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Détente and the end of the Cold War

Détente and the end of the Cold War -...

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D é tente and the end of the Cold War American foreign policy took a new direction during the 1970s. Under President Richard  Nixon,  d é tente,  an easing of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union,  led to increased trade and cultural exchanges and, most important, to an agreement to  limit nuclear weapons — the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I). In the same  year, Nixon began the process of normalizing relations with the People's Republic of  China.  Superpower rivalry continued for a time, however. The Soviet Union's invasion of  Afghanistan resulted in an American-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.  President Reagan actively supported anti-communist, anti-left-wing forces in both 
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Unformatted text preview: Nicaragua and El Salvador, which he considered client states of the Soviet Union (the "evil empire"). He increased American defense spending significantly during his first term. The Soviet Union simply could not match these expenditures. Faced with a serious economic crisis, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev instituted new policies called glasnost (openness) and perestroika (economic restructuring) that eased tensions with the United States. By the early 1990s, the Cold War had effectively come to an end. The Soviet Union ceased to exist with the independence of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, and the Central Asian republics....
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