Dangerous Relations

Dangerous Relations : Soviet Union in World Politics, 1970-82

4 (1 rating by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$9.95

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks

Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 132.08 x 198.12 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0195034244
  • 9780195034240

Review Text

Though this is supposedly a chronological continuation of two of Harvard Sovietologist Ulam's previous studies - Expansion and Coexistence and The Rivals - it's more a restatement than a follow-up, going back to the post-WW II period for the root of America's Soviet miscalculation. In Ulam's view, the US failed to act when it was strong and the USSR relatively weak. By allowing the Soviets to consolidate their hold over Eastern Europe when we had the bomb and they didn't, we gave them a powerful dose of self-confidence. If we couldn't stop them then, why should they fear us later? The main culprit in Ulam's interpretation is the theory of containment, which he castigates for setting the US on a reactive, rather than active, path. He acknowledges that containment appealed to a people averse to getting into another war (noting that it failed on that score), and shrugs at the problems a democracy encounters in playing the game of nuclear blackmail. When internal Soviet difficulties became apparent after Stalin's death, the country had acquired enough military power to be relatively secure in international affairs. For the US, an opportunity had been lost. Since then, Soviet leaders have clung to a world-view of constant struggle, though they tried, through detente, to deflect that struggle from the threat of nuclear war. Ulam, like many others, believes that the repressive character of Russian political life makes an aggressive foreign policy necessary to sustain the regime. For evidence he points to Poland, where the relaxed atmosphere of detente loosened the regime's repressiveness enough to prevent it from immediately snuffing out Solidarity, but not from destroying it later (when detente was on the wane). So, by a reverse logic, Ulam himself becomes convinced of the inevitability of struggle. He counsels the strengthening of ties between the western allies, and caution lest arms control agreements with the Soviets secure American interests at the expense of Europe. Along the way, he narrates the major points of US-Soviet relations within his time-frame: SALT I and II; Afghanistan; the US opening toward China; the Middle East; etc. The great continuity is the idea that we've been had. Consistent, but old-hat. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

1 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 100% (1)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X