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Since the early 1960s, American strategic theory has dwelled heavily on the question of conflict "thresholds" and their significance in determining the advisability of various U.S. options in crises. This paper reflects on how the Soviets have come to think about "thresholds" in their own strategic planning. It reviews what appear to be the principal conflict "thresholds" in Soviet military thinking, identifies the more notable contrasts between these views and those that have long held sway in the United States, and touches on some of their implications for Western strategic planning.

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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