Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Looking back at détente: Immoral policy that endangered US national interests

"I think detente had manifestly failed, and that the pursuit of it was encouraging Soviet expansion and rendering the world more dangerous, and especially rendering the Western world in greater peril." - Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick 

Détente: Mao with Nixon, Breshnev with Nixon, Breshnev with Ford
 Since President Barack Obama announced his new Cuba policy on December 17, 2014 there have been over 108 articles that mention both Cuba and détente with the vast majority viewing it as a positive.

However, if one is to revisit the policy of détente enacted by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger then carried forward into the Ford Administration. The word détente means an easing of tensions or relaxation and was a period of improved relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted between 1971 and 1980. According to Professor Branislav L. Slantchev the Soviets used détente "to evolve from a great regional power into a formidable truly global superpower." It was also the worse period of great defeats internationally for the United States. At the same time the United States morally debased itself into a moral equivalency with the Soviet Union and Maoist China. Gerald Ford was so wedded to détente that he refused to meet with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn for fear of offending the Soviets. This led Jimmy Carter  on October 6, 1976 in a presidential debate to charge President Ford with being weak:
"He's also shown a weakness in yielding to pressure. The Soviet Union, for instance, put pressure on Mr. Ford, and he refused to see a symbol of human freedom recognized around the world -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn." 
This low point led to a struggle for the soul of the Republican Party at the time that led to a plank in the party platform that repudiated Ford's weakness titled "morality in foreign policy":
We recognize and commend that great beacon of human courage and morality, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, for his compelling message that we must face the world with no illusions about the nature of tyranny. Ours will be a foreign policy that keeps this ever in mind…. Agreements that are negotiated, such as the one signed in Helsinki, must not take from those who do not have freedom the hope of one day gaining it.
Despite not wanting to do so circumstances forced President Carter to scrap it as a matter of policy in 1980 in reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan  and his Administration's focus on human rights. President Ronald Reagan had long repudiated this policy as immoral and completely departed from it upon taking office with regards to the Soviet Union. On January 29, 1981 in a news conference responding to a question from Sam Donaldson of ABC news whether detente was possible with the Soviet Union; President Reagan answered as follows:
"Well, so far detente's been a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims. I don't have to think of an answer as to what I think their intentions are; they have repeated it. I know of no leader of the Soviet Union since the revolution, and including the present leadership, that has not more than once repeated in the various Communist congresses they hold their determination that their goal must be the promotion of world revolution and a one-world Socialist or Communist state, whichever word you want to use.
Now, as long as they do that and as long as they, at the same time, have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat, in order to attain that, and that is moral, not immoral, and we operate on a different set of standards, I think when you do business with them, even at a detente, you keep that in mind."
Reagan understood the nature of communist ideology something many have forgotten today in dealing with the communist regime in Cuba under the Castro brothers. At the same time it is also important to remember the role that American corporations played throughout the history of the Soviet Union in propping up and aiding that monstrous totalitarian regime. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on June 30, 1975 addressing the AFL-CIO labor union first thanked workers for their solidarity and then spoke of the alliance between Soviet communists and American capitalists:
But just as we feel ourselves your allies here, there also exists another alliance - at first glance a strange one, a surprising one - but if you think about it, in fact, one which is well-grounded and easy to understand this is the alliance between our Communist leaders and your capitalists.
      This alliance is not new. The very famous Armand Hammer, who is flourishing here today, laid the basis for this when he made the first exploratory trip into Russia, still in Lenin's time, in the very first years of the Revolution. He was extremely successful in this intelligence mission and since that time for all these 50 years, we observe continuous and steady support by the businessmen of the West of the Soviet Communist leaders.
      Their clumsy and awkward economy, which could never overcome its own difficulties by itself, is continually getting material and technological assistance. The major construction projects in the initial five-year plan were built exclusively with American technology and materials. Even Stalin recognized that two-thirds of what was needed was obtained from the West. And if today the Soviet Union has powerful military and police forces - in a country which is by contemporary standards poor - they are used to crush our movement for freedom in the Soviet Union - and we have western capital to thank for this also.
     Unfortunately in 2015 once again American corporations are falling over themselves to get American taxpayers this time to subsidize the totalitarian communist dictatorship in Cuba. Communist China and Vietnam are two other examples of short term greed ignoring the best interests of their home country much less the interests of the Chinese and Vietnamese suffering under these brutal dictatorships. After this brief historical review hopefully the word détente will not be viewed as positively as it has been over the past month and a natural question should arise: Why repeat this failed policy in Cuba?

President Obama with Chavez (2009) President Obama & Raul Castro (2013)

1 comment:

  1. Mr Obama: We´ve been waiting long for USA &EU understand Venezuela-VENECUBA, humanity and dignity: