In This Review

The Long Pretense: Soviet Treaty Diplomacy From Lenin To Gorbachev

The Long Pretense: Soviet Treaty Diplomacy From Lenin To Gorbachev
By Arnold Beichman
296 pp, Transaction, 1990
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Beichman takes his stand, as he has over a long career in observing international affairs, with those who see the Soviet Union as bent on world domination and ready to lie, cheat and commit any crime to get there. His book contains hundreds of citations and quotations to illustrate and prove that point, plus hundreds more to show how many people were taken in by Soviet deception and their own wishful thinking-not only the likes of Joseph Davies and Franklin Roosevelt but also Truman, Churchill, Nixon, Kissinger and Reagan. His main argument is about negotiation and treaties: Why make treaties with the Soviets when they hold the all-time record for breaking them? Beichman is on firm ground in describing Soviet negotiating practices and treaty violations, although he seems unwilling to concede that some agreements have been kept, some have benefited the West and some have been advantageous to both sides. Have the new policies of Gorbachev (e.g., withdrawal from Afghanistan) changed the author's views? Beichman remains deeply pessimistic because, he says, there is no fundamental democratizing change in the U.S.S.R., no abandonment of Marxism-Leninism.