An appraisal of the foreign policy and strategic considerations that help shape the USSR's posture in the 1970s and its strategic relationship with the United States in the SALT negotiations. The international setting of two rival superpowers in a nuclear age has been replaced by unclarified conditions of global competition and adjustment. The Soviets' recourse to detente and intricate negotiations reflects their intent to take advantage of new opportunities, while consolidating old Soviet positions and easing domestic difficulties. One major consideration is who came out best in the SALT I negotiations. Did the United States allay the Soviets' fears of Safeguard, while giving them headroom in ICBMs and SLBMs to develop an even greater threat to the survivability of U.S. forces? Another question is whether, despite the ABM Treaty, the Soviets have fully embraced the American concept of mutual assured destruction. (Prepared for presentation at the National Defence College, Kingston, Ontario, April 3, 1973.) 17 pp.