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Assess the achievements and limitation of détente between 1969 and 1979.

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May 2010 TZ2 – 28. Assess the achievements and limitation of détente between 1969 and 1979.

The détente was a permanent relaxation of the tension between the USA and USSR. The tension grew after the Cuban missile crisis. The achievements of détente were the SALT I (strategic arms limitation talks) and Helsinki agreements in 1975. Although, the difficulties in their implements can be perceived as limitations. The limitations were the improvements of the relations between the USA and the USSR and china. Some of the limitations were that détente did not reduce tension in all areas of international relations; conflicts within the developing world continued and even intensified. This situation produced renewed suspicion and mistrust leading to the collapse of détente after 1979.

One achievement of detente was SALT I signed in 1972. The purpose of this was to reduce the number of nuclear weapons on both sides. Although, the significance lies mainly with the basic principles agreement, were both superpowers vowed to “do their utmost to avoid military confrontations”. This brought about improvements economically since trade was encouraged and indeed, international trade increased significantly. However, grains from the US supplied the trade.

On the other hand, Nixon’s visitation to china in 1972 put the USSR in guard. As it was witnessing possible cooperation between its two adversaries – tension between the USSR and china was at a high point. However, despite SALT’s limitations and an actual increase in tension between USSR and china, it was a significant achievement for détente as the two superpowers were willing to cooperate regarding the arms race matter.

Another major achievement was the Helsinki agreement in 1975, a turnabout from the tense situation that existed between the west and east. This agreement had three sections or baskets. The first basket was European security inter-state relations, second basket was prompting cooperation in economics, science, technology and environmental issues and third basket was expanding trade between USA and USSR to improve standard of living and agreements on human rights. When the US recognized USSR’s territorial control on European countries, they respected human rights, such as freedom democracy advocated. The Helsinki was a high point in international relations.

The limitations of detente were that it did not reduce the tension in all areas of international relations, conflicts within the developing countries continued. This was because the involvement of the USSR in Afghanistan increase nuclear weapons and it increased mistrust with the westerns and which limited its length to 1979. This was a failure to the international relations between the USA and the USSR because the USSR May 2010 TZ – 27. Why did détente develop between 1969 and 1979?

They are many reason to the develop of détente in 1969 and 1979, but the main reasons of the develop are the relaxation of tension in the cold war, the SALT talks, equal nuclear.
Both had reason to improve relations.
US fighting in Vietnam needed to slow arms race and reduce burden on economy.

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