Gorbachev's Eurasian strategy: the dangers of success and failure

by Hugh De Santis, Robert Manning

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This paper considers whether Mikhail Gorbachev's "new thinking" contributes to the attainment of Soviet strategic objectives or whether the path of Soviet foreign policy will, as widely assumed, lead to a more stable world. Close scrutiny reveals a remarkable symmetry between Gorbachev's Asian and European policies, and suggests that what may appear to be discrete and unrelated initiatives are really tactical elements of a coherent Eurasian strategy that is intended to serve two major objectives. The authors suggest that the immediate aim of Gorbachev's strategy is to immobilize the West at a time when the Soviet Union seeks a breathing space to revive its deteriorating economy. The longer-term objective is to establish a new modus vivendi with the United States and its allies in traditional power-political terms. Soviet foreign policy must eliminate ideology as a precondition for establishing the New Diplomacy, which, in turn, will lead to a new spheres-of-influence arrangement, or a new Yalta.

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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