Summer 1988

Summer 1988
66, 5

Essays

Essay
Henry A. Kissinger and Cyrus Vance

If the USA is to sustain its role in the world, it needs a bipartisan foreign policy. "There is a strategic opportunity for a significant improvement in Soviet-American relations", while NATO needs redefinition as a guard against utopianism and in the light of economic integration in Europe. Also notes the US budget problem and relations with Japan and China. In the Middle East, supports guaranteed Israeli and Palestine states. Reviews pan-American issues. In general calls for "more selective and collaborative strategies based on new realities". Former US secretaries of state. The footnotes indicate the points on which the authors disagree, viz (1) the future of SDI (2) directions of arms control in the future (3) the value of an international conference on the Middle East.

Essay
Rosanne Klass

The accords were signed in 1988 by Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the USA and USSR as 'states guarantors'. They preclude Pakistani assistance to the Afghan resistance, but do not mention the Soviet involvement other than stating a timetable for troop withdrawals, whilst a voluntary repatriation of refugees is to be effected within a stated period. Gives detailed background to their signature. Charges that Afghanistan has been 'sovietized' so that the regime will not fall apart. Warns of a "repetition of the Ethiopian tragedy" in respect of the refugees. The accords have provided for "the long-term Soviet consolidation of control".

Essay
David Segal

Whilst Iran has made its three-to-one manpower advantage tell on the ground, it is nonetheless losing the war in the air as well as economically and diplomatically. Iran suffers both from logistical problems (e.g. spares for seven kinds of tank), ineffective doctrine and political control of the military. Iraq has mounted an effective economic blockade of its enemy and with 'de facto' support from both superpowers should defeat Iran within eighteen months. Includes a rationalization of Iraqi use of chemical weapons.

Essay
Don Peretz

The Dec 1987 uprising ('intifadeh') of the Palestinians is described in its military and economic aspects. It has disabused the Israelis of the idea of a liberal or enlightened occupation, but "Israel holds overwhelming military and economic advantages" and is not willing to accept a Palestinian state. For the Palestinians, it may be a long haul, in which the events of Dec 1987 may be compared to those in Dublin, in Easter 1916.

Essay
Milan Svec

Despite the Brezhnev doctrine, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia was a matter of power politics, not ideology. Notwithstanding Gorbachev's diplomatic skills, his policy is contradictory: he wants Eastern Europe under stable communist or Soviet control, yet he wants it to be an asset, not a liability. Comparison of 'perestroyka' with the Prague spring suggests that Gorbachev is both much more in charge and more cautious, even "seek(ing) most of the time to have it both ways". It is not possible to have meaningful reform without weakening the power of the communist party. Notes that Czech leader Jakes is not as hard-line as he is sometimes portrayed. Czech diplomat who defected to the USA.

Essay
F. Stephen Larrabee

When Gorbachev came to power, the influence of the military had declined somewhat from its highest point in the early 1970s. It was tainted with the blunders of SS-20 deployment, Afghanistan and the shooting down of the Korean airliner (later, the Mathias Rust flight supplied a fourth blunder). Notes in some detail changes of personnel, which have tended to reduce military influence, as has the greater assertiveness by the Party. The military have generally supported Gorbachev's arms control policy but the shift in doctrine from parity to reasonable sufficiency has been argued more by civilian than military analysts. Notes that technological imperative transcends the military-civil divide. Gorbachev needs to continue to control personnel, to enjoy some economic and arms control success and to avert upheaval in Eastern Europe.

Essay
Sidney D. Drell and Thomas H. Johnson

Calls for a more pragmatic judgment of the technological implications of military trends. Reviews significance of strategic defence, ICBMs and counterforce, targeting, basing, SLBMs and cruise missiles. Recommends "specific bilateral agreements and judicious unilateral choices in force modernization".

Essay
Stephanie G. Newman

Despite a decline in share (from 85% in the 1960s to 68% now) the superpowers still dominate international arms transfers. If they choose not to sell to a combatant, he is forced into the black or grey market, which offers less advanced systems. Combatants are also affected by human factors, economic constraints, the need for large fast deliveries which only the superpowers can meet -- which is also true of satellite intelligence. Dependency is sustained by the need for modern, major systems, access to technological innovation and the need for support (financial, military, political). Explains how military aid has been a useful foreign policy tool.

Essay
Michael Clough

Conflict between the administration and Congress exemplifies the disarray of US policy towards Southern Africa. Reviews the background to the passage of the Anti-Apartheid Act, the goals of which, however, are not achievable in terms of practical politics. The Reagan administration has concentrated on white opinion, when a strategy of "black empowerment", defined as dialogue with the black leadership, would be more fruitful. Notes the relationship between regional re-stabilization and the use (or threat) of sanctions. For the remainder of 1988 the administration should concentrate on Namibia and Angola.

Essay
Michael Vlahos

Americans with no sense of history take their self-image from myth, including that of the 'good war'. At the core of the US myth one finds "an essentially religious value system" and "the symbolism of a New World" giving rise in both US parties to 'progressives' who wish to reform a corrupted world and 'purifiers' who wish to keep the USA unsullied by it. The myth rejects the rituals and cynicism of 'grand strategy' and looks instead to the 'just war' with its moral aims. Yet reality has failed the myth -- in the post-1945 nuclear stalemate and in limited wars such as Vietnam. From this has come Reagan's 'de facto' policy of limitation. However dangerous some of its Third World 'margins' may be, the world no longer threatens US values.

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