THE SOVIET ESTIMATE: US Intelligence Analysis and Russian Military Strength by John Prados

THE SOVIET ESTIMATE: US Intelligence Analysis and Russian Military Strength

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Much effort is expended here to arrive at an unshattering conclusion: Prados, after a survey of US intelligence estimates of Soviet military capabilities since World War II (based on publicly accessible information), concludes that no matter how good intelligence reports of capabilities may be, they cannot provide evidence of intentions; those must be supplied by some other means (i.e., interpretation), and are critical to evaluating the capabilities. That's not startling, and neither is anything else about these pseudo-revelations. A chapter on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) is typical. Prados notes that several people have accused Henry Kissinger of withholding intelligence reports of Soviet ABM treaty violations from President Ford (and others), in order to get passage of the SALT treaty; but he is unable to substantiate the charges. (Nor does it help Prados that they were made by Admiral Zumwalt and others outmaneuvered in bureaucratic infighting by Kissinger.) Similarly, the fact that US intelligence goofed on estimating the date the Soviets would develop their own atomic bomb (they got it five years sooner) or MIRVs (they got them four years later) is common knowledge and not very interesting. So without any scoops, and laden down with cumbersome acronyms (five pages of them in an appendix), the book goes off like an unloaded ICBM.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1982
Publisher: Dial