Soviet Attitudes Toward MBFR and the USSR's Military Presence in Europe.

by Thomas W. Wolfe

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A look at some questions concerning Soviet attitudes toward mutual balanced force reductions and Western policymakers' views of prospects for meaningful force reduction in the military presence the Soviets maintain in Central Europe. This presence has been meant to serve three basic functions: military, disciplinary, and political. Soviet diplomacy has frequently advocated collective security and disarmament schemes affecting Europe and the Western powers, but few have led to real, substantive negotiations; however, a different pattern of emphasis with respect to these proposals has become evident since early 1966. As a result of the revival of the idea of a European collective security conference, an important question has emerged: are conditions now present that show a prospect of serious Soviet moves in the direction of troop reduction in Europe? It is concluded that significant changes in Soviet attitude are not likely to come easily, and the experience of 25 years of post-war history argues against any substantial Soviet force reduction. 17 pp.

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