Information and Perception in Limited Strategic Conflict: Some U.S. and Soviet Differences.

by Ralph E. Strauch

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Addresses broad questions concerning the role of information and perception of opponents in limited strategic conflict. If such conflict occurs it will be in a context of events, perceptions and objectives which transcend the military operations themselves. It will involve surprises and unanticipated ambiguities. Coping successfully would require flexibility and adaptability. This is not a Soviet strength, so the U.S. has a relative advantage here. Soviet collective decisionmaking is likely to be more stable and conservative, while the U.S. style would depend upon the President. The U.S. is more responsive to its population and has less control over them. During a conflict the U.S. would be more susceptible to societal disruption. However, the Soviet Union would be susceptible to a breakdown in its central control. In the future, limited strategic conflict is not likely to become a positive adjunct to foreign policy of either side. It is an uncertain business with no guarantee of success. 52 pp. Ref. (AR)

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