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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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Indicators of Soviet Intentions and the End of the Cold War, 1985–88

Indicators of Soviet Intentions and the End of the Cold War, 1985–88

(p.178) Chapter 8 Indicators of Soviet Intentions and the End of the Cold War, 1985–88
Knowing the Adversary

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the indicators used by the Reagan administration to assess the intentions of the Soviet Union between 1985 and 1988. Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency in 1981 after an election campaign that expressed alarm over a “window of vulnerability” that endangered U.S. national security. Reagan's national security strategy featured schemes such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The chapter considers U.S. perceptions of Soviet military capabilities, military doctrine, and behavior during the period based on predictions derived from the selective attention thesis, capabilities thesis, strategic military doctrine thesis, and behavior thesis. It also explores how, when, and to what extent U.S. perceptions of Soviet intentions changed in order to elucidate the broader changes that eventually led to the end of the Cold War.

Keywords:   intentions assessment, Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan, U.S. national security, military capabilities, selective attention, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, behavior, Cold War

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