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Transcending the Cold WarSummits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–1990$
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Kristina Spohr and David Reynolds

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727507.001.0001

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Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–90

Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–90

(p.233) 9 Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–90
Transcending the Cold War

Kristina Spohr

David Reynolds

Oxford University Press

The European Cold War grew out of ideological antagonism, nuclear rivalry, and competition over Germany. By 1970, however, these pressures had eased, offering scope for summitry. This chapter analyses key meetings of the 1970s and 1980s in three phases: thawing, living with, and transcending the Cold War. It also identifies three points at which ‘creative summitry’, as opposed to structural forces, made a difference to the Cold War endgame. First, in helping ‘de-other’ the alien Other, especially by Nixon’s 1972 visits to Beijing and Moscow. Second, via the Reagan-Gorbachev synergy, to sign a treaty abolishing all intermediate-range nuclear weapons in 1987. Third, in expediting German unification within the framework of NATO, through the Kohl-Gorbachev entente backed by George H.W. Bush. Emphasizing the essentials of trust, performance, vision, and pragmatism, this chapter ends by exploring the skills of statesmen who dare, in Churchill’s phrase, to ‘parley at the summit’.

Keywords:   Cold War, ideology, German question, creative summitry, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, ‘the Other’, nuclear weapons

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