NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL
Basic Factors and Main Tendencies in Current Soviet Policy
DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
ConiurrrJ in by lha UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD
BASIC FACTORS UNDERLYING SOVIET POLICY
Stability and Straps Id Ihc Domestic.
Sources ol Strain
Implication! for External Policy Soviet Perception of thc Balance of Power
SOVIET POLICIES ON MAJOR CURRENT ISSUES
Some CenernI Tendencies
The Enduring Confrontation in Central Europe
Thc Middle East
PROSPECTS FOR CHANCE IN THE USSR
BASIC FACTORS AND MAIN TENDENCIES IN CURRENT SOVIET POLICY
This paper considers iii broad perspective the principal factors which underlie the USSR's external policies at present and its aims andwith respect to certain key areas and issues. As such, while it suggests the Broils within which Soviet policies are Hkelv to operate, il does not estimate likely Soviet conduct and positions in detail. In view of the intimate interaction between Soviet and American policies, this could not be done in any case without specific assumptions about American policy and actions.
in the Soviet Union Isertain sense dead,ital role. This paradox explains much about theSoviet society and the USSIlorld power today. Whiledoctrines now inhibit rather than promote neededthe system, the leaders continue to guard them as an essentialto their rule. They also view developments al home andwithin the conceptual framework of the traditionalfact will continue to limit the possibilities of
in thc system and the society have probably madeleadership of the Party Politburo less vulnerable to newtoersonal dictatorship. This seemsso long as the men who now comprise the leadershipa crisis within thc present leadership, accompanieddomestic tensions and greater unpredictability of externaloccur at any time without warning. If stability ofelatively deliberate, bureaueraticallyof decisionmaking will also continue.
Soviet leaders face severe problems at home. Athe rate of economic growth is tightening thc perennialresource allocation. Dissidence and alienation in theis of growing concern to the Soviet leaders. Generallythey are not at this time constrained by domesticcontinuing the general line of foreign policy they haverecent years.
leadership believes that ihe USSR's net powerthe world, as affected by both military and political factors,in thc years since the Cuban missile crisis. But this isby instability in its main security sphere in Eastern Europeincreased strains in thc Soviet economy and society. Thisthe Soviet leaders probably argues for continuing an externalcautious opportunism and limited pressures, perhaps withwatchfulness against thc development of uncontrolled risks.
endency in Soviet foreign policy to giveto geopolitical considerations as against the traditionalMoscow has had of itself as the directing center of amovement. This is evident in the concentration ofand aid efforts in recent years on countries around theof particular strategic interest lo the USSR. Il is seenthe guidance given to most Communist parties to pursuewhich are now more compatible with Soviet foreign
aims lo bringuropean settlement whichthe USSR's hegemony in Eastern Europe, obtain theof US forces, and isolate West Germany have suffered abecause of the aciion taken to suppress Czechoslovakia'sto follow an independent course. For the present, theunlikely to he responsive to any new Western initiatives loEuropean settlement, unless the West seems willing toof the Soviet sphere in Eastern Europe and of lhcGermany.
Sovietsouble concern in the Middle East atto keep their risks under control and to do this in such ato avoid diminishing the influence tliey have won with the Arab
Statcs. .Should renewed hostilities occur, the USSH might be drawn into assisting the defense of the Arabs, but it would not want to run the political and military' risks of joining in attacks on Israel or actually threatening its survival. At that stage, the Soviets would probablytacitly with the US to control the situation.
as an attempt to move into the vacuum left byof Western colonialism. Soviet policy in Asia in recent yearsgeared increasingly to thc containment of China.Soviets still act in particular situations, including Vietnam,on the premise that the Soviet-American rektionship incompetitive. Tlie major risks which may eventually arise fromof Chinese power, however, may persuade them tosome tacit collaboration.
the inducements totrategic armswith the US are probably stronger at this time thanMoscow's policy-bureaucratic argument over this issue isThe Soviets probably hope that talks themselves, even ifis reached, will ease the pressures of the arms raceUS decisions on new programs.
J. Even though the Soviet system appears ripe for change because it is now poorly suited toomplex industrial society, its rulers remain tenacious in defending their monopoly of powei and acutely fearful of adaptive change. The wider involvement of the USSR in world affairs and possible shifts in world power relations may eventually generate stronger pressures for change. Short of this, the outlook is for chronic tensions in Soviet-American relations,caused more frequently by events over which neither side has much control.
BASIC FACTORS UNDERLYING SOVIET POLICY Ideology
Qsulified observers arc hearday. 'Ideology is dead in Ihehile others equally quail Rod assert, "Ideology remains dominant In Soviet politics andaken literally, neither statement is valid. But understood as half-truths, both not only say something important about Soviet reality but are also compatible with each other. The paradox that ideology is in some sense dead but stillital role explains much about the nature of the USSRociety andorld power today.
Marxism-Leninismead ideology in the sense dial it hasalcified scripture, is seen as boring or irrelevant by most of the Sovietis cynically manipulated by the political elite, and Inhibits rather than promote* needed social change in the USSR, ltajor factor, however, because in the main it continues to provide Ihc conceptual framework within which Soviet internal and external policies are formulated. It is the semantical prism through which the Soviet leaders view the problems and development of their own system More important, it conditions prceoundly the way tn which they Interpret the aims and conduct of non-Communist aocieties. With respect to the US. in particular, it underlies the fearful and hostile "set" of Sovfelwhich so greatly bmits the flexibility needed for resolving conflicts of Interest.
Some observers have thought at various times that all this was changing, that doctrinal pohttcs was giving way inevitably to pragmatic politics. Such opinions have proved premature. The basic ond often overlooked reason is that ideologyital political function in thc Soviet system; it serves as the regime's badge of legitimacy. Without the claim that it was the embodimentistorically predestined process of revolutionary social advance, all the crimes and deprivations which this regime has inflictedong.suffering people might not have been borne, Force alone, without butlrcssing from doctrinalwinch claimed high moral purpose, probably would not have been enough to give thc Soviet regime the authority it needed From the beginning, moreover, ideological rigor has been usedeapon to preserve thc unityractious Party nnd to suppress nonconforming element! inside and onlsidc it. In Russian conditions and against thc background of Russian history, ideology has proved to be an important tool in making effective the rule by force and repression of the small political sect which seized power7 and has held il by tyrannical methods since.
Today Ihe Soviet leadership remains as .sensitive as ever to any hint of challenge lo its ideological pretensions In fact, during the last several years it has grown more rigfcl andhis respect. The reasons for this are complex. They begin simply with the temperament of the bureaucratic co)-
Jectivc whicli new governs. Tliai, soda) change hasarger educated class and inechnical elite which is less disposed to think ideologically Or to accept nttuiistic formulas of the old kind. Further, the ideological as well as political authority of the Soviet leadership has been sharply challenged by the rial ionalisl-inspired deviations which have apiscared in China and Kastera Europe since Stalin's death. Finally, the effort to isolate the population and also Party members from alien influences, on which thc preservation of the regime's ideological authority depends, has grown more difficult; thereen mcrwwod exposure to thc outside worldumber of ways, partlyonsequence of tin- development ol rommunica lions.
ence is that the men who now govern the USSR fecion thc Ideological defensive. They believe that If they retreat on this front the whole structure of their power will crumble. This concern bes behind their intensified repression of dissidents in recent years and their cautious restoration of Stalin's reputation; it figured strongly in iheir use of force against the Czechoslovak reform movement. Short of the appearance of newand possibly not then, this mood of fearful eossservatism is unlikely to change. It will affect adversely- the tone of Soviet-American relations and thus the possibilities of the more constructive dialogue which must be thc prelude to any significant improvement in those relations.
Stability and Stress in the Domestic System
6 The Leaaetship. To the surprise of some students of the Soviet system, collectivesharing of powerozen or so top leaders in the Politburo, the Party's supreme executiveendured since the fall of Khrushchev inhile collectivity has always been the declared principle on which thc system was supposed to operate, the dictatorship of one
man has been the rule during much of Soviet history. Souse have concluded that the failure of Khrushchev to consolidate himself inole and thc evident
fuel that Brcithncv, despite the prominence conferred by the title of General
Secretary, does not have it now, means that the age of dictators has passed
in the USSR
Persuasive considerations argue for this view. The dynamics of olher rcvolu* lions suggest that the heroic figures of the first generation give way to men of more limited capacity whose temper is more bureaucratic. The men who now compiisc thc top echelon, who have spent their entire lives in thc apparatus, appear to be of this stripe. Moreover, the enormous growth of slate and economic institutions, and thc far greater complexity of the issues posed as Soviet society has developed, make thc simplistic methods of an earlier time inapplicable.ureaucratic decisionmaking seems the normal mode in thc USSB today.
Yet tensions arising from the attempt of individual readers to crdargc their poster .iic evident from tune to timn, and it cannot be doubted that the classic form ol posver struggle seen in tlie past persists liehind Use facade of collectivity.
Tlie system remains ooe o! men and not of laws. Therefore, it is impossible to rule out new attempts by individual leaders to establish themselves in the role of dictator, together with the arbitrary rncasurcs. increased social tensions, and unpredictability of policy which would inevitably accompany such attempts.inimum, there will be leaders who will strive to establish ascendancy over tlteir colleagues, and thus, as Khrushchev appeared likely to doime, to reduce coUcctivity in effectere form.
such developments were to occur, they would probably result fromsetback at home or abroad,eadlock over some vital issue ofresolution was urgeut. or simply from an accumulation of unsolvedA new personal dictatorship would require thc emergence of somepersonality clearly superior to his colleagues in the skills of thethough the appearancean of such dimensions is entirely achance. On the whole, while it is not at all implausible to believe thatdisplace collective leadership will be made, it appears unlikely thatwill be successful in the conditions that now obtain in theand the society. This seems particularly true so long as the men whothc leadership remain.
A breakdown in the apparent stability of the present collective, even short of an attempt by one man to displace or dominate it, is always possible,Thc result mighthange in the composition of the leadershiphift oi direction on some major aspect of policy. It is impossible to say what circumstances might precipitateevelopment or to predict thc event itself- The principal members of the Politburo are old enough to be Subject to sudden health hazards;ater the need to coopt new members might unhinge the delicate balance of power within that group. Domestic issues which are always key Ones and are now serious, combined with thc kind of contentious problems now being encountered by Soviet policy abroad, most conspicuously the setback in Czechoslovakia, couldeadership crisis at any time.
This threat of instability overhanging the top leadership does not ariseere constitutional imbalance, like Ihe weakness of the executive under the Fomth Republic in France, and thc consequent instability of cabinets. It is due. despite thc existenceonstitution on paper, to the disregard ofrestraints which could confer legitimacy on thc system and itsThus thc matter of succession to leadership has been on eachtruggle lor iiiw power asang. Similarly, thc role of the Party in relation to society and its institutions) including government organs, is an arbitrary one, uncontrolled by law. The Party purports to be merely an instrument for political inspiration and guidance, but in fact Party men under direction from thc topower of intervention at all levels and in every instiluliOn. Tlie resultense throughout the society that power is wielded arbitrarily and unjustly, ln this atmosphere, individuals withhold Iheir voluntary cooperation and the ability nl authority to deal efficiently with many problems is reduced.
the collective leadership continues without major ructions, policywill be of the cautious und deliberate kind seen in recentdocs not mean that decisions do not get made or that policy is whollyinitiative. It does mean that signiScant moves axe likely to come underol events, and normally will be less sweeping or erratic than theyKhnishehev. for example.
Sources of .Strain. Tlie problems facing the Soviet leadership al present arc severe. One of the major ones is the perennial dilemma of all modernhow to allocate inadequate resources among the primary goals ofstrength and security, economic development and growth,and welfare. Tlie Soviet system continues lo lie able to applygreater resources to public purposes than noivCommutittt industrial states can. But it is trying toorld power competition with tlse US on an economic base half that of thc US. While this has been managed by relianceighly -cent laliied and inflexible command economy, the resulting strains arc serious and have been increasing. In thc USSR as elsewhere, decisions affecting ihe allocation of resources uie made at the margin, and lhe margins have been nanowing.
eflectionource of increasing strain hasecline in the economy's rate of growth. This decline was owingombination ofwith growing technological complexity, growth rales per umt ol investment have fallen off, parti culaily in industry; the resource drain ol major military and space programs in this decade has been substantial; concessions fo popular demands for material improvement, especially in food and housing, were thought necessaiy. The result haslow decline In the rate of growth of in vestment in industry. This, along with Ihc drop in prcductivity of investment, has ledignificant decline in thc rate of growth in industrial output.
Tlie response of tho Soviet leaden has been to introduce economic reforms aimed at raising thc still low levels of productivity iu industry and agriculture. The program bud down5 and still being implemented seeks to do this by providing greater autonomy and incentives for entcrpmev The measures were not only partial hut were largely frustrated in practice and thc gains to far have been insignificant. While much more radical departures, amounting iu effecthange in the nature of the syslem, would be necessary to gel results, the resistance of lhe Party and the vast state bureaucracy precludes change of this magnitude. Moreover. Ihe Soviet leaders lear, as was demonstrated most recently In Chechoslovakia, thai moves to free tlie economy from cenliul control give rise rapidly In demands for freedom in every aspect of society, including politics. This they seem less ready than ever to face, and so iheir economic dilemmas will remain and sharpen.
Social strains have led the leader* to give sleady attention and increased resources lo meeting txpeilations for an Improved level of life, even al thc cost Ol invi Mtlliiillir-i i .nty Tin:';iiy
oi goals makes decisions harder, especially under collective leadership; perhaps there has also been some loss oi will and mthlessness on the pari of the ruling elite. Yet the leadership does not appear to regard the material discontents of the masses as an actual threat, and it is probably right in Ihis.
What it evidently docs fear is the striking increase in recent years of manifestations of dissidence among intellectuals. It is easy enough to threaten andandful of activist writers and artists, and this is bring done, but these brave few represent thc leading edge of an alienation lhat is far broader, especially in the educated prolessiOtial class. These people resent the frustration of hopes for greater freedom which arose in Ihe decade alter Stalin's death, they fear the neo-Stalinist tendencies which arc evident, and they are contemptuous of thc narrowness and mediocrity of Ihe present leaders.
No one can say for sure wluit thc scope of such alienation really Is, but that it is wider, deeper, and less passive than formerly seems clear. What thc regime fears Ls the erosion of respect for its authority among leading elements of the society which might, in certain unforeseeable circumstances, combine with and activate the chronic discontents of the masses toenuine challenge While no such challenge seems imminent, occupants of the Kremlin probably always remind rJiernselves that in Russia anarchy has usually lurked close beneath the surface of tyranny. In any case,hange of leaders, Ihe outlook isareful but steady repression of liberalizing forces,ontinuing effort lo wall out external sources of infection.
A threat lo the political leadership stemming from thc militaryis sometimes predicted by Western analysts. Clearly the military leaders do have larger influence on decisions, partly because thc leadership is aTheir role lias also increased because the resources given to defense since World Warave grown greatly, and because decisions affecting defense are now more technically complcs. Even though some military leaders might try to influence thc outcomeeadership crisis, thc increased bureaucratic weight the military now enjoy is unlikely to persuade them that they could replace the Parly in running the country. Probably most military men believe that the attempt would nowadays involve grave risks to national security. Should the Party regime be seriously weakened or collapse, however, thc militaryprobably would intervene, but in such circumstances they would be acting primarily out of concern for nalional security.evelopment now seems remote.
Implications for External Poficy. As in other states, thereinkage in thc USSR between iuternal and external policies. Since preoccupation with the regime's security at home is high, risks abroad are normally weighed carefully. It is worth noting, however, that in the years of Khrushchev's real, when internal tensions were reduced and confidence in the domestic outlook was generally rising, thereendency toward more assertiveness and risk-taking abroad, though this was obviously due also to Khrushchev's own temperament.
licrlers are evidently aware thai successes on the tntcrnational scene can help to ease internal stresses and lhal setbacks abroad are dangerous to them at home. Wide ihey are not inclined, theretore. lo be adventurous in loreign policy, Ihey haveill to advance opportunistically underot controlled risk,reference for moving into vacuums rather than for direct eonfrontarkmv The exception to this generally deliberateb their own security rone in Eastern Europe where, as inlast summer, nfler some hesitation, they finally moved with brutal assertive-ness. This action was primarily defensive however, and the leading motive for it wasear for the eventual security of lhe Soviel regime itself.
speaking, the preseni leadership conducts itsanner as to impose no special handicaps on itself interrralh/,domestic problems described above do not now prevent It from doingit wants to do. Apail from occasional grumbling over foreign aidwhich arc not in fact very heavy, on the whole the policies whichgreater Soviet influence abroad, fot example in the Middle EastAsia, arelus for the regime. But whenever Sovielsetbacks, and especially if they appeareighten risks of war,the Arab-Israeli conflict of, stresses on the home frontne of the major reasonsoreign policy of banted risks.
Soviet Perception ol the Balance of Power
Intense preoccupation wllh thc balance ofthey call "the relation ofcharacteristic of the Soviet leaders. This springs from Marxism-Leninismuchcerned primarily with tbe analysis of power relations in society and the technKjucs for manipulating them. It also reflects the long years of "encirclement" when the Soviet leadersperceived external threats aimed at the very existence of their regime.
In calculating power relationships the Sovietsariety of factors. They give great weight to military power, perhaps as much for its political-psychologicalts support to political warfare, as for ils direct utility, fu meiisiuing the strength of other stales, (hey also attach greal importance to economic trends, to the degree of internal unity or division, and to the capacities of leaders and their will to confront risks. They are sensitive to the ebb and Sow of opinion in other countries, not for reasons of sentiment- but because it may register shifts of attitude toward power relations nnd can thus actually affect (hose relations.
Viewed in such terms, the Soviet leaders evideotly feel lhat thetr position has anptosed since tlse low point of the Cuban missile crisisevertheless, not everything has come up roses. They have substantially bettered their relative strength in stralegic weapons, andacquired conventional capabilities which, in trrtatn areas beyond the Bloc periphery, would permit them to interveneimitedBut in strategic weapons llie US is now moving lo newsystems which will demand further strenuousadded economic
the Soviets wish to keep pace. Meanwhile, the US hai sustained improved rate* of economic growth for tome yean as Soviet growth hasand vummh of "overtaking and surpassing" have vanished, even from propaganda. On the positive side, the world influence of tho US has suffered because of Vietnam, its alliances have been strained, and it has been wracked by internal discordsime when Soviet influence and presence in Asia and the Middle East have grown. But then the USSR's position in Eastern Europe has become more complicated, Czechoslovakiaisaster In world opinion, the disarray in thc Communist movement has deepened, and there have even been important setbacks to Soviet influence in thc Third World, as in Indonesia and Chana.
s thc Soviet leaders look at the world scene today, they probably feel (bat they can allow themselves no moreeasured optimism, tinged with real concern for the long-term outlook In Eastern Europe and for tbe giowing severity of their problems at home- This docs not mean that (be total relation of forces, us viewed from Moscow at present, resultsonclusion that the USSR is overextended and must retrench. On balance, it probably argues for continuing policies of cautious opportunism and limited pressures, perhaps with some increased watchfulness against the development of uncontrolled risks. The Soviet leaders feel able to assert, moreover, as they have for some years, that their relative power justifies their claimorld role mull to that of the US.
SOVIET POLICIES ON MAJOR CURRENT ISSUES Some Gantraf Tendencies
espite what was said in the opening section of this paperetreat to ideological conservatism internally, the USSR's foreign policy under the present loaders lias been marked generallyecline in ideological empliasis and by svhat appears torimary concern for geopolitical considerations, of thc sort normal in any greal posver. This is seen most notably in the ronceiitiation of diplomatic and aid efforts on the USSR's southern periphery and in the virtual abfiiidonmen! of tlie appeals for revolutionarv brotherhood which accompanied Soviet entty into live Third World inarallel shift has beenalso in ihe Soviet approach to Europe, and even intermittentlyoie businesslike if still harsh tone in dealings with thc US.
hatever Soviet rhetoric may still say. Moscow teuds to act moreorld power than like the center of the world revolution. This has come about less by choice lhan by inadverlance aud necessity. Possessed of global military strength in the nuclear age. the Soviet leaders wish the USSR to be recognizedesponsible global power. They have come to understand that under modern conditions even tbeir security may rest partly on their ability lo influence ratherlo overthrow non-Communist governments. Compared with, tbe outlook for Communis; revolutionary advance in the worldhole seems far more complicated and much less prornising. Finally, the transformation of
Chma from ideological ally to pent pOwW enemy hat evidentlyrofound effect on the USSR's view of the world and thus on its policies.
he effort to preserve Moscow's leadership of the Irnernahonj IMovement goes on. but the motives have changed. Now thb is desired primarily to preserve the Soviet security sphere in Eastern Europe and the party's domination at home, to counter Chinese action against Soviet interestsand to insure (hat Communist parlies around thc world serve rather lhan prejudice Soviet great power interests The Soviet leaders may still behove thai Ihey are moving on the traditional doublestate policyevolutionarytheir advice lo Communist parties everywhere to moderate revolutionary tactics suggest* otherwise.
ne consequence of the more geopolitical emphasis in Soviet policy Is the assignment of lesser priority lo some areas. Latin America and Africa seem to be so regarded at present. Soviel diplomacy and propaganda arc active and opporlijiiilies are taken in these areas, especially for trade and arms sales, but efforts and expectations are clearly reduced fiom what they were at the beginning of. The troubled relationship with "socialist" Cuba and several dis-appointments in Africa and Asia have presumably brought about this change. Castro is probably carried todayomewhat painlul legacyore innocent phase, before the Soviets discovered their error in coopting as reliablethe often vigorous but "ideologically weak" revolutionaries they encounter in less developed countries.
he tendencies described here do not mean that the USSR is nohrusting and ambitious power concerned to enlarge its world position They do suggest that in practice the Soviets place somewhat lets emphasis on their pretensions toevolutionary powerniversal mission. They areto setor their effort* In various areas in accordanceore traditional view of Russian security interests and alsoore realistic view of the possibilities for expanding their influence. This does not ease US problems in coping with Soviet power; it may in some ways make thenore formidable oppunenl. And, because the Soviet leaders are committedasically forsvard policy and have shown thai they sometimes fail to appraise risks accurately, the possibility of crisis by miscalculation remains.
The Enduring Confrontation tn Central Europe
owever active (hey have been in other areas in recent vears, the Soviets have always been clear that their security and their aspirationsorld role rest ui thc first instance on iheir posilion in Europe. This is based on holding Eastern Europe as an ideological and security buffer, and they have worked doggedly to rxinsrjlidate. and to get intrroatioiul recognition for their isegernony there. With that wenl the long campaign Iu wm final acceptance from the Western Powers of tbe division of Germany and the persistent effort to iwlate and contain the Federal Republic, the revival of whose economy and politual influence, the Soviets believe, would undermine iheir conlrol of Eastern Europe.
Thai nothing in thii basic pattern has changed is shown clearly by their action in Czechoslovakia last summer.
A more forward kind of Soviet diplomacy in Europe, whichoe to long-range Soviet hopes for the area, had cmergud. Takingof US involvement in Vietnam and Iho consequent strains in USwith Europe, of De Coullo's withdrawal frotn NATO, and of desires for detente iu Western Europe, tho Soviets tried to promote movesuropean settlement without the US. At the time, they probably had in mind no moretrlimiitary probe to stimulate West European interest In such anBut the outcome they look for eventually was made clear; dissolution of NATO and withdrawal of US forces, recognition of the status quo in Eastern Europe and in Germany, bilateral understandings between the USSR and Western European states which would in effect neutralize them, and general European support for the political isolation of West Cermany. Fragmentation, not unity, in Europe is what the Soviets think serves their interests.
Chechoslovakia has buried such Soviet hopes, probably indefinitely, for what Moscow faces now is tantamounteneral crisis in its Eastern European sphere.hc Czechoslovaks are finally brought to heelesponsive regime is restored, deep fissures in the Bloc system will remain. Nationalist frustration, resentment of economic dependence and stagnation, desire forcontact with the West will continue to plague all these regimes in one degree ot another, serious instability is possible in several Within their present premises, which include fear of radical change in Eastern Europe because it may generate pressures for the same in thc USSR, tbe Soviets have no lasting solution. Sooner or later, they may be driven to use force again.
Against this background, the USSR is not likely for tbo present to be very responsive to new Western initiativesuropean settlement, whether these involve regional arms conirol. new securily arrangements,evisedlo ibe German problem Of course, if the Wesl seemed willing torecognition of the Soviet sphere in Eastern Euiope and of the division of Cermany. tho Sos-ie* attitude would be different Bui assuming that tlie West would not abandon the principle of eventual self-determination in Germany in some form, and that the tendency of its proposals svould be to promote freer East-West contacts in Europe, the Soviets svould see only danger In them. In fact, such proposals might contribute to prolonging the USSR's preseniover its relations wtth Eastern Europe.
The Middle East
hen tho Soviets, with thoir arm* sales to Egypi inoved into the vacuum left in thc Middle East by the collapse of tlie Western colonial system, they almost certainly did not anticipate the kind of situation in which they are now to heavily involved. Their aims wets- to diminish the Western presence, to increase strains In the Western Alliance, and ultimately to establish themselves as lhe pre-erriirsenl power in the region They hoped to do these things
by devdoping lhc natural alliance (hey saw between themselves and "thelorces of nalionalhich they also imagined could be led under Soviet influence to take tlie "socialisthey had no very profound understanding of the forces at work in the Arab world, nor of the depth of thc Arab-Israeli conllict. Their opportunism in this case did win them great inlliivnce andilitaryee in an BiMi ttntUfpC iBBpOftasssOl to them, but il has aUo brought risks and burdens.
n (he immediate situation in the Middle East, the USSRouble concern: to contain risks and at the same time to avoid any undue prejudice to its Influence with the Arabs. Even if it were possible for Soviet-Western collaborationtable settlement, thc Soviets would probably believe lhat (heir influence with the Arabs would suSer. since it has been built largely on implicit siippotl of radical Arab hostility to Israel. The more recent Soviet moves lor diplomatic collaboration wiih llie Western Powers probably reflect concern that eventually (he risks could become less controllable, especially because of (he increasing role of Arab terrorist organizations which the Arab Slates themselves cannot control Soviet tactics evidently aim now althe US to influence Israel loward moderating its claims sufficiently Io permit diplomatic processes lo work and some defusing of tensions to occur. But the Soviet leaden do soom tn recognize that some pressure on their own clients, which could damage thc USSR's standing with the Arabs, will also be needed. Prrhaps awareness of the possibility of Israel's early acquisition of nuclear weapons gives llie Soviets an added incentive lo Iry to move Ihe ArabsudurlioD of tensions.
eneral settlement could be achieved, the Soviets would expect to gain certain advantages. Opening of thcil would shorten theirroute to Asia and would facilitate Soviet maritime operations in lhe Indian Ocean. Their part in bringingettlement might constitute implicitby the Western Powers of their rightecisivehc affairs ol the urea. Bul toeneral settlement, the Soviets would have to bring such great pressure to bear on the Arabs to make concession* that they would risk losing lhe position of influence Ihey have won. This they are very unlikely to do. Thai is why llieir present diplomatic activity is probably undertaken onlyiew to containing the risks in the present situation rather than in any expectation of actually bringingasting settlement.
f violence tnounts further and formal lunlililies resume. Ihe Soviets will face harder choices. Tney might then be drawn into assisting (he defrnw-of the Arab States, this could happen because Sosiet ships and alrcralt arc present intcniitttcntly at UAH bases and large inunlx-rs of Soviet advisors servo with Egyptian combat units. But the Soviets would not svant to run (he political and military risks ofrung in allaeks on Israel itself or attually threatening Us survival. While they may noi rate the likelihoodirect mvolvement with tlie US as very great at present, il does not appear that what is at slakr for
diem in the UH would justify* risks of this magnitude. At thai stage, they would probably move further toward tacit collaboration with the US to contain the situation.
The Soviets haveariety of aims in thc arc from Japan to tbc Indian subcontinent, though It Is not clear that they have operated on tho basis of any grand strategic conception for the area. They have sought, as elsewhere, to move into tlie vacuum left by the end of Western colonialism, using trade, the supply of arms, and their "anti-imperialist" credentials as principalof influence. They have given priority to effort) to deny use of the area to US military power. They have tried to maintain their leadership of the Communist parties there and to guide them in ways compatible with Soviet foreign policy interests. Ami increasingly over the last several years, their policy has been geared to the conliii nment of China us an ideological and great power competitor.
Soviet political and material support to North Vietnam5 has also been intended to serve thrte aims of policy The Soviet leaden have wanted toetback for US power in Vietnam whichi: the future US role in Aita. But they abo wanted this to be achieved by lactics which would limil political and military risks lo themselves and minimize tbeir own rather than Chinese credit for the success. Thus, though they have had only modestin Hanoi, ihey have ovidontly used it, not toward ending the war, hut to influence the Vietnamese to rely mure on the political element in their mix of political-military tactics. The Soviets brought propaganda and diplomatic pressure to hear on the US in order to promote negotiation* under conditions Hanoi would accept. Now that negotiation* are in train, thc USSR wdl want to help thembut not in ways which would prejudice its future relations with Hanoi- If the North Vietnamese accedeettlement short of their original aims, howevm, the Soviets will not stand in the way and will adapt Iheir policy accordingly.
he Vietnarncsc espisode illustrates thc basiuilly competitive nature of the Soviet-American relationship in Asia. Where ciicumstances tequire, as in India, they will permit some tacit parallelismenite. but they svill not convert it into active collaboration. In Southeast Asia, thev appear to be positioning themselves lor continued competition whatever the outcome in Vietnam; they are unlikely to participate in lhe efforts for legiunal organization and devclop-mcnt which tlie US has in view. Their attitudes on the lrtuWcsian debt rase and on the Asian Development Bank show their preference for unilateralism over cooperation. In Korea, they do not now encourage the North to adopt uucourse, but neither are they willing to pay any political price lo restrain the North Koreans. A* the Soviets see it, cooperation with the US in Ana would compromise their own aunt; they will entertain move* in that direction only when it scemi necessary' to contain major risks to their security and interests.
f Chinese power becoines mote menacing, ihis might provide tin- occasionhange in this general Soviet stance in Alia. The Soviets probably do not
anticipatemajor threal to themselves in the near term, aod may still have some slight hope lor the revival of "healthy" forces in Chinese communism Butlearly concerned for the longer future. The Soviet leaders have given signs, rnotrover, lhat they fear not only the growth of Chinese mllitaiy power but the possibility of an eventual rapprochement between China and the US. This tbey would teeajor and unfavorable thift in the relation of forces which they ihould do all they could to prevent. In the long run. therefore, events may compel fundamental revisions of SovietV Chinese factor seems more calculated to bring this about than any other.
he Soviet Iwders have reasons at this time, perhaps more than ever before, toerious approach to arms control. As indicated in earlier paragraphs, the burdens of the arms race have been substantia! in recent years,hange in priorities would contribute in some degree to forestallingand social strains which otherwise arc likely lo become more sellout, and in time, perhaps even critical. In tbe field of strategic nuclear weapon* their buildup over the last several years has given theetter relative position than they have ever had. Even apart from the added economic preasures Ihey would face, thc Soviets may not be confident that as the US moves to more advanced systems, they will be able to maintain the pate technologically. Tbey could think that stabilization in the near future would give ihem mote security lhan thoy are otherwise likely to have. They might also reason that, to support the kind of competinve foreign policy they are pursuing in distant areas, greater emphasis on appropriate conventional forces would serve them better thanstrategic nuclear strength.
owever persuasive such considerations might be lo some clement* of the regime, the rcasoni which others will find loenuine effort totralegic arms limitation agreement will also carry great weight. Ground* for mistrust of US intentions, fear of ideological compromise or peuo-Iration, concern aboul imsuiiderstanding on the part ol allies and clii-nt* will all be urged. Tlie influence of the military establishment will gem-tally workositive approach, though some elements might, in the interest of other forcealt to the strategic weapons buildup. Given the climale of opinion ordinarily surrounding so highly charged an issue, tho chances of ii positive approach emerging would not be great, weic it nut for lhe serious dilemmas which prolongation of the arms race would invoke.
hat signs there arc indicate that the policy-bureaucratic slmggle over this issue was not resolved by the decision co begin strategic arms talks with the US. but in fact seem* to be continuing. It is likely that thai decision was agreed to on the ban* that lhe Soviet approach svould be csploratorv. and that even if no agreement wav reached, some US decisions might he slowed down ami time gained The fact that the move was opposed earlier, however, tuggesli that some people in Moscow believe that, once the talks get stalled, ihey may acquire
j momentum ol their own which would propel thc USSR into an unsound agreement.
iven the complexity of the issues, of course, tbe actual Soviet position will be precipitated, like that ol tlie only in th- process oi aa^tstMaaB Al usual, and perhaps more so because of disagreement in Moscow, the Soviets will leave the Initiative for developing concroto proposals largely to the US. They will expect the negotiations to be prolonged, and will try to make them so if there are signs of domestic political pressures on the US side to postpone arms decisions or to make greater concessions to Soviet views. They will Insist on an agreement wluch. whatever its actual content, registers at least implicitly their right to equality in strategic power. Acknowledgement of this is. In fact, one of the principal political gains they would expect tu get out of the talks.
PROSPECTS FOR CHANGE IN IHE USSR
The Soviet system described in this paper ii one which, in view oi its situation at home and abroad, might be judges! to be ripe for change. But it isystem within winch resistance to change isstrong. Even though the totalitarian Party regime is in many ways poorly suited to managing thc complex industrial society which the USSR has become. It retains great tenacity and vigor in defending its monopoly of power. Its conservative instincts and fear of adaptive change are acute.
Nobody can foresee what will finally happenystem as rigid as this as it comes under thc increasing pressures generated by the further development and modernization of the society. Thc ruling group mighl succeedong time in simply containing such pressures, even at Ihe price of some stagnation. Some Western observers assume that there will be changeradualist and relatively benign sort, because the holders of power will consentcries of pragmatic stepsiffusion of power to gioups and institutions other than tbe Party. Others believe that, against the laackground of Russian pohtical experience and Ihe Party's own history, it is more plausible to expect that change in the system can come only under conditions of severe politicaland disorder, perhaps oven accompanied by violence in one degree or another. In any case, the USSR's future roleorld power, and the degree of uncertainty and danger its policies cause, will be greatly affected by what happens to the internal system In lhe years ahead
SO. With Ihe ssncW involvement of Soviel policy in many parts of the world where il was not active until recently, external forces may come toarger role in generating pressures for tiiangc inside thoore realistic view of the lurcnx ut work in other moieties might replace the dottrinairo conceptions which base governed Sovicl thinking. Further major setbacks to the USSR's position in Eastern Europe or ilcvclopmcnts attesting Chinese power and policy, especially if ihesehange in China's relations with the US. mighl compel radical shifts in Soviet policy which would have serious rcpeanrssions on Ihc internal system. On the other hand, it isto imagine successes
which Soviet power might have externallyave any more than temporary eflect in casing internal strains.
ithout significant change in the nature of the Internal system, thc external policies which are so largely determined by it will not alter much either. There mayurther diminution of the ideological input to foreign policy In favor of greater concentration on the USSR's great power interests, but tbis would not decrease competitiveness and hostility toward the US and might eventhem. And the US will continue to have very limited means for influencirig these attitudes directly. Short of unexpected early change in the Soviet system, therefore, the outlook is for basic hostility and chronic tensions in Soviet American relationsonsiderable period. As in the past, such tensions will rise and fall depending on events, but more fiecjuently than in the past. Ihese may be cvcnls in one area or another over which neither side lias much control.
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