Using a systematic comparative analysis of the Soviet press organs' attitudes toward a specific issue, liana Kass examines Soviet foreign policy formulation and the activities of policy-relevant groups in the stages preceding and following the formal adoption of decisions. Soviet involvement in the Middle East in the crucial period 1966–1973 is used as a case study; it was assumed that an issue with such wide political, economic, strategic, and ideological ramifications would involve a broad array of policy groups and thus serve to pinpoint their divergent attitudes. Kass focuses on four official groups close to the locus of Soviet decision making–the CPSU, the governmental bureaucracy, the military, and the trade union–and delineates and analyzes the attitudes of these groups toward the Soviet involvement in the Middle East. She explores the possibilities of opposition to the official policy line and illustrates the respective roles of each group in the decision-making process. This study provides evidence of the broadening basis of elite participation in the formulation of foreign policy and the gradual emergence of polycentricity in the Soviet political context. Having shown that the spectrum of opinion among Soviet decision makers is relatively diversified, Kass calls for a more discriminative, less restrictive approach to the study of Soviet policy.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Introduction -- At the Crossroads -- The Syrian Coup d’Etat of February 1966 -- The Lingering Debate -- Divergences Intensify within the Framework of Involvement -- Debate over Problems of Conflict and Settlement -- Doctrine versus Pragmatism -- Convergence and Polarization within the Soviet Leadership -- From Involvement to Commitment -- The Trade Union Organ -- Epilogue -- Divergences between Institutions or within Institutions? -- Toward A New Model of Soviet Decision Making
Ilana Kass is an analyst with the Soviet and East European Research Center of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and a research fellow at the Davis Institute of International Relations. Dr. Kass is editor of a bimonthly bulletin on the Soviet Union and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and her articles on the Soviet Union and the Middle East have appeared in Soviet Union, Ost Europa, and Soviet Studies.