The Soviet Union, the West, and the Nuclear Arms Race
By Robbin F. Laird
New York University Press, 1986, 236 pp.
These two books deal with Soviet policy toward arms control and disarmament but in quite different ways. The first is more of a Sovietologist's work and tends to place Moscow's policies in the context of Marxist-Leninist theory, while arguing that beyond this theory the U.S.S.R. pursues its national interests. But what country does not? The author makes a detailed presentation of Soviet proposals, but it is not clear how much he advances our insight. The second volume places more emphasis on the East-West interaction and has interesting chapters on the impact of the British and French nuclear forces on Soviet arms control policy. In this way Laird properly reminds us that the game is not only a Soviet-American one, and that, indeed, Moscow must increasingly pursue an "anti-coalition" policy designed to create fissures within the Western alliance.