This intriguing book develops the thesis that Soviet-American competition in the past four decades actually imposed constraints on the Cold War that kept it from turning hot. The management of superpower rivalry, paradoxically, forced Washington and Moscow to cooperate through signals to each other and self-restraint. This was particularly true in regional situations, examined here by an impressive array of specialists. The controlled nature of the Cold War, seen in retrospect, was due to both the countervailing strengths of the superpowers and the resistance of third parties to their threats and blandishments. But this work is too serious and honest not to recognize that there were some close calls-e.g., the Cuban missile crisis and Berlin in both 1948 and 1961-which could have led to devastating conflict. The end of the Cold War-since this book was written-only served to make this excellent work more valuable.
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