Conquest, Robert
July 1968
Foreign Affairs;Jul1968, Vol. 46 Issue 4, p733
This article explains the need to limit the detente in the Soviet Union's political structure. Because the Soviet Union remains in principle in a position of permanent hostility to the non-communist world, the detente must inevitably remain limited, whatever the possibilities of stable truce. What will affect the stability of the detente is the firmness of the U.S. It is only when the initiatives of the extremists in the Kremlin are thwarted, are shown to lead to the risk of serious confrontation, that they are overruled and defeated. It is also true that the Soviet Union must not be pushed into a situation where its rulers feel that there is no future for the regime except in nuclear confrontation. But for the moment the greater danger for Western policy is perhaps in encouraging the extremists by too complaisant an attitude to their adventures, thereby helping to ensure the rise of a dangerously imprudent leadership. One finds at present, in the Western press and else-where, a notion implicitly expressed that the detente between the Soviet Union and the United States is based not merely on a common interest in avoiding nuclear war but also on a growing Soviet tolerance--a complete misapprehension.


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