The Soviet Union in a Period of Strategic Parity

by Herbert Goldhamer


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The high-priority objectives of the USSR in the 1970s will be border integrity, adhesion of East Europe, Party defense, and strength of its armed forces. No consistent pattern of past Soviet behavior emerges: aggressiveness and caution exist together, although the former is preferred. In the 70s, the USSR will be greatly influenced by its two-front position between the United States and Communist China; it will continue a forward policy in the Third World, its naval activity, and the pursuit of strategic parity/superiority; seek economic commitments from the industrial powers; and bargain over issues already open, i.e., SALT, European troop reduction, European security, and Berlin. Over the long term, provided the United States demonstrates the military, political, and moral ability to counter aggressive moves, the USSR will choose a collaborative policy. In this case, relations with Communist China, rather than acquisition of nuclear parity or superiority, will dominate the Soviet policy in the 1970s.

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