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Knowing the AdversaryLeaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations$
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Keren Yarhi-Milo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159157

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159157.001.0001

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The Carter Era and the Collapse of Détente, 1977–80

The Carter Era and the Collapse of Détente, 1977–80

(p.114) Chapter 5 The Carter Era and the Collapse of Détente, 1977–80
Knowing the Adversary

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the relevant predictions of the alternative theses about how states should assess intentions by analyzing the case of the Carter administration during the period 1977–1980. Jimmy Carter began his time as president of the United States with great optimism about the USSR and was committed to improving the U.S.–Soviet relations. By the end of his tenure, however, Carter’s perceptions of the Soviet Union had changed and his policies emphasized competition over cooperation. The détente had collapsed. The chapter examines the Carter administration’s assessment of Soviet intentions, and more specifically the dramatic changes in U.S. perceptions of the Soviet Union, using the selective attention thesis, capabilities thesis, strategic military doctrine thesis, and behavior thesis. It considers whether key decision makers in the Carter administration engaged in intentions assessment attend to different indicators than the U.S. intelligence organizations.

Keywords:   intentions assessment, Jimmy Carter, Soviet Union, détente, selective attention, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, behavior, U.S. intelligence organizations, decision makers

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