External Political Perspectives
The opportunities and constraints that the Soviet leaders perceived as they looked to the east, to the west, and to the south exerted a powerful influence on their evaluation of both the military and the political uses of the disarmament issue. The Kremlin's perception of the political environment provided above all the basic sense of the possible and the desirable that gave direct guidance to Soviet arms control policy.
The roles that policy toward Western, Communist, and nonaligned states played in the shaping of Soviet arms control interests cannot be directly compared since the arms control problem arose primarily in relations with the West. However, because the Soviet Union was engaged in a two- front campaign and was facing substantial political and even military challenges from Peking, an opportunity or difficulty on the Western front became doubly significant. The role of the southern front -- the "third world" -- was marginal but cannot be ignored.