Choices for coalition-building: the Soviet presence in Asia and American policy alternatives

by Richard H. Solomon

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Since World War II, Asia has been a region of shifting alignments in the ongoing rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States. The major assumption underlying this analysis is that the growth of Soviet military power and its projection into Asia is the primary factor shaping the pattern of alignments in the region. The analysis concludes that it is highly unlikely that the great powers can negotiate an understanding on future alignments in Asia. A condominium of the major states would gain no general acceptance, and the military character of the Soviet presence is likely to be unsettling rather than stabilizing. The United States should respond to the Soviet Union's growing involvement by maintaining a stabilizing presence that will protect our interests and those of our allies, by avoiding polarizing actions and by developing capabilities to countervail Moscow's growing military presence without compounding a destabilizing cycle of action and reaction.

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