similarity among the “asymmetrical”nperiods. The concept behind “detente,”nwhile not a complete departure fromncontainment, certainly bears little resemblancento the world view of Dulles,nwho did not expect negotiations to provenuseful. Gaddis does not try to pretend, asnhave some recent writers on the Eisenhowernera, that Ike was some sort of closetnpacifist: a moderate liberal, Gaddis has ansurprisingly friendly view of the Eisenhowernadministration. In contrast, Nixonnand Kissinger invested more hopes innnegotiations than any American leadernsince Roosevelt. Indeed, Gaddis stressesnthat they hoped to integrate thenU.S.S.R. into the existing world ordernand thus end the Cold War. Essentially,nit was a return to FDR’s worst illusions ofn1943, and it disregarded all the hideouslynexpensive lessons learned about thenSoviets since then. Gaddis states thatnduring the 1970’s the “Soviets launchedna whole new series of challenges to thenglobal balance of power”; meanwhile,n”the Nixon-Ford years saw the most substantialnreduction in American militarynstrength relative to that of the USSR innthe entire postwar period.” But for all ofnNixon’s and Kissinger’s alibis, and thenadmitted incompetence of their successors,nthe fact is that detente was a failurenand a disaster. It is no defense of Carter,nfor whom Gaddis barely disguises hisncontempt, to note that the West wasnalready in dire straights before his election.nKissinger’s, and even Nixon’s, supposednpolish and expertise at internationalnaffairs would seem to be at greatnvariance with the clownish Carter team,nor the long-discredited Roosevelt optimism.nYet the results of, and even thenideas behind, their policies were not asndifferent as it might appear. As Gaddisnhimself dryly notes, “What Presidentsnand their advisors think are innovationsnare usually not that at all but rathernsome earlier administration’s forgottennmistakes.”nOne of the most persistent mistakes ofnthe postwar period is a faith in nationalismnas a force ultimately favorable tonWestern interests: Kennedy used ton46inChronicles of Cultarendefine our goal as a “world of diversity”nas opposed to the totalitarians, who cannotnaccept national otherness and difference.nOn examination, however, thisnview turns out to be sheer wishful thinking.nIt is no exaggeration to suggest thatnnationalism—quite different from patriotism—isnone of the most destructivenforces of our century. Far from being annobstacle to totalitarianism and Sovietnpower, nationalism has often been thenentering wedge for it. In practice, Americansndid realize that postwar nationalistnfervor in Europe was an obstacle to Europeannunity and hence to any policynblocking Soviet expansion, but there hasnbeen a remarkable reluctance to recognizenthat Asian and African nationalismsnare also destructive. This deleteriousnessnis not necessarily intentional; a fair proportionnof Asian and African leadersnhave sought nothing more than to benpermitted to run their own affairs, butntheir political struggles have generallynbeen at the expense of the Western democracies.nAnd a fair proportion havennot been moderate at all: men like Sukarno,nKhomeini, and Nasser. It is oftennnoted that communism has had onlynmeager successes in the Third World.nThat was also tme in interwar Europe,nbut the nationalist fanatics invariablyngave the totalitarian manipulators theirnchance.nThe all-time award for wishful thinking,nhowever, should go to those whonhave consistently deprecated the hold ofnLeninist doctrine on the Soviets andnother communist leaderships. This hasnbeen a persistent theme in every Americannadministration but that of Eisenhower.nKissinger’s outlook on interna­nnntional affairs was similar to FDR’s in thatnit rejected “ideology” as an explanationnfor Soviet behavior. Even Kennan andnNitze believed that Leninism was a flimsynjustification, rather than a real motivatingnfactor, for the Soviet regime.nNow, no one would claim that communistnideology is the sole explanation fornthe behavior of the Soviet regime: manynevents—the Great Purges, the rifts betweennthe Soviets and the Chinese andnthe Yugoslavs—cannot be explained bynideology. But very few of the SovietnUnion’s basic policies can be explainednwithout accepting the fact that thenleadership believes in and feels itselfnbound by doctrine. Some of the Soviets’nworst failures have derived from tbeir insistencenon ideology over reality: farmncollectivization, for instance, althoughnan unending disaster, continues in thenU.S.S.R. and is imposed on every newncommunist country. Stalin has oftennbeen dismissed as a cynic who abandonednworld revolution: actually, it wasnbecause he was blinded by Marxist categoriesnthat his intrigues in China failed.nIt must be admitted, however, thatnLenin’s emphasis on the role of powernand conflict in world affairs has at leastnspared the communists the blinkers wornnby most democratic powers, whose habitualnoptimism has led, time and again,nstraight to disaster.nLooking at the illusions chronicled bynGaddis, one begins to feel that if theynwere exploded, the West would simplynrush to find new ones. A pro-frcezc demonstrationn, unmoored in either history ornrationality and inanely staged in thenstreets of New York, seems like a tailormadenillustration of Professor Gaddis’snconcerns. Dn