ABSTRACT

Imagine the Soviet Union’s dream of its future position in the Pacific. If Soviet domestic reform proceeds well, if the massive investment plan in the Far East attracts a flood of new immigrants from European Russia, and if the Soviet storehouse of raw materials is exploited and processed, the Soviet Union could conceivably become a major market for other members of the Pacific as well as a major supplier of commodities. Light industrial products from China and the Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs) could vastly improve the quality of life in the Soviet Far East, if the natural regional trade is allowed to flourish in the atmosphere of domestic Soviet reforms and reduced international military tension. Japan could join in multilateral economic ventures with the Communist states of northeast Asia and could also be a primary investor in joint ventures and the special export processing zones in the Soviet Pacific territories. The NICs and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) could also buy Soviet commodities and invest in new Soviet projects. Socialist East Asia could be revitalized, and Vietnam, in particular, could begin to undercut the price of Chinese light industrial products. Moscow may even develop new friends among Pacific islanders, if the Soviet Union’s international mining and fishing industries grow and prosper. Soviet military power will probably remain strong in the region, but as Japan and China grow more powerful and independent, the Soviet Union will appear less threatening. In addition, if trade and industries flourish, there will be little incentive for any nation to disturb the peace of the Pacific.