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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and arbitrary. A man who had begun his second term seemingly unassailable was now in disgrace and out of office. 41


"Nixinger" Diplomacy

The covert nature of the Watergate scandal mirrored in some respects the style of diplomacy that Nixon and his closest adviser, Henry Kissinger, brought to the White House. This is not to say that secret activities, bypassing normal channels of decision-making, had not taken place, for example, in Johnson's or Kennedy's administration, but the Nixon White House brought a refinement, pursuing calculated tactics for developing policy and carrying it out in a way that centralized diplomatic authority in the White House; this administration used "back‐ channel" negotiations outside the purview of traditional institutions (including the State Department and the United Nations), did things in secret, and attempted to deal with the world unilaterally rather than multilaterally.

The Nixon administration's style of diplomacy has drawn considerable criticism. 42 The president's reliance on trusted staff members, particularly Kissinger, resulted in secret diplomacy often bypassing an out-of-the-loop State Department, headed by William Rogers. Enthusiasm for secrecy, covert action, and manipulation seemed to bring the president and his national security adviser together. 43 Kissinger, with the president's concurrence, quickly established himself in the White House as the main focus for foreign relations. His

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41
For chronology and documents, see New York Times, The End of a Presidency ( New York: Bantam, 1974); and Stanley I. Kutler (ed.), Watergate: The Fall of Richard M. Nixon ( St. James, N.Y.: Brandywine, 1996). See also Stanley I. Kutler (ed.), Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes ( New York: Free Press, 1997).
42
See, for example, Stephen E. Ambrose's three-volume study of Nixon, particularly the last two volumes, Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972 ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), and Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990 ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991); Tad Szulc, The Illusion of Peace: Foreign Policy in the Nixon Years ( New York: Viking, 1978); and William Bundy, A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency ( New York: Hill and Wang, 1998). For friendlier assessments, see Sulzberger, The World and Nixon; and Stoessinger, Kissinger.
43
Ambrose has written that the two shared a love of "secrecy and surprise, a strong sense of contempt for the bureaucracy, for established methods, for regular procedure. They were born conspirators." Nixon, II, 233.

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