PROSPECTS OF SOVIET POWER IN THE 1980s by Christoph--Ed. Bertram


Email this review


Against the current uproar over growing Soviet power, this sober view from Britain is a genuine relief. A product of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the 15 essays together weigh the Soviet Union's military strength alongside the political and economic weaknesses which that strength both perpetuates and tries to overcome. Robert Legvold (Council on Foreign Relations), Philip Windsor (Univ. of London), Hannes Adomeit (of West Germany), and Survey editor Leopold Labedz all assess differents aspects of Soviet ideology and its influence on Soviet policy; and--unlike American Kremlinologlsts--they stress the difficulties faced by the USSR as a result of its waning revolutionary credo. In moving toward a big-power approach to world politics, the Soviets have been losing one of their biggest drawing cards in the Third World, where revolution isn't a dirty word. And with the Soviet economy unable to provide large-scale economic aid, the force of revolutionary ideology could be important (as it once was for China). Using CIA estimates, several essays deal with Soviet economic weakness, which not only ties in with ideology and military strength (the security fixation leads to bigger arms outlays, weakening the economy in the consumer and capital-goods sectors) apropos of the Third World, but is especially serious in Eastern Europe. A case very much in point is Poland, where massive military assistance cannot compensate for the USSR's inability to provide anything else. And while the Soviets have need of Third-World resources, only in Africa have they been able to make diplomatic headway (thanks largely to their Cuban allies). While no paper tiger, the Soviet threat looks considerably less menacing in these pages--where every area, and every topic, is systematically reviewed--than it does in American newspapers. The Soviets have their problems too, and this collection will help anyone to get a handle on them.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Anchor/Shoe String Press