Courtesy Reuters

The Bases of Soviet Foreign Policy

I AM fully aware of the difficulties of the task which I undertake in attempting to give the readers of FOREIGN AFFAIRS an account of the main lines of Soviet foreign policy and the fundamental considerations which govern it. The first difficulty arises from the fact that the foreign policy of the Soviet Government differs as much from the foreign policy of the other Great Powers as the domestic policy of this first socialist state differs from the domestic policy of the states belonging to the capitalist system. Men and women who accept the capitalist point of view find it just as hard to understand the socialist state's foreign policy as its domestic policy. Moreover, this primary difficulty is increased by several propositions generally accepted in the capitalist world, although even there they are of questionable validity. I mean the theory of the priority of foreign over domestic policy and the theory of the continuity of foreign policy. In order to clear the way for an understanding of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union the reader must attempt to grasp our attitude toward these two propositions. We consider them erroneous because they are in contradiction with generally-known historical facts.

Foreign policy is a function of domestic policy. It solves problems which result from the development of a given society, a given state, under definite historical conditions.

The wars of the era when modern capitalism was born, the wars of Cromwell and Louis XIV, were the product of the struggle for the emancipation of the youthful capitalism, which gained strength under the mercantilist system, from the oppression of the domestic market, largely based on a peasant economy which met the requirements of the peasant and of his feudal exploiter. There was a need for colonies as sources of raw materials and as markets for the produce of young industries, and also for the plundering which provided the stimulus for the growth of manufactures, which became in turn the basis for the

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