existing structure by means other than all-out war.” It was good Leninist doctrine, he patiently explained, that the Soviets, so long as the relationship of forces was not in their favor, should keep “provocation below the level which might produce a final showdown.”36
Four years later, in 1961, Professor Kissinger was worried most about the Western tendency to see a Soviet turn from belligerency to détente as evidence of far more than a change of tactics. “But,” he cautioned, “one of the principal Communist justifications for a détente can hardly prove very reassuring to the free world; peace is advocated not for its own sake but because the West is said to have grown so weak that it will go to perdition without a last convulsive upheaval.” As for the Western attitude, he observed disapprovingly that “all the instincts of a status quo power tempt it to gear its policy to the expectation of a fundamental change of heart of its opponent” and to the imminence of “a basic change in Communist society and aims.” Americans, he thought, were especially susceptible to the belief that all problems were soluble and that “there must be some way to achieve peace if only the correct method is utilized.” In this work he was especially censorious of President Eisenhower's “ambulatory” personal diplomacy which inspired him to lay down the general rule that “whenever the Communist leaders have pressed for a relaxation of tensions they have tied the success of it to personalities.”37
After four more years, in 1965, Professor Kissinger had some more pungent things to say about the American tendency to think of détente in terms of personal relations. It was “futile,” he repeatedly stressed, to engage in “personal diplomacy” with the Soviets “even at the highest level,” for one reason because their leaders were committed to a belief in the predominance of “objective” factors. Whenever Soviet leaders “have had to make a choice between Western goodwill and a territorial or political gain,” he maintained, they “have unhesitatingly chosen the latter.” If the Soviets seem to make “concessions,” they make them “to reality, not to individuals.” He noted that there had been five Soviet periods of “relaxation” since 1917, all of which had come to an end for the same reason—“when an opportunity for expanding Communism presented itself.”38
As late as 1968, the year before he went to Washington, Professor Kissinger was still of much the same mind about past détentes. “During periods of détente,” he observed sharply, “each [Western] ally makes its own approach to Eastern Europe or the USSR without attempting to further a coherent Western enterprise.” He summed up the entire process in a way that is still instructive: “Each [détente] was hailed in the West as ushering in a new era of reconciliation and as signifying the long-awaited final change in Soviet purposes. Each ended abruptly with a new period of intransigence, which was generally ascribed to a victory of Soviet hardliners rather than to the dynamics of the system. There were undoubtedly many reasons for this. But the tendency of many in the West to be content with changes of Soviet tone and to confuse atmosphere with substance surely did not help matters.”39
Judging from his books and articles for over a decade, Professor Kissinger should have been repelled by a Soviet-American détente that was accompanied by unprecedented tension between Western Europe and the United States. His entire oeuvre was distinguished by an acute distrust of détente and a moving belief in the need for Western Europe and the United States to be linked by the closest possible ties, going far beyond even the existing Atlantic alliance. In The Necessity for Choice of 1961, he appealed for “structural changes” within the Western alliance to make it a federalized “North Atlantic community” or a “confederation of states.” Otherwise, as he ominously foresaw: “Without a truly common position Western rivalries will either paralyze negotiations or enable the Soviet Union to use them to demoralize the West.”40 In The Troubled Partnership of 1965, he went further prophetically and summoned the West to form an “Atlantic Commonwealth” of all the peoples bordering the North Atlantic. The ability of the West to move from the nation-state to a larger community would, he avowed, “largely determine whether the West can remain relevant to the rest of the world.”41 If one had read what Professor Kissinger had written before going to Washington, one could not have imagined he would put the years of détente first and the year of Europe last.
In fact, he was not the only one in the Nixon administration who had had premonitions of what was going to happen in the name of détente. In 1969, the then Under Secretary of State Elliot L. Richardson had given this assurance:
We shall not bargain away our security for vague improvements in the “international atmosphere.” Progress in East-West relations can only come out of hard bargaining on real issues. A détente that exists only in “atmosphere” without being related to substantive improvements in the relationship between the powers is worse than no improvement at all. It tempts us to lower our readiness, while providing no really concrete basis for a reduction in tensions.42
In 1970, Robert Ellsworth, the U.S. representative to the NATO Council, came even closer to one of the real issues that later arose to bedevil the Soviet-American détente. He recognized that the Soviet's and Warsaw Pact's “hunger for access to the science and technology of the West” was a key element in their diplomacy and in their push for “expansion of trade, economic, scientific and technical relations” between East and West. Others have since come to the same conclusion.43 Ellsworth went on to explain that the principal difficulty confronting the Soviets was their inability to pay. It was still possible for an American official to be brutally candid about what the proposed deal entailed:
They [the Soviets] would be able to pay if they could balance their imports by increasing exports of raw materials, and oil and gas, but they are unable to achieve this balance. Thus, they must ask for credits—credits which would have to be guaranteed, or possibly even subsidized, by governments. In essence such an agreement is not trade, but aid. Decisions about extending such aid, as well as decisions about transferring advanced technology from West to East, are not simply economic or technical decisions. They involve the highest political considerations [emphasis added].
Finally, Ellsworth told the tragic story of the Duke of Urbino who had committed a “classic blunder” four hundred years ago:
He possessed by far the most advanced artillery of the 16th century, which he foolishly loaned to Cesare Borgia for the alleged purpose of a Borgia attack upon Naples. Instead, Borgia promptly turned the artillery upon Urbino as he had planned all along. That was the end of Urbino.44
Who would have guessed that so many American capitalists would become 20th-century Dukes of Urbino?
These premonitions, forebodings, and reflections on détente were not produced in a vacuum. There had been, as Professor Kissinger noted, several periods of détente between the Soviet Union and the West since the Bolshevik revolution, as well as three main Soviet détentes with individual Western countries since 1965. In fact, the Soviet Union has had a waiting-list for détentes, with the United States third in line.
The first to join the elect was France. Its détente had its roots in Gaullist doctrine and went as far back as the end of World War II.
De Gaulle made his first bid to the Soviet Union as early as December 1944, before the end of the war, when France was barely free of German troops. During his first visit to Moscow, he tried to convert Stalin to a three-stage system of alliances: the first Franco-Soviet, the second Anglo-Soviet and Anglo-French, and the third a catch-all in which for the first time the United States was generously included within the forthcoming United Nations, for which de Gaulle otherwise had little use. Since de Gaulle held on tenaciously to his long-term plans, even if he was flexible in his tactics, this scheme cannot be dismissed lightly. It was, in effect, his ultimate view of how to restore France to the position she had held before both world wars, when alliances with Russia had been the cornerstone of her foreign policy. Indeed, de Gaulle explicitly invoked the Franco-Russian alliances of 1892 and 1935 and told Stalin that he wanted another for the same reasons that had inspired them. De Gaulle's final aim, then, required more than a mere détente; it demanded an actual Franco-Soviet alliance based on a mutual recognition of each other's interests. Even in 1944, de Gaulle tried to tell Stalin how far to go—or rather not to go—in Poland.45
Toward the end of his life, de Gaulle looked back at this period and revealed more fully and clearly what he had had in mind. He had intended, he explained, to cooperate and contract alliances with both East and West, and to form with neighboring states a bloc that would become one of the three world powers, capable of acting as “the arbiter between the Soviet and Anglo-Saxon camps.”46 As time passed, de Gaulle and his successors found it more tactful and expedient to put their program negatively—the breaking down of the two “hegemonies” of the Soviet Union and the United States. But there was a positive side to this design—the building up of a third hegemony, that of France in Europe, and through Europe, in the world. De Gaulle's ends, if not his means, were remarkably consistent over the years. In one of his last writings, he still called on France to play “an international role of the first rank” and to take on “world responsibility,” not restricting herself merely to Europe. In Europe as well as in the world, he insisted, it was incumbent on France to be free to act by herself.47
De Gaulle's first overture to Stalin was, of course, premature. Stalin had no intention of letting de Gaulle get in his way in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland. At the Yalta conference less than two months later, Stalin did not even wish to give France an occupation zone in Germany, and only Churchill's fight for it made him relent. When de Gaulle left office the first time in 1946, his Russian policy was in shambles.
De Gaulle's second effort was more successful. The latest Franco-Soviet détente, according to Maurice Couve de Murville, de Gaulle's Foreign Minister, began to take concrete shape in the spring of 1965 with a visit to Paris by the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. When Couve de Murville returned the visit in the fall of 1965, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin told him how worried the Soviets were about the United States, already deeply engaged in Vietnam. The United States and Russia were, in Kosygin's view, actually at war, if only because Russia was supplying arms to the other side.48 Whatever the merits of the Vietnam war may be, the fact remains that Gaullist France chose to inaugurate its détente with a Soviet Russia which considered itself to be, in effect, at war with the United States.
In February 1966, three months later, de Gaulle publicly announced France's intention to leave NATO, a step which had been on the way the year before and was consummated a month later. In June of that year, de Gaulle “consecrated” the Franco-Soviet détente with a triumphal visit to Soviet Russia, during which Party Secretary-General Leonid I. Brezhnev for the first time broached the Soviet proposal of a European security conference excluding the United States.49
These moves were highly orchestrated. The French military abandonment of NATO was implicitly an integral part—or price of—the Franco-Soviet détente. In fact, France was not strong enough to offer very much more to the Soviet Union in return for Soviet favor. Ostensibly, the Gaullist position was based on opposition to all blocs, East and West. But France could do very little about breaking up the Eastern bloc; she, however, could do much about breaking up the Western bloc. The Franco-Soviet détente was made between very unequal powers; as a result, its terms were most unequal. If it had been arranged on an equal basis, the Soviets should have withdrawn from the Warsaw Pact as France withdrew from NATO. But of course such a Soviet contribution to détente was unthinkable, and no one in his right mind thought of demanding it. At the very moment France was mortally weakening NATO, the Soviets were massively strengthening the Warsaw Pact. De Gaulle could not negotiate from strength; his negotiating card, in fact if not in name, was the weakening of the system to which France had belonged—a service for which the Soviets were willing to pay a modest price.
For de Gaulle, détente was only the hors d'oeuvre; the main course, still to come, was a Franco-Soviet entente reminiscent of the pre-war alliances. De Gaulle's formula was “détente, entente, and cooperation.” In the end, he disdained the Atlantic alliance as no more than “the military and political subordination of Western Europe to the United States.”50 Russia was at least partly in his Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals”; the United States was definitely out of it.
This was the Gaullist vision. De Gaulle knew, of course, that the road was bound to be hard and long, necessitating many detours, maneuvers, and ruses. At various times and in different circumstances, Gaullism seemed to be pro- and anti-German, pro- and anti-American, pro- and anti-Russian, pro- and anti-European. It was ready to use almost any means for its own ends, thereby leading others to think that they could use it for their ends. Yet, in the last analysis, there is a Gaullist hard core that comes as a shock to France's European partners and American well-wishers, no matter how much they have been forewarned. The French behavior after October 1973 in the face of the energy crisis would have given them less of a jolt if the Gaullist heritage had been kept in mind and taken more seriously. It is part of that heritage that France should be the rogue elephant of the West, taking advantage of every opportunity to advance its own interests, feeling more immediately threatened by the American embrace than by the Russian hug, savoring situations which force the other European nations to choose between France and the United States.
In a world in which power so often decides the issue, there was no reason why de Gaulle should not have wanted as much power as possible for France. What is more questionable is the admiration that so many non-French Westerners have had for Gaullism without unflinchingly facing up to what they were admiring. President Nixon was a notorious admirer, and French Gaullists have seen his unprecedented aggrandizement of the American Presidency as the sincerest form of flattery. Dr. Kissinger's case a decade ago was more typical of Western intellectuals. His esteem for de Gaulle was not uncritical, but he invariably found more to blame in American policies than in the French. However naughty the French might be, he tended to scold the Americans for provoking or encouraging them. He expected history to demonstrate “that de Gaulle's conceptions—as distinct from his style—were greater than those of most of his critics.” He estimated de Gaulle's conceptions to be “greater than his strength,” while America's power was “greater than its conceptions.” For most of his career, de Gaulle had been an “illusionist,” Dr. Kissinger conceded.51 But, he might have added, Frenchmen were not the only ones bemused by Gaullist illusions.
Thus the Gaullist détente with the Soviet Union in 1965-66 had its own distinctive raison d'être. It cannot be understood merely as an effort on both sides “to relax tensions.” Each side was trying to use the other for particular, far-reaching ends. Whatever tensions de Gaulle may have relaxed with the Soviet Union, he enormously increased other tensions with the United States. He was far less interested in relaxing tensions than in utilizing them for his own larger purposes. For de Gaulle as for the Soviet leaders détente was not an end in itself; it was a means to get whatever they wanted to get with or without détente.
The Federal Republic of Germany was the second country admitted to membership in the Soviet Union's exclusive “Détente Club.” Since the position and problems of West Germany were vastly different from those of France, the meaning and consequences of its détente were equally different.
The German détente also did not come cheaply. For almost two decades, German policy had rested on three interlocking premises. In essence, they were: German reunification, European Union, and the Atlantic alliance. The first was fundamental; everything else flowed from it. In the Adenauer era, which lasted until 1963, it was assumed that a united Germany had to be incorporated or submerged in a larger European Union in order to contain Germany's potentially unruly nationalism and thus make German reunification acceptable to Germany's neighbors. But since a European Union would not be strong enough in the foreseeable future to force or to induce the Soviet Union to disgorge East Germany, it was considered necessary to link Western Europe most closely to the United States through the Atlantic alliance to get the desired result. If West Germany was not yet able to do much about achieving reunification, the minimum demanded by this policy was to do nothing against it. By implication, Germany could not recognize the territorial status quo, such as the Oder-Neisse line, or even formally renounce the pre-war Munich agreement, until a final disposition of Germany's status had been made. Until then, everything had to be conditional and provisional, even the status of West Germany itself.
Ironically, in the early years of the Adenauer regime, the German Social-Democrats took an even harder line than the Christian-Democrats on the quest for German reunification; the Social-Democrats bitterly criticized their rivals for not being inflexible enough and exigent enough on the issue. How legitimate and necessary the Adenauerian Weltanschauung once seemed to be can also be seen in the past writings of Dr. Kissinger. “Any West German government must advocate reunification, however moderate it may be in the means it chooses to pursue this objective and however patient it may be in bringing it about,” he wrote in the heyday of the Adenauer regime. He admonished: “The Federal Republic would suffer a perhaps irreparable blow if its allies accepted its present frontiers as final—even to the extent of not pressing for unification.” He cautioned: “If the Federal Republic is persuaded that it cannot achieve reunification through ties with the West, it is likely to seek its aims through separate dealings with the East.”52
These words were written fifteen years ago. In that period, Dr. Kissinger was a full-fledged Adenauerian and a part-time Gaullist. His views are worth recalling not because of what they may tell about him today but because they so faithfully reflected the Adenauerian credo that they help to recall how seriously it was taken and how much was involved in giving it up. As long as Adenauer's basic policies prevailed, a German-Soviet détente was out of the question. Or, to put it another way, Adenauerism made German reunification a pre-condition of détente rather than détente a prerequisite of reunification. The Soviets would, of course, have none of this. They were bent on keeping Germany divided; on gaining recognition for the German Democratic Republic as an independent East German Communist state; on separating West Berlin from West Germany; on obtaining formal recognition of the status quo, especially the Oder-Neisse line; on frustrating an effective European Union; and, almost more than anything else, on divorcing the United States from Europe and breaking up the Atlantic alliance. Adenauer was not only allergic to a German-Soviet détente; any suggestion of a Soviet-American détente made him excessively nervous. Toward the end of his reign, he became so despondent over what the United States was doing for him that he turned for support to Charles de Gaulle—who was heading toward a Franco-Soviet détente. The Adenauer-de Gaulle honeymoon was short-lived because the French were far from dissatisfied with German disunity, were not at all satisfied with Adenauer's “supra-national” view of European unity, and were utterly contemptuous of his attachment to the Atlantic alliance, which they interpreted as little more than slavish dependence on the United States.
All this is hardly ancient history. It occurred only a decade ago, and the issues that caused so much trouble then are no less troublesome now. Couve de Murville recalls with relish and scorn in his memoirs how the West German government was “flabbergasted and terrified” at the prospect of following French “dynamism, audacity, and independence,” whenever the United States disapproved of French actions. Not, he adds for good measure, that the French ever expected anything else of the Germans.53
The Franco-Soviet détente of 1965, accompanied by France's withdrawal from NATO, stunned the Germans. From this point on, West German policy was irretrievably shaken from its moorings. The Franco-German rapprochement, the Atlantic alliance, the United States with its increasing entanglement in Vietnam—all seemed to have betrayed the hopes that had been placed in them. During the so-called Grand Coalition of 1966-69, headed by the Christian-Democratic Chancellor Kurt Kiesinger and Social-Democratic Foreign Minister Willy Brandt, more and more was heard of Ostpolitik and détente. But, as always, they came with price tags. This was how the tag read to an experienced observer in 1967: “The price held out to the Germans of détente with the Soviet Union is the continued division of Germany and detachment from the United States.”54 It was still possible then to contemplate the price of détente—at least, someone else's détente—with blunt candor and realistic concreteness. Just how much the Soviets would get was not clear until the Grand Coalition fell apart and Brandt took over as Chancellor, with the Free Democratic party as junior partner, in the fall of 1969.
Brandt's Ostpolitik went into high gear almost immediately; it resulted in a Soviet-German treaty in August and a Polish-German treaty in November 1970. In effect, both documents formally recognized what all West German governments had previously shied away from—the status quo, including the Oder-Neisse line and the border between East and West Germany. To take this step, Brandt's regime had to give West German policy a degree of independence or autonomy that it had never previously had. The German-Soviet détente was before anything else an act of German statesmanship based on a particular interpretation of German “national interest,” whatever its effects might be on the so-called European Community and the Atlantic alliance. De Gaulle did not ask the Germans whether to make his détente with the Soviets in 1965, and Brandt did not ask the French—or the Americans—whether to make his détente in 1970.
This form of Ostpolitik could not fail to impinge on Germany's Westpolitik. Adenauer's Westpolitik had been his Ostpolitik—that is, he had staked all on the power and determination of the West to force concessions from the East. Brandt's Ostpolitik was not in the same sense his Westpolitik, but the former now set limits on the latter. The delicate balancing act between East and West was plainly implied by Brandt himself in a notable address from Moscow to his compatriots in August 1970: “Our national interest does not permit us to stand between the East and West. Our country needs cooperation and harmonization with the West and understanding with the East.” Virtually paraphrasing de Gaulle, Brandt went on: “Russia is inextricably woven into the history of Europe, not only as an adversary and danger but also as a partner—historical, political, cultural, and economic.” He defended the Soviet-German treaty on the ground that “nothing is lost that had not been gambled away long ago. We have the courage to open a new page in history.”55
This rationale was not altogether disingenuous. It was true that what had been lost had been lost long ago; it also was true that Germany was now giving up all claim to regaining what had been lost. If nothing had really changed, it was hard to see why a new page in history had been opened. Something had surely been changed by the treaty or it would have been inconsequential; the only question was whether it had changed more on the West German side than on the Soviet-East German side.
Compared to the West German détente, the French détente had been comparatively simple. The French could take a most cavalier attitude toward European Union and the Atlantic alliance; the West Germans could not. The latter had to juggle several balls in the air: détente with the East, European Union, the Atlantic alliance, and, above all, relations with East Germany. After the Soviet-German treaty was signed, Chancellor Brandt made known that its effectiveness depended upon a satisfactory settlement of the ever-disturbing fate of Berlin, which, in turn, hinged on an agreement between East and West Germany. This step required an even more far-reaching historic decision on the part of West Germany—whether to give up German unification for the indefinite future, something that Professor Kissinger and others had not long ago regarded as virtually unthinkable.56 The formula which finally enabled West Germany to give up the substance, while saving the shadow, of reunification was “two German states in one nation.” The “two German states” satisfied the inexorable demand of East Germany; the “one nation” held out the consolation for West Germany that both Germanies had something deeper than statehood in common. In any case, the precondition for an East-West German settlement was satisfied by the Allied agreement on Berlin in September 1971, and the full East-West German settlement took the form of a Basic Treaty signed on December 22, 1972. In essence, East Germany got full and unconditional recognition as a sovereign state, and West Germany got freer travel and communication arrangements between the two Germanies.
We do not have to decide here whether Chancellor Brandt's Ostpolitik has been good or bad, right or wrong. It would be difficult in any case to make any definitive judgment of Brandt's policy; the deal between East and West was too unequal. What West Germany contributed to the détente were fundamental concessions on great historic issues. It may not be possible to tell for another generation or more what the full price of the formal recognition of German partition is going to be. In holding that the Federal Republic could not safely abandon reunification or accept the present frontiers as final, Dr. Kissinger and others may still prove to be farsighted. In return, all that East Germany promised to give was relatively limited and ephemeral. The German Communists have sought to protect themselves from closer relations with the West by adopting a policy of Abgrenzung (separation). Thus far the fruits of détente in intra-German relations have proven to be most disappointing to West Germany. Some gains have resulted from the Basic Treaty of December 1972, but they have been far more restricted than the West Germans had hoped. Observers have also noted that détente has encouraged a growing mood of “inwardness” in West Germany, accompanied by a growing estrangement from foreign affairs.57 If the German détente needed a symbol, it was provided by the resignation of Chancellor Brandt because his East German confreres had planted a spy in his midst as a token of mutual trust.
As in the German case, détentes may help to stabilize one area and destabilize another. While public-opinion polls showed that 80 to 90 per cent of West Germans favored reconciliation with the Soviet Union, they also revealed a disquieting trend away from the Western alliance system. From 1969 to 1971, the percentage in favor of German neutrality rose from 39 to 50. In the same period, the percentage in favor of a firm military alliance with the United States dropped from 48 to 39.58 In the fall of 1970, a poll presented twenty different political objectives; consolidation of the Western alliance ranked fifteenth, well toward the bottom. In 1972, a majority for the first time favored a neutrally oriented German foreign policy.59
One détente may also work at cross purposes with another. The Franco-Soviet détente of 1965 acutely disturbed the Germans, and the German-Soviet détente of 1969-70 intensely disconcerted the French. The German policy of de Gaulle's successor, Georges Pompidou, was essentially one of taking out an insurance policy against Germany. In 1969, Pompidou remarked: “Germany and its economic weight disturbs me.” He used this argument to induce the Italians to get closer to the French.60 In 1971, when Pompidou permitted Great Britain to enter the Common Market, his purpose was not merely to enlarge the European economic community; it was primarily to use Britain against Germany. As soon as France withdrew its veto, former Prime Minister Edward Heath began to talk with an Anglo-Gaullist accent, as Dr. Kissinger had long ago predicted.61 Most recently, the French anxiety about Germany was discussed by the arch-Gaullist, Michel Debré, former Premier, Foreign Minister, and Defense Minister, with Marc Ullmann, editor-in-chief of the Paris weekly, L'Express. Debré explained, according to Ullmann, that France's nuclear deterrent was “intended to enable France to adopt a position of Swedish-style armed neutrality in the event of West Germany being tempted to participate in the creation of a Finland-style Mittel-Europa.” Indeed, the latest French cauchemar has been the risk that the American-Soviet détente would open the way to the neutralization of Central Europe, including Germany. Pompidou, according to M. Ullmann, was “obsessed, even more than his predecessor was, with the fear that Germany will one day allow herself to be carried away by the wind from the East” and was “convinced that Germany is bound to seek her reunification in one way or another,” despite the terms of the German-Soviet détente. It was all right for French nationalism to set the pace of détente with the Soviet Union, but now “French policy appears to be once again dominated by the fear that Germany may start to play a purely nationalist game.” For these reasons, M. Ullmann reported, every conversation with former President Pompidou about foreign policy, no matter how it began, always ended up by “invoking the ‘German problem.’”62
It might be thought that two détentes would be better than one, but that is not necessarily the case. The French détente was a Gaullist expression of French national interest, and the German détente was a Brandtian expression of German national interest. The two détentes did not mesh because the national interests did not mesh. The Germans interpreted the Franco-Soviet détente as essentially inimical to German interests, and the French interpreted the German-Soviet détente as essentially inimical to French interests. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Soviet-American détente was not universally greeted with joy and applause in Europe.
The roots of the current Soviet-American détente go back at least a decade. It originated with John F. Kennedy, not Richard M. Nixon.
In a notable speech at the American University in June 1963, President Kennedy put out a feeler for “relaxation of tensions” based on a common “abhorrence of war.” We are told by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., that one of Kennedy's motives was to get a Soviet-American front against Communist China which the President considered to be “the long-time danger to the peace.” Both the French and of course the Chinese were then interested in preventing a Soviet-American détente.63
The mini-détente of 1963 was made up of the same kind of deals that turned up in the more ambitious détente of 1972. The main consequences of Kennedy's initiative were the Test Ban Treaty of July 1963 on the military side and the first sale of U.S. grain to Soviet Russia on the commercial side. France and China refused to sign the limited Test Ban Treaty. The grain deal of $250 million of surplus wheat was a bagatelle compared with the gargantuan 1972 deal, but it set a precedent and helped the Soviets to get over a serious agricultural shortage. In Kennedy's entourage, détente was very much in the air, if only in an early phase. “The breathing spell had become a pause, the pause was becoming a détente and no one could foresee what further changes lay ahead,” Theodore Sorensen writes of the period.64 Arthur Schlesinger is somewhat more restrained, cautioning that the accomplishment of these and other measures would have stopped short of “a true détente” which would have required a closing of the “philosophical gap” between the two societies.65 Whatever it was and however far it went, the Kennedy-Khrushchev détente was cut short by the assassination of the President in November 1963.
Among those most disturbed by this first experiment in détente was Richard Nixon.
The wheat deal particularly perturbed Mr. Nixon. The United States, he said, would be “harming the cause of freedom if it sold wheat to the Soviet Union.” He wanted to know: “Why should we pull them out of their trouble and make Communism look better?” He suggested selling the wheat to the Soviet satellites “as a business deal, provided that the government involved gives some degree of freedom, more degree of freedom [sic] to the people in these countries”—exactly what he thought should not be done nine years later. Mr. Nixon did not like anything about Kennedy's tentative détente because as he put it: “The bear is always most dangerous when he stands with his arms open in friendship.”66
Yet the rationale for Kennedy's détente was not very different from that adopted by President Nixon for his détente. By 1963, U.S. authorities believed that the United States and the Soviet Union were about evenly matched in antiballistic missiles; the Soviet Union had apparently gained an advantage in very-large-yield nuclear weapons whereas the United States held a lead in medium- and low-yield weapons.67 Kennedy in 1963 as much as Nixon in 1972 professed to be mainly concerned with stopping or slowing down the nuclear arms race. The times were different but not so different that détente might not have been defended in 1963 on the same grounds that it was defended a decade later. Though Dr. Kissinger does not seem to have commented directly on the Kennedy test-ban treaty or wheat deal, he could not have been overly impressed by them if we may judge from his overall distrust of détente at this time. He certainly did not have a good word to say for them.
In October 1966, even President Johnson made a stab at what he called “reconciliation with the East,” but he never got far enough to talk of a more general détente.68 By the end of 1966, however, the Johnson administration was able to push ahead with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which was ratified in 1970, and to reach initial agreement on holding strategic-arms-limitation talks (SALT), which were also consummated by the Nixon administration. President Johnson would have liked nothing better than to have taken credit for a Soviet-American détente but the times were not propitious. The Vietnam war on the American side and the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 on the Soviet side were too much to overcome.
The Nixon détente took about two years to set in motion. The final phase seems to have started with the Allied agreement on Berlin in September 1971, which apparently convinced the Nixon administration that a summit meeting in Moscow was feasible.69 On October 12, President Nixon was confident enough of the outcome to make a public announcement of the meeting to be held the following May. In November 1971, then Secretary of Commerce Maurice Stans handed the Soviet Minister of Foreign Trade, Nikolai S. Patolichev, a letter of understanding listing conditions for increased trade relations, after which eleven months of negotiations followed.70 These three actions indicate that the turning point came in the last four months of 1971.
The pièce de résistance of the summit meeting in Moscow in May 1972 was the antiballistic-missile treaty. The technical details need not detain us; what is important for us here is the principle of quantitative parity embodied in the agreement. The quantitative aspect made the agreement possible because both sides had reached a point of diminishing returns which made mere increase in numbers exorbitantly wasteful. Since the agreement was reached, it has become unmistakable that the nuclear arms race has turned qualitative with emphasis on accuracy and “pay-load.” As a result, both sides are spending more than ever and accusing each other of evading the spirit of the May 1972 treaty by developing new and more sophisticated weaponry. The parity aspect of SALT I is, therefore, inherently temporary and unstable, even if it should be possible to determine, which is doubtful, what parity means in this context. Since the SALT I agreement, whatever its virtues and drawbacks may be, has a five-year time limit, it must be reinforced by a more far-reaching, permanent limitation of strategic arms which is the task of SALT II, so far deadlocked. If SALT II fails, Dr. Kissinger has admitted that “a spiraling of the arms race is inevitable” and that the Soviet Union “could wind up with both more warheads and more destructive warheads than we will possess” by the end of the present decade.71 Without a successful SALT II, the United States is apt to rue SALT I. The final returns, then, are far from in.
John Newhouse, whose study of SALT I, Cold Dawn, has been called “outstanding” and “distinguished” by none other than Dr. Kissinger,72 concluded that “SALT is an obscure, certainly an elusive enterprise,” at the heart of which lies “politics.”73 If that was implicitly true of the SALT I agreement, it was explicitly true of another major document that came out of the May 1972 summit in Moscow—the “Basic Principles of Relations Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” In this document there was nothing but politics—the politics of détente.
According to Dr. Kissinger, the idea of setting forth these “basic principles” was initially a Soviet proposal, which the United States “shelved” for some time in order to assure itself that the statement could be “really meaningful.” The idea that there should be an expression of general principles was discussed for “some months.” The idea that the principles should come out at the end of the summit meeting was “a joint one.”74 We may assume, therefore, that this document was intended to be “really meaningful” and that failure to live up to it would be regarded as equally “meaningful.”
It is fortunate that this charter of détente was issued. For if we want to know what détente is or implies, we have it here. It is no longer a vague, amorphous “relaxation of tension.” It is a concrete, specific code of behavior. Since the Soviet Union proposed the idea in the first place, and several months were spent working it out to the satisfaction of both sides, the Soviet Union as well as the United States can hardly object if they are judged on the basis of the code.
Of the twelve “basic principles,” a few were soon put to the test. Both sides committed themselves, among other things, to the following:
- Prevent the development of situations capable of causing a dangerous exacerbation of their relations.
- Do their utmost to avoid military confrontations.
- Recognize that efforts to obtain unilateral advantage at the expense of the other, directly or indirectly, are inconsistent with these objectives.
- Have a special responsibility . . . to do everything in their power so that conflicts or situations will not arise which would serve to increase international tensions.
- Make no claim for themselves and would not recognize the claims of anyone else to any special rights or advantages in world affairs. They recognize the sovereign equality of all states.75
There was much more, of course, but these five points will do. The last, which appeared as the eleventh principle, was interpreted by Dr. Kissinger as specifically renouncing “any claim to special spheres of influence.”76 In addition, according to a high U.S. official, these self-denying ordinances were specifically applicable to the Middle East and were understood to mean that it “should not be an area over which there should be confrontation between us.”77
From these basic principles we know what détente was supposed to mean operationally. Cynics might suppose that no one in his right mind could have taken these vows of international virtue seriously, least of all the statesmen and diplomats who put their names to them. Was it really edifying to sign a piece of paper which fostered the illusion that the Soviet Union was renouncing its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe? The fact remains that the May 1972 charter of détente was taken quite seriously, at least on the U.S. and Israeli side. It entered into their calculations on the chances of another Arab-Israeli conflict and significantly tipped the balance in favor of an optimistic assesment of the pre-war situation. If the May 1972 summit meeting was the euphoric expression of détente, the Arab attack on Israel in October 1973 was the acid test of its genuineness.
For the fact is that if the “basic principles” of détente had been respected, the Egyptian-Syrian attack should not have taken place. It was clearly dependent on massive, extravagant Soviet support; it could not have failed to cause a dangerous exacerbation of U.S.-USSR relations; it had to have as its objective a unilateral advantage for the Soviet Union at the expense of the United States; and it clearly increased international tensions. After all, the United States and the Soviet Union had been, as Secretary Kissinger himself put it, “essentially allied to one of the contenders in the area,”78 making a Soviet-American crisis an inevitable result of an Arab-Israeli conflict. If the Soviet Union had made any effort to live up to the May 1972 agreement, it should have done its utmost to avoid the Arab-Israeli military confrontation, let alone to make it possible or to urge other Arab nations to get into it. By believing that these were precisely the Middle Eastern implications of détente, the Americans and Israelis opened themselves to being substantially surprised by the Arab attack. One of the determining elements in the intelligence estimate was the answer to the question: Would the Soviet Union consider it more important not to disturb its détente with the United States than to help the Arab states to attack Israel? If the first thesis was adopted, the intelligence estimate was inevitably weighted in favor of discounting the possibility of an Arab attack or even of assuming that any confrontation would be initiated by Israel. If the Israelis, as has been revealed, had sufficient information but interpreted it wrongly, the misleading character of détente was partially responsible for the incorrect evaluation.
The result of this and other illusions was some of the most serious miscalculations in recent U.S. history. When the Soviet planes began to evacuate Soviet families from Egypt and Syria on October 4, two days before the attack, some U.S. intelligence officials interpreted the flights as indicative of an Arab-Soviet break, such as the one that had occurred in July 1972, just after the Moscow summit meeting. On the morning of October 6, the day the war broke out, the highest-level U.S. intelligence report, written the previous day, took the view that hostilities were not imminent and even suggested a crisis in Arab-Soviet relations. After news of the war was received in Washington, high-level U.S. policymakers and intelligence experts at first believed that the Israelis had attacked the Arabs. Not since the Bay of Pigs had there been such a consummate politico-intelligence fiasco.
Détentes may be maximal or minimal or anything in between. The “basic principles” of May 1972 represented détente at its maximum. They proved to be an unmitigated snare and delusion. The official American response was curious. President Nixon had put his name to the “basic principles” and had recommended them to Congress as “a solid framework for the future development of better American-Soviet relations.”79 Not since Franklin D. Roosevelt has an American President had more cause to regret a public expression of confidence in the good faith of the Soviet leadership. Yet so great was the political investment in détente that both President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger publicly reacted to the Soviet role in the conflict as if the “solid framework” had never existed. An official conspiracy of silence protected the once-acclaimed “basic principles” from public scrutiny.
The new party line fell back on the minimal version of détente. In effect, it reduced the concept of détente to little more than the avoidance of nuclear war between the superpowers. Whereas the original “basic principles” of détente were specific and concrete, Secretary Kissinger now described détente as “inherently ambiguous” and “somewhat ambivalent.”80 The best and almost the only thing he could say in favor of détente was that it limited “the risks of nuclear conflict.”81 Senator J. William Fulbright expounded: “Détente, in its essence, is an agreement not to let these differences [between the two superpowers] explode into nuclear war.”82 A distinguished academic exponent of the new line blamed liberals for “reacting to the collapse of their too-high expectations for friendly relations with a liberalized Soviet regime.” He did not say whether he classified President Nixon and Secretary Kissinger among those disenchanted liberals. Détente, we were told, is a process with one, two, three stages and beyond, lasting decades; we are now in stage one, or limited détente, the main business of which is “to reduce the danger of nuclear war.”83 Presumably, the “basic principles” of May 1972 had been a much later stage, and we have been going backward ever since—in order to go forward.
This view of détente distinguishes it from hot war, but it comes perilously close to obliterating the distinction between détente and cold war. The cold war was also considered preferable to hot war in that the conflicts and competition between the so-called superpowers were held within bounds short of actual nuclear warfare. The cold war was in any case never a very satisfactory term; John Lukacs was right to observe that “cold peace” would have been a much better metaphor.84 Both cold war and détente are accordion-like terms; they can be pushed and pulled in and out so that they may mean almost anything. During the cold war, the United States and the Soviet Union could collaborate in 1956 as if they were partners against Britain, France, and Israel; during the détente, the United States and the Soviet Union could threaten each other in 1973 with preliminary mobilizations or precautionary nuclear alerts. If détente means little more than, as Secretary Kissinger put it, that “confrontations are kept within bounds that do not threaten civilized life,”85 it is not doing much more than the cold war did. It is small comfort to learn that all other confrontations, short of threatening civilized life, are still compatible with détente. It is time to stop using cold war as a scare term and détente as a sedative term; in their relationship to nuclear war, they are not all that different.
A witty French journalist may have said the last word on these terms. Paraphrasing Clausewitz, he remarked that “détente is the cold war pursued by other means—and sometimes by the same.”86
It is easy, as most of us have found to our sorrow, to be bewitched by the day-to-day flow of events. As Secretary Kissinger said at his confirmation hearings, the great challenge before the United States is “to distinguish the fundamental from the ephemeral” and for someone like himself in public life, “to leave something behind that would be valid and permanent.”87 With this one can hardly disagree.
What has been fundamental and permanent in this period of “détente”? Everyone seems agreed that a great transition has been going on, but no one is quite sure what it is or where it is going. No doubt we are too close to events to see them in a long enough perspective. Yet, for better or worse, we must try as best we can to take stock and look ahead. We have hardly begun to face the implications and consequences of the Arab-Israeli war of October 1973. But it is not too soon to raise a few questions about some of the deeper premises which have gone into U.S. policy in the past few years. The effort is worth making if only to bring together some strands of the problems that I have been pursuing.
Nuclear and Other Wars: Long before détente became a household word, it was evident that nuclear weapons were a rare, special breed, in a different category from the kind of weapons on which the accretion of power had traditionally been based. French strategists have long believed that no country would ever use nuclear weapons because they were self-destructive. These strategists have had the advantage that no one wishes to prove them wrong. A policy which is primarily aimed at preventing nuclear war is still going to leave us with the risk of all the wars that mankind used to have before nuclear war was invented. Experience has shown that the United States and the Soviet Union are quite capable of going up to the brink of nuclear war without going over. They did more or less just that during the missile crisis of October 1962 and again during the Arab-Israeli conflict of October 1973. Secretary Kissinger has given détente the special function of preventing a general nuclear war from arising out of “the rivalries of client states.”88 This was, indeed, the rationale of the “basic principles” of May 1972, but their fate is not reassuring. The United States in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the Middle East have shown that they can take vast risks on behalf of client states without setting off a nuclear war. The possibility of nuclear war is always there, of course, but something else may be more probable. A policy which faces the possible but not the probable leaves something to be desired.
Secretary Kissinger himself suggested where to look for the trouble. “But assuming the present balance holds,” he stated at his confirmation hearings, “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.”89 A month later, the Soviet Union engaged in just such a “local adventure.” To be sure, it set off a Soviet-American contretemps, the nature of which is not yet entirely clear. But neither side was anxious to push it to a showdown, and the Soviet Union was not penalized for having taken the risk. What operated was not the détente; it was exactly the same thing that had operated during the cold war, namely, the inhibition of the two superpowers against hot nuclear war. The Arab-Israeli conflict of 1973 hardly disproved Secretary Kissinger's rule that the increasing unlikelihood of nuclear war makes local adventure less risky—and, one might add, more likely.
Now a new element has injected itself into this equation. The Americans toward the end of the Vietnam war and the Soviets especially during the latest Arab-Israeli conflict introduced what have been called “precision-guided non-nuclear munitions” or “smart weapons.” Among them are the new Soviet hand-held antitank guns and surface-to-air missiles, such as the SAM-6 and SAM-7, which enabled the Egyptian ground troops to surprise and at first take a heavy toll of Israeli tanks and planes. The new technology, it is claimed, permits a hitherto unattainable degree of control and precision which makes possible the use of “non-nuclear weapons in many circumstances where a desperate hope had formerly been pinned to using small nuclear weapons.” Bigger and bigger weapons having reached a destructive force beyond rational utilization, it would seem that the only way to gain an advantage was to reverse the trend and develop more discriminating and more accurate smaller weapons against the tank-and-fighter-bomber team that had dominated the battlefield since World War II. Professor Albert Wohlstetter, an acute and well-informed authority in this field, who has made the most penetrating analysis of these developments, has persuasively argued that they have significantly raised the threshold of nuclear war and have substantially increased the likelihood of conventional or non-nuclear warfare.90
If so, détente needs some reconsideration from this point of view. The post-October 1973 doctrine of détente has almost exclusively correlated it with the prevention of nuclear war. If conventional war has become less risky as nuclear war has become, in Dr. Kissinger's words, “less and less plausible and a less and less rational method,”91 and if conventional warfare is making a technological comeback so that it becomes a more plausible and more rational exercise of power, this shift in the credibility of nuclear versus non-nuclear war should be reflected in the function of détente. Primarily it must concern itself with precisely the kind of war which it failed to hold back—and which, as I have tried to show, it may even have encouraged—in October 1973. Too much or one-sided emphasis on preventing nuclear war may be the easy way out; the more difficult and more pressing problem may well be the prevention of conventional or non-nuclear wars.
Marginal Advantages: Dr. Kissinger has also put forward another concept in connection with the “nuclear era” that may be open to question. According to him, this era had changed the balance of power in such a way that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States had anything to fear from each other in the competition for “marginal advantages.” This theory was another reason why the Arab-Israeli conflict of October 1973 should not have taken place, theoretically.
In June 1972, soon after the summit meeting in Moscow which was the source of so many of these comforting concepts, Dr. Kissinger maintained that “to the extent that balance of power means constant jockeying for marginal advantages over an opponent, it no longer applies.” He explained at some length:
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.92
Almost a year later, this consoling notion was written into the President's foreign-policy report to the Congress of May 3, 1973. It contended that, although a certain balance of power was still inherent in any international system, the balance was no longer “the overriding concept,” because continual maneuvering for marginal advantages in the nuclear era had become “both unrealistic and dangerous.” It went on:
It is unrealistic because both sides possess such enormous power, small additional increments cannot be translated into tangible advantages or even usable political strength. And it is dangerous because attempts to seek tactical gains might lead to confrontations which could be catastrophic.93
Five months later, the Arab-Israeli conflict broke out. Evidently the Soviet leaders had not been apt students of Dr. Kissinger's lessons. What did they hope to achieve? No more “geopolitical and military power”? No “increment of power” translatable into “an increment of usable political strength”? No “tactical gains”? Dangerous this continual maneuvering may well be, but “unrealistic”?
This Kissingerian theory was an extrapolation of the “basic principles” of May 1972. He made it seem as if he and the Soviet leaders had seen eye to eye on the practical implications of the principles. Yet whatever the Soviet leaders may have professed to believe, their actions belied their words. They were not deterred by détente in the nuclear era from seeking “marginal advantages” or “increments of power” or “tangible advantages” or “tactical gains.”
The true test of a concept is not how persuasive it may appear in the abstract but how close it comes to defining and explaining reality. Dr. Kissinger's theorem on the obsolescence of marginal advantages cannot begin to cope with the reality of the Arab-Israeli war or the competition that has obviously not ceased elsewhere. After that war, Dr. Kissinger somewhat spoiled the beautiful simplicity of his theorem by conceding that the Soviet-American relationship was made up “both of confidence and of competition, coexisting in a somewhat ambivalent manner.”94 If competition is part of the game, what is competition about if not for “marginal advantages,” “increments of power,” “tangible advantages,” and “tactical gains”? In fact, if the theorem is valid, we hardly need a brilliant Secretary of State and a huge foreign-affairs bureaucracy and budget any longer; the nuclear era would by itself virtually insure a cessation of these petty annoyances and permit only the final, apocalyptic conflict. Unnoticed, the theory went all the way back in its implications to John Foster Dulles, who had never been one of Dr. Kissinger's favorite statesmen.
China and the “self-regulating mechanism”: The role of China in the Soviet-American détente might also be profitably rethought. The once-popular “triangular theory” put China more or less on a par with the United States and the Soviet Union in order to account for the way they were reshuffling their relationships—China with the United States presumably against the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union with the United States presumably against China, and the United States with both of them protesting that it was not against either.
The Soviets were certainly not above using the United States against China. We have been told on good authority that the Soviets on at least three occasions beginning in 1970 tried unsuccessfully to get an agreement with the United States to act jointly in the event of some vague “provocative action” on the part of a third nuclear power, which could only mean China.95 Though the Chinese have never been so crass, they would certainly take help from anywhere and anyone if they found themselves in real trouble with the Soviet Union. The Chinese-American rapprochement, such as it is, derived in large part from the Chinese assessment that the Soviet Union was a greater threat than the United States.
Dr. Kissinger, it seems, had also chased the will-o'-the-wisp of a “self-regulating mechanism”—through China. In November 1972, he confided to the distinguished journalist, Theodore H. White, that “what the world needed was a self-regulating mechanism” and that the key to such a mechanism was China.96 A “self-regulating mechanism” would imply that the United States, the Soviet Union, and China were so evenly matched that one would not dare to take on a second without the third.
The Soviet interest in a Soviet-American détente has often been attributed to the supposition that the Soviet leaders consider China a greater threat than the United States. This is another questionable proposition. It may have been true in the late 1960's but the time has passed for it to be accepted uncritically.
One reason why the fear—as distinct from the hostility—of the Soviet Union toward China has diminished is the Soviet military build-up in the Soviet-Chinese border area. According to the best available information, the Soviet Union had 15 divisions in this area in 1968; it has 45, including about 8 tank divisions, in 1974.97 This enormous increase in only six years was not accomplished at the expense of the Soviet armed forces in the West; it was achieved simply by adding more divisions to an already immense military machine.
The Chinese have given every evidence of knowing that they have more to fear from the Soviets than the latter have to fear from them. De Gaulle liked to believe that the Soviet Union needed the West, and the West had nothing to fear from it, because China had replaced the West as the main Soviet concern.98 Whether or not de Gaulle was right in his time, the Soviets have had different ideas. They were faced, in essence, with the classical problem of the two-front war; de Gaulle assumed that they had to fall back on the classical solution of concentration; he gave the Soviets the option of concentrating their force in the East or West but not both. In effect, this constraint would put the Soviets at a disadvantage, at least to the extent that they could not afford to take risks in the West if they were tied up in the East. This kind of thinking has had a lulling effect on Western policy; it has also helped in making détente seem much safer than it has been.
Instead, the Soviet leaders chose to build up their armed forces on all fronts in order to give themselves the maximum freedom of action. The triangular theory was never very persuasive for the same reason that the pentagonal theory failed to be convincing—the balance was nowhere as “even” as President Nixon had supposed. The Chinese-American rapprochement may well be—and I think it is—a good thing in its own right, but it is not an insurance policy against the Soviet Union and it is least of all a “self-regulating mechanism.”
The troubled partnership? This WAS the title, without the question mark, of Professor Kissinger's last book on European-American relations, published in 1965. It indicates how far back the trouble goes. I have put a question mark after the title to cast doubt not on the trouble but on the “partnership.”
The term itself was first popularized by former President John F. Kennedy. When he spoke of Europe, he used such phrases as “partners in aid, trade, defense, diplomacy, and monetary affairs,” “a partner with whom we could deal on a basis of full equality,” “a full and equal partner,” and “partners for peace.”99
This rhetoric provoked some of de Gaulle's most wrathful discourses. If Kennedy was right about the equal European-American partnership, de Gaulle could not be right to declare against French and European dependence on the United States and against the lurking threat of an Anglo-Saxon-Soviet condominium. When the continental Europeans were excluded from the Test Ban Treaty negotiations of 1963, his anguish and anger exploded publicly. His separate détente with the Soviet Union two years later was partly a reply to that treaty and all that it implied to him.
One of those who substantially agreed with de Gaulle on this issue was Dr. Henry Kissinger. In addition to the Test Ban negotiations, he was disturbed by the attempt of the Kennedy administration in 1962-63 to deal directly with the Soviet Union on the status of Berlin. In the Gaullist vein, he protested: “The mere fact of bilateral negotiations raised the specter of a U.S.-Soviet accommodation at the expense of our allies.” When Mr. Kennedy spoke of partnership on the basis of full equality, Dr. Kissinger instructed the President sternly: “Real partnership is possible only between equals.”100
Much of The Troubled Partnership two years later was an extended commentary on these themes. It explored at length all the flaws in the concept of partnership from the European point of view. During those years Dr. Kissinger was Europe's most consistent and persuasive academic protagonist in the United States and a hard, relentless critic of U.S. policy; he almost never liked what any President or Secretary of State said or did. If “consultation” was the issue, he countered that it “is far from a panacea”; it was least effective when it was most needed. If the Europeans were recognized as equal in fact, they would want to be more independent than partnership implied; if the United States insisted on retaining its dominant position, the political will of Europe would eventually be broken. About the most cheerful thing he could say was that we might get through “the transition from tutelage to equality” if we mustered enough “wisdom and delicacy,” neither of which had been our strong points. In fact, his analysis was filled with such depressing contradictions that he finally took refuge, as we have seen, in the visionary call for an “Atlantic Commonwealth,” far beyond the so-called Atlantic alliance.101
In his 1968 essay, only a year before he went to Washington as Presidential Assistant, Professor Kissinger still argued, more compellingly than ever, that European-American partnership was not feasible in the existing circumstances. He accused the Americans of invoking “leadership” and “partnership” only to support “the existing pattern” of inequality. He repeated his previous belief that Europe was no longer capable of playing a “global role.” He regarded even more extensive consultation, always offered as a cure-all, as nothing more than a “palliative.” Instead of partnership, he advised the United States to settle for “political multipolarity,” by which he seemed to mean that differences in interest and policy should be accepted with understanding and tolerance. He criticized advocates of détente as being more concerned with atmospherics than with substance. He warned against mistaking a “benign Soviet tone” for the achievement of peace. In short, he was still the same old Kissinger, only more so.102
Then came the new Kissinger. In President Nixon's foreign-policy report to the Congress of February 1970, unmistakably written in Dr. Kissinger's familiar cadences, the first principle of American policy with respect to Europe was given as—“partnership.” The term itself was used again and again throughout the report, even in headings: “Peace Through Partnership—The Nixon Doctrine” and “A New and Mature Partnership.”103 In the next foreign-policy report of February 1971, headings read: “Towards New Forms of Partnership” and “The Evolution of Partnership.” A careful reader would have noted that we were merely in “the necessary transition to an equal partnership” which was “still in proggress.”104 Evidently there were partnerships and equal partnerships, a distinction that had not been contemplated when Dr. Kissinger had implied that there were only real and unreal partnerships (“real partnership is possible only between equals”).
Had so much really changed between 1968 and 1970? The answer is that something had changed but not what the ritual use of the term “partnership” suggested. Instead of a change from non-partnership to partnership, Europe was increasingly neglected and shunted aside in favor of the deals with China and Russia. The pentagonal theory was conceived by the President, with or without Dr. Kissinger's assistance, to put Europe on more or less the same plane as the United States, Soviet Union, China, and Japan, “each balancing the other.” This arrangement was hardly how a European-American partnership should have worked. The discrepancy was never explained.
In his “Year of Europe” speech in April 1973, Dr. Kissinger took over the term in his own name. He referred to “Atlantic partners,” to “the principles of partnership,” and to Japan as “a principal partner in our common enterprise.” He also distinguished between the United States which had “global interests and responsibilities” and our European allies which had only “regional interests.”105 This distinction caused much resentment in Europe, where it was apparently not known or forgotten that he had been saying much the same thing for a decade. Nevertheless, Secretary Kissinger continued to make use of the term “partnership” and “our Atlantic partnership” in later speeches, even when he was trying to explain why the putative partners had been behaving so unpartnerly and why they should change their ways.106
If the use of the term were merely a verbal quibble, Dr. Kissinger would not have gone to so much trouble analyzing what was wrong with it when he was still a professor. In fact, the contradiction inherent in his “Year of Europe” speech takes us close to the heart of the matter.
The long-term trouble was the problematic relationship between the United States and Europe. As Dr. Kissinger had pointed out as early as 1963, real partnership required equality. Without equality, a so-called partnership could only have a leader and a follower, the dominating and the dominated. He was perfectly right to expose the self-serving shallowness of the Kennedy catchword. In the catchword was concealed a program, one that de Gaulle understood and, therefore, rejected.
How, then, could someone who had seen through this verbiage write it into President Nixon's foreign-policy reports to Congress without holding his nose and, worse still, bandy it about in his own speeches? It is tempting to ascribe this intellectual transmogrification to some venial political sin. The case, however, may be more serious. In April 1973, as we have seen, Dr. Kissinger was capable in one and the same important speech of combining a reference to “partnership” with a reference to an inequality of power and interest which, by his own say-so, made any respectable partnership impossible. Six months later, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “For the first time since World War II, all great nations have become full participants in the international system.”107 All? Full? Was he referring merely to the United States, the Soviet Union, and possibly China? Or to our great European partners, too? And if not, how could they be our partners?
One strongly suspects a profound confusion of thought. It is not an ordinary confusion; it arises out of the confusing circumstances in which the United States finds itself. In some situations, the U.S. policymaker is still able to think how strong the United States is, compared to the lesser breeds; in other situations, the same person is forced to think how helpless the United States is to enforce its will, even on its friends, let alone its enemies. This duality has produced a kind of official schizophrenia which expresses itself in action and language. Dr. Kissinger has not been immune from the disease.
Americans are not the only ones. The French took the greatest umbrage when Dr. Kissinger consigned our European allies to the lower order of “regional interests.” Of all the European powers, France still aspires most to play a world role. But what happened in October 1973 when the French were faced with the Arab-Israeli war and the Arab oil embargo? The French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert whimpered: “We count for little [Nous pesons peu]. We will try to count for more.”108 And what of West Germany which not so long ago was considered the “leading European power” and “the leading spokesman for Western Europe”?109 The German Foreign Minister Walter Scheel has recently unburdened himself: “The Federal Republic is aware of the limits of her influence. She cannot overcome the existing differences between France and America on her own.”110 The British did not have to apologize for anything; they have known their place since November 1956.
The great gamble: To Conclude, I wish to return to the beginning—the crucial effect of détente on our relations with our allies and antagonists. Nothing else is more important for deciding the fate of the United States and the world in the foreseeable future.
The decision on which of these relationships to foster came very early in the Nixon administration. One might not have expected it to go the way it did. In 1968, Dr. Kissinger noted with alarm that NATO was “in disarray,” that the emergence of an economically resurgent but politically disunited Europe was inevitably bringing in “a difficult transitional period,” and that “Atlantic relations, for all their seeming normalcy, thus face a profound crisis.”111 A year later, the first moves were made which, consciously or not, postponed facing the disarray of NATO, the difficult transitional period, and the crisis in Atlantic relations for at least four years. And when, finally, they came in for renewed attention, it was so late that the effort failed embarrassingly and merely called public attention to how intractable the difficulties had become.
Two decisions by the Nixon administration may prove to be of far greater long-range historical importance than anything else. I have already referred to the first—the willingness to take four years to end direct U.S. military intervention in the Vietnam war. The second was partially related but more far-reaching—the attempt to solve our problems through our antagonists, without, or even at the expense of, our friends. Conceivably, we might have tried to bolster both fronts simultaneously, but this effort was never seriously made. This onesidedness made it overly important that the détente with the Soviet Union should come off as a colossal, spectacular success. Even Dr. Kissinger lost his head long enough to hail the SALT I agreement as “without precedent in all relevant modern history.” Since SALT I was in a sense the first agreement of its kind, that may not have been saying as much as Dr. Kissinger sought to convey.
The essence of the problem was once stated by Dr. Kissinger with remarkable clairvoyance. The situation at that time was not strictly comparable with the present one, but it was uncomfortably close. Words that seemed to be dealing with the past can now be read as prophecy:
If the West is to act purposefully in this situation, it must develop a common policy and a specific program. The temptation for bilateral approaches is great. Each national leader, depending on his temperament, has visions of appearing as the arbiter of a final settlement or of adding Communist pressures to his own as a bargaining device within the [Atlantic] Alliance. This sets up a vicious circle. Since leaders generally do not reach eminence without a touch of vanity and since some stake their prestige on their ability to woo their Soviet counterparts, they tend to present their contacts with the Soviets as a considerable accomplishment. But the real issues have gone unresolved because they are genuinely difficult; hence they are usually avoided during summit diplomacy in favor of showy but essentially peripheral gestures. The vaguer the East-West discourse, the greater will be the confusion in the West. Moreover, each leader faces two different audiences: toward his own people he will be tempted to leave the impression that he has made a unique contribution to peace; toward his allies he will be forced to insist that he will make no settlement in which they do not participate. Excessive claims are coupled with reassurances to uneasy allies which are in turn tempted to pursue bilateral diplomacy.
Where would it end? Here was how Dr. Kissinger saw it nine years ago:
Such a course is suicidal for the West. It will stimulate distrust within the Alliance. The traditional Western balance-of-power diplomacy will reappear, manipulated by the Kremlin. Any Soviet incentive to be responsible will vanish. The Soviet leaders will be able to overcome their difficulties with the assistance of the West and without settling any of the outstanding issues. Since in the Kremlin—as in the West—there must be many who consider the status quo preferable to change, the result is likely to be diplomatic paralysis obscured by abstract declarations about peace and friendship.112
While many of these sentiments seem to be as fresh as ever, the parallels are, of course, not exact. Nevertheless, the real issues have certainly not been resolved, the Soviet incentive to be responsible in the Middle East vanished some time between May 1972 and October 1973, and none of the outstanding issues has been finally settled. There is something uncanny about the repetition of the suicide theme at the end of 1972 by the U.S. Ambassador to the European Community, J. Robert Schaetzel, just after his resignation: “What has been happening to U.S.-E.C. relations is a kind of common death wish.”113
No doubt we are still far from suicide or death. But we are no nearer safety and health if such grave warnings could have been issued by Dr. Kissinger nine years ago and by Ambassador Schaetzel less than two years ago. The central fact of the past five years is that détente with the East has beguiled us while deterioration in the West has beset us. It will not help at this late date to quarrel over which has been more to blame, Europe or the United States; there is more than enough blame for all. It is wasteful of energies for the United States to be exasperated with Europe or Europe to be exasperated with the United States; the accumulation of exasperation is part of the problem. Little is gained by adding up the resources of the European Community and finding that they exceed those of the Soviet Union or that their gross national product comes to about two-thirds that of the United States. Europe is like an optical illusion; it looks formidable only when it is viewed in the abstract as a whole; it shrinks and shrivels as soon as it is examined country by country in the light of each one's political and social reality. Only last month, Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger tried to inject some realism and clarity into our understanding of the position of the European states. He asserted that “contrary to the view that they are robust states with the strength to defend Europe by themselves, they are relatively weak states” and that “the most critical region in the world continues to be Western Europe.”114
The policy of détente, whatever we may think of it, would not be so equivocal if turning toward the East had not been accompanied by turning away from the West. While lip-service was being paid to European-American “partnership,” to the Atlantic alliance as the “cornerstone” of American foreign policy, and to concern about the resurgence of American isolationism, the concept of partnership became more and more of a mockery, the cornerstone was relegated to a corner, and ardent support for the policy of détente as it has worked out in practice has come from some of our most eminent neo-isolationists. There is a natural affinity between resurgent isolationism and illusory détentism; if we can persuade ourselves that we can solve our problems directly with our erstwhile enemies, why do we need to bother with allies? The great gamble inherent in this kind of détente is that we are going to be in worse trouble than ever unless détente pays off in continuous, long-lasting Soviet good-will and good behavior. For over four years, détente was pursued so single-mindedly and to the exclusion of so many other interests that it became a go-for-broke operation. The best criticism of such a policy may be found in Dr. Kissinger's past writings, which is why I have cited them so often.
Kto kogo? Who-whom? It was Lenin's favorite formulation of the crucial political question. It may be more freely translated as: “Who does what to whom?”115 It is not a bad way of thinking about détente.
1 New York Times, October 31, 1973 and March 12, 1974.
2 George F. Kennan, “Europe's Problems, Europe's Choices,” Foreign Policy, Spring 1974, p. 8.
3 Henry A. Kissinger, The Troubled Partnership (McGraw-Hill, 1965), p. 4; Richard M. Pfeffer, ed., No More Vietnams? (Harper & Row, 1968), p. 11; Foreign Affairs, January 1969, p. 101; Press conference, March 21, 1974.
4 Foreign Affairs, January 1963, p. 285; The Troubled Partnership, pp. 57, 251.
5 February 1, 1973 (in Department of State Bulletin, April 2, 1973, p. 394).
6 Speech before American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1954; speech of March 15, 1965 (Congressional Record, House of Representatives, September 2, 1965, pp. 21928-30); “Asia After Vietnam,” Foreign Affairs, October 1967, pp. 111-25.
7 The Troubled Partnership, pp. 9, 232.
8 Stephen R. Graubard, Kissinger: Portrait of a Mind (Norton, 1973), pp. 225-26.
9 Ibid., p. 243.
10 No More Vietnams?, pp. 11-13.
11 “The Vietnam Negotiations,” Foreign Affairs, January 1969, pp. 233-34.
12 November 2, 1972 (in Department of State Bulletin, November 20, 1972, p. 605). One wonders whether Mr. Nixon had in mind the kind of peace that General W. C. Westmoreland, the former U.S. commander in Vietnam and Army Chief of Staff, recently described: “A full year after the cease-fire, which many thought would bring peace to Vietnam, the country is still ravaged by war, with the prospect of continued bloodshed ahead. The ceasefire did bring about an end to United States military action, cause our 588 prisoners to be released, and set the stage for a truce in Laos. But little else has been accomplished. During the last year, there have been more than 10,000 hostile contacts and over 13,000 armed attacks resulting in the deaths of more than 33,000 Communists and 6,000 South Vietnamese military men. Also there have been thousands of civilians killed, injured, or abducted in the South” (New York Times, April 18, 1974).
13 July 6, 1971 (in Department of State Bulletin, July 26, 1971, p. 93).
14 January 31, 1973 (ibid., February 19, 1973, p. 195).
15 Albert Wohlstetter, statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, April 23, 1969 (Congressional Record, Senate, May 1, 1969, p. 10957 note). The persistent underestimation of Soviet military capabilities is dealt with at length in Albert Wohlstetter, “Is There a Strategic Arms Race?,” Foreign Policy, Summer 1974.
16 Deputy Secretary of State Kenneth Rush, Department of State Bulletin, April 23, 1973, p. 479.
17 Walter Slocombe, The Political Implications of Strategic Parity, Adelphi Papers, International Institute for Strategic Studies, No. 77, May 1971, p. 5.
18 Thomas W. Wolfe, Soviet Power and Europe 1945-1970 (Johns Hopkins Press, 1970), p. 429.
19 Oriana Fallaci, “Kissinger,” the New Republic, December 16, 1972, p. 20.
20 NATO Ministerial Council Meeting, April 10, 1969.
21 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, pp. 27-31.
22 February 25, 1971 (in Department of State Bulletin, March 15, 1971, p. 307).
23 July 6, 1971 (ibid., July 26, 1971, p. 96).
24 Time, January 3, 1972, p. 15.
25 Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Nathaniel Samuels, April 14, 1972 (in Department of State Bulletin, May 1, 1972, p. 633).
26 Deputy Secretary of State John N. Irwin II, October 18, 1972 (ibid., November 20, 1972, p. 612).
27 Counselor of the Department Richard F. Pedersen, September 7, 1972 (ibid., October 2, 1972, p. 371).
28 David Landau, Kissinger, The Uses of Power (Houghton Mifflin, 1972), p. 26.
29 Op. cit., p. 21.
30 Stanley Hoffmann, “Will the Balance Balance at Home?,” Foreign Policy, Summer 1972, p. 80.
31 November 5, 1972 (in Department of State Bulletin, December 4, 1972, p. 654).
32 February 1, 1973 (ibid., April 2, 1973, p. 395).
33 March 21, 1973 (ibid., April 9, 1973, p. 419).
34 David Calleo, The Atlantic Fantasy: The U.S., NATO, and Europe (Johns Hopkins Press, 1970), p. ix.
35 The Necessity for Choice (1961), p. 204; The Troubled Partnership (1965), p. 217.
36 Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (Harper, 1957), pp. 142-43, 350.
37 The Necessity for Choice, pp. 178-81, 194-95.
38 The Troubled Partnership, pp. 192, 197-98.
39 “Central Issues of American Foreign Policy,” in Agenda for the Nation (The Brookings Institution, 1968), pp. 599, 608-9.
40 The Necessity for Choice, pp. 172-73.
41 The Troubled Partnership, pp. 248-49.
42 September 5, 1969 (in Department of State Bulletin, September 22, 1969, p. 259).
43 “The condition of the Soviet economy is clearly the primary determinant of present Soviet foreign policy” (Marshall D. Shulman, Foreign Affairs, October 1973, p. 43). “The first and most decisive reason for this change in [the direction of a more moderate and more flexible] foreign policy was the stagnation in the Soviet economy” (Wolfgang Leonhard, ibid., p 66).
44 October 6, 1970 (in Department of State Bulletin, November 23, 1970, pp. 642-43).
45 Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires de guerre (Plon, 1959), Vol. III, pp. 62-70.
46 Ibid., pp. 179-80.
47 Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires d'espoir (Plon, 1970), Vol. I, pp. 175-76.
48 Maurice Couve de Murville, Une politique étrangère 1958-1969 (Plon, 1971), pp. 194, 206-12. Kosygin also made some most revealing remarks about China and the United States more than six years before President Nixon's pilgrimage to Peking: “China was also disquieting [to Kosygin], but perhaps the major preoccupation from this angle was [for the Russians] to know what the game of the United States would be in the future. In fact, the most alarming [redoutable] unknown factor was the possible Chinese-American connection [conjonction]” (p. 212).
49 Ibid., pp. 78-79, 218-21.
50 Mémoires d'espoir, Vol. I, p. 177.
51 The Troubled Partnership, pp. 44, 63.
52 “The Search for Stability,” Foreign Affairs, July 1959, pp. 539-42. In all of his extant writings, Dr. Kissinger never changed his position on these questions; see Foreign Affairs, January 1963, pp. 263, 269, 271, and The Troubled Partnership (1965), pp. 216-18.
53 Couve de Murville, op. cit., p. 273.
54 Marshall D. Shulman, “‘Europe’ versus ‘Détente,’” Foreign Affairs, April 1967, p. 396.
55 Bundeskanzler Brandt Reden und Interviews (Hamburg: Hoffmann & Campe, 1971), pp. 203-4.
56 Among the others were such notable authorities as Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Alternative to Partition (McGraw-Hill, 1965, pp. 137-40) and Professor Hans J. Morgenthau, A New Foreign Policy for the United States (Praeger, 1969, pp. 170, 177-81).
57 W. E. Paterson, “Foreign Policy and Stability in West Germany,” International Affairs (London), July 1973, pp. 426-27.
58 Josef Korbel, Détente in Europe: Real or Imaginary? (Princeton University Press, 1972), pp. 204, 242.
59 Werner Kaltefleiter, Orbis, Spring 1973, pp. 91-92.
60 Le Point (Paris), December 10, 1973, p. 56.
61 “The great-power status which Great Britain has so tenaciously sought to sustain throughout the postwar period can now be achieved only through the closest association with the Continent. But to do this effectively Great Britain may have to adopt views similar to France's, ameliorating them with its own subtle style” (“Strains on the Alliance,” Foreign Affairs, January 1963, p. 283).
62 Marc Ullmann, “Security Aspects in French Foreign Policy,” Survival, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, November-December 1973, pp. 262-67.
63 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days (Houghton Mifflin, 1965), p. 904. Theodore C. Sorensen quotes Kennedy as saying, “We are not wedded to a policy of hostility to Red China. I would hope that . . . the normalization of relations . . . between China and the West . . . would be brought about,” which would suggest that Kennedy anticipated Nixon in at least the projection of a policy of rapprochement with China. But Sorensen also says that Kennedy regarded the “isolation of the Chinese” as a major gain of the Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union in 1963 (Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy, Harper & Row, 1965, pp. 665, 736).
64 Sorensen, p. 745.
65 Schlesinger, p. 921.
66 New York Times, October 9, 1963, p. 19, and October 25, 1963, p. 18. As far back as 1956, when Adlai Stevenson had called for a test ban, Nixon had denounced it as “catastrophic nonsense” and had given as one reason that the Russians “haven't kept many agreements as we well know” (New York Times, October 4, 1956, p. 22, and October 5, 1956, p. 16). He was at least consistent—until he had to deal with the Russians himself.
67 William F. Kaufmann, The McNamara Strategy (Harper & Row, 1964), pp. 152-58.
68 Speech of October 7, 1966.
69 President Nixon at least three times named the “understandings on Berlin” as the turning point which had led to the May 1972 summit meeting in Moscow (Department of State Bulletin, January 24, 1972, p. 81, and June 12, 1972, p. 803, and interview in Time, January 3, 1972, p. 14).
70 Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, William C. Armstrong, ibid., December 25, 1972, p. 721.
71 Nomination of Henry A. Kissinger: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, September 1973, Part I, p. 122.
72 Ibid., p. 111.
73 John Newhouse, Cold Dawn (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973), p. 272.
74 Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1972, pp. 886, 894.
75 The full text of the “Basic Principles” may be found in the Department of State Bulletin, June 26. 1972, pp. 898-99.
76 Ibid., p. 896.
77 Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Joseph J. Sisco, ibid., April 23, 1973, p. 485.
78 Press conference of March 21, 1974.
79 Address to joint session of Congress, June 1, 1972.
80 Press conference of March 21, 1974.
81 Interview in Peking, November 12, 1973 (New York Times, November 13, 1973).
82 Congressional Record, Senate, November 9, 1973, p. S-20136.
83 Marshall D. Shulman, New York Times, March 10, 1974.
84 John Lukacs, A New History of the Cold War (Anchor Books, 1966), p. 273.
85 Press conference of October 25, 1973.
86 André Fontaine, Le Monde, October 30, 1973.
87 Nomination of Henry A. Kissinger, op. cit., pp. 10, 118.
88 Press conference of November 21, 1973.
89 Nomination of Henry A. Kissinger, op. cit., p. 101.
90 This paragraph is based on Albert Wohlstetter, “Threats and Promises of Peace: Europe and America in the New Era,” Orbis, Winter 1974, pp. 1107-44. The entire article should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in this subject.
91 Nomination of Henry A. Kissinger, op. cit., p. 43.
92 June 15, 1972 (in Department of State Bulletin, July 10, 1972, p. 40).
93 U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970's: Shaping a Durable Peace, p. 232.
94 Press conference of November 21, 1973.
95 Marshall D. Shulman, Foreign Affairs, October 1973, p. 45. More details of the 1970 approach are given by John Newhouse, Cold Dawn, pp. 188-89.
96 Theodore H. White, The Making of the Presidency 1972 (Bantam edition, 1973), p. xviii.
97 Alastair Buchan, Power and Equilibrium in the 1970s (Praeger, 1973), p. 18 [for 1968]; The Military Balance 1973-1974, International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1974, p. 6 [for 1974].
98 In a press conference on November 10, 1959, de Gaulle said that Soviet Russia needed détente in the West in order “to reckon with the yellow multitude which is China” and which threatened to expand at the expense of Russia, “a white nation which has conquered part of China” (Discours et Messages, Plon, 1970, Vol. III, p. 130). A decade later, he wrote retrospectively of his belief in 1958 that the Russians would be attracted to détente with the West because of “the eternal alternation which dominates their history and which today makes them turn their worries toward Asia rather than toward Europe on account of the ambitions of China and provided that the West does not threaten them” (Mémoires d'espoir, Vol. I, p. 213). On July 29, 1963, de Gaulle remarked sardonically that the Sino-Soviet conflict could “add a note of sincerity to the poems [couplets] which the USSR devotes to peaceful coexistence” (Discours et Messages, Vol. IV, pp. 122-23).
99 John F. Kennedy, The Burden and the Glory (Harper & Row, 1964), pp. 16, 106, 111, 114.
100 “Strains on the Alliance,” Foreign Affairs, January 1963, pp. 267, 284.
101 The Troubled Partnership, op. cit., pp. 7.8, 227, 229, 234, 248.
102 “Central Issues of American Foreign Policy,” Agenda for the Nation, pp. 596-99, 607, 609.
103 A New Strategy for Peace, pp. 5, 8, 29.
104 Building for Peace, pp. 11, 25-6.
105 Department of State Bulletin, May 14, 1973, pp. 594, 598.
106 Speech in London to the Pilgrims, December 12, 1973.
107 Nomination of Henry A. Kissinger, op. cit., p. 8.
108 In the National Assembly, October 17, 1973 (Le Monde, October 19, 1973, p. 10).
109 Lawrence L. Whetten, Germany's Ostpolitik (Oxford, 1971), pp. 208, 212.
110 New York Times, March 29, 1974, p. 3.
111 Agenda for the Nation, op. cit., pp. 594-96.
112 The Troubled Partnership, op. cit., pp. 205-6.
113 Fortune, November 1972, p. 148.
114 U.S. News & World Report, May 13, 1974, p. 44.
115 According to the official custodian of Leninism in the United States, Gus Hall, General-Secretary of the Communist Party, U.S.A., détente means, among other good things, “retreat” by and “struggle” against the United States (Political Affairs, March 1974, pp. 7, 9).