Since the founding of NATO, the Soviet threat has become a global threat, no longer conveniently (for the Alliance) confined to the European central front, its flanks, and the transatlantic crossing the Atlantic ocean, or relating to countries on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean shipping routes north of the Tropic of Cancer. This extension of the threat has increased the option open to Soviet Russia in its long-term campaign of worldwide strategic advancement. A policy of political exploitation backed by military strength to gain control of the economic resources on which the Nato countries rely, and of key ocean areas (or ‘choke-points’) which Alliance shipping must pass with its cargoes of these resources, now extends the threat beyond the defensive circle of the original NATO area with less risk of escalating the level of conflict and with equal if not greater chances of success than would result from an assault on Western Europe. (Michael Chichester, “Britain and NATO: the case for revision,” The World Today, Vol.38, No. 11(Nov., 1982) p. 415-416)
In the 3rd sentence, a policy of political exploitation backed by what military strength? Soviet military strength or NATO military strength? And what kind of political exploitation was the author talking about?
Thank you very much.
No, nothing like that.
I just want to make sure NATO or the Soviet who started the so called “a policy of exploitation” between 1981-1982, cuz some of my friends consider the so-called “a policy of exploitation” was launched by NATO, saying the declining Soviet Union was not expanding its reach. They were bogged down in Afghanistan and being pushed hard by Reagan’s SDI (star wars), and preoccupied by Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika economic and political reforms. They weren’t menacing important western choke-points. But personally, I think it was the Soviets who started the policy of exploitation. I’m not sure who’s right and who’s wrong, but I do know the purpose of this forum is to fight ignorance. That’s why I posted my question. BTW, I’m not a student. I’m just interested in politics and history. I’m not in a position to ask anybody to write a paper for me. If anybody happens to know any articles or books about my question, please let me know. Thank you.
some of my friends consider the so-called “a policy of exploitation” was launched by NATO, saying the declining Soviet Union was not expanding its reach.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. There was at the time no way either side could be certain about the other’s intentions, only about what their capabilities appeared to be. So they proceeded to act as though the other might be up to no good and sought to reply/anticipate in kind.
We are approaching a similar position now, it seems to me - especially in terms of Russian paranoia and suspicion of the West.
I would consider this article to be nothing more than fear mongering.
Since the Soviet Union was formed in 1922, the Western powers painted it as an “existential threat” (my characterization). In 1982 when that article was written, the Cold War was in high gear.
The Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991, and reverted to 15 independent countries. Russia was the only one capable of (or even interested in) “political exploitation.” If I recall correctly, there was no reduction in fear mongering.
Of course, that excerpt doesn’t prove that the Soviets were the aggressors. At most, it proves that that one particular author considered them to be the aggressors.
I do recall a reduction in fearmongering at that time, or at the very least, an increase in hopemongering. But Russia was always the dominant member of the Soviet Union, politically, militarily, scientifically, and industrially. “Russia” was always used nearly synonymously with “the USSR”, and when the USSR shrank to merely Russia, it was not entirely unreasonable for someone distrustful of the USSR to transfer that distrust to Russia.
In an article from 1982, I’m guessing the author was probably talking about Central America. A communist regime was established in Nicaragua in 1979 and the Reagan administration was pushing that as a major issue. There was a fear that Nicaragua would be used as a base for communist groups that would take over other countries in the area. Panama and the canal would have been the strategic chokepoint the article referred to.
While the Soviet Union wasn’t sending troops to this area, Cuba was sending troops to other countries to support communist groups. So Cuban troops were seen as a proxy form of Soviet military strength.