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The Rise and Decline of the American Century$
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William O. III Walker

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501726132

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501726132.001.0001

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Attaining Primacy

Attaining Primacy

Chapter:
(p.183) 7 Attaining Primacy
Source:
The Rise and Decline of the American Century
Author(s):

William O. Walker III

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501726132.003.0008

This chapter explores Richard Nixon’s and Henry Kissinger’s disdain for hegemony and search for primacy as they sought to refurbish America’s tarnished reputation. Through their pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union and China, their resort to the Nixon Doctrine (to exit as gracefully as possible from Indochina), and the meeting at the Smithsonian Institution in December 1971 to restore America’s global economic stature, they attempted to achieve U.S. primacy in world affairs. Their efforts to implement the novel grand strategy of strategic globalism fell short, as seen in the difficulty of extricating the United States from Vietnam, Nixon’s Watergate imbroglio, and the presence of competing visions of world order among allies, most notably in West Germany’s pursuit of Ostpolitik.

Keywords:   détente, Henry Kissinger, Nixon Doctrine, Ostpolitik, primacy, Smithsonian Institution, strategic globalism, Watergate

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