Policy Implications of Change in the Soviet Union
This paper, the text of a statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, April 5, 1989, discusses the connection between recent change in the Soviet Union and U.S. strategy for managing Soviet-American relations. To avoid missing the opportunities, while dealing with the challenges and uncertainties of changes in the Soviet Union, the author proposes that the United States adopt a strategy of step-by-step engagement. He suggests that the West should look for evidence that Soviet leaders had become subject to institutionalized domestic constraints, and that the Soviet military's unchallenged priority in claims on human and material resources had been terminated, and the weight of the military establishment in general had been reduced. In return, the United States could offer assurance that it will deal with the Soviet Union rather than pressure it during difficult periods. In the longer term, the United States could offer cooperation on issues of long-standing Soviet concern: reduction of the pace and scope of Western military competition, consideration of further nuclear reductions, wider acceptance of the Soviet Union as a full-fledged participant in the world community, and liberalization of Western trade and economic restrictions.