The Cold War era, in which world politics was dominated by Soviet-American military-ideological confrontation has come to an end. But the longer-term character of their relationship remains an open question, one that depends on what happens in the Soviet Union, on the character and configuration of the new political entities that finally emerge from the crisis now engulfing what has been known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Soviet Union and the United States have cooperated to end the division of Europe and to help heal Cold War wounds in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and southern Africa. Provided that the peoples of the Soviet Union can avert a violent discontinuity as they reconstitute their state, there will be other opportunities for U.S.-Soviet cooperation to avoid or resolve international conflicts, chief among them the instability on the Korean peninsula. The author concludes that the two superpowers have never had stronger incentives to cooperate nor fewer inhibitions about doing so.
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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