Ford Administration

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Essay, May/Jun 1999
Henry A. Kissinger

After Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election, a new political force -- the neoconservatives, former anti-Nixon liberals now bent on total victory over the Soviet Union -- emerged to undermine his diplomacy. Nixon and his heir, Gerald Ford, sought to carefully wear the Soviets down, but the neocons yearned to vanquish communism with a burst of ideological elan. The new right's insistence on smearing detente as appeasement led them to ignore subtle Soviet encroachments and abandon Ford when he urged Congress to aid Indochina and Angola. The neocons undercut the real foreign policy debate, which was between the White House and the liberals.

Review Essay, May/Jun 1999
Philip Zelikow

The last volume of Henry A. Kissinger's memoirs offers a fascinating -- if unwittingly revealing -- self-portrait of detente's architect during the gloomy Ford era.

Essay, Summer 1984
William Bundy

This article is a reflective look at the period from mid-1972 and early 1973 to the present, in terms of the evolution in the world situation and the course of U.S. foreign policy during these years. It has been, I believe, a time of marked deterioration in the overall world outlook, and the performance of the United States, as a nation, in the foreign policy arena has been at best mediocre--with only limited exceptions.

Essay, Fall 1982
Michel Oksenberg

While the past decade of Sino-American relations has been largely constructive, the ten years have not been on a steady incline. Rather, there have been two strong forward spurts, from spring 1971 through May 1973, and from May 1978 through early 1980. The relationship has also endured two periods of some acrimony and erosion: from the fall of 1975 to late 1976 and from mid-1980 to the effort to stabilize the relationship reflected in the communiqué on arms sales to Taiwan that was agreed in August 1982. In addition to the periods of rapid forward movement and retrogression, several periods are best portrayed through metaphors such as "plateaus" or "mixed pictures." Even the best periods were punctuated by moments of doubt and uncertainty, while the phases of deterioration were constrained by a common desire to limit the erosion and to preserve a more positive public facade than the private exchanges warranted.

Essay, Fall 1979
Dankwart A. Rustow

No nation that has maintained close relations with the United States for the last generation is so little understood by well-informed Americans as is Turkey. Even West Europeans, from their closer vantage point, are rarely better informed. In part, this lack of understanding may be due simply to limited contact. There is in the United States no sizable Turkish-American community, hence no ready Turkish constituency in American public opinion. In Western Europe, Turks are present in large numbers--but as guest workers living with their families, apart and unassimilated in the more crowded parts of the cities, and eager to save enough of their wages for the ultimate return home to Turkey.

Essay, Fall 1978
Nathaniel Davis

International competition and political action sometimes appear to be channeled between frail dikes. To put the thought another way, it is as if the seething mass of ambition and potential violence so characteristic of international relationships is contained in quieter times behind a thin shell of a veneer. Once the shell of constraint is broken, subsequent adventures become easier to contemplate. It is for some of these reasons that we should, perhaps, examine how the confines of restraint in Angola were broken through, and whether a different American policy in the period before the Soviet/Cuban intervention in 1975 might have produce a different result.

Essay, Jan 1977
Michael Krepon

The United States Navy has become the most unsettled of all the uniformed services, its role and capability in fulfilling national strategy clouded by controversy. In the past year, President Ford has sent two different shipbuilding requests to the Congress, to which the House and the Senate have added their own distinct and separate versions. Adding to the turmoil have been sharply varying perceptions of the Soviet naval threat. Many observers claim that significantly higher shipbuilding programs are needed due to the numerical and technological advances of the Soviet Navy. Others counter that the United States is more than holding its own in numbers of oceangoing warships, and that technological gains do not help Soviet fleets escape the geographical bottlenecks barring easy access to blue water.

Essay, Jan 1977
Admiral Stansfield Turner

Comparisons of the seagoing armed forces of the Soviet Union and the United States are much in the news nowadays, and they are much in what happens behind the news. When our Secretary of State visits Moscow, or shuttles between capitals in Africa or the Middle East, he doubtless does not dwell on specific comparisons of military forces in his political talks, but the armed strength of our nation resonates in his words. Foreign policy transcends military capability, yet that capability tends to limit choices. Great wasteful wars have broken out in our century partly because of misperceived comparisons of armed forces. And war is as often a collapse as it is a continuation of foreign policy.

Essay, Jan 1977
Marshall D. Shulman

Among the problems experienced by democratic societies in managing their foreign affairs, none have been more beset with dilemmas both moral and practical, nor accompanied by more dispute and self-doubt concerning fundamental aspects of the democratic faith, than those arising as a consequence of relations with authoritarian regimes.

Essay, Oct 1976
Paul Doty, Albert Carnesale and Michael Nacht

As the nuclear age lengthens and the opportunity for viewing it in perspective grows, its essential features seem increasingly related to successive eight-year American presidential administrations. Measures to control nuclear weapons have been seriously considered in each of the first four postwar "octades," and there has been an acceleration in the number of agreements reached-most notably in limiting nuclear tests, slowing nuclear proliferation, restraining the quantitative growth of the Soviet and American nuclear arsenals, and restricting defenses against nuclear weapons.

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