Déjà vu, American Détente Period — Part II?

A world gone backwards?

 If you take the word “Détente” seriously.

Détente is a French term denoting the “easing of tension” and was first used in 1971 to describe the Cold War nuclear treaties between the US and Soviet Union. This false sense of security of treaties with enemies sworn to our destruction was fully embraced by Jimmy Carter and later banished by Ronald Reagan; the start to the dismantling of the Soviet Union.

In Fall 2008, and then updating it in 2010, I wrote a blog, “Carter II, Déjà vu” citing the similarities between the Jimmy Carter 1976-1980 one term Presidency and what President Obama was bringing in to play based upon his rhetoric as a candidate and then actions after little more than twelve months in office.

Some of the similarities with Carter and Obama transcend the obvious which liberals supply such as trickle up poverty, inflation, a tax and spend “theology” exacerbating  joblessness, housing busts, banking scandals, bankruptcies, and despair.

In Carter’s time the word coined for this misery—strangely by his own pen—was malaise.

Beyond the obvious cause and effect relationship between liberalism and economic malaise is the coincidence we now see in world affairs and domestic strife.

CARTER Then—Crisis in the Middle East, Iranian sponsored terrorism and hostages, oil crisis, Latin American dictators issuing threats at our doors. Russian threats, China growing bold.

OBAMA Now—Ditto but then “Détente” of the 1970’s was more a policy of “go along to get along,” an acquiescence to the Soviet Union, if they would just play nice. Two weeks ago we get this now
famous exchange from Mr. Obama to the outgoing Russian President Medvedev:

President Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”

President Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”

President Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

President Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

See James Michael Pratt article “I Will Transmit Dis to Vladimir”

Kerry Patton, intelligence analyst and strategist,  adds the following and gives us the insight into a world gone backwards, and one strangely witnessing the rise of old cold war nemesis’ almost banished by Reagan: Iran, Russia, and China.


“Sitcoms like Welcome Back Kotter, Archie Bunker, and Sanford and Son were commonly watched on televisions across America during the 1970’s. This was a time when the world braced itself wondering if superpowers between the East and West would meet in physical confrontation. Vietnam ended, the civil rights movement eased, yet domestic terror inside America peaked.

“Between 1970 and 1980, domestic terror saturated the United States. Groups like the Symbionese Liberation Army, Weathermen, FALN, the New World Liberation Front, and others conducted large scale terror attacks ranging from assassinations to bombings. This was a time when Patty Hearst got her fame for being kidnapped by domestic terrorists then later turned into one herself.

This was the “American Détente Period” and unfortunately, indicators exist demonstrating that today the United States has evolved back to a similar period.

In 1973, Arab nations placed an embargo on the United States due its long standing commitment in support of Israel. The Yom Kippur War placed Israel in a unique situation as it fought its Arab neighbors.

The  Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) was livid knowing the United States would support Israel and did their best in shutting down one of America’s most
loved commodities—oil.

While an official oil embargo has not been placed on the United States today, America faces its own oil crisis with hardships closely resembling that of the 1970’s.

Oil was not the only crisis during the 1970’s “Détente” period. Unemployment was also of grave concern. When President Carter took office in 1977, unemployment was at a mere 6.4%.  As he left office, unemployment had risen to approximately 8.5%.  As President Obama began his presidency, unemployment was at 7.3%.  However, today that number rests at
approximately 8.2%.

During the 1970’s, the Steiger capital gains tax cut of 1978 was denounced by Carter as, “…a huge tax windfall for millionaires and two bits for the average American.” He declared that the Steiger Bill was, “The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

President Obama however said something very similar recently:

If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or for hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners, or for oil and gas companies pulling in huge profits without our help – then we’ll have to make even deeper cuts somewhere else.”

President Obama and President Carter have yet another thing in common—both sought to downsize defense spending to assist social initiatives. In his book, Keeping
Faith, Memoirs of a President
, Carter is quoted as saying:

The President would use the resources saved from the military budget to combat unemployment, invigorate the economy, lower dependence on foreign oil, and hold down inflation.”

In a recent interview with NPR, President Obama said:

The nice thing about the defense budget is it’s so big … that you can make relatively modest changes to defense that end up giving you a lot of head room to fund things like basic research or student loans or things like that.”

Too many similarities exist between the 1970’s Détente Period and today. From unemployment, energy, taxes, defense cuts, and Middle East blunders; history reveals that an argument can easily be made proving we are currently living in yesteryear. Driving forward is the American way—not backwards.

Many intelligence officers have expressed concern that the United States has reached a point where we can witness an implosion of domestic violence in the very near future. These undisclosed sources believe that if the United States continues its current path, come the upcoming Presidential election and soon thereafter, depending on the nominee, protesters will not just ‘walk the streets’ as they did with Tea Party rallies or Occupy Wall Street—actual physical violence will likely erupt.

Could 2012 be the American Détente Period, Part II? Could 2012 be the year America witnesses a rise in domestic terror?

Some intelligence specialists tend to think so, and so do we.


James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling author, a guest on radio, television, editor and owner of Jerusalem Reports—the online news consolidator on Middle East affairs—and has enjoyed appearances on FOX News, Hannity’s Great American Panel.  He has written for The Daily Caller, Big Peace, Red State, and other online sites.  You can follow him on Facebook or at www.jmpratt.com.

Kerry Patton, a combat service disabled veteran, is a senior analyst for WIKISTRAT and author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children’s book American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook or at www.kerry-patton.com.

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