U.S.-Soviet Relations: From a ''Post-Cold War'' to a ''Post-Communism'' Era?
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 The author notes that, for the Soviet Union in its new phase, the United States no longer represents its chief competitor in struggle for world supremacy, but rather the potentially decisive voice in organizing a Western rescue of a failing Soviet state.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.