What Every Soviet Leader Wants

"What Every Soviet Leader Wants," Fortune, September 1, 1986. (A review of The Soviet Paradox: External Expansion, Internal Decline by Seweryn Bialer.)


What should American policy toward the Soviet Union be? Nobody can answer that question without confronting another: What are Soviet intentions? I am not referring to short-term, tactical intentions of the kind that an intelligence network might uncover. It would be nice to know these, of course, but unless we get an agent into the Politburo, we are unlikely ever to know about such matters. The Soviet government is secretive in its deliberations and, like other governments, often has no clear idea beforehand about how it will respond to unforeseen opportunities or problems.