Blackwell, NIO/USSR DougOVA/DD1 ^DDI/SOVADDI/SOVA
Director of Central Intelligence
I have been asked to4 October breakfast address on developments in the Soviet Union to the Colloquium on Science, Arms Control and National Security sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. m afraid thisust prevail on your good offices once again for an update of "The Soviet Speech".
Naturally, any suggestions or proposed changes will be welcome but, in particular.ould be interested in some additional language on the following:
I would like to say something about the Soviets' fear to take risks on unemployment, inflation, price reform, etc.
Also, what can we say about the Soviet budget deficit and printing money that you have written about. ould like to include something aboutillion ruble deficit (at least that isemember from the SOVA paper) and that this represents more than twice the percentage of GNP as the US deficit. o that unclassified and, if so, howay it?
I appreciate your patience in doing this again. if, beyond specific comments, corrections, or additions, you have any broader points where with tho passage of time the speech is becoming outdated, please let me know those also.
I would appreciate having your comments by theeturn from my Middle East trip oneptember.
Robert M. Gates
American association for the advancement of science colloguium on science, arms control and national security
thf gorbachevfor us strategy
by Robert m. Gates deputy director of central intelligence
the selection of mikhail gorbachev as general secretary in the spring5 signaled the politburo's recognition that the soviet union was in deep troubleespecially economically and spirituallytrouble that they recognized would soon begin to have real effect on military power and their position in the world. despite enormous raw economic power and resources,2ear gnp, the soviet leadership by theteadily widening gap with the west and japaneconomically, technologically and in virtually all areas of the quality of life.
esult of these trends, the politburo recognized that the soviet Union could no longer risk the suspended animation of the Brezhnev years, and coalesced around an imaginative and vigorous leader whom they hoped could revitalize the country without altering the basic structure of the soviet state or community party.
THERE IS STRONG SUPPORT IN THE POLITBURO FOR MODERNIZATION OF THE SOVIET ECONOMY. THIS REMAINS GORBACHEV'S GREATEST POLITICAL ASSET. EVEN SO, NEARLY EVERY STEP GORBACHEV SEEKS TO TAKE TOWARD STRUCTURAL ECONOMIC OR POLITICAL CHANGETRUGGLE, AND SUPPORT IN THE POLITBURO FOR HIS INITIATIVES SHIFTS CONSTANTLY. WHILE HIS REFORM PROGRAM WAS APPROVED ENTHUSIASTICALLY AT THE PARTY CONFERENCE IN JUNE, WHEN GORBACHEV WENT ON VACATION IN AUGUST, CONSERVATIVES LED BY LIGACHEV AGAIN VOCALLY CRUIZED ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAM. MOREOVER, CONTRARY TO EXPECTATIONS, THERE WERE NO SENIOR PERSONNEL CHANGES AT THE CONFERENCE OR IN ITS WAKE. IT IS CLEAR THAT, FOR THE LONG TERM, THERE WILL BE CONTINUING BATTLES OVER PACE AND SCOPE OF MODERNIZATION AND WHO HOLDS POLITICAL POWER. EVEN GORBACHEV ADMITS THE STRUGGLE WILL LAST DECADES.
THE STRUGGLE WITHIN THE POLITBURO IS ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT TO GORBACHEV BECAUSE BELOW THE POLITBURO, SUPPORT FOR CHANGEAND ESPECIALLY FAR-REACHING CHANGEIS EVEN SHAKIER. OPPOSITION FROM THE PARTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE AND PARTY APPARATUSRITICAL PROBLEM FOR GORBACHEV. SENIOR LEVELS OF THE ECONOMIC BUREAUCRACY STAND TO LOSE THE MOST IF GORBACHEV MOVES TO DECENTRALIZE THE SYSTEM AND ARE IMPORTANT OBSTACLES TO
IMPLEMENTATION OF HIS PROGRAM. WHILE MANY SENIOR OFFICIALS OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY BUREAUCRACIES UNDERSTAND THE CONNECTIONTRONG DEFENSEEALTHY ECONOMY, THEY ALSO ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE IDEA OF GREATER CONSTRAINTS ON DEFENSE SPENDING AND SKEPTICAL OF PROMISED BENEFITS. OTHERS, FOR EXAMPLE THE KGB, ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR INSTABILITY AT HOME AND IN EASTERN EUROPE CREATED BY ANY RELAXATION OF POLITICAL CONTROLS. (INDEED, WE COUNTOPULAR DISTURBANCES SINCEBOUT HALF OF THEM RELATING TO ETHNIC ISSUES. THERE HAVE BEEN MAJOR NATIONALIST DEMONSTRATIONSf THEOVIET REPUBLICS SINCEHE SOVIET POPULATION SEEMS TO BE PASSIVELY SUPPORTIVE, BUT THEY HAVE SEEN CAMPAIGNS FOR CHANGE COME AND GO. THEY ARE SKEPTICAL THAT GORBACHEV'S EFFORTS WILL PRODUCE LASTING RESULTS OR EVEN IMMEDIATE PAYOFFS. THE INTELLIGENTSIA ARE PROBABLY THE ONLY GROUP THAT COMES CLOSE TO GIVING WHOLE-HEARTED SUPPORTA WEAK NEED TO BE SURE IN THE SOVIET UNION.
IT IS, HOWEVER. OPPOSITION WITHIN THE PARTY AND PARTICULARLY AT THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE AND PARTY APPARATUS THAT HAS BECOME THE PRINCIPAL AND CRITICAL PROBLEM FOR GORBACHEV, AND THE TARGET OF HIS POLITICAL CAMPAIGN. ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL DEVELOPMENTS AT THE PARTY CONFERENCE IN JUNE, BEYOND APPROVAL OF HIS PROGRAM, WAS HIS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT THE PARTY ITSELF IS THE PRINCIPAL OBSTACLE TO MODERNIZATION AND REFORM. HE TACITLY ADMITTED THAT HE HAS FAILED TO OVERCOME THAT
opposition, and his strategy now seems to be to bypass the Party by strengthening the Supreme Soviet and its Chairman, to take that position himself, and then to force through his economic and political changes. he has secured approvalimetable to dismantle the economic apparatus of the party and thereby significantly weaken its capacity to interfere in the day to day management of the economy. in sum, gorbachev has declared war on the party apparatus much as stalin did in the. the sole difference is that his adversaries will lose power, prestige and their jobs, but not their lives. it remains to be seen whether he can so radically alter the role of the party in soviet life and whether the party apparat will allow itself to be so weakened and even dismantled.
modernization of the economy
although5 gorbachev had been on the politburo for six yearsentral committee member forears, he now admits that when he became general secretary he underestimated the severity of the economic problems afflicting the soviet union. it is no exaggeration to describe the soviet economic condition as disastrous. as gorbachev has seen the dimensions of the crisis, his views of what is needed to correct these problems have moved toward more radical proposals for change.
Takenhole, the reform measures put in place in gorbachev's three year tenure are an impressive package, nevertheless, the reforms do not go nearly far enough. the reform package as now constitutedet of half measures that leaves in place the pillars of socialist central planning.
because of internal contradictions and the retention of so many elements of the present system, even if fully implemented1 as intended, the reforms will not create the dynamic economic mechanism that gorbachev seeks as the means to reduce or close the technological gap with the west. to the contrary, aggressive implementation of reforms is causing serious disruptions and turbulence in the economy. specifically;
soviet gnp growth fell toown from almost u%nd will behis year, he would need nearlyrowth to meet plan targets.
gorbachev's quality control program is disrupting production.
new initiatives in organization and management are creating confusion and apprehension in some quarters, and bureaucratic foot-dragging and outright resistance in others.
Despite considerable rhetoric, none of the proposals so far greatly changes the system of economic incentives that discourage management innovation, technological change and private initiative.
a sharp decline in soviet hard currency earnings (the result of falling oil prices and the depreciation of the dollar) will limit much needed specialized imports from the west.
trying to reshape the entire stalinist economic structure gradually while leaving key problems of price reform and the government monopoly over goods until last ishased change from driving on the right hand side of the road to the lefttrucks first, cars later. the results are likely to be similar. to illustrate just how totally out of kilter the soviet economy is, consider that rents for housingwhich is generally awful have not been raisedhe current price of bread was setnd food prices overall state subsidies are so huge that it is cheapereasant to feed his pigs bread than to give them grain. (and the soviet people know any. price reform can only hurt them.)
finally,odernization drive that depends in substantial measure on harder work, there are few rewards for such work. unsatisfied consumer demand is reflected in continuing long lines in state stores and rising prices in the collective farm markets. indeed, the circumstances of the consumer have worsened steadily during gorbachevs tenure. and he offers little hope of significant change for years.
thus, while important battles have been won in principle, the war to change fundamentally the main pillars of the stalinist economic system remains to be fought and won. the gap between policy and implementation is huge, and growing.
gorbachev's plans for the political system remain less well-defined than his economic agenda. but an important milestone in the evolution of his views was recognition that the revitalization of society and economy can succeed only if there are significant changes in the political arena as well. the regime appears to be moving on at least three fronts to create the political climate it seeks:
the first is ideology. Gorbachev is frustrated with the straitjacket of inherited doctrine that opponents of change have sought to impose on him. he seeks to expand his room to maneuver by an increasingly open attack on stagnation in ideology and by depicting his own proposals as an effort to return to lenin's original intent and expand the bounds of what is permissable under socialism.
the second front is democratization. gorbachev's campaign for "democratization" is designed to revitalize the country's political institutions, Initially, this was mostly rhetoric, but, the party conference was itself an extraordinary political happening,reedom of debate and expression not seen in the soviet union since the revolution, moreover, the conference approved remarkable proposals including limiting the terms of office for party officials and the use of secret ballots and listing of multiple candidates in elections. gorbachev apparently believes that without such reform, it will be impossible to break the resistance within the party to his agenda.
the third front is glasnost, or openness. tight central controls over the flow of ideas and information lie at the heart of the soviet system. remarks by gorbachev and his key allies indicate that the new leadership believes that this approach is incompatible with an increasingly well-educated society, complex economy and the political needs of the moment. ee other motives as well behind glasnost, not least of which is use of an apparent liberalizing force to achieve some rather old-fashioned objectives.
glasnost is being used to criticize officials gorbachev sees as hostile and to pressure them to get with the program.
s being used to highlight problems he wants to attacksuch as alcoholism and drug abuse, stalin's legacy, and bureaucratic inertiain order to mobilize society behind his campaigns.
he hopes to use the atmosphere of greater openness to coopt intellectuals and particularly engineers and scientists to be full partners in the attempt to modernize the economyto overcome their cynicism.
it enables the regime to compete with foreign and other unofficial sources of information. since the population will hear about rioting in kazakhstan and armenia and the disaster at chernobyl anyway, Gorbachev believes it is best to print the news and put an official spin on it.
FINALLY, HE INTENDS TO LEGITIMIZE BROADER DISCUSSION OF PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS THAN PERMITTED HERETOFORE IN ORDER TO BREAK THE BACK OF DOMESTIC RESISTANCE AND INCREASE HIS ROOM FOR MANEUVER AT HOME. FURTHER, HE SEES THE EXPANSION OF POLITICAL DEBATEECESSARY STEP TO ACHIEVE HIS LONGER RANGE GOALS.
TO KEEP GLASNOST IN PERSPECTIVE, THERE HAS BEEN GROWING CRITICISM BY OTHERS IN THE POLITBURO THAT "OPENNESS" HAS GONE TOO FAR. GORBACHEV HIMSELF HAS CAUTIONED MEDIA OFFICIALS NOT TO GO TOO FAR LEST THEY UNDERMINE SOCIALIST VALUES ORLIMATE OF DISRESPECT FOR PARTY OFFICIALS. YET, GORBACHEV HAS SET LOOSE FORCES THAT WILL BE IMMENSELY DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL TO LEASHAS MUST HAPPEN AT SOME POINT. THIS IS EVIDENT IN THE RECENT PASSAGE OF NEW LAWS THAT AGAIN CLAMP DOWN ON THE RIGHT TO DEMONSTRATE AND PROTEST.
while gorbachev's bold political moves and radical rhetoric have shaken the soviet system, he has not yet really changed it. the ultimate fate of his vision of reform will depend on how successful he is in pushing ahead with its implementation in the face of design flaws, economic disruption, tremendous opposition and, worse, apathy. bureaucratic as well as popular hostility is likely to grow as disruption and dislocation brought about by change result in economic setbacksorsening situation for the consumer. what gorbachev is successfully changing is the officialdom of the party and state bureaucracy. once again, the purge has become the vehicle for consolidating and enhancing personal power, as well as for implementing change.
it is by no means certaini would even say it is doubtfulthat he can in the end pull off rejuvenation of the system, but he hasillingness to risk his power and position in the effort. as much as anything, this indicates how desperate he believes the soviet predicament really is.
there seems to be general agreement in the politburo that, for now, economic modernizationore predictable, if not benign, international environment. the elements of foreign policy that spring from domestic economic weaknessix of new initiatives and longstanding policies. first, gorbachev wants toew and far-reaching detente for the foreseeable future to obtain technology, investment, trade and, above all, to avoid major new military expenditures while the soviet economy is revived. gorbachev must slow or stop american military modernization that threatens not only soviet strategic gains of the last generation but which also, if continued, will force the ussr to devote huge new resources to the militaryigh technology competition for which they are ill-equipped. the soviets know that detente in theontributed significantly to downward pressure on western defense budgets, slowed military modernization, weakened resolve to counter soviet advances in the third world, and opened to the ussr new opportunities for western technology and economic relations.
ess visible but enduring element of foreign policyeven under gorbachevis the continuing extraordinary scope and sweep of soviet military modernization
AND WEAPONS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. UNDER THE GUISE OF ARCANE MILITARY DOCTRINAL ISSUES SUCH AS "REASONABLE SUFFICIENCY" AND "DEFENSIVEE AREEBATE OVER THE LEVEL OF RESOURCES DEDICATED TO THE MILITARY. BY AND LARGE ITEBATE PITTING CIVILIANS AGAINST THE MILITARY, WITH THE FORMER ARGUING THAT SOVIET SECURITY CAN BE ASSUREDOWER LEVEL OF EXPENDITURE AND LOWER FORCE LEVELS AND THE MILITARY DISAGREEING. DESPITE THIS DEBATE, AND THE POSSIBILITY OF FUTURE LEVELING OFF OR PERHAPS EVEN DECLINE IN SOVIET MILITARY SPENDING, AT THIS POINT WE SEE NO SLACKENING OF SOVIET WEAPONS PRODUCTION OR PROGRAMS. SOVIET RESEARCH ON NEW, EXOTIC WEAPONS SUCH AS LASERS AND THEIR OWN VERSION OF SDI CONTINUES APACE. VIRTUALLY ALL OF THEIR PRINCIPAL STRATEGIC WEAPONS WILL BE REPLACED WITH NEW, MORE SOPHISTICATED SYSTEMS BY THE,EW STRATEGIC BOMBER IS BEING ADDED TO THEIR ARSENAL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES. THEIR DEFENSES AGAINST US WEAPONS ARE BEING STEADILY IMPROVED, AS ARE THEIR CAPABILITIES FOR WAR-FIGHTING. AS OUR DEFENSE BUDGET DECLINES AGAIN, THEIRS CONTINUES TO GROW, ALBEIT SLOWLY.
THE THIRD ELEMENT OF GORBACHEV'S FOREIGN POLICY IS CONTINUED AGGRESSIVE PURSUIT OF SOVIET OBJECTIVES AND PROTECTION OF SOVIET CLIENTS IN THE THIRD WORLD. UNDER GORBACHEV, THE SOVIETS AND CUBANS PROVIDED MOREILLION DOLLARS IN ECONOMIC AND MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO NICARAGUAORE THAN TWO BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT
was sent to vietnam, laos and cambodia last year; and more than onealf billion dollars in military equipment was sent to angola last yeartwices level. and, of course. Cuba gets nearly seven billion dollars in Soviet support each year.ime of economic stress at home, these commitments speak clearly about soviet priorities.
the fourth element of gorbachev's foreign policy is new and dynamic diplomatic initiatives to weaken ties between the us and its western allies, china, japan, and the third world; to portray the soviet government as committed to arms control and peace! and to suggest moscow's interest in diplomatic solutions to Third world problems, the foremost example of this is the decision to withdraw from afghanistan. we can and should expect other new and bold initiatives, perhaps including unilateral conventional force reductions that will severely test alliance cohesion. similarly, new initiatives with china and japan seem likely in an effort to overcome bilateral obstacles to improved relations and to exploit problems between them and the us. and. in the third world, they will seek to take advantage of any relaxation of us vigilance or constancy.
in thiselieve we can anticipate further significant soviet initiatives for arms controlsome of them ambitious and unrealistic. but virtually all with enormous global political appeal. gorbachev is prepared to explore
hink, reachsignificant reductions in weapons, but past soviet practice suggests he will seek agreements that protect existing soviet advantages. leave open alternative avenues of weapons development, offer commensurate political gain, or take advantage of us unilateral restraint or constraints (such as our unwillingness inoermitted limited abm).
in my judgment, for the next several years the benefits of arms control for gorbachev, particularly with respect to strategic weapons, are primarily strategic and political, not economic. he does seek to avoid new, unanticipated costs that developments such as sdi might require. these would probably be substantial innd could wreak havoc on his economic modernization agenda. however, in terms of potential savings, strategic offensive weapons account for only aboutercent of the soviet budget. few of the production or resource capabilities are transferable to cjvilian purposes and the soviets already have made the investment necessary for production of their strategic weapons force through the. Only through significant conventional force reductions could gorbachev begin to realize any major economic benefit and,reat extent, this would be years in the
the political benefits of arms control for Gorbachev are evident. oted earlier. it has the potential to bring downward pressure on western defense budgets, slow western military modernization, weaken resolve to counter soviet advances in the third world, and open to the ussr new opportunities for western technology and economic relations, arms control gives credence to soviet claims of their benign intentions and makes them appear toar more attractive partner to other countries in political, cultural, and economic
arms control is an attractive proposition from gorbachev's point of view for its strategic impact as wells long as any agreement incorporates basic soviet positions: permitting continued modernization of heavy icbms and deployment of mobile icbms, preventing the united states from deploying an effective space-based missile defense, and constraining air and sea launched cruise missiles. from the soviet perspective, deep cuts in strategic offensive arms, with these provisos, offer the means to limit the growing number of hard-target weapons in the US arsenal and to constrain us progress in the development of advanced strategic defenses. while start would also obviously limit soviet weapons programs, they presumably believe that an agreement that encompassed their bottom-line positions would, at minimum, not degrade their relative strategic posture.
ARMS CONTROL AND OTHER NEW INITIATIVES ALSO ARE INTENDED TO BREAK SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY OUT OF LONGSTANDING TACTICAL DEADENDS AND TO MAKE THE SOVIETORE EFFECTIVE. FLEXIBLE AND VIGOROUS PLAYER THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. THE RESULT IS LIKELY TOOVIET POLITICAL CHALLENGE TO THE US ABROAD THAT COULD POSE GREATER PROBLEMS FOR OUR INTERNATIONAL POSITION, ALLIANCES AND RELATIONSHIPS IN THE FUTURE THAN THE HERETOFORE ONE DIMENSIONAL SOVIET MILITARY CHALLENGE. WE MUST BE PREPARED FOR GREATER SOVIET FLEXIBILITYA NEW AND DISCONCERTING WILLINGNESS TO SAY YES TO SOME OLD AND NOT WELL EXAMINED US AND WESTERN PROPOSALS. CONSIDERABLE NEW THINKING. FLEXIBILITY AND POLITICAL AGILITY WILL BE NEEDED ON OUR OWN PART TO ANTICIPATE AND COUNTER SOVIET INITIATIVES AND TO AVOID BEING OUTMANEUVERED AND PLACED CONSISTENTLY ON THE DEFENSIVE.
WHILE ACTUAL CHANGES IN THE ECONOMY OR POLITICAL LIFE OF THE SOVIET UNION SO FAR HAVE BEEN MODEST, WHAT GORBACHEV ALREADY HAS SET IN MOTIONOLITICAL EARTHQUAKE. HE IS PULLING ALL OF THE LEVERS OF CHANGEOCIETY AND CULTURE THAT HISTORICALLY HAS RESISTED CHANGEAND WHERE CHANGE USUALLY HAS BEEN VIOLENT AND WRENCHING. THE FORCES HE HAS UNLEASHED ARE POWERFUL BUT SO ARE THE PEOPLE AND
institutions he has antagonizedhus setting inremendous power struggle and purge no less dramatic for the absence of show trials and terror.
the struggle is essentially between those seeking to preserve the status quoand their power in itand gorbachev and his allies who seek to replace those now in power and, ironically, to turn the clock 3ack, back before stalinism to leninism. gorbachev seeks to restore in theystem in which somethough certainly not allelements of the Stalinist economic structure and bureaucracy are eliminated thus opening the way to greater flexibility and innovation and thereby to modernization and improved performance.
in the political arena, gorbachev's leninism means the continued political monopoly of the communist party, its role as sole arbiter of the national agenda. its control of all the levers of power, and its ultimate authority over all aspects of national lifeincluding the law. it alsoassive purge of the party and government bureaucracy, now underway, gorbachev's own book makes clear that "democratization" soviet-style does not mean moving the ussr away from marxism-leninism and its essentially totalitarian structure, his actions in suppressing the democratic union and other such embryonic opposition parties prove the point. the dictatorship of the communist party remains untouched and untouchable.
WESTERNERS FOR CENTURIES HAVE HOPED REPEATEDLY THAT RUSSIAN ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION AND POLITICAL REFORMEVEN REVOLUTIONSIGNALED AN END TO DESPOTISM. REPEATEDLYHE WEST HAS HOPED THAT DOMESTIC CHANGES IN THE USSR WOULD LEAD TO CHANGES IN COMMUNIST COERCIVE RULE AT HOME AND AGGRESSIVENESS ABROAD. THESE HOPES, DASHED TIME AND AGAIN, HAVE BEEN REVIVED BY GORBACHEV'S AMBITIOUS DOMESTIC AGENDA, INNOVATIVE FOREIGN POLICY AND PERSONAL STYLE.
THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AGAIN WHETHER GORBACHEV HAS SET IN MOTION FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES THATURN FROM TRADITIONAL FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVES OF OVERTURNING THE STATUS QUO IN THE WEST TO MORE PEACEFUL PURPOSES. THE QUESTION OF GORBACHEV'S LONGER RANGE INTENTIONS DOMINATES THE DEBATE IN THE WEST, AND, INTERESTLY, APPEARS ALSO TOUBJECT OF DEBATE IN THE SOVIET UNION. IN RECENT WEEKS THERE HAS BEEN AN EXCHANGE IN THE SOVIET PRESS BETWEEN MEMBERS OF THE POLITBURO ADDRESSING THIS VERY ISSUE. THE APPARENT LEADER OF THE CONSERVATIVES, LIGACHEV, HAS WRITTEN THAT THE SOVIET UNION CANNOTOREIGN POLICY BASED ON CLASS INTERESTTHAT IS, THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BRING ABOUT REVOLUTIONARY SOCIAL CHANGE IN THE WEST. AT THE SAME TIME, KHOVLEV AND FOREIGN MINISTER SHEVARDNADZE, HAVE ARGUED THAT IN THE NUCLEAR AGE THE SOVIET UNION CAN NO LONGEROREIGN POLICY BASED ON THIS PREMISE BUT MUSTORE STABILIZING ROLE.
Therehancea very small one in my viewthat Gorbachev is setting loose forces that neither he nor the party will be able to control and that, contrary to their intentions and expectations, ultimately mayundamental and welcome transformation of the soviet union at home and abroad, as we hope that this remote possibility someday comes toould advise, in oliver cromwell's famous words, that we "trust in god. but keep your powder dry."
Enduring characteristics of soviet governance at home and policy abroad make it clear thatwhile the changes underway offer opportunities for the united states andelaxation of tensionsorbachev intends improved soviet economic performance, greater political vitality at home, and more dynamic diplomacy to make theore competitive and stronger adversary in the years ahead. we must not mislead ourselves or allow ourselves to be misled into believing otherwise.
in conclusion, them most frequently asked is whether it is in our interest for gorbachev to succeed or fail. the first thing we must admit is that there is very little that the united states can do to influence the outcome of the struggle going on inside the soviet union. that said, we should ask ourselves if we want the political, social and
economic revitalization of the historical and current soviet system. hink not.
what we do seekoviet union that is pluralistic internally, non-interventionist externally, observes basic human rights, contributes to international stability,oviet union where these changes are moreemporary edict from the top and are independent of the views. power and durabilityingle individual. we can hope for such change but all of Russian and soviet history cautions us to be skeptical and cautious.
we cannot close our eyes to momentous developments in the ussr, but we should watch, wait, and evaluate. as longtime soviet-watcher william odom has said, we should applaud perestroika but not finance it. we should not make concessions based on hope and popular enthusiasms here or pleasing personalities and atmospheric or superficial changes there. we should. however, take advantage of opportunities where the terms are favorable to us or where we can bring about desirable changes in soviet policieswhether to advance human rights, freer emigration, strategic stability, solutions to soviet generated problems such as afghanistan, or even expanded business ties (if there is no transfer of sensitivebove all, we must establish realistic criteria by which we can judge in the coming months and years whether
political oh economic change in the soviet union genuinely is reshaping the foundations of the systemor whether the totalitarian structure of the soviet union, including the instruments of central control and repression, endures discreetly in the shadows. available at the beckon of gorbachevs successor, or even for gorbachev.
There are many uncertainties surrounding the soviet union today, but one fact is clear: whether gorbachev succeeds, fails. or justtill long competition and struggle with the soviet union lie before us. seeing this reality clearlythe opportunities as well as the dangerswill be an extraordinary challenge for the united states and the western democracies in the years ahead.Original document.