Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977

Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977

Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977

Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977

Synopsis

In the 1970s, the United States faced challenges on a number of fronts. By nearly every measure, American power was no longer unrivalled. The task of managing America's relative decline fell to President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Gerald Ford. From 1969 to 1977, Nixon, Kissinger, and Ford reoriented U.S. foreign policy from its traditional poles of liberal interventionism and conservative isolationism into a policy of active but conservative engagement. In Nixon in the World, seventeen leading historians of the Cold War and U.S. foreign policy show how they did it, where they succeeded, and where they took their new strategy too far. Drawing on newly declassified materials, they provide authoritative and compelling analyses of issues such as Vietnam, détente, arms control, and the U.S.-China rapprochement, creating the first comprehensive volume on American foreign policy in this pivotal era.

Excerpt

Fredrik Logevall and Andrew Preston

In the grand trajectory of “the American Century,” the 1970s stand out as a curious anomaly. For most of this era, especially the periods following World War II and the end of the Cold War, the United States was far more powerful than any other country—more powerful, even, than its only superpower rival, the Soviet Union. The strength and endurance of American power lay not only in its military might, important though it was; in addition to arms, America had few real challengers in terms of economic, political, diplomatic, and cultural power. But in the late 1960s, and for a variety of reasons that all peaked around the same time, America’s dominance began to wane.

How American foreign policy fared under such pressures is the principal concern of this book, which focuses on the period from the start of Richard Nixon’s administration in 1969 to the end of Gerald Ford’s brief term in January 1977. It was, it could be said, the Kissinger Era. Among senior officials, only Henry Kissinger served the entire eight years. Moreover, at all times he was at the very center of decision making, first as national security adviser and then as secretary of state (indeed, for more than two years he held both jobs, a feat unprecedented at the time and unmatched since). With his conspicuous brilliance, penchant for drama, glamorous girlfriends, and diplomatic achievements, Kissinger’s profile often eclipsed those of the presidents he served. “Super K,” as the media nicknamed him, became a national celebrity and an international icon. Thus the delicate, unwanted chore of coping with the nation’s decline fell largely to Kissinger.

It is something of a paradox that Kissinger, whose hard-headed worldview is based on strength, built and enhanced his reputation in a time of American weakness and declining power on the world stage. This is but . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.