The Burden of Soviet Defense

A Political-Economic Essay

by Abraham S. Becker

Download

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 4.9 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback95 pages $25.00 $20.00 20% Web Discount

Poses two questions: How can we explain the monotonic growth of the Soviet military budget over two decades when overall economic growth was slowing down? Can changes in this pattern be expected? Section II defines and analyzes the concept of the Soviet defense burden, then surveys empirical measures of the burden. Section III is skeptical about the extent to which the Soviet buildup is a response to external threats to security. The persistent buildup is seen instead to reflect the leadership's perception of national priorities and to be supported by a decisionmaking apparatus that maintains them. In the near future, external challenges (particularly the U.S. buildup) and opportunities will create pressures to maintain the pace of military spending, but worsening economic prospects will make it increasingly burdensome. Neither Brezhnev nor his successors is likely to have new options for dealing with this dilemma, and considerations that have induced the Politburo to try to "muddle through" will probably continue to dominate. U.S. policy has a significant capacity to influence Soviet policy in this direction.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.