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COLD WAR ILLUSIONS

COLD WAR ILLUSIONS

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SUMMARY
The Soviet empire entered its steepest decline and fall in the very years that Washington was captivated by the spectre of a rising Soviet threat. How did American elites get it so wrong? In this important book, Dana Allin combines cold-war narrative with a critical dissection of the fallacies upon which this surreal pessimism was based. His focus is on the so-called 'second Cold War' that followed the detente of the early 1970s, and on Europe, which remained the central battlefield and prize of that ideological struggle. By suggesting that Western Europe was on the verge of being neutralized, or 'Finlandized', by Soviet blackmail, American neoconservatives were able to create a picture of Soviet strength and Western weakness that was, in fact, the very reverse of reality. Drawing on a rich variety of sources, Allin analyzes the military, political and economical errors that distorted this picture. His sober and balanced account gives due credit to the uncertainties and complexities of foreign policymaking in a nuclear age. But one conclusion stands out clearly: given the real balance of power that existed in 1979, recent efforts to give credit to Reagan 'toughness' for winning the Cold War are little more than caricature.
AUTHOR BIO
DANA H. ALLIN is Deputy Director, Aspen Institute, Berlin.

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Paperback
ISBN
9780312172961
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