In This Review

Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy
Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy
By Michael MccGwire
Brookings, 1987, 530 pp.

Written by a highly respected expert on Soviet military strategy, this is a very individualistic analysis of the motivations behind Moscow's policy. MccGwire states that there was a doctrinal judgment by the Kremlin in December 1966, to the effect that there was seen to be a significant possibility of avoiding escalation to nuclear strikes on the U.S.S.R. in the event of a world war. North America, therefore, could also be spared. Paradoxically, however, this highlighted the key importance of winning the war in Europe by defeating NATO without precipitating a nuclear response; it also required a greater Soviet naval presence in the Third World and an increased role for arms transfers. The author eschews worst-case analysis and argues against the oft-stated view that the Soviets use military power as their primary instrument of foreign policy. His analysis is scholarly and carefully crafted; his conclusions are iconoclastic and will be debated.