In This Review

Game Plan: A Geostrategic Framework for the Conduct of the U.S.-Soviet Contest
Game Plan: A Geostrategic Framework for the Conduct of the U.S.-Soviet Contest
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986, 288 pp

In the continuing debate over Soviet policy, this book will obviously qualify as must reading. The author draws on his long academic career to provide a lucid historical analysis of Soviet-American relations, and uses his recent experience as President Carter's national security adviser to set forth his own policy prescriptions. The book has a strong geopolitical flavor, illustrated by provocative maps (e.g., comparing Russian territorial expansion into Poland and American expansion at Mexico's expense). The contest has become a global clash between two empires, but has nevertheless changed in character: it is now much less ideological and more of a struggle for power-a historical contest of attrition, centering on Eurasia. The Soviet threat is more and more reduced to military balances; hence, the U.S. can prevail by not losing, whereas for the Soviet Union not prevailing means losing. Brzezinski's policies fall within the postwar mainstream; basically he advocates a modernized version of containment, including shoring up key areas and allies, on the assumption that if the Soviet Union is denied the fruits of expansion, it will begin to turn inward; but he is less sanguine about arms control, prefers some form of limited strategic defense, and toys with a possible American disengagement from Europe to promote a greater self-reliance.