As the United States and the Soviet Union reach the threshold of a new era in their relations, their roles in shaping the post-cold war world will be different from those they played in managing the East-West conflict, but no less crucial. Both will have to adapt their policies and behavior to environments in which they will have substantially diminished control and influence. In making this adjustment, the United States can draw on its own democratic institutions and on its long experience in heading an alliance of free and often contentious partners. For the Soviet Union, this will be an entirely new experience for which the history of its foreign relations and its domestic political traditions have poorly prepared it. In the long run, its success in adjusting to a new and constructive international role will depend on its success in transforming the Soviet system itself. It is in this sense, above all, that the success of perestroika is in the fundamental interest of the Western world as well as of the peoples of the Soviet Union.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Occasional paper (Soviet) series. The occasional paper series was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1985 to 1992. It included the occasional paper education (OPE) and occasional paper Soviet (OPS), which was issued jointly by the RAND/UCLA Center for Soviet Studies (CSS) to facilitate the exchange of ideas among those who shared the research interests of the Center and of scholars participating in its research and seminar programs.
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