Americas Foreign Policy: Drift or Decision by Martin Goldstein

By Martin Goldstein

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Extra resources for Americas Foreign Policy: Drift or Decision

Sample text

Carter's human-rights policy had a firm grounding in diplomacy as well as morality. In 1975, the heads of state from Canada, the United States, and all the countries of Europe, thirty-five leaders in all, gathered at the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This meeting was called to settle a wide range of European disputes, including boundary questions dating back to the Second World War, with particular reference to German borders. The conference's Final Act, which recognized the permanence of existing boundaries, as the Soviets desired, also called upon the signatories to respect human rights.

Through executive agreements, the United States also made defense arrangements with such countries as Iran, Spain, Israel, Liberia, and Thailand. Thus, as the decade of the 1950s drew to a close, America found itself allied with over forty other states against Communist expansion. Washington supplemented these alliances with military and economic aid. American intervention in Korea, the Bay of Pigs landing in 1961, the Cuban missile confrontation in 1962, and the sustained US effort in Vietnam were all part of the containment policy.

The orthodox interpretation of the Cold War, as we have seen, attributes United States-Soviet tension to Soviet aggressiveness. But affairs of diplomacy, no less than affairs of the heart, rarely admit Page 16 to a single interpretation. ) Revisionist historians place primary blame for the Cold War upon the United States and its Western allies. While currently accepted by a minority of historians, 5 this interpretation merits our examination. To begin with, the revisionists place much more emphasis upon the economic component of the national interest than do the conventional historians of the period.

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Americas Foreign Policy: Drift or Decision by Martin Goldstein
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