The Brezhnev Politburo and the Decline of Détente

In This Review

The Brezhnev Politburo and the Decline of Détente

By Harry Gelman
Cornell University Press, 1984
264 pp. $29.95
Purchase

For many years Harry Gelman was a senior analyst of Soviet affairs in the CIA. His review of Soviet foreign policy in the Brezhnev era deserves careful attention because of that background and his obvious skills in the interpretation of the available evidence. The account of the continuing contention for power among the leaders is naturally of interest, but more important is the theme of the Politburo's consistent pursuit of political advantage in competition with the principal political adversary, the United States. Brezhnev is shown as led toward détente by his own political needs in relations with his colleagues, by objective factors, and by well-established priorities, and later led away from it for the same reasons. A book on this subject is bound to raise many controversial points, but it is not easy, on any sober reading of the evidence we have, to challenge the main line of argument presented here.