The Grand Strategy of the Soviet Union


167 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919769-16-0




Edited by Brian MacDonald
Reviewed by Alexander Craig

Alexander Craig is a freelance journalist in Lennoxville, Quebec.


In at least one sense Canada is incontestably a middle power. And yet it pays astonishingly little attention to one of the two superpowers it nestles between. So the volume under review, the results of a conference in fall 1983, steps resolutely in to fill the void. And, inevitably perhaps, it does so hawkishly. Toward the end it comes as some relief to read the measured, moderate assessment of the Soviet leadership by John Halstead, especially after the chillingly articulate thoughts of Richard Pipes, one of Reagan’s top advisers on developing a counter-strategy from the West. The Polish-born Pipes’ feelings about the Soviets make people such as Henry Kissinger look like sentimental little milksops.

Given the slant of most of the papers, there is a lot of very interesting and informative material here. The Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies assembled an impressive range of highly placed and distinguished speakers who present us with the fruits of their extensive thoughts on the state, and implications, of the Soviet economy, leadership, intelligence, and military and other basic resources.

It is, moreover, presented in a very readable style. These papers were given as talks, so they’re succinct and clipped, not verbose. The publishers might have spent a little more on the binding, and on telling us something about all of the contributors, but on the other hand they have had the good sense to publish comments and questions from the audience, and this helps give us a more rounded picture. A glossary of terms used and a list of previous publications of the CISS are provided. This is an interesting and worthwhile publication.


“The Grand Strategy of the Soviet Union,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,