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Domestic and Foreign Influences on Policy Making: The Soviet Union in the 1974 Cyprus Conflict

This article, a case study, combines an intensive study of Soviet press commentary with interviews in Moscow from the early 1980s. It treats the Soviet press as an historical source and applies to it traditional techniques of propaganda analysis, modified by behavioralist and postbehavioralist methodologies. Specifically, it uses quantitative propaganda analysis to generate "hypotheses" (for example, on inter-organizational policy-making conflict) that are subsequently "tested" through qualitative propaganda analysis of the same. It thus applies a specification of the general analytical method presented in the author's 1982 article in World Politics on inferential issues presented by organizational and cognitive complexity. The present article has 110 notes drawing on sources in Russian, English, German and French as well on as the author's interviews with participants in the Soviet press and policy making. It includes five Tables, two Figures, and a Technical Appendix that explicates in detail the logic of inference from the Soviet press, with direct reference to examples in the case study presented. The Conclusion of the article is reproduced below for reference. The full text of the article (over 150Kb with embedded graphics) is available here in printer-friendly HTML.
First publication:  Robert M. Cutler, "Domestic and Foreign Influences on Policy Making: The Soviet Union in the 1974 Cyprus Conflict," Soviet Studies 37, no. 1 (January 1985): 60–89.
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4. Conclusion

It follows that the 1974 Cyprus conflict taps into fundamental issues and attitudes in Soviet foreign policy, issues and attitudes that extend so broad and run so deep as to touch directly on the strategic balance between East and West. Other research has shown that the two most significant attitudinal dimensions for understanding the behaviour of actors in world politics are 'image of Self' and 'image of Other'.[99] Precisely those images are implicated here.

Jönsson has used the two dimensions, 'image of Self' and 'image of Other', in an attempt to cumulate knowledge from the relatively few existing case studies of Soviet foreign policy making. He categorises domestic Soviet interests into a two-by-two matrix in which the Soviet image-of-Self is either (1) a parochial state without deep-running interests outside its own delimited sphere of influence in Europe, or (2) a great power with not only global interests but also instrumentalities for pursuing those interests around the world; and in which the Soviet image-of-Other—i.e., image of the United States or of 'international imperialism'—is either (1) a monolithic cabal of cold-warriors who have not given up the dream of destroying socialism, or (2) a differentiated entity composed of two tendencies that respectively advocate and oppose coexistence and detente with the world socialist system.[100]

Jönsson admits the difficulty in finding any Soviet expression of a combination of the parochial image of Self with the dualistic image of Other; and Spechler, in a study Jönsson does not consider, also evinces this difficulty.[101] Although the paucity of data demands caution, it is irresistible to observe that this pattern—the vacancy of one cell in a four-cell matrix—is also present in a graphic portrayal of Table 3 (see Figure 1). Moreover, this pattern corresponds to Griffiths's delineation of tendencies in Soviet foreign policy.[102]

The analytical significance of this reading of images of Self and Other, and their reference to Soviet foreign policy making, lies in three points. First, its logic provides a

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Figure 1. Graphic Portrayal of Data from Table 3, with the Tendencies of Articulation They Suggest.
Figure 1
     Orthogonal axes labelled 'favourable to detente' and 'hostile to NATO' define the coordinate system in which are plotted the data from Table 3. Vertical dashed lines, the height of which has no analytical significance, indicate the projection of the data points onto the left/right scale. Tendencies of articulation, defined by images of Self and Other, are superimposed upon the coordinate system.

concrete connection between general philosophic attitudes and particular policy preferences. Second, the explanation it provides reinforces our confidence in the validity of the left-right continuum as a measurement strategy. Third, the revelation that the underlying basis of that continuum may not be unidimensional highlights Dallin's caution about its use as an interpretative rule.[103]

The practical significance of this interpretation is that each of the two images of Self corresponds to one of two conflicting goals that have been posited by one Western analyst of Soviet policy toward Cyprus: (1) the long-term goal of dismantling the potential threat from NATO's southeast flank by neutralising the countries in the region; and (2) the short-term goal of increasing Soviet political and military influence, counterbalancing the NATO and American presence as a prerequisite for extending Soviet influence into the Middle East and beyond, toward Africa and the Indian Ocean.[104] These goals, which distinguish contrasting images of Self in world politics, have practical reference to and empirical referents in the policy debates over Cyprus that have been uncovered here, most strikingly in the phase at the end of July 1974.

The empirical examination of Western theories of Soviet foreign policy linkages to domestic interests reveals the need for a more sophisticated conceptualisation and a more thorough understanding of how the Soviet foreign policy making system works, especially its relationship to the Soviet propaganda making system. This research has contributed elements to the completion of such a project. The Appendix systematises those elements bearing directly on this case study that will prove most useful to analysts concerned with that project.

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[Note 99]. For an example outside the Soviet field, see Daniel Heradstveit, The Arab-Israeli Conflict (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1979). A different typology is suggested by Ole R. Holsti, 'The "Operational Code" as an Approach to the Analysis of Belief Systems: Final Report to the National Science Foundation Grant No. SOC75–15368' (Duke University, December 1977). Cf. also Theodore H. Friedgut, 'The Domestic Image of Soviet Involvement in the Arab-Israeli Conflict', Research Paper No. 26 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Soviet and East European Research Centre, August 1977).

[Note 100]. Christer Jönsson, 'Foreign Policy Ideas and Groupings in the Soviet Union', in Roger E. Kanet (ed.), Soviet Foreign Policy and East–West Relations (Elmsford, N.Y.: Pergamon Press, 1982), pp. 1–26.

[Note 101]. Spechler, Domestic Influences on Soviet Foreign Policy, op. cit.

[Note 102]. Franklyn Griffiths, 'Images, Politics and Learning in Soviet Behaviour towards the United States' (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1972), summarised by Seweryn Bialer, Stalin's Successors (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 278: '… a sectarian tendency, inward-directed to the socialist camp and isolationist in its effects [i.e., parochial Self and monolithic Other]; a dualistic activist tendency which combines a commitment to pursue peaceful coexistence with the mobilization of external counterforce vis-à-vis the West [global Self and monolithic Other]; and a reformist tendency which in the competition of the contending camps stresses the force of example and political-economic forces over the political utility of military forces and places a premium on the development of stable cooperative arrangements with the West [global Self and dualistic Other]'.

[Note 103]. Alexander Dallin, 'The Domestic Sources of Soviet Foreign Policy', in Seweryn Bialer (ed.), The Domestic Context of Soviet Foreign Policy (Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1981), pp. 344–47, esp. p. 345.

[Note 104]. Uwe Steinbach, 'Die Sowjetunion und die Zypernkrise', Osteuropa, Vol. XXV, No. 5 (May 1975), p. 343. For an exchange between Soviet commentators that would seem to be informed by these divergent

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perspectives, see the radio feature from Moscow in English to Great Britain and Ireland 2100 GMT, 4 August 1974, cited in FBIS-SOV, 5 August 1974, p. G/4. Whether these broadcasters were speaking spontaneously or reading from a script does not affect the point being made.

First publication:  Robert M. Cutler, "Domestic and Foreign Influences on Policy Making: The Soviet Union in the 1974 Cyrpus Conflict," Soviet Studies 37, no. 1 (January 1985): 60–89.
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Dr. Robert M. Cutlerwebsiteemail ] was educated at MIT and The University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Science, and has specialized and consulted in the international affairs of Europe, Russia, and Eurasia since the late 1970s. He has held research and teaching positions at major universities in the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Russia, and contributed to leading policy reviews and academic journals as well as the print and electronic mass media in three languages.

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