The Recovery of Equity



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Chapter Five: “The Recovery of Equity”



  1. What was the Watergate Scandal? (156-157) What was its result?

  2. What principle played a part in President Richard Nixon’s fall? Why? (157-158)

  3. What is the attraction of establishing the United Nations “upon some externally devised standard of justice”? (158)

  4. Can one establish peace among nations on such a basis? Why or why not?

  5. What strains on American morality did the Cold War place on the United States and its officials? (161-164)

  6. How, however, did the Truman and Eisenhower administrations and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) behave in fact? (164-165)

  7. What is a Machiavellian? (165; cf. 156) How does a Machiavellian behave? (162-167)

  8. How does one “reconcile Machiavellian practices with the constitutionally based principle of accountability”? (166) Is there a “constitutionally based principle of accountability”? Does one owe one’s enemies the same treatment one owes one’s friends, family, and fellow citizens?

  9. How are outright lies sometimes a sign of weakness and a recipe for failure? (168-169)

  10. How and why was President Lyndon Johnson willing to “sacrifice the public trust”? (169)

  11. Do Americans tolerate “plausible deniability” exercised by their leaders? Under what circumstances?

Explain the Tet Offensive of January 1968 as the turning point of the Vietnam War (170).




  1. Why was the Vietnam War so unsettling to the American people and the American system of government? (170-171)

  2. How did President Nixon use secrecy successfully? (171-172)

  3. How did Nixon nonetheless blur the lines between “defensible and indefensible secrecy”? (172-175) Truman’s and Eisenhower’s secret actions

  4. How does Gaddis present Nixon’s person and character? (172-175)

  5. What resulted from Watergate and Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974? (175-179) How did Congress in particular react? (176-177)

  6. What is detente? (180-181) How was it an alternative to Mutually Assured Destruction? (181-182) What were its advantages and disadvantages? (182-184)

  7. By 1968, what was going on in the U.S.S.R. and its allies? (185-188) E.g., how did many respond to the 1968 suppression of “Prague Spring” in Czechoslovakia?

  8. How did Premier Leonid Brezhnev want to use detente? (187-189)

  9. What were the unintended consequences of the Helsinki Accords (agreements) within the Soviet sphere of influence? (190-194) Who were the most prominent figures? What happened in Poland?

  10. According to Gaddis , what principle reasserted itself within the Soviet sphere? Why might that be important?

  11. To what developments is Gaddis referring when he says that they were “totally beyond the imagination of the Soviet leadership”? (194)

  12. Regarding the photo montage between pp. 174 and 175:

    1. What is the time frame of all of these pictures?

    2. Which pictures are particularly striking or memorable?

    3. Which do you not understand the importance of?

    4. Which people do you recognize? not recognize?

    5. What questions do you have about these pictures individually or as a montage?



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