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Transcending the Cold WarSummits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–1990$
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Kristina Spohr and David Reynolds

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727507.001.0001

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Moscow, 1972

Moscow, 1972

(p.67) 3 Moscow, 1972
Transcending the Cold War

James Cameron

Oxford University Press

The May 1972 summit in Moscow between Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev was a watershed in the East-West conflict, being the first time a US president had visited the Soviet Union. The two men had built their careers as antagonists toward the rival superpower, yet they now reached beyond confrontation to conclude accords on strategic arms limitation (SALT), ballistic missile defence, cultural and technological exchange, and also basic principles upon which to conduct their relations. Moscow was never designed to end the Cold War, but to regulate superpower interaction. It thus provided only a temporary respite. Both sides walked away with important gains but failed to secure a compact that would facilitate a long-term amelioration of the superpower competition on mutually acceptable terms. Nevertheless, in freezing certain key areas of the superpower competition, Moscow served as the basis for later developments that would overcome the division of Europe.

Keywords:   Richard Nixon, Leonid Brezhnev, Henry Kissinger, SALT, ABM treaty, Vietnam

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