The use of force in Soviet policy and the west

by Alex Alexiev

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Examines Soviet theory and practice regarding the use of force in international relations and argues that the invasion of Afghanistan was neither unprecedented nor particularly surprising. The Soviet Union has used military force for political purposes on many occasions in the past and the primary rationale guiding the use of force has been the likelihood of accomplishing the given political objective expeditiously and with relative impunity. In recent years the Soviet Union has continued and intensified its military buildup while the United States has sought to enhance its security primarily through cooperation with Moscow and arms control. In view of the rapidly growing Soviet military capacities and the Kremlin's unshakable belief in the continuing political utility of military power, which is contrasted with Western indecisiveness and perceived loss of political will, the outlook for the West is uncertain unless far-reaching remedial measures are taken soon.

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