Spring 1987

Spring 1987
65, 4

Essays

Essay
Gary G. Sick

Focuses on the domestic political underpinnings of Iran's foreign policy behaviour in respect of (1) the war against Iraq, the course of which is decided by the struggle between the professional military and the Revolutionary Guards (2) its US policy, in which relations with the Great Satan were improved only to gain arms supplies for the war effort. The scandal which rocked confidence in President Reagan was caused by details of the secret agreement being leaked by radicals in the Iranian cabinet who felt that they were losing out to the moderates led by Rafsanjani (3) its Soviet policy, in which revolutionary purity caused the closure of the communist Tudeh party and arrest of its members, and has led to negligible trade with its most powerful neighbour. Iran obtained spares for its Soviet-built power station in exchange for helping release Soviet hostages in Lebanon which were taken by Shia militia backed and organized by Iran (4) its policy with its Persian Gulf neighbours, whom Iran has intimidated by threatening to spread the revolution to the region's Shias (estimated at 60% of the Gulf population), to destroy the Gulf's oilfields, and, by uncovering the US arms-for-hostages deal, to make them doubtful of US support. Concludes that Iran (1) has seemed flexible enough to make gains in all its foreign policy objectives (2) is doggedly creating 'clericalism in one country' even at the expense of greater advantages with the superpowers and its regional neighbours (3) as a result, if Iran wins the war, it will become the region's dominant power.

Essay
Denis Healey

Urges NATO to re-assess its military strategy in line with changes in the military, economic and political climate. Charts the origins of flexible response, showing that it was concerned (1) with reconciling the USA to its nuclear dilemmas (2) with the conventional balance (3) with giving a sense of security to Western Europe. These factors, together with present progress in arms control, suggest a non-nuclear defensive deterrent strategy for NATO. A Labour Britain would change to this strategy, but not without full consultation with her allies, and allowing all US non-nuclear bases and facilities to remain in Britain, as well as US nuclear naval visits. If Britain improves its conventional defences together with its allies, it will strengthen the alliance and encourage the USA in its nuclear and conventional guarantee to Europe.

Essay
Dante B. Fascell

Congress and the President are at odds over arms control policy. This goes to the heart of the constitution, which states that the President alone is empowered to conduct foreign policy, though all foreign policy has domestic inputs and implications. Favours congressional debate and ratification of foreign policy, and outlines its principles for arms control (1) to enhance US security (2) to prevent an uncontrollable arms race (3) to promote mutual deterrence (4) to ensure technological reliability of weapons. With these principles in mind, Congress imposed five amendments to the DoD's FY 87 bill (1) 1+ kt test ban (2) SDI limits (3) SALT II limits (4) ASAT test ban (5) chemical weapon procurement ban. Urges a presidential-congressional consensus on deep cuts, a test ban, SDI research and adherence to the ABM treaty, SALT II limits, and a ban on ASAT and chemical weapons.

Essay
Paul Doty

Asks whether there are more promising ways of restraining testing than pressing for its total elimination. Examines the issues in the present debate (1) loss of reliability due to ageing of weapons (2) no more development of new weapons (3) the threshold of detectability. Analyzes present US and Soviet approaches to (1) a CTB (comprehensive test ban) as part of, or apart from, arms control (2) verification's military or political significance and the corresponding technological requirements. Sketches a phased approach, embedded in a broad commitment to arms control, to respond to the issues raised and to secure the familiar goals of a CTB.

Essay
C. Fred Bergsten

The unprecedented international imbalances of the first half of the 1980s have fundamentally altered the structure of the world economy. The United States, the creator of the postwar economic system and home of the world's key currency, has become the largest debtor nation ever known to mankind--and its red ink will continue to flow at least into the 1990s. Japan, widely viewed as a developing country only a generation ago, has become by far the largest creditor--and its massive buildup of foreign assets will continue expanding rapidly as far ahead as one can predict. The actions taken to date to correct these imbalances have gone only about half the distance needed, so there is now no prospect for their early elimination--and very little for steps to cope with the structural transformation they will bring. The forces set in train by these historic changes will dominate the course of global economic events for the next five to ten years, and may go far to influence world politics as well.

Essay
Martin Feldstein

The principal problem with which the world's economies must deal during the coming decade is the unsustainable imbalance of international trade. The United States cannot continue to have annual trade deficits of more than $100 billion, financed by an ever-increasing inflow of foreign capital. The U.S. trade deficit will therefore soon have to shrink and, as it does, the other countries of the world will experience a corresponding reduction in their trade surpluses. Indeed, within the next decade the United States will undoubtedly exchange its trade deficit for a trade surplus. The challenge is to achieve this rebalancing of world demand in a way that avoids both a decline in real economic activity and an increase in the rate of inflation.

Essay
Ann Mosely Lesch

Outlines Sudan's diplomacy to deal with the twin problems of (1) economic crisis due to harsh climate, difficult soil, and poor management (2) social, religious, linguistic and ethnic divisions. Charts (1) the problems which brought Nimeiri to his downfall in 1985 (2) the transition to democracy (3) the war with the southern, secular and anti-racial SPLM (4) relations with Ethiopia, Libya, Egypt and Iran affecting internal stability (5) the West's food and financial aid, and OPEC's oil aid. Concludes that no real progress has been made.

Essay
William G. Hyland

found hereOpens a group of essays on the theme of US foreign-policy concept called "containment," with special attention to the provenance of George Kennan's The Sources of Soviet Conducted, first published in 1947 under the psuedonym "X". The full groupIn addition to the following two items, the group comprises (1) a reprint on pp. 852-868 of Kennan's article 'The sources of Soviet conduct', published under the pseudomyn 'X' in the FA issue of Jul 1947 (2) a reprinted excerpt on pp869-884 from Walter Lippmann 'The cold war: a study in US foreign policy' (Harper, 1947), pouring cold water on (a) Kennan's notion that Soviet socialism "bears within itself the seeds of its own decay" (b) his recommendation of an open-ended policy of passivity in the expectation of Soviet change of heart, pressing instead for active pressure on the USSR to withdraw from Eastern Europe. full references and data sources for this article can be found here.

Essay
Walt W. Rostow

Asks (1) why the postwar Soviet thrust for hegemony over Western Eurasia seemed a possible dream to Moscow (2) why the US reaction came so late. Answers that (1) it involved mixed impulses of fear and ambition deeply rooted in Russia's history, ideology and technological capacity (2) US foreign policy had a strong antagonism to the Old World balance-of-power politics. This came to an end with the Truman doctrine and the Marshall Plan. But the cold war which ensued will have a 'soft landing' rather than turn hot, because the USSR is not a great power in the new technological and educational revolutions which will be the bases of power in the future. The problems are now how to harness the new bases of power and how to prevent any one state from achieving hegemony. This picture of the modern world, largely constructed and painted by the USA, is slowly being perceived by the USSR.

Essay
George F. Kennan

The political personality of Soviet power as we know it today is the product of ideology and circumstances: ideology inherited by the present Soviet leaders from the movement in which they had their political origin, and circumstances of the power which they now have exercised for nearly three decades in Russia. There can be few tasks of psychological analysis more difficult than to try to trace the interaction of these two forces and the relative role of each in the determination of official Soviet conduct. Yet the attempt must be made if that conduct is to be understood and effectively countered.

Essay
Walter Lippmann

Mr. X's article is . . . not only an analytical interpretation of the sources of Soviet conduct. It is also a document of primary importance on the sources of INTRODUCTION: American foreign policy--of at least that part of it which is known as the Truman Doctrine.

Essay
George F. Kennan

What the author had in mind when he used the word "containment" in 1946 was averting not a military threat but an ideological-political one. He was trying to say: "Make it clear to [the Soviets] that they are not going to be allowed to establish any dominant influence in Europe and in Japan if there is anything we can do to prevent it. When we have stabilized the situation in this way, then perhaps we will be able to talk with them about some sort of a general political and military disengagement in Europe and in the Far East--not before."

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