Politics, Paradigms, and Intelligence Failures: Why So Few Predicted the Collapse of the Soviet Union
Washington's failure to foresee the collapse of its superpower rival ranks high in the pantheon of predictive failures. The question of who got what right or wrong has been intertwined with the deeper issue of "who won" the Cold War. Like the disputes over "who lost" China and Iran, this debate has been fought out along ideological and partisan lines, with conservatives claiming credit for the Evil Empire's demise and liberals arguing that the causes were internal to the Soviet Union. The intelligence community has come in for harsh criticism for overestimating Soviet strength and overlooking the symptoms of crisis; the discipline of "Sovietology" has dissolved into acrimonious irrelevance. Drawing on declassified documents, interviews, and careful analysis of contemporaneous literature, this book offers the first systematic analysis of this predictive failure at the paradigmatic, foreign policy, and intelligence levels. Although it is focused on the Soviet case, it offers lessons that are both timely and necessary.
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academic administration Afghanistan American analysis Andropov Angola Arbatov argued authority system Beschloss and Talbott Brezhnev Brzezinski Bush and Scowcroft Carter Casey CIA’s Cold War collapse collective belief system communism communist communist system conﬂict corruption coup crisis critics debate defense deﬁned delegitimation democracy described détente difﬁculties discourse Dobrynin Doder and Branson efforts egalitarian elite ethnic ﬁgures ﬁrst foreign policy Gates glasnost Gorbachev 1996 hard-liners Hough ideological inﬂuence intellectual intelligence Kryuchkov legitimacy legitimate liberal Ligachev Matlock Moscow neoconservative nomenklatura nomic norms nuclear observers ofﬁcial paradigm party percent perestroika Pipes pluralistic Politburo political change predicted president rational choice theory Reagan reﬂected reforms regime republics revisionist revolution Richard Pipes Russian scholars Scowcroft 1998 Shevardnadze Shultz social socialist society Soviet economy Soviet empire Soviet leader Soviet military Soviet system Soviet Union Sovietology strategy theory Third World tion totalitarian totalitarian model United warned Western White House Yeltsin