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Governing AmericaThe Revival of Political History$
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Julian E. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150734

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150734.001.0001

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Détente and Domestic Politics

Détente and Domestic Politics

(p.321) Sixteen Détente and Domestic Politics
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how domestic politics shaped the foreign policy of détente during the 1970s. It first considers Richard Nixon's pursuit of détente as part of his national security agenda and the role played by Henry Kissinger both under Nixon and Gerald Ford. It then explains how the national security centrism of Nixon and Ford failed to create a stable political majority within the Republican Party and shows how both presidents collided with two factions in the burgeoning conservative movement: neoconservatives from the Democratic Party and hawkish Republicans. It also discusses the 1976 Republican presidential primaries that dealt the final blow to détente within the GOP and suggests that Ronald Reagan's victory in the 1980 presidential election led Republicans to adopt a more militaristic outlook toward international affairs.

Keywords:   domestic politics, foreign policy, détente, Richard Nixon, national security, Republican Party, Democratic Party, neoconservatives, Ronald Reagan, presidential primaries

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