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Forced to Cooperate: the Brandt Government and the Nixon Administration on the Road to Helsinki

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The subject of this chapter is the analysis of the different, and substantially diverging, strategies that the Nixon Administration of the United States and the Brandt Government of the Federal Republic of Germany deployed in their first approach to
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  Fc t Cpt: T Bt Gvm tth Nx Amstt  th R t Hlsk Giovanni Bernardini 1. Ituct T subjct  ths chpt s th lyss  th t,  substtlly  diverging, strategies that the Nixon administration o the United States and th Bt Gvmt  th Fl Rpublc  Gmy ply  their rst approach to a proposal or a conerence on security in Europeduring the early 1970s, especially concerning the problem o multilateral negotiations on military orces reductions in Europe. 1 Te sources available today at the German and American archives conrm that this topic was mg th mst bt s th tw spctv gvmts, s  th course o the bilateral debates and in the wide range o multilateral (transat-lantic) ora. 2 I détente “easily [came] to represent a challenge to the stability   Amc-Eup lts”, 3 th pblm   t   w “security” or Europe involving a broader, continuous dialogue between the countries o the two blocs proved to be the most potentially divisive between th Ut Stts  ts (utl th) mst lyl lly  Eup, th FRG.Mv, th ssu   cc  Eup scuty psts usul  fl rouge  th lyss  th lts btw th tw cutsug 199-1972  ths m ss:1) tlly, th ppsl   cc cm th m th tw cu-ts xm,  m th pts  th Allc: t ws ctully  lg-stg Svt spt, s wth gt mphss by th“Bupst Appl”  th Wsw Pct t th bgg  199. Tkst th sucs vlbl ty, ths “xtl” gss llws us t u- stand the impact that the proposal had on the two administrations since ts w luch; 2) however, during the age o the détente, the issue o European security did t pst  cmpltly uxpl l, th  th w Am- 78613_perforating_1k.indd 7926-05-2009 11:16:50  8ioanni ernardini can administration nor or the Social-Liberal coalition in Bonn. Te “Bupst Appl” v  w mths  th vs  Czch- slovakia by the troops o the Warsaw Pact, but also aer the transatlantic tensions o the 1960s,   signied by the exit o France rom the NAOintegrated command, the ailure o the Multilateral Force project and th    “cmum” btw th Ut Stts  th Svt Union over Europe, especially aer the two Superpowers signed the NonProlieration reaty. Tus, the debate ollowing the Budapest Appeal did t s but,  th cty, quck  mphsz th pjcts,th spts  th s  th tw gvmts;3) pjcts  spts tht,    th tu, w b ut   lstcvlut  th mtl cts  whch th tw cuts uthmslvs t th bgg  th ‘70s: th l  supps cl  th Ut Stts s wll s th cslt  wst Gm c- nomic power represented important elements in the approach to the issue o European security, especially when the problem o a airer share  th bu  th cmm c ws th suc  tss tstltc lts. T uct  ths xpss ws  mjthust tws Détt;4) lly, th tst  th bt v  cc  Eup scu-ty mly cms m th b spc-tm cts vlv by th ssu, clug  w spctum  uth subjcts ccg th relations between the United States and western Europe, and o these   wth cmmust blc. T sptl ms, ttmptg t cv th whole continent in a sole assembly, represented a substantial innovation wth g t th stut gt by th Cl W, ull  w stmultg pptuts (pltcl, cultul  cmc), but ls  sks  ubts  th suvvl  th wst Allc  ccg pssbl cmm ct tws Détt. 2. T USA  Eup Détt As the most recent historiography has underscored, the main task that conronted the Nixon administration since its coming to power was the ssssmt  th ttl l  th Ut Stts, tkg t c- count on the one hand the interests and resources o the nation, on the th h th mtc chgs tht w tvg   glbl scl.Nx bcm Pst ug  xtmly ctcl stg  th hsty  78613_perforating_1k.indd 8026-05-2009 11:16:50  8ored o ooerae o    his country, ull o vigorous isolationist tendencies 4 and characterized by  usl  th mlty cmmtmt b, whch ws mblmtclly symblz by th tgc Vtms vtu. 5 T   s, tsts  goals o the United States were no longer those o the winning power o  the Second World War that produced the reconstruction o the “ree world”  ts ct ptct, th lgcl bg th bss  ts w g political action. 6 Te world economic conditions were not the same thathad seen the United States taking the lead o the western reorganization m th us  th wl cct   t gu t tws  cptlstcmc systm bs  th  mkt  gut by US mlty  protection. Te western Europe that, immediately aer the post-war period, Wshgt h hlp t tu t l ws bcmg m  m sus cmc  cmmcl vl. T cmc sttstcs ppwyg u t th tt  th blcs  pymts  t, besides the enormous costs o the armaments race and the military support t cuts tht by cmmusm ll v th wl. Nx  hsNtl Scuty Avs, Hy Kssg,  t ccv th cssy  “partial dissolution o the American Empire” (to quote a member o the administration 7 ) as a withdrawal o the United States rom world aairs, butmore as an adaptation o their international commitments to the world and th cuty’s chg cts: th m ws  “chp pc ctmt”,whch st  ll  t bg bck th Svt U t th gtttbl  th cmm slut  ssus lk th Vtms wthwl and the limitation o strategic armaments. 8 As the same President pre- uc, t ws tm t pss “m    ctt t     negotiation”: negotiations that were intended to remain a prerogative o the tw suppws.Eup ctu t b  pty  th mstt, s shw by Nx’s ly juy t th m cptls  th Ol Wl. Stt just mth  hs ty t th Wht Hus, th vst h b ccv sth sst   wllgss t p th sts tht th Atltc Allc had suered during the 1960s. It was necessary to recover the condence o  sm  th lls tht ug  p  tm h b sg u t   th sh  Amc ttt tws w s  th wl   thbgg   lgu mg th suppws tht, u t  ct lck  tct, h s th suspc   “cmum” cg th sm Europeans to the role o objects o someone else’s decisions. 9 Within NAO, Nx bcm th pmt  pjcts tht shul hv gv  w l tth Allc, whch sk   bcmg   bslsct cmp t  wl tht 78613_perforating_1k.indd 8126-05-2009 11:16:50  8ioanni ernardini h chg s much  th lst 25 ys. H ls bcm gut  ctuus  pptu csultt tht shul hv v th psttss. T Eup Cmmuty ws w  cmmcl pw t lwth   t   slut t th css  Amc xpts t, t s sm ms  ptctsm hg th  mkt. Futh-m, Eup ws bsbg  gwg pt  US cptl s g ct investments, to the detriment o the US balance o payments. Te European pts pp t b ls sstl tlcuts v  th ssu  th international monetary system reorm. 10 Tereore, the relation that the Nixon administration tried to establish with Europe   rom the very rst mths ws   cllbt   t slv th pblms  Atltclts  t pl utu lts,  th lght  th ssssmt  thAmc pttlty  th gwth  th Eup s. 11 Hwv, ug tlks wth th pts, th h b  ht s t pssbl Eup ttv ccg Détt wth th cmmust blc.T pjcts  th mstt  t clu y ttv m t modiying the balance o orces determined by the end o the Second World War in Europe. Nixon’s White House disliked the potentially disturbing g  wst Eup pmts  Détt; hs mstt, mly cmmtt t bt Svt hlp  th slut  th Vtms cct   gtt  sttgc mmts,  t hv y l -tt t chllg th Kml but ts “sph  uc”  EstEup. 12 Nx  Kssg  t g by th vbl uct th “Bzhv Dct”  th usl t gv t y vlty; 13 uth-m, th psstc thy plc  tyg t ssu th lls m sy thussms tws Détt  Eup shw tht th ws t  lwllgss t scuss th Eup , s much s th ws  t-t t ty t. 14 A sml ttmt ws gv t th uslv ssu  th ct  Eu-p, tht  Gmy. O th v  th hltg  th pstl juy t B, Kssg suggst t th Pst tht t wul t hv b“lly ws t xpss ps vlutly”  th lct subjct  Est   Gm pltcs;  cs th cutpt h mt t, th Pst should have expressed support   or the goals but also awareness o their limits  sst  th “   ct ct  th wst ppch lg wth Svts  (…) th mptc  pptu csultts”.T pblm  uct t  t hv t b s,  t  spcc question on the German   behal, the President would have conrmed the Amc    “ slut  th vs  Gmy wth th 78613_perforating_1k.indd 8226-05-2009 11:16:50  8ored o ooerae ctxt  Eup scuty”. Hwv, ths pmy m wul hv b“th sult   lg tm pcss (vlvg) chgs  th Svt pltcs, st Eup   st Gmy”. 15 At th sm tm, th G- mans, the rst among all the allies, had to be warned against the uselessness  multltl ttvs btw Est  Wst,  gst th pssucmg m publc p  sm sht-tm sults  Détt. Tvt ctct  th pt sttmts  th Wht Hus but the act that a major multilateral initiative on security in Europe would have b usul ly t Svt ppg  tht t wul hv b btt to start solving “concrete problems”, possibly among superpowers, 16 showed tht th mstt ws ll but “y  th vgus  vtvppch tht Bt’s gvmt wul hv pt t th   thy”. 17 T pblm  Bl psts th xcpt cmg th ul: President Nixon had declared in the divided city that rejecting any unilateral modication o the situation did not mean having to consider satisying the sttus qu. Hwv, cg th Svt wllgss t scuss th slut  sm l pblms  th m Gm cptl, th Wht Hus wulhv l   lg tm   hsttg  t vy csv cuct th quptt scusss t th Stt Dptmt (s t hs b -tc, submttg th pblm t ttl plmcy h lwys mt gt  Nx  Kssg  th vy sm thm m th lst th ugt  vtl ssus). 1 3. Fm Pl t Rlty: By th “Bupst Appl” T cls lk btw Wshgt  B, stblsh sc th bth o a German state at the beginning o the Cold War, had experienced growing strains during the 1960s. Te apex was reached in the autumn o 1966, when Chcll Eh sg   usuccssul vst t th th s  th Atltc: th m tpc ws th Gm ctbut t th cmm deence, which President Johnson considered unsatisactory. 19 Consequently, th tw mj Gm pts (CDU  SPD) gv bth t th xp-mt   “Gt Clt” u th lshp  Chcll Ksg.Wlly Bt, m my  Wst Bl  Scty  th SPD, lth pty t gvmt  th st tm sc th Wm Rpublc bcm hmsl g mst. T Jhs mstt gt th change in Bonn, or the positive eects that it could produce on FRG oreign pltcs,  twty ys  ttl hstlty tws y pcss  Détt 78613_perforating_1k.indd 8326-05-2009 11:16:50
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