Friday 12 October 2012

Cold War Documentary - Episode 16: Détente (1969 -1975)

A great example of the power elite's ability to smash presidents and shape opinion is the downfall of Nixon for a relatively trivial misdemeanour. For sure one can't ignore his crimes against humanity in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam but these took no part in the legal effort to impeach Nixon and are no greater than the crimes of Truman, Eisenhower or LBJ in South East Asia. 

Instead the clear thinking observer can see the ability of the power elite to remove those it feels are getting in the way with relatively little fuss. The Russian adviser to Brezhnev Georgy Arbatov confirms my research that Nixon was removed for among other crimes his rapprochement work with Russia. Anyone who thinks Nixon's Wategate crimes were greater than Bush/Reagan's Iran Contra needs their head examining.

Episode 16: Détente (1969--1975)

Nixon builds closer relations with China and the USSR, hoping to leverage an honourable US exit from Indochina. The Soviet Union is fearful of a US-Chinese alliance, but summits between Nixon and Brezhnev lead to a relaxation of tensions and concrete arms control agreements. Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik strategy also normalises West German relations with East Germany, the USSR and Poland. Although deeply unpopular domestically, US bombing of Cambodia and Hanoi succeeds in bringing North Vietnam to the negotiating table, leading to the Paris Peace Accords in 1972. Deeply resented by South Vietnam, the Accords ultimately fail to prevent Saigon's fall three years later. In 1975 reapproachment continued with the Helsinki Accords, which enshrined human rights and territorial integrity, and the symbolic Apollo--Soyuz Test Project. Interviewees include Melvin Laird, Valeri Kubasov, Winston Lord, John Ehrlichman and Gerald Ford. The pre-credits scene shows a Soviet cartoon demonstrating the futility of the arms race.