''Deterrence'' and Surprise Attack in Soviet Strategic Thought

by Arnold L. Horelick


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A study showing the effect that current Soviet doctrine on strategic surprise has on the Soviet attitude toward deterrence. The relevant public statements of Soviet leaders are analyzed, with particular emphasis on Khrushchev's January 14, 1960, speech to the Supreme Soviet on military affairs. The author dicusses (1) the early post-Stalin Soviet debate on the reliability of deterrence in the light of the increased danger of surprise attack, (2) the conditions under which a prolonged state of mutual deterrence is acceptable to Khrushchev, and (3) current Soviet efforts to extract political advantage from the strategic equation by asserting strategic superiority.

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