After successful talks with China, Nixon was able to ease tensions with the Soviet Union who under Premiere Leonid Brezhnev also wanted a new strategy to negotiate with the Americans. One hope from both nations was the easing of nuclear armament that both nations had amassed since the 1950s. Talks had begun in Helsinki in 1969, but negotiations ended with both nations signing the the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 1972 that froze current stocks of nuclear arms from both nations, but did not begin the dismantling of nuclear warheads. Regardless, it was a first step to better relations between the two powers.
While both nations made large strides towards some mutual feelings of peace, conflicts in the Middle East and Africa kept relations between the two strained. Soviet officials had ties with Iran, Egypt and communists militias of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in Angola while the U.S. supported Iraq, Israel and secretly funded Angolan groups against the MPLA. Both nations would also be involved in conflicts in Ethiopia and Somolia, showing how both nations despite the positive rhetoric, still heavily influenced various aspects in world events that culminated the end of the decade when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979.