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The Flawed ArchitectHenry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy$
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Jussi M. Hanhimaki

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172218

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172218.001.0001

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Bombs and Back Channels

Bombs and Back Channels

(p.32) 3 Bombs and Back Channels
The Flawed Architect

Jussi Hanhimäki

Oxford University Press

Back channels—confidential channels of communication between two countries' leaders—had been deemed necessary as ways of exchanging views and negotiating deals. February 1969 stands out as one of the defining moments of Soviet-American relations because of its two unique aspects. The first set in motion the policy of détente while the second established the venue in which the most important discussions would take place: the Kissinger-Dobrynin back channel. In early 1969, the most urgent issues for Kissinger were sketching a dialogue over nuclear weapons with the Soviet Union and trying to find an acceptable way of ending the Vietnam War. These issues are presented in this chapter.

Keywords:   back channels, Soviet-American relations, détente, Dobrynin, Kissinger, Soviet Union, Vietnam War

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