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Third-World Conflict in Soviet Military Thought: Does the "New Thinking" Grow Prematurely Grey?

Celeste A. Wallander
World Politics
Vol. 42, No. 1 (Oct., 1989), pp. 31-63
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2010570
Page Count: 33
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Third-World Conflict in Soviet Military Thought: Does the "New Thinking" Grow Prematurely Grey?
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Abstract

"New thinking" in Soviet foreign policy may change Soviet understanding of the nature of conflict in the third world, Soviet interests in those conflicts, and therefore Soviet conflict behavior. While these shifts are widespread and significant, they are being resisted by military analysts, which indicates that Soviet policy may not be so easily or directly altered. Many military writers accept that escalation risks are extreme and threaten Soviet security, and others discuss local, nonclass, and intractable features of third-world conflicts. However, military analysts do not accept revisionist, class-transcendent definitions of Soviet internationalist duty. It is on this point that new thinking is most likely to founder in Gorbachev's attempts to change Soviet third-world policy and behavior. With the changes in Soviet domestic politics, military participation in security and foreign policy debates may be effective in restraining the more radical innovations implied in civilian analyses.

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