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US tanks and Soviet tanks confront each other for 16 hours at the border between East and West Berlin, 1961. Wikipedia Commons

The dates May 22, 1947, and May 22, 1972, span exactly 25 years. On May 22, 1947, President Truman signed a congressional bill committing the United States to support Greece and Turkey against Soviet designs, and the United States thereby assumed overtly the direct leadership of the West in the containment of Soviet influence. Twenty-five years later to the day, another American President landed in Moscow, declaring to the Soviet leaders that "we meet at a moment when we can make peaceful coöperation a reality."

Viewing the past 25 years of the cold war as a political process, this study seeks to evaluate the conduct of the two competitors and to draw some implications from the experience of a quarter-century's rivalry for the future of U.S.-Soviet relations. Its purpose is thus neither to seek the causes of the cold war nor to assign moral or historical responsibility for it.

To accomplish the above, two preliminary

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