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224 SAIS REVIEW the rigid structure of the Soviet economy, which makes it difficult to integrate advanced products. In his chapter on the defense sector, an area of particular concern in the United States, Julian Cooper writes that while U.S. technology has helped the Soviet military buildup, the benefit has been relatively modest. He also maintains that U.S. defense experts have generally underestimated the Soviets' ability to develop advanced technology independently. While the first part of the book examines the history and domestic political context of Soviet technology trade with the West, the third part of the book covers the domestic and international setting for U.S. trade policy toward the Soviets in the area of high-technology products. Angela Stent provides a piece on the complicated topic of East-West economic relations and the Atlantic Alliance, an issue most apparent in the 1983 dispute between the United States and European nations over the gas pipeline built by the Soviets with Western European technology. And Gary Bertsch examines the factors in the U.S. political system that help to account for what has thus far been a vacillating and unpredictable stance on the issue of export restrictions for high-technology products. Overall, the book highlights the limitations on the use of export policy as a carrot or stick to modify or influence Soviet behavior, and demonstrates that the economic and political costs to the United States and its relations with its allies make the use of restrictions a double-edged sword. While the book offers no easy solutions, it effectively presents the factors which need to be taken into account if the United States is to form a reasonable, consistent policy on technology exports to the Soviet Union. The KGB and Soviet Disinformation. By Ladislav Bittman. Elmsford, N.Y.: Pergamon Press, 1985. 227 pp. $16.95/cloth. Sovieticus: American Perceptions and Soviet Realities. By Stephen F. Cohen. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1985. 155 pp. $12.95/cloth. Reviewed by Seth Arenstein, SAIS M.A. 1985. In the wake of the recent trials ofJohn Walker and Jerry Whitworth, the KGB's insatiable appetite for U.S. and NATO military secrets and the efforts its agents will undertake to obtain them have become a matter of concern for the United States and its allies. Given this sudden interest, it is easy to forget that the skulduggery of the Walkers and Whitworth is only half of the KGB's stock-in-trade. Also important is the role played by the KGB and its satellite organizations as disseminators of "disinformation." According to Ladislav Bittman, disinformation "is a carefully constructed false message leaked to an opponent's communication system in order to deceive the decision-making elite or the public." As former deputy director of the Czechoslovak disinformation department, Bittman knows whereof he speaks. He details how the KGB turns out reams of false documents, often bearing the letterheads of U.S. government bodies like the National Security Council or the State Department. These phony, and often quite inflammatory, documents BOOK REVIEWS 225 are then "leaked" to members of the Western media, who publish the falsified releases. The impact of disinformation can range from temporary embarrassment for the U.S. government to the discrediting of U.S. officials working overseas and the distortion of public opinion. An example of the latter cited by Bittman is the intense Soviet effort to swing Third World public opinion against the United States in order to influence less developed countries to side with the Soviet Union in the United Nations and elsewhere. Western Europe, particularly West Germany, is another area where the KGB's resources for disinformation are concentrated. Bittman describes how the KGB succeeded in blocking the construction of a West German aerospace plant by spreading rumors that the plant was part of a CIA-inspired plan to make Germany a nuclear power. But Soviet efforts are not always so successful: a campaign launched to discredit CBS News anchorman Dan Rather in 1981 by implicating him in the murder of Afghan villagers went nowhere. Bittman's treatment of disinformation, particularly his meticulous research, makes The KGB and Soviet Disinformation fascinating reading. But the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-4724
Print ISSN
1945-4716
Pages
pp. 224-226
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
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