To Create a New World? American Presidents and the United Nations

By John Allphin Moore Jr.; Jerry Pubantz | Go to book overview
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"Vietnamization," was as unilateral in its nature as Kennedy's and Johnson's policies had been. Approaches to China and the Soviet Union, including arms negotiations, likewise took place outside any multilateral forum. The Johnson administration may have been forced by the UN's nonnuclear members into arms limitation talks with the USSR as the price for a multilateral nonproliferation treaty, but Richard Nixon intended to exclude all actors other than the superpowers from future negotiations. The same approach underlay America's controversial international economic policies, and Nixon's attitude toward Latin America, culminating in the controversial overthrow of the Allende government in Chile. The president's UN policy itself became the dependent variable in his overall strategy, changing to complement his sweeping initiatives on the world stage.

The following pages will examine the connection between the Nixon administration's realist foreign policy and its approach to the United Nations by focusing, not on chronology, but on particular themes or issues that faced the administration. We will proceed with a look at the administration's overall relationship with the United Nations, then consider the impact on policy-making of three matters distinct to the Nixon years—the extraordinary dramas of the year Nixon was elected ( 1968), the Watergate scandal, and the insular style of diplomacy characteristic of Nixon's White House. We will follow these discussions with accounts of specific foreign policy challenges and developments.

Nixon and the UN

Nixon, like Kennedy, was an internationalist, a product of the immediate post— World War II transformation in America's outlook on the world. As a freshman member of the House of Representatives, Nixon traveled to Europe with a congressional group to investigate the economic plight of the continent and to assess Europe's need for aid. His political advisers in California and the overwhelming majority of his constituents opposed any financial assistance. Yet the young Republican ended up a strong advocate of the Marshall Plan of 1947 and of extensive aid to Europe, explicitly supporting the postwar bipartisan Truman‐ Vandenburg internationalist policy. 12 One year later he attended the Republican convention in Philadelphia, where he supported the governor of Minnesota, Harold Stassen, for the presidential nomination

RN, 48-51.


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