The years 1980 and 1981 were marked by a deterioration in East-West relations and increasing intra-Alliance controversy over East-West trade. Differences of opinion erupted when President Reagan took office in 1981. The conservative critics of the Carter Administration, now in a position to determine United States foreign policy, considered economic relations with the USSR and Eastern European countries as militarily damaging, politically hazardous and even as immoral. These conservative critics stressed the following points: 1
о The Soviet Union has attained a lead in some areas of military armaments. Such developments have only been possible through technology imports from the West. Furthermore, the Soviet Union not only imports machines and equipment for civil purposes and then often uses them in militarily or strategically important fields, but has also increased its efforts to illegally import certain goods and technologies. 2
о The West finances a substantial portion of the East’s imports and thus the arms build-up which is directed against itself.
о The West allows the Eastern Bloc countries to collect material and information through the exchange of scientists and discarded technical magazines and documents which can be used for military purposes. 3The Reagan Administration insisted that the West has incurred losses of billions of dollars in such trade and cooperation with the East. The United States and its allies, it was argued, had not only sold the rope with which they would be hung but—as Lenin himself failed to foresee—even susidized these sales with funds from Western taxpayers. 4