Ten Commandments of
An Historical Analysis of the
Nixon Administration's Foreign Policy and its Compatibility with Contending
International Relations Paradigms and Conflict Mediation Theory
Justin S. Vaughn
Illinois State University
Nixon Cox, the daughter of former President Richard Nixon, was cleaning out her
father's private desk following his funeral she came across a notecard stashed
away in a small drawer. Printed on the
card were ten rules that Nixon had believed were essential to international
interaction and negotiation. These
rules were intended to serve as guidelines for state leadership when engaging
and cooperating with other states. Over
time, these guidelines have come to be known as Richard Nixon's Ten
Commandments of Statecraft.
thirty years after Nixon's resignation from office, the former president's
legacy has crystallized as that of a foreign policy genius and international
negotiator par excellence. Much can be learned from an analysis of
Richard Nixon's international principles and foreign policies, particularly
when combined with the luxury of three decades of historical reflection and the
current trend of shifting global power.
Moreover, the current atmosphere of international conflict and crisis,
of which the United States is a primary player, calls for reconsideration of
all approaches to international relations and negotiation, particularly those
articulated by one of the most renowned diplomats and politicians of the
this paper I will provide comparative analysis between the principles outlined
in Nixon's Ten Commandments of Statecraft and the actions taken in the
international arena during the Nixon administration. Each commandment will be introduced, detailed, and applied to
historical evidence to determine the degree to which Nixon truly relied upon
his own philosophy. While a number of
states will be discussed, special effort will be made to apply examples of
Nixon's foreign policies toward the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of
China, with particular respect to power struggles with the former and endeavors
for rapprochement with the latter.
imminent critique will not be the only form of analysis applied to Nixon's Ten
Commandments of Statecraft. To make
this project even more applicable to the discipline of international relations,
two additional modes of analysis will be provided. First, each commandment will be identified by the degree to which
the guideline does or does not parallel any of the contending paradigms of
international relations. Second, the
work of Marieke Kleiboer, the renowned international conflict mediation
scholar, will be applied to Nixon's framework for international negotiation to
determine if her theories of mediation and his theories of negotiation can be
format of this paper will include a discussion of the contending international
relations paradigms, providing an operational definition and identification of
the fundamental components of each.
Following this, a survey of Kleiboer's seminal text The Multiple Realities of International Mediation will be provided. Particular importance will be assigned to
Kleiboer's Four Theoretical Ideal Types of International Mediation and the
analytical themes by which each can be measured. This discussion will be followed by the introduction,
description, and historical analysis of each commandment. Also included will be analysis regarding the
relationship between each commandment and the applicable international
relations paradigm, as well as the relationship to Kleiboer's theories. Following this, a conclusion will be offered
interpreting the compatibility of Nixon's international performance with the
rules he left behind to govern such interaction. Additional evaluation of Nixon's overall diplomatic ideology with
respect to international relations paradigms and to Kleiboer's theoretical
framework will also be provided. I
argue that such examination and comparative analysis can be used both to better
understand Nixon's successes and failures, as well as to demonstrate the
applicability of his commandments to contemporary U.S. foreign policy endeavors
and crises – in Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and
International Relations Paradigms
the purpose of this project, I will adopt Geoffrey Stern's position on
contemporary contending international relations paradigms, thus limiting the
field to the following general schools: the idealist/utopian, the modern
realist, and the Stalinist/Marxist.
Admittedly this limitation ignores several other important and pertinent
paradigms – including structuralism, revolutionism, and rationalism – but in
the interest of brevity and historical relativity, this project will adhere to
the aforementioned over-arching and more easily applicable schools. In this section I will introduce these
paradigms, referred to by Stern as post-1919 paradigms, thus providing an
operative understanding of each and a basic summary of the essential qualities
and components of which they are comprised.
The purpose of this section is to promote better comprehension of the
correlation (or lack thereof) between leading ideologies in international
relations and the philosophical character of Nixon's Ten Commandments of
Statecraft on an individual and collective basis.
The idealist/utopian paradigm represents a
departure from state-centric world politics and regards the individual in a
global setting as the appropriate unit of study. According to Stern, the complex of notions
that comprised the idealist/utopian paradigm included the belief that
"human nature was fundamentally good and capable of unselfish action, that
there was an essential harmony of interests between the states of international
society and that the morality or otherwise of foreign policy could be
objectively assessed." Charles Kegley adds the ideas that "the
fundamental concern for the welfare of others makes progress possible" and
that based on the progressive view of history held by idealists, "global
change and cooperation are not only possible but empirically pervasive."
idealist/utopian paradigm evolved and came into disciplinary vogue following
World War I. This was in part due to
the support of prominent politicians and scholars, namely American President
Woodrow Wilson and scholars Alfred Zimmern and Philip Noel-Baker. As noted, idealism bases its ideological
presumptions and practices on a rather generous view of human nature. In doing so, conventional society and its
institutions are condemned for the sins of corrupting human interaction. Idealists also believe that war could be
avoided in the future if the causes of war were sufficiently understood and
those involved could take away the appropriate knowledge. Due to the belief of the essential
'goodness' in humankind, such adverse behavior had to be produced by the flawed
institutions of an international system, such as elitist politics, secret
diplomacy, imperialism, armaments, weak and inadequate intergovernmental
institutions, and widespread ignorance of world affairs.
favors the whim and wish of the individual, as opposed to the goals and desires
of the state and/or the elites who control state action. Since idealists believe that 'people never
want war,' they advocate a democratization of political control and a more
learned public able to make informed choices as two of the fundamental ways to
reform both international institutions and domestic political structures. Other key ingredients in the
idealist/utopian paradigm's recipe for international cooperation include open
diplomacy, national self-determination, disarmament, legislation to outlaw war,
and new international institutions to encourage cooperation and collective
security. Also present is a sincere dedication to
international communication and negotiation as diplomatic tools, particularly
when compared to the alternative. This
disposition is mirrored in the idealist crusade to legally abolish the use of
war as a tool of foreign policy, formally attempted in the Kellogg-Briand pact
of 1928 and institutionally through the development of collective security
organizations and the failed League of Nations.
clear departure from the idealist/utopian paradigm, the modern realist paradigm evolved out of renowned scholar E.H. Carr's
critique of the idealist/utopian paradigm's values. Carr's indictment was multi-faceted, and
harangued the idealists for too much concern with what "ought" to be
and what is desirable and not enough concern with what "is" and what
is feasible. Carr felt the idealists
were culture-bound intellectuals with little notion of the collective
self-interest behind their ideology, that they were far too judgmental of
statesmen and assumed that diplomats had almost unlimited ability to interact
with other diplomats, and that the idealist position of cooperation as against
conflict, solidarity as against self-interest, and harmony as against discord
belied a lack of understanding of either history or human nature. In response, a great debate between
"realists" (those represented by Carr's arguments) and
"utopians" emerged in the pre-World War II years. Following Carr and his contemporaries, the
modern realist banner has been taken up by such international relations legends
as Hans Morgenthau, Raymond Aron, and Henry Kissinger.
modern realist paradigm is distinct from the classical realist position in that
it is able to respond to changes in the international landscape and that its
position on human nature was not as bleak as the Hobbesian characterization of
the classicists. Modern realists do not embrace the
justification for authoritarian rule nor do they explicitly endorse violence as
an acceptable foreign policy tool.
As Stern notes, many leading modern
realists, including Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Wight, were pacifists. The distinction between modern realists and
classical realists is important to make to provide the reader with a more
concrete view of the modern realist paradigm and to dispel common
modern realism does take a far more cynical view of human nature than the
idealist/utopian paradigm and is based on a number of assumptions contrary and
often in direct conflict with idealism.
These assumptions include, first, that due to the absence of world
government and global moral consensus, the environment of international
relations is one of anarchy. According
to Viotti and Kauppi, "International politics or the international system
are said to be anarchic in that there is no central or superordinate authority
over states." Second, modern realists argue that the state
is still the primary actor on the international stage, despite the increasing
existence and importance of various non-governmental entities, and that
recognition of sovereignty is the basis of the international political
process. Third, international relations
must be grounded in a self-help mentality.
This means that national interest, self-reliance, and even self-assertion
are prioritized in the decision-making process. Viotti and Kauppi further define 'self-help' in the following
context: "Each state faces a self-help situation in which it is dangerous
to place the security of one's own country in the hands of another." Fourth, the state is rational in that
leadership must make a cost-benefit analysis of options and favor the most
cost-effective way of achieving objectives.
Fifth, in a world of power-hungry demagogues and dictators, the politics
of not being overpowered is the only feasible course. Sixth, due to the instability of the global community, foreign
policy objectives must be prioritized over domestic concerns. And finally, seventh, while ideals are
beneficial and significant, foreign politics needs to be tempered by
considerations of power. In essence,
modern realists would argue that the desirable must be sought within the
framework of the possible.
the Stalinist/Marxist paradigm,
while possibly the least applicable to the Nixon Doctrine, is of significant
importance given the historical evolution of the paradigm and the ideological
basis of the Nixon Administration's two most important diplomatic
partners/competitors: the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. As the idealist/utopian paradigm was
experiencing growing pains and the modern realist paradigm was dominating the
discipline in the West, a very different paradigm was emerging in the
post-World War II years in the Soviet bloc.
Combining recent Soviet history with the fundamental notion of Marxist
thought – progress through conflict – a peculiarly Stalinist version of Marx's
theory began to govern Soviet foreign policy.
more militant in nature (stemming from the Soviet Union's defensive posture
after decades of alternating international onslaught and isolation as well as
the revolutionary sense of alienation and violence inherent in Marxism) than
either of the previously mentioned paradigms, the Stalinist/Marxist paradigm
placed its emphasis in class solidarity as opposed to state preference or
popular support. National boundaries
and identities were dismissed as comparatively unimportant. Wars did not stem from rational analysis and
national interest as the realists assumed, or from failed interstate communication
or secretive foreign policy as the idealist advocated, but rather were the
product of competing ideologies. Wars
were, in particular, "a function of capitalist imperialism and a
consequence of domestic class struggle and would persist until the Communist
millennium was achieved – a classless stateless world of altruistic and
imperialist distinction borrows heavily from Vladimir Lenin's interpretation of
Marx and his view that the inevitable revolution Marx predicted would not
happen within a developed state for a variety of reasons, particularly
capitalism's exploitation of foreign workers, and instead would take place on
the international stage. Given the ideological need for collectivity
and singular identity in the authoritarian governments of Leninist and
Stalinist Russia, Western ideas of individual liberty and republican democracy
could not be tolerated within Soviet borders.
Moreover, Marxists saw the expansion of capitalism as perpetually
eroding the divisions between sovereign nation-states and replacing the
international structure with a world capitalist society split between two
classes: the global proletariat and the international bourgeoisies. Accordingly, a paradigm of isolation such as
the Stalinist/Marxist paradigm was necessary, and the ideological conflict that
ensued set the stage for the Nixon administration's foreign policy and,
ultimately, Nixon's Ten Commandments of Statecraft.
Ideal Types of International Mediation
second basis of external analysis for Richard Nixon's Ten Commandments of
Statecraft used in this project stems from the theoretical work of Marieke
Kleiboer. Kleiboer's seminal text The Multiple Realities of International
Mediation marks an interesting and significant addition to the body of
literature on international conflict resolution. Although a thorough study and critique of Kleiboer's theories
would be a meaningful complement to international negotiation and conflict resolution
thought, for the purpose of this project the attention paid to Kleiboer's work
will be limited to discussion of her four ideal types of international
mediation. These theoretical models are
as follows: International Mediation as power brokerage; International Mediation
as political problem-solving; International Mediation as domination; and
International Mediation as restructuring relationships. Kleiboer also detailed three analytic themes
by which to measure the previously noted ideal types: the nature of
international politics, the rationale of conflict management, and the essence
of international mediation.
delving into Kleiboer's ideal types, it is essential to define international
mediation. According to Kleiboer, the
key features of mediation are "its non-forceful, extra-legal (e.g. not
branding parties as either right or wrong), and communicative approach to
Another definition of mediation is as "an outside perspective brought in
to help find ways to resolve a deadlocked conflict when parties desire progress
but cannot resolve issues themselves." Mediation is increasingly being used as one
of the means for dealing with intractable interstate conflict. Canadian involvement in eastern Zaire, the
Ecuador-Peru peace process, and the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland
are among the more notable successes of conflict resolution through mediation. In addition, Macedonia arguably offers the
most complex and multifaceted approach to preventative conflict
management. Alice Ackerman argues that
despite ethnic problems, "Macedonia continues on the path to democracy and
economic transition" and "continues to show the world that
inter-ethnic conflict can be satisfactorily managed through the respect of
minority and other human rights, dialogue, negotiations, power sharing,
compromise, statesmanship, and grassroots action," all fundamental
components of Kleiboer's mediation approach. However, despite its growing importance, Kleiboer
notes that scholarly consensus on the pertinent questions and answers central
to mediation is far from prevalent. The
key areas of unresolved debate concern the problems of outcome assessment and
process analysis. In other words,
"by what standards do or should we measure the success of mediation
attempts?" (outcome assessment) and "how can we explain mediation
documents three modes of analysis to be applied to the following ideal types,
each of which represents a different set of research questions. Kleiboer refers to these modes of analysis
as the Burrell and Morgan framework, noting that they were based on Gibson
Burrell and Gareth Morgan's 1979 work Sociological
Paradigms and Organisational Analysis,
which offers both Kleiboer's adopted operative definition of 'paradigm' and an
approach to develop new theoretical paradigms and comparatively analyze
mode of analysis regards the nature of
international politics. This analyzes
a paradigm in two ways. First, the
question is asked, "What sort of actors are there in international
politics?" Upon identifying the
various states, organizations, individuals, or other types of parties involved,
a second set of questions are asked:
"How does conflict arise among them?" and "What are the
causes of international conflict?" This introduces who is involved in a
particular conflict and what the conflict is over; important facts to be clear
when attempting to resolve conflicts.
second mode of analysis concerns the
rationale of conflict management.
This mode questions the evaluation and management of conflict. In the first part of this mode, the
questions are asked, "How is conflict to be evaluated and given this
assessment?" and "What are the key functions of conflict
management?" Following this, the
question must be answered, "Given the causes of conflict (refer back to
the first mode of analysis), how feasible is conflict management by means of
mediation?" This mode distinguishes the manner of
conflict at hand and determines if mediation is the appropriate tool for
mode, which is related to the essence of
international mediation, is perhaps the most complex. This mode is only applied after mediation is
determined to be a suitable method for the resolution of a particular
conflict. The first step asks,
"Given its core functions and feasibility (refer back to the second mode
of analysis), what constitutes mediation success?" Following this, the matter of which
evaluation criteria are to be taken into account when measuring mediation
success must be addressed. Next, the
question must be answered, "What is the key factor determining mediation
outcomes (e.g., the crucial resource for achieving mediation success)?" The fourth step in this mode of analysis
determines who are the most likely mediators of a conflict and questions their
motives. Fifth, it must be decided when
a mediator should be involved in a conflict.
For example, "What is the proper timing of intermediary
intervention?" is a typical question to be asked at this stage. Finally, the question is considered,
"Why would parties accept third-party intervention and why would they
accept a particular mediator?" This mode of analysis concerns the role of
mediation in a particular conflict, identifying the ultimate objective, as well
as the strategy for gaining acceptance for mediation in the resolution process
of a particular conflict.
includes a fourth mode of analysis, the study of international mediation, but
given its purely scholarly application it does not directly relate to this
project. As such, it will not be
included in the remainder of this paper, but merits definition nonetheless. The questions in this mode concern how to
construct mediation theory, what methodology to use in this construction, and
how to determine the relationship between people and their environment.
each of these modes to measure and define her four ideal types of international
mediation, which will be discussed below.
The first of Kleiboer's ideal types, International Mediation as Power Brokerage, involves conflict
between state actors with a strict boundary between the domestic and
international political stage.
Consciously modeled on a realist basis and quite similar to Stern's
modern realist paradigm, Kleiboer supports this type by detailing the argument
for why the state is still the most important actor on the international
stage. This argument considers the
state's ability to wage war, the greater responsibility of the state than all
transnational organizations, governmental sovereignty, and the fact that
non-state entities only exist at the will of national governments. However, recent global developments,
particularly those leading to the United States' current war against terrorism,
would challenge this assumption.
Kleiboer also associates the nature of international politics in this
model with organized anarchy, another tenet of modern realism, albeit slightly
modified. While in pursuit of national
interests, which Kleiboer argues is the primary justification for all state
action, states clash over limited resources and values. This clash is reinforced by the
decentralized structure of the international system. This embedded source of conflict results in
a continuous struggle for power between states, reinforcing an atmosphere of
insecurity with the threat of violence. In other words, the cause of conflict is a
system-induced clash of state interests in an anarchical society.
management is rationalized in this model because these conflicts are a threat
to international stability. With
respect to mediation feasibility, Kleiboer argues, "Given the anarchic
structure of the international system, conflict settlement is the maximum
feasible outcome of third-party intervention." The success of mediation attempts is outcome
oriented, specifically focused on maintaining the stability of the
international system. Mediation is a
pragmatic tool to be used in the short term.
The great powers are the most likely interventionists, given their power
and skills, as well as their heightened stake in maintaining international
stability. Acceptance of the mediator's
role and suggestions by the primary parties relies on the estimation of the
mediator's power to help secure national interests of the conflicting states
and the estimation of risks inherent in a declining relationship with the
mediator. This type of international mediation is
geared toward protecting the status quo while dealing with conflicts and
inequalities in a manner designed to protect the integrity of the system,
global stability, and the national interests of the great powers directly or
second ideal type, International Mediation
as Political Problem-Solving, concerns conflicts stemming from foreign
policy elites acting on behalf of states and non-state institutions. In this model, "international conflict
is a contingent result of psycho-political dynamics of misperceptions." In other words, sometimes elites act in ways
that seem to directly oppose their national interest. An example of this would be Saddam Hussein's decision to invade
Kuwait despite the fact that it would certainly estrange the Arab states and
likely create a military showdown with the West, which it did. This ideal type focuses on the containment
of crises, or conflicts that have reached the point where there is a chance of
war, and justifies international statecraft under the reasoning that violent conflict
has built-in escalation tendencies and poses a severe threat to the
international system and humanity in general.
Conflict management feasibility is high in such cases because the
conflict is not endemic, but rather actor-induced by the actions of
elites. As a result, third-party
assistance with conflict resolution is possible and often desirable considering
it is a peaceful means to a peaceful end.
International mediation as a
tool of foreign policy is outcome oriented with the objectives of preventing
and containing violence in the international system. Mediation involves policy elites – including political,
bureaucratic, and opposition leaders – on a short to medium-term basis for the
purpose of eliminating immediate threats of violence and improving diplomatic
relations between all contestants. In
this ideal type, reliance upon the great powers is not as systemic as in
Kleiboer's first ideal type, and mediation efforts are often made by
"actors committed to termination of violence in world affairs," using
"information, analytical and communication skills, plus a commitment to
peace" as resources for resolution. Mediator acceptance is again related to the
reputation and skills of the mediator.
Mediation leverage may play a role, but is not a necessity.
International Mediation as Domination,
Kleiboer's third ideal type, is defined as a process intended to resolve
conflict between economic classes and their representatives. In this ideal type the distinction between
domestic and international arenas is irrelevant, since the source of the
problem stems not from political and governmental concerns per se but from a
system-induced clash of economic interests not confined to particular states or
organizations, but rather between centers and peripheries, both within and
between the states. With the increasing
trends of globalization and fragmentation, "global vulnerability to
economic, political, and military turbulence has increased markedly." In particular, this trend has created an
ever-growing gap between the international haves and have-nots, also known as
the Center-Periphery division. This
division creates a relationship of dependency and inequality, casting the
have-nots as functioning subordinates in the capitalist world system. Moreover, not only do the wealthy industrial
hegemony exploit the periphery, but also within nations there are
"clientele social classes" that are instruments of exploitation. The current crisis between radical Islamic
fundamentalists and the West, particularly the war between the United States
and Osama bin Laden, could fall into this type of conflict.
such conflicts, international statecraft is essential to make visible and
change the exploitative nature of the current capitalist-dominated
international system. However, the
implication for the feasibility of conflict management in this type of conflict
is not encouraging. Conflict
resolution, in this case a fundamental change in world economic structure, can
only occur through settlement of the conflict (i.e. ending violence in the
periphery states and classes). Such a
change is impossible by third-party intervention. Considering this, mediation success is a
logical impossibility, due to the group dynamic involved and the requisites of
mediation. The scope of this conflict
is all encompassing; if a state or class is not a victim of inequality, it is a
perpetrator. The spatial dimension of
the conflict is systemic, and if a mediator were to be assigned they would be
representative of the dominant powers and would act to maintain the current
system. The process itself would be a
contradiction since the mediator is being forced upon parties by the powerful,
status quo oriented actors who are responsible for the dependency that caused
the conflict and are not interested in reforming the system that perpetuates
the injustice. Moreover, mediation in its operative sense
could not be engaged because this process would essentially require an
assignment of blame and unilateral concessions on the part of one party.
Kleiboer's fourth ideal type focuses on International
Mediation as Restructuring Relationships.
This ideal type of conflict resolution focuses on emancipatory struggles
based on identity groups. In such a
conflict, Kleiboer argues that the distinction between domestic and
international politics is artificial. This form of conflict results from an
identity group's perception that one or several of their interrelationships is
illegitimate. Examples of this type of
conflict include the violence in Cyprus between the Greek government and
Turkish Cypriots and the dangerous rivalry between India and Pakistan over
Kashmir. The neorealist institutions
currently governing the international system make a lasting positive peace in
such conflicts impossible because they focus on eliminating violence as a
threat to international order, not getting to the root of the problem and
remedying the tensions between the parties involved. Conflict resolution analysts are split on
this issue; some stress the importance of resolving all underlying problems,
not merely settling conflicts. Others
regard such complete resolution as the rare outcome of a very long process.
goal of such conflict is to achieve emancipation from illegitimate social
relationships, there is a significant valuation of international
statecraft. Considering the danger of
these conflicts elevating to violence and the inherent escalation of violent
conflict, international conflict management is vital to engage before a
conflict reaches crisis stage. Conflict
settlement and resolution are possible through third-party assistance, often by
creating mutually acceptable and legitimate relationships between the
government and the governed. Mediation
as a tool of resolution is both process and outcome oriented since creating a
new relationship (outcome) is only part of the strategy. Equally important is enabling maximum
participation and power-free communication (process).
mediation in this ideal type is oriented for the long-term and aims at
institutional reform, not merely achieving a cease-fire. The mediation process is primarily localized
and is focused on fostering quality relationships in the area of conflict. For this form of conflict, Kleiboer argues
that mediation is the only way to secure resolution. Mediators are often neutral parties committed to social changes
and a humanistic world order, and are often accepted only if influential actors
in all parties involved approve of the mediator's reputation and skills.
a whole, Kleiboer provides a comprehensive and complex measuring system for
state action on the international stage, as well as increased understanding of
the possible motivation behind such actions.
Principles such as those advocated in Nixon's Ten Commandments of
Statecraft potentially could be applied to Kleiboer's standards if the
motivations and historical relevance to parties can be determined.
Nixon's Ten Commandments of Statecraft
notecard that Tricia Nixon Cox found in her father's desk that day in 1994
contained a printed message and a list of guidelines. It read:
President needs a global view, a sense of proportion and a keen sense of the
possible. He needs to know how power
operates and he must have the will to use it.
If I could
carve ten rules into the walls of the Oval Office for my successors in the
dangerous years just ahead, they would be these…."
Nixon then listed the rules of international negotiation and
interaction that have since become known as the Ten Commandments of Statecraft. This collection of rules was to serve as
instructions for state leadership while interacting and cooperating with other
states. They range from the attitude
and style of negotiation to relations with other states, both adversary and
This section of the paper will introduce each of Nixon's
rules for international negotiation. As
each is listed, described in its historical context, and comparatively analyzed
to determine the consistency of Nixon's actions with his words, they will also
be examined and categorized both in terms of international relations paradigms
and Kleiboer's framework for conflict resolution and international mediation.
Prepared to Negotiate, but Never Negotiate Without Being Prepared.
It is of the utmost importance to enter every negotiation,
regardless of the level of formality, cognizant of what one hopes to
accomplish, what issues are appropriate for compromise and which are not, and
what one is willing to give up to gain what one finds vital. Such an emphasis on bargaining and
deal-making reflects the notion of zero-sum politics often associated with
international relations. Throughout his
political career, Richard Nixon was relentless in preparation for everything –
from investigating Alger Hiss as a congressman to immersing himself in Russian
politics and culture before visiting the Soviet Union as a Vice President.
Probably the best example of
Nixon's preparation for negotiations concerned both the Soviet Union and the
People's Republic of China. Scheduled
for a Moscow summit in the summer of 1972, Nixon was intent on achieving
détente and doing so specifically through brokering an arms control agreement
known as SALT. To secure such a pact, Nixon needed to send
a message to the Soviets that could be sent in only one of two ways: developing
an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) to repel missile strikes or developing
rapprochement with mainland China, the Soviet's uneasy Marxist ally and
historic adversary to the south. Despite cries that attempts to achieve
either would destabilize relations with the Soviets, the U.S. Senate approved
ABM (by one vote) and Nixon signed the historic agreement establishing an
American mission in China four months before the Moscow summit. As Nixon traveled to Moscow that summer he
had two strong cards up his sleeve. He
now coupled the U.S. arms deployment with an approach to Moscow's deadliest
potential enemy. As he left Moscow,
Nixon carried with him three accords bearing Communist Party Secretary Leonid
Brezhnev's signature: the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, a preliminary accord on
the limitation of Soviet arms, and a pact outlining the basic principles of the
United States-Soviet relationship.
In terms of the relationship of
this commandment to the contending paradigms of international relations, there
is no clear fit into the ideology of a particular paradigm. This is the case with most, if not all, of Nixon's
Ten Commandments of Statecraft. This
particular commandment has aspects that fit into the idealist/utopian paradigm
and others that fit into the modern realist paradigm. The motivation for this commandment is obviously national
interest, a modern realist theme, but the very idea of negotiation indicates a
desire to preserve global stability and avert violent conflict, which are more
idealist concerns. Naturally, it can
also be argued that it is also in the national self-interest to avoid such
conflict. This is indicative of a theme
that is repeatedly found throughout Nixon's foreign policy: the use of realist
means to achieve idealist ends. As a
result, many of his commandments, including this one, can fit into both
paradigms, although, overall, this rule would fit most comfortably within the
framework of the modern realist.
As far as Kleiboer's ideal types
are concerned, this commandment could only fit into her first framework,
mediation as power brokerage. This is
the case with most of Nixon's commandments, given the state-centric basis of
his principles. Only one of Kleiboer's
four types is solely dedicated to state-centric international politics. The second framework, mediation as political
problem-solving, can involve elite representatives of states, but this type
still maintains a significant focus on the individual. An argument could be made for the second
model and its applicability to this commandment, since elites are typically
involved in the negotiation between powers such as in this example. Nevertheless, the First Commandment of
Statecraft is more aptly associated with Kleiboer's first ideal type since it
essentially represents the same idea: conflicting states coming to the table to
negotiate a resolution to differences for the good of the states involved and the
international system at large. While
mediation has a more positive and blame-free approach, Nixon's first rule and
Kleiboer's first ideal type are similar enough to make a positive comparison.
II. Never Be
Belligerent, but Always Be Firm.
In the spring of 1972, President
Nixon sensed that the framework for success he had crafted for the upcoming
Moscow summit was starting to weaken.
The deterioration of the South Vietnamese army threatened to weaken his
negotiation position, despite the beginning of ABM deployment and the
"triangulation" of diplomacy with the Soviet Union and the People's
Republic of China. Had Soviet tanks overridden South Vietnam,
there would have been no way that Nixon could have gone to Moscow and not lost
face. Instead, Nixon ordered the mining
of Haiphong Harbor to prevent the shipment of Soviet arms to the North
Vietnamese. Nixon's justification for
this was that a massive South Vietnamese retreat would signal a weakness of the
United States that the Soviets would exploit.
This would result not in negotiation but in dictation of terms by the
Soviets. "Impotence," warned
Nixon, "is not a positive force in diplomacy."
Later that summer, in Moscow,
Nixon could afford to be calm. He had
already made his point in the mining of Haiphong Harbor. Further rhetorical denunciation of communism
would have been belligerent. Communist
Party Secretary Brezhnev was not in such a position, appearing considerably
more restless and tense than Nixon.
Eventually Brezhnev broke and roared accusations of barbarism and
references to Soviet missile capability.
Nixon coolly replied, "Is that a threat?" repeatedly until
Brezhnev returned to his seat.
Throughout the summit, Brezhnev demanded the United States agree to the
North Vietnamese's terms for an early end to the war. Nixon politely but consistently refused, saying he preferred a
just settlement for all sides. In the end, Brezhnev lost tremendous face
during the entire event – for not calling off the summit, for belying his weakness
with belligerence, for resorting to threats when all involved realized the
folly – and the result was evident by the unilateral diplomatic victory
achieved by the Americans on Soviet soil.
According to Humes, "Nixon knew the difference between being firm
and being belligerent, and in his negotiation he manifested resolve and avoided
empty threats of retaliation."
In terms of the affiliation of
this rule and a particular international relations paradigm, this advice would
correspond with the ideals of the modern realists. In the end the choice of a calm response over a belligerent
response is motivated by a desire to improve position in power politics, a
fundamental component of realist thought.
As far as Kleiboer's ideal types
are concerned, mediation cannot really be applied to this guideline. Nixon is essentially advising a tactic for
successful negotiation, not a particular way of achieving conflict resolution,
although the two can be related.
Kleiboer's first ideal type concerning power brokerage would probably be
the most similar to this commandment since that model analyzes state
interaction to solve conflicts and Nixon is advocating a particular mentality
to adopt to successfully engage in such interaction. In this sense, Nixon's principle could be applied to Kleiboer's
model because such a demeanor would assist all involved in the resolution
process with discovering a solution to a conflict that was mutually acceptable
to the actors, but would not infringe too drastically upon any of the actor's
primary interests since they would maintain a modicum of firmness with respect
to their most important issues.
Remember That Covenants Should be Openly Agreed To but Privately Negotiated.
Richard Nixon quite possibly
wrote this rule in response to recurring conflict he (and many other
presidents) had with a Congress that was upset with the secretive diplomacy
routinely engaged in by the executive branch.
Nixon had great respect for Wilsonian idealism, but little support for
the argument in favor of allowing the entire world to see the diplomatic
activities of states. In fact, the wording of this rule is a
direct response to an historic quote by Woodrow Wilson, who once pledged
"open covenants … openly arrived at" in Versailles.
Given the bureaucratic
resentment of open relations with the People's Republic of China, the
diplomatic implications of the Soviet Union's knowledge of normalized relations
between the Americans and the Chinese, and the fervor of the Cultural
Revolution and its purges in China, open diplomacy was not an option to Nixon
and his Chinese counterparts. Instead,
Nixon embarked on a Metternichian guise of diplomacy, complete with secret
envoys, veiled messages passed through the media, and a network of
international connections between himself and the Chinese Premier Chou En-lai
that included de Gaulle of France, Ceausescu of Romania, and Yahya Kahn of
Pakistan. After a contingent of American ping-pong
players were invited to China and Henry Kissinger took a secret flight to a
Chinese military airport, an official invitation was extended to President
Nixon from Beijing to visit the People's Republic of China; Nixon quickly
accepted. A few months later the
historic normalization agreement was signed between the two nations. As sinful as such cloak-and-dagger methods
seem to a nation that prides itself on democracy and openness, the Shanghai
Communiqué would probably never have been signed any other way. As James Humes wrote, "The diplomatic
triumph of the century would have never occurred in the white heat of
terms of an affiliation with one of the contending international relations
paradigms, this rule essentially straddles the line between the modern realist
and the idealist/utopian. The rule
itself draws directly from the words of Woodrow Wilson, one of the founding
fathers of idealism in international relations, but is pragmatically
reconfigured, resulting in a more realist tenor. Accordingly, the rule seems to represent the goal of idealism
tempered with the realities of the international political arena. As was discussed, it is often simply
impossible to maintain full transparency in diplomacy and achieve meaningful
gains. Here again can be found the
recurring Nixonian theme of realist means to achieve idealist ends.
In terms of analysis by
Kleiboer's ideal types, this commandment can be related to both Kleiboer's
first and second philosophies of international mediation. The first type regarding power brokerage
relates to the fact that two parties (states) are engaging in a conflict
resolution mechanism, in Nixon's case, negotiation, but this maxim could
certainly be applied to mediation efforts.
Following this, Kleiboer's first framework can easily be applied to the
Third Commandment of Statecraft. The
second ideal type regarding political problem-solving also comes into play due
to the private and secretive atmosphere of international negotiation mandated
by this commandment. This lack of
transparency, no matter how valid, takes control and efficacy away from
everyone involved except for the elite group of policymakers charged with
conducting the negotiation or mediation and the select group of elites that are
kept informed as the process is being followed.
Publicity That Would Destroy the Ability to Get Results.
While the previous anecdote
regarding opening relations with the People's Republic of China could have
adequately illustrated this maxim, there is an even more telling tale of
Nixon's belief in this rule and of his statesmanship. In 1960, when he was Vice President under Eisenhower and the
Republican presidential nominee running against then-Senator John F. Kennedy,
the Eisenhower administration had adopted a program, partly at the suggestion
of Nixon himself, under which the CIA was providing arms, ammunition, and
training for Cubans who had fled the Castro regime and were in exile in the
United States. As the presidential
debates progressed, the Cuban issue became very high profile. Nixon repeatedly took hits from Kennedy for
the Eisenhower administration not being tough enough on Fidel Castro, despite
the fact that the planned CIA-sponsored revolution had been in the works for
over six months.
Nixon could have responded to
Kennedy's charges by announcing his role in the planned invasion, but
refused. Nixon later wrote, "That
would have been utterly irresponsible: it would have disclosed a secret
operation and would have completely destroyed its effectiveness." In choosing to maintain his secrecy, Nixon
may have cost himself the presidency for eight years, but in doing so revealed
both his national loyalty and dedication to international statesmanship.
This commandment is difficult to
classify in terms of a related international relations paradigm. In Nixon's application, though, it involves
sacrifice and secrecy for the good of state gain. Such use is completely in line with the state-centric focus of
modern realism. However, the advice to
avoid costly publicity could be applied to non-realist ideals. Considering this, I would argue that this
maxim was realist in its use and its intent.
In terms of Kleiboer's ideal types,
this commandment is similar to the Second Commandment of Statecraft in that it
provides useful advice for facilitating international conflict mediation as
power brokerage. While Nixon's use of
this principle was for the good of the state, the lesson of his experience
could be transferred to the mediation process, particularly when emotional or
high-stress conflicts are being resolved.
However, the ultimate success of mediation relies on acceptability to
all involved, not just a few, and the results of such publicity-averse
resolutions must gain public approval if they are to last.
Never Give Up
Unilaterally What Could Be Used as A Bargaining Chip. Make Your Adversaries
Give Something for Everything They Get.
When the 1972 accord between the
United States and the People's Republic of China was signed and effectively
placed an American liaison office in Beijing, it signified much more than diplomatic
niceties and greater access to a strategic partner and competitor. The agreement also signified an almost
unheard of political coup by Nixon, who had been told that the United States
would have to formally abandon support of Taiwan as well as pull out of Vietnam
to have Beijing make such an offer. However, through semantics and carefully
crafted phrases, the American pledge to recognize "one China" as long
as that unity was achieved by "peaceful resolution" allowed the U.S.
to maintain defense treaties with Taiwan and side with the Taiwanese
Nationalists if the People's Republic of China was to launch military attack
against the island.
Almost immediately the Nixon
administration enjoyed better relations with the People's Republic of China than
Britain or France, who had already abandoned Taiwan and opened embassies in
Beijing, and the Soviet Union, who shared ideology and support for North
Vietnam, all while only maintaining a liaison's office, far less formal or
official than an embassy. The People's
Republic of China constantly pressed for an upgrade to full embassy status, but
the upgrade would have offered the United States little or no new benefits,
would have cost the relationship with Taiwan, would have satisfied the greatest
request of the People's Republic, and would have further alienated the
Soviets. Instead of giving full
diplomatic status to the Chinese, Nixon let the question dangle while waiting
for something in exchange.
As it was, the Nixon
administration, as well as the Ford administration, passed before President
Jimmy Carter awarded full diplomatic status to the People's Republic of
China. Carter, despite the stance of
Nixon and Ford, awarded this status as a one-sided concession, as a gift rather
than a trade-off. In the end, Carter's
plans backfired. Brezhnev rejected signing SALT II, the
American-Taiwanese relationship was undermined, and the trade imbalance with
the Chinese (Carter's rationalization for his concession was to open up the
Chinese market) is one of the worst in the world, at least from a realist
This commandment provides yet
another conundrum when applied to international relations paradigms. While it seeks to transform all negotiation
from a zero-sum contest, where one party loses whatever another party gains, to
a negotiation process where everyone gains in every deal, the nature of the
rule belies the underlying notion that every concession, whether unilateral or
multilateral, amounts to a loss for one party and a corresponding gain for
another. While such a result is not
necessarily the case, the likelihood that something must be given in exchange
for receiving diplomatic benefits is very high. Overall, this rule most closely resembles the modern realist
paradigm, particularly so because of its focus on power politics and its intent
to enhance success in achieving national interest objectives.
This commandment advocates a
principle that seems to directly conflict with the spirit of conflict
mediation. Quite often, unilateral
concessions are necessary as articles of good faith. Outright refusal to grant points or positions to adversaries
without receiving something in return threatens the stability of the mediation
process and is not indicative of a desire to resolve conflicts, but rather to
exploit the positions and interests of an adversary. Consequently, while this tactic may enhance negotiation
prospects, this principle cannot be accurately applied to any of Kleiboer's
ideal types. As a result, perhaps the
most glaring contradiction between Nixon's principles and those of conflict
mediation is revealed; Nixon often was only interested in mediation as a form
of power-brokering, a position he was pragmatically forced to adopt, but one
that still runs counter to the "spirit" of conflict mediation.
Your Adversary Underestimate What You Would Do in Response to a Challenge. Never Tell Him What You Would Not Do.
In the 1970s the Soviet Union
had nowhere near the levels of economic productivity, missile defense, or
nuclear power that the United States enjoyed; however, Russia did possess the
ability to scare its superpower rival with its unpredictability. This was an asset the Soviets wielded
tremendously well throughout the Cold War.
Nixon appreciated this tactic, and consciously attempted to even the
scales by embarking on what aides in the National Security Council called the
"madman maneuver." This included floating the perception that
Nixon was "a bit of a crazy man" and "can be something of a
loose cannon." Unpredictability, to Nixon, was not
deliberate ambiguity. It was an
After President Johnson
announced a cessation of the bombardment of North Vietnam on October 31, 1968,
the world assumed that peace negotiations would succeed. After the peace process broke down and Nixon
won the presidential election a short time later, he refused to announce
whether Johnson's ban on the bombing was still in effect. By 1972, the peace process in Vietnam was
still unresolved and the Americans were facing problems with North Vietnamese
delaying tactics. Without warning,
Nixon ordered a massive bombing campaign from December 18 to December 30 (with
the exception of Christmas Day) against military objectives in the Hanoi-Haiphong
area. Although the American media
scolded Nixon, the North Vietnamese capitulated for fear of what the
unpredictable president would do next.
When the South Vietnamese leader, President Nguyen van Thieu, later
refused to sign the peace agreement and promised not to abide by any agreement
he did not sign, Nixon sent him a note stating that failure to sign the peace
treaty would result in utter and irreversible abandonment by the United States,
and that any violation of the treaty would garner strong reaction from the
American forces. Given Nixon's
unpredictability and his recent behavior, Thieu also had no choice but to sign.
In terms of international
relations paradigms, this guideline represents exclusively modern realist
ideology. It is completely in line with
power politics, zero-sum competition, and secretive methods of achieving
national objectives at the expense of an adversary state. The very idea of an adversary state bears
Similar to the Fifth Commandment
of Statecraft, this commandment violates the spirit of international conflict
mediation. The very premise of this
principle is to gain a position of power in international negotiation. Such power-brokering positions are not conducive
or even allowable in this form of conflict resolution. Regardless of the type of actors involved,
this principle would be logically impossible to reconcile with the values of
international mediation. Moreover, a
non-involved party acting in such a manner could not be accepted as a mediator
due to the threat of unpredictability they would present to already conflicting
states or groups.
Your Adversary a Face-Saving Line of Retreat.
This rule departs from the
traditional role of statecraft as cooperation between states and deals
primarily with how to end a violent conflict once it has become clear who the
victor is. Nixon practiced this
principle religiously in his domestic political life, a rarely reported trait,
and made extraordinarily gracious gestures to the Johnson, Kennedy, and
Humphrey families, particularly gracious upon consideration of the terrible
rivalries and dirty politics that plagued their professional relations. This is not to suggest that his employment
of this guideline placed magnanimity over national interest – that is hardly
the case. A clear illustration of this
commandment exists in Nixon's treatment of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat
following the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when Egypt and Syria had launched a war
against Israel with the backing of the Soviet Union.
As the war progressed the initial
gains made by the Arab forces were reversed and the Israeli army closed in to
annihilate the Egyptian Third Army.
Although a cease-fire had been called, the Israelis refused to abide by
it, arguing that they were provoked and that American cease-fires in Vietnam
never took effect as soon as they were agreed upon. Eventually Nixon prevailed upon Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir
to prevent Israeli guns from firing, but she still refused to let Egyptian
convoys resupply the surrounded troops with food and medical supplies. Nixon threatened the Israelis that if they
did not permit resupply of nonmilitary items to the Egyptians, the United
States would abandon them and allow Soviet forces to intervene and engage the
Israeli army. Sadat offered to directly
engage in military talks with the Israelis in exchange for a resupply convoy.
After the crisis subsided, Egypt
retreated and Sadat was able to maintain leadership in Egypt as Nixon had
wished, since he thought Sadat could provide a voice for moderation and
restraint in the volatile Middle East. In the end, the preservation of the Egyptian
army amounted to a face-saving line of retreat for Sadat and left open the
possibility of relations between the two states in the future, ultimately
resulting in the Egyptian-Israeli accord a few years later.
As far as international
relations paradigms are concerned, this guideline also fails to fit neatly
between one of the contending theories noted earlier. As Humes suggests, this philosophy of helping an adversary out in
times of defeat marks a departure from Machiavellian realpolitik, which warned
that if you go after a king you had better kill him, to a Confucian sense of
fair play in warfare. Nonetheless, the motivation for such
behavior is still the interest of the state, for your enemy today may be your
ally tomorrow and it is best not to burn bridges unnecessarily. Consequently, this rule would have more
modern realist tendencies than idealist/utopian or Stalinist/Marxist.
Upon consideration of this commandment
and its relation to Kleiboer's ideal types, a significant flaw in her theories
is evident. Each of Kleiboer's ideal
types relates to a specific role for mediation and a specific group affected by
such mediation. However, the groups
assigned to the various ideal types are not the only groups that can benefit
from their respective uses of mediation.
For example, Kleiboer limits international mediation as restructuring
relationships to identity groups seeking emancipatory relief from relationships
perceived as illegitimate. However,
states can certainly benefit from the restructuring of relationships, as can
classes. This commandment provides an
example of a catalyst to change in the relationships between states and,
consequently, could easily be applied to Kleiboer's fourth ideal type. In this aspect Kleiboer's theories are
Carefully Distinguish Between Friends Who Provide Some Human Rights and Enemies
Who Deny All Human Rights.
Liberal critics often offended
Nixon, especially their double standard of criticizing the human rights
violations of our allies, while turning a blind eye toward the totalitarian
brutalities of our enemies. The case
study used to illustrate this rule highlights the reason for following this
rule as well as the reason for not implementing such a double standard.
One of the United States'
greatest allies in the Middle East during the Nixon administration was Iran
(under the Shah). Admittedly this
nation was not a democracy, but rather an autocratic regime. Nixon's justification for giving Iran
favorable treatment, however, stemmed from the emergence of economic rights,
the Shah's enfranchising women with civil rights, Iran's consistent support for
American and Western foreign and military policies, and, of course, American
reliance on Arab oil and the fairness with which Iran had treated the United
States in oil deals. However, in the
1976 presidential campaign Jimmy Carter made human rights a centerpiece and
used the American relationship with Iran as the case study on how he was going
to change things. Carter, however, never bothered to single
out prison torture in Cuba or the brutality of North Korea. Instead Carter applied a double standard for
political gain; one that failed to distinguish an ally's position vis-a-vis that of a rival.
While Nixon thought it risky to
meddle in the internal affairs of any nation, particularly so when coercing our
allies already on the move to greater liberty, Carter made clear his
encouragement of opposition to the Shah and cast doubt on American commitment
to the Iranian government. As a result,
upon Carter's election, the Shah quickly began to appease opposition
demands. Eventually the Shah left
Tehran and was replaced by a former exile, the Ayatollah Khomeini. Soon after, the American Embassy was
assaulted, the Iranian hostage crisis began, and a nation that was once a loyal
friend and prosperous beacon to the Arab states became one of the most
virulently anti-American nations in the world as it regressed into theocratic
terrorism and feudal poverty.
In terms of international
relations paradigms, this tends to fall into the idealist/utopian paradigm,
although a sense of modern realism can be detected. The realist aspect is primarily related to Nixon's hesitancy to
intervene in the domestic politics of an ally, bringing to mind the self-help
component of the modern realist paradigm.
The idealist/utopian dimension of this commandment concerns the notion
of collective action, specifically Carter's abandonment of one of our members.
As far as
Kleiboer's ideal types of international mediation are concerned, this principle
is not applicable to any of the four.
The commandment essentially advises leaders not to alienate allies for
failings that are equally egregious, if not worse, in our adversaries. However, the notion of allies and
adversaries, at least in terms of power-brokering, does not fit into the school
of conflict mediation, nor does a comparative analysis of who is better and who
is worse at enacting and supporting human rights, or democracy, or free trade,
or any other relevant principle.
Always Do at Least as Much for Our Friends as Our
Adversaries Do for Our Enemies.
To illustrate this point, a
return to Nixon's response to the Yom Kippur War is merited. While it is true that Nixon showed
compassion to the Egyptians as detailed under the Seventh Commandment of
Statecraft, he also provided a great deal of support to the Israelis up until
they had the war clearly won and were defying cease-fire agreements. Nearly all of Nixon's top military and
diplomatic aids wanted him to restrain from active involvement. If the U.S. did not get involved and the
Israelis still won, it would enhance the reputation of the Americans as honest
brokers for peace and security, as well as elevate their position over the
Soviets who had backed the Syrian and Egyptian invasion.
However, as the situation became
more dire for Israel, Nixon ordered support for its armies. As time progressed and the Departments of
Defense and State bureaucracies failed to respond to Nixon's directives, his
efforts to aid the Israelis became more emphatic, ultimately resulting in a
massive airlift that would dwarf the famous Berlin effort following World War
II. In the end, Nixon weighed in with
all of his might to aid Israel, doing so against the recommendations of his
advisors and cabinet. Even when the
Soviet Union threatened military response, Nixon put the nation on nuclear
alert instead of backing down and abandoning an ally in time of need. All of this was done because of Nixon's
belief that a nation should protect its friends, and should certainly not
abandon that responsibility so as to improve relations with one's adversaries
at the expense of one's allies.
This commandment is indicative of
the idealist/utopian paradigm of international relations due to its focus on
collective security as a means of maintaining the stability of the
international system. As far as the
work of Kleiboer, this maxim can be applied to a non-involved actor determining
when and how to become a mediator in a conflict. The terminology of the rule, however, is problematic because of
the favoritism it expresses for a mediator's allies or friends, possibly at the
expense of the other actor(s) that do not enjoy such a relationship. This difficulty is not a problem when a
mediator is intervening in a conflict between two allies or friends, and is
less of a problem when intervening between two non-allies. However, given the circumstance that a
mediator has a vested interest or objective in helping one actor more than
another to favorably resolve conflict, the entire process of mediation is
Faith. In Just Cause Faith Can Move Mountains.
Faith Without Strength Is Futile, but Strength Without Faith Is Sterile.
By definition, there is no way
of proving a matter of faith.
Similarly, there is no way of proving whether Richard Nixon's faith
moved anything or changed America or the international system in any meaningful
way. Unlike the previous nine
commandments, empirical evidence cannot be applied to this rule. However, James Humes, former Nixon advisor
and confidant, as well as author of Nixon's
Ten Commandments of Statecraft, interprets this rule not as a guideline for
short-term international activity, but rather as advice for future leaders to
never give up their beliefs, regardless of political pressure or conventional
wisdom. In this manner, Nixon perfectly
executed his Tenth Commandment of Statecraft, perhaps more so than any American
politician to date.
Upon starting his political
career after service in World War II, Nixon made one of his first speeches as
candidate for a congressional race in California to the Pomona Kiwanis Club at
a weekly luncheon. Even though the
group was composed of mostly local merchants and the year was only 1946, Nixon
delivered a speech titled "The Challenge to Democracy." The speech was a probing analysis of the
historical Soviet threat to the values of democracy. In the speech he denounced Soviet imperialism, the denial of
human rights inherent in its police state, and the farm collectivization
movement that led to the systematic deaths of three million Ukrainians
alone. Nixon argued that it was not
enough for the United States to be anti-communist, but that the nation must
prove the superiority of its ideology and back that up with power until the
Soviet system collapsed under the rottenness of its own system. Nixon argued all of this in 1946, when
Stalin was still 'Uncle Joe' and Churchill's warning of an iron curtain was
still three months away. Nixon was a staunch anti-communist before
Joe McCarthy was a U.S. Senator and remained so until his dying day. According to Humes, "In his fifty-year
career as prophet, politician, and foreign policy elder statesman, Nixon was
America's most consistent advocate for holding the line against Soviet
expansionism." While critics may regard Humes' description
as overly generous and argue that such a strong and consistent stance could be
problematic as well, Nixon's anti-communist rigor is a testament to his
adherence to this commandment.
While the wording of this
particular commandment would seem to reflect principles consistent with those
related to the idealist/utopian paradigm of international relations, Humes' interpretation
of the guideline is not really applicable to any school of international
relations thought. The only linkage
that could be made is that this rule advocates clinging to deeply held
philosophies and beliefs regardless of the climate of public opinion, even to
the point of discounting and ignoring public sentiment. Such resolute thinking lends itself to the
maintenance of the status quo, structured change at best. This type of conservative dogma is typically
associated with realist assumptions; however, it would be more accurate not to
apply this final commandment to a paradigm than to resort to a logical
stretch. Nonetheless, the
interpretation of faith depends on the context and the nature of the faith in
Similarly, it is difficult to
apply such a vague and elusive principle to any of Kleiboer's frameworks for
international mediation of conflict.
While faith is an important ingredient in any type of conflict
resolution, particularly with respect to mediation, such undying devotion to
dogma or ideology does not lend itself to the successful resolution or
mediation of conflict. As a result,
this final commandment cannot be successfully compartmentalized into accordance
with any of Kleiboer's four ideal types.
What Richard Nixon has left
behind is an interesting and practical framework on which to evaluate
international negotiation and relations.
However, as the global political arena has become more complex following
the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the focus of American foreign policy has
become fuzzy. Nixon's guidelines work
in a time and atmosphere of clarity, when a state can tell which other states
are adversaries and which are allies.
Today, organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the Palestinian Authority, and
other non-state but still effective political actors destroy this sense of
place on the global stage. The validity
of Nixon's set of principles in today's geopolitical realm further suffers from
the lack of clarity inherent in the current shifting balance of global power.
Nevertheless, it has been shown
that Nixon did indeed heed his own advice while conducting foreign policy. Certainly historical events can be uncovered
that would show inconsistency in Nixon's international activities throughout
his administration, but as the examples in the previous section have
illustrated, Nixon's faithfulness to the ideals he espoused in his Ten
Commandments of Statecraft was generally consistent. In terms of ideology, his framework is certainly state-centric
and heavily favors power politics. Many
of his commandments focus on ways to either gain the upper hand in
international negotiation or maintain a veil of secrecy significant enough to
prevent losing the upper hand. While it
is not surprising that his actions and philosophy take a conservative approach,
his emphatic support for ideology, at times over personal political interest,
was surprising. Equally confounding was
the muddled paradigmatic nature of Nixon's philosophy, specifically with
respect to his habitual use and endorsement of realist ends to achieve both
realist and idealist goals. This
analysis provides a better understanding of the foreign policy of Richard Nixon
and the ideological nature of his political actions. The results of this analysis also raise procedural questions
regarding the classification of foreign policy approaches, including whether
they should be classified based on their intended objective or their prescribed
means of achieving the objectives.
In terms of the mode of analysis
featuring the contending paradigms of international relations, it is evident
that Nixon's Ten Commandments of Statecraft fall primarily under the rubric of
the modern realist paradigm. However,
as was noted, Nixon often tempered his realism and conservatism with ideals
otherwise associated with the idealist/utopian paradigm. In the end, the overwhelming focus on the
state and zero-sum competition moved the commandments well into the modern
As far as the
correlation between the theoretical frameworks for international mediation of
Marieke Kleiboer and the international negotiation framework of Richard Nixon
is concerned, it was significantly more difficult to apply the two than
expected. The sticking points of this
difficulty included the vast difference in importance placed on the state
between the authors of the respective models, the inherent contradiction
between political negotiation and conflict mediation, and Kleiboer's limitation
of certain types of mediation to only certain types of actors. This inability shows that the conflict
resolution methods of international negotiation and international mediation
cannot be reconciled. The former is too
focused on achieving objectives in line with self-interest; the latter is too
intent on tempering such objectives in favor of international harmony. A final lesson would be that Kleiboer's
models could only work with absolutely neutral mediators where ulterior motives
and vested interests would not destabilize the mediation process. In the end, Kleiboer's position states
self-interest is not the sole measure of success. Nixon would argue the opposite, but what qualifies as
self-interest could range from idealist peace and harmony to realist national
security and economic dominance.
the relative lack of compatibility between the two diplomatic scholars, both
have introduced important additions to the ever-widening discipline of
international relations: Nixon's contribution was to promote understanding of
Cold War politics and to provide a cogent structure for engaging in
international negotiation; Kleiboer's contribution provides an imaginative and
formative set of ideal types by which to analyze, measure, and participate in
international conflict resolution.
Moreover, the current American crisis with terrorism and anti-American
sentiment in the Middle East and elsewhere particularly calls for such an
approach to a conflict where victory can only be accomplished when the causes
of such violence and disdain can be understood, dialogued, and alleviated. A new time has emerged, one that calls for
international relations combining Nixon's sense of power and Kleiboer's
adaptability to new international actors supplementing and supplanting states. To the extent that the United States is also
engaging in new conflicts that may necessitate realist paradigms, at least as a
part of a foreign policy strategy, there is much to be learned from the
continued study of both.
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Jonathan. Nixon: A Life. Washington,
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Linda P. The Politics of Negotiation: America's Dealings with Allies,
and Friends. Chapel Hill, NC:
University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
William P. A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon
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Scott, and Andrew Linklater, et al. Theories of International Relations. New
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Gibson, and Gareth Morgan. Sociological Paradigms and Organisational
Elements of the Sociology of Corporate Life. London: Heinemann, 1979.
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