Economic Containment: COCOM and the Politics of East-West Trade

In This Review

Economic Containment: COCOM and the Politics of East-West Trade

By Michael Mastanduno
Cornell University Press, 1992
353 pp. $46.50
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Many books have been rendered obsolete by the ending of the Cold War, but that process has nicely rounded off this one, which seems likely to remain our best account of the 40-odd-year effort to coordinate Allied controls over exports to the Soviet Union and its allies. The emphasis is on analysis, but Mastanduno describes in considerable detail the operations of the Coordinating Committee for Multinational Controls (COCOM) and the almost constant tension between the United States and its allies that accompanied them. He concludes that there was a failure of American leadership, rooted in the shortcomings and inconsistencies of American policy, which had a number of causes, not the least of which was domestic pressures.