The author, a journalist who has long specialized in Soviet affairs, has written the most comprehensive study yet of Soviet policy in Afghanistan. He believes that the Soviets will remain in Afghanistan for however long it takes to ensure the country's permanent place within the Soviet empire. He dismisses suggestions sometimes made in the West about a possible "Finlandization" or about an Austrian type of neutrality for Afghanistan. The former notion ignores the reality that the Soviets tried several times to reestablish the old Tsarist control of Finland. The latter ignores the fact that in Central Europe, ten years after World War II, there was a balance of power that led to a compromise over Austria. No such balance exists in contemporary South Asia.