Soviet Military Capabilities and Intentions in Europe.

by Thomas W. Wolfe

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This paper reviews various quantitative and qualitative factors that must be taken into account in appraising Soviet Bloc military capabilities and intentions vs. NATO. In addition to purely military considerations, detente and the MFR negotiations are among the important variables that may influence the way each side perceives and elects to deal with its security problems in Europe. The paper suggests that the most reasonable measurement of Soviet capabilities today lies somewhere between the older prudential view that Soviet theater forces could overrun Europe in a matter of days, and what might be called the newer revisionist view that Soviet capabilities have been greatly overrated. Regarding Soviet military intentions, which are contingent upon many unforeseeable circumstances, it is far less likely that the Soviets will launch a premeditated invasion of NATO Europe than that they will rely, as in the past, upon military power to sustain political influence in Western Europe and to ensure their hegemonial control over Eastern Europe. 45 pp.

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