Cover: U.S.-Soviet Relations: From a ''Post-Cold War'' to a ''Post-Communism'' Era?

U.S.-Soviet Relations: From a ''Post-Cold War'' to a ''Post-Communism'' Era?

Published 1991

by Arnold L. Horelick


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This paper, the text of a presentation at the Aspen Institute Conference on U.S.-Soviet-East European Relations held in Budapest, Hungary, August 23-31, 1991, was written and distributed three weeks before the failed coup of August 19-21. The author notes that, for the Soviet Union in its new phase, the United States no longer represents its chief competitor in struggle for world supremacy, but rather the potentially decisive voice in organizing a Western rescue of a failing Soviet state. He discusses the changing U.S.-Soviet relationship, with emphasis on the declining role of arms control, opportunities for cooperation in shaping the "new world order," and the effect of U.S. policy on the future of the Soviet Union. He concludes that, no matter what prevailing Western convictions about economic development may be, U.S. vital interests in the future of the Soviet Union are not keyed to any particular model of the Soviet economy per se. What matters is that the Soviet economy should evolve in ways that do not make its viability dependent on authoritarian political structures or leave its assets and outputs too freely at the disposal of authoritarian rulers.

This report is part of the RAND occasional paper (Soviet) series. The occasional paper series was a product of RAND 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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