Foreign Economic Policy
ONE of the strangest aspects of American analysis of the Soviet Union has been its neglect of Soviet foreign economic policy. It has simply been taken for granted that the Soviet Union is limited to the choice between importing and not importing foreign technology; the debates have then centered on whether the United States should accommodate any such desire and at what price. But that is all.
Yet when analysts consider the foreign economic policies of other countries, including the United States, they are absorbed with the question of protectionism. The American intellectual tradition has strongly emphasized free trade as a key to economic performance, and one would expect a tendency to explain Soviet economic difficulties by its totally protectionist policies. In practice, no one--not even economists specializing in the Soviet Union--has focused on this factor, even though in the 1970s Soviet manufacturers were far more protected than the Japanese. Instead, scholars wrote about "the decision to terminate regional autarchy," about movement "a long way toward reversing the historic East- West economic separation."1
There are many explanations for this phenomenon. First, of course, Soviet trade with the West did increase substan-____________________