Internal Influences on Policy The Economic Factor
Analysis of the Khrushchev decade corroborates the supposition that a powerful centralized government would probably never allow internal economic pressures to dissuade it from policies considered essential to state security. The historic interaction of economic incentives for reduction in defense expenditures and Soviet policies on arms control demonstrates that such incentives could have an impact on Moscow's negotiating posture only at a time when the Kremlin felt secure from imminent external attack or when it had no prospect of a significant strategic gain from greater investments in defense.
The "economic burden of defense" does not appear in 1954-1956 to have been a strong force motivating the Kremlin to seek a reduction of defense expenditures. Moscow's general sense that it could triumph in economic competition with the West was, however, an important premise of the softer turn in Soviet foreign policy generally, one which tended to persist even after the optimistic expectations underlying it had cause to falter.