President Nixon And Kissinger Containment Strategy Essays

President Nixon And Kissinger Containment Strategy Essays

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While the general strategy of Nixon and Kissinger was certainly similar to that of Kennan, it is worth examining the implementation of their strategy in terms of actual foreign policy. One of the most notable changes in foreign policy as a result of Nixon and Kissinger was in the United States’ relationship with the Soviet Union. Clearly, the Soviet Union had consistently antagonized and posed a threat to the United States, both directly and indirectly. However, Nixon and Kissinger believed that past tensions needed to be set-aside in hopes of a more peaceful future, and began implementing a new policy towards the Soviet Union known as “Détente”. Instead of holding a grudge against the Soviet Union for its actions and ideology, the Nixon-Kissinger containment strategy recommended that the U.S. engage in serious negotiations with the Soviet Union with the intention of solving several key issues. Moreover, Nixon and Kissinger argued that that the U.S. had to abandon its desire to achieve some sense of perceived superiority over the Soviet Union, and had to instead dedicate itself to making negotiations that were fair and beneficial to both sides. As Gaddis notes, both Nixon and Kissinger realized that, “…no nation could be expected to accommodate itself willingly to an international order that left it in a permanent position of inferiority”(Gaddis 287). Here, one can clearly see a shift from the policies of NSC-68 back to the strategy of George Kennan. Nixon and Kissinger took a far more pragmatic approach to foreign policy with the Soviet Union, understanding that negotiation was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of good will towards achieving an outcome that would be beneficial to both parties. Still, opening negotiations with th...


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...and China. The goal of this relationship was to allow the U.S. to tilt towards one side of the triangle (the Soviet Union or China) in order to balance the power if one were to become too aggressive. Discussing this tactic, Gaddis wrote that, “the idea was to walk a fine line; to refrain from tempting either side into retaliation or blackmail by giving it the impression that the United States was ‘using’ it against the other”(Gaddis 295). Again, Nixon and Kissinger used one of Kennan’s policies of applying political pressure rather than take military action or isolate the U.S. further by refusing to establish any relationship. Instead of focusing on the regime and internal politics of China, the U.S. focused on how China could serve their goal of establishing a stable world order by helping constrain the behavior of and accelerate negotiations with the Soviet Union.

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