Most books ongmate as essays of limited scope or as doctoral dissertations whose findings await a receptive audience. Although this study passed through both these metamorphoses, it owes its birth to a mere coincidence. As a graduate student in the Political Science Department of The Hebrew University and a junior research fellow at the university's Soviet and East European Research Centre, I was responsible for documenting pronouncements relevant to the USSR's Middle Eastern policy that appeared in the CPSU organ Pravda. Within a few months I was assigned the task of analyzing excerpts from the Trade Union's organ Trud, only to discover that the two newspapers adopted diametrically differing attitudes toward some crucial issues. Trained as I was to view the Soviet system as a totalitarian, cohesive entity and the Russian media as a centrally controlled, monolithic means of mass manipulation, I was rather bewildered by my findings. An attempt to assess and rationalize this empirical reality resulted in two essays, each dedicated to the analysis of a policy group as represented by the press organ officially declared to be its platform. Special thanks are due to Professor Roger Kanet of the University of Illinois, editor of the journal Soviet Union, and to the editorial board of Soviet Studies, whose valuable suggestions and probing queries helped transform these crude attempts at systematic analysis into publishable papers, unwittingly laying the foundation for a doctoral thesis and, subsequently, for this book.

chapter 1|14 pages


A Framework for Analysis

part 1|32 pages

At the Crossroads

chapter 2|8 pages

The Syrian Coup d’Etat of February 1966

A Turning Point?

chapter 3|22 pages

The Lingering Debate

part 2|106 pages

Divergences Intensify within the Framework of Involvement

chapter 5|48 pages

Doctrine versus Pragmatism

Attitudes toward the Progressive Arab Regimes

part 3|83 pages

Convergence and Polarization within the Soviet Leadership

chapter 6|11 pages

From Involvement to Commitment

Debate and Decision

chapter 7|38 pages

The Trade Union Organ

A Case Study in Dissent

chapter 8|8 pages


The Soviet Military as the Chief Proponent of a Forward Policy in the Arab East