Rosecrance, Richard
April 1975
Foreign Affairs;Apr1975, Vol. 53 Issue 3, p464
The U.S.-Soviet détente is neither fully understood nor certain to endure. The sheer complexity of détente balancing holding the Soviet Union, China, the Western allies and Japan in a complicated network of associations with the U.S. which involve conflict as well as cooperation may not last. Even if it could be sustained, some argue that American interests dictate that it should be dropped or radically modified. To others détente is an attitude, but not a policy. It represents a desirable and overdue recognition of realities in foreign policy the need to achieve better relations with the Soviet Union and China. But it does not specify where the U.S. should go from there. Détente without a positive core of policy goals could jeopardize American relations with Japan and Western Europe without gaining any durable benefit from the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet-American trade agreement makes it seem even less likely that the U.S. can use détente as a means to extract important concessions from Soviet Union. Other critics contend that whatever the merits of détente policy, the political costs it imposes cannot ultimately be borne. Congress and the American public can understand and support a policy which clearly discriminates friend from foe.


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