SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY (NIE 11-7-67)

Created: 9/28/1967

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NIE

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

Soviet Foreign Policy

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL.

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELUGENCE

CwKVtad ta by Iht UNITEO STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD

..Ind n1

7

Authenticatod:

(iSsecuTivE

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The following intelligence organizations participated in thm preparation of this estimate:

CentralAgency ond ih* intelligence organ irol-ons of thool State and Defense, and the US*.

Concurring i

Vice Adm. Rulos Toylor. Deputy Ofrettor. Central tntelligenco

Mr. Ihoroos t. Hughes, tho Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of Slate

Vico Adm. Vernon L. lowronee, for the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency

Dr. Louis W, Tordelia. for the Direclor, Notional Security Agency

Dr. Charles H. Ratchardt, for lhe Assistant General Manager, Atomic Energy Commission

Abstaining;

Mr. William O.or the Assiilant Direclor, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the subject being outside of Ms jurisdiction.

material contain) information olTocii within the meaning of the espionage mission or revelation ol which in

ional Defame of the United Slate* TirljYIS, USC., rhennerunouihorited person is prohibited.

HBP JiL.

CONTENTS

TME PROBLEM

SUMMARY

DISCUSSION

I. THE POST KHRUSHCHEVFORE1CN POLICY AND THECURRENT ISSUES OK POLICY

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SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY

THE PROBLEM

To examine recent trends in Soviel foreign policy and their bearing on the situation within the Soviet leadership, and lo estimate the course of ihc USSR's policies over the next year or iwo.

SUMMARY

Soviets have registered no really significant foreignin recent years. It is true that there has been an increaseinfluence in certain areas, especially in states on the USSR'speriphery and in the Middle East, and Uiat they have been ablesome progress in the pursuit of their aims in WesternSino-Soviet relations have continued to deteriorate, tbe trenddeclining Soviet authority in the Communist world hasand Sovicl policy in the Third World has met with fewtriumphs and hasumber of setbacks.

present collective leadership has survived for threeno early return to one-man rule seems in prospect. We dothat there are persistent disagreements within highSome of these involve domestic issues, such as thc problemallocation and of relations between the political andwhich have an important bearing on the USSR'sposition. Others sometimes arise directly from questionspolicy, such as Soviet conduct during7 crisis inEast.

Soviet leaders have notogmatic attitudeworld should conform to the Soviet image of it. but theiroften reflect an understanding that there are definitetheir ability to shape and cxploii the course of internationalbelieve that this ambivalence will persist for some time and will be

evident in ihe way in which the Soviet leaders grapple, or fail to grapple, with the issues of Soviet foreign policy. Toward the US, for example, it will probably be evident in the USSR's anxiety lo avoid crises which could leadonfrontation, but. at the same time, its disinclination toignificant improvement of relations, itsto accept extensive arms control and disarmament measures, "and its probable refusal to try to bring any real pressure on Hanoi to modify ils termsettlement in Vietnam. Elsewhere, it is likely to be evidentrudent approach to China, ambiguous policies in thc Arab States, and an active though wary campaign io expand Soviet influence in the Third World.

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DISCUSSION

present period oi Soviel history has assumed much of lhea stable but uninspiring inteiregnum. No single figure has been ablethe poliiical scene us Khrushchev once did, and the country hasfunction without Ihe kind of forceful direction of policy that such aprovide. The present leaders, repudiating Khrushchev's excesses ofextremes of policy, have chosen to rwgnommittee nnd tocompromise and consensus. They seem to recogniic lhe complexityproblems facing them and generally to appreciate the limitations placedand circumstance on their ability to seek new ways or to find newis true, in anycontrast to the notable series of changes whichin the aftermath of the death ofthe main lines ofand policy have remained substantially unaltered in the roughlysince the fall of Khnishehev. And nowhere is this more apparentthe USSR's approach to the great issues and events of world politics.

I. THE POST-KHPUSHCHEV RECORD

To most of Ihe Soviet leaders, thc view from Moscow could not have seemed very good in the early fall4 Khnishehev was still seeking In the main to recover from0 onwards, Berlinuba inho exhibited few signs of having in mind any very promisingfor the future. Many of his approaches to problems must have seemed to his colleagues lo he not only unorthodox but unrewarding. His determined efforts to rush toward tlie formal excommunication of China were actually losing ground for the USSH within the international movement His flirtation with Wast Ckrrnany in the summer1 was worrying his friends it home awl alarming his allies in East Cermany. And his apparently growing willingness to abandon Vietnam to the Chinese and the Americans smackedetreat which would not only violate thc concept of doctrinal brotherhood but also damage the USSR's standingreat power.

Khrushchev's successors set about immediately after his removal to restore convention, consistency, and momentum to Soviet foreign policy. Their first concern was to curtail the spread of disarray within the Otmmunist world and to restore the good name of the USSR as thc leading Communist power. To these ends, they called off the clamorous campaign against Peking and strongly proclaimed renewed interest in Vietnam. They surely understood that these actions might lead to some deterioration of relations with the US, but did not seem to believe lhat they svould greatly increase the risks of confrontation. On die contrary, while probably impatient with Khrushchev's Intormlttent appeals for detente with the US, thc now Soviel leaden also clearly disliked his Impulsive and occasionally risky behavior and hopedore prudent course would enable them to avoid international crises directly involving both the US and the USSR. They believed that Khrushchev had been Insufficiently "revolu-

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tionaiy" tn his handling of Communist affairs but at times oveily provocative in liis dealings willi tlic West, mid tliey hoped somehow to redttM flic Imlance.

Th" early hopes of thc new leadership lor improved Soviet fortunes abroad have scarcely been fulfilled, and the record of Soviet foreign policy4 must now be viewed in Moscow with, at best, mixed feelings. In the area of first concern, relations within the Communist world, there has been considerable improvement in the USSR's relative status visa-vis China. This has come about partly because of Moscow's insistence on unified Communist support ofolicy which has contributed to Ihe svillingncss of several Asian parties to move away from Peking. But the improvement in the Soviet position has been the consequence mainly ol China's own conduct rather than because ol any appreciable increase in the USSR's international standing. Sino-Soviet rotations have, in fact, continued to deteriorate- and the problemerious one for the Soviet leaders. Moreover, thc commitment to support North Vietnamiscalculation,he Soviet leaders' expectation of an earlyvictory in Ihc South and lhcir failure lo foresee direct and massive US involvement in lhe war. And though, as seen from Moscow, the war in Vietnam has had its advantages, particularly in terms of what the Soviets perceive to be the increasing isolation ol the US. it has had iu adverse effects as well. Chances of future difficulties and dangers, especiallyis die US, almostappear to Ihe Soviets lo be growing.'

Elsewhere in thc Communist world, lhe trend toward declining Soviet authority, already well underway in Khrushchev's time, has not been arrested. There have been conspicuous absences fiom Soviet-sponsored internationalconferences, and enthusiasm In other parties for Moscow's handling of its Middle Eastern policies has been noticeably subdued. Rumania'sof independence have continued, major examples being ill diplomatic recognition of West Germany and its deviant pobcy toward Israel. And the USSR's problems with Castro'sameenung the properpolicy to follow in Latinand have become more open.

Soviet policy in the Third World can claim few particular triumphs in the post-Khrushchev period. The campaign io normalize relations and lay the basis lor expanded inHucnce in neighboring states has made some progress, especially in Iran and Turkey; efforts to bolster the USSR's international prestige were well served by Moscow's success inease-fire between India and Pakistanut Ihe Soviets have alsoumber of serious setbacks In the Third World, as in Ghana and Indonesia Moreover, while it had once appeared lhat the preseni Soviet leaden were approaching their Third World problems with greater caution and selectivity than Khrushchev, their judgment was called into question hy lhe role they played in the Middle East crisisoscow apparently could not resist thc opportunity to manipulate Arab-Israeli tensions,

1 for fl fuller ili.st tiiiiiHi nl Sovfel policies concerning Vietnam, sec, "Soviet Attitude* aad Internum Toward the VfolnamECRET.

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but tho svar which followed, und ihc defeat oi the Aiab forces in that war. were development* which the USSH did not do-ire. initially did not foresee, and. later, eutild not forestall.

t iv in Western Europe that current policies have appeared most promising. The Soviet leaders have come lo appreciate lhe grave risks involved in Soviet threats and demonstrations ofinto comprehend that such Ladies only serve to consolidate thc Western alliance and lhe American presence in Europe. Their alms have remained theisolate West Germany, disrupt NATO, and severe die close lies between Europe and thethey have in recent yean generally refrained from bellicose behavior. Thev hnvc sought instead to exercise influence through more active participation in conventional European politics and diplomacy, through the cultivation of de Gaulle and France, and. in general, through emphasis on the desirability of an all-European detente and security system. And largely because these tactics have coincidedhanging climate of European opinion, there has been, iniling interest in Western Europe In some hum of settlement with the USSH.

$ Soviet emphasis on detente in Europe hat not been accompanied by any comparable cniphasisesolution of differences with the US. On thcSoviel leaders havesserted lhat no suchvenso long as the US Is involved in tbe war tn Vietnam. But they have also indicated (and. during tho Middle East crisis,trong desire to keep the lines open to Washington. And though they have at times Insisted that US Soviet relations must remain frozen tor thc duration, they have been vrilling to conclude specific agreements (eg.the peaceful uses of Outer space) and to negotiate about others (eg. nuclear non proliferation) when theylarger advantage to Soviet policy. Thus, if Khrushchev demonstrated his ambivalence toward tho US by sometimes speakingriend while more often behaving like an enemy, (he present leaders have perhapsimilar state of mind by tending in some ways to do the opposite. In any case, It is clear that the leadership has been unable to resolve the contradictory demandsolicy which seeks, on thc one hand, gains against tlie US in Europe and Southeast Asia and elsewhere and, on tbeacit understanding with the US to avoid measures and countermeasures which would seriously risk major International crises.

II. FOREIGN POLICY AND THE LEADERSHIP

t has never been possible to assess the precise impact of Soviet foreign policy on the course of internal Soviet politics, or vice versa; the intertwining of domestic and international policy questions with purely internal pohtcal concerns is too intricate. Individual leaders seize on particular policy issuesretext to embarrass or defeat political rivals, and questions of policy often become only incidental to thc struggle for power. It is also obvious that some of the top Soviet leaders become identifiedoint of viewet of policies and that

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i political fortunes can rise or fall partly on 'lie basis of tlie success or failure of these policies. Certainly among the circumstances responsible lotdownhill were tho failure2 of his boldest foreign initiative, the Cuban missilo venture, und the apparent failure3 of hii greatest domestic program, thc campaign to raise agricultural production.

The collective leadership has survived longer than many observersIt has done so in part, perhaps, because it works; the leadership has for llie most part been stable and its policies, though mostly undramatic, have gen-rally achieved some measure of success. It has also done so because none of thc leaden has as yet displayed Ihe power, fortitude, or even the desire to upset existing arrangements- It has almost certainly not done so, however, because of any dearth of corstroversy withm high councils. On the contrary, tlierc appear to be at least four or five major areas of debate andwithin the leadership, some af which invobr. either directly ormajor questions of foreign policy.

Economic questions, many of which have an important bearing on Ihe USSR's posture abroad, have been thc subject of disputes svilhin Ihe Soviet elite for some lime. Indeed, such questions as how much emphasis to attach to one or another economic program, and how best to proceed with thc allocation of Investment priorities, were central to much of the debate nnd lancor which surrounded Khrushchev. In ordor lo advance his favorite domestic programs, especially in agriculture. Khrushchev was willing at one point lo risk considerable controversy by seeking to cut back investment in defense and,orollary of this, to ease relations with the US. Khrushchev's successors are much lossto provoko controversy, more prone to bureaucratic compromise, and less inclined to search for quick and dramatic solutions to complex problems. Nevertheless, they too are plagued by disagreements over Itow best to divide the nation's material resources Thus, they have not as yet been able to agree on Ihe final version of the Five-Year Plan. and they have continued toumber of painful decisions simply hy assigning high prioritiesroad variety of competing goals, inchiding defense, hcasy industry, apiculture, aisd the consumer.*

li Relations between the Soviet military estabhdunent and the political leadership apjMur to liave been relatively harmonious in recent yeans, largelythe politicians have been responsive to the opinions and budgetary claims of tho military. But the scope of military authority in managing the armed forces nnd the role of professional military opinion in framing policy are questions which remain sources of potential discord. There have been occasional signs that the resource allocation issueocal point of tension, llw cunent question of Ihe nature and extent of future Soviet antiballistic missilo (ABM) deployment, nnd whether Io discuss this and other arms control issues with

' Forore eitenslvr treatment of economic issues and of Soviet economic policiessee NIESoviet Economic Problem, amiatedECRET.

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lite US. ttmm lo have led to IfajalllasiBann wilhm the military and perhaps some divMatuMMi within iltr leaders! up at well."

13. il . oi foreign policy, i;;li i iwltlutt till

leadership probably tends in tho main to focnv on paiticiilm issues and events they arise. Tito leaderships handling oi the Middle East crisis, for example.

was severely criticired during tlx" June meeting of thc party Central Committee.

We do not know- whether lhe critic. Nikolai Yegcrychev. who subsequently was dismissed from bis important party position, had charged the senior leadership with failing adequately to support the Arabs, or conversely, had complained that thc USSlt had been overextended and uvercommitlcd to lhe Arab side. Humors in Moscow at the lime suggested lhe former, perhaps because Yegorychev has long been identifiedroup in the parly which seems in general to havearder line both al home and abroad

e believe that in Soviet politics there aie, in fact, (hose who normally respond to issues asith ideological rigor and bureaucralic conservatism, and others who are willing to stretch doctrine and entertain ccitarn unorthodox departures in policy. But we do not think lhat all Soviet leaders can be placed in one or lhe other category or thativision reflects soatterplit between militants and moderates.

IS. Discontent with Soviet actions during the Arab-Israeli war may indeed have been strongest among tlse traditionalists, some of whom apparently fearS-imperialist tide is sweeping over the earth andin the Middlepolicies and Soviel power have been inadequate to check or reverse its spread. Bui the principal architects of Sovietdominant senior group in the Politburo, Le, Brezhnev, Kosygin. Podgomy, andcould by no means be lumped together simply as anntiaditionalists. Though these four men apparently were united in llielr determination to avoid Soviel embroilment in lhe Arab-Israeli svar, disagreements among (hem on other Issues arc probably not uncommon. None of these men. however, appears to be an extremist and they all seem to be near the middle of the Soviet political spectrum

robably in part because of this, the present Soviet leadership has so far managed lo avoid the kind of intense debate over policy roues and maneuvering lor political advantage which leads to irreconcilable factionalism and wholesale political purge. But thc recent reduction of status of Politburo member Aleksandr Shend some of his closest folkrwers testified lo lhe continued existence of

political tension al top leveb And if the economy should once again falter.

or il the present leadership should encounter serious reverses abroad, the

chances would increase of intensified quarrels which could bring changes at the

lop.

a fuUec scoxri of polincal essburrheIEi Sonei Military0ECRET.

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Iii iff:M

III. CURRENT ISSUES OF POLICY

Like Khrushchev and Stalin before them, the present leaders would like lo see Soviet power nnd ideology become dominantorld wale. This, nl any rate.oal which the Sovicti continue implicitly to maintain und an acldevc menl which ihey no doubt continue to promise themselves.eal prospect, however, thc notionoildwide Soviet Iriumph has long since lost much ol its substance and virtually all lis immediacy. Too many things have happened in recentmuch trouble with the economy, loo many rows wiih the Chinese and within the inlernational movement, and too few gains against thepermit any responsible Soviel leader to view the future with the kind of simplistic optimum once expressed by Khrushchev.

But if the Soviets now understand that there are definite limits lo iheir ability lo shape and exploit tbe course of events abroad, they have not as yet shown signs of accepting this appreciation gracefully. They sometimes seem most reluctant lo match their ambitions to then means; old ha bits and old doctrines apparently die hard in the USSR, as elsewhere. Consequently, Soviet foreign policies now seem to refletew sophisticationore realistic and flexible awareness of national interests) and an old simplicity (the dogmatic insistence that the world conform to lhe Soviet image ofc expect, fn general, that this ambivalence will persist for some lime and will continue lo be evident in the way in which the Soviet leadersfail towith the International issues certain to confront them.

ilitary- Policy. Thc Soviet leaders have always conceived of military power as an essential element of their foreign policy and, since World War II, have viewed the balance of forces with thc USactor of major Influence on lhe course of world politics. But the present leaders, while no lesswith Ihe USSR's miliiary posture tlsan their predecessors, apparently now recognize lhat the impressive buildup ol Soviet strategic strength will not necessarily bring gains in foreign policy. They may already have decided lhat, however essenlial lo national security, thc achievementough stralegic parity with thc US is unlikely in itself to bring them appreciably closer to the fulfillment of iheir inter national objectives, and that, especially for their purposes in the Third World, greater attention will have to be paid to Ihe development of ground and navaloviet rrulitary leaders have been displaying grow-

1 Brig. Cen. P. D. Wynne, Jr. for ihr AoBtant Chief of Staff, Intelligence. USAF. believes Ihis peierraph seriously iir.drrriUirjiei the positive relet Kinship between growing Soviet Kra-tegk capibllitiei and (lie foreign policy of tbc USSR, and implieslack ol Soviet appreciation for Use sigmnceiMW In inlematnnal affairsarkedly Improved Soviol strategicwould, therefore, delete the sctond end third sentences and substitute the following:

"rlw present lenders, no less sensitive ihao theirto thethe USSR's military posture end their freedom of action In dealing withnppeitiitly reeognlieontinuing buildup of Soviet'n^lhforeignbjectives. They may already have ileehlerl lhat achievementcredibledamage-limiting capability against the US would he worthtn view of the itrong backup this would provide for more aggrcailve pursuitIn other areai of Ihe world utilizing specialized ground, naval, andforce

Jf

ing jntc-Kil in Imhidciiinggc otililnry capabilities, nndhole evidently has become increasingly concerned with the problems of how best to meet contmgencics short of geiseral war.*

Aims Control. The USSR does not view arms controlroblem of great urgency. Il does see, however, some political profit in disarmamentand in US-Soviet agreement on certain limited forms of conlrol, suchuclear nonpioliteration trealy. (Concerning measures which might prove lo be politically disadvantageous, lhe Sovieis aie likely simply lo stall or refect. Thus, for example,o restrain Ihe world arms trade are not likely to appeal to the Soviet* since such trade and aid is clearly regarded in Moscow as the USSR's primary political tool in tlie Tlurd World. And concerning measures of greater scope, such as tlie control of stiategic weapons, tbe Soviets are likely lo proceed with great caution, suspicion, and reluctance.ossible that (hey might decide to negotiate about such matters (incliiding the ABMut for the present we think the chances are slight that they would be willing to agree to any comprehensive program of strategic arms conlrol.

rime concern of Ihe Soviet leaders about their Involvement in the war in Vietnam is simply that they might become embroiled in situations which tbey could not control. Neither the US nor North Vietnam, the principal actors in tlie conflict, is very susceptible to Soviet influence, either of them could behave independentlyay which could test tbe USSR's resolve, strain its resources, and risk its direct involvement But. if uncomfortable about the degree o( their commitment lo an ally whichtrong and difficult will of its own and whichause (control of the South) which is not of vital concern to the USSR, the Soviets nonetheless sec no acceptable alternatives to their present poltclea. Almost certainly, they hope Hanoi or Washington, or both, will some dayoUtical solution to the svar possible. In the meantime, they will seek to persuade the US not to escalate the conflict any further and to agree to termsettlement which would be acceptable to North Vietnam. But they will probably not Iry to bring any real pressure on Hanoi to modify its terms forettlement; they are not anxious to present themselves in the role of anthis way jeopardizing svhatever influence they have been able to buildthey are certainly aware that such pressure would probably be ineffective in present circumstances.

China. The- USSR's delight at thc way China wu able to dissipate its resources in the Communist world by behaving hlzarrcly at home seems to have been succeeded by concern over China's rabid hostility, bewilderment over the course of events inside China, and apprehension over what might happen next. Over the last few yean, the Soviets base strengthened their armed forces along ll* Sino-Soviet frontier and in Mongoliaprobably anticipating only borderprobably preparing for rnore serious contingencies. But we do not know whether the Soviets have plans for direct intervention in

'See NIErends in Soviet Militaryatedp.ECRET.

China Jn tlie event of anarchy or civil WW. Wt- believe that the present Soviet lenders, who have been relatively rest (mmd In their approach to the Chinese problem to date and who have been fniily prudent In lhcir handling of world affairs generally, would seek to avoid duect involvement.

Europe- Tlie Soviet leader* appear to be convinced that their generally conciliatory approach to Western Europeromising one and seem to recognize that they would have much to lose and little to gain by revertingaulier policy They will probably continue lot tome time their present line of trying to persuade tbe West European* that theeginning to disengage from Europe and that detenteenevolent Sovietn ever growing possibility.ormal multilateral conference on Europeanot likely in the near future, an increase of bilateral contacts and iwgotiatioosWest European countries and live USSR seems probable. The Soviets wilt almost certainly continue publicly to treat West Cermanyariah, but will privately seek to explore the possibility of movement in Bonn toward acceptance of the status quo in Cermany.

The USSR's efforts to convince the Eastern European States toniform Soviet-devised foreign policy have encountered resistence In recent years, and thc Soviets have had to tailor some of their own policies to meet the needs of relations between Wersasv Pad States. Soviet tactics in negotiations with the West on such issues ns nonprolifcrntfon occasionally show evidence of delays imposed by consultations and frictions within the Pact. At the same time, the Soviets have scored some successes, most notably in slowing down thein Eastern Europe toward bioadcr and frcei contacts with West Cermany and other West European States. In Addition,esult of the crisis in the Middle East, they have been able to establish unusually close rapport with Yugoslavia concerning policies toward the Arab World. Bul gains such as these may prove to be transitory; there appears to be little that Moscow can do to prevent the East Europeans from behaving in increasingly independent ways when their national interests so dictate.has already formal Is recognized West Germany and which publicly refused to align itself with the USSRis tbe Arab-Israeliby now the classic case in point.

The Middle East, ln the wake ol Ihe Arab-Israeli conflict. Moscowto be taking stock of its pnliciet in this area. The decisions taken at once to start sotne replacement of military equipment were probably provisional, intended primarilyolitical holding action and not as an encouragement to continued Arab militancy. But the Soviet* must recognize that, if ihey wish to enlarge their influence in Ihe area, an niin Ihey are very unlikely to abandon, they have no alternative to continuing lo work with the radical Arabs. Piobably as they move to repair this relationship, tliey will try hard to gain more direct influence over client governments and military establishments. But it is slill unlikely that they will wish to do this by entering Into actual military alliances or acquiring military bases in Arab counlries. Tlte ambiguities in Soviet-Arab relations svill remain. Moscow will continue lo exploit anti-Western attitudes in

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Arab counlries, bul il will noi run llie military risks oi accept the political costs of identifying itself with Arab aspirations to destroy Israel. It followsajor change in ArabSoviets will not give very much help to diplomatic cflorts tu moveasic settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.*

he Third World, Partlyesult ol their recent experiences in tbc Middle East, the Soviet leaders may Iiaveew and more searching look at their policies in thc Ihird World. Indeed, there may be considerable discontent with the commitment of Soviet icsomces and prestige to clients whose interest may be essentially different from those of the USSR and whose conduct can be both unpredictable and uncontrollable. Some may argue lhat moreshould be exercised In involving Soviel policy with the great variety of so-called "national Ulceration" forces in thc Third World. Thc question has probably arisen as to what degree ofandassume in honoring Soviet commitments, or what Soviet clients may think arcBut, even if such questions are under review, it seems very unlikely to us that the Soviet leaders wouldonsequence make any very clramatic changes in policy. Any abrupt cutback in the USSR's material support of and political relationships with the Third World would jeopardize the heavyalready made. Moreover, the Soviet leaders are almost certainly convinced tliat,reat power, the USSRegitimate interest in practically all areas of thc worldolitical need to assert lhal interest.

long-range view ol Soviet policies and aims ii contained in. "Soviel Strategy and Intentions in the Mediterranean Basin*ECRET. Although completed before the7 hostilities, die main judgments in this paper rensnln valid. See alsoProbable Soviet Objectives in Ilearming theatedECRET.

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