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The Transformation of American International Power in the 1970s


  • Date Published: June 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107613737

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About the Authors
  • Barbara Zanchetta analyzes the evolution of American-Soviet relations during the 1970s, from the rise of détente during the Nixon administration to the policy's crisis and fall during the final years of the Carter presidency. This study traces lines of continuity among the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations and assesses its effects on the ongoing redefinition of America's international role in the post-Vietnam era. Against the background of superpower cooperation in arms control, Dr Zanchetta analyzes aspects of the global bipolar competition, including US-China relations, the turmoil in Iran and Afghanistan, and the crises in Angola and the Horn of Africa. In doing so, she unveils both the successful transformation of American international power during the 1970s and its long-term problematic legacy.

    • Provides a particular interpretation of the motivations behind the Nixon administration's pursuit of US-Soviet détente
    • Reappraises the Carter administration's foreign policy
    • Emphasizes continuity throughout the three presidencies of the 1970s
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Zanchetta's stimulating account of American foreign policy in the 1970s shows how a feeling of US decline strengthened interest in arms control with the Soviet Union, but also blended with active measures to shore up the US position, as witnessed most clearly in the opening to China. What, however, tended to be overlooked in Washington was a local reality of increasing complexity, as seen in Vietnam and in Iran.' Geir Lundestad, Director, Norwegian Nobel Institute (1990–2014) and Emeritus Professor of international History, University of Oslo

    'At a time of great debate over the limits of American power, Barbara Zanchetta provides an incisive analysis of the last time the United States was engaged in such a conversation - the 1970s. Her remarkable ability to weave a compelling narrative of American leadership at a time of transition across three administrations is a welcome addition to our understanding of a critical period in US foreign policy.' James Goldgeier, American University

    'In an era when many US politicians feel obliged to pay homage to 'American exceptionalism', Barbara Zanchetta's fine study raises important questions about the degree to which [the] United States has acted like other traditional great powers. This book is a major contribution to the literature on the vicissitudes of detente during the 1970s and 80s.' William Burr, Senior Analyst, National Security Archive, George Washington University

    'Zanchetta's book is an important contribution to [the] ongoing debate about the purposes and use of American power in the world.' Thomas A. Schwartz, H-Diplo Roundtable Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107613737
    • length: 356 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 154 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Remaking of American Global Power, 1969–76:
    1. The Nixon administration and a 'moment of beginning'
    2. The diplomatic revolution: the China opening
    3. An 'era of negotiation' versus the 'supreme test': Nixon between SALT I and Vietnam
    4. 'Protect me': Nixon and the Shah of Iran
    5. Détente questioned: domestic challenges and international crisis
    6. The Ford (and Kissinger) administration
    7. Defending the dual track: SALT II, Angola, and the crisis of détente
    Part II. Rethinking the Fall of Détente, 1977–80:
    8. The Carter administration's ambitious agenda
    9. Initial shift: the Horn of Africa
    10. Recreating the strategic triangle: normalization with China and SALT II
    11. The loss of Iran
    12. Reaffirming containment: the Carter doctrine

  • Author

    Barbara Zanchetta, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
    Barbara Zanchetta is a Senior Researcher at the Department of International History of the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. She is also a Scholar at the Machiavelli Center for Cold War studies in Italy. She is the co-author of Transatlantic Relations since 1945: An Introduction (2012).

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