Gorbachev, Reform, and the Brezhnev Doctrine: Soviet Policy toward Eastern Europe, 1985-1990

Gorbachev, Reform, and the Brezhnev Doctrine: Soviet Policy toward Eastern Europe, 1985-1990

Gorbachev, Reform, and the Brezhnev Doctrine: Soviet Policy toward Eastern Europe, 1985-1990

Gorbachev, Reform, and the Brezhnev Doctrine: Soviet Policy toward Eastern Europe, 1985-1990

Synopsis

The collapse of Soviet power in Eastern Europe was relatively quick, peaceful, and unforeseen. In this important new study of Soviet policy in the region, Chafetz provides a fresh analysis of why Moscow redefined Soviet interests in Eastern Europe and an explanation of the decision not to use military force to shore up the disintegrating bloc. Particular attention is devoted to the interaction of domestic and international factors in the policy process; the causes and impact of ideological revision within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and the role of Gorbachev's perceptions in his decisions.

Excerpt

In order to have a basis for evaluating the Gorbachev regime's policies toward Eastern Europe, we need to articulate how Moscow conceived its national interest in the past and how the East European policies of previous leaders served that interest. Second, we must ask whether successive regimes learned anything from their own, as well as their predecessors', mistakes. I will argue below that the Gorbachev regime did in fact learn from the mistakes of its predecessors: in the context of the foreign policy model that I have constructed, the history of Moscow's postwar relationship with Eastern Europe served as input for Mikhail Gorbachev's policy-making process toward Eastern Europe.

The soviet interest

Before beginning the calculation of costs and benefits of Moscow's East European policies, a discussion of Soviet interests and the values underlying those interests will be useful. the national interest of any given state, unlike some national characteristics, is neither immutable nor immediately recognizable. Like Rousseau's concept of the general will, it is impossible to define exactly, because it is amorphous, changeable, and subject to interpretation based on the values of a society and its leaders at a given point in time. It is the consensus of many about what is best for the whole, relative to its foreign neighbors and the rest of the international community. Consensus both defines and is defined by the national interest. At times society can reach no consensus . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.