Americas Foreign Policy: Drift or Decision by Martin Goldstein

By Martin Goldstein

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Does the American way of life suffer or benefit when the CIA secretly subsidizes a pro-American candidate in a foreign election? 1 Much of the debate among policymakers concerns the best means of advancing the national interest of the United States. While promotion of the national interest is a global undertaking, we shall systematically examine American policy toward the Soviet Union, the Third World, America's allies in Western Europe and Japan, and China. In so doing, we hope to gain a general understanding of the main tenets of American foreign policy.

American intervention in Korea, the Bay of Pigs landing in 1961, the Cuban missile confrontation in 1962, and the sustained US effort in Vietnam were all part of the containment policy. The orthodox interpretation of the Cold War, as we have seen, attributes United States-Soviet tension to Soviet aggressiveness. But affairs of diplomacy, no less than affairs of the heart, rarely admit Page 16 to a single interpretation. ) Revisionist historians place primary blame for the Cold War upon the United States and its Western allies.

The conference's Final Act, which recognized the permanence of existing boundaries, as the Soviets desired, also called upon the signatories to respect human rights. The Soviet Union never claimed to accept human rights in the Western sense of the term. According to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, the Communist party knows what is best for the populace, and whatever the party ordains advances the human rights of everyone in the society. Carter and his aides fired especially loud verbal salvos against the Kremlin's treatment of dissidents, such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Andrei Sakharov, and restrictions placed on Jews who wanted to leave Russia.

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