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Knowing the AdversaryLeaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations$
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Keren Yarhi-Milo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159157

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159157.001.0001

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US Decision Makers’ Perceptions of Soviet Intentions

US Decision Makers’ Perceptions of Soviet Intentions

The Collapse of Détente

Chapter:
(p.126) Chapter 6 US Decision Makers’ Perceptions of Soviet Intentions
Source:
Knowing the Adversary
Author(s):

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691159157.003.0007

This chapter examines the indicators used by U.S. President Jimmy Carter and two key decision makers in his administration, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, to assess the intentions of the Soviet Union during the period 1977–1980. Using evidence from U.S. archives and interviews with former U.S. decision makers, it compares the predictions of the selective attention thesis, capabilities thesis, strategic military doctrine thesis, and behavior thesis. After discussing the U.S. decision makers' stated beliefs about Soviet intentions, the chapter considers the reasoning they employed to justify their intentions assessments. It then describes the policies that individual decision makers advocated and those that the administration collectively adopted. It also explores whether decision makers advocated policies that were congruent with their stated beliefs about intentions and evaluate sthe impact of beliefs about intentions on U.S. foreign policy at the time.

Keywords:   intentions assessment, Jimmy Carter, decision makers, Cyrus Vance, Soviet Union, selective attention, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, behavior, U.S. foreign policy

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