Conflicts in ideologies defined the Western democracies and the Communist powers in the 1960s and 1970s. It resulted in a nuclear arms battle between the US and the Soviet Union. Consequently, the leaders of either nation embraced dangerous policies that posed threats to the security of the two states, as well as the whole world. Détente brought changes in policy on both states thus redefining the US-Russia relationship (Duiker and Spielvogel, 2014).
In 1964, Leonid Brezhnev came into power in the Soviet Union after the removal of Nikita Khrushchev from power. Working with Alexei Kosygin, the prime minister, Brezhnev pursued a peaceful coexistence with the US. In the US, Richard Nixon championed the reduction of arms and tensions that had become a threat to the world since World War II. Following Nixon’s resignation in 1974 from the presidency, Brezhnev held talks with the US presidents of the 1970s, namely, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford (McNeese, 1999).
Détente reduced the potential for nuclear war; the Strategic Arms Limitations Agreement Talks (SALT) and the Antiballistic Missile Treaty (AMT) were signed thus contributing to the reduction of nuclear war threat. With the treaties, both nations resolved to reduce their antiballistic missile systems (Zubok, 2007).
Other than arms limitation within the US and Russia, détente through Henry Kissinger (US Secretary of State) held peaceful negotiations with the People’s Republic of China to ensure peaceful coexistence because china had seen an opportunity to capitalize. The tension and cold war reduction also brought peace. Reduction of arms and troops alone would not bring satisfaction that there was peace, there was need to ease the cold war (Schmidt, Shelley and Bardes, 2008).
Duiker, W. J., & Spielvogel, J. J. (2014).The Essential World History, Volume II (7thed.). Boston, MA. Wadsworth.
McNeese, T. (1999). The modern world. St. Louis, Mo: Milliken Pub.
Schmidt, S. W., Shelley, M. C., & Bardes, B. A. (2008). American government and politics today. Princeton, N.J: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.
Zubok, V. M. (2007). A failed empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.