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Title: The Soviet-American strategic competition : the action-reaction process reconsidered
Author: Sargent, Richard E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1976
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This study presents a detailed examination of the postwar strategic competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in an attempt to determine the degree to which the competitive process can be described as an 'arms race' fuelled by the so-called 'action-reaction' process. The role of 'action-reaction' is assessed through an investigation into the factors responsible for the initiation and development of each of the major advances in the evolution of Soviet and American strategic doctrines and weapon deployments. This inquiry concludes that a consideration of those factors which have obstructed the effective exercise of 'action-reaction', the numerous domestic influences and constraints which have affected the formation of defence policy and the various processes through which strategic doctrines and weapons programmes have been developed, clearly establishes that any analysis which depicts the arms competition as a two-party 'race' powered by 'action-reaction', severly oversimplifies the nature of the contest. The thesis advanced here is that the origins and development of the Soviet-American strategic relationship are more accurately characterised as the product of a highly complex 'chemical process' (to use a different analogy) which had as its catalyst the early postwar perceptions of each competitor as an adversary by the other. Since the late 1940s, this catalyst of competition has stimulated the development of strategic doctrine and force structure in two very dissimilar domestic environments, yielding two distinctly different strategic compounds, which have consistently retained their intrinsic elements and properties while continuing some degree of interaction. The significance of these intrinsic elements for arms limitation is considered in a final chapter dealing with the agreements reached at the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in 1972 (SALT 1). These conclusions rest upon source materials which include official documents, the public statements and writings of political leaders and military commanders, periodical literature and an extensive bibliography covering the history and theory of 'arms race' development and the strategic doctrines, foreign and defence policies of the United States and the Soviet Union.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available