The Soviet Union and Second-Area Actions

by John Van Oudenaren

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During the past decade, the Soviet Union has shown an increasing capacity and willingness to intervene militarily in regions outside the central NATO-Warsaw Pact area. This Note discusses the likelihood of further "second-area" actions. It also addresses the question of whether the United States should attempt to challenge Soviet clients and allies in second areas, either to affect the overall U.S.-Soviet balance or to counterbalance specific Soviet actions that the United States finds difficult to meet directly. The Note concludes that while the United States must be prudent in planning against Soviet military actions in second areas, it should not overestimate either the gravity of such challenges or the opportunities for exploiting vulnerabilities on the Soviet side.

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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