On Power: The Nature of Soviet Power

President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev signed a Joint Communiqué in November 1974. 

For three decades Soviet power has obsessed American foreign policy. By it we have judged our own; because of it we have committed ourselves far from home and justified our commitment in terms of the menace it represents; around it we have made a world order revolve. For us, Soviet power has been the ultimate measure and the central threat, a seminal idea and a source of orientation.

Should it still be, however, now that international politics are changing so? Or should it still be, because Soviet power is changing so? Is the evolution of the international setting altering the meaning of growing Soviet power? Or is the growth of Soviet power undermining the meaning of an evolving international setting? The ambiguous relationship between the two makes it much harder to know what role the Soviet Union ought to play in our concerns. Judging the significance of larger and more

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