Foreign Policy of a Second Ford Administration (1977-1981)

The Presidency of Jimmy Carter was chiefly defined by long gas lines and stagflation at home, and a period of international turmoil as the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan made the world a more tense place by 1980. Carter had narrowly defeated Gerald Ford in 1976, who would have won a full term as President had he carried Wisconsin and Ohio in the electoral college.

The POD is Ford never makes his infamous "Soviet domination" gaffe, and his campaign continues to build momentum until he just barely defeats Carter on election day. What does Ford's foreign policy look like? How would he respond to the situation in the Middle-East? Does Kissinger stay on at State?
 
Earlier normalization of relations with China (say 1977 or 1978 with the prep work in late 1976 as soon as it becomes apparent that Ford is re-elected). There’s all kinds of repercussions on the Chinese side because this will be a notch on Hua Guofeng’s belt. Does this foreign policy achievement solidify Hua’s position in the party? Does this mean Deng doesn’t try to gain power or does it mean Deng bides his time? If he tries to gain power later will it be too late?

In Iran, any chance the Shah holds on to power?
 
Do check out @KingSweden24 's excellent, well written timeline on Ford's second term! Foreign policy is discussed here as well.

 
Do check out @KingSweden24 's excellent, well written timeline on Ford's second term! Foreign policy is discussed here as well.

Thanks for the shout out!
 
Earlier normalization of relations with China (say 1977 or 1978 with the prep work in late 1976 as soon as it becomes apparent that Ford is re-elected). There’s all kinds of repercussions on the Chinese side because this will be a notch on Hua Guofeng’s belt. Does this foreign policy achievement solidify Hua’s position in the party? Does this mean Deng doesn’t try to gain power or does it mean Deng bides his time? If he tries to gain power later will it be too late?

In Iran, any chance the Shah holds on to power?

Carter was pretty supportive of the Shah. I'm not sure there is much more that Ford could do to save him. I think you'd still see a hostage crisis in Iran.

In some ways it may be better for Ford's legacy that he lost in 1976, since he avoided being blamed for what transpired under Carter.
 
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