John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev meet in Vienna, June 3, 1961.

Changes and Chances in American-Soviet Relations

Our reactions to Soviet foreign policy have a way of jumping from one extreme to another, both in the long and short run, with more regard for changing superficial appearances than permanent objective factors. During the last year of the Second World War, we tended to idealize the Russians, Stalin became "Uncle Joe" to be charmed by Roosevelt into coöperation, and the United Nations, having done away with "power politics," was supposed to be the vehicle of that coöperation. From 1947 onwards, the Kremlin was perceived as the headquarters of the devil on earth, causing all that was wrong with the world and, more particularly, scheming the destruction of the United States. These extreme swings of the pendulum can also be observed in much shorter time spans.

On August 27, 1970, The New York Times reported from San Clemente that "authoritative White House sources have declared that the United States is prepared to join the Soviet Union in a two-nation peace-keeping force to maintain a settlement of the Middle East conflict. . . ." The reader was left with the clear inference that both the President and Mr. Henry Kissinger, his adviser on national security, had something to do with this statement. If Mr. Nixon had made such a statement ten years ago, it would have been judged at best to be utterly eccentric and at worst might have jeopardized the then Vice President's political career, and if Professor Kissinger had made such a statement 20 years ago, the House Un-American Activities Committee might have investigated him as a likely subversive.

Yet less than a month passed, and the atmosphere was drastically transformed. For the Soviet Union had not only violated the ceasefire agreement in the Middle East on a massive scale but seemed to have intended doing so from the outset. Furthermore, the Soviet Union was suspected to be building a submarine base in Cuba. Thus, Secretary of State Rogers, at his news conference of December 23, 1970, discounted as "totally impractical" the idea of such a

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