Starobin, Joseph R.
July 1969
Foreign Affairs;Jul1969, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p681
This article examines the origin of the cold war. The origins of the cold war lie deeper, however, than any analysis of Russia's own interest. Nor can they be understood only in terms of an attempt to prevent economic recovery and political stability in Western Europe. The cold war's origins must be found in a dimension larger than the requirements of Soviet internal mobilization or the thrust of its foreign policy. They lie in the attempt to overcome the incipient diversity within a system of states and parties, among whom the changes produced by the war had outmoded earlier ideological and political premises. The conditions for the transformation of a monolithic movement had matured and ripened. The sources of the cold war lie in communism's unsuccessful attempt to adjust to this reality, followed by its own abortion of this attempt. For Stalin the cold war was a vast tug-of-war with the West, whereby not only internal objectives could be realized but the international movement subordinated. Its constituent parts went along on the assumption that in doing so, they would survive and prosper. The price of the Stalinist course was to be fearsome indeed. Thus, the cold war arose from the failure of a movement to master its inner difficulties and choose its alternatives.


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