The Soviet Threat to the Persian Gulf,
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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The first and most important conclusion to be drawn from the preceeding analysis of the Soviet intervention calculus is that the United States and its Western allies must increase their capabilities to project power into the Persian Gulf. While we may assert as a matter of historical interpretation that past Soviet threats to intervene in the Midwdle East have been bluffs, there is too much uncertainty in our ability to determine even past Soviet motives to confidently predict them for the future. We have seen that a sufficient number of factors have changed since the early 70s to cast serious doubt on whether or not the earlier pattern of Soviet restraint will continue. Other unforeseen developments, such as a wholesale change in the risk-taking propensities of the Soviet leadership as a result of the Brezhnev succession, could have different and incalculable effects. While recent events suggest that residual U.S. capabilities may be sufficient to deter Soviet adventurism--and indeed, our collective survival depends on this being the case--it would be foolish to base long-term policy on this assumption. In addition to creating the physical resources to defend Western interests in the Gulf, the United States must communicate clearly to Moscow its intention to use them if necessary.
- Government and Political Science