In This Review

Die Ära Nixon-Kissinger, 1969-1974
Die Ära Nixon-Kissinger, 1969-1974
By Christian Hacke
Klett-Cotta, 1983, 319 pp

Many Europeans cling to a more admiring view of Richard Nixon and especially of his foreign policy than most American observers manage to do. The Europeans are helped in this by their presumption that Nixon and Kissinger were Realpolitiker of the European school and partly by their neglecting the darker sides of American foreign policy at this time and often entirely ignoring the relationship between Nixon's foreign and domestic styles. This book, by a German political scientist, is a major scholarly effort, born of this view but cogently argued. The book concentrates on the "de-ideologizing" of U.S. relations with China and with the U.S.S.R. and praises the Nixon-Kissinger "classical balance-of-power game," as against Carter's futile moralism and Reagan's fruitless militancy. The book has instructive and relevant aperçus, such as the assertion that German Ostpolitik marked the beginning of an erosion of the U.S. leadership of the Alliance. It is a pity that so valuable a study pays so little attention to the domestic aspects of Nixon's foreign policy, to his self-defeating style at home, and to the character of American political life generally.