American Global Strategy

Archive Report

Detente and Stability After Vietnam

New Concern Over American Power and Prestige

Three years after the U.S. withdrawal from Indochina, many Americans seem concerned that their country's power and prestige in the world is declining and that the Soviet Union is emerging as the dominant superpower. This concern has given rise to a debate about America's global strategy in the post-Vietnam era. Some insist that there is no consistent strategy and that the United States merely reacts to world crises. Others contend that detente, or relaxation of tensions between the two superpowers, is only a slightly more sophisticated version of the old containment-of-communism doctrine. Still others argue that détente is a dangerous and onesided American effort that gives the Soviets what they could not otherwise obtain.

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