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SOVIET POLICY TOWARD THE UNITED STATES4
THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OFNTELLIGENCE.
THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS, EXCEPT AS NOTED IN THE TEXT.
The foSowing mtemgence orgoniiaticru participated in the preparation of the
Therjency. the Detente Intel yetxy, the- NeHloool Security Agency. and iSe rnltlLgroce oroani lotion ol ft*ol Stole.
The AiVftonl CW of StoH lo. Intetioence. Der^mertf o* the Arm, Ihe Director o( Naval Irrleflipence. Deportment of the Navy The Aiilnant Chief at Stall, Intcftgence, Department ol Ihe Air Force The Director el tmeKgemot.Marine Carpi
I. Current Soviet Policies Toward the United
Content of the Current
Perceptions and Foreign Policy Calculations
Arguments Within the Kremlin for,
II Soviet Policv Options in the Near
of the Dual-Track Policy.
Force Readiness Deployments
Training and Exercises.
Command, Control, Communications, and Intetiience
Logistics and Supply
Defense Economics and Civil
Vigilance and Security...
C Instigation or Exploitation of Limited 27
Soviet Moves on the Persian
D. Shift Toward East- West Accommodation
HI. Assessment and
This Special National Intelligence Estimate examines current Soviet policy toward the United States and prospects (or major changes during the remaindern part, itonlribution lo the ongoing effort by the Intelligence Community to monitor (he possibility that the Sovieis may be preparing for some form of confrontation with the United States in the near term. This effort has assessed recent Soviet military activities as largely the product of longstanding or evolving plans, intended to increase Soviet strength for an intensified power struggle over the long term, rather than preparations for confrontation in the near term.
Thisocus, however, is broader than that issue alone. Itomprehciuive assessment of current Soviet policy toward the United States and possibilities for sharp chaiiges of course Such possibilities include Soviet moves which instigate or exploit Local crisis situations and also initiatives relating to arms control negotiations. Soviet views about tbe currenl US administration make the possibility of major Soviet initiatives to influence the November election, ot to exploit the political environment of the campaignentral concern of this Estimate.
Gunent Soviet policy toward the United States expresses deep hostility to US aims and interests. It is shaped primarily by the Soviet perception that tbe United States is acting to alter the overall military power relationship, seeking to strengthen US alliances, and conducting regional securityfor the purpose of containing andSoviet influence in world af fairs. US policies threaten to undercut earlier Soviet expectations thatoulderiod in which the USSR could, against the Itackdiop of its military power, expand its international influence at low risk, and enjoy the economic and diplomatic benefits of Western acceptance of its superpower status. US policies and pronouncements alsoegree of challenge to the moral and political legitimacy daims of the Soviei regime which its leaders find unusually disturbing. Soviet policy is motivated by the desire to combat and, if possible, deflect US policies, and toore permissive environment in which Soviet relative military power and world influence can continue to grow.
Current Soviet policy toward the United States makes hostile initiatives in crisis areas, such as Central America andistinct near-term possibility. Hotoeoer, toe do not see in current Soviet political and military behavior preparationeliberate major confrontation with the United States In the near future.
The Soviets perceive that US policies directed againstonsiderable base of political support within tbe United States and in NATO. At the same time, they see weaknesses in thatbase which can be exploited to alter or discredit US policies, making it possible to blunt tbe cJiallenge posed by the United States and perhaps to returnondition of detente on terms consistent withinternational ambitions.
The policy implications of these perceptions for Moscow are fairly straightforward, upoint:
First, Soviet leaders seem at present to believe that thethat the United States will continue tbe policies of the past several years into the rest of the decade is high enough to require some political and military gearing uperiod of lasting and mom Intense struggle. How vigorous an effort this will require'in the future is uncertain to them, and possiblv in some dispute.
Second, the Sovieisey can influence the content, effectiveness, and durability of US policies they sec directed against them. The rigidity and hostility of Soviet policy toward the United States, on one hand, and attempts to take initiative and show flexibility, on the other, are aimed at negating those policies. Up to now, they have evidently calculated that rigidity and hostility are the most promising posture. But their recent perfotmancc and the outlook for the future plausibly call this into question.
Moscow's policies toward the United States are focused onthe domestic and alliance bases of public support for US policies and programs. Hostile propaganda, which blames the United States for an increased danger of war and for diplomatic rigidity with regardegional security and the major arms control issues. Is used to put the US administration on the defensive where puwible and to excite opposition to Washington's policies.'
At the sameostile stance toward the West is seen by Soviet leaders as convenient for exhorting greater discipline, sacrifice, and vigilance on the Soviet home front, where the Politburo is preoccupiedange of complex problems. These problems include stagnating economic performance and tbe resistance of the system to reform, flagging social morale and the dwindling* effectiveness of exhortation and disciplinary measures to boost worker pei forma nee. continuing isolated dissent, ethnic nationalism,"'antisocial" attitudes among youth, and some doubts among the elite as to top-leadership effectiveness.reat deal ol their attention, these problems create aineliberately stimulated image of tbe USSR's being embattled abroad is used by tbe Politburo to reinforce its political and ideological control at home.
An alternative view is that, while the Soviet leaders recognizexistenceumber of longstanding domestic problems, they are not so preoccupied with addressing tjbese issues that it prevents them from acting decisively and resolutely on foreign policies. Moreover, the holder of this view also believes that, while there may be some criticisms among party functionaries, there is no evidence that these criticisms affect Soviet polides.'
Although there may be debates among Soviet leaders about tactics toward the Uniied States, we believe that current Soviet policy,ominant hard line with steps and hints of progress, is based on consensus tti the Politburo. Tlie uncertain political power of
' tv,,kma Ikt
General Secretary Chernenko. hb and other Politburo members' limited foreign affairs expertise, and Cromyko's long experience as Foreign Minister have probably given the latter influence over Soviet foreign policy tactics he has not enjoyed under any previous Cencral Secretary. We doubt, "however, that he is unilaterally able to enforce hisover tbe objections of the rest of the Politburo, or that explicit contention on foreignrecently rumored with respect to the USSR's space arms controlto his being temporarily overruled. The consensus-maintaining mores of the Politburo and the skills of its members in avoiding isolation make such sltowdown situaUons unlikely. Rumors of foreign policy conflict in the Politburo arc probably exaggerations of more routine debate over tactics, and may be deliberately spread to influence Western perceptions.
In the last few months, the Soviets have been amenable to progress on several US-Soviet bilateral issues and haverominent initiative on antisatellite systems/space weapons negotiations Onissues, such as the hotline upgrade and the renewal of the technical and economic cooperation accord, the Soviets appear motivatedesire to preserve the basis for substantive dialogue on issues of direct benefit to them, despite their underlying hostility toward the present US administration. The space weapons initiative, on the other hand, was intended primarily to stimulate concessions from the United States, or political controversy about them, in an election period when the Soviets judge tlut the adminislraiion wants to display progress in US-Soviet relations. Failing US cotKoaons, the Soviets want,inimum, to deny the US administration any basis for claiming that it can manage cottstructive US-Soviet relations while pursuing anti-Soviet military and foreign policy goals.
The USSR's as-yet inconclusive initiative on space weapons is an example of the policy mix being pursued. Soviet behavior on this subject is motivatedrofound concern that the United States -vWU develop strategic defensespace-based or an ABMwould seriously undercut the credibility of Soviet strategy andtrong desire to achieve real constraints, by agreement or political influence, on what the Soviets regard as threatening long-term technology challenges by the United States in space weapons. This desire will persist and shape future Soviet actions whether there are space weapons talks in the near future or not. But short-term political considerations have clearly influenced the Soviets' tactics so far. They pioposed specific talks in Vienna in Septemberombination of reasons: to put Washington on the defensive if it refused, to coax it into major concessions if it chose not to refuse, and to stimulate political
interference from Congress and elsewhere with US ASAT and space weapons programs. The Soviets have expected all of these possibilities to be greater in an election season, and have evidently been willing,ime, to risk the US administration's claiming progress on arms control for its own political advantage. Throughout tbe diplomatic exchanges that followed their proposal ofune, the Sovietsominant line of hostility and accusation that the United States blocks the talks wilh repeated hints that compromise leading to Vienna is possible.
The USSR is currentlyeliberate dual-track policy toward the United States. It involves, on one hand, hostile propaganda on all subjects, hostile acts such as harassment of US dirtlornats and tampering with access to Berlin, stubborn resistance to compromise on central arms control issues, and incremental increases in military capability dramatized by exercises and INF-related deployments. It has also allowed, on the other hand, forward rnovement on selected bilateral issues and contained hints of progress on arms control and widerissues if the United States makes; concessions. Sustained Soviei efforts to undermine US interests and policies, from Central America, to Europe, to the Middle East, are an integral pari of this policy course.
We expect this mixed Soviet policy to continue in lhc near future. Itasis for denying political benefits to the USthe Soviets expect, but are not sure, will bewhile exploring for concessionsew tactical base for dealing with the administrationollowing term. This tactical posture leaves open the possibility of joinmg ASAT/space weapons talks in September if the United States appears ready to make inviting proposals, and also the possibility of refusing such talks, or walking out on them, if the administration looks politically vulnerable to such moves.
As of now, we believe the chances are well less than even that the Soviets will see it in their interest to start some form of ASAT/space weapons talks in September. They have probably not yet conclusively decided this, notwithstanding high-level assertions that talks arc not expected. In any case, they will handle the matter for the short-term purpose of stimulating pressuresS ASAT test moratorium and to coax concessions on the agenda and substantive issues. Should such talks begin, it is highly likely that the Soviets will hold over them the constant threatalkout or suspension lo keep up this pressure. If they see ihe US administration as unbending on Soviet demands, divided within, and politically vulnerable as the election approaches, there is achance they would stage some sort of walkout for political effect. It is somewhat more likely. Iiowcver, that they would remain at the talks,
presscheduled adjournment or suspension before (Iu- elections, andrumfire of public and private accusations that the administration is blocking progressital arms issue that could open
the way to progress on the rest of the strategic arms control agenda. This tactic would maintain pressure on Washington for concessions, keep the issue alive during the campaign, but not damage irretrievably the prospects for resuming the game should the administration be reelected.
Soviet desires to exacerbate the political vulnerabilities of the administration or to exploit inhibitions on its behavior in the preelection period couldole in Soviet behavior toward potentiallysituations that may arise in regions of tension, or could be iristicated by Soviet action. On the whole, Soviei behavior toward regional crisis contingencies will be governed more by localand risks than by the Soviet reading of the US politicalAj regards the latter, while the Soviets may see opportunities to hurt the US administration politically or to exploit election-year inhibitions, they will also reflectpotty record of assessing theserealiringoviet challenge might strengthen thes standing and generate supportorceful response unwelcome to Moscow, The following examines possible contingencies wc believe most worthy of attention, and we have reached judgments as to their probability;
In Central America, an insurgent offensive of limited scope and moderate effectiveness is likely to occur in El Salvador inummer or the fall, and the Soviets expect it to undermine Washington's claim that its policies there are working. There Is evidence tliat the Soviets are arranging the shipment9 trainer/combat aircraft to Nicaragua, possibly beforeAlthough the United States has made dear that ll will not accept MIGs or other combat jets in Nicaragua, the Soviets would couat on the less9 to introduce ambiguities into the situation and toS response. The Soviets would be betting that the United States is unwilling militarily to challenge9 deployment before the election, andby its prior acceptance to tolerate the planes thereafter. The Soviets may intend to introduce more advanced fighter aircraft (such as) into Nicaragua at some point in the future. Their decision on MIGs or other advanced aircraft would depend principally on US reaction to deployment ofhe Soviets could also exploit the availability oflarge new military airbase for visits by Bear reconnais-
sance and ASW aircraft, to shape the political environment for other deployment actions, and for military activity, such as maritime monitoring at the approaches of the Panama Canal. An alternative view is that the estimate places too much empliasis on9 issue. If these aircraft are shipped to Nicaragua, Moscow would perceive their introduction as only oneumber of increments in the Sandinista regime's militarywould include the constructionarge military airfield at Punta Huete and three Soviet-equipped communications intercept facilities. In evaluating the probable US response to the MIGs, Moscow would consider US reaction to all of such increments, not tolone. The Soviet concern not to provoke the United States into military-action that has kept Moscow from delivering MIGs to Nicaragua for over two years would continue in play.1
The Soviets may take hostile action against Pakistan to end its support of the Afghan resistance, the tenacity of which appears to have increased the Soviets' frustration and perhaps led to doubts as to whether they ought to be satisfied with their protracted strategy for imposing control on
Soviets cannot direct Indian actions againsT Pakistan. But wc believe that the likelihood of India's taking action over the nextonths for its own reasons has risen distinctly, and wc believe that the Soviets are in consultation with New Delhi about the situation and strongly motivated to exploit It* It is somewhat less likely that the Soviets will make direct but limited attacks on Pakistan's border because this would present the best political circumstances for increased US support while not altering Zia's policies. Nevertheless, given Moscow's strong incentives to try to change Pakistan's policies toward the Afghan war, recent signs of increased Soviet pressure on Islamabad, and Moscow's inability to command Indian action against Pakistan, the prospect of unilateral Soviet political and military pressures on Pakistan, such as limited air attacks and hot-pursuit raids on border sites, cannot be ruled out. The Soviets may decide to
1 The koUc of (All Oauti ike Oiitttoe. Bwiau el Inielltieme end fXeteeisk..
increase lhc frequency and scale of limited cross-border raids in an attempt to force President Zia to rein in the insurgents, but we believe large-scale Soviet military actions against Pakistan remain unlikely.
the Persian Culf region, escalation of the Iran-Iraq war and the prospect of US intervention might induce the USSRto apply military pressure on Iran to end tbe conflict and tooviet rolenerpower In the Culf region. Various developments in the Culf are possible, but in the short term the most likely Soviet responses will be efforts to gain increased political influence in Iran and other regional states, rather lhan confrontational military actions. An Iranian victory over Iraq and Soviet reaction to it could leadoviet invasion of Iran, and therebyirect military confrontation with the United States. But we believe this course of events is highly unlikely in the time frame of this Estimate There is no evidence to suggest that the Soviets are readying their military forces in the region lo exert visible pressure or to take local action,ey could be brought within weeks to sufficient readiness to attack Iran orartoviet pressure campaign against Iran.
Berlin, where the Soviets have been acting to remind the West of its vulnerable access, the Soviets could escalate pressures to stimulate fear and tension among the United Slates and itsSome increase in Soviet actions to test US and allied reactions cannot be ruled out in the short term. We believe any major escalation of pressure is very unlikely because the risk of counterproductive political effects in the Westenuine confrontation is higher thaa the Soviets wish to run now.
Taken together, these regional conflict situations, in which US and Soviet interests are opposed and the potential for local conflictis significant, generate possibilities for limited US-Sovietover coming months which we cannot rule out, although we judge them unlikely. Qrcumstances could arise in which local events combine with Soviet desire to gain local objectives and, secondarily, to embarrass the United States, resultingegree of confrontation the USSR did not originally seek. Domestic political conditions in tlie United States will play some role in Soviet calculations. Tbe Soviets would expect the election period lo impose inhibitions on US responses to their initiatives or other developments which would enhance their prospects of local success.esser extent, they may expect regional crises to put the US administration on the defensive regarding its overall foreign policy. At
Ihe same time, uncertainties about US reactions to challenge and about tbe political effects of Soviet challenges on US politics will continue toestraining influence on Moscow's actions.
Hecent Soviet military and political actions have created concern that the Soviets may be preparingajor military confrontation with the United States. During the past six months or so the Soviets haveigorous program of large-scale military exercises, have engaged in anomalous behavior with respect to troop rotation and withdrawn military support for harvest activities, have demonstratively deployed weapon systems in response to NATO's INF deployments, and have heightened internal vigilance and security activities. Amidst continuing propaganda and intermittent reporting^
^about Soviet fears of impending war, there is concern that recent Soviet military and defense-related activities might be read as revealing (or attempting to cloud) definite Soviet preparationsear-term confrontation with the United States that could sharply heighten tlic riskeneral war.
There is also'concern about the possibility that the Sovietmight beind tonow-or-never" effort to dramatically shift the terms of the US-Soviet power struggle through central confrontation, fearful thai future Soviet domestic problems may make It excessively difficult for live USSR to achieve its military andgoals in the future. It is feared that Soviet military activities could be in preparation foronfrontation.
We strongly believe that Soviet actions are not inspired by, and Soviet leaders do notenuine danger of imminent conflict or conf rontation with the United States. Also, we do not believe that Soviet war talk and other actions "mask" Soviet preparations for an imminent move toward confrontation on the part of the USSR.
Supporting the conclusion, the analysis underlying thehas led us to judge,
Soviet leadership displays an expectation of intensified power competition with the United States in the years ahead, along with some hope that US policies can be deflectedombination of stubbornness and cajolery. It does not nowiew that dangerous confrontation may be required to defend its interests and advance its power.
pleased with the USSR's impioved military situation achieved in the past decade, the Soviet leadership is not so confident in it that it would deliberately seekentral test
of US-Soviet strategic strength to "keep history on track "
ol powci and decisionmaking in the Soviet Politburo at present arc very unlikely to generate initiatives that arcdangerous (or its members,isky confrontational strategy would be
comprehensively, Soviet military and defense-related activities are in line with lorig-evolving plans and patterns, rather than with sliarp acceleration of preparationsajor war. Noteworthy by their absence are widespread logistics, supply, and defense-economic preparations obligated by Soviet war doctrines and operational requirements. We have high confidence in our ability to detect them if they were occurringide scale
To be sure, Soviet propaganda and other information activities have deliberately tried to create the imageangerous international environment, of Soviet fear of war, and of possible Soviet willingness to contemplate dangerous actions. Some, although by no means all. recent Soviet military activity appears to have been directed in part at supporting this campaign, especially large and visible Soviet military exercises. We believe that the apprehensive outlook the Soviets have toward the long-term struggle with the United States has prompted them to respondontrolled display of military muscle.
^jHowever, in the
total context of Soviet foreign and domestic developments,,we judge it very unlikely that the Soviets arc now preparingajor war or for confrontation that could leadajor war in the short run.
It is possible that, following the US elections and their reading of the overall political results, the Soviets could adjust their present foreign policy tactics to give more emphasis to steps of limited accommodation. Their aim would be to encourage US political trends that would deflect or alter the defense and foreign policies of the United States which the Soviets sec directed against them. They wouldeturn in some foim to the detente environment of then which they enjoyed many political and economic benefits of East-West amity but
suffered lew constraints on (lie expansion of their military power and international activities directed against the West, especially in the Third World. Although political circumstances in the West, both in the United States and in Europe, may encourage them to nuke mote serious attempts In this direction than in the past several years, the present Soviet leaders appreciate that detente consistent with longstanding Soviet aims requires fundamental changes in us policies,ubstantial US retreat from efforts to contain Soviet power. They also appreciate that this is unlikely to be accomplished solely by diplomatic maneuver on their part.
It is highly unlikely that the Soviets will fundamentally moderate their military and international aims and shiftolicy ofnd far-reaching accommodation toward the United States in the period of this Estimate. This could occur in the years aheadesult of the USSR's facing greater internal problems and external obstacles. For the present and the foreseeable future, Soviet leaders are likely to remain attached to expanding their military and international power. They will try lo manage ihe Soviet internal system to sustain these objectives. They would like toorm of East-West detente lhat facilitates these objectives while limiting the costs and risks of pursuing them. They are not yet readyorm of detente that forswears tlie expansion of their power.
In brief summary, the near-term protections we have made are as follows (percentages are merely for display of qualitative Judgment; note that judgments of probable Soviet behavior in some cases are contingent on prior developmentsower probability):
USSR Is likely to continue through the rerrsamder ofmixed policy toward the United States observed duringmonths so far, with heavy emphasis on hostility andbut with an undercurrent of bints about progressrelations and armsercent).
is now unlikely, but not ruled out, that the USSR will agree at the last minute to commence space weapons talks inercent) The odds rise sharply if the Untied States agrees to an ASAT testercent).
space weapons talks begin in September, therehance that the Soviets will contrive some sort of brcakoff to damage the US administrationut more likely tbat they will simply accuse the United States of blocking substantiveercent).
A moderately effective insurgent offensive is very likely to occur in El Salvador in late summer or the fall, and the Soviets will welcome it for putting significant although not decisive political piessure onercent).
is likely that the Soviets will9 jet aircraft intot is unlikely that more advanced fighters (such as MIG-2U) will be introduced beforehould they successfully, then the probability of their sending more advanced fighters rises. See the alternative view, held by the Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, as referenced in footnotehe Soviets could also use the new large airfield soon to be completed for visits by Bear reconnaissance and ASW aircraft
India evince interest in attacking Pakistani
jhe Soviets probably would be privately supportive, and probably would agree to provide intelligence and some logistiche Soviets' main aim would be an end to Pakistan's support of the Afghan resistance.
iserious possibility that the Soviets will take escalated unilateral military steps such as airstrikes and hot-pursuit actions to pressure Islamabad toward this end In the monthsajor Soviet attack on Pakistan, requiring new deployments and some weeks of preparation, is very unlikely during the period of this Estimateercent).
Soviet behavior toward the more probablein the Iran-Iraq war is likely to be continued efforts toward political openings in Tehran and among the Persian Gulfnly in the event of dramatic military success by Iran againstercent) or major USon Iranian soil are the Soviets likely to take direct military measures towardercent).
Soviets arc unlikely to escalate substantially their present very low-key pressures on Berlinhey may, however, test Western reactions by small increases in the degree and visibility of pressures they ate nowercent).
is some likelihood that the Soviets will try, following the USix of tactics toward the United States that give greater emphasis to flexibility on arms control and movement on bilateral issues, without giving up fundamentalontinuation of present policy mix well5 is moreercent)
ll is highly improbable thai tbc Soviets will shift to more far-reachiog accommodations toward tbe United States during ihe period of (his Estimateercent).
ighly tinlikely that the USSR is now preparing for and will move deliberatelyisible posture of direct, high-level military confrontation with the United States during the next six monthst cannot be ruled out, however, tbat the USSR could move quickly intoostureesult of acrisis escalation not now planned or sought byercent).
CURRENT SOVIET POLICIES TOWARD THE UNIIED STATES
A. The Conlonl of the Current line
I. The Soviet! are pursuing policies that eiprea deep political Inutility toward the United States. Soviet tactics on armi control and bilateral issuea have been more activist and have attempted Io display more flexibility since early rummer than during the previ-oui six months or to. The dominant thrust ol Soviet policy, however, remains highly combative toward US interests and stubbornly resistant to compromise on all major arms control and security issuea. Soviet policy continues to serve and be molded by the Soviet desire to achieve and maintain overall military superiority over the United States and its coalition partners. It aims al preserving theains and expanding its international power against what the Soviets regard as serious challenger from the United State*.
I The Soviets accuse the United Stales of pursuing the most malign goals In world affairs, of seeking to overturn the strategic "partly" created in, of being totally Insincere about desiring arms control and improvement In East-West relations, ol increasing the danger of nuclear war, and of seeking to destablllre the Soviet internal system. The USrequently depicted to foreign and domestic audiences as fcJlowrag In the footsteps of Nazism. On the diplomatic front, both in what tbey do and whit they refuse to do, the Soviets are striving to undermine the domestic and alliance support for the policies and the survival of the present US administration.
he hostility of Soviet policyew In degree, but not in content Soviet propaganda has been blaming the United Stales for raising the danger of nuclear warentral Committee resolution olhich followed NATO's dual Uack decision on INF and measures taken by the Carter adrniniitra-lion alter the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan The idem if teat ion of the United Slates with Nazismommon feature o( Soviet propaganda until the. Although the Soviets charge ihe present US administration with carrying US-Soviet relations to their lowest point In several decades, (hey alsothat those relations have been declining since the
oviei refusalegotiate on START andentral feature of Moscow's current policy, waiby the onset of NATO's INF deployments but continues to be motivated bv the larger Soviet purpose oforldwide atmosphere of anilely for which tlie United Slates is held to blame. Soviet withdrawal from the Olympics was intended lo signal the extent of deterioration in US-Soviet relations and thereby tolow that was expected toWashingtonery political year. The Soviet initiative on ASAT and space weapons talks has been managed, so far. in order lo saddle Washington with blame for resecting an opportunity loajor arms ixsue.
5 On regional security issues throughout the world, the current Soviet line fa thatltimately respoeisible for all tenUons. seeking to exploit them for its "imperial" purposes, willing to rfak major conflict, and thwarting all reasonable solutions. In many areas of the Third World, where the Soviets see themselves kickedistoric struggle with the United States, they remain active in supplying arms, seeking to Influence regional politics, and conducting localto expand their power and to protect itas been esubished. Although Mcoeow publicly proclaims lis desires (or cooperation onsecurity Issuer'confidential diplomaticwith the Uniied Stales and its allies reveal little, il any. interest by Mcocow In thb direction. Although less shrill than their public propaganda, their private messages are wholly of Indictment and
6 Current Soviet policy toward the United Stalesuibte internal polilical purpose. The supposedly increasedwhich Washington Is heldconstant preambles to exhortations by Soviet leaders to greater effort, discipline, and sacrifice by the Soviet population They are cited in demands lor greater Internal vigilance and security.
They preface repealed calls by Soviei military and political leaden for measure* to strengthen Soviei defenses
Oo close examination the overall image ofand intransigence displayed by Soviei policy is. nevertheless, marked by elements that qualify the dominant theme. Soviet pronourKcments make clear what Mo*wants in US-Soviet relations: return to ihe condition of detente as they saw it in the. In Soviet eyes,undamenlal compromise of East-West antagonisms, but anIn which Moscow is relatively free to ctpand its military power, lo eatend It* influence In the Third World al low risk, to conduct political and ideological cam pa is ns against the Weal, and to enjoy lhcand political benefits ofuperpower member of the International community, while ihe United States is relatively constrained by agreement and political factors fromf these SovietWhatood deal less certain to Soviet leaders is wliether return to thb bind of detente is possible, and, if not. what pattern of US-Sovietis feasible for them Io pursue.
Soviet propaganda directed principally ataudiences injects the recurrent nolo that, alter all. East-West tensions and the dangers of war have not gotten Irretrievably out of hand, that US aMi-Soviet policies arc destined to be unsuccessful because the "correlation of forces- and "objective factors" will thwart them, and that "healthy forces" in the West can be counted on to ease tensions and revive detente eventually.
official intransigence on START andaccompanied by occasional private feelers on howdialogue on these issues moving again,for signs of US willingness to makeAlthough the aim of polling the United Statespolitical defensive has determined Soviet tacticsASAT/space initiative, Moscow also has ato achieve by some combination ofandconstraints onweapons programs which could negateSoviethese areas andstrain the USSR's strategic postureits technological responsiveness.Soviets maintain some aspects of the armson Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction,on Disarmament in Europe, and onweapons They have portrayed an eagernesson the Comprehensive' Test Ban.
he Itostile atmosphere of the past sit months has not prevented ibe Soviets from movingariety of selected bilateral issues, from wltkh they can obtain some benefit or which do not require compromrting their strategic concerns These issues are modest in themselves, but investedotential "political Impact somewhat contrary to the dominant tlimit of Soviet policy. These Include renewal of (he trade and economic cooperation agreement, hotline upgrade, and progress on tome consular issues and exchanges. Daring regular talks under the trtcidents-at-Sea Agreement in late May. the Soviets showed exceptional hospitably to the American defecation (not atypical lor mllitary-to-miuiiry exchanges) andumber of very forthcoming suggestions on ship visits and air safety. In confidential and high-level diplomatic interactions with the United Stales, which have been stsstained fairly eoosfateotly throughout the last several yean, the Soviets have been sober and businesslike. Although suhstarttlvely intransigent on most central Issues, especially arms corrlcol. their diplomatic communications have displayed neither the tone of alarm nor the belUgerence generatedheir official propaganda
uring the lastmonths, certain nuances In Soviet public, diplomatic, and private communications have suggested some eaneriraentalion or searching. If only for tactical purposes, for openings to be more fleaible without jeopardy to basic positions:
Around the turn of the year. Q
"land some Soviet leaders* suiesnenUat the Soviets did not wish their recent walkout on START and inf lo lock them Into an Immobile diplomatic
Cherneako sMarch "election" speech referred to the possibilitybreskthrough" in East-West relations, dependent on significant US con-
Nongovernment delegations and diplomaticin Moscowery frigid political atrnosphere in March-May. andertain softening in the Soviet tone in late May and June, daring which peogres on some bilateral issues was made.
The Soviet ASAT/space weapons demarche ofune, foeeshadowedultitude of private and official signals of Soviei preoccupation with thb topic, was dearly an initiative to get Soviet diplomacy toward the United States out of its
dozen flate, although certainly motivated in large patt by combative political attitudesthe United Stalea
Throughout thb period, the Soviet) have taught through high-level contacts with US allies to tiansznit pressures for change in Washington's policies and to undermine allied support for them.
sum. especially since late spring, tbebeen movingual track in whichposture of hostility, suspicion, and refusalcompromise on major aims controlissues has combined with real, but lesstoorking resalicjrafaipangematters.
as yeton ASAT/space weapons, made onone, bof thb policy. Soviei behavior oa thbmotivatedrofound concern lhat thewill develop strategic defensespace-based or an ABMundercut ihe credibility oftrong desire to achieve real constraintsthe SovieU regard as threateningchallenges by the United States Ina desire which will persist andSoviet actions whether there arc spacein the near future or not But short terrahave clearly Influenced theso far. They proposed rpccifk ulks in Viennaombination of reasons: lo puton the defensive If It refused, lo cou Itcorxesaaoos if it choae not to refuse, andpolitical opposition from Congress and else-
to US ASAT and space weapons programs. Ihe Sovieueeled all of these pcasibilities to be greater in an election season, and. In order to test them, apparently were willingime to risk the US administration's claiming progress on arms control for Us political advantage Throughout the month of diplomatic exchanges that followed their proposal, the Sovietsominant line of inttansigencc and accusation that the United Suites blocks the talks with repeated hinU that compromise leading lo Vienna ii possible.
B. Soviet Perceptions ond foreign Policy Cciculattons
he molivalion for Soviet policy at present lies in (he perception thai the Uniied Slates under its current adiriinbt rationore consistently hostile Opponent of the USSR's interesU and aspirations than it has faced in many years. Al tbe core of thbhe overall military power relationship and ihe prospecU for lu being altered. By thehe Soviets believed they hadotal military posture which was. althoughlateau on which they could rest theiruch more satisfactory basb (or the defense of tlteit security InteresU and the advancement of their power in (he surrounding world than had eiisted (or decades. They expected that, in, thb military framework would help them gain many of the economic and political benefits of detente and also expanded infki-ence al Western expense around their periphery and in the Third World, however reluctantly acquiesced ia by (he West
Today they sec (he United Suies actingroad front to undercut these expectations, first by pursuing an array of military programs that might shifl the central strategic and regional power equations against Soviet interests, and second by pursuingpolicies that both deny the benefits of detente on the terms the Sovieu have sought and rnobilize US allies and regional security partners against the USSR They see the Sino-US relationship, despite persistent frictions in it and Beijing's determinationompletely independent course, as directed mainly against Soviet interesU.
Soviet leaders believe US policies are governed by deep anti-Soviet convictions In Washington. In their view, nothe United States seeking to contain Soviet power by hs military and political initiatives, but aiming lo use the larger power struggle, along with political and propaganda efforU, tothe legitimacy and ullirnalely the stability of Soviet control over IU Third World clients, Iu East European dependencies, and even Its domestic order. Although they have long .propagated the dogma lhat the ultimate threats to human welfare and security lie in the "nature ofall USleaden are greatly dismayed to hear (rom US leaders tlte contention lliat tbe dictatorial and acqubilive nature of the Soviet systemhe historic threat to peace and other human values
n the Soviet view. American leaders cannot be other than essentially anti-Soviet. But since Stalin, the SovieU have increasingly believed that (he United States would more often than not be governed bs "realistic" political elements who would recognize the need to accommodate not only lo tlie existence ol the
Soviet system but to id capindinc irticrrtattoeialand military power at well In this respect, the broad challenge to the legitimacy ol its power sod moral claims heard (rom the United States recently hasisturbing johlie Krcmlia
he Soviets perceive that current US policy toward the USSRonsiderable base ol support at borne and among; key allies.rroecrueoce, the US administration has been more successful than not In gaining approval (or Its military and foreign policy initiatives,rms control stance, and foruruuccessful efforts, such asanon On the other hand, tlte Soviets perceive and are Intensely Interested in the vulnenbiliUet of this pohlical base. They lookhole range of "cooti Mictions- in the economic cleveloprnent of the West generally, in rcUtiorts among US allies, and In US domestic politics as sources of opposition to current US policies. Theymuch out of hope asthese sources ol opposition, along with the strength of the USSR, will prevent the United Stales from turning back the dock of history on the East-West power struggle Above all, they look to tbe peace Issue and popular concern about nuclear arms as aforce which they can stimulate and exploit. The policy implications of these perceptions for Moscow arc fairly straightforward, upoint:
Flirt, Soviet leaders seem at present to believe that Ihe likelihood that tbe United States will continue the policies of the past several years Into lite rest of tbe decade is high enough to teejuire some political and military gearing uperiod of lasting and more intense strategic struggle. How vigorous sua effort this will require tn thencertain to them, and possibly In some dbpute.
Second, they believe that they can uiflueocc the content, effectiveness, and dtnability of UStltey see directed against them. The rigidity and hostility of Soviet poUcy toward the United States, on one hand, and attempts to takeand show flexibility, on ihe other, are aimed at deflecting and discrediting those US policies Upow, they have evidently calculated thit rigidity and hostility are the more promising posture. But their recent performance and the
outlook for the future plausibly call this Into
ow the Sovieis read the upcoming USelection is unavoidably an important factor In assessing their current foreign policy behavior. Soviet
among other means, forcing the Soviet Union into arms efforts which the system cannot sustain. The frequency with which the Soviets accuse the United Slates of this policy and ihe energy with which thev dismiss its prospects for success suggest some anxiety in the minds of Soviet leaders about the ability of the Soviet systemeal with intensified and protracted strategic struggle.
he Soviet leadership continues lo be facedhole range of internal problems
The performance of ihe Soviet economy and lite challenge of finding any combination ofacceptable reforms that will materially improve it_
Declining social morale and dwindlingof exhortation* and disciplinary measures in motivating worker ef fort
Continuing manifestations of isolated political dUsent, ethnic nationalism, and antisocialespecially among youth, which are worri-fome despite massive and effective means of control in the hands of the regime
within tlte Soviet political elite as to whether the current senior Politburo members can effectively address Soviet foreign andproblems. An alternativehat, while the Soviet leaders recognize the existenceumber of longstanding domestic problems, thev are not so preoccupied with addressing these Issues that it prevents them from actingand resolutely on foreign policies. Moreover, the holder of thb view also believes that, while there may be some criticisms amocgo evidence that theseaffect Soviet potscks.'
have some evidence tbat Soviet military leadersthe ability of the work force to tolerate tbe sacrifices of Intensified defense efforts. To the eatent these sentiments are known to, or present In. iheey would cause considerable anilely.
2S. The internal problems of managing the country dominate the agendas of the Soviet leadership in the best of limes. The array of problems facing them now has probably increased their preoccupation wilhaffairs. Recent Soviet policies toward the Uniied
Stales and Ihe outside world generally mayignificant degree be affected bv these InternalRigid policies and hostile, defensive rhetoric toward the outside worldatural reflei of Soviet leaden when they sense lhat the systemnder challenge These policies may endure even when they are neither effective in advancing Soviet Interests abroad nor very helpful in easing the system's internal difficulties For example. Soviet war-scare propaganda may have had counterproductive effects at home by stimulating the population's (can that the military power for which ihey pay so dearly does not really protect them. Thb may have stimulated Intermkleot assurances from various spokesmen that the dangers of (he international environment should not beChernenko hasctklng-classthat the demands of defenseenseperiod will not require overtime on military production. See the alternative view, held by the Director. Defense Intelligence Agency, as referenced in footnote *
Somewhat akin to their internal concerns, Soviet leaden face challenges to their Interests In Eastern Europe where social and economic problems arc Uting the effectiveness of Communist regimes and those regimes are pressed to experiment with reforms and ties to the West which run counter to Soviet interesU in ideological ortbodoiy and subservience to Moscow. Id one degree or another, all tlie Eastmembers of lite Warsaw Pact except Caecboslo-vakla are pursuing domestic and foreign policythat pose challenges lo Soviet interesU and control, although the USSR maintains basic limits on East European deviation.
A balancingvident la current Soviet tactics toward Eastern Europeigh degree of visible solidarity on such Issues as INF, theand dealings wilh the Wert, the SovieU haw had to temper or deliy some'efforts to enhance economic integration in CEMA.
The stale of the too political leadershipactor in the shaping of Soviet foreign policypresent "pattern of Politburo decisionmaking Kas IU several experts, such as Ustinov on mlllUry mailers, framing issues while final decisions are reached collectively.onstantly touted in PolitburoLimited foreign policy experience on the part of Chernenko and other senior Politburo members has appaiently giveneading-role on foreign policy deciiions which he did not enjoy
previous General Soon-la ties. Ilcceiit rumondispute over tbe ASAT/space weapons initiativeajority ol the Politburo, who allegedly favored it, and Gromyko, who opposed but wasare probably overdrawn We suspect some argument among Soviet leaden over tactics, but arc wary oi such reports because ol the occasional Soviet interest Inhawk-dove" dichotomy in the leadership to influence Western policy.
Civcn our uncertainties about the exact state ol play in Soviet leadership politics, assessments about the influence of personalities and factions would al this point be little more than guesses. It is possible that complaining aboutolicy Judgmentpart of others eclipsed by his role, such as theaffairs specialists in the Central Committee apparatus, could exert an influence on future Soviet policymaking.
ecent statements by Soviet military andleaders and somewhat divergent rsrorwuncements at to how dangerous tlte international environment really is. against the backdrop of obvious economic problems faeed by the system, (trongly indicate that Important resource allocation Issue* now Intersect sharply with foreign policymaking A* il prepares forb CPSU Congress scheduledewrites the party program, and builds0 Five-Year Plan, the leadership Is now addressing wltal thedirections of foreign and domestic policy ought lo be over the rest of the decade and beyond. The key Issue is whether US, beltavioc and the challenges it poses to Soviet strategic interests demand an increase In the Soviet military burden, and how tbe Soviet system can bear such an increase while managing Its other problems. In some fashion the leadership is probably trapoiing with the Question whether near-term departures in policy mightetter chance of advancing Soviet Interests against the United Stales and of doing so at lower long-term cost to the system than the policies currently being pursued
n alternative view Is that ihe recent statements by Soviet military and political leaders concerning the dangerous international environmentomestic piopaganda function of rat tonsil ting the demands foe greater productivity on the part of the tabor force, continued consumer deprivation, and ideolc^lcal vigi-lance in ihe society In this view, these statements against the backdrop of economic problems do not indicate that important resource allocation issues are impacting on Soviei foreign policy making Although the USSR it laced with continuing economic problems.
this view holds that il is unlikely lhat the Soviet leadership will reduce military spending. On the basis of observed militarynumber of weapon systems in production, weapons development,and trends in capital expansion In the defenseview expects Soviet military spending to grow.'
ossible Arguments Within the Kremlin for ond Againtt Near-Termhange
e have indirect evidence of Soviet leadership debate over future foreign policy direction, largely In the Iorm of varying lines on tlte danger of war and tlte balance of positive versus negative features of the international scene. Thb evidence should not be taken to indicate sharp, eaplicit controversy in the Politburo Tlte current thrust of Sovietrobablyto most members. In part because it avoids the immediate oeed for basic decbions. Moreover, the Soviet Politburo only rarely decides even major issues by direct confrontation of opposing views, which can be politicallyr the losers. Normally, policy disputes are resolved by bureaucratic process, subtle personnel moves, and esoteric communications that signal which way the wind is blowing. Showdownaseingon the ASATavoided; when they occur they are about political power as well as policy choice. Thus, ihe Politburo protects to Itself as well as tlie surrounding elite an Image of steady authority and stability vital to its hold on power.
These Politburo deosioonuking mores tend to protract and obscure consideration of basic policy change, but not prevent tt entirely. An influential Soviet argument for near-term change fn the direction or basic tadks of Soviet pohcy would have to rest heavily on the atv-tsod benefits, cods, andof proposedange" of possible alternatives the Soviet* mightxamined In the next section. PropooeJtts of differentowever, would have totrong caseonsensus that current Soviet policies toward the United States are failing lo achieve Soviet obfectives. andelf-interested defense of current oobciea by it* principal stewards
A telling critique of current Soviet policies toward the United Slates could be made, and probably is being made In some quarters of the Soviet national security establishment What might it be?
INF deploymentajor Soviet failure urvIiV-l. to be reversed, even though it faces further difficulties.
walkout ol START and INF. propaganda efforts, and diplomatic hostilitythe Unitednot pot the United States clearly on the defensive The UShas managed to maintain Its original anti-Soviet policies and to limit the potitical effects of Soviet hostility.
reelected, the Reagan administration willelatively free hand to pursue anti-Sovietin the future. Some new Soviet policyhas to be contrived to blunt those policies by allowing them ineffective or loo dangerous.
gainstoviet defense of current policy would probably take ihe following lines;
There are fundamental forces of Strain within ihe Uniied Slates and its aniances that limit US [tower and serve Soviet interests, such as fear of war, concern about defense spending, andfor tense relations with the USSR. Soviet policy is designed lo exploit them, but must do so patiently and persistently.
Current Soviet policies exploit and increase the difficulties faced by the United States without either undue concessions or undue risk,of US election results.
Alternative policies face greater risks andPolicies based on concessions run the high risk of failing to elicit countereoncessions from Washington while legitimizing current US policies. Policies veering more toward coafronta-
. tional relations run the political risk ofanti-Soviet sentiment in the United States, and could lead to real conflict
on its strong suit of patience and staying power. Soviet policy will outlast the current phase of the US effort lo block Soviet global ambitions and lo win back past US losses.
proper evaluation of Soviet internal conditions lends support lo current foreign policies.it will be difficult, the Soviei economy can sustain the likely intensification of ihecompetition Major confrontations should be avoided because ihey will tax Soviet resources and stimulate US arms efforts which maysubside.
Of the foregoing arguments, lite defense of current policy, in our fudgment, has the upper hand in the Kremlin today, although the critique is probably persuasive enough to cause some consideration of alternative policies.
II. SOVIET POltCY OPTIONS IN THE NEAR FUTURE
A. Continual km of the Ouol-Trocfc. Policy
So. Tlte USSR is currentlyeliberate dual-track policy toward tbe United States Involving, on one hand, hostile propaganda on all subjects, hostile acts such as harassment of US diplomats andwilh access lo Berlin, and stubborn resistance to compromise on central arms control Issues, combined with, oa the other hand, forward movement onbilateral issues and hints of progress on arms control and wider US-Soviet issues if the United States makes concessions. Sustained Soviet efforts to undermine US interesU and policies, from Central America, toto the Middle East, are entirely consistent with this course
believe (hat continuation of thb policymost likely Soviet behavior at least intoS.
In Soviet calculations, thb mixed policyumber of benefits. It has the highest likelihood of putting the United Statesefensive and reactive political position, and applying pressure'Onto make concessions prior to the elections for domestic political reasons. By Itoldlng out liveof Improvement In relations, it could InhfbH US exploitation of Soviet political vulnerabilities, such as arising from the Sakhaiov case, or from taking new anti-Soviet initiatives of Hs own. Thb policy Is also calculated to stimulate policy dbpute within the US Ccnernmenf and the public arena that wiTJ help the Soviets to determine future diplomatic tactics and peopaganda lines.
The dual-track approach the Soviets areallows (hem with some credibility to depict Soviet policy as having (he initiative, while leaving their options open as to which direction lo take before and after (lie USt does not constrain their ability to respond to regional opportunities or pressures for action (hat could exacerbate US-Soviet tensions.
la the Soviet internal decision arena, the dual-track policy has the benefit of avoiding mafot policy revisioni while giving increased license to various parts
of the Sovicl national security establishmentursue Iheir Institutional agendas.hance Ihal (lib could produce actions by Soviet diplomats,security organs, and even the military (hat are not fully synchronized by central olcuUiion Such actions should not automatically be takenign of policy dispute or Institutional conflict because tlx Soviets are balancing; multiple objectives and because Ihe appearance of dispute may be encouragedrica! purposes
behavior regarding ASAT/spieewill be central to their tactics. Over tbc coursenest month, the Soviets will have to makeabout priorities which they probably havemade: Do thev prevent the onset of ASAT talks(he Reagan administration the polilicalthe very existence of talks will represent? Oruse the talks for continuing influence over (heaffected and as tbe starling pointS administration they expect toin November? Tbeytrong interestthe prospects of such talks barely alive aspossible, while depicting the United States asthem, in order to maintain Use politicalWashington which could intcrfetc with thetesting of US systems while retaining an easyof backing away from talks.
of the moment the chances appear welleven that the Soviets will decideo toSeptember. Their immediate tacticalto be lo deny the US administrationbenefits of talks while casting il in ablame for their absence. This explains theconclusive, deadlock. Nevertheless,havehort-term interest in dialingconcessions on space weapons issues andterm interest laolitical andprocess that offers tome prospect ofprograms in the future. If the United Statesto make concessions on any of the petalsSoviets insist are blocking the talks, the Sovietsbe witling to go to Vienna to service theselong-termbey probably regard theto raise nuclear forces at such talks asso long as Ihey need not negotiateThey also probably lodge pilot USihe goalotal space weapons ban asthey would continue to insist on this as areal bargaining targetemporarymoratorium, which they believe couldlined into wider constraints on US spaceEven if till* do begin in September, ihe
Soviets will probablytubborn andposture in negotiations through ihe fall, insisting that US behavior and positions indicate insincerity and jeopard ire the continuation of talks.
V Soviets are unlikely during the next half yeargreeeopen die START and INFIn any forum, although their interest in finding some way backhose talks will probably increase after the US elections. Over time, ihey may come lo see an arms control httkage of offensive strategic systems with space-based defensive systems, which (hey now bilterly resist,eans to exerl political pressure on the entire range of US strategic programs. Wc also believe ft highly unlikely that (he Soviets will agreeummit with the United Stales before or irnmediately after the US elections short of major US concessions on arms issues. They would view ettlter move as gratuitous legitimation of US policies they seek to discredit After the November elections or at such point as the Soviets conclude iheir outcome is certain. Moscow could begin to put more stress on positive steps in (he US-Soviet relationship in order to reshape ihe priorities ol lite administration In ihe next term away from the anti-Soviet directions Moscow now perceives.
hereerious possibility ihal sometime between now and November, the USSR could revert lo its completely negative tactics of the springudden collapse of space negotiations or other promising US-Soviet bilateral proceedings in the hope of burning the US administrationlost opportunity" prior to the elections. Opening thiswasactor In the Soviet proposal to initiate formal talks.
^fThe Soviets have recently stepped up overseas grain purchases;edgeoor harvest outlook) Such Soviet moves, while currently In their cootingeocy planning, will certainly be decided in ihe light of US domestic political reactions, as beat th-can read them. Their recent experience should (ell (hem that (hey have eonsistenlly underestimated the ability of tbe US administtalion to fend off such political blows. Should vbtble controversy arise in Washington over possible concessions In space talks, however, the Soviets might believe they could use facile diplomatic maneuvers lo elicit concessions or to blame the administration for failure to make progress: If the Soviets were lo consider cancellation of the grain
agreement, thcv would have lo lake Into account such (actors as iheir harvest outlook and, in general. Soviet reliability on long-team agreements
B. Oeliberato Cenlrcrl Confrontation
e Itelieve It highly unlikely thai lite USSR ts preparing. In the near term, to instigate an acute central coo frontalthe order of ihe Cuban missile crisis ofthe riskeneral war to achieve iu politicalut tbeof this possibility are so great as lo require its examination. Concern that the Sovieis might plan for an imminent confrontation arises from two kinds of reasoning:
ihe backdrop of sharpening difficulties imide the Soviet system, and facing US actions that could reverse live "correlation of forces" in the years ahead,eared, Soviet leaders might calculate thaihe ttroe toajor showdown io tbe US-Soviet strategic struggle. They might believe that their relative military power will never be greater, that assrospect as they could eipecl that the United Slates would back downim frontal ion. and thatesult would virtually neutralize the United Stales as aopponent under any administration for years to come.
ihe past six months or so. lhc Sovietsa vigorous program of large-scaleexercises, have engaged in anomalouswith respect lo troop rotation, havesupport from the harvest, havedeployed weapon systems InNATO's INF deploymenti, and haveInterna] vigilance and securitycontinuing propaganda andfears of impending war. there brecent Soviet military and del enmight be read as revealing (ordefinite Soviet preparations forcord root at ion wilh the Uniiedcould sharply heighten lhc risk of a
See additional view.re'etenred In footnotearaxon S3
he concerness that the Soviets might deliberatelyeneral war than thai they might seek local objectives of such importancearger tot of the US-Soviet power relationship ensues and Ihe risk of escalationaiorramatically increased Were the Soviets to have such obicctives immediately iney wouldbe obliged lo prepare for the most dangerous possible cooscoucisecs of acting lo achieve them.onfionlation might occuresult of deliberate Sovietof access to Berlin (locollapse NATO's confidence in itself and the Unitedajor direct attack on Pakistan (to terminate support to the Afghanreemptive military movethe Culf (to prevent the Uniied States from installing forces and bases andstablish Ihe USSR as the insuperpower In ther ihe insertion of nuclear weapons and other Soviet forces into Cubaounter lo INF or to deter US actions against Soviet clients in Central America).
foregoing arguineiitatkm is presentedconsideration of thb possibility. Il cannotout that the Soviet leaders have givento the radical option ofirectwilh the United Slates. Their ownand other meant of signaling aielo plant the thought in Western mindsare genuinely fearful ofonceivableey take (hit elementOwn propaganda with some degree ofwe believe it to be very unlikely thataie now planning to instigate awould carry an acute risk of generalhort-term basis some other, act ionlead loonfrontation, or genuinelythey must prepare for and possibly preemptUS attack on them of some sort
reasons for thb Judgment are as follows:
First, we sec no convincing evidetnee thai the SovieturreaaUy en the apocalyptic frame of mind required lo drive them into the sort of behavior speculated on above, and fairly convincing evidence lo the contrary In iheof Soviet rhetoric aboul international and dornestk affairs. The Soviet leadership bworried about longer term trends in the "correlation of forces" and their prospects in the East-West power struggle. At the same time It lelb all audiences that ihere are powerful forces and trends at work in ihe international arena that will prevent the Uniied States fromhowdown situation and avert the necessity ol the USSH doing so. Tlie Soviet leadership b'also worried about the capacity of the Soviet internal
system lo viiiam the rigors of East Westnot only in economic and technology terms which dearly Iniluence the militarybut also in pro pigs mil ind political terms The authentic concern ol Soviet leaden isgreater than that conveyed in publicYet we see little reason to believe that their worries about Soviet domestic problems over the long run would motivate Soviet leaden toassive confrontation to sorne-Iww "win the Cold War" before those problems become more serious. Indeed. Soviet pditical and military leaders at the top may out of self-interest be more optimistic about Soviet internal conditions than are lower level Soviet observer! who are the sources of much of our Information about the problems of Soviet society. Moreover, the history of Russian wan suggests to Soviet leaders that, white international tension cantheir domestic control, major wars can pose grave threats to Internal stability.
lo short, the picture of the East-West power struggle and of the Soviet system which exists In the minds of Soviet leaden today is not so gloomy about long-term prospects nor optimistic about the prospect*rand test of strategic strength in the short run as to inspire deliberateof acute confrontation Moreover, although Soviet official propaganda continues to trumpet lite war-danger theme, II* clear Intent to blacken tbe image of the United Stales and its coexistence with the theme that peace -ill be assured by Soviet strength and foreign policyoviet leadershipot genuinely afraid of imminent attack by the Uniied States.
Second, the current coedition of the Sovietas depicted by pubUe evidence andintelligence reporting argues strongly against its serious contemplation of deliberate central crmfrorMatioa Collective decisionmikingodytrong central figure whoauthority across the whole range ofmilitary, and domestic policy Is very un-condudvc to bold initiatives on anything controversial, which deliberate cottfrootataortal options would certainly be Aseader as Khrushchev lound himself hurl politically and ultimately deposed in pait because lie bidOpen to ihe chargedventurism" in the Cuban missile crisis None of ibe present lop Soviet leaden, neither the senior ones who seel: lo retain power as long as possible nor lhc younger ones who want lo inherit it, wishes lo face thb charge.
Third, although Soviet leaders have more eonfi-detace in the adequacy of their overall military posture today than at any lime since theof the Cold War. they are not so confident in it that they would ddiberately put it to ihe lestirect, central confrontation wilh the United States andeneral war. Moreover, only fat lhc case of Berlin, do the Soviets enjoy such overwhelming local power that they coulddictate the local military outcorrrisis, unless the United Stales escalated lowar. And if NATO did not collapse politically, costs accruing from likely reactions througliout the Atlantic world would far outweigh the short term Soviet gains. In the case of direct Soviei moves against Pakistan or the Culf. the local power balances are potentially favorable to ihe Soviet side if large-scale operations (and extensive preparations for them, not yet seen) occurred, but (till too problematical for easy calculation. In the case of direct confrontational initiativesCuba, they are highly adverse lor ihe Soviets. In considering directly confrontational opt ken. Soviet leaders would have to face lite high peccability ef getting into serious militaryor losing locally, and ofore united and motivated set of adversaries over the long run even were they to win their local obreouwe.
Fourth, in surveying the range of military and ddense-related activities currently beingby the USSR, we concludeighly ualikdy that the Soviets are deliberatelytheir forces foe central confrontation or for theaterwide military ooerations in the short term. These activities^
the whole, they ire consistent with familiar patterns. All aimed at enhancing lhc military might of the Soviet Union in some way. lltey distribute their payolfs at widely different limes from ihe near to tlte distant future They do not "clutter" lo indicate targeting of preparations for some period of maximum readiness in the near futuretW Soviets are engaged In activities that detract to some degtee from neai-term force readiness, for example,lte Moscow ABM system makes it currently less combat capable lhan at any time since the.
political context we ate examining, we feci confident that ihe Sennets aie not now preparing foe major conflict during the period of this Estimate
here is an additional view specific to the obviously very confrontational Soviet option to place SS-EOs in Cuba. Although It Is currently unlikely that the Soviets would placen Cuba in tbe near future, the possihllity still exists and, because of the great danger which ft poses, warrants continuing considentlon. There isationale for such denloy-mcnts. although they are not likely until after the election. The Soviet leadership, while aware of the potentially great risks involved in deployingobo cognizant of. and might be tempted bv. tlte significant political (andeaser extent military) gains that would be achieved if the United States were forced to back downecond Cuban missile crisis. Furthermore, given the significandy different US-Soviet military balance today comparedoviet leaders might anticipate that another Cuban missile crisis, in conjunction with renewed Soviet declarationsesire to negotiate, would prompt West European leaders to ptesssuie the United States to withdiaw the PetsJiing II missiles and wouldS opinion rather thantrong consensus in lavor of US military action^
1 is possible (hat (lie Soviets could ihlft (heir currently more or less oorrrul military preparedness activities onto tbe track of rapid preparationajor confrontation in responseocal crisiswhich m'mtit uiKipcctcdly threaten IoThese rjossibilitics ate considered below.
C. Instigation or Exploitation of Limited Crises
ver the next sis months the Soviets may find it in ilieir interest lo exploit or ponirdy even stimulate limited crises, in most cases through iheir allies or surrogates We believe the Soviets are more likely to exploit orocal crisis than ihey are to foment one de nooo. there are plenty of potential candidates already in existence. Candidate areas we believe most worthy of attention arc Central Arnerica. Pakistan, the Persian Cull, andoviet desire lo have Impact on US domestic politics couldartial, but probablyominant, motive for Soviet actionsimited crisis. The Soviets might expect lhat.fuUenge in an area of military weakness or political vulnerability, the United States could be shackled with damaging controversy, defeat, or blame for precipitate action. The election prospects of the admlnlstiatiofl or longer term political support for its policies could be hurt More likely, the Soviets might calculate that an otherwise risky initiative on their part could prove leas risky because election politics would Inhibit US responses and improve Sovietfor local success. However, they could not be confident that US action In response to any Soviet or Soviet-supported threat would not have live opposite result of eruiartcing the administ ration's image In the eyes oi USwitnessed by the US intervention in Crenada. In any case, Soviet actions will begoverned by the regional considerations tbat would either constrain or advance Soviet objectives Into short-term political effects In the United States. Moscow would weigh tbe likelihood of succeeding in suchventure against the risks of escalation and loss of Soviet control of events.
oviet readiness to tun some riskimited confrontation, short of actual hostilities, wilh the Uniied Stalesegional crisis situation would notundamental change of policy and altitude in Moscow from those prevailing now. Actions Moscow rs now engaged in. particularly in respect lo Central
' Tht. hoUe.aUiont OW/ of
opMmm ol (Af
America and Pakistan, alreadyegree of willingness to tolerate some risk of confrontation with the United Slates.
he Soviets see Central Americaromising theater of (evolution for challenging and distracting US power close to borne. Soviet supply ofarm. and advice lo the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua aod lo tbe insurgents in FJ Salvador, both directly and through their Cuban allies, serves long-term strategic aims. Less to test (hetes and embarrass the administration than to advance those long-term aims, the Soviets could take near-term initiatives that would present the Uniied States with difficult choicest
Confronted nowilitarily and politically more effective regime, the Insurgents in Elare trying toate-summer offensive Guerrilla objectives arc to prove that Duarte does not effectivelr govern El Salvador, to expand their geographic areas of operation, and to attack economic targets In order to force Duarte to negotiate
^suggests that Castro sees an insurgent offensive in El Salvador as potentially very debilitating for the US administration,il badly if it acts or fails Io respond. Q
Nicaragua, several runways capableee fighters are being built. One of theseajor new airbase with runways ksng and thick enough to handle the heaviest Uanspocts and reconnaissance strike aircraft in the Soviei inventory. This base is likely to be ready for limited operations by October. The Saisdiniita legime, has been seeking first-line jet fighlen from the Soviets, and sojie pilots have been trainingndhis and other evidence, such as the dcvelopaienl of an air defense radar network*)
"^tuggesl that air defense capable fighterselivered al some point r
delivery of arms and related supplies to Cuba and Nicaragua has continuedigh rate
SS. It il very likely that an insurgent offensive will take place In EI Salvador. It it unlikely thai Moscow expects an olfemive ol such strength ai lo Impact heavily on the US domestic scene, that is. loecision in Washington between Tosint El Salvador" or sending US troops An early insurgent olfensive. however, would be seen by Moscow as undermining administration claims during ihe election that its Central American policies arc proving effective.ihe Soviets have repeatedly cautioned the Cubans andd most likely aho the Salvadoranprovoking the United Slates. Moscow probablyalvadoranfall offensive
he Soviets may wefl Intend to introducefighters into Nicaragua at some point,the US position that this would not be tolerated. Tltey could time action toward this goal toerceived reluctance In Washington lo tike strong counteractions on ihe eve of elections, and to impose the political burdens on the administration that would stem from either action or inaction. To make US deciiions more difficult, the Soviets are likely to moveeries of graduated steps.
e believe that the9 subsonic iet trainer aircraft recently shipped from Libya to Bulgaria are likely to be destined for Nicaragua and may be the neat step In the process of Introducing advanced fighters, possibly before November.fir less capable as fighters thanlass aircraft,9 is nevertheless capable ot air-to-ground missions and wouldhreat to slow flying reconnaissance and insurgent supply aircraft The Soviets would probably fudge ilealo Nicaraguaair likelilaood of being accepted by the United Stales, which would make it more difficult for the United States lo act later against ibe arrival of more advanced aircraft US action againstould be eipected by tbe Soviets to generate major controversy within the United States and among Its allies. Should the Uniied Stales show Hself willing to take direct action againstove, the Soviets would cipect that action lo be presaged by diplomatic and other warnings permitting them lo modify their plans and to lornolitical problems for Washington short of actually shipping theoviet decision to send MICs into Nicaragua thus would depend heavily on the US reaction lon alternative view is that ihe estimate places loo much emphasis on9 issue If these alicrafl are shipped toMoscow would perceive their Introduction as only oneumber of increments in the Sandinista regime's militarywould include the constructionrge military airfield al Punta If uete and three Soviet-equipped communications intercept facilities In evaluating (he probable US response lo lite MICs, Moscow would consider US reaction to all of such increments, not tolone The Soviet concern not to provoke the United States Into mililary action lhat has kept Moscow from delivering MICs to Nicaragua for over two years would continue In play.'
he completion of the Urge airfield al Punta Huete would save the Soviets additional options of near- and long-term concern to tlte United Slates. For eiample, periodic visits by Sovietearand ASW aircraft, even if irregular, could be used lo monitor maritime activity bt the Caribbean and ihe Pacific. esztectaDy the approaches to the Panama Canal, and would be eipected by the Soviets to draw off thinly spread US resources In military contingency plans In addition, such visits could be uscd by the Soviets to raise the profile of their military association with the Sandinistas at such lime as they believe this useful
oviet military deliveries to the region indicate that ihe Soviets and their clients expect developments which may occasion US action against Nicaragua and even Cuba. Clearly Ihe success of Soviet aims In theikely to increase pressures for US action In the yean ahead, especially If the present USb returned in hJenember. The Soviets may not eielude the possibility that the United States will experiment with negotiating apptxMchcs to Influence Nlcaraguan and Cuban behavior. In either case.mililary streitgth of Soviet extents will enhance their ability lo continue serving Soviet long term aims In political bargaining and la srareadarag leftist revolu-lions.
ver the neat sir lo nine monthsn increasing likelihood that the Soviets could lakeinitiatives against Pakistan, especially in conjunction with possible Overt military moves by India against Pakistan's nuclear labilities The pooibtl-ity cf unilateral Soviet political and military action against Pakistan, although less convenient for Moscow and, we believe, less likely, aho cannot be ruled out.
one" RaaaaaoV, Dtpaimitm ol sioit
actions against Pakistan of greater scope and intensity thant tent airslrikes at (he border which have occurred In (he past
elationship, the Soviets and lltelndians are in coroulutjon lo some degree on their moves toward Pakistan/^
^How far thb consultation goes Is unclear. Ifontemplating military action against Pakistan, however, Delhi would certainlylose reading of the views and desires of the Soviet Union, its principal arms supplier and the onlycounterweight to Pakistan's allies, the United Stales and China. The Indians would expect the Soviets lo exploit an Indo- Pakistani conflict politically loermination to Pakistan'i support of the Afghan resistance The Indians would, on balance, probably welcome thb result In addition to formal consultations, the Soviets probably have manysources on Indian intentions and tactics, and channels for Influencing Indian calculations. In any case, because the Soviets and the Indiansommon interest in securing basic changes to Islam abad's policies and possibly iu government, some cooperation toward that end may now be in progress. Should India evince interest in attacking Pakistan/^*
"Jibe Sovieu would be privately supportive, and probably would agree to rovide intelligence and some logistic suppcxt
or their part, the SovieU would sec an Indo-Pakbtaol conflict^
ajor contribution to achieving (heir objectivesis Pakistan, if it docs not lead to greater US support (or Pakistan. Some form of Indian attack, coincident with Soviet pcJitica] and possibly military pressure, could force Zia to come lo terms with both India and the USSR unless he received strong US military support, including new military deliveries andirect US presence But if die precipiUting occasion were an Indian response lo Pakistan's nudcai ambitions, the SovieU mightthat the United Sutes would find It politicalLy difficultrovide adequate support to Pakistan. The SovieU would expectrisis arising from thb equation couldajor political burden to the US administration in ihe fall, especially if ihe Soviet band in It were obscured.
oviet interest in an Indo-Pakistani confronts tion would be inhibited by fear, shaied by the Indians, that such action could lead to tighter US-Pakistani
cooperation, more US arms, and possibly US military iritervenlion llo lead to mote active Chinese support (o; Pakistan, in ooopcration with the United Stales. Because of the Alghan war. the Soviets have had foe sevetal years an interest in actios: against Pakistan. These irihibiuons have helped deter such action up until now. Tbey may be ieduced, but not eliminated, by the prospect of parallol action with India and election-time inhibitions on US responses.
hould an Indian attack on Pakistan material-ire, the Soviets" preferred course of action would be to play peacemaker In public, as they did at Tashkenthile putting exit teal pressure on Zia ba private to meet Moscow's keysupport (or the Afghanthe price of lib survival and avoidance of defeat In an all-out war with India. If this did not prove effective, the Soviets might threaten limited air attacks and other military measures In addition to the pressures brought by Indian operations. Such Soviet pressure coincident with Indian military action and reluctant US support, could force Zia into accommodation with both adversaries and posstb" topple hb regime.
oscow would probably regard escalated Soviet militaivand "hot pursuit" groundPakblan by themselvesess effective and rbkier way to pressure Zia than some form of parallel action in which India takes the more visible role Limited cross-border actions by the Soviets aloneow probability of dunging Zia's policiesigh probability of bringing In greater US support But thii may be the beat tbe Soviets bdieve they can do on their own.
he Sovieu lack the ground forces latoerious military threat of invasion against Pakistan. Kspeaally If they expected to mxin-Uin the present tenuous degree of control inwhile conducting operations against Pakistan, the SovieU would have to introduce on tbe order of several hundred thousand additional troops and tbeirsupport into tlie regions adjacent to Pakistan's northwestern border This would require mobilization within several military districts of the USSR and tlx lo eij[ht weeks of movement time,inimum.o evidence Ihalccurring.
e believe thaierious possibility ovei the nextonths ol Indian actions against Pakbtan iu which an Indian attack,"
with Soviet political and, possibly, military pressure on Islamabad. Although it would seem less attractive from Moscow's point of view for the Soviet Union to take limited military action against Pakistan in the absence of prominent Indian Initiatives, wc do not rule out this possibility dtber. The immediate Soviet aim In both cases would be lo end Pakistan's involvmenl in the Afghan war. An ancillary but very important objective would be to discredit the role of the United Slates as an ally and security partner throughout the region. We believe on all-out Soviet invasion of Paki-Stan to be very unlikely in the period of thb Estimate
Soviet AAovet on the Pwsion Gulf
The Iran-Iraq war and longstanding Soviclto have greater Innuencc In the area may occasion new Soviet moves lhat threaten vital US interesU and carry some risk of confrontation Soviet military power racrlh of Iran gives the USSR latent potential to exert more influence on the region iltould Soviet wtfungness lo use il become rnoret hough the SovieU genuinely believe tbe Unitedxploiting tbe war toermanent military presence in the region and deeply oppose thb. they also appreciate the political controversy which would attend either direct US engagement in an escalation of the crisis or US reluctance to oct if Saudi Arabia or one of the Persian Culf states were alUcked by Iran
Present Soviet policy rests on extensive military and political support for Iraq, while It seeks to exploit any opening In Tehran for ending the war and improving Soviet-Iranian reUuons. and the insecurities of the region, rsartieularly those of the Culf states, to estaUbh new Soviet diplomatic inroads. Soviet actions are very much dependent on local developments and attitudes; on tbe whole, Soviet pobcy has been cautious and exploratory, rather than daring Yet tbe interest of Iran. Kuwait, and Jordan In keeping lines to Moscowrecently increased Soviet responsiveness toxtothe SovieU political prospects in the region.
If the Iran-Iraq war grinds on along presently visible lines, it will present the USSR with no dramatic new pressures or rjpportunities lor intrusion into tbe region. In the near term, ihe most plausible departures from current Itends which could prompt changes in Soviet behavior are
- Kit her in conjunction with, oiubstitute for. their long-awaited offensive against Iraq, the Iianiant escalate air attacks against theates, and the United Stales responds bvloiees into the region
The Iranian offensive abortsefeated and Iran, perhapsew leadership const el la-lion, decides lo come to terms with Iraq and its Soviet patron.
While fulminating at length against theof US intervention, the Soviets have been very reticent IO indicate how they would respond lo it. Low-level Soviet spokesmen hive implied that ihe USSR would invade Iran under thetreaty If the United States puts force ashore in Iran, but would not react militarily to leaser US moves. The Sovieis wouldolitical opening in Tehran attending an Itanian military setback as opposed Io US intervention following an Iranian escalation. Both developments could occur. In dlher'ease, the Soviets are most likely to try using the new circumstances lo improve their influence in Iran before they attempt to apply military pressure or take major military actions for which Iran is Ihe Immediate target
In the less likely event that an Iranian offensive appears successful and threatens lo defeat Iraq, the Soviets could bring military pressure on Iran from thc-north lo end tlte fighting. It is conceivable thai the USSR would express an interest In acting with the United States to contain the crisis, but much more likely that the Soviets would seek lo take the lead in some combination ol diplomatic and military pressureanutoff of Soviet and East Bloc munitions and supply shipments toleaves them with the image of Ibe CulTs new protector. An
. Iranian victory over Iraq arid Soviet reaction to it could leadoviet invasion of Iran, end therebyirect military confrontation with the United States, but we believe tills course ofery unlikely in the lime frame of thb Estimate
o evidence to suggest that the Soviets are readying their military forces In the region to exert pressure or take local action, but lltey could be brought within weeks to sufficient readiness to play the rotes required by the developments discussed above.'
he volatility of the region plus Sovietinvolvement, and regional military powertoair probability to near-term Soviei actions exploiting or responding to the course of the Cull war. The exact circumstances would determine the likelihood of some form of US-Sovietwhich cannot he ruled out None of theseis susceptible to prior orcheHralion or confi-
'X-Sew. faro ,Capa-bdiiin i- (lie Southern Throtet ol Mltnanr Otwetioni dent management by the USSR, nor could they be timed by tbe Sovieis (or impact on US domestic dcvelopenenU- One or another variation could occur at any time and stimulate the Soviets toore forward political and military posture
in the Middle East, thefor an escalating crisis leading lood) less lhan in theThe USSR b, however, becoming moreon Arab-Israeli conflict issues Incould put pressure on US political interests.of the USSR's Middle East peacerecently, the regional travels of Sovietand developments In Soviet relations withCairo, and Beirut ariseoviethe current frustration of moderatemi I, lack cf movement on regional issues.cleady want some role compariblc lo thatUniied Stales in regional peace diplomacy, andto try again at thb longstanding goal at athe United States and Israel areInternal politics.
mililary authorities have beenAllied air access lo Berlin by unilaterallyand adjusting air corridor altitudeto assure safely in ihe presence ofoperations The Soviets have notto Allied protests, but insist that they havetoontest over.the issue.on the airew cases ofand harassment, and protests about Westbehavior bt West Berlin suggest thatow-key program of remindingStates and Us key allies of Use vulnerabilityA related objective may be to signal thatcould ad qxnckly and uruialeraliy toGerman relations, about which Moscowsomewhat nervous Major Soviet changesPerinanent Restricted Ateas in Eastrestrict Allied freedom of movement andcollection, may be part of the same patternalthough theylear otScrational
ntensifying thb campaignumber ol ways could at any time be used by lite Soviets to dramatize Berlin's vulnerability. Tlie presumed aims of such activity would be to show that the Soviets are willing, because of their distaste for US policy and ihe support, it finds in NATO, lo ad against ihe most neuralgic symbol of peace tn Euiopc They might hope thereby
Stimulate willcbm of tlie Unitedspecially in West Germany, and pressures (ot motepolicies towatd the USSR. They would, however,eriou* negative response (torn the United State* and Western Europe.
o evidence that the Soviets intend to escalate their pressures on Berlin in tbe near future They could do so without warning. The way they have handled the matter in the past six months Indicates that tltey have not wishedore dramatic altercation Presumably, they calculated that they
could achieve their local objectives without public
controversy over the issue
e believe II unlikely that the Soviets will significantly escalate pressure* on Berlin in the near term. Tlie Soviet* probably appreciate lhat they could notoorer symbolic target than Berlin for short-term pressure tactics that become publicly visible. Although they might generate tome frictions among allied governments and between them and someof public opinion in Europe, the early effect of relatively limited Soviet pressure would probably be increased political support for NATO and the United
States, and to enhance the credibility of anti-Soviet
et Soviet uncertainty on this score and hopes for more positive puhtical results could induce
litem lo try very cautious increases in their pressures
on Berlin to test Western reactions.
omething on the scale of lite Berlin Blockade could be used by the Soviets to trigger an acute East-West crisis in Europe The Soviets would expect that ihe risk of NATO taking direct military counteraction would be minimal. But ihe Soviets probably would also expect US action against oilier exposed Soviet strategic interests, such as Cuba. And they would fed the need lo ready thdr entire ddensc posture against the prospect that the exisb escalatedajor war. The Soviets might calculate thateriod of months NATO's resdve and Integrity would crack from the tension But tliii would nol be certain enough to ratiorsahzea general crbis, nor would the value lo the Soviet*hange Intatus. We see no evidence thai the Soviets arerisis of thb sort over Berlin, and radge it highly improbable in the near term It It less improbable, however, lhat the Soviets would try to use the Berlin lever lo exacerbate US-European frictions in the eventaior US Soviet confrontation in ihe Third World.
D. Shift Toward Eait-Wesl Acconwtrse^ 88 ft isoreimed at improving the
West altnospheie before November. Thb blikdy in hallowing mouths at the Sovietswider politicalhe USother world developments which may occur.factor in ihe calculations o( ihe Sovietbe their assessment of their ability la tbethrough limited accom modal ton, lo deflectpolitical support lor current USand foreign policies they regard asThey would not see tactics of limitedtheir hostile propaganda,of live maior strategic arms talks,minor concessions on bilateralfundamental concession! to the United Statescontrol or major changes In their policiessecurity
resent Soviet policy seeks, but does notexpect, ihe kind of detente which tbe Soviets believe prevailed in. Thai environment permitted what the Soviets found to be relatively profitable East-West rdations wliile Soviet military power and influence in Surrounding regions continued to grow. But the Soviets realize ihb attractivewas notunction of Soviei policy choice Various developments within Ihe United Stales and It* alliances contributed considerably Io weakening the Arnerican challenge lo Soviet power In thai period.
t present and for the foreseeable future, the Sovietdamantly opposed lo seeking more amicable US-Soviet relations on terms which It believes the United Suirs alms to impcxte, "narndy material constraints on Soviei military power and the expansion of Soviet international Influence against the interests of the United States and its allies. The Soviets are doubtful now that lltey can encourage detente consistent with iheir power aspirations wheneeking lo pose effective challenges to Soviet power and nol seeming lo retreat from its own superpower
rate. In short, the Soviets see ihe prospects for detente on terms they judge acceptable as dim In the near future unless the United States can somehow be brought by Soviet cajolery and domestic poh'lieal pressures lo acquiesce in Soviet terms Thdr reading of political signal) from ihe West could, however,them to try tactics of limited accommodation to see if detente on theirtill
ighly unlikely over the next six months, oronsiderable period beyond, thai the USSR will shiftroad-bated policy of genuinewilh the United States. If. however, existing pressures in Ihe Soviet international and domestic environment increase dramatically at some point In
(he future, (hey might cncourjce Soviet leaden lo (rv mac Ik -reaching accommodation in dealinc with (he United States. These pressures could arise fromeconomic pioblems, greater difltcullv In turning Soviet military power into political gain at low risk. Crest jr (ear that US defense effort! could shift (he overall strategic power balance against 'be USSR,erception that opposing US and Soviet objectivesigher risk ol conflict than in (he past.
oviet policy whichore authentic easing ol Fast-West conflicts wouldar-reaching shtfl of Sovicl leadership altitudes, which we judge impossible In (he time frame of this Estimate In fact, it is almost certain loew Soviet leadenlrip. one that comes to beheve that policies of conflict with the West do not work, are loo dangerousursue so long as the United Stales remainsto the containment of Soviei power, and can be safely modifiedong period.oviet leadership might come into being following the demise of the present senior members of the Politburo, and as successor generatiom of leaden inherit fullfor the USSR's domestic evolutionoviet leadership consensus mightbe formedolicy lhat seeks to shift pobtica! and resource priority toward revitalizing the Soviet economy and improving social conditionsrotracted period the magnitude ofresource claims, retrenching Soviet efforts to expand influence in third areas, and seeking mutual detente wilh (he United Statesllies.
he generations of leaders represented by such figures as Gorbachev. Romanov. Ogarkov. and Liga-chev appear now to differ from (heir elders only in the belief that thev can pursue traditional Soviet aims more skillfully and successfully at home and abroad. Tbey will not come naturally to tbe Rsdsment that their lime at the helm should be devotedebuild ing iceialistn on onehile ambitions to expand Soviet power abroad should be decmpliasizedong period. At best thisery distant and highly uncertain prospect which could only emerge gradually. It will not occur as (he result of largely tactical adjustment* we have recently seen.
It. ASSESSMENT AND OUTLOOK
he Soviet Union is curiepplying toward tlie Unitedual-track policy thai emphasizes political hostility and diplomatic rigidity, especially on major arms control and security Issues, combined with an important, but subordinate, effort lo move forward on various bilateral issues and spice weaponslions. The avowed goal of this policy is to returnlie reUliomhip of detente of thehe Ions-term coal of this policy is to pocket any gains from US interest in improved ties while limiting and neutralir-inn US defense and foreign policies. The practical goal of (hii policy Is. In (he immediate future, to exploit the political pressuresS election season lo encourage concessions from Washington and lo put the adminis-tration on the defensive about those xspeds of its policy the Soviets most dislike, especially its military programs and far-reaching arms control proposals. The Soviets probably believe that this com bins lion of ladics will open new opportunities for influencing various US and European audiences, and willontext for reassessing their tactics toward the United Stales after November.
urrent Soviet policy involves, at mceJ. minor mod if icat ions of their tactics of the past six montht or so, and rests on premises of deep hostility (oward US aims and interests. Soviet motives for slightly clianged tactics arise from (he judgment lhat their uniform negativism has not worked with Western avidiences thev wished lo influence, particularly within ihc US adminislraiion and major allied governments
l the same time the Soviets are looking aheaderiod of interallied political and strategicagainst the United Slates bkely lo last through. Soviet elite and leadership prrjiKwrscernenls plus the ongoing preparationew party program. Congress, and the five-Tear Plan, suggest that the Politburo has not yet decided on all the policy and resource implications of this next phase. The current state of the Soviet leadership probably complicates decisive, lasting choices and encourages the retention of established policies during the rest of thb year. Tbe pressures for some basic decisions on foreign and domestic policy will increase'
e believe ft highly unlikely lhat the current Soviet leadership is noweliberate major departure from the policies presently being pursued toward like United Slates, either in the direction of accommodation on arms and regional security issues, or toward direct miUtary confrontation. Following the US elections, and depending on how the Soviets read its results, there is *oene pottibiltty tbat Moscow willariety of tactics aimed at limitedwith the United Slates and constraining (he anil-Soviet foreign and defense policies it now sees ihe Uniied Stales pursuing
be most likely of possilile policy departures in the nciir teem are. weeveision to umlorm
negativism toward (he United 5'iio until Novemberudden Sovicl withdrawal dorn any arnu negotia-(ion which may be ongoing in (he (all foe (he purpose of shaippning domestic opposition lo admit ibt ration foreign policy. We do not rale out thai (he Soviet ASAT/space weapon! initiative hai been too (rived frorn the Bartot up (his opportunity, but believe (he SovieU are still pUying thb caid opportunistically.
lso possibleonUnuing regional conflict could develop inay aslford the Soviet Union oppottunllics for new- initiatives against the United Stales. Wc doubt thai Ihe Soviets will tryegional conflict escalation expressly to have impact on ihe US election boa uie they would doubt their ability to predict its polilical results. But they have regional aims and strategies U> pursue against the United Slates in any case, and these will determine their art ions relative to local developments
verall, the local dynamics of the regional conflict situations we have examined, combined with Soviet ambitions and opportunities for initiative,the rjossiblllty of limited US-Soviel confrontation In the near terra, which cannot be ruled out but which we judge unlikely. Although tbe Soviets are probably ready and nay indeed be planning to take initiatives lhat put pressure on Ihe United Stales, we do not believe the Soviets are now preparing themselves for the prospect that their actions and US responses willentral military confrontation In the neat six months
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