GORBACHEV'S GAMEPLAN: THE LONG VIEW

Created: 11/24/1987

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

ihi 19

The Deputy Oi--ec:of ol Cental

7

MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT: Gorbachev's Gameplan: The Lang view^trl**

The December Summit and INF Treaty arefor the Administration and for Gorbachev. there is substantial uncertainty about the US strategy the USSRorbachev's gameplan^ be played outrolonged periodthus giving

and theignificant advantage. His long range strategy s an important backdrop for the Summit. Understanding it ist^V ssential to maintaining perspective during and after the meeting and to identifying both pitfalls and opportunities.

Domestic Imperatives

There is general agreement among the Soviet leaders on the need to modernize their economynot so much for its own sake or to make Soviet citizens more prosperous but to strengthen the USSR at home, to further their own personal power, and to permit the further consolidation and expansion of Soviet power abroad. They differ as to the pace of change and whether economic modernization alsooosening of political controls. Gorbachev thinks so; many on the Politburo either disagree or harbor serious reservations.

There is also general agreement in the Politburo that economic modernizationenign international environment. The Soviets" need to relax tensions is critical because only thus can massive new expenditures for defense be avoided and Western help in economic development be obtained. The roots of Gorbachev's dynamic foreign policy are to be found at home and in the needrolonged breathing space.

CL By Signer DECL OADR

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Foreign Policy Consequences

The elements of foreign policy that spring from domestic economic weaknessix of new initiatives and longstanding policies.

1. Gorbachev wants toew andin theo obtaintrade and. above all, to avoid majorexpenditures while the Soviet economy Gorbachev must slow or stop Americanespecially SDI, that threatens notstrategic gains of the last generation butif continued, will force the USSR to devote

new resources to the militaryigh

competition for which they are ill-equipped. The Soviets know that detente in theontributed significantly to downward pressure on Western defense budgets, nearly halted 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.

2. ess visible but enduring element of foreign

even under Gorbachevis the

extraordinary scope and sweep of Soviet

modernization and weapons research and

Despite Soviet rhetoric, we still see no lessening

their weapons production. And, further,

research on new, exotic weapons such as lasers

their own version of SDI continues apace, of their principal strategic weapons will

replaced with new, more sophisticated systemsew bomber is being added tofor the first time in decades. TheirUS weapons are being steadily improved, ascapabilities for war-fighting

control, communications and leadership protection.

our defense budget declines again, theirs continuesslowly but steadily. Gorbachev is prepared

hink, reachsignificant

reductions in weapons, but only in ways that

existing Soviet advantages, leave open alternative avenues of weapons development, offer commensurate political gains, or take maximum advantage of US

unilateral restraint or constraints (such as

unwillingness inoimited ABM as

permitted by the treaty) .

S

The third element of Gorbachev's foreign policy is continued protection of Soviet clients in'the Third World. Under Gorbachev, the Soviets and Cubans are now providing moreillionear in economic and military assistance to Nicaragua: moreillion dollars worth of military equipment was sent to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the first six months of this year; more than four billion dollars in military equipment has been sent to Angoland, of course, Cuba gets about five billion dollars in Soviet support each year. ime of economic stress at heme, these commitments speak volumes about Soviet priorities. tkWk*

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 Afghanistan and Cambodia. In Europe, Gorbachev through INF isodest military capability for what he seesignificant political gain. We can and should expect new and bolder initiatives including conventional force reductionspossibly unilateralthat will severely test Alliance cohesion. Similarly, new initiatives with China and Japan will be attempted 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.

Conclusions

There clearly are great changes underway inside the Soviet Union and in soviet diplomacy. Yet, it is hard to detect fundamental changes, currently or in prospect, in the way the Soviets govern at home or in their principal objectives abroad. The Party certainly will retain its monopoly of power and the basic structures of the Stalinist economy willajor purpose of economic modernizationas in Russia in the days of Peter the Greatremains the further increase in Soviet military power and politicalr9T'

These enduring characteristics of Soviet governance at home and policy abroad make it clear that while the changes underway offer opportunities for the United States in arms control, Afghanistan and other areasGorbachev 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. T

Westerners for centuries have hoped repeatedly that Russian economic modernization and political reformeven revolutionsignaled an end to despotism and the beginning of Westernization. Repeatedlyhe West has hoped that domestic changes in the USSR would lead to changes in Communist coeceive cule at hcrae and aggressiveness abroad. These hopes, dashed time and again, have been revived by Gorbachev's domestic agenda, innovative foreign policy and personal style.

While Gorbachev arrives in Washingtonerious political setback- ate can afford to take the long view: he will likely be in power long after his adversaries at home and abroad have moved off the world stage. His domestic needs and foreign policy initiatives offer the United States significant opportunities but they must be seized with an appreciation of Gorbachev's long range perspective and strategy as well as with realism (particularly with respect to our very limited ability to influence internal developments in the Soviet Union). And, somehow, amid the inevitable media extravaganza of theobereven somberreminder of the enduring features of the regime and the still long competition and struggle ahead will be needed.

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