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Détente is a French-language political term meaning "relaxing" or "easing" of previously hostile relations. It most recently applied to the policy of ending the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the between the U.S. and China, as promoted 1969-79 by presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. The Russians rejected the détente by their escalation of tensions in the Third World, and especially their invasion of previously neutral Afghanistan in 1979. Nixon, however, achieved a détente with China in 1972 that continues today. The key advisor and proponent of détente was Henry Kissinger.

See also

Further reading

  • Garthoff, Raymond L. Detente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (1994), by a supporter of détente. excerpt and text search
  • Suri, Jeremi. Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Detente (2005) excerpt and text search