The waning Soviet threat: implications for detente

by Benjamin S. Lambeth


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The Soviet military has experienced unprecedented turmoil since Mikhail Gorbachev entered office in March 1985. The indicators of this change include a shift to a more defensive orientation in the Soviet Union's military doctrine; an end to the Soviet military involvement in Afghanistan; Gorbachev's announced unilateral cut of half a million Soviet troops; associated moves to scale back weapons production and shift a sizable portion of the defense industry to the civilian sector; and a general effort to forge a more agreeable East-West relationship. This paper, prepared for an international symposium on The New Order in Northeast Asia and the Korean Commonwealth, sponsored by the National Unification Board, Seoul, Republic of Korea, September 11-12, 1990, presents a brief discussion of some of the problems confronting the Soviet military leadership.

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