Since the death of Stalin the leaders of the Soviet Union have shown new flexibility in their dealings with the West. The test ban, the hot-line, the bombs-in-orbit resolution, and other limited arms control agreements of the early 1960's suggested the existence of forces at work in Soviet policy that might serve to moderate the arms race. At the same time Moscow has continued some of the hardline policies and propaganda of the past, making still more elusive the prospects for serious arms controls.
What were the changes that took place in Soviet policy during the “Khrushchev decade”? What factors were most important in shaping Moscow's outlook toward the arms race, disarmament, the West, China, and the “third world”? What lessons for the late 1960's and the 1970's might be learned from this extraordinary recent period?
Under the sponsorship of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, a team of experts at M.I.T.'s Center for International Studies spent 18 months asking – and seeking to answer – these questions. Using all available sources, including many hitherto unresearched primary Soviet and Chinese materials, they analyzed in depth the chief factors in the period that appeared to influence Soviet arms control policy – the military balance, the political posture of the West, pressures within the Communist world, the economic cost of the arms race, and the power struggle within the Kremlin.
From this emerges a scholarly and highly readable analysis of one of the principal problems – and enigmas – of our times, with implications for the future that affect every American.
This is the only thorough history of Soviet disarmament policy for such a long (and recent) time period, and the most systematic and multidisciplinary study of Soviet disarmament policy for any time period. It is unique in the intensity and extensiveness of its analysis.
This book will be of value to specialists and students in the fields of arms control, strategy, Soviet affairs, and international relations, as well as to concerned citizens.