Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Warnke Nomination Sparks Debate: ’Detente’ Fight Grows in Ruling Circles

First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 10, March 14, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The debate within the inner circles of the ruling class over “detente” has reached its hottest point since last year’s election. One section of the ruling class is increasingly promoting the sham of “detente” while another section has begun to oppose it more forcefully. All the while, growing superpower contention and especially the aggressive drive of the Soviet Union demonstrate concretely that “detente” is an illusion.

The current debate is focused in large measure on the question of arms limitations. It is symbolized by Senate arguments over Jimmy Carter’s nomination of Paul Warnke as chief of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and top negotiator with the USSR in the next round of Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT).

The fight in the ruling class is not over the question of whether or not to arm. Rather, it is centered on questions of how rapidly to arm, what type of arms to employ, where to put them, and in general, how to contend with growing Soviet aggression.

Carter nominated Warnke as a sign to the USSR that he intends to pursue the “detente” policies initiated by Ford and Kissinger. Warnke, one of the main theoreticians of “detente,” bases his views on the assumption that “The Soviet Union is but not seeking superiority over the U.S., but parity.” At various points over the last three years he has advocated the demobilization of NATO and the canceling of at least 13 proposed weapons systems. He has also called for unilateral U.S. disarmament as a way of “pressuring” the USSR to do the same.

Like others in Carter’s inner circle, Warnke comes out of the ruling class “think tank” known as the Trilateral Commission, which has played a major role in shaping the ideology of “detente.” Backed by huge donations from the Rockefeller family, these ideologues have spent years elaborating what amounts to a theory of appeasement. These imperialists argue that the best way to contend with the Soviet social-imperialists is to make ever-greater concessions to them in the hopes that this will stop their aggressive drive.

The view of this wing of the ruling class was clearly put forward just last week, when Secretary of State Vance, one of Warnke’s old Trilateral buddies, said that “detente does exist” and that the “USSR has a deep and abiding interest” in peace.


Another powerful section of the imperialists differs with this view of “detente.” It has come out strongly in opposition to Warnke’s nomination. Senator Henry Jackson, for example, attacked the nomination, calling the weapons systems Warnke had opposed “crucial to maintaining U.S. capabilities” against the Soviet Union.

Jackson, as well as other senators including Nunn, Bartlett and Helms, all argued that “detente” has been beneficial mainly to the USSR. They put forward the view that the U.S. should develop its military capabilities more rapidly. To pursue their own imperialist aims, this wing of the ruling class favors a show of military toughness against the USSR.

In the midst of the Senate hearings, both the Soviet news agency TASS and the revisionist CPUSA’s newspaper, the Daily World, rushed to Warnke’s defense. In banner headlines, the Daily World proclaimed that Warnke is a great man of peace, stating, “Warnke Tells Senate Arms Cutback Urgent,” and “Anti-Warnke Gangup Attacks Arms Limit.” TASS meanwhile accused the “reactionary military-industrial complex” of opposing Warnke.

The social-imperialists and revisionists are lavishing praise on Warnke because like the Carter administration as a whole, he represents the political trend of appeasement inside the U.S. The Soviet Union is in fact seeking military superiority over the U.S. as the initial step leading ultimately to a new war to redivide world control. If prominent figures among the U.S. imperialists like Carter and Warnke can help conceal the USSR’s aggressive drive, it is all the better for the social-imperialists.

The budget Carter submitted to Congress for the coming year further reflected the ruling class debate over “detente.” For example, Carter pared down the Ford administration’s suggested arms budget by about three billion dollars. This also amounted to a gesture of appeasement towards the Soviet Union whose arms supply is already escalating more rapidly than the U.S.

But even with the three billion dollar cuts, Carter is proposing the largest defense budget in history (about $112 billion). This shows that the section of the imperialists Carter speaks for, like all the others, cannot survive without constantly expanding its armaments and war preparations.

Both sections of the ruling class and both superpowers are concerned with nothing but the advancement of their own imperialist aims for world domination. Despite all the talk about “arms limitations” and the fanfare surrounding the SALT talks, the superpowers are incapable of bringing the arms race to an end.

Since the SALT talks began, the number of strategic weapons in the hands of both superpowers has not been reduced one bit, but in fact has nearly doubled. The Soviet Union has developed its missiles, bombers and submarines at the greatest pace.

Where will all these frantic war preparations end? They can only end in the outbreak of a new imperialist war. Such a war is being hastened by those like Carter and Warnke who are actually encouraging Soviet aggressiveness by appeasing it. The more they spread the myth of “detente,” negotiating arms treaties and arms deals favorable to the Soviet Union, the greater Soviet military superiority becomes. The frantic military expansion of the two superpowers can only explode into another world war.