Exploiting 'fault lines' in the Soviet empire: an overview

by John Van Oudenaren

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This paper was prepared for the European-American Institute Workshop on "Fault Lines in the Soviet Empire: Implications for Western Security," held in Ditchley Park, England, May 18-20, 1984. In it, the author examines the notion that cleavages within the Soviet empire can be exploited in NATO political and military strategy. He identifies three kinds of cleavages: Intra-bloc, comprising splits between countries within the Soviet empire; intra-leadership, comprising splits within the leaderships of individual countries; and mass-leadership, comprising splits between the leaderships of the various countries and the population as a whole. Among other things, he concludes that the real beneficiary of efforts to undermine the Soviet empire in Europe may not be Europe itself, but third areas, where the USSR may have to scale back its activism.

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