Kennan, George F.
July 1976
Foreign Affairs;Jul1976, Vol. 54 Issue 4, p670
This article focuses on the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Jackson-Vanik Amendment, and the subsequent demise of the trade pact, dealt a bitter blow to the development of Soviet-American relations. By the beginning of 1975, although various cultural agreements were still in being, the prospects for further success in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) talks had been heavily damaged, and along with them the political atmosphere in which, alone, further progress could be made in the improvement of the Soviet-American relationship generally. American statesmanship will have to overcome some of the traits that have handicapped it in the past in dealing with this most unusual, most dangerous and most serious of all the problems of foreign policy it has ever had to face. American politicians will have to learn to resist the urge to exploit the image of a formidable external rival in world affairs. And American diplomacy will have to overcome, in greater measure than it has done to date, those problems of privacy of decision and long-term consistency of behavior which were bound to burden American democracy when the country rose to the stature of a great power.


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