Detente is the policy that aimed at reducing the cold war tensions in the world. It is defined as the dealing with other nations in a practical and realistic manner. It was carried out between 1969-80. The policy required showing of flexibility at both ends so that it could be effectively implemented.
Richard Nixon realized the importance of reduced tensions, and he was instrumental in initiating the policy. He was the first president to visit China after World war II. He also visited Soviet Union in 1972. His visit to the Soviet Union was of paramount importance due to the fact, he was there to sign a treaty that would limit the number of ballistic missiles each country could hold. The treaty was called Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty or SALT I. He, and his Russian counterpart Brezhnev signed the treaty that was a historical achievement.
In the Western world, Willy Brandt (Chancellor of West Germany) quickly realized that healthy relationships would be beneficial for West Germany and his policy showed great flexibility and commitment to reducing the Cold War tensions. He showed desire to improve the relationships with Soviet Union for the promotion of peace. He was also willing to recognize East Germany and Poland’s West border. Having profitable and good relationships with the neighbours is the key to the economic and socio-political growth of a country.
After Nixon’s tenure ended, Jimmy Carter assumed the duties of presidency in the United States and he continued with the policy of Detente as a part of his foreign policy. His attempts were directed to negotiate further reduction in nuclear missiles. Although Carter’s efforts were honest, his attempts to put further limits on nuclear ammunition by signing SALT II in 1979 were hampered because the Congress refused to pass the SALT-II treaty.