Nixon's Foreign Policy: A Global Balance Of Power


Nixon's Foreign Policy:
Global Balance of Power
Period: 7
Background
Richard Nixon entered office in the midst of one of the gravest foreign policy crises in American history. The Cold War was at its height, hundreds of thousands of American troops were in Vietnam, and the views of society were split down the middle. With the aid of his national security adviser and secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, Nixon felt that it was imperative to change America's foreign policy. They felt that it was necessary to support our interests in the long run, they felt it necessary to have a balance of power throughout the world in order to ensure peace and prosperity.
One has to take into consideration geopolitics when discussing balance of power. The main purpose is stability by using different political philosophies based on geography, and self-interest. If the major powers pursued their self-interest rationally and predictably, an equilibrium would emerge from the conflicting interest. Nixon knew that a strong America is essential to global equilibrium, and counted on stability to produce it.
Under Nixon's new policy partnership, strength, and the willingness to negotiate were the three pillars essential in keeping peace. The policy would stop trying to eliminate communism and win the Cold War, but rather replace it through new initiatives directed toward finding areas of cooperation. In fact it was clear that the Soviet Union was Nixon's biggest partner towards peace. Nixon parted with the philosophy of containment, and thought that negotiations and peaceful competition would lead to strengthening of democracies. These negotiations became known as D?tente.
When Nixon announced to the world his new plan for foreign affairs, it became known as the Nixon Doctrine. It was an outline of America's foreign policy that dealt with the ordeal that the past involvement in Korea and Vietnam, which were countries with no prior commitment to us, and in regions not protected by any alliances. As a result he outlined the criteria for involvement in world affairs. He stated, ?1) The United States would keep its treaty commitments. 2) The United States would ?provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us or of a nation whose survival we consider vital to our security.' 3) In cases involving non-nuclear aggression, the United States would ?look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for defense.'? It was thought that if America would not always be a safety net for smaller countries, they would increase their defense systems to be more adequate for the job.
In the end the Nixon-Kissinger foreign policy boils down to stability, and in order to achieve that stability there must be a global balance of power. They want us as Americans to keep our idealistic values and promote peace, but realize what the country has the capability and authority to do in the world.
Options to global balance of power
Wilsonian idealism reigned supreme with our foreign policy for many years, and the country was quite comfortable with it. The policy enabled the United States to conduct their global role with missionary vigor. It promoted democracy and human rights, which made people, feel good about themselves. Wilson had the perception that the world was on an inevitable course for peace and democracy, and it was our job to help the inevitable along. America is the leader of the world, and it is our duty to set an example, and at times act accordingly to show that example. Under this philosophy we are urged to preserve freedom, democracy, and peace at any price.
Wilsonianism rejects the thought of peace through balance of power in favor of peace through moral consensus. It sees foreign policy as a struggle between good and evil, in which evil foes must be defeated. When a crisis rises it is not disturbance of a balance or equilibrium, but as a deviation from moral standards and order. The liberals and Wilsonian believers thought Nixon's policy could not answer the questions pertaining to such moral issues as arms control and human rights. They felt that his policy was not going far enough and was going to continue the Cold War. His policy was not one, which could help