Comments for a Symposium on the Comparative Study of Communist Foreign Policies.

by Arnold L. Horelick


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A critique of papers presented to the 1971 regional AAASS symposium, addressing three questions regarding the comparative study of Communist foreign policies: Why should we compare? What should we compare? How should we compare? The papers fall short of credible answers chiefly because (1) analyses of Communist foreign policies have so far focused on policy outputs, ignoring inputs, and (2) scholars lack an authoritative database on Soviet and other Communist country foreign policy decisionmaking. The most important immediate priority, says Horelick, is to improve and enlarge the established knowledge base about the content of foreign policy decisionmaking in Communist countries in ways that will render that knowledge more susceptible to disciplined inquiry. Given our limited knowledge about the foreign policies of Communist states, Horelick recommends a careful, discriminating, problem-oriented approach to the selection of research issues that can best be treated comparatively. 8 pp.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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