Cover: Le Monde's Perception of the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Balance

Le Monde's Perception of the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Balance

An Update for 1979-1981

Published 1983

by Joan Goldhamer

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Compares the image of the U.S.-Soviet strategic balance held by selected Le Monde reporters, and specific characteristics of their reporting on the strategic balance, with the findings of a study covering the years 1948-1973. Le Monde's image of parity in U.S. and Soviet strategic forces and a forecast of temporary vulnerability of U.S. land-based missiles in the 1980s are in marked contrast to the prevailing image of clear-cut U.S. superiority during 1948-1973. Shifts are noted in aspects of the strategic balance that Le Monde considers critical in evaluating the balance, with the proportion that land-based missiles represent in the arsenals of the two sides and the balance in conventional forces and Euromissiles taking on importance, and defensive capabilities becoming less important. In 1981, there is a striking instance of a tendency, noted for the 1948-1973 period, to perceive an immediate shift in the strategic balance when a new weapon appears, well before it becomes operational.

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