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Reassessing East-West Relations. A Macroquantitative Analysis of Trends, Premises and Consequences of East-West Cooperation and Conflict


Ruloff, D; Frei, D (1989). Reassessing East-West Relations. A Macroquantitative Analysis of Trends, Premises and Consequences of East-West Cooperation and Conflict. International Interactions, 15(1):1-23.

Abstract

Since the Geneva, Reykjavik, and Washington summits, East-West relations are generally expected to improve rapidly. Such expectations are usually based on theoretical assumptions regarding causes and effects of detente. Eight hypotheses, most of them very central ones, are discussed and tested empirically by using time-series data for the 1960-84 period. It appears that the move toward a strategic balance is not necessarily conducive to improved East-West relations, nor do independent European efforts have a decisive impact on the shaping of major-power relations. In contrast, detente appears to be divisible: The extra-European rivalry between East and West is hardly affected by the events on the main arena. Furthermore, an improvement of relations is not a mere question of good will: cooperative initiatives by the one side are usually not responded to reciprocally by the other. Trade relations, rather than being independent stimuli promoting East-West detente, have developed their own momentum. The internal pressure on dissidents is slowly decreasing in the East, but the evidences are only weak that this is attributable to East-West detente. Notwithstanding detente, the progress in arms control and disarmament has not yet dampened the expansion of military expenditures. Finally, East-West relations itself appear to be volatile and cyclical in nature. Hence, it seems appropriate to caution against a new crisis and maybe decline of East-West relations in the nearer future.

Since the Geneva, Reykjavik, and Washington summits, East-West relations are generally expected to improve rapidly. Such expectations are usually based on theoretical assumptions regarding causes and effects of detente. Eight hypotheses, most of them very central ones, are discussed and tested empirically by using time-series data for the 1960-84 period. It appears that the move toward a strategic balance is not necessarily conducive to improved East-West relations, nor do independent European efforts have a decisive impact on the shaping of major-power relations. In contrast, detente appears to be divisible: The extra-European rivalry between East and West is hardly affected by the events on the main arena. Furthermore, an improvement of relations is not a mere question of good will: cooperative initiatives by the one side are usually not responded to reciprocally by the other. Trade relations, rather than being independent stimuli promoting East-West detente, have developed their own momentum. The internal pressure on dissidents is slowly decreasing in the East, but the evidences are only weak that this is attributable to East-West detente. Notwithstanding detente, the progress in arms control and disarmament has not yet dampened the expansion of military expenditures. Finally, East-West relations itself appear to be volatile and cyclical in nature. Hence, it seems appropriate to caution against a new crisis and maybe decline of East-West relations in the nearer future.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:December 1989
Deposited On:15 Oct 2009 09:42
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:21
Publisher:Gordon and Breach
ISSN:0305-0629
Publisher DOI:10.1080/03050628808434717

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