The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy

The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy

The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy

The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy

Excerpt

More and more American college students are studying Soviet foreign policy. Courses in this field are plentiful, and student interest is high. But teachers of these courses must cope with several problems: (1) primary source materials are relatively scarce; (2) accessible documents are not easily interpreted by either expert or novice; (3) Western scholars have produced relatively few monographs and analytical essays in the field; (4) the best of these essays are widely scattered throughout many scholarly journals; and (5) almost none of this literature is closely linked to the broader field of international relations.

The first of these problems is particularly difficult to cope with. Some very basic facts about Soviet intentions and activities are not known. Memoir literature is virtually nonexistent, and candid interviews with Soviet foreign affairs officials are not common. New information about Soviet behavior is sometimes gleaned from Western archives, from the statements and actions of foreign officials (Communist and non-Communist) who have dealt with their Russian counterparts, and from the observable activities of Soviet representatives abroad. But the college student, even if he reads Russian, does not have access to the key sources of information that might facilitate the study of Soviet domestic politics. Central Committee decrees, for example, almost never deal with the USSR's international affairs. Not surprisingly, there is much more public communication between Communist Party leaders and domestic audiences than between Party leaders and Soviet personnel abroad.

The second problem is more serious than commonly recognized. Through the World Marxist Review, International Affairs, or the Current Digest of the Soviet Press, the college student may gain access to selected "primary . . ."

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