Soviet Foreign and Defense Policy under the Brezhnev-Kosygin Regime

by Thomas W. Wolfe

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Discussion of trends under the leadership of Brezhnev and Kosygin since the 1964 Khrushchev ouster. Whether as a result of decisions to increase the political-military competition with the United States for global influence, or because of major unforeseen crises such as the Middle East war — or both — the Soviets have made larger commitments of resources and prestige. They have gradually whittled down the U.S. edge in strategic arms superiority. They have held the line in Eastern Europe, extended overtures in the Middle East, and may be trying to change the Warsaw Pact from an alliance facing westward against NATO Europe to one facing eastward against China. Yet the tacit survival pact with the United States remains intact, signaling a recognition of mutual interest in crisis control, if not yet formal accommodation. Soviets face a decision of policy priorities in an environment of shifting alignments.

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