“The Way to the Rubicon”: American-Soviet Contacts in Science and Technology
The interaction between the USSR and the US during the Cold War was not always of a pronounced confrontational nature. In the early 1970s, the turn from confrontation to detente seemed sensational, but its very possibility was the result of a long evolution of bilateral US-Soviet relations and the system of international relations as such. This article discusses the reasons that prompted the US leadership to expand scientific and research and technology contacts with the Soviet Union in the late 1960s – early 1970s, clarifies the place of scientific and research and technology issues in constructing the US strategy towards the USSR at the beginning of the detente. Although these issues are outlined in the works of some Russian and international authors on Cold War history, no special studies on this problem have appeared so far. The conclusion argues that détente did not mean the US leadership’s rejection of the Cold War, it only temporarily shifted its focus from the arms race and nuclear potentials to the areas where the advantages of the US were more pronounced at the time – to compare living standards, the degree of openness of societies and the quality of the consumer market. The complex of bilateral treaties of 1972–1974 determined the direction and parameters of competitive interaction of the powers in these areas but did not guarantee the convergence and interpenetration of socio-political systems.
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