Transforming Clients into Surrogates

The Soviet Experience

by Rose E. Gottemoeller

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Abstract

This Note examines (1) the incentives for Soviet-client cooperation and the limits to their effectiveness and (2) how the Soviets manage their relationships with their Third World allies, focusing particularly on the Soviet ability to induce cooperation in activities beyond a client's borders. The research is based on primary sources, including Soviet theoretical writings and documents from the Grenadan revolution, Western analyses of overall Soviet performance in the Third World, detailed case studies of individual countries, and the current press. Four conditions that define a cooperative relationship between the USSR and its client states are applied to the cases of Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Syria, and Grenada. These five cases indicate that the Soviets have yet to find a surefire means of turning a client relationship into reliable surrogate performance. Even when the factors underlying cohesion and the necessary incentives seem to be operating on both sides, the Soviets cannot be certain that a client will remain committed to performing surrogate roles.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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