Some Considerations on the Soviet-American Relationship in the 1990s
In considering current speculation on the prospects for the Soviet-American relationship in the coming decade, it may be useful to recall past speculation on this relationship. The record is not one to inspire a great deal of confidence in present efforts to foresee the future. At the close of the 1940s the best known projection of the Soviet-American relationship was, of course, the National Security Council document NSC-68. That now-famous document, written in the shadow of the Chinese Communist victory and the Soviet Union’s development of the atomic bomb, forecast a year of maximum danger that would be reached in 1954. The 1950s ended with what was seen as an ominous disparity in missile development and an almost equally ominous disparity in rates of economic growth, prompting widespread fears that the terms of the balance of power were shifting sharply to our disadvantage. A decade later the domestic trauma of Vietnam led many to conclude that the 1970s would find a general American withdrawal in the world, and certainly in the developing world. When the 1970s drew to a close the Soviet-American relationship was seen to have entered a period even more dangerous perhaps than the period marking the early years of the Cold War. In Europe and in the Persian Gulf the United States was considered to face a decade of peril during which it would have to mount its best efforts in order to reverse a balance of military power, strategic and conventional, that now favored the Soviet Union.
KeywordsForeign Policy Military Power Soviet Government Soviet Economy American Power
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