Growing Domestic Concerns
Differing Assessments of Soviet Strength
American perceptions of the Soviet Union currently fall into two general categories. Hard-liners tend to see the world primarily in terms of American-Soviet competition. They advocate an immediate and significant increase in American military power to deter Soviet aggression. At the other extreme — and increasingly on the defensive — are those who view the Soviets as insecure about their own domestic and external problems and the world as a complex arena where the superpowers exert some influence but not control.
There is little doubt as to where the Reagan administration stands in this debate. At his Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. repeatedly emphasized the need for a U.S. military buildup to counter Soviet ...